Part One: Lonely for Her
I'm uneasy, and I'm weak in the knees
And I'm trying not to breathe
Not believing, Not believing you're gone
And that I was the one to let you
I'm so; I'm so lonely for her
I'm so; I'm so lonely for her
So lonely for her
It was hard going back to the city, and it wasn’t just the traffic. Phillip Fry sat in his car stuck in the late night traffic of New, New York City. People yelling, honking their horns all around him, but nothing seemed to phase him. He sat there in the cold dead silence watching the windows fog up from his breath. His suitcase sat in the backseat, with the pajama’s he so desperately wanted to slip on before collapsing onto his hotel bed. His own tormented heart was what delayed him from coming back to Manhattan and not just the few hours he spent in the car, but two years. He had spent that time traveling and writing. He took his own personal experiences and pain and turned them into two bestselling novels. A trilogy, which he was close to completing, about a young man who gets a second chance to start over. If only reality could be written, he thought staring out at the snowy streets. Fry wasn’t sure what exactly led him back to New, New York. It could have been because his roots were there, it would be a perfect place to continue his writing. Or maybe it was something else entirely. Perhaps the muse that he had yet to thank in person for all his success.
When he finally reached his hotel he tipped the valet who promised to take good care of his car and watched as the bellhop took his suitcase rushing it up to his room as he checked in. A few people walked up to him complementing his books and one woman asked him to sign the copy she was reading. Fame was something he did not expect when he wrote “Second Chance”, his first book, he didn’t even expect it to get published. All he really wanted to do was send copies to his friends back home, but when he got it printed he decided to send a copy to a publishing company for the hell of it. The next thing he knew he was getting a contract to write more books with his now bestselling characters.
“Hi,” he said walking up to the front desk and setting down his leather bag that held his computer and notebooks, “I’m checking in. My name’s Fry.”
“Oh my, Mr. Fry it is a pleasure to meet you. My name’s Randy, I’m the hotel manager and I am a huge fan.”
He smiled, “Thanks, always nice to meet a fan.”
“Your room is ready and the bellhop has already taken up your bags.” he said swiping a key before handing it to Fry. “There you are. If you need anything don’t hesitate to call down.”
“Thanks.” Fry said taking the key and slinging his bag over his shoulder.
He decided to take the stairs up to his room since he was on the third floor and was glad he did. The stair case had large windows making the stairwell spacious and gave him a great view of the skyline. His room was further down the hall so he walked slowly just taking in the feel of the city all over again. He had missed it so much, but didn’t know if he would return. Of all the cities he had been to it was still his favorite. Arriving at his room he opened the door and found his suitcase lying on his bed. He placed his bag down on the desk by the window which gave him a spectacular view of New, New York and stood there for a minute taking it all in. He realized that he was home, and it was okay that he was back. At first he wasn’t sure if the city would feel the same or do nothing for him but bring up painful memories, but he was happy.
Grungy from the long drive he decided to take a shower before heading to bed. He stayed in the hot water for twenty minutes and could feel his whole body relaxing, his eye lids getting heavy. Finally he was in bed, relaxed and ready to sleep putting the day’s events behind him. But before he went to sleep he reached in his wallet and pulled out a picture. It was of him and Leela, two years earlier. The two of them sat on the couch at Planet Express as Fry had his arm around her shoulders.
“Until tomorrow.” he said softly before turning off the light.
The next day Fry sat at the desk in his hotel room writing on his computer. A hot cup of coffee sat next to him with a sandwich he had gotten down the street for dinner. His first plan was to go to Planet Express to see everyone, but then decided to stay in his room for the day, give himself a chance to recover from all the traveling and give him some time to think and write until he fell asleep. He was able to enjoy the time he had to himself until there was a loud knock at the door around five. He opened the door and couldn’t believe who was standing there.
“Fry! I’ve missed you!” the robot said wrapping his metallic arms around his fleshy goopy human friend. Fry swore he felt something crack or pop inside of him and Bender let go.
