Futurama created by Matt Groening. Developed by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. Owned by 20th Century Fox. Used without permission.
At the building of the close-knit interplanetary delivery company Planet Express, mutant ship captain Turanga Leela was alone in the meeting room, looking at the report from her temporary replacement from the previous month. She wanted to find some clue to why her love-stricken crewmate, Philip Fry, had be avoiding her of late.
He's been paying attention to his work and all, she thought, but that's what's worrying me. It's as if he doesn't want to risk a moment with me, which isn't like him at all. Usually, he'll try anything to be with me. At least, he did right before last month.
She wondered, could he have found someone else? No, she would have heard of it by then. Could Fry have lost interest in her. Maybe; there was a time when she was trying to steer him in that direction, romantic interest anyway. Could he be afraid of her?
That last thought bothered her the most. He had long gotten past the shock of her single eye. But, she was very intimidating. There was more than one way to scare him, even without trying. She never wanted to scare anyone, except maybe enough to survive walking the streets of New New York, but what girl in this city didn't?
She had opened up to Fry somewhat during the last year and he seemed to enjoy it, but something had happened. That was evident.
At the lockers, Leela changed into her new brown boots and wondered if she should check Fry's locker for a clue to his behavior.
No, she thought, I shouldn't. I should respect his privacy. Although, I've poked into his private life for his own good plenty of times.
Intern Amy Wong entered, opened her locker, and removed a conservative, green dress. Leela blinked a couple of times, surprised at Amy being unusually modest. She got over it and asked what was foremost in her mind.
'Amy, do you know what's with Fry lately?'
'No idea, except that he spent some time with your replacement last month.'
Leela felt a chill in her. Had Fry gotten over her? She tried to change the subject.
'That dress, it's different for you.'
'Yeah. I'm going out with Kif tonight and I think I should be more, well, reserved for him.'
'Reserved? As in 'modest'?'
'I was going for 'shy', like him.'
'Why? Are you two having problems?'
'No, except he hasn't been that comfortable toward me and well, maybe it's because I'm so forward.'
'I don't know if you have to change for him.'
'Hey, I can handle it. Really.'
'Okay,' said Leela with doubt. Amy wasn't known for restraint. On the other hand, Leela had not pegged Amy for commitment until she started going out with Lieutenant Kif Kroker.
'Anyway,' continued Leela, 'maybe I should talk to Fry. Have you seen him?'
'Barely. I think he went home hours ago.'
'Straight home? I thought he would hang around uptown with Bender as usual.'
'He hasn't been doing that lately.'
Leela was becoming more worried. She was more certain now that Fry wasn't himself. She was also more certain now that it had to do with her since he would have told her if it involved anything else.
'Do you think Fry would mind a visit?'
'He's been keeping to himself lately. But if it's you, I'd be worried if he didn't let you in.'
I'd be worried too if he didn't, thought Leela as she got her coat.
On the gigantic spaceship, the Nimbus, Kif Kroker was looking at his reflection in his private washroom. He opened his vest, took a breath to expand his chest, and exhaled.
I can't keep that up, he mused, if only I had a more impressive chest.
Kif and Amy always had good chemistry, but little communication. He had wondered lately that he should start being like her, since they were as different as night and day. Actually, this prospect frightened him; all he wanted was acceptance for who he was and some recognition of his abilities, but he was more afraid of losing Amy, who was probably the first being in the longest time to accept him, with Turanga Leela being the second.
The thought of Leela reminded him of her own involvement, or lack of, with Philip Fry. He had often wondered if they were on the verge of what he and Amy had but were just missing it. Still, it took him and Amy a while. So, for them, maybe they still needed time.
He turned his thoughts back to his own situation. If only he could be...less inhibited.
'Lieutenant, I want to try these new absorbent gloves. I temporarily relieve you of your sink.'
