Second Chances, part 2
Part Two: Grenade
Gave you all I had and you tossed it in the trash
You tossed it in the trash, you did
To give me all your love is all I ever asked
'Cause what you don't understand is
I'd catch a grenade for ya
Throw my head on a blade for ya
I'd jump in front of a train for ya
You know I'd do anything for ya
I would go through all this pain
Take a bullet straight through my brain
Yes, I would die for you, baby
But you won't do the same
Fry walked into his hotel room after midnight and threw his jacket on the chair by the door. Flipping on the lights he saw the bed made, his laundry done and hanging up in his closet and fresh new towels in his bathroom. The newspaper sat on the table and he thought about looking for an apartment but instead sat down on the edge of the bed and turned on the radio before laying down still in his jeans. He listened to the song playing as he rolled over and stared at the wall.
“Hey New, New York, it’s your night time host Pat Maine here to keep you insomniacs company thought out the night. Continuing our countdown of the best songs of the last millennium, here’s Lady Antebellum at number ten with their hit song, ‘Need You Now.’”
It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now
Said I wouldn't call but I lost all control and I need you now
And I don't know how I can do without
I just need you now
Fry looked over at the radio and sighed. Getting up he raided the mini fridge and pulled out a small bottle of whisky as the song continued.
Another shot of whisky, can’t stop looking at the door
Wishing you’d come swinging in the way you did before
He looked over his shoulder. “That’s uncanny.” Finishing the bottle in a few seconds he crashed back down on the bed listening to the country guitar playing.
It’s a quarter after one, I’m a little drunk and I need you now.
Opening his eyes he looked back at the radio. “Seriously?”
Leela sat up against her head board with Nibbler on her lap as he made soft chirping noises. It was six in the morning and Leela was debating whether or not she should stay in bed all day. Though she wasn’t going into work she didn’t want to stay cooped up in her apartment all day. Maybe she’d go for a walk in the park. No, she thought, Fry might be there. Or maybe go see a movie. No, Fry might be there. She might even go up on the rooftop of the theater. No, of the all the places I might run in to him, that’s number one.
Sighing she picked up Nibbler and looked in his three eyes. “Oh Nibbler what am I gonna do?”
He gave her a babbling noise for an answer and Leela couldn’t help but smile. She squeezed him and closed her eye. “I guess it’s just you and me today Pooperdoodle.”
Nibbler rolled his eyes at the silly name she called him, and out of the corner of his eyestalk saw Fry’s book sitting on her night stand, the spine still in perfect condition.
“I got an idea,” he heard her say, “why don’t we go for a walk?”
Nibbler gave a happy noise and jumped up picking up his leash with his teeth.
Across town, Fry was sitting up in bed as well typing on his laptop. During the middle of the night inspiration had struck him and he had been writing all night. He felt his fingertips hover over the keys as he struggled to write more. He figured that since Leela didn’t want him around he might as well right another book. Give him a chance to travel again and start over. Maybe move away from New, New York. Closing his computer and moving it from his lap he rubbed his eyes. A sharp pain shot up in neck and he groaned as he placed his hand against it.
“Ow! God!” he looked over at the clock. “Man, I’ve been writing for three hours.” He got out of bed and stretched before looking out the window. “Maybe a walk will do me some good.”
Quickly he dressed and walked out of the hotel with his music blasting in his ears.
Leela and Nibbler walked down the empty street. She had the leash wrapped around her wrist and her hands shoved in her pockets. Nibbler zigged and zagged across the sidewalk sniffing everything. They got to the corner and Nibbler looked down the street and saw a young man with orange hair walking towards them with his head down. Nibbler sniffed the air and his eyes went wide before he took off running towards him.
Leela looked down and watched as Nibbler ran in front of her and she tugged on the leash which seemed to only encourage him. “Nibbler, what are you doing?”
Nibbler lined himself up with the man and ran faster until he collided with Leela.
“Ow! I’m sorry, I-Leela?”
She looked up and saw Fry standing in front of her. “Fry. I’m sorry; I don’t know what’s going on with Nibbler. He must have seen you.”