“How did you know I was back?”
“Your Facebook, duh.”
“Oh, right, forgot I posted that.”
“So now that you’re back in town, what do you want to do?”
“Actually, I’ve got a deadline Friday and I’ve got to get some work done.”
“Ooh, let me see!”
Bender read the screen and turned to Fry. “Are you done with this book?”
“Yeah, I’m just revising it.”
“But I don’t get it,”
“ ‘She stood there in disbelief as the light in his eyes dimmed.’-”
“Whoa! Stop right there!” he said closing his laptop, “You can’t read that part. Not yet.”
“Fine,” Bender said rolling his eyes, “say, lets go get wasted. Just like old times!”
Fry was about to say no, but decided that he deserved to have some fun. “Alright, lets go.”
He got his keys and wallet off the nightstand and didn’t notice something slip off and fall to the ground. Bender walked over and picked it up. “Phillip J. Fry,” he said showing him the picture of him and Leela, “what is this?”
Fry snatched it away. “Nothing.”
“Why do you still have that? I thought you two broke up.”
“It’s just a picture.”
“No, it’s a loaded gun. Do you want to put yourself through that again?”
Fry looked at the picture before putting it in his bag. “Just forget it.”
Fry and Bender sat in the empty bar as the snow fell outside. The bar wasn’t too crowded, Fry figured since it was a Wednesday night, but it was still nice to go out. As they sat there catching up and drinking a young woman walked up to Fry with a pen in her hand.
“Excuse me,” she said, “aren’t you Phil Fry? The author?”
“On my better days.”
“I‘m a huge fan. Can I have an autograph?”
“Sure,” he said taking the pen and signing the napkin that was next to him.
“I love your books,” she continued, “I was wondering, where did you come up with a character like Laura?”
“She’s based off of a girl I know.” Fry said handing her the napkin.
“Aw, how sweet of you, I’m sure she must be very flattered.”
He paused, “Actually, I haven’t seen her in two years. So I don’t know.”
“Why? What happened?”
“It started years ago, I met her, we talked, and in a matter of hours I had fallen in love. A few years later she said she felt the same.”
“That’s it. One day it was just over. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her…she’s the one that got away.”
“That’s so sad. I really hope everything works out thought. Thanks for the autograph.”
She walked away and Fry slinked in his seat. He heard a loud thumping noise and turned to Bender who was glaring at him while tapping his fingers on the table. “What?”
“She’s the one that got away.” he mimicked.
Fry put his bottle down and leaned back in his seat. “Nice to see your opinion of Leela and I hasn’t changed.”
“Fry, what the hell are you doing? I mean, you knew things like this would come up when you came back here, why are you making it worse?”
“Really? Okay then, let me know how you sleep tonight.” he said standing up and leaving.
Fry watched as his friend walked out and he threw the rest of his beer back before ordering another one. He knew that this was going to be a long night.
Leela walked into Planet Express the next morning feeling surprisingly happy. She hadn’t felt this way in a while, two years to be exact. It wasn’t like every day had been a living hell for her; she had her good and bad days, but this day just felt different. Better. She saw Bender sitting on the couch watching TV and smiled. “Good morning Bender.”
“Shut up.” he said.
Leela was taken back a bit, but decided that she didn’t want to ruin the mood she was in so let it go and walked into the other room. Hermes was getting coffee and she picked up her mug as well.
“Leela, I was just about to go looking for you. I got a call, someone who wants to come in and join us for a few days.”
“Who?” she asked filling up her mug.
He smiled. “Phil Fry.”
Leela’s eye went wide and she dropped her cup on the floor watching it shatter. “Oh no.”
“He’s like a kid on a sugar rush, he can’t take anything seriously. Why bring him back?”
“Well he’s back in town and we are still in need of a delivery boy. I don’t see a problem. Besides I can hire him back at severely reduced pay and that makes me happy.”
He walked away humming and Leela leaned against the counter. Fry’s back, she thought, oh boy.
