Today was a good day. Classes went smoothly. I didn’t almost kill myself at the lab, even though this gaboon viper that I named Edgar tried to lash out at me for not having his meal quick enough for him. I got called out on this way harsh mission, but I came out ahead as always. Now, I’m looking forward to hitting the couch and getting petted until I can’t stand it anymore…not that that’s ever happened before. So, by my standards, yes, today was a very good day.
Kim entered the apartment and planned to crash on the sofa. She was yawning already as she walked into the living room and found out that her idea had been stolen. Betty was sleeping on the sofa; it was her only day off of the week. It had not been much of a day off considering how she had to make everyone’s breakfast, clean the apartment, do the laundry (and she swore to the heavens now that Kim was the dirtiest kid on the planet because of the mud that tended to be caked into her clothes), mop the kitchen floor, and take Leonardo for his morning walk.
The redhead actually felt sorry for Betty. She knew that the one-eyed woman was having a hard time all around. First of all, the woman had been muscled out of her home…or so Kim guessed because she could not imagine someone like Betty just running away from her own home, even though that was what the one-eyed chief had done. Now, she was depending on someone else for a place to stay and camping out in the living room of her friend’s house. That had to be tough in itself for someone like Betty, who was so strong and independent, but of course there was more to it than that. Her life was chalked full of individual annoyances too.
The slim scientist had met and interacted with the older woman’s main annoyance, her ex-husband Major Steve Barkin. She did not see how an intelligent woman like Betty could have been with him, especially long enough to agree to marry the man, but she did not judge the police chief. She knew better than to judge a woman by her taste in partners; after all, look at her choices and of course, there was her mistress, who had almost left her for a man that the pale woman would have killed within the year if she had married him. It was just that Major Barkin was an exceptionally hard man to like.
He was skeptical on anything that he did not understand, especially if the explanation went over his head, which they typically did when she or her friends were around. Kim joked that he probably believed that the world was flat, that the sun went around the Earth, and the planets moved in perfect circular motions held together by strong bands around the Earth. He yelled all of the time to get his point across and more than half the time the point was, well, pointless. Several people already assumed that he just liked talking loudly for his own entertainment. He also seemed to assume that he was superior to those around him because he was a major; he enjoyed pointing out his rank way too much as far as everyone was concerned. He thought much too highly of himself as far as Kim and her friends were concerned and they could not figure out why he thought he was so great. They could not come up with five good qualities about the guy when they all go together to make fun of him. Kim could not believe that Betty’s mother, Eleanor Director, would want her to go back to that man.
Kim had not had the pleasure to meet Eleanor Director, but she had come to understand that she was the second major annoyance in Betty’s life at the moment. She had heard her mistress and Betty discussing the woman a few times at length, mostly because they now refused to answer Betty’s phone when she called, but they did go on about it when they noticed that she was trying to get in touch. The middle-aged woman had gone up to the department building a few times too, but Betty always managed to escape rather than confront her mother. She was always running away when it came to her mother, Betty noted about herself sometime ago.
The petite hero knew that she was the third biggest annoyance to the one-eyed woman. It was not something that she was proud of. She did not mean to be a pest. She was just acting the way that she usually did when she was home. It was just that Betty was not used to her, so she ended up being irksome.
Betty also was not her mistress, so it was hard for her to do the things for Kim that Shego demanded of her. The brunette woman believed that Kim needed to get off her lazy butt and do something, but her owner always made it clear that as a pet, she did not have to do anything, except be very cute and mess some things up every now and then. But, her messes were driving Betty crazy because she was stressed from her days at work and time spent ducking her mother. She also did not think that Kim being cute made up for the things that she did like Shego seemed to believe. She also could not accept the redhead as nothing more than a pet because she was human, so she often thought that Kim should be doing something with her life in someway, like cleaning up her own damn messes. The slender scholar was certain that her behavior at meals was not helping, considering how she whined if everything was not perfectly to her liking, but she was used to acting that way when something was not perfect.
