Gandra Chidiya, born 1991, blood type A positive, female, residence in the south district of Duckburg, in the state of Calisota. Her file was new and brief, for now. There was a few pieces of paperwork in the back of the crimson folder, detailing her first official mission next week. She had read it over and over in attempts to make sense of it but figured she would just wing it. As long as the job got done, it didn’t really matter how it was done (as long as there was no outside help, of course).
There was shuffling down the hall in the bathroom—and she shoved the folder back into her bedside table, hiding it under dirty t-shirts and comic books.
She settled back under the comforter and smiled lazily, casually, when Fenton was in the doorway of her bedroom.
And well, the smile was for real when she got a good look at him.
“You borrowed my robe? Really?” she joked. “Not like I haven’t seen it all,”
“It’s comfy,” he rebuked, with a mild blush, patting at the blue terry cloth. “Also, did you buy that mens shampoo for me or do you use it?”
“I use it; it was on sale,” Gandra said, with an eye roll. “You’re not that special, Suit,”
Fenton smirked and made his way back to the bed, with Gandra grabbing the tails of the robe to pull him closer. In response, he leaned to press a kiss to her forehead.
“I mean, I could have said I buy it for all the nerds I bring to my fancy apartment, but I didn’t think you’d believe it,” she joked, gently pressing against his affection. She turned her head to capture her mouth in his and he settled back into bed with her, like where they belonged.
He wrapped his arms around her and smirked into her neck. “You’re right; I wouldn’t,”
And there were no other nerds. Only him. The signs were evident. More food in the fridge for the days and nights he’d crash at her place, the living room a little cleaner (she was only trying to impress him a little), and of course, a few articles of his clothing in her closet.
Gandra sighed a bit when she ran a hand through the fluff of his hair.
She was happy. She was content. Hell, maybe she could stay like this with Fenton for… a long time.
But then again, all this wouldn’t be possible if she was just plain ole Gandra Dee; struggling punk-rock scientist. She knew that.
And she knew this wouldn’t last.
So she was going to savor it.
“How about I take you out to breakfast?” Fenton said softly, turning his head a bit to look at her.
Gandra bestowed an impish smile and shifted her leg a bit. “Or we could stay in bed for another hour or two and do brunch?” she offered.
The minimalist clock above her bed read 11:05 in the morning. Closer to afternoon than morning, anyway.
Fenton seemed to like that idea, excitedly untying the robe he wore that was technically hers, and fumbling to get the comforter out of the way. It was less the passion and more the tenderness that Gandra cherished, the moment of feeling not so lonely if only for a few moments. She pushed away all the wondering and worry — and the regret she’d feel later, because maybe she was only using him a little, because maybe some small chamber of her heart did flutter at the way he touched her, kissed, just looked at her — to enjoy what she had now.
Because she knew this was all ticking away, like the soft click of the clock above them.
“What are you in New Orloons for?” Fenton asked.
Gandra switched the phone from one ear to the other and poked at her salad. She sat outside a cute little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, on their courtyard, pretending to be a casual tourist. “Inspiration,” she replied casually. “I want my next invention to be ideal for everyone, of all walks of life. Tech’s become such an elitist circus, it’s sad,”
He chuckled a bit. “That’s my girl,”
New Orloons was incredibly hot this time of year. That’s why she felt flushed.
But… sure, it had been more than a couple months. Guess it was time for sappy pet names and the like. As long he wasn’t calling her sweetie or hon, he was safe. And maybe she briefly liked the idea of being someone’s. She hadn’t ever been that before, romantically or otherwise.
Thankfully, the courtyard looked out over the main heart of the city and she could keep a close eye on her target. She had the list of aliases her SHUSH counterpart used, popular disguises, et cetera., but pretended she was just doodling in her sketchbook for anyone who might be trying to glance over. No sign yet. Fenton was chattering on about a new McDuck Enterprises project — and while she still gave him grief for working for a zillionaire capitalist, she did support his endeavors.
“Tell Gearloser I’ll break his kneecaps if he insists the bathroom is your office,” she said, only half joking.
“I have a mini cubicle, actually,” Fenton piped up. “Well, the corner of the lab. With a shower curtain. It’s an upgrade, at least!”
She rolled her eyes at his unbridled optimism.
And at the same time, she got ambushed with two alarming happenings.
Fenton spoke up; “My M’ma wants to meet you,” at the same time Gandra caught eye of her target. She found herself stammering at his request, and fumbling with her things to go catch up and follow the subject, she didn’t have time to think about meeting her boyfriend’s mother.
