Rating: PG-ish
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Parts: 1 of undetermined!!

Never The Same Again
Part 1
By: Ashley


It was customary of Laverne DeFazio to pace the floor in her apartment every evening when she got home from work. Her apartment had always seemed small, but there always seemed to be going on there -- something happening every day. No one could refer to her life as "humdrum" because never had there been a dull moment. Sure, she and Shirley had been bored, but when you got right down to it, their life had never been dull. (A little blue-collar, sure, but not really dull.) Suddenly, however, her apartment seemed not only small, but dull. And what was worse than that -- it felt empty. How could such a small place feel so empty? And so, every day since Shirley left, she would come home, take off her shoes, sit down on the couch for about two minutes, and then she would get up and pace. And reflect. And reflecting had only led to one thing: regret. She had begun to regret ever leaving Milwaukee.

Things were so different now. Bottle-capping, or "Beverage Control Engineer" as she preferred to refer to it, was not a glamorous job. But her lack of formal training was beginning to wear her thin at the space plant. Carmine had gone from smalltime to the big-time -- he had gone from doing various odd-jobs accompanied by the occasional random gig to performing in a legitimate Broadway musical. She could no longer count on him to burst through the door just when she needed him -- and since Shirley had gotten married, it seemed for a while that she had needed him a lot. Her father was always at a city council meeting or rallying for some big political extravaganza, and it seemed for the first time in her life that he didn't have much time for her. Didn't have much time for her. Good grief, the man is in his 60's. How could he not have time for me? That question remained constantly on her mind. She supposed, deep down inside, that he needed something to fill his time. Edna leaving him had been quite a disappointment to him. It had been quite a disappointment to her, too. She had lost two mothers in her lifetime, and that alone was quite a bitter pill to take. And what was even stranger... Lenny had disappeared. One day, he just... up and left. No one knew why he went, and no one knew where he went -- not even Squiggy. He just left. Perhaps, secretly, that was another thing eating away at her. She'd always felt, well, bad for Lenny. Bad for him because he always seemed to care so much about her... and she'd always tried to avoid any romantic confrontation with him whatsoever. But through it all, he had remained a tremendous friend, and she'd never been able to thank him for it. Not once. But none of these things were comparable to the greatest loss of them all: Shirley.

There was no one to come home from work with. No one to complain about what a "wreck this house is" and how it was always ALL Laverne's fault because Laverne was "honestly a pig." No one to make fun of the grotesque and yet unique concoction of milk and Pepsi. No one to whine whenever she lost Boo Boo Kitty, and worst of all... no one she knew would always be the one friend she could turn to.

Sometimes, before she fell asleep at night, Laverne would close her eyes and remember... remember times from the past. Like the time they thought they had a date with two gorgeous veterinarians, and it turned out they were only the hired help. The time Laverne broke her tooth on Jell-O and Shirley's cousin Mikey had to fix it to complete dental school. The time Shirley fell down the stairwell, contracted a severe case of amnesia and believed herself to be "Roxy LaTour" the most famed exotic dancer in "North America or Egypt."

But then the phone would ring. And her blissful thoughts were broken by the sound of Chuck's voice, calling to tell her what was going on at work tomorrow. Her heart would bleed, and she'd be brought down to earth once more. And she'd finally begun to realize that things would be never the same again.

To Part 2

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