Kim sighed. “You know, I really envy you because of how good you’re making that sleep look,” she commented in a low voice to avoid waking Betty.
The older woman was making her nap look especially great with the way that she was laid out on the couch and curled up with a throw pillow. She looked so comfortable that it was like she was in a bed. She was even lightly snoring and a small trace of saliva was coming from her mouth. It had to be a grand sleep she was having, the hero concluded. She wished that she was sleeping like that at that very moment, but she was not going to get to it.
The redhead looked around the house and noticed that it was fairly clean. She trotted into the kitchen and saw that there was a grocery list on the counter. She gathered that Betty planned to go shopping, but crashed on the sofa first. Kim snatched up the list and returned to the living room to see Leonardo nudging his master. He was trying to rouse her from her sleep. He probably wanted to go outside for a walk or a run, Kim guessed.
“Psst, Leo,” Kim called the dog in a low voice.
The canine turned to the trim hero and she held up a leash. She pointed to herself, silently volunteering to take him outside. Leonardo seemed to understand the gesture and agree with that arrangement, trotting over to her. Kim attached the leash to his collar and they dashed out of the apartment, leaving Betty to her heavenly-looking nap.
Betty’s eye fluttered open and she sat up. She glanced down at her watch and noticed what time it was. She balked as she realized that she had been asleep for almost three hours. She had to get dinner ready, but she had not even gone out to buy the food. She had to walk Leonardo too! She leaped off of the sofa and hoped that the dog had not made a mess somewhere in the freshly cleaned apartment.
“Leo,” she called as she looked around and then she noted the aroma of food hanging in the air.
Betty started toward the kitchen and her canine met her halfway. She expected him to begin tugging her toward the front door because she had to take him out for a walk, but he did not do that. He just merrily barked when he saw her and bounced around her as she continued toward the dining area. She found Kim lying on the floor in the middle of the kitchen entrance, staring at Shego undoubtedly. The pale woman was fixing plates.
“What’s going on?” the onyx-eyed female inquired, speaking to whoever would answer her question.
“Doesn’t she have the best hips?” Kim asked, referring to her mistress and letting Betty know what she was focusing on.
Betty ignored her; the kid had a one-track mind as far as she was concerned that did not deserve acknowledgment. For the week that she had been there, she was pretty sure that the little redhead was just a pervert. She once said that Kim was worse than a guy when it came to ogling Shego. Kim seemed rather proud of that and had grinned rather stupidly in Betty’s opinion.
“Shego, what are you doing?” the elder woman demanded to know, as if she was offended.
“Making dinner,” the green-skinned female answered the obvious.
“But, why?” Betty asked. They had an agreement and she wanted to keep her end of the bargain.
“Well, I didn’t want to risk the shrimp burning it and us,” Shego remarked while pointing down at her pet, who grinned like a mischievous imp. She had not been grinning when her master came in and discovered her in the kitchen, though.
“What the hell do you mean?” the one-eyed female inquired in a confused tone.
“Bets, just accept it. Everything doesn’t need to be explained, especially immediately. So, take a seat and shut the hell up,” Shego replied.
“I’ve got to take Leo for a walk,” Betty objected to sitting down. It was the best that she could come up with, despite the fact that she knew she should have had a comeback for being told to “shut the hell up.”
“The squirt took care of that,” the moss-hued officer informed her friend.
The brunette woman was astonished and it showed on her face. She turned her attention to Kim, who grinned up at her to confirm that she had walked Leonardo and Betty could relax. Betty could not believe it, almost would not believe it, but the brat had done a favor for her and she had not even asked for it. And to think, she swore the kid was nothing more than a petty, selfish, perverted, annoying brat.
“Why?” Betty asked the redhead.
“Bets, damn it, I just said accept it. Everything doesn’t need to be explained. Shit, will you sit the fuck down before I make you?” Shego ordered.
The one-eyed woman really could not argue that. She decided to just sit down and allowed Shego to serve her dinner. She then watched the pale woman serve Kim and Shego did something that Betty could not do after being at the apartment for a whole week, she got Kim’s meal right on the first try. The slender scientist smiled at her mistress, who sat down to eat. Shego forgot something, though.
