“These can be pretty silly.” Teddy admitted. Misinterpreting Felicity’s raised eyebrow. “But it’s funny to pick them apart.”
“They aren’t that silly.” A brown haired boy rolled brown eyes. “Just because our Teddy is a film snob.”
“I am not a film snob!” Teddy quickly denied. He turned to Felicity. “I’m not.” The half concealed grins and snickers from the other four suggested otherwise.
Felicity didn’t have to pay for her ticket. This was an activity for the Cinema Critics, a college club, and if six people came the club paid. One of the Critics had dropped out last minute, so Felicity was filling in. “Is this the Sasha who came by the café a few months ago?” Felicity inquired.
“That’s the one.” Teddy nodded. He nudged the boy next to him, a slight smile on his face.
“Well, then,” Felicity shrugged off her jacket and tied it around her shoulders. She pulled the front of her shirt so her neckline went a little lower, and then flipped her hair over her head, leaning over as she ran her fingers through it. When she flipped it back into place it was in a side part. Felicity’s entire stance had changed.
“Just call me Sasha.” Felicity said brightly. There was a spit second of silence before the Cinema Critics were stumbled over themselves, demanding how she’d done that. Was she an actress? Felicity stood there in Sasha’s borrowed stance, chest slightly forward, one hand habitually resting on the curve of her waist, feeling somewhat pleased with herself. Until one of them, Taylor, started pestering her about a role in his student film. She was mildly relieved when Teddy asked her to stop imitating Sasha before she creeped everyone out.
It was cool inside the theatre. A concessions bar lined one wall; popcorn machines and few games littered the lobby. There was even a comfortable sitting area for people who wanted to take a break from the marathon. Felicity counted three easy exists and two unorthodox ones if things got dicey. Which they wouldn’t… The Cinema Critics led Felicity to the best seats, dead center, with more than enough space in front of them to be able to get up if they wanted to. They peppered her with more facts about various films that she never wanted to know before the lights dimmed and the marathon began.
Felicity sat in her worn velvet chair without much change for the next three movies, though she did think her chocolate was somehow becoming more bitter with every bite. As the films inched their way closer to the present, Felicity became more and more restless. She’d developed a persistent ache, but she couldn’t seem to pinpoint it. She shifted to try and get comfortable.
Then, during a movie made twenty years ago, Teddy jolted beside her. Felicity instantly went on alert for the threat, but Teddy was staring at her. “Jesus, Felicity!” Teddy whispered in alarm, fumbling with his pocket. “Are you alright?” He pushed a packet of tissues into her hands. Felicity realized that she was crying. Judging by how cold and wet her cheeks were, she must have been doing it for quite some time.
Felicity bolted up. “Excuse me,” She choked through a closed up throat. Felicity fled the dark screening room. She veered off to the bathroom rather than leaving the theatre entirely. Felicity was grateful it was deserted. She locked herself in a stall and sagged against the wall, her shoulders trembling.
What was that? Felicity had not cried in front of anyone in longer than she could remember. Felicity rarely cried, outside of crocodile tears. Felicity swallowed as she realized the last time she really cried she was holding the lifeless hand of her mentor. She’d barely been fourteen. So why was she crying at the silly spy movie? It wasn’t even sad. They were just sneaking around, handling assassination, framing people, defusing bombs, and going undercover. It was practically a home video of how she grew up.
And that was it, wasn’t it? She was homesick. Blindingly, cripplingly homesick. Felicity would have laughed if it weren’t so pathetic, so instead she just sobbed. Not quietly either, she took great gasps that she tried to silence but could not. Clearly this had been a long time coming.
It didn’t last long, but even when she stopped crying she was still shaking like she was. Pathetic. Felicity thought disgusted with herself. She couldn’t survive in her old world if she couldn’t even stop an emotional breakdown at a theatre… Or maybe she could. There just wasn’t a good reason to put it off this time. There was no one Felicity needed to con, no threat of death, no need to hide it. Felicity was never in danger. She was living in a world of light and truths. God how she missed the shadows. Felicity started sniffing and clamped down on it immediately. No. She would not cry again. People in this world might let themselves cry, but she wasn’t one of them. Felicity closed her eyes and when she opened them again she was composed.
“What’s the point anyway?” She muttered angrily to herself as she checked the mirror for any remaining physical evidence of the tears and removed them. Why show your feelings in the first place? Felicity left the bathroom, taking care not to stomp or scowl. She wanted nothing of this humiliation lapse to show.
The first thing Felicity saw was Teddy, standing just ten meters away, a barely eaten chocolate ice cream cone in one hand and in the other was a mound of ice cream in an clear bowl, dripping with chocolate sauce and topped with whipped cream. When he noticed her, Teddy walked over and shoved the giant bowl into her hands. She stared down at it in shock. It was enormous.
“Teddy, I’ll never be able to finish this.”
“Not with that attitude you won’t.” Teddy agreed, grabbing a spoon and sticking it in the top. Felicity eyed the daunting dessert. It could be poisoned, but she knew it wasn’t. If she were home, it would be. Here… Felicity sized the neck of the spoon and pulled it out. Here people helped each other. She glanced at Teddy and took a big bite. Especially friends.
Felicity let out a muffled scream and half opened her mouth. “Brain freeze!” She yelled around the bite. Teddy laughed and Felicity punched him in the arm as she managed to swallow.
“Come on.” She said, leading him back to the theatre. “I hope you know you’re helping me finish this monster.”
“I’ve got one!” He protested. He gestured with the cone.
“Too bad.” Felicity grinned as she got a second spoon. Then she hesitated and grabbed four more so the rest of the club could share too. Then she walked back to the theatre, trailed by a very relieved looking Teddy.
A little bit longer but I hope that you enjoyed it. A large part of the reason I started this series in the first place was that I had this thought about a spy being in exile and, even though it's not awful, she'd still feel incredibly homesick. I thought that Felicity needed a cathartic release before she moved on. It would certainly sneak up on her, and she wouldn't be used to it.
The photo was made on atom.smasher.org