Bender walked in and Leela stood up straight. “Did you know Fry was back?”
He stopped in his tracks and sighed. “Yeah, I saw him yesterday.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t know if you two wanted to see each other.”
“You know I did. Does he want to see me?”
Bender thought about what Fry had said the night before, how Leela was the one that got away, and about the picture that Fry carried around.
“He didn’t say.” Bender said.
Leela sighed and rubbed her forehead as Amy walked in. “What’s going on?” she asked.
“Fry’s back in town and he’s coming here.”
“What?” she and Bender asked. Bender had no idea Fry would be coming back, he thought he was just going to stay in his hotel for the time he was there.
“Hermes just said.”
“Do you have a problem with that?” Amy asked.
Before she could answer they all heard the door open and a voice call out. “Hello?” Fry walked in wearing a collared shirt, jeans and his black winter coat with a scarf and smiled at everyone. “Hey.”
When no one said anything and didn’t move, Amy walked up to Fry and gave him a friendly hug. “Hey Fry, nice to see you again.”
“Loved your books, I can’t wait for the third one. When’s it coming out?”
“Couple of weeks. My publisher’s been on my ass about getting it done.” he chuckled.
“Great to hear you’re coming back buddy.” Bender said patting him on the shoulder.
“Yeah.” he smiled as Bender walked over to where Amy was standing as Fry walked over. “Hi Leela.”
“Hi,” she said. “Guys, could you give us a minute?”
They both walked out and Leela leaned against the counter. “It’s been a long time, Fry.”
“Too long.” he smiled. “I-I meant to call. Must have picked up the phone hundreds of times.” he said leaning against the counter as well.
“Yeah, I know.” she said standing back up and crossing the room, “You meant to do a lot of things, that’s why you left.”
“You could have come.”
“And then what? I mean, it starts off with you traveling around Earth, then to Mars, then you’re out of the solar system, and then on the other side of the universe, then you‘re back here. I mean, we both know what that life is all about.”
“You said you needed space.”
Turning around she gave him a sad smile, “I didn’t mean forever.”
“Leela,” he said walking over, “we were both going through some things at the time. We hit a rough patch, and, I mean, it was a great opportunity. Plus…it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.”
“I’m not saying it wasn’t.” Leela said moving away from him again and leaning the opposite wall, “I’m just saying it was a choice…that didn’t include me.”
Knowing that she would move if he approached her again he stayed where he stood, but gave her a smile. “Didn’t stop me from missing you. Didn’t stop me from thinking about sneaking on top of the theater having picnics, or those bright purple rocket skates you wore at Rockefeller.”
Leela laughed a little and rolled her eyes. “I’ll have you know, those skates rock.”
Fry laughed and kept smiling. He was about to say something else when the door opened and Amy poked her head in. “Hey guys, we’ve got a delivery. Fry the Professor wants to see you first.”
He looked at Leela flashing his boyish smile before walking away. Leela stood in the kitchen and leaned her head back letting out a sigh.
“You okay Leela?” Amy asked.
“Yeah, I-I think so. I just would appreciate it if no one would bring up our history.”
“Ancient, modern or sexual?”
“All of the above.”
“Well, you can trust me. Bender, now that’s another story.”
They started walking towards the ship to load the packages. “But I have to ask one thing, did he admit that he based Laura after you?”
“What? Who’s Laura?”
“The character in his book…oh my God. You haven’t read it, have you?”
Leela slowed her walking. “No.”
“But he sent you advance copies. I mean, Laura is exactly like you and Peter is like him.”
“Well, I just never got around to it.” she said walking away, leaving Amy to come up with a plan to get Leela to read Fry’s books.
Leela leaned back in her seat on the Planet Express ship with the autopilot on allowing it to take them to Turantulon 6 to deliver giant containers of poison for the DOOP to kill the spiders. She looked over at Fry who was on his laptop typing with his feet up on the console. Hearing the keys being hit a few times before he gave a content sigh and hit the final button, Leela looked over and saw him close his computer and smile.
