I’ve always wondered if I’m a coward. I can face almost anything without shaking or quivering and I don’t give a damn what it is. I’ve been through some things most people couldn’t even imagine and came out unscathed for the most part. The thing is the“almost”part, though. One person seemed to frighten me for my whole life and she is the reason I wonder if I’m a coward. I just can’t seem to stand up to her. But, isn’t it about time for me to stop being scared? I’m a grown woman, after all. What the hell can she do to me now that she hasn’t already done?
Doctor Director sat at her desk and Major Steve Barkin burst into her office. She expected as much because he did that everyday at about the same time; every now and then he was a few minutes later for whatever reason. It helped add to her eternal headache when he stormed in. She expected more that day than any other day because it was his last day there. She would thankfully never have to see him again after that day. She guessed that there was a kind, pure, just, merciful God somewhere out there.
“Well, Betty, this is it. I’ve been through the worst Hell imaginable with this playground you call a station. I’m going to make sure no one ever comes here to do special training ever again,” Steve declared as if he was hurting her. He was attempting to get her attention since bursting in had not done that.
“Okay,” she replied calmly without taking her eyes off of her paperwork. She really, truly detested those special programs anyway. They interrupted the department schedule and tried to take away some of her better officers. Some of her employees left with the training programs because loyalty meant nothing to them and they just went where the money was…or where they got to blow more stuff up. So, she hoped that he managed to make sure no one came in to do any special training. She might even be grateful.
“What do you mean ‘okay’? Do you understand what I’m saying?” he inquired because he did not think that she should be so nonchalant about thing.
“Yeah, got it,” she answered dismissively. She hoped that he would get out of the office now. They did not have anything more to discuss in her opinion and she would like to get through her paperwork. Also, the sooner that he got out of the office, the sooner he would be out of her life, which was best thing about the whole day.
“Betty—” he started to say, but she interjected.
“What? You’re going to make it so no armed forces’ groups will ever come here again to do training. Thank you, goodbye,” she said.
“Betty—” he tried once again.
“What?” she asked curtly. Her annoyance was now very evident in her voice. She wished that he would just get the hell out already.
“You know it’s not too late,” he commented.
“Too late for what?” she inquired, knowing that they were no longer speaking professionally. She hoped that he was not talking about what she thought that he was talking about.
“For you to come back to me,” he clarified, letting her know that her hope was in vain. He thought that she could do better than what she was doing by returning to him. He would take her back and he would take care of her. He did still have feelings for her, even though her attitude had changed for the worst from what he could tell.
Doctor Director could not help laughing out loud. She then looked up at him and noticed how serious he was. She laughed again, not caring about how he might take the sound. He was quite a piece of work, she thought. He seemed to think that she was lamenting over the fact that she had divorced him. What went on in his mind? She could not fathom why he believed that she would ever consider going back to him.
“Steve, I run an elite law enforcement department. I have a lovely house that is in a great neighborhood, several PhDs, a screwy but fantastic best friend, a loyal dog, and a boyfriend that respects me. Do you honestly think that I’m going to leave all of this behind to go back to your hollering, immature behavior, tiny apartment, and the fact that you seem to think I’m supposed to be a housewife? I’m not your little woman anymore. I’m Doctor Elizabeth Director and I’m going to be her until the day I die. And since I can’t be her when I’m with you, I guess I won’t be with you,” she stated soundly.
It seemed logical enough to her. She did not even understand why he even wanted her back. Maybe if she still took all of his shit, she might understand why he would still want her, but she did not. She thought that the divorce was best for both of them considering it saved one of them from having to kill the other with the way their tempers flared.
“You think all of this crap is better than me?” he practically shouted in disbelief. Was the woman mad? He was like a godsend to her in his opinion. He obviously thought very highly of himself.
“Steve, I’m going to give you five seconds to walk out of my door and out of my life or I’m going to throw you out and I’m not going to open the door before doing it,” she warned him.
