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A Year of Seasons
I remembered vividly the day Bosley informed Kris and me that Sabrina had left the agency. She'd told Charlie she was ready to settle down, get married, and have children. In fact, she'd jetted off with some unknown fiancé, to parts unknown, and never even said goodbye. To say I was devastated would be putting it mildly, I was absolutely crushed.
You see, I'd finally told her my feelings, and I was certain that she'd felt the same. She'd smiled and taken my hand, telling me that we needed to sit down and have a long chat; however, we were suddenly swamped with case after case, and the next thing I knew, she'd just left. I'd never had an inkling what she'd planned, and to this day, I wondered if she'd still be here if I hadn't opened my heart to her.
Exactly eleven months later, I sat opposite Kris and the new girl, Julie. I'd just warmed up to Sabrina's replacement, Tiffany, only to find that she'd flown the coop as well. I half listened as Bosley outlined our new client's case, and I wondered if perhaps I should leave, too. I'd thought Tiffany was happy with the agency, but once again, I was proven wrong. Maybe I wasn't quite the detective I thought I was.
"Kelly, I need you to fly to Florida to check out Carol Wilson. She lived there for four years before moving to California. Charlie wants to know if anyone at her old firm noticed any possible illicit dealings she may have been involved in. Feel free to enlist any help you deem necessary."
I nodded in acknowledgement. Normally, I hated to do the background checks on someone, but this time, I needed to get away and be by myself to think. Florida, in the summer, sounded like a wonderful idea.
Two days later, I found myself hunkered down in the basement of my luxury hotel, riding out a hurricane of all things. I could hear the howling wind and driving rain in my spot against the far wall. Looking across the room, I noted the different people in various stages of uneasiness; however, my observations stopped dead when I focused on a dark haired woman, holding her baby tightly to her.
I blinked several times in an attempt to clear my apparent hallucination, but the figure remained stubbornly unchanged. I stood on unsteady legs and slowly made my way over. The woman didn't notice my approach until I was standing right in front of her.
Three months had passed since I spent time with my old friend. We'd been on the west side of the hurricane and had avoided the stronger winds and heavy rains. When we were given the all clear to return to our rooms, I'd invited Sabrina to my suite, and she readily accepted.
We'd made idle chitchat in the basement and on the elevator ride, but when we finally got into the room, Sabrina had made herself comfortable on the couch and began to explain her sudden departure. I had a hard time concentrating on her words as the baby's cries had been hushed by Sabrina's successful efforts. So, my attention was diverted to the baby suckling at her mother's breast, and I'd found myself in awe of the sight before me.
Sitting in my car across from the park, I watched the mothers as they sat on the bench while their children played on the nearby swings. The leaves had begun to fall and were swept back and forth by the children's feet as they swung to and fro. I smiled as I spied a young mother gesturing towards the swing to one child while she held her infant close to her. The image of Sabrina smiling down at her baby brought me back to the months before.
It turned out that my words hadn't been the reason why she'd left, although, they did play a small role in her decision. Instead, the deciding factor was her pregnancy. It seemed that she'd been having feelings for me as well, only Sabrina chose not to say anything. She was confused and unsure what to do, so she made the mistake of sleeping with the man she'd been dating on and off for several months, hoping that sex with a man would dispel the thoughts she'd been having about me.
The day after I'd confessed my feelings was the day she'd found out that she was pregnant. She'd planned to tell me everything, but my confession had scared her. She was having a hard enough time dealing with the thought of having a child without having to think about entering into a first time lesbian relationship. So, she'd made up the fiancé and the wedding and fled.
Tiny raindrops began to hit my windshield, pulling me from my memories. I quickly focused back on the park area to see the mothers herding their children to the cars. Sighing, I turned the ignition and headed back to my apartment, hoping against hope that Sabrina had finally called. Each day, I prayed that her promise to call would come true, and each day, my hopes were dashed as the answering machine stood ready with no new messages to show.
I drove to the office on a bright, sunny, cool morning. It should have been the perfect beginning to my day, instead, the opening words of Shakespeare's Richard III resounded in my head. 'Now is the winter of our discontent.' Damn Sabrina.
She hadn't called, and the number she'd given me had been disconnected. My efforts to locate her in Florida had proved fruitless, and I had no idea where to look next. She'd managed to break my heart once again.
I volunteered for every single job Charlie had pending, no matter how large or small. Keeping busy had always worked for me when I needed to forget, and Bosley was doing his damnedest to keep me engaged in work. He never asked me if something was wrong, he'd just known. He always greeted me with a kind word and smile before handing over the next assignment.