That voice was from Kif's commanding officer, Captain Zapp Brainigan. Although the Nimbus has it's own washroom for the crew, Zapp had been using Kif's. Kif sighed as Zapp entered and washed his hands with his gloves on.
'What's wrong, lieutenant? Jealous?'
'No, sir. It's just that, well, I'm trying to be more like Amy.'
'Well Kif, I admit that I don't 'dig' these alternative lifestyles, but I'm sure you can..'
'Not that way, sir. I mean, I don't think I'm as feisty as she wants.'
'Feisty, huh? Well, old friend, I'm prepared to teach you everything I know.'
'All due respect, sir,' Kif said with semi-hidden sarcasm, 'your advice in the past has not been adaptable for me.'
'Too true,' said Zapp, not catching the insult, 'but you are free to borrow whatever clothes you need from my closet and put it in the size adjuster machine we have on board. Just don't touch the leather box.'
Leela arrived fairly quickly to Robot Arms Apartments, the building complex where Fry and his robot friend Bender shared an apartment. She knocked on the door and was answered by Bender.
'We don't want any!'
'Bender, it's me.'
éI know, but I have a romantic evening planned tonight an' I hafta hurry ta beat th' traffic.'
'You're staying in the Red Light District until late tonight?'
'Pretty much, yeah.'
'Well, is Fry around. I need to talk with him.'
Bender turned his head and turned up his volume.
'FRY! LEELA'S HERE!'
'Bender!' Fry called from another room, "don't joke!'
'He's not joking Fry,' called Leela, rubbing her ears, "it's me.'
Fry arrived, looking very surprised.
'Leela! Wow. Uh, is something wrong.'
'That's what I wanted to ask you about. Bender, would you give us a moment alone?'
'Hey, I was leavin' anyway. Have fun, skintubes,' Bender said as he exited.
'So,' said Fry shortly after, 'you're almost never here.'
'Yeah, I've only been here for Amy and Kif's baby shower. Can we talk?'
'I guess,' said Fry, 'do you want to sit down?'
They took opposite seats of a small table. They stared blankly for a while. Fry kept avoiding eye contact with her, but when Leela did see his eyes, they still had that spark that was there when she was nearby.
It had been a while sine Amy had been to the suspended discoteque, the Hip Joint. It was a great place for lonely singles, but she was not exactly single these days. Still, it was a nice spot even for a couple. She was sitting at the bar and waiting for her date. She was not drawing as much attention to herself as she would have in the past. She wondered if it was the dress. Also, she would have had a glass of tequila by then. She was a bit, pleased. It was a sign that her plan was working, but she also felt not herself.
'Hey, good lookin', want some lovin'?'
That voice was familiar, but the words and delivery did not suit it.
Amy turned around and saw Kif, but not in a familiar way. He was wearing a loose blue shirt with the first few buttons undone, tight synthetic leather pants, and work boots like her own.
'Uh, Kiffy. Is that a new look for you?'
'It's something I borrowed. So, are we going to dance, drink, or 'um' consummate in that order, or...?'
'Uh, how about we dance first and decided on the rest.'
'Okay. Uh, may I lead?'
At Bender's apartment, the conversation between Fry and Leela had yet to start until Leela broke the slence.
'So, Fry have you been avoiding me?'
'Well, yeah, I guess.'
'Does it have to do with my replacement last month? Did you like her?'
Leela felt herself choke some as she said that.
'I guess I did, sort of. She reminded me of you in a lot of ways. Similar traits, skills.'
'Except she probably had better depth perception,' Leela half-joked.
'You're still the better martial artist,' responded Fry, 'although she was pretty tough herself.'
Leela chuckled, a little forceful. She didn't like being compared to other women, but this was a little easier since this woman was so similar and wasn't Amy, who once dated Fry.
'Anyway,' continued Fry, 'around her, I couldn't stop thinking about you. I was in the presence of this incredible woman, but you were gone. She was great, but I figured you had taken your own personal situation and used it to make you who you are. And I love what you've done with yourself. She wasn't the lonely mutant who built herself out of necessity. You are! And you're the one with that laugh I like and that smile and that wit I envy!'