Nibbler jumped at Fry’s leg moving his paws up and down his calf. Fry bent down and patted his head. “Hey Nibbler. How’s it going buddy?”
He chirped and Fry laughed before standing back up. “So, uh…”
“I guess I’ll see you later.” Leela said in a rushed tone. She tried to turn away but Nibbler began running in a circle around them tying their legs together and bringing them closer. Leela lost her balance and stumbled landing with her hands on Fry’s chest. Fry grabbed her elbows and let out an embarrassed laugh.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” she said standing up as best as she could. “Sorry about that.”
“No, it’s-it’s alright.”
They each tried to step outside of the circle Nibbler had formed around them but when he saw them he ran around again tightening the leash again pulling them closer.
“Looks like he wants to walk with both of us.”
Nibbler eased up a bit.
“I guess so.”
“You-you wanna get a coffee?”
She was about to say ‘No’ but when Nibbler heard the “N-” he began running around again.
Fry took his headphones off and slipped them in his pocket as Nibbler unwound the leash around their feet. “Smart, uh, alien thingy.”
“Yeah, he is.”
He nodded down the street. “Shall we?”
“Yeah, let’s go.”
Fry and Leela sat at a small table outside in the wind and snow drinking their coffee. Since Nibbler was with them they couldn’t sit inside and were forced to “enjoy” their drinks outside. Fry sat with his arms crossed shivering as Leela held Nibbler close trying to share body heat with him.
“Sorry about this Fry, but it was either this or leave Nibbler out in this by himself.”
“Don’t worry, its alright.” he looked over his shoulder and saw the waitress who had kicked them out as she went back into the kitchen. He looked at Nibbler shivering in Leela’s arm and smiled. “Actually I’ve got an idea. Hand him over.”
The two of them walked inside and Fry had his arms crossed over the large bump coming from his jacket.
“Are you sure this will work?” Leela whispered.
“Yeah it-ah!” he said bending over as one of Nibbler nails dug into his chest.
“Are you okay?”
The two of them walked towards the table as Nibbler clawed Fry again and he began moving spastically around the coffee shop as people stared at him.
“I have to-ah! It’s just-ah! I’ll be in the bathroom-AH!” he said going through the door.
“He is such a good dancer.” Leela said to all the people staring at her. She gave an awkward laugh and covered her face. Oh for God sakes.
In the bathroom Fry unzipped his jacket and looked at Nibbler. “Now listen buddy, you’ve got to stop with the clawing, alright?”
He chirped again and Fry zipped up again and felt Nibbler settle down against his chest.
Walking back into the restaurant and sat down across from Leela.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Listen Fry, I need to talk to you about something.”
“I wanted to say, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything. Can we just, start over and pretend like this never happened? I just want everything to go back to normal.”
“So do I. I’m sick of us fighting.” he extended his hand across the table. “Friends?”
“Friends.” she smiled shaking his hand.
Fry relaxed and felt Nibbler’s breathing in his jacket. The heat actually warmed himself but he had a feeling that he would be boiling soon.
“I read the dedication in your book.” Leela said. “’To the extraordinary T.L. and all my friends at P.E.’ that was, very touching.”
“Well I meant it. You are extraordinary.”
She smiled and insecurely moved a strand of hair out of her face. “No I’m not.”
“Yes you are.” he leaned across the table. “Most people hit a wall; they give up, but not you. You don’t let go, you don’t back down, that’s what makes you extraordinary.”
“Oh Fry,” she whispered as he took her hand.
“Excuse me.” someone said and Fry released her hand. A young woman walked up to him with a napkin in her hand. “Sorry, but aren’t you Phil Fry?”
“Yeah, that’s me.”
“I’m sure you hear this a lot, but; I love your books. Can I have an autograph?”
“Sure. Hold on, I think I’ve got a pen.” he reached inside his jacket and when he felt a thin long cylinder shape he tugged, but then heard a yelping noise as Nibbler’s eye stalk popped out of his jacket before Nibbler himself jumped out. Fry stood up spilling his coffee on the young woman and Leela jumped up as well knocking over the table.
