The Star

by Tilde

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Spoilers: None. Although this takes place sometime during the third season.

Disclaimers: The characters and situations of the television program "Charlie's Angels" are the creations and property of Spelling-Goldberg Productions and Columbia Pictures Television, and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended. However, the plot is mine. You may download and distribute this story as long as my name stays on the by-line.

Rating: G

WAFF Warning : This fic produces a medium WAFF (Warm and Fuzzy Feeling) only. It will not make you want to spit out a cat.

Summary: Sabrina is tired and angst-ridden after a case. Bosley and the Angels try to cheer her up over dinner at the Beach House.

Note from the author: There is no case in this story. I wrote this for character development purposes. I've always wanted people to view the Angels as people as well as great PIs. This is my first work of fan fiction -- although there will be more to come -- please feel free to e-mail me your comments.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to my editor, Timerunner, for helping me de-WAFF this fic to my liking and correcting my prodigal punctuation. Kudos also go to Scrivner who came up with the "suicide by bucket" idea. (These guys write great anime fanfic. Check them out!) Thanks to Kim Freer, who's been very patient with my marathon e-mails and suggested I change a couple of lines. Also, I would like to express my gratitude/condolences to Joe Satriani and his "Surfing with the Alien" album without which this fic would either not exist or sound totally different. ******************************************************************

It was January, the sky shark-belly gray for days at a time. Sabrina woke from a troubled sleep to the soft gray light drifting through her venetian blinds. Checking her alarm clock she found she had a couple of hours to drag her sore body out of bed and drive over to Kris's house for dinner.

Sabrina shook her head, as if trying to knock out the memory of the day before from her mind, trying to make it less real.

She and the girls had been on a seemingly routine embezzlement case, that is until their chief suspect hired a thug to threaten them. This musclehead had swaggered into the office and waved his gun around like a dead fish. Intent on looking menacing, he never saw Kelly coming. She sprang at him and landed a kick in his solar plexus. He dropped the gun and was bent over in pain.

Sabrina saw the glint of steel in his hand as Kelly bent to pick up the weapon. Shoving Kelly out of the range of the arc his arm made, she grabbed his wrist and twisted it as hard as she could. He tightened his grip on the knife and tossed her through the beveled glass window as if she were a rag doll. The last thing she remembered was the sight of Kris clapping a pistol to his head.

When she opened her eyes, Bos had been standing over her with an ice bag and offered to take her to the hospital. Kris had handed her a glass of water and exchanged a glance of concern with Kelly.

Sabrina had insisted she was fine. Now she wasn't so sure. She checked the clock on her bedside table again. Then resigning herself to the fact that she had slept straight through most of the day, she sighed and sat up. Her body strobed the rainbow colors of pain.

Mentally blessing Charlie for giving them a three day weekend, Sabrina leaned against her headboard wondering how she could beg off from the dinner at the Beach House.

As if on cue her phone rang and Sabrina's ears were inundated with Jill's cheerful voice. "Hey Bri. How are you feeling ? Are you in pain ?"

"Jill, I AM pain."

"Oh, that good, huh ?" she sighed. "Think you can make it over here ?"

"Well, actually..."

"Aw Bri, I haven't seen you in ages and you promised we'd blow the doors down when I won my first race." Jill coaxed.

"Yes, but..."

"I made it all the way from London this weekend just to see you guys." she said. "And besides you've slept the entire afternoon. Do you really feel that bad ?"

Sabrina resigned herself to the inevitable. "You'll never forgive me if I bail out on this one, will you ?"

"Hmm," Jill replied. "maybe on my deathbed."

"Fine, fine. I'll go."

"Seriously Bri, if you're not up to it....maybe I should just pick you up and take you to the hospital. I mean you might have internal injuries..."

Sabrina got out of bed and surveyed herself in the mirror. "All I have are bruises in a wonderful shade of indigo. At least they're color-coordinated."

"You're sure ?"