She wasn’t sure what alarmed her more, thinking of Fenton as her boyfriend or remembering his mother was an actual police detective.
“I’ll think about it, Suit. I’ll have to call you back,”
She realized how mean and rude that may have sounded — and maybe some part of her genuinely felt that way. She was panicking. She didn’t mean for it to get this serious, because she couldn’t afford it.
Speaking of afford, she threw an extra five on the table as she paid for her meal. Gandra may have worked for a super spy agency with a penchant for causing mayhem, misconduct and the occasional (usually justified) murder, but she wasn’t an animal; she had to tip.
And then she was thankful the courtyard was empty. She secured the grappling hook on the iron railing and tipped over the edge of it, discreetly slipping away and down into the main heart of New Orloons’ streets.
With maybe a few molotov cocktails and just one small, non life-threatening bomb in her backpack.
“Are you gonna be that obnoxious couple that matches?” was the first thing Gloria Cabrera said to her son’s girlfriend. (She would say first girlfriend, but Fenton would firmly argue Eliza in the fifth grade was his first girlfriend — even if the relationship lasted a whole week.)
Gandra awkwardly shoved her hands in the pockets of her striped jumpsuit and shrugged.
And funnily enough, Fenton wore a striped button down; also with a white base and navy vertical stripes.
“Nah. Must be a popular pattern,” Gandra retorted, smiling a bit when he greeted her with a kiss to the temple.
Somehow, all her worries and worst nightmares — metaphorically, of course, not like she actually worried about this moment — were worthless. Gloria smiled and pulled Gandra into a hug that literally lifted her an inch or two off the ground, despite being taller than the Cabrera matriarch.
When Gloria let Gandra down, she smiled and even ruffled her hair for good measure.
Gandra felt… light-headed? But in a good way? And maybe squeezed Fenton’s hand without even remembering holding it?
“Do you like enchiladas, Gandra?” Gloria asked.
“Well, the only ones I’ve ever had are from roach coaches and fast food joints,” Gandra retorted.
Gloria shrugged a bit. “Police work doesn’t give me much time to actually cook, so they were frozen. But I did whip up some homemade Cabrera family salsa, just for you,” She was nice. Really nice — it was so painfully obvious to see where Fenton got it from. And Gandra was sure there was some protective part of her, being a single mom and all, but she was happy for them.
While Gloria chatted about plating dinner and how they would have to update her on how long their relationship actually was, and what did Gandra do for a living, and how did they meet anyway, Gandra glanced at Fenton.
She felt that light-headedness again, but it was looming instead of uplifting this time around.
She couldn’t keep up this charade forever.
And that hurt. Somehow, for some reason.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Fenton whispered as he held her hand for something as simple as leading her to the kitchen.
She knew there was more weight to that statement than what he actually said. She swallowed a lump in her throat and said the only thing she could to him.
The truth that was killing her.
She was glad she was here. She was glad she met Fenton and they were on month five of whatever this was. She was glad she had to think if he’d do something silly for half a year, and if maybe she should too. She was glad that this was the first time in her life she was truly happy.
But she was upset knowing this had an expiration date.
And upset for being enough of a fool to try and extend it.
Fenton did decide to do something silly for their “half-averisary” as he dubbed it. He somehow got the Duckburg planetarium reserved for just the two of them (somehow being code for talked to his famous boss and had some strings pulled, obviously, but Gandra wasn’t in the mood to tease him tonight).
As the showcase played and the deep voice narrator described each planet and solar system in the galaxy, they laid on a blanket and stared at each other instead of the extravagant and breaktaking presentation.
“Gandra, there’s something I need to talk to you about,” he said, his voice breaking the solitude.
Her breath hitched. She blinked.
“We’ve known each other for a while and, well— well, I don’t like secrets,” He stammered a bit. She almost screamed out of frustration because who liked secrets? No one. No one liked keeping them; they were difficult to keep track of.
Fenton looked at her sincerely and Gandra was surprised she was staring back at him.
“And since we’re almost serious, I think I can trust you with this knowledge,”
He almost gave her a heart attack.
“Gizmodork. I know,”
“I dunno, I like my version better,”
She smirked at him, and he rolled his eyes in response. Maybe pulled her a little closer for a cuddle, and they watched the stars spiral on the screen up above.
