Chapter 2: Lives Unfolding
Chapter 2: Lives unfolding
Providence. Rhode Island colony. Summer 1748
"Ezekiel? Is that you? I haven’t seen since..." said the young man.
"...since my august father saw that I would never sully the name of our family again by getting me drunk and enrolling me in a Dutch merchant ship. Sixteen years ago." Said the other man, well in his thirties, with a grim expression. And then smiled. "If the old man weren’t dead I would go to thank him. The things that I have seen, and the people that I have meet... I’m an entirely different man, cousin, than the troublemaker that awoke with the mother of all hangovers in the hold of a foreign ship."
He caressed the crystal that was the grip of his cane and thought ‘Things, indeed. I have a duty now.’ Middleton. The present
"Come, Charlotte. We have to make a few tests, to see if you can receive the treatment." Said the doctor to Bonnie’s mother. "We'll solve the paperwork afterwards, OK?"
Bonnie waved at her and smiled when she waved back, before turning a corner. Then she slumped on a wall. Doctor Possible had seen that her mother got in contact with a doctor which was running the final tests of an experimental drug, which promised to be the next great thing in the fight against cancer. And everything thanks to Kim Possible, a girl that she had detested since middle school and that she had tried to blackmail to get the money for her mother’s treatment.
She started to walk toward the parking, where Tara was waiting for her, and shook her head. By all rights she should have called the cops on her. Instead she offered her a way out of the mess that her life had become. She then grimaced and thought:
"I hope that she won’t beat me much." In another place of Middleton
"Don’t worry, I won’t hurt her..." said Kim "...much. Seriously, Monique, I’m going to make her sweat a bit, but that’s all."
"Oh-kay, girl. You know, I saw her parents in the mall some times." She shuddered, and added without thinking "Her father gave me the creeps. Back home, I saw too many people like that."
"Yes, you know, where I lived before moving to Middleton." Said Monique, fearing that she had said too much.
Kim arched an eyebrow, but she didn’t say anything. Monique was always very reticent to say where her family did came from, or anything about her past, for that matter.
"Oh, I think that Bonnie has come." Said Kim, hearing a car outside.
Bonnie waved at Tara who waved back before going down the street. She went and was about to knock the door when it opened and Kim motioned her to enter.
"Nice place you have here, K." Said Bonnie. It was a quite complete gym, more of a health and fitness club, actually.
"The owner allow me to use it in the mornings that he doesn’t open. That is Monday to Friday. Weekends we can go to the gym in my basement." Answered Kim as they went through the rooms toward the one where Monique was waiting for them.
"So, what I do?" said Bonnie once they arrived
"The changing rooms are there." Said Kim, pointing to a door in the corridor "We’ll start with the same stretching and warming up exercises that we used in the Cheer Squad. OK?"
"Yeah, captain." Said Bonnie, remembering the old times.
A few minutes later Bonnie was back, wearing a tight top and shorts.
"Let’s go!" said Kim, once they had ended with the exercises. "I want Bonnie to attack me, and you join the attack later, Monique."
Monique gave her the "thumb up" gesture while Bonnie shrugged and did as Kim said, although quite halfheartedly and predictably she was easily blocked.
"Come on, B! That’s all you can do?" Said Kim "Maybe your sisters were right after all."
The mere mention of her sisters angered Bonnie quite a bit
"You want it harder, K? You've got it!" Bonnie growled and attacked, trying to surprise her with a swift kick at the torso. Kim stepped aside with grace, but she didn’t see Monique silently approaching her from behind. Monique used a wrestling hold to immobilize Kim. Seeing this, Bonnie got up and tried to kick Kim just as the redhead used a judo move to throw Monique at Bonnie.
"Good thinking, Monique" commented Kim "Bonnie, I asked you to be my sparring partner, because I thought that you would be as good as you were back when we were stuck together by Dementor’s bondo-ball, but you have not practiced, and it shows. " She put herself in a karate backward stance "Look, the kick that you attempted earlier, this is how it is done..."
Next hours alternated between mock combats between the girls and Kim teaching them martial arts, until Kim called it a day, and the trio headed toward the showers.
Afterward, Bonnie went to talk with Kim.
"Kim, can you leave me at the hosp...?" started Bonnie.
"Bonnie, your mother isn’t due to be done her tests for at least two hours, and believe me, there are few worse places than a waiting room for... well, waiting," interrupted Kim "Trust a doctor’s daughter to know."