“Hey, you didn’t feed Leo,” Kim quickly pointed out. Apparently, the green-skinned woman was not perfect.
Shego snorted in annoyance. She got back up, even though she noticed that her friend was going to protest. She put her hand up to shut Betty up and she fed the dog. She then sat back down to eat her food.
“I was going to make this,” Betty commented, referring to meal.
“I figured as much when Pumpkin showed me the shopping list. When I came in, she was about to burst into tears in the kitchen trying to figure out what you had planned for dinner,” the emerald-eyed female replied.
“No, I wasn’t!” Kim huffed indignantly. All right, she had been very clueless and puzzled as to what meal the groceries were supposed to combine to make, but she could have figured it out if given enough time. Well, maybe not because she did not even really know what the meal was while looking at it complete. It was good and that was about all she knew.
“Don’t yell at me!” Shego barked at her monster. “You’re starting to get besides yourself while company’s here.”
“Don’t tell her I was crying!” Kim countered in a whine, making her mistress’ claim seem very true.
“That’s it!” Shego declared because she did think that her pet was getting beside herself trying to yell at her.
The pale woman got out of her chair and grabbed her pet. Kim knew what punishment was coming before it hit her. The redhead tried to get away and failed. Shego began tickling her badly behaved elf and Kim started laughing so hard that it seemed that she was screaming. She tried fighting back, but her mistress dodged and continued her merciless onslaught.
Betty and Leonardo watched the pair because they were extremely entertaining. The onyx-eyed female had witnessed such play only a few times since she had been staying in the apartment. It would seem that the pair was trying to behave normally or civil while she was around, which seemed to mean Shego had to keep up her irked façade. Kim still acted like she usually did, though. They did try to come across as strictly bothered master and troublesome pet while Betty was there, so the one-eyed woman still did not know the true nature of their relationship. But then again, they hardly knew the “true” nature of their relationship.
“You just let her take a nap this late at night?” Betty asked Shego.
Kim was asleep, her head resting in Shego’s lap. The super-powered officer was on the sofa with her pet and caressing the redhead’s scalp; it was soothing for the both of them and she could not help herself, even though they had company. Betty was sitting on the floor with Leonardo resting his head in her lap and she was petting his head. The dog was also sleeping. The friends were watching a movie that they enjoyed from when they were younger.
“Sometimes, she sleeps through the night if I leave her alone,” Shego answered.
“So, she walked Leo, huh?” Betty commented.
“Don’t think too much on it, Bets.”
“I’m not,” the older woman lied.
Of course Betty was going to think too much on it. She did not understand why a little brat would do something nice for her, let alone numerous things like let her stay asleep on the sofa, walk her dog, and do the grocery shopping. Especially since it was not secret that she thought that the brat was a brat. Why would Kim do anything for her? She guessed that the brat was an all right kid, but she was still a brat. She did feel just a little guilty about all of the times that she had hit the kid during her stay, though. But, that feeling quickly went away as she reminded herself that the impish brat deserved those blows for being such a dirty pest.
“You know, Pumpkin and her friends have Barkin going nuts,” Shego commented in an amused tone.
“I know. He comes to my office every day, hollering at the top if his lungs about the punks on the grounds at his time. It takes all of my training and self-control to not laugh at him while he’s standing right there. What are they doing to him?” Betty asked curiously. She could use some grisly details to entertain her.
“Oh, you want the dirty dealings?”
“You know I do.”
The moss-hued female smiled a bit and decided to oblige. “Well, Princess has been getting on his nerves with crazy stunts and scientific evidence to back up when she can do something that he swears up and down is impossible. Her favorite thing is going into long, mathematical explanations and then her friend in the wheelchair joins in. They’re purposely longwinded and sometimes they admit that they just make shit up to tell him and watch him get all confused. A couple of days ago they went so far as to drawing their calculations in the dirt to make this equation and after they sent him away screaming, they looked down at it and asked each other just what the hell they were even talking about.