Steve stood his ground and not only called her bluff, but challenged her ability to do as she said by staying where he was. He thought that he could make her see the light and figure out that it was better for her to be with him. He just needed to prove that he was a more powerful force than she was. Betty frowned because of the challenge to her authority and the disrespect that he was showing her. She stood up.
Outside of the office everything was normal and no one would have suspected that anything out of the ordinary was going on. And then, a body crashed through the chief’s door. Everyone turned their attention in that direction to see Major Barkin lying on his back on top of the door, which was on the floor. As odd as it might have seemed, the scene made total sense to them and after getting a good look and laugh, they moved on to finish whatever they were doing.
“Pissed her off, didn’t you?” Shego asked Steve as she stood over the major.
“Go to hell,” Steve growled.
“As long as you’re not there, I’d be happy to make the trip,” she remarked with a teasing smile.
“Shego,” the boss called.
“Escort Major Barkin to the door and see to it that he doesn’t get back into the building,” Doctor Director ordered. She knew those were some commands that her friend would thoroughly enjoy.
“Yes, ma’am,” Shego saluted and everything. She did like those orders and she could not wait to get to them.
The pale woman grabbed Steve by the arm and shoulder. She forced the brunette male to the front door of the building. He protested all the way, but she ignored him. He also attempted to resist her, but he found out that she was in complete and total control of what was happening. She tossed him out onto the street like a useless sack of trash. He landed on his chest and face. She glared at him, daring him to try to come back into the building. He stared back as he climbed to his feet. He considered taking her up on her offer.
Steve knew about Shego’s super-powers from first hand experience and he knew about her skills as a martial artist. Add that knowledge to the fact that he was very aware that she could care less about how it would look for her to beat up a person in the military, so he hardly had a choice in hesitating in what he wanted to do about the disrespect that she had just shown him. He then considered that it would not look good for him to be beaten up by a woman in the middle of the street. He started to leave, but she stopped him.
“Hey, Steve,” Shego called.
“What?” he practically snarled.
“Stay away from her from now on because if she has to kick your ass again, I’m going to have to kick your ass again and plasma will be involved,” she informed him.
“Ex-wife,” she interjected because she knew what he was about to say. “You don’t have any say in her life anymore, so stay the hell out of it.”
Steve frowned, but he did not argue that because he did not want to get her started up. He continued on his way, which was a wise decision. He went to his car while Shego watched him. He got into his vehicle and drove away, out of Betty’s life for good if he was smart. Shego was glad to see him go. She would not let him wreck Betty’s life, especially not while the older woman was in a relationship that worked.
The moss-hued female went back into the station and saw Doctor Director had put the door to her office back up, although the hinges were broken. Shego moved the door to the side and then positioned it back in the frame to mimic the door being closed. Betty was doing her paperwork as usual.
“That’s one problem down,” Shego commented.
“One to go,” Betty sighed. The hard one was left as far as she was concerned.
“I’ll ride with you over there,” the pale woman offered.
Betty could only nod. She was thankful for the support, which her friend knew, but they preferred not to acknowledge it. The one-eyed woman was going to have to deal with her mother sometime soon and, unfortunately, she could not just throw her mother through a door to get rid of her. First of all, it would be virtually impossible for her to get a grip on her mother to throw her anywhere. Second, her mother would regain control in the air more than likely and land safely. Third, her mother would come back at her with a vengeance and it would hurt. A lot.
Usually, Betty would just wait until her mother got fed up and just went home. It took a while to happen a great deal of the time and she would not mind doing it again, but she could see the look in Shego’s eyes that she would not allow her to do that right now and the older woman was right. Shego wanted her friend to stand up to that annoyance that she called a mother. Sure, it might not get the woman to leave Betty alone, but it would at least get her thinking, or so was the assumption.