"But, what if...?"
"I asked Doc Henderson to text me if something happened, and when she is finished, OK?" answered patiently Kim "Besides, there is something that Monique wants to discuss with you." A federal Prison
"So, you're my new lawyer" said Adrianna Lindeman, AKA Adrena Lynn, to the sharp dressed brunette in front of her. "A bimbo in a power suit is still a bimbo." ‘They warned me that she would be difficul,.’
thought the lawyer.
"I’m Alexis Cross. An old fan of yours has seen fit to provide for your defense, as your former benefactor... ehm..."
"... after Gemini left me to rot in that island. I was lucky that Global Justice checked on that WEE lair not too long afterwards," Adrena Lynn interrupted and finished
The lawyer sighed and thought, ‘Yup, difficult.’
"Look, Ms. Lynn. I’m only here to introduce myself, and to meet you. And now that we have done that, I only have a thing to say to you. Remember the pea in the fairytale."
"Huh?." asked Adrena, "What is that supposed to mean?"
"Apart from the literal meaning? Don’t look at me, my boss told me to tell you that, and I didn’t inquire any further." She picked up her briefcase and said, "Our time is up. Until next time, Ms. Lynn." Middleton Mall. Kim’s favorite place
"Working in Club Banana?" inquired Bonnie when they sat at Kim and Monique’s table. "I know that Kim has a Mother Teresa complex, she can’t avoid helping everybody. But you, Monique, why are you helping the Supreme Bitch of the Universe?"
Monique laughed bitterly and replied,
"Don’t give yourself airs, Bonnie. You don’t even come near the bitches in my old haunts" But then she grew serious "I know what is to lose everything in a single moment, Bonnie-girl. I was a small girl when it happened, though, so I have adjusted better than my mother has. And that’s the reason of the second part of my proposal."
"What second part?" asked Bonnie
"Our home is too big for us, so we decided to put some rooms for rent. You and your mother could rent a couple rooms."
"That’s a great idea, Mo!" said Kim, hugging her friend "And way better than what I was thinking. But there is a problem. Given what Club Banana pays new employees, and knowing Monique’s mother..."
"She is not that bad, Kim!" said Monique "I told you that she was stressed that day..." she sighed and added, "Ok, you're right, you’ll need most of your paycheck for the rent..."
"I have a solution for that, but I don’t think that you are going to like it, Bonnie"
"Shoot, I’ll decide if I like it or not."
"Global Justice resources are stretched quite thin, so they have put a number of heroes on retainer."
"So you got some money from Global Justice on the side. I knew that you couldn’t be such a goody-two-shoes," said Bonnie.
"Hey! It’s for college! I haven’t taken a dime since I started." exclaimed Kim, defensively "Besides, this way, I don’t have to bother my parents for tuition."
"All right, and that concerns me because..."
"I can register you with Global Justice as a sidekick, as I have already done with Monique You’ll have to accompany me in some missions, but you’ll got some money tax-free."
"How much are we talking about?" asked Bonnie
Kim told them.
"That’s not much," said Bonnie. "And speaking frankly, I’m not much for heroics"
"Well, GJ budget is tight. And I said that you weren’t going to like it." Said Kim "But that’s the best that I can do." ‘Selflessness and honesty are for idiots, Dad said... But look where his selfish philosophy had lead us.
’ thought Bonnie
"Ok, but I’m not doing supervillains until we train quite a bit more." Acknowledged Bonnie "That Shego woman scares me." Beside the pool of a five-stars hotel in Acapulco
Shego was taking a sunbath when she heard somebody screeching:
"Oh, my Gawd! It’s Shego!"
She lifted her sunglasses to see a blonde woman, near forty, wearing sunglasses, a bikini that hid the bare minimum and a big yellow handbag. She was pointing at her with unconcealed glee. ‘Damn!. A fan’
thought the pale skinned mercenary. She entertained for a moment the notion of blasting this pest with her plasma ‘Like you were really going to do it.’
Said another part of her mind, the one that sounded too damn much like Princess.
The woman approached her with a big smile.
"How are you?" said the ditzy blonde "I’m Barbie Duncan, and I have been a fan of yours since Team Go!"
Shego rolled her eyes, but a nagging voice in the back of her head fel that the voice sounded somewhat familiar, now that she was speaking in a normal tone.
"Excuse me, have we met before."
"Oh, no, I’m sure that anyone who did would remember my eyes." said the woman, while lowering her sunglasses just briefly and giving Shego one of the greatest surprises of her life.