“The blonde kid counters their intelligence by acting like a complete idiot, although he might not be acting. He always seems to need to know how something works when Barkin is standing right there and he manages to get paint on the guy or dust in his face or something like that. Sometimes, he even hits Barkin by ‘accident.’ Barkin looks like he would love nothing more than to kill this kid a lot of the time and then Will steps in with all his regs about hitting civilians and things.
“Then there’s the kid’s girlfriend. She’s a ninja and carries the weapons of her trade on her at all times. She has a very bad habit of throwing kunai very close to Barkin. Shuriken also come close. She even pretended to have poison in this little egg-shaped container and opened it, spilling it all over Barkin. He freaked and then she looked at it and was like ‘this is talcum powder. Then where the hell is my poison?’ Classic.
“The fashion queen is an interesting one because she can do like Princess and she can do like the blonde kid, be overly intelligent or suspiciously bumbling. She was practicing some karate moves against Pumpkin really close and ‘suddenly’ lost control, ended up kicking Barkin in the back. She feigned an apology and then started getting on the guy about his outfit and why it was all wrong for the season and also for combat training.
“It’s just a madhouse with those kids. Today Barkin tried to get in some weapons training, but that got put to a halt real quick when he realized my group was using the grounds again. As soon as he showed, my group caught sight of all of the weapons that he was bringing in and they got wicked, wicked ideas. Pumpkin’s friends challenged her and wheel boy to take the weapons apart and build something totally new with the parts. I was waiting for Barkin’s head to explode from all of this,” Shego reported, laughing all the way through.
Betty smiled hearing those things. “That’s good to know. I can’t believe I actually married that ass,” she commented.
“That makes two of us,” the super-powered female remarked with a teasing smile.
“Like you didn’t do stupid things when left on your own,” Betty countered. Hell, Shego did stupid things when they were together and she was there to tell Shego that it was stupid.
“Stop living in the past,” Shego replied since her friend was speaking the truth. The problem was that they only knew things were stupid in retrospect or after the other found out when they were solo acts.
“Yeah, screw the past. The present is better than back then…well, it will be once my mother and brother get their asses the fuck out of my city,” the one-eyed woman quipped.
The younger woman laughed a bit. “What is the deal with our families?” she wondered out loud.
“I don’t even know. Maybe there was a gas leak on our block. I’m just glad I’m not like them. Well, not completely anyway. I am a little like my mother, aren’t I?” Betty asked with a sigh. She hated that thought and she despised that her friend was going to confirm it.
“Yeah, I guess you are,” Shego affirmed as expected, but then she surprisingly added to that. “But, I guess I’m like my mother in a way, as much as I hate to admit that shit. I just hear that we can’t escape the dumb-ass legacy we come from completely.”
“Your mom said that, didn’t she?”
“Yeah, she hates that she’s like her mother. We’re all just fucked up,” the pale woman commented as if it was nothing. Sure, they were fucked up, but she had seen worse.
Betty nodded in agreement. “You know…I always wished I had your mom instead of mine,” she confessed.
She had been carrying that secret with her for a while. She felt foolish for envying her friend’s mother, coveting their relationship since about the time that she had known Shego. What Shego and Isabel had was so different from what she had with her own mother. Sure, it was antagonistic, but it was more playful than hostile. Her relationship with her own mother was hostile and disappointing. While she was certain that her mother had almost never been proud of her, she believed that Isabel never stopped being proud of Shego, even when the pale woman did things that Isabel did not agree with. She was willing to bet that having a mother than that believed in her like Isabel seemed to believe in Shego was a great thing. She wished that she had that.
“I know,” Shego replied as if it was nothing, which surprised her comrade since she thought that she had been carrying a secret.
The green-skinned woman had always known that her friend envied her for her mother. She had been able to see it in Betty’s eyes all the time when they were growing up. She could see that want and desire for whatever it was that her mother gave her that Betty’s mother never seemed to provide the onyx-eyed female with. She could practically hear Betty’s heart crying out for someone like Isabel. She could almost hear Betty’s mind wondering why her own mother was so different compared to Shego’s mother.