Shego was very much in favor of Betty cursing her mother out because she used to do that. The emerald-eyed female used to curse Isabel out all of the time when she was a teenager. It was not the wisest of things, but it did make Isabel understand where her head was and it made Isabel think about their relationship. Eleanor needed to get an idea of where Betty’s head was and she needed to think about their relationship, in Shego’s opinion anyway. She was not taking into account that her mother was different from Eleanor and what worked on Isabel might not necessarily work on Eleanor in the same manner.
The pair of friends arrived at Betty’s house and looked the place over. From the outside, it appeared that her mother and brother had respected her property. Betty could only hope that the inside looked the same, but she doubted it. They entered her residence and saw that her hope was in vain, as she suspected. Her home looked and smelled rather disgusting.
“I’m guessing your brother brought the rat with him,” Shego commented while looking at all of the scratch marks on the walls. The marks were not big enough to be done by Leonardo and she knew that the bear of a dog was much too disciplined to consider marking up his master’s walls anyway.
“Obviously,” Betty replied. Her house carried that rat’s stench and it was indeed a foul odor. Oh, she was going to kill that rat-dog or her brother later on, depending on which one she saw first.
“So, you’ve returned,” Eleanor commented from the top of the stairs. She appeared so comfortable looking down on them.
“Did you have fun going through all of her shit?” Shego remarked with a taunting smirk on her face. She loved pissing off the middle-aged woman.
“You’re as crude as your mother, you know that, Cassandra?” Eleanor stated. She was not much of a fan of profane language and it was something that she and Shego always clashed over and before Shego, she clashed with Isabel over it.
“I probably get that shit from her,” the green-skinned woman quipped with another smirk. She was telling the truth, though. She and her baby brothers more than likely got their language from their mother, who cussed rather casually more often than not.
“Mom, we’ve got to talk,” Betty said.
“Yes, we do,” Eleanor concurred as she descended the stairs.
The mother and daughter went into the living room, where Pepe had also left his mark. Betty frowned; one day, she was going to slaughter that little so-called dog and feed it to Sheldon. She could not wait to get rid of her mother and brother. They only caused her grief through out her life and she could not take it anymore. She did not have to take it anymore, she told herself.
“Why’d you let Sheldon do this to my house?” Betty inquired while motioning around the room, which could not have looked worse if they had taken the kitchen garbage and flung it around the area.
Shego was standing at the living room entrance, more listening in than anything else. She knew that she had to stay quiet and let her friend handle everything. She did look around the room as Betty brought it up, though. A potted plant that was kept in the corner had been dug up and tipped over, there was dirt prints on the rug and walls, and they did not even want to consider what the other dark spots on the carpet might be.
“It was poor little Pepe. He gets so anxious in new places,” Eleanor replied as if it was nothing.
“Yet you had no problem throwing my dog out in the rain while in my home the second you came in while Pepe has free range over the place. Never mind that because it’s not even the point. Mom, it’s not that I don’t like seeing you or that I don’t respect you or something like that, but this is just wrong on so many levels. You can’t just show up in my house one day out of the blue because my chimp of an ex is in town and you want me to get back with him. I know you like Steve and everything, but I don’t. I don’t like him in the slightest. If you like the jackass so much, you can marry him because I damn sure won’t do it again,” Betty declared and she would have continued, but her mother cut her off.
“Betty, you’re thirty one—” the older female started, but she did not get to finish.
“I know how old I am,” the one-eyed woman cut her mother off now. She wondered why her mother loved pointing out how old she was. “Mom, let’s get some things very straight. I’m not ever marrying Steve again. I hate the man, all right. I really, really hate him. I may or may not have children. I don’t know. I don’t even know if I want kids. Those are just the facts.”
“Betty, you can’t be serious,” Eleanor said. She thought that her daughter needed to settle down and have some offspring while she could. Betty did not have that much time left in her opinion.
“I am. I also want you and Sheldon the hell out of my house. You obviously don’t know how to behave like proper guests. And to think, you always stressed manners in our house,” Betty commented.