The left eye was okay, brown, but the right... wasn't there at all, only a gruesome empty space.
Shego was so startled. She nearly shout the name of the other woman, but she managed to stop herself in time. If this woman had come to see her in person, even incognito, it had to be something serious.
"Betty?" whispered Shego.
"Of course, Sheryl." Whispered back Dr. Director "Now can we go to another place to talk?"
"Why don’t go for a drink?" said Shego in a normal voice "The bar here is pretty nice."
They walked together doing small talk until they sat in a private booth. They both ordered a non-alcoholic drink, as this was going to clearly be a "business" talk.
"So, what brings you here, Betty?"
"Ah, yes. I heard that he was found dead in Sidney yesterday," noted Shego.
"I understand that you worked for him in the past."
"Only once. The man was a cheapskate," explained Shego. "You have probably seen the data on it before."
"Iranian National Museum. Four years ago. A full collection of pre-sumerian jewelry." Quoted Dr. Director. "Reinhardt hired thieves like you to do those heists. He was only a middleman, though. Do you know something about his employer?"
Shego paused for a moment trying to remember.
"Some bigwig in the Far East, I think. Beyond that..." she shrugged and then added eyeing Betty "What is going on?"
"Have I told you that something is going on?"
"Yeah, sure, you could have sent that stiff, Wu..."
"Du, Will Du" Betty off-handedly corrected.
"...after me to make that questions instead of coming yourself, incognito. So, I repeat, what the hell is going on, Beth?" insisted Shego.
"Nothing, Shego. Nothing is going on. But let’s just talk hypothetically..."
"Let’s say that a well-known middleman in the black market of stolen artworks contacts a law enforcement agency through secure channels with a list of heists in the last decade. He says that all these heists are part of something bigger, something that frightens him." said Betty "The next news that this agency gets is that he has found dead. They decide to follow up trying to locate the thieves that perform the heists, but were unable to locate any of them, save one."
"Why are you telling me this, Betty?" asked Shego, trying to suppress the chill that was now running up her spine.
"I still consider you my friend, Sheryl" Said Betty "I saw what was happening with you and I tried to get you out of the Tower, but Herschell was faster than me. And six months later the Quantum Quintet was dead and you were a master thief on the way to becoming a supervillain sidekick."
"It wouldn’t have worked. I’m evil, Betty," said Shego, flatly.
‘Even after all these years I can’t make her understand’
"That’s Herschell talking," she tried one last time, even if she knew that she was wasting her breath. She felt that she owed it to a pale girl with big green eyes, whom she had loved as her own daughter. "But even he doesn't think of you as irredeemable."
"Hego. Mister cartoon morality. He never realized how his silly obsession with comic-book heroism drove me to the dark side." said the green eyed, pale woman. "Quinn was the only reason because I stayed as long as I did. When he died, there was nothing keeping me there. "
"I don't regret anything." she added, with a tone of finality.
"And what would Angel think of that?" asked Betty, playing her final card.
Shego grew silent, and for a moment Betty saw a glimpse of the old Sheryl, before Shego controlled herself.
"That was low, Betty. Very low." growled Shego. "She was my heroine when I was a kid. I’m not a kid anymore."
An uncomfortable silence fell over the table.
"Well, I had to try." Said Betty, acknowledging defeat
Shego took a deep breath and tried to compose herself.
"Okay... you wouldn’t be yourself if you didn’t try. Do you know that you are pretty much like Kimmie?"
"Don’t go spreading that stuff around, I have a reputation. Now that you mention her, however..." said Betty, smiling, while searching in her handbag. "Ah, here it is. I think that you just might find this useful."
Shego looked at the device in front of her with wide eyes.
"Yes. She has lost a few over the years." Taras’s home. That Evening
"I told you that things could only get better." Said Tara while helping Bonnie to collect her things from the room that she had occupied since… well, since everything went south.
Bonnie, didn’t reply, but the corners of her mouth ticked up slightly. Tara had been one of the few reasons why she had managed to endure the last few months. She was the only one of her "friends" that hadn’t run away. Well, that thought was unfair. Hope still called Bonnie, from her summer job in Denver.
"Thank you, Tara, for everything. You're the best friend that anybody could desire. Better than I deserve."
"Come on, B! That’s your sisters’ talking!" said Tara "I know you. You are much better than you think." 'I have to come clean to her. She deserves to know the truth'
thought Bonnie, sitting in the bed and motioning Tara to do the same
"No, I’m an horrible person… I didn’t tell you why Kim is helping me."