"I'm fine. I'll be there. But no wild partying, I don't think my ribs or my back could take it."

"Just get over here and I swear I'll pamper you," said Jill. "In fact, Bos is in the kitchen right now whipping up some food for you."

"That's supposed to make me feel better ?"

"Relax. Kelly and Kris are making sure he doesn't burn the house down."

"Great." Sabrina replied. "I'll be there in an hour. " She paused for thought. "With a gas mask."

Twenty minutes later Bri was heading west through Inglewood as the last embers of the fire of day struggled against the cold fall of night. Taking off her sunglasses at the next intersection, she surveyed her city. The veneer of glass, steel, and frenetic business in perfect counterpoint to the free spirits on Venice Beach and the polyester pomposity of the wealthy. Here and there she could catch sight of a man or woman in clothing by a hot designer whose name sounded like the collision of an asteroid and a vowel.

Framed against the drama of the sky, the city throbbed. Towering above the land, the buildings longed to poke their tops through the canopy of the clouds and breathe. Sabrina felt glad she was heading for an oasis as complete and as pervasive as the Beach House.

Bistro Munroe, as Kelly once named it, was an old yacht club repossessed by the bank and picked up cheap at an auction by Jill. At the time it hadn't looked as good as it did now. It was something of an eyesore on the coast and Kris said their father had wanted to have Jill's head examined for even thinking of picking up such a money pit.

Still, there was no stopping Jill when she wanted something. Sabrina and Kelly had been dragged into helping her structurally reinforce the living room and applying gallons of white paint to the interior. Most of the furniture had been collected from yard sales in LA and around the country. Kris always complained that Jill had wrecked the shocks of the Cobra II carting around end tables, lamps, and armchairs over rough roads.

When Jill left to pursue her passion for racing, she had given Kris her house, her car, and her job. Sabrina had always suspected that Kris had been a little annoyed about that; as if Jill were questioning her ability to make such decisions for herself. Kris had worked hard at the job and even harder on the house. 10 months later, Jill was complaining that she couldn't recognize the place.

Chuckling evilly, Kris had kept the vintage 1950s pieces but carted away all of Jill's rugs and wall hangings -- the things that Jill claimed gave the place "personality." Kris and Kelly had laughed at that; the psychedelic decor had looked like the products of a bad acid trip, or at least the love child of Dali and some power tools.

Sabrina grinned as she pulled into the driveway of crushed shells. Maybe this was exactly what she needed right now. A nice relaxing evening with the girls and Bos, a couple of hours where she could be rescued from the thoughts in her head, just what the doctor ordered.

She knocked on the door only to find it open.

"Kris ?" she called, stepping into the hallway.

"In the kitchen," came the reply. "Go sit down in the living room, dinner will be ready in a minute."

Sabrina took off her jacket and opened the door to the living room. She stepped into a frenzy of activity. Kelly and Bos were scrubbing vigorously at a red stain on Kris's beloved white canvas couch, and for a moment Sabrina thought it was blood. A wave of panic hit her and she quickly swam out of it, telling herself to loosen up. Work was seeping into every corner of her mind lately. It had begun to suck away all her energy, and all the gauges in her body registered empty.

"You're going to get it now, Bos." she said. "Kris is going to kill you."

Bos looked sheepish. "I tripped. Do NOT tell her about this."

"What's the point ?" Kelly said. "It's not like she's not going to notice. We'll never get this out before the pasta is done."

Sabrina shook her head in mock annoyance. "What would you guys do without me ? Okay, Kelly take the sauce back in and stall them. Tell them it's too sour or something. Bos get me some club soda and some detergent."

After working on the stain for a full twenty minutes they heard the kitchen door swing open. Bos turned pale and immediately plopped down on the couch to cover the spot. Sabrina grabbed a magazine with one hand as she hastily disposed of the rag under the couch. She threw herself into a "relaxed" position and winced as her body punished her for not being "relaxed" in quite some time.