“You can’t speak to me that way,” Eleanor growled. How dare her daughter disrespect her right to her face? She did not know what was going through her child’s mind, but she was going to put an end to it.
“I can and have. Get out,” Betty ordered while pointing to the front door with her thumb. Her friend was silently cheering because of that command.
“Now see here, Elizabeth—”
“Mom, you’ve got to respect my decision and my property. I’m a grown woman now. I’m thirty-one years old as you so enjoy pointing out. This is my life—” the one-eyed woman tried to make a point.
“And you’re living it wrong,” Eleanor proclaimed as if it was a solid fact.
“I’m living it the way I want to. It’s my life,” Betty persisted.
“As a mother, I’m obligated to try to keep you on the right path.”
“Your path isn’t the right one for me. I’m not like you,” Betty stated soundly.
“You should be!” her mother declared in a huff.
“To hell with that!” Betty retorted.
“What?” Eleanor inquired with an offended look on her face.
“Why the hell would I want to be like you? You don’t even like me. You want me to be like you and have a daughter that I can’t stand and make sure she knows it? Make sure I’m never proud of her, no matter how many martial arts competitions she wins? No matter how good her grades are? No matter how many colleges she gets accepted to? No matter how many doctorates that she gets? No matter how much all she wants is for me to acknowledge her in some way? Every time I did something that I felt was worth some acknowledgement, you’d only look at me scornfully as if saying you could do better,” Betty pointed out.
“You could’ve done better—”
“Better than first place, valedictorian, a 4.0 gpa, and three goddamn PhDs?” Betty asked incredulously. What the fuck, her brain demanded to know. For her whole life, all she wanted to know was what the hell she had to do to make her mother smile at her, but she was coming to understand that that would never happen.
“You could’ve done better,” her mother insisted.
“Whatever. I’m done with all this bullshit. Pack up and leave, Mom. Where’s Sheldon? Tell him to get his crap together too. I’m also going to be sending him a bill for Pepe’s damages.”
Shego was proud of her friend and it was almost apparent because of the expression on her face. Betty had never stood up to her mother before, but it was about time and it was actually a good time. Other times when Betty had to confront her mother, she had only been a teen or a couple of years out of being a teen, which meant that her mother did not take her seriously and just brushed her off as being immature. Now, though, she was a full fledge adult and capable of completely holding up her own life. She needed to live her own life now.
Eleanor frowned; she obviously was not enjoying the talk. Betty stared at her mother and her mother started back. They were now having a contest of wills. It had happened countless times in the past and Betty had never won once. Betty had always been the one to blink or to look away, but she promised herself that she was not going to do that anymore. They eyed each other intensely for what seemed like an eternity.
“You could always do better,” Eleanor said as she rose from her seat.
She retreated from the living room, brushing by Shego. The pale woman smirked as she turned her attention to her friend. The pair smiled at each other in a way that was rare for them; their expressions just held pure happiness. Betty had finally won.
Betty and Shego went back to Shego’s apartment after making sure that Eleanor and Sheldon got out of the house. They were going to pick up Betty’s dog and her belongings. The trip was quick and Betty did not want to stick around, which Shego could understand. Her friend wanted to get back to her home and back to her natural life. Hell, Shego was ready to get back to her routine with her monster, who was asleep on the sofa. So, it was all right that the one-eyed woman was just looking to get out as quickly as she could.
“Thanks for this,” Betty said to Shego. She was standing at the door, ready to leave and go back to her home.
“It wasn’t a big deal,” the green-skinned woman replied dismissively with a shrug.
The onyx-eyed woman nodded, not in agreement, but just for lack of a better thing to do. She knew that her friend was both lying and telling the truth. It was not a big deal because they always helped each other out when they were in serious need, which was why Shego had a job and why Betty was not in a horrible marriage anymore. They were there for each other through thick and thin, no matter what, all of the time and that was why it was not a big deal. But, it was a big deal because she had entered Shego’s universe and had thrown things out of order. But, it was all right and they both knew that.