She then explained everything to Tara. How she had recorded the talk that Kim had recognized to Monique and Ron that she was gay. How she, after sitting on it for nearly two weeks, and becoming desperate, seeing how her mother got steadily worse, decided to blackmail the Possibles... and how the situation had exploded in her face yesterday. "And that's why Kim, being the goody-goody that she is, decided to help me instead of throwing me in jail, like I deserve."
Tara just sat there, speechless, for a moment.
"Well... that was really despicable. I have seen you do many bad things, but you really hit bottom with that one," she finally said. And then she smiled. Not a sarcastic smile, nor a sad smile. But a heartwarming smile, able to melt even the coldest heart. " That means you can only go up from here!"
Bonnie held a moment in disbelief and then offered with some trepidation, "Tara... do you understand what I just told you!?"
"Yes, I do. I'm one of the few people who know the real Bonnie, not the über-bitch front that she shows to the world. Over time some of the bitch façade had rubbed off, but in the end you're a good person who made some bad decisions." A cell in a federal prison
She had found it upon returning to her cell. She was between cellmates, so she had the cell all by herself. It was some kind of pendant, hidden under the mattress, like the pea in the fairytale. The pendant came bundled in a paper with instructions of how to use it.
Sorcery... she had never liked all that crap. But, if what was written on the paper was right, it was her ticket out of this hole. And the best thing was that nobody would realize that anything was amiss. A Global Justice plane flying over the US-Mexican border
Betty Director sent the text message asking Angel to meet her in the airport. The former teen heroine had retired twenty years ago, but they had been friends for a long time. She closed her eyes remembering Angel's last case. Angel had been betrayed by her ex-boyfriend, but after realizing that he had been duped, he had sacrificed his life to save her. It would be enough to break almost anybody, but she was made of sterner stuff. She had left her life as Angel behind, becoming a respected professional in her field, with a loving and happy family. Betty hated to dredge up bad memories, but it was necessary. Possible residence
"Mom?... Dad?... Tweebs?... Anybody home?" said Kim upon entering the house. 'Nobody's home'
she thought. 'Perfect. I need to relax'
She took a relaxing bath and went to take a nap. A traffic jam in the Tri-City area
She cursed vehemently in her mind when she saw the message. Angel... she hadn't been Angel for more than twenty years, after Dan's death. She knew that Betty wouldn't have contacted her if it wasn't some emergency, though. They knew each other well enough.
She texted her husband to let him know that she would be late and turned toward a storage shed where she kept her Angel's gear. She wouldn't admit it to anybody, but she missed that life sometimes. Simpler times. The dark blue biker pants and boots still fit her, as well as the black leather jacket with wings silkscreened on the back. Her white helmet with a golden band was next, although she had problems stuffing her longer hair inside.
And now, she wheeled out her old ride... a dirt bike. The old bike looked pretty good, as she had kept up on it's maintenance, but she still double checked that it didn't need gas or oil. It started on the second attempt. She used the dirt roads around the cities to reach a point near an abandoned Air Force base. From there she could look down adnd see with her own eyes that the GJ plane had landed there.
Soon she was on the tarmac, in front of the guards that were keeping watch. One of them spoke to a mike in his lapel and somebody answered, because he moved away from the steps. She left the bike parked there and climbed up the stairs. There, beside the door, but out of sight was Betty Director.
"It has been some time, Angel," said the one-eyed woman. "Don't worry, there is nobody inside except us, and all recording devices have been disconnected.
Angel moved out of the direct line of sight of the door, and only then removed the helmet, letting her long red hair fall down. She fixed the gaze of her piercing blue eyes onto her old friend.
"So, what was so important, Betty, to make me come here as Angel?" inquired Anne Possible. A cell in a Federal Prison
The pendant was glowing. So it was now or never. She put the pendant around her neck and closed her eyes focusing her mind in her objective. She needed the time to break through the barriers. It was difficult and it would have been impossible if the cheerleader hadn't been sleeping. Even then it was sheer torture. Finally! The last barrier crumbled crumbled...
...For a moment she had the weird feeling of being in two places at the same time...
And opened her eyes in a room that she didn't recognize. She got up and went to a nearby mirror and saw a red headed teenager with red hair and green eyes.
"Freeeeaky!" she said aloud...
TO BE CONTINUED...