"Sorry ! Have you been waiting long ?" Jill asked as she breezed into the room. "Kris didn't have anything in her pantry so we have to make do with good old fashioned Spaghetti Bolognese and Bosley's Fried Chicken."

"What are you talking about ? It was stuffed to the gills with food." Kris retorted. "Jill just doesn't want to admit that she's on this new-fangled diet."

"Picked it up from one of your yoga gurus, Jill ?" Sabrina joked.

"Ha ha . Very funny."

"Anyway, dinner will be served out on the deck." said Kris. "And Bos, next time please be careful with the sauce."

Bos shot Kelly a look of reproach.

"I didn't say a word !"

"You didn't have to. " Kris replied. "Suds are coming out of his lap."

"At least, we hope those are suds." Jill quipped.

Sabrina laughed as Bos turned several shades of red. They went out on the deck and settled down to dinner. As Sabrina predicted they consciously avoided shop talk and were more than happy to indulge Jill when she began to spin her comedic tales of an American race car driver in Europe. Jill spoke of her little victories and some of her defeats, always conscientious to evoke laughter instead of pity. Sabrina could see that Jill must have been more than a little lonely. Bri was glad that Jill had come to visit, even if it was only for the weekend.

The girls chattered and teased each other about their lives, their voices filled the air and their energy exploded all around Sabrina. She felt heavy and slack, as if she were gasping for air through an impermeable membrane, as if she was struggling to swim in a storm.

Last night she had consumed a carafe of red wine by herself, and the room had felt close, full as though someone else was getting the oxygen she needed. She had just lain on her bed, her eyes turned toward the window staring hard at the lights of the city that crept between the slats of her blinds and the folds of her curtains. Feeling its unforgiving brilliance, she'd bunched her fists as she lay there thinking: another day, another day.

Sabrina blinked. Jill had put her arm around her, anchoring her fingers just on the inside of her elbow. She gave Sabrina a small squeeze and went back to debating with Kelly whether she should get the blue loafers she had seen on sale.

She looked at her friends as they chatted with each other. Kelly, freedom's dark-haired serious daughter. Her quiet and elegant way of taking in every word Sabrina said and understanding her ecliptic silences. The intensity of her gaze and the barely concealed longing that lay beneath them. Kris and her seismic laughter. Her blue eyes vulnerable yet concealing; her balanced outlook combined with the carriage of a lioness. Jill, bred from fire and air, at once serene and explosive. Ruthless wit and tender compassion welded to sparkling ambition. And Bosley, the eye of the storm. His voice dry and gravelly as he alternately supported the girls and goaded them into perfection.

Sabrina marveled at how wonderful they were, and how many times she had felt torn between hitting them or hugging them. They were the only people she knew who could drive her off the wall and then turn around and convince her that she was loved.

"Well that's nice to see." Bosley said, interrupting her train of thought as he leaned toward her conspiratorially.

"What ?"

"Your smile." he replied quietly. "It reaches your eyes now."

"Speaking of smiling eyes," Jill said, "who's my little sister dating now?"

"No one."

"Really ?" Jill verified, looking at the other angels.

"As far as we know, anyway." Kelly shrugged.

"So what do you do in your spare time, Kris?" Jill asked.

"Sleep."

"With whom ?"

Sabrina could almost hear Kris's eyes rolling in their sockets. She smiled sympathetically, this was only slightly better than the inquisition she had to go through every Thanksgiving.

 

As the evening grew cooler, they decided to stretch out on the lounge chairs facing the ocean. The stars had begun to shine with their full power. Sabrina tilted her head at a slight angle to view the sheer grandeur of the moon silhouetted against a fluid canvas of clouds pierced with flashes of lavender and tinted with a deep burgundy.

She leaned into the chair's wooden embrace and winced as her muscles cramped in response. The light touch of Kris's hand on her shoulder made her start.

"I'm all right."

"I know." Kris said. "I just miss seeing you look like this."

"Like what ?"