'And legs that won't quit?'
'Well, she had great legs too, but...hey!'
'Well, okay. Anyway,' Fry continued, 'she well saw through me and said we needed a moment alone, one way or another.'
'I guess we do. But why have you been avoiding me.'
'Because I didn't know what to say! I've been working on it, but you know I'm no good with matching my words with my feelings.'
'Maybe, you just proved that you're better at that than you thought.'
She took his hand. Fry looked at it, unsurely. Then he looked up to her. She was smiling and feeling hopeful.
'How about we continue this conversation,' she suggested, "at Elzar's? By ourselves?'
'You mean as a 'get together'?'
'Let's call it a 'date.''
At the Hip Joint, Kif and Amy were at the bar after a half-hour of dancing. He was noticing that Amy still seemed uncomfortable. In fact, she seemed thoughtful. Normally, he would ask her what was troubling her, but he figured he should still try to impress her with his new personality.
'So, how about a cocktail?'
'I'm thinking of cutting back.'
'All right. I'll try one then.'
'Kiffy, you normally don't.'
'Perhaps it's time I try. You have one each time we're out.'
He paid the bartender and received his drink quickly. Kif usually stayed away from Earth based alcoholic beverages, but he figured one drink would not hurt. Or at least a taste. He examined it, hesitated a bit, and sipped it.
Kif's eyes bulged out as his skin turned orange and fell on the floor. Amy's worried face and the laughs of other customers were the last things he was aware of before passing out.
Leela arrived at the restaurant from her apartment to see Fry at the reservation table in his tuxedo, which was still wrinkled in some places. She smiled, charmed some by his messiness, until she remembered that they did make their reservation rather quickly and he did not have a lot of time to get ready. She herself left from his apartment to her own to get dressed. He lit up when he saw her.
'You look great!'
Leela was wearing her usual unrevealing red dress. She did not want to make this fancy, but she wanted this to be a real date, although it was a rushed one.
'Thanks, but it's just something thrown on.'
'So,' said Elzar, the restaurant owner as he arrived, 'I assume you're the reservation under Fryturanga?'
Leela regretted quickly changing the reservation name over the phone. Elzar obviously missed the change and made it one word.
'Yes. Elzar, we've both met you plenty of times. You should recognize us by now.'
'Ah, I'm no good with names unless I'm reminded. Now, follow me.'
They ended up in a table in the corner. Neither had much money and ordered the cheapest meals they could put together. As they waited for those meals, they talked.
'You know,' said Fry, 'you didn't have to do this.'
'Fry, I wanted to. Let's make it clear: this isn't necessarily a relationship, this isn't a pity date. It's a date. Just a date, but it is a real date. So, get whatever fears or anxieties you have out of your head, okay?'
'All right. Uh, something that's bothered me for a while. Remember the time slips and our 'quickie' wedding and divorce?'
'Fry, I'm sorry! I thought you were getting desperate and I was sort of on the verge at my patience anyway. I've long stopped thinking that you tricked me''
'Um, thanks,' interrupted Fry, 'but, actually, what I was wondering was why, after all that, you still wanted us to be friends?'
Leela paused for a bit, trying to choose her words carefully.
'Well,' she finally said, 'I guess it's just like this: I wanted to.'
'So, does that mean you sort of like me?'
'I've put up with you for about five years, you've made sacrifices for me, and I'm on a date with you,' she said, grumbling some, 'I think that's evident.'
At a high-class apartment, a certain young woman was tending to her extraterrestrial boyfriend.
Ah, good, thought Amy, Kiffy's finally waking up.
Kif opened his eyes and blinked a couple of times.
'Where'where am I?'
'My apartment. My bed, to be specific. After you passed out, I took you home with me.'