As much as Shego could not stand Isabel, she understood why Betty would want Isabel for a mother. Where Shego knew what it was like to be spoiled, cuddled, and considered extra-special by her mother, Betty had gotten none of that from her own mother. Betty was always told that she was not good enough no matter what she did and was always being compared to her twin brother, who Eleanor openly favored, which Shego never could understand.
Sheldon was not that great as far as Shego could tell. He was rather average in everything that he tried, except for when the moron managed to put his own eye and his sister’s eye out when he was younger with some stupid ballistics experiment. He never even apologized for it and just claimed that she lost her eye because she had been in his way. He had gotten their mother’s complete attention afterwards because the fool had also blown off his own hand along with their eyes. What a moron, Shego always thought.
Betty had always pretended that she did not care that her mother did not seem to love her, even when she lost her eye. She tried her best to act like she was all right and that she did not need her mother to check on her, or cuddle her, or just something, which her mother obliged with by hardly asking her if she was all right while her skull still throbbed and she had to adjust to her new, limited world view. She tried to make it seem like she did not want her mother around, much like Shego was. They were both such liars.
The pale woman had considered that maybe the Director family automatically favored the oldest, no matter what. Like her mother’s side of the family favored girls for whatever reason, although Isabel spoiled her youngest sons to her heart’s content too. Shego just could not see why Eleanor babied Sheldon while reprimanding Betty for almost everything that she did. If she were to compare the twins, Betty was like the sun in brilliance while Sheldon was like a dirt clod. He just lacked any radiance or shine, even now.
Sheldon was not an outstanding fellow. He still lived with his mother, even though he was the head of a ballistics lab. He was ugly, in Shego’s opinion anyway. And he carried around a little rat-dog like he was some female aristocrat from past centuries; he might as well wear a powdered wig while he was at it, she thought. He was irksome because thanks to his mother, he swore to the heavens that he was someone important and he often tried to rub that in Betty’s face. The female twin had no problem with telling her brother where he could go when he started with her.
“Your mom was always so nice to me,” Betty remembered.
“Of course. You’re my punching bag, after all. She’s just wanted you to stay at the top of your game to keep me at mine,” Shego remarked.
The one-eyed female scoffed. “She was probably bribing me to stay your friend.”
The green-skinned woman laughed a bit. Her mother, when she was around anyway, always treated Betty like a second daughter. Knowing Isabel, it was because she wanted her antisocial little girl to keep at least one friend. She might have felt a bit sorry for Betty too, knowing how Eleanor treated her daughter. Isabel openly disagreed with how Eleanor raised Betty and how she treated Betty, but Eleanor always pointed out that Betty was her daughter and she could do with her daughter as she wanted. Isabel could not argue that point. She could only treat Betty as she did Shego when the one-eyed female was with her daughter.
“I always wondered how two very different women could stay be best friends,” Betty commented.
“Money,” Shego guessed.
“That’s true,” the older female conceded.
They knew that money had brought their friendship closer and that had happened by doing the same thing that their mothers had done when they were younger. They used to fight each other for money. Sometimes the fights were legit and sometimes they conned people. They would enter tournaments together and when it was over, they would pool their money together and equally split their winnings. It was the start of their bankrolls, which was why they had all that money to burn now, and faked their mothers into thinking that they were going to follow in their footsteps. To hell with that, they had both silently decided one day. They wanted to be different from their mothers, but to a degree, as they had stated before, they were like their mothers.
“You know what we have that our mothers didn’t,” Betty said.
“What?” Shego was going to guess a number of things, but she doubted that she would have been right.
“Good, loyal pets,” Betty answered with a smile.
Shego laughed again and agreed with that. They had other differing factors from their mothers, but having loving pets felt like the best thing in their opinions. Good pets and good friends. Life was good despite everything that was happening, they concluded.
Next time: things get handled.