Fry, Leela and Nibbler stood outside the coffee shop as the owner slammed the door in their face. “And don’t come back.” he said.
Fry turned to Leela and couldn’t help but chuckle. “Sorry.”
Leela laughed as well. “Don’t be, it’s alright. It was actually pretty funny. I’m sure that fan will have an interesting story now.”
“I had fun Fry. I’m glad I ran into you.”
“Figuratively or literally?”
She laughed again, loving it more and more. Fry always made her happy and made her laugh and she missed having that in her life. “Both.”
“I-uh-I should probably get going. I was up all night and I’m beat now. I think I’m gonna go get some rest.”
“Okay…see you at work tomorrow?”
“Yeah. See you tomorrow.”
He started to walk away but Leela called after him. “Fry?”
“Yeah?” he asked turning around.
“Why did you decide to start writing?”
“Because, the role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” he smiled and waved before walking away. “See you tomorrow Leela.”
As he walked away Leela looked down at Nibbler. “Come on honey. Let’s go home.”
After a day of deliveries the crew sat on the couch in the lounge just like old times. Fry had his feet up on the table and felt at home for the first time in a while. Things were still rocky between him and Leela, and he wanted to know where their relationship stood. Since the conversation about Fry and Meredith things had been pretty awkward between them, even since their morning at the coffee shop. He looked over at Leela who was just staring out the window instead of watching TV or talking to anyone. He wished she would read his book. He wanted her to come to his premier party but he knew that all his author friends and the book reviewers who would be there would want to talk to her and he knew he would be looking the fool when the girl whom had been his muse revealed that she didn’t even read his books.
Leela stood up suddenly, “I’m gonna go inspect the ship.”
“Want some help Leela?” Fry asked getting ready to stand up.
“No it’s fine.” she said before walking out.
Fry shrugged and put his feet back up.
“Why the hell is she inspecting the ship?” Bender said. “We have no more deliveries. Plus, didn’t we do that in the morning?”
“We?” Amy asked, “No, not we. Me.”
“Fine! Didn’t me do that this morning? Amy, you need to learn how to speak properly. It should be I. Right Mr. Author?” he said looking at Fry.
“Hey!” Amy said, “I speak good.”
“You should think well of yourself.”
Fry rolled his eyes at them and looked at the closed door leading into the hanger. “I’m gonna go see what Leela’s really doing.”
He walked out and heard what sounded like footsteps and a door closing. Following the sounds he found himself in front of the locker room. Hearing a locker close he carefully peaked inside and saw a purple pony tail go into one of the stalls. He gently closed the door behind him and tiptoed over towards the stall pressing his ear against it. His eyes went wide and he cracked a small smile. Without warning he popped up and looked inside the stall.
“Hi.” he said.
Leela screamed and pressed the book she was reading against her chest. Fry saw his name on the cover and smiled.
“Fry, what are you doing?”
“You’re reading it. You’re reading my book.”
She stuttered and Fry laughed. “No need to be embarrassed Leela, I’ll let you get back to your reading.” he was about to leave but looked back at her. “Oh by the way, it’s page 235.”
“The sex scene that Amy mentioned? The one that’s been driving you crazy? It’s page 235.” he winked before leaving.
Leela heard the sound of Fry’s laughter and footsteps disappeared before relaxing.
“God, that was embarrassing.” she said under her breath. Looking down at the book she smirked. “235...235...” she scanned the page as her eye went wide and her jaw dropped. “Oh my God.”
As the weeks went by the Planet Express crew began preparing for Fry’s premier party. Though he had tried to get his friends advance copies of his third book Meredith wouldn’t have it. Fry knew that she disapproved of him spending all his time back at his dead end deliver job instead of writing, but he didn’t care. Forcing him to sit and write all day wasn’t going to pump out another novel faster.
Fry’s days usually followed a similar routine: Have the staff meeting in the morning, deliver packages, then come back and argue with Meredith on the phone as she demanded a new manuscript.
“I told you Meredith, I’m working on something, but I’m not sure if I want to publish another one.”