""I don't know. Happy, I guess." she paused. "A complicated happiness."

"Do I look unhappy most of the time ?"

"Not unhappy, exactly." Kris replied, "just tired. You look beautiful and lonely at the same time, Bri."

"Well, maybe I am." said Sabrina. "Sometimes."

Before Kris could ask why, Kelly and Jill began giggling uncontrollably over one of Jill's romantic escapades, and Bos put down the book he was reading: a copy of "The Agony and The Ecstasy."

"Hey Bos, I didn't know you liked Michelangelo." Sabrina said.

"I saw a lot of his sculptures in Florence when I was doing a case for Charlie." he replied. "But that was a long time ago, when I was young and filled with hopes and dreams...."

"Oh," Kelly grinned. "so you were actually able to meet Michelangelo ?"

"No, but Charlie taught him everything he knew." Bos said dryly.

"Speaking of Charlie," Jill said. "when did you start working for him ?"

"Oh, we were friends long before I even considered taking this job."

"And ?"

"And one day he said : 'Hey come work for me, I'll pay you a ridiculous amount of money and hire these fantastic looking women for you to look at -- I mean -- look out for and watch over."

The girls laughed.

"Oh, you know, in a brotherly way."

"Yeah Bos, you're our big brotherly teddy bear." Kris laughed, throwing her arms around him.

"And we mean BIG." Kelly laughed as she poked him in the stomach.

"Anyway, I know who your favorite painter is Kris." Bos said as he ruffled her hair gently.

"Really, who ?"

"Van Gogh." Bos replied.

"The lunatic who painted all those sunflowers and cypresses?" Jill asked.

"He was not a lunatic."

"Well Kris, the man did cut off his ear and send it to Gaugain." said Sabrina. "And he shot himself in the stomach."

"Ouch." Kelly said. "You'd have to be crazy to choose to go that way."

"I think the only way you should be allowed to kill yourself is to stick your head in a bucket of water." said Sabrina.

Kelly gave her a questioning look as if wondering why she was being so morbid. Jill and Bosley exchanged glances.

"Well...that would have looked... strange." Kris said.

"At least you'd know that this person really wanted out." Sabrina replied. "Sort of like Virginia Woolf. When she chose to end her life she put on her coat, filled the pockets with huge rocks and walked into a lake."

"I don't know if they had a lake in Auvers." said Kris. "If they did, he certainly didn't paint it. I wish he had painted the sea. Although I don't think his paintings would have been the same if he had seen the ocean."

"Why not ?"

"Well, he painted himself in those twisted trees that seem to yell to heaven and in the frightening vastness of the plains..." Kris paused. "I don't think you can look at the ocean and still be full of despair for the rest of your life."

Sabrina had to smile. Kris had always been comforted by the ebb and flow of the tide, the biting honesty of the salt water. Sabrina had seen her swim away from the shore, so far that only the loudest noise could disturb her, and float on her back. Looking up at the sky and basking in the water's embrace, she seemed to regain strength and focus. Kris seemed to trust that the sea would hold her and the tide would take her safely back to shore. She wished she could trust life -- trust fate -- as easily as Kris trusted the ocean.

"Do you want to break open a bottle of wine ?" Jill asked.

"Ooh, as long as you're getting that could you fix me a Vodka and Tonic ?" Kelly asked. "I'm in the mood for something stronger, and with Bri's mood you'd better make that two. She looks as if she could start drinking paint thinner right now."

Sabrina grimaced. Bos gave her a peck on the cheek and went with Jill to help fix the drinks. The three girls sat in silence.

"Bri..." Kelly began.

"I'm fine. Really."

"No you're not." she replied. "What's wrong ?"

"Nothing. Everything. I don't know." Sabrina said. "It's just that sometimes I get tired of being wary of everyone that walks through a door or happens to be walking behind me on the street. I'm so sick of wondering if I'll go down in a hail of gunfire or blown up when I turn my key in the ignition."