“That’s it, it’s done.”
“Ooh,” Amy said turning around. “can I see?”
“Sorry Amy, but I’ll try to get you all advance copies.”
“Well Leela, looks like you’ll have to get caught up on the other two.”
Fry looked over at her, “You haven’t read them yet?”
Leela glared at Amy who gave her a smart-alecky smirk. “Uh, no, I haven’t gotten to it.”
“Well, that’s okay. I get it, you’re busy.”
Amy looked back over her shoulder at Fry. “I have to say Fry, the first book was amazing. The characters were so real. It was like I knew them”
Leela looked over at Fry who was smiling. “Well thanks Amy.”
“And that sex scene, was something else.”
Amy looked over at Leela, knowing that that would grab her attention and sure enough it did. Fry looked a little embarrassed and Leela turned to him.
“There’s a sex scene between us in your book?”
“No, there’s a sex scene between Laura and Peter, her smart and handsome coworker.”
“Oh good, so he’s nothing like you at all.”
“Well you would know if you had read it. Here, hold on.” he reached in his bag and pulled out a paper back copy of “Second Chance” and handed it to her. “There you go.”
“Do you always carry a copy of your book around?” Leela asked.
“Wow Fry,” Bender said, “that’s not conceited at all.”
Fry rolled his eyes. “It’s so I can look back at past plot points and make sure nothing contradicts something else.”
“You better hurry up and speed-read Leela, if you want to come to the premier party in a couple of weeks with everyone else.”
“A premier party for a book?” Bender asked. “I don’t know…”
“There’s an open bar.”
The days went by at Planet Express and Fry began to fall back into his old routine. He spent his days with his friends and his nights in his hotel room. Every day he, along with Amy and Bender, got on Leela for not reading his books and she promised she would start it once she got the chance. Fry hadn’t written anything since finishing his last book and wasn’t sure what to do now, but had a feeling that his publisher Meredith would be calling him soon asking for a new manuscript within the next month or so. But for now he just felt like spending time with everyone. Like Leela had said; if he wrote another book he would have to travel again. Yes, this third book would require some once it came out, but he planned on talking to Meredith about shortening the amount of time he’d be gone. Hopefully she would listen, but he had a feeling that the ending to his latest book wouldn’t make her too happy.
Fry and Bender sat in the lounge watching TV and drinking Beer one afternoon while Leela sat to the side doing paper work. She heard Fry put down his bottle and let out a content sigh.
“This is the life. Hanging out with my best friends, drinking beer, watching TV. I missed this so much. No stressing about deadlines, no one screaming my name-”
Leela looked at the door when she heard the woman’s voice and the sound of heels coming down the hall. “Fry, who’s that.”
“Oh God…” he said sitting up. “Please, not her, anyone but-”
The door opened and a tall skinny blond woman in business attire walked in and looked at Fry.
“Don’t you ‘Hey Meredith’ me. What the hell do you think this is?”
“A flash drive.” he said mater-of-factly.
She frowned. “It’s the last draft of your book.”
“No, it’s the final draft of the book.”
“What? No, no, no, no, no. You are not submitting this.”
“What’s going on?” Leela asked.
“Uh, guys this is Meredith my publisher. Meredith these are my friends Leela and Bender.”
“Oh,” she said, “Leela, your muse.”
“Muse?” Leela asked looking at Fry.
“Fry’s told me all about you. So, this is your ‘constant source of inspiration’?”
“Yeah, I uh-” he looked at the two of them and kept stuttering. “I had this dream once. Only I was naked and far less embarrassed.”
“Don’t worry Fry,” Meredith said, “You know I just love giving you a hard time.”
Leela noticed a tone in her voice and didn’t like it. It was playful, but seductive at the same time. She looked over at Bender who seemed to be thinking the same thing.
“I need you to rewrite the ending.”
“Why? I think it’s great.”
“But what type of idiot kills off his best selling character?”
Bender looked up. “You killed Peter? Why Fry? WHY? Who was it? That rat bastard who killed his brother? The one who inspired him to become a cop?”