“Fry your books are bestsellers. You don’t want to give up all the money we’re making.”
“You mean you don’t want to give up all the money I’m making.”
“So what? First you kill off the golden goose and then refuse to write another set of novels to punish me?”
“I might be petty and short sighted, but I’m not that petty and short sighted.”
“Fry we’re a team. You write the books, I sell them, that’s it. So if you don’t write the books, I can’t sell them and if I can’t sell them-”
“You can’t pay for your beach house or apartment or car. Yes, I know, we’ve talked about this. But you have other authors you work with, why can’t they support your lavish lifestyle? Besides, don’t you get alimony checks from two of them?”
“Oh, those idiots don’t know how to write. You books have sold the most.”
As Fry was on the phone Leela walked by the lounge and heard his voice. “I’m happy here Meredith. I like working with my friends all day and then writing for fun at night.”
Leela smiled and listened some more. Fry paused and continued talking.
“You’re damn right Leela’s the reason I’m staying. I’d rather go back to my dead end job as a delivery boy and be with her than have to travel all over the place and leave her.”
Leela placed a hand over her heart. He still cares.
“Well, what if I make it worth your while?” Meredith asked.
“What do you mean?”
“How about a larger amount of royalties per book?”
Leela peaked around the corner.
“How much more?”
She watched as Fry’s body stiffened up.
“You’re kidding. That much more?”
Leela narrowed her eye.
“Well, I mean, it would only be for a few months…I have to think about it.”
“Well hurry up.” Meredith said, “This offer won’t last long.”
She hung up and Fry slipped his phone back in his pocket before sighing.
That bastard, Leela thought, he’s gonna leave me because Meredith is offering him more money?
Nibbler walked by Fry’s feet and Leela watched as he picked him up. “Hey Nibbler, maybe you can help me.”
They sat down on the couch as Leela stormed away.
“What do you think buddy? Meredith offered me more money to write more books, but if I take it, it means being away from Leela. But if I don’t Meredith is gonna tear up my contract and I’ll only get a little bit of the sales from my last book.” Nibbler chirped sadly and Fry sighed. “I want to be with Leela, but what if things got serious between us? I mean, I want them to…here, look at this.” he reached in his pocket and pulled out a diamond ring. “I’ve been saving this for two years. I bought it before we had our problems. The thing is Nibbler, if I don’t keep writing, what type of life would we have? I want to give her the best.”
“Why are you talking to the rat?”
Fry looked up and saw Bender as he shoved the ring in his pocket. “No reason.” he said stroking Nibbler’s fur.
As Leela stood in front of the ship she heard the door to the lounge open.
“Hey Leela,” Fry said cheerfully. “I wanted to remind you of the party tonight. We’re all meeting here to take the limo there.”
“Fry, I need to ask you something.”
“I know what you’re thinking: the dress code is evening cocktail. If you’re stumped, just ask yourself, ‘What would Laura wear?’.” he smirked.
“When were you going to tell me about the other books?” she said seriously.
He dropped the smile. “You heard that?”
“So it’s true?”
Fry rubbed his head. “Well, it’s not a done deal.”
“Are you gonna do it?”
“I don’t know…I guess I’ll do whatever I think is right.” The ring in his pocket felt like it had just gained ten pounds.
“Well did it ever occur to you to talk to me first?”
“I don’t want to leave, but for the amount of money Meredith’s offering me per book, I think a few months away would be worth it. Leela, listen,” he said taking her hand, “everything I do, I’m doing for us. Just trust me.”
Leela looked in his eyes and while a voice in her head kept saying Don’t trust him, her heart was overpowering her thoughts. The fact that he had used the word “Us” gave her a sense of security, it just confirmed the fact that Fry still cared about her. “Okay.”
“Great. So, I’ll see you here tonight? 7:30?”
“Alright. I’ve got some things to take care of, so I’ll see you tonight.” he said before smiling and kissing her on the cheek. Letting go of her hand he left a stunned Leela in the middle of the hanger.
“What the hell was that?” she turned and saw Bender standing there.
Leela blushed and touched her cheek. “Nothing.”