"I know that I love this job. We don't have to take cases we don't want to. We don't have to deal with the sexist bullshit that always comes with the territory in the LAPD. We can help people with cases the police don't have the manpower, time, or interest to handle. We make a difference." she continued. "I just wonder sometimes if it's worth it and whether I want to do this for the rest of my life."

"Bri, if you're not happy..." Kris said, "you know we'd support any decision you'd make and if you quit..."

"I don't know if I want to quit." she replied. "It's just...what are my alternatives? Even if I find someone I could love enough to spend the rest of my life with, even if I lived in a house with a white picket fence, two kids, and a dog named Woofie...so what ? What happens then ?"

"It's like that painting you have hanging in your room Kris," said Sabrina, "Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' has 11 stars over a sleeping town. He painted those stars like dots on the map -- as if they were attainable -- and even if you reach for them, you can never have it all."

"Sure you can." Kris said, taking her hand.

Kris ushered Sabrina and Kelly into her room and they stood before the framed reproduction of the "Starry Night." Sabrina reached out and positioned her hands so that each finger covered a star.

"See ?" Sabrina said. "It's impossible."

"Look again."

Kris covered the extra star with her forefinger.

"Well what about the other ten ?" Sabrina asked.

"I just want the one." Kris replied. "Just that one star over the cypress. After all, what would I do with eleven stars -- eleven wishes, imagine."

"What would you do with one ?"

"I'd wish you were content." she said quietly.

Kelly looked at her nails and brushed them against the collar of her shirt. "Ohhh, I would too." she said, as she looked up at the two of them briefly and pretended to go back to examining her nail polish.

Kris glared at her."Kelly, did you eat paint chips as a child ?"

"Oh I'm sorry." Kelly asked innocently. "Did I ruin a Hallmark moment ?"

Sabrina had to laugh. She threw her head back. Her laughter broke the silence like the crack of a shotgun and escalated into breathless gasp-chuckles. Nearly perfecting the art of self asphyxiation, she could not stop. Then Kris and Kelly were infected by the spontaneous rollicking fit, and their hearty gasps joined hers.

Sabrina's body felt light, suspended between the noise and immensity of the world. Unable for a minute to put a name to the air blowing through them, she sighed as they plopped down on Kris's bed, realizing she was genuinely happy. Sabrina didn't care what happened, about anything, past or future. The cool air wafted around her body, and she heard the ocean murmuring in the background.

Kelly turned to give her a smile. That beautiful smile that betokened solid self-assurance and a loyalty to Sabrina that would never waver. Kris moved so her head could rest on Sabrina's stomach, still trying to find the cadence of normal breathing.

They stayed there, in a companionable silence, until Bosley knocked on the door.

"In here, Bos." Kris called.

He came into the room and surveyed the sight of the three girls sprawled on Kris's queen-sized bed : Kelly in her tight shorts and tank top curled up at the foot of the bed, Kris in her yellow sun dress lying contentedly on Sabrina's stomach, Sabrina's head only inches from Kelly's shoulder. Bosley looked closely and paid attention to where their hands were. "You know, anyone else would be really turned on by this."

Sabrina fired a pillow at his head, and he ducked just in time. "Jill's probably beginning to think we're trying to escape from her." she said lightly.

"Well, she's one third right." Kris replied.

Kelly grinned as Kris wearily got off her bed. "Bri," she asked,"one last question..."

"Hmm ?"

"The dog's name is Woofie ?"

The three of them dissolved into giggles that flew through their hair. Bosley only looked at them with a puzzled expression on his face.

Feeling weakened, emptied out, light as spirits, they stood up. For a few minutes they seemed to hold in their arms the weightlessness, that fragrance that means life. A life that, Sabrina felt, could be so sweet sometimes.

 

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"Tune in next week when the Angels risk their lives, intelligence, and eternal salvation as they infiltrate that lurid den of iniquities called....'Melrose Place'."

--Timerunner, on his suggestion for my signature for this piece --

 

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