Fry rolled his eyes at Bender‘s outburst. “Writing these books used to be fun. Now it seems more like work.”
“Oh and God forbid you should actually work.” Meredith said.
Leela and Bender watched as the two of them continued bickering.
“I mean for God sakes Fry you could have crippled him, you could have retired him. You could have had him join the freaking circus. But no, you had to put a laser gun through his brain.”
“Yeah,” Fry chuckled, “really messy, BIG exit wound.”
“Lalalalalala!” Bender said covering his ears. “Spoiler alert.”
“Listen, Meredith, can we talk about this later? Because he‘s not gonna stop.”
“Fine. But I’m gonna stay on top of you until you work on that ending, or I might just demand the return of your advance.”
His eyes went wide. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“Try me. Just try me.” she said smacking his back thigh causing Fry to jump a little before walking out.
He sighed and looked at Leela who was glaring at him. “What?”
She put down the pen she was holding and stood up. “Call me a muse again, and I will break both your legs, ‘kay?”
Fry watched as she walked out of the room and then turned to Bender. “What was that all about?”
“Well your publisher just slapped you on the ass.”
Fry rolled his eyes and sat on the arm of the couch. “That, was just…I mean Meredith… it…”
“How many times have you slept with her?”
He mumbled a response and Bender put a hand up to his ear. “I’m sorry what was that?”
“Once. Okay? It was one time and it was a mistake.”
“A ‘mistake‘? Sleeping with your publisher was a ‘mistake’?”
“You know what? I don’t need to explain myself to you.”
“No you don’t.”
Fry nodded and started to walk out before Bender stopped him. “But there is one person you need to explain it to.”
Bender watched as Fry’s shoulders slumped and he walked through the doors. Once he made sure he was gone he pressed the eject button in his chest and a disk popped out his mouth with a label reading “Considerate of feelings.”
“Bleh!” he gagged. “I hate using this emotion card!”
Fry walked into the conference room and found Leela sitting at the table reading a file. “Hey Leela, can we talk?” he asked sitting down.
“Well, that whole thing with Meredith…there’s something you should know.”
“You slept with her, didn’t you?” Leela asked leaning back in her chair crossing her arms. “I’m not an idiot Fry.”
Fry hung his head low. “Yes. But give me a chance to explain. It-it was at a premier party. We were both pretty drunk, and it just sort of happened.”
Leela refused to meet his eyes when he looked back up at her. They sat there in silence, Fry staring at Leela and Leela staring at the floor.
“Leela, please say something.”
“What do you want me to say Fry? ‘Oh, okay, so you had drunken sex with your publisher, no big deal.’”
He shrugged his shoulders. “That’s fine with me.”
Leela scoffed and stood up about to walk out.
“Leela, I’m kidding.”
She turned around and Fry saw tears in her eye. “It’s not funny.”
Fry took her hand preventing her from walking away. “Leela, please. I’m so sorry.”
“Leela?” They both turned and saw Hermes standing in his office doorway. “I need to talk to you.”
Fry released her hand and she walked into Hermes office. As the door closed Fry sat back down waiting for her.
In Hermes office Leela stood in front of his desk as he rummaged through it. Surprisingly he pulled out a flask. “Here.” he offered. “Poor man’s pain killer.”
Leela looked at it then reached for it taking a sip.
“I heard what happened between Fry and his publisher.”
She sighed and took a bigger sip this time.
“Leela, I know how you feel. Things like this have happened between me and LaBarbra more than a few times.”
“Yes, and with my archenemy, Barbados Slim.” he said angrily. “My point is-Can you handle this?”
Leela shook her head. “I’m sorry sir…. I can’t.”
Fry sat at the table tapping his fingers on the table as Leela was inside Hermes office. He heard the door open and Leela walked out, went right past him and out the door.
“Leela!” he called after her, but she kept on walking.