“Here, this is for Princess,” Betty said as she handed Shego a gift-wrapped box.
“You didn’t have to get the brat something,” the younger woman replied.
“Yeah, I did. I’m always so pissy toward her, but she’s a halfway good kid,” the onyx-eyed female commented. Spending two weeks with Kim had not really changed her opinion of the kid, but she had come to better understand why the brat was around. She had always known that Kim made her friend happy, but seeing her do it was something different. So, sure the brat was a brat, but she was a good kid and Betty would like to make the kid understand that she was not how she was to Kim because she did not like her. She really did not dislike the girl.
“All right.” Shego shrugged.
“I hope she likes it.”
“I’ll make her like it if she doesn’t, but if it’s anything with sugar in it, she’ll flip. Now, you might as well get going. Go clean your house and then call Dahntay up. Tell him to take you out on the town and then screw you silly to get the stress out of your system,” the pale woman remarked.
Betty laughed a bit. “I might actually do that. Seeing Steve again just makes me appreciate Dahntay all the more. You know, you should have dinner with us sometime,” she suggested.
“Pumpkin would have to come too,” Shego replied with a shrug. She felt that it was necessary for her to include Kim in her life and so, if she got invited anywhere, she would take Kim now.
“You make her behave and it’ll be all right.”
“Then give me a call when you want it to happen. Take care,” the green-skinned woman said and her friend nodded. They bid each other farewell and Shego shut the door as Betty walked off.
Kim yawned as she woke up. She found her master petting her as she usually did. The redhead snuggled into Shego’s abdomen and then she remembered that Betty was probably around. She doubted that Betty or Shego cared if she buried her face in Shego’s stomach, but Kim did consider it rude to do such a thing with company around. Kim opened her eyes and looked up to see her mistress.
“Welcome back to the land of the living,” the pale woman commented.
“Hey,” the slim adventurer yawned again and then she noticed how quiet it was around the apartment. “Did Leo go for a walk?” she asked curiously. Usually, he could be heard scurrying around the apartment with a ball or some other toy while Betty worked on a meal or something like that.
“He went home with Bets,” the older woman answered.
“They left?” the redhead asked.
“I’m going to miss Leo.”
“You can go over to the house and see the mutt every day,” Shego pointed out. The kid did walk the dog every now and then for Betty. She was acting like she was never going to see that giant canine again.
Kim nodded because that was true. “But, when he was here it was like he was my dog again,” she said with a small smile.
Shego smiled too and shook her head. “You don’t need anymore pets with the way you act with that mutt. Here, Bets left this for you,” the moss-hued woman reported and she delivered the box into the hands of her pet.
“Oh, a present!” Kim grinned and her master expected her to just tear into the paper to get to the gift, but the redhead did not do that.
The olive-eyed scientist carefully peeled away the wrapping paper away and revealed a white box. She opened the package and saw there was a message taped to the top of the container. It read “thanks for being a brat.” Kim laughed and then looked at her gift, a box full of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Betty was now her hero.
“Wow, you don’t even bake me cookies!” Kim said to Shego while pointing at her mistress.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” Shego demanded to know as if she was insulted. She was a bit offended because of the smile that her pet had on her face. She should be the only one that could make her little imp look like that.
“Do you think she would mind another pet?” Kim mused aloud. She was joking, of course. She thought that it was a bit amusing that her mistress was upset just because she was happy that another woman made her cookies.
“Oh, you’d leave me for someone that bakes cookies?” the pale woman inquired with pretend anger.
“Well…if they’re good cookies,” the redhead joked.
“You’re asking for it, you know that? You think she would want a little punk like you for a pet? Especially a naughty little punk like you?” Shego teased and she began tickling her rascal.
“No! You’re going to make me spill the cookies!” Kim cried as she tried to wiggle away. For a moment, while she still had control over herself, she put the snacks down to avoid dropping them. It was about time for them to get back to their regular lives.
Next time: declarations of love?