Gandra felt her breath slow, just a tad. “You’re shit at secrets, Suit,”
Fenton kissed the top of her head. “Seems like everyone in Duckburg knows,” he mumbled in her choppy ebony strands. The narrator boomed about the death of stars, and Gandra kept her head rested on his chest. She liked the ambience of space combined with his heartbeat.
“Not everyone. But I’d say nine out of ten people,” she joked.
He chuckled a bit and she sighed against him.
“But hey,” Her voice turned soft. Gentle. “I appreciate you trusting me with that. Not like I was the most trustworthy person six months ago, y’know?”
“I got to know you, Gandra,”
No, he didn’t. He knew some of her likes and dislikes. She had told him Dee wasn’t her real last name — but lied and said it was long and hard to pronounce. He was practically moved into her apartment at this point, sure, but he wasn’t a snoop and she knew how to hide important documents for her… personal business.
He barely knew her.
And it was nobody’s fault but her own.
“Would you freak out on me if I said I love you?” Fenton whispered just as the presentation paused for a dramatic hologram projection of the planets.
Gandra shifted a bit and looked at him.
“I dunno. Say it,” she replied, almost like they were teenagers playing Truth or Dare and it was his turn.
Fenton blinked in surprise, but chuckled. “I love you, Gandra,”
She almost pounced him for a kiss — grateful for closed eyes, blinds covering the drizzle of tears. The narration described the Milky Way being the center of the universe and all that basic knowledge, and for a moment, Fenton was the Milky Way and Gandra was the measly Earth.
Strong, powerful and full of light; small, struggling and lost in dark nothingness.
She didn’t say it back. She hoped he didn’t notice.
He had. He didn’t pressure her.
Yes, it was in Gandra’s contract. Yes, she had actually read the thing — turns out having law for half a semester in college did her some good. But she didn’t think it would actually happen, especially so soon. She had been mailed her plane tickets to New Stork, dated for a week from now. Sure, the relocation was partially her fault. The famous Agent 22’s granddaughter was in Junior SHUSH training (and they said only FOWL did recruiting) and Gandra was reportedly too friendly to her in the rare occasions she visited the lab.
Gandra figured it was smart of her to live frugally and simply, everything she owned fit in a suitcase, a backpack and a duffel bag.
She was packed. She laid on her bare mattress in her luxurious apartment — only affordable through her comfortable monthly stipend — and stared at her phone.
She had to tell Fenton.
She knew that.
She couldn’t not tell him. (Well, she could, just like she did with the whole super secret deadly spy thing.) But this was a lot easier to mention than that.
She could say she got a good scientist job. Didn’t want anyone to hold her down.
Although, that would be mean. And he was so good to her. She kept staring at her phone, his number programmed in and titled with two emojis; a tie and a purple heart. Gandra may not have the courage to say it, but she did love Fenton. And she didn’t know what to do with herself because of it.
She swiped open the text messaging app and settled for a simple ‘we need to talk’.
Then she erased it.
Tried for ‘call me’—blunt but ambiguous, not concerning.
Got rid of that too.
She felt like typing everything to him. The truth. How she felt. What she had to do. Where she was going. But she couldn’t. Her fingers trembled, she almost dropped her phone. She shakily set it down on the naked mattress, and grabbed the half-empty beer bottle on her bedside table.
She could probably think better without this in her system.
Gandra threw the bottle as hard she could, letting it shatter on the ‘vintage’ brick wall of her apartment. The glass and beer flew everywhere and she laid on her bed, spread out like a starfish.
That Friday, Gandra left Duckburg on the 4:55 pm flight for New Stork City.
That Friday, Fenton showed up at her apartment at 7:00 sharp to take her to the movies, as they had planned two weeks ago.
She didn’t answer any of his texts — because she had already changed her number to a New Stork area code. He eventually got replies, of course, from someone saying he had the wrong number (‘sorry buddy that’s rough’).
And ironically, for a technology buff, Gandra didn’t have social media.
Claimed she hated it and maybe that was partially true. But it was FOWL protocol.
Fenton was lost, confused and worst of all, heartbroken, left behind in Calisota.
Gandra felt the same, across the country.
She liked to think some weird twist of fate would bring them back together. But she knew that was unlikely and once again, the fool in her trying to make something out of nothing.
Because that was all she had with Fenton. Nothing worth anything. Time wasted for both of them.
The first thing she did in her new apartment was drop her bags, and then drop herself on the floor to cry. Because this apartment was too big for just her, and would never have any personal touches of the only guy she ever really cared for.
She signed away her life to a heartless organization, when she really would have rather shared it with such a heroic heart.