I muddled through the Christmas season and New Year's as well. I flew to so many cities I sometimes woke the next morning and had no idea where I was. It didn't matter though, the job was always the same, find out as much as I could about the client and/or the client's interest. I'd stopped searching for Sabrina amongst the nameless faces in my travels weeks ago. If she didn't want to be found, I certainly wasn't going to look for her.
In late March, Charlie needed one of us to go to Europe for several weeks, and I jumped at the chance. Maybe having a fling in the UK or Italy would be just what I needed to finally get over Sabrina; a girl in every port should do the trick.
My overseas stay lasted until late April, and I was truly sad to come home. I hadn't followed through in my seduction plans, but I'd fallen in love with so many cities. Each morning was like a breath of fresh air, and I was seriously considering putting in for a transfer to be permanently placed in Charlie's London office. I could start my life all over again, leaving behind all the heartache and pain. The next chance I got, I planned to have a serious talk with Charles Townsend.
Exhausted, I grabbed my suitcase from the trunk and started for my apartment. The time change and the jet lag combined to add to my state of lethargy, and I barely had the strength to put my key in the lock.
The quiet voice startled me, and I dropped the suitcase and turned around to defend myself. I immediately focused on the toddler standing before me, looking up at me with big dark eyes. Good thing, she wasn't someone bigger or I'd have had my ass handed to me on a silver platter. I wasn't even sure I could take her in my current state.
"Kelly?" The voice repeated, and I suddenly realized the sound wasn't coming from the toddler. I shifted my eyes to the side to find Sabrina leaning against the wall.
"What are you doing here?" My gruffness seemed to shock her, and to be quite honest, it shocked the hell out of me, too. I'd never spoken to her in anything other than a pleasant tone, even when I was disappointed or hurt.
"Um, do you think we can go in and talk?"
I hesitated. 'No' was perched on the tip of my tongue, but my peripheral vision picked up Sabrina's daughter. Turning, I opened the door and gestured for the two of them to enter. Sabrina picked the little girl up and placed her on her hip as she swept through my doorway. After a moment, I followed the pair inside.
The toddler leaned against her mother, alternating between sucking her thumb and rubbing her eyes. I'd seen children do that when they were sleepy, but not having anything else to go by, I asked Sabrina.
"Um, is she sleepy? You could, um, put her down on my bed if you'd like."
Sabrina smiled and turned to the little girl. "Are you sleepy, Kel?"
I immediately froze. My eyes tracked to the toddler to see her shaking her head to affirm her mother's question. Sabrina looked back at me, and I pointed down the hallway. Turning, she walked towards my room, speaking softly to the child. The minute she stepped through the doorway, I headed for the bar and poured myself a glass of brandy.
"Little early for drinking, isn't it, Kelly?"
"Nope, my body is still on London time." I answered, taking a sip of my drink. Suddenly, I realized what a poor hostess I was being.
"Care for something?"
"No, I'm fine. Do you mind if I sit?" Sabrina gestured towards the couch, and I nodded my assent; however, I kept my distance, leaning against the bar and hoping it would keep me up long enough for her to say what she needed to say.
"Are you joining me?"
"No, I'm fine here. And, speaking of here, what are you doing here, Sabrina?"
She winced at my words, but maintained her usual style and grace. "I've come to see if there is still a chance for us."
I bolted from my spot. "You're kidding. After all this time? First, you steal off practically in the middle of the night without telling any of us goodbye, then you lied, using the excuse that you wanted to get married and settle down. After, I might add, you found out how I felt about you. And, if that's not bad enough, we have the fortune, or in my case misfortune, of meeting again, and you make promises that you don't keep. Not only that, you ran again. I tried to find you, but you'd gone. You're not seriously asking me to trust you, are you?"
Sabrina stood and walked towards me, stopping a few feet away. "Kelly, I've been a complete fool from the start. At the beginning, I decided not to burden you with a child. You'd be starting off with a ready made family, and I couldn't do that to you."
"Don't you think it was my decision whether or not I wanted to pursue a relationship with you? Did you think so badly of me that you didn't think I could love your child?"
Tears filled dark eyes, and Sabrina swallowed. "That's not it, Kelly. I was so ashamed that I allowed myself to get pregnant all because I was trying so hard not to accept what I felt for you. I didn't want you to have the constant reminder of my infidelity."
"Infidelity? We weren't even together. We were never together."
"To me we were. I was in love with you when I slept with Jonathan."
Oh, shit. My legs suddenly gave out, and I began to fall. Instead of the hard floor, I found myself safely ensconced in the arms of the woman I'd always loved. I didn't think there were any words Sabrina could possibly say that would cause me to change my mind and trust her again, but the words she whispered in my ear had me melting into her and clinging tightly to her.
"I still love you."
For the first time in my life, spring had finally turned out to be everything ever professed; a time of renewal and hope, a time of transition, a time of reemergence, and, most of all, a time of new beginnings.
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