'What about my shuttle? I borrowed one from the Nimbus to get there.'
'Uh, we'll take care of it later. Kiffy, about this evening, it just wasn't like you. You've' changed.'
Kif sighed in usual sigh, which made Amy feel better.
'Not really,' Kif confessed as he sat up, 'Amy, I just want to, I don't know, adapt to you. You've always seemed more'forward than I and, well, ''
'You wanted to change for me?'
'Kiffy,' Amy said while putting her arm over his shoulders, 'you don't have to change for me. I love you for who you are. I've been with guys like me and you're the first one to really care for me. You don't have to 'adapt'. Just because we're different from each other doesn't mean we can't work.'
Kif smiled and looked at her.
'That's a less daring dress on you. Don't get me wrong, it looks good on you, but''
Amy blushed, realizing that she too was trying to 'adapt'.
Leela and Fry were having $10 slug burgers, Neptunian fries, and fountain Slurm for dinner. Leela was pondering how they could have settled for fast food, but she did want this to be a date between adults. Adults on a budget, but still adults.
'Having a good time?' asked Fry, who had remembered to swallow before he talked.
'Yeah. Fry, I know this sounds presumptuous, but is this that 'magical date' you planned?'
'You know, when we were in that parallel universe and that world's Leela agreed to a date that you once asked me about?'
'Oh, yeah. Actually, I hadn't really planned anything. In fact, I never did whenever I asked.'
'What? But'that Leela and Fry had a good relationship and even a marriage starting with that!'
'Yeah, but I didn't have anything in mind when I asked you that night or any other night. I guess when the other Leela agreed to it, the other me thought up something on the spot. I think best under pressure sometimes.'
Leela felt disappointed, feeling like she not only missed what might have been the best night of her life, but she may never know what might have even happened. Then, she looked at her burger and then at Fry.
Maybe it's better to create a perfect date than to wonder what could have been, she thought. Besides, all I wanted for tonight was a simple date.
'Sorry Fry. I shouldn't have even asked. It's not healthy to compare couples, even if it's another us.'
'So, we shouldn't compare us to, say, Amy and Kif?'
'No, we shouldn't. They do what works for them. Say, are you going to finish all those fries?'
'Probably not. They gave me a bundle and Neptunian fries are a little too spicy for me anyway. You can have some.'
Leela reached for the fries'just as Fry was about to offer her some by hand. They touched, looked at each other, and smiled.
Kif and Amy spent the evening cuddling. In the end, she was grasping his gloved hand. They looked in each other's eyes and smiled.
'So, maybe we, y'know, compliment each other.'
'Perhaps. Amy, as much as I wish this would never end, I do need the shuttle back.'
'Oh, yeah. I called AAAAAA while you were in the bathroom. They'll tow it here but it will take a couple of hours.'
'Oh. What will we do in the meantime?'
Amy just smiled. Kif smiled as well. Amy switched off the lights.
Fry walked Leela to her apartment. He was not expecting anything, but he still felt happy having spent the evening with Leela. After she unlocked her door, he quickly opened it for her. She smiled and walked in.
'That was great,' said Fry, 'and thanks for splitting the check.'
'Well, I asked you out. But I guess it was only fair. Tonight felt good for me, too. Thanks. Well, goodnight.'
She pecked his cheek, entered her apartment, and shut the door.
Fry still stood there, happy, but still unsure she enjoyed the night as much as he did.
Just then, the door opened.
'Why not?' Leela asked out loud before she kissed Fry on the lips.
'We'll try something a little more prepared next time, okay?' she asked.
'O-okay,' said Fry, stammering a bit as she entered her apartment again.
When Bender returned home late that night, he found a very happy Fry sprawled over the couch.
'So,' asked Bender, 'You kept your clothes on the whole time.'
'Yep,' said Fry, still looking at the ceiling with a dreamy look in his eyes.
'Wuss,' muttered Bender as he went to his own room to shut down for the night.