Down in the sewers Leela sat in a booth at Mutant Big Boy stirring the cup of coffee in front of her. Hermes had given her a few days off to clear her head and she was grateful he understood. She was sure that it was only because he wouldn’t have to pay her for the time she was gone. There was barely anyone in the restaurant so when she heard the bells above the door jingle she had a feeling who it was.
Trunga Morris walked up to his daughter and sat down across from her. She had called him, in tears asking him to meet her at the restaurant right away. Ever since his wife had died two years ago, the two of them had become closer. They were each other’s crutch. “Hey sweetie.”
“Hi dad.” she said softly.
“What’s been going on honey?”
“Well, Fry’s back.”
“Really? Isn’t that good? I mean, you’ve missed him so much over the past two years.”
Leela explained to him what had happened earlier and kept stirring the cup.
“I don’t know what to do dad. I mean, he really hurt me. I thought we were just going to take a break, I mean, I was dealing with Mom dying and then he was just feeling lost. It seemed like the right thing to do, but now…” She paused and looked up at her father. “Dad I don’t want to lose him.”
Morris reached over and took his daughters hand. “Your mother always said; ‘Life, never throws anything at us that we can’t handle.’”
Leela smiled and laughed a little. “She called it ‘Munda’s words of wisdom.’”
“Just keep that in mind, and everything will work out.”
“I hope so Dad, I really do.”
“It was a complete accident! I mean, I’ve forgiven her for all the dumb-asses she’s hooked up with in the past!”
Bender was watching as Fry paced around the lounge complaining about Leela. He had been walking back and forth so much Bender was waiting and hoping for him wear out the floor so much he’s finally just fall though. At least that way he wouldn’t bother him anymore.
“I’m trying to apologize, explain to her what happened, and she just runs out. To be honest Bender, Meredith took advantage of me. She started it.”
“Will you shut up about Leela? I don’t care about your problems meat bag…Wait I’ve got an idea!”
“What? What is it?”
“Why don’t you…shut the hell up?!”
Fry sat back down and closed his eyes. “What am I gonna do Bender? It was a meaningless one night stand that was never supposed to happen. How can I apologize and ask her to forgive me if she won’t even listen? The only reason I kept Meredith as my publisher is because she handles all the sales and takes care of my manuscripts and I don’t have to do anything. Let’s face it Bender, if I was the one handling my own publishing I’d be screwed.”
“What should I do Bender? Besides shutting the hell up.”
Bender sighed and reached in his chest pulling out another disk and popping it in. “Go talk to her, tell her how you feel and let her know you still care about her.” he spit the disk out and gagged. “God! I hate using these but it’s the only way I get your humans to leave me alone.”
“Yeah, I’ll go talk to her. Thanks Bender.” he said getting up and slipping his jacket and scarf on.
“Wait, how do you know where she is?”
“I have an idea.”
Leela stood on the roof of Hovercar-Negie Hall looking over the night time city skyline as the snow fell from the sky. The lights shone brightly from each building, the street lamps were burning bright and would continue into the early morning. She remembered all the times she and Fry would sneak up there and talk for hours. Even after he was gone she continued going up there whenever she felt lonely, to remind her of when things were good. Hearing a noise behind her she turned around suddenly, fearing that it was a guard and she would have to try to explain why she was on top of the theater. But instead she saw a familiar face.
“Hey,” Fry said as his breath floated up towards the sky, “I had a feeling you’d be up here.”
“How did you know the door would still be unlocked after all this time?”
“Some things never change.” he said standing next to her, but keeping a comfortable distance between them. “We spent so much time up here. Remember?”
He paused and turned to her. “I should have told you right when I came back.” he shook his head. “I’m sorry. I didn’t say anything, because it was meaningless, and I just wanted to forget about it.”
“I can understand, but…I just felt…”
She looked up. “Yeah.”
“I never meant for this to happen. I…”
Leela looked in his eyes but quickly turned away looking back at the skyline. Fry got a little closer to her and took her hand. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”
She turned to him and shook her head. “Too late.”
To be continued…