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August 20, 2012
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(Contains: sexual themes)
21) Vacation

"Smile!"

The camera clicks.

"Gracias senor!" intones Cecil gratefully, taking the little box from the helpful Spaniard. He flicks over to the gallery, and is rather pleased with the result – himself and Lisa, standing on the balcony of the Alcazar of Toledo with a stunning view of the city. All in all, it was much better than he had expected from the random stranger.
"How did it turn out?" queries Lisa.

Cecil shows her, and she's just as impressed.

Later in the hotel room, Lisa is looking through the rest of the photographs, saving and deleting appropriately, while Cecil tots up their receipts from the day at the hotel desk and ensures that their expenses are in order.

"You know, normally I find your brother to have impeccable taste, as far as psychos go ... but I can't believe he actually fought against coming here," sighs Lisa, as she takes a break from reliving her day with Cecil and admires the city view for the millionth time.

"He always did have an unfathomable fondness for Italy. The places, the food ... the women, apparently."

"And no wonder. Francesca is a very beautiful woman," replies Lisa idly.

Cecil pauses and looks up from his accounts. He senses no jealousy in his girlfriend's tone, but it's always slightly jarring to him that she can think that anyone else is even remotely beautiful in relation to herself.

Even though he knows she wasn't dropping a hint for it, Cecil takes off his glasses (little half moons, like all the Terwilliger men) and joins Lisa on the balcony, wrapping his arms around her from  behind, and kissing her shoulder. Between half hearted protests that he'll make her drop the camera, she turns her head and meets his lips.

He knows it's an unusual thing to think of at such a moment, but Cecil can't help but be preoccupied by the similarities between Bob and Lisa, not least in how he interacts with both of them. Like with Bob, his relationship with Lisa is based on a great deal of compromise. She only buys products that align with her definition of fair trade, he insists that they're not getting rid of his wine rack to create some silly wall feature.

But unlike with his blasted brother, the times when his and Lisa's tastes and desires coincide are more often than not, and this is one of those happy occasions.

22) Mother Nature

Cecil hums contentedly to himself as he daubs his paintbrush into the green blob and adds a flower to his sign. Would splashes of blue for tears be appropriate, or childish?
As he ponders this, he glances to the other end of the table where Lisa sits, brow furrowed in concentration, as she paints another slogan onto her own board.

Cecil can remember a time when he and Lisa were not so different in this respect – that is, their interest in the natural world. Cecil can remember pleading with his mother to let them keep an injured runaway puppy he found on the street, then not speaking to either parent for a week when they made him give it back to the (in his view, irresponsible) owner. He remembers growing blossoms in little paint jars in elementary school, checking on their progress in the dark cupboard, and being so proud when his proved the largest and most beautiful, due to his thoughtful care. He believes he actually wanted to be a botanist, at that point – instead he ended up an engineer. Funny, how things change.

But in this moment, it occurs to him that things can change back. He's rediscovering his passion in many of the ecological causes that Lisa holds so dear.

On the other hand, some attitudes never change – or at least, they can be protected, so they never have to.

Cecil goes ahead and adds the tears to his cartoon flower, deciding that he may as well go all out.

He doesn't want Lisa to ever lose her awe and respect for Mother Nature.

23) Cat

"I'm putting my foot down. That hairball has to go!" insists Cecil, with as much outraged dignity as he can muster while his eyes are watering and he's trying to stifle sneezes.
"You don't know it's him!" replies Lisa indignantly, clutching her precious pet to her chest. "It could be anything – hay fever, the fibres in our new sofa..."

"Oh really? Hay fever, hmm? I've got news for you – it's Winter. No grass is being cut! That means no pollen! And I'll have you know that yesterday, I spent a perfectly delightful evening watching that documentary on the Bronte Sisters – perfectly delightful, that is, until your absurdly named cat strolled in and decided my feet were its new bed!"

"I've explained a million times, the name Snowball IV is IRONIC!" Lisa growls in frustration, deciding to focus on the one part of his argument she can form a cogent rebuttal to.

Cecil throws up his hands in frustration. "That's it! We're going to the doctor's tomorrow to get some tests done, and prove that your infernal moggy is the cause of my discomfort! And if it turns out that I'm right, he has to go to your parent's house. Yes?"
"That's not going to happen, but alright. Anything to humour you. And when it turns out that I'm right and my poor kitty is blameless?"

"I'll ... let him take up residence on my feet any time he wants without throwing him off. Good enough?"

"Good enough," replies Lisa, defiantly carrying Snowball IV to the new sofa, where she proceeds to cuddle and pet it, just to get under Cecil's skin.

"Well, now that couch IS going to be a source of discomfort," mutters Cecil, looking mournfully at the cat hairs the feline is casting on to the cushions.

"Did you say something?"

"No darling."

24) No Time

"Lisa, did you find my tie?!" bellows Cecil from the living room.

She doesn't answer, but emerges triumphantly from the bedroom, swinging the red article of clothing in her hand.

"Cecil, if you knew this interview was so early, why didn't you lay out your things the night before?"

"That advice is really helpful the morning after," grumbles Cecil.

Lisa rolls her eyes – he's not normally this grumpy, plus he's nervous – she can let a little attitude slide. She won't add an argument with her to his list of worries.

She notices that he's gotten himself so worked up he can barely do his tie, and his laces are still undone.

"Here," she says, relenting, "let me help."

She neatly fixes the tie, and gets to work on one shoe, while he has calmed down sufficiently to do the other.

"Thankyou, darling, I'm sorry for snapping," he says, giving her an absent minded peck on the forehead (at least she thinks that's what he was aiming for – he's so distracted he doesn't even notice he nearly poked her in the eye).

She can see him itching to get on the train and start running over his notes one last time, so Lisa just says, "Don't worry, now go! Good luck!"

He obeys without a backward glance, and Lisa shakes her head. There will be time to make up properly later.

25) Trouble Lurking

"Hey pal!" says Homer, though the tone of his voice is distinctly unfriendly.
'Oh Lord – Lisa why did you leave me alone with them?!' thinks Cecil wildly. She's gone to the hall to have a little girl talk with her mother and Maggie (in other words, Marge is going to grill her about how things are going with Cecil). It had seemed like such a good idea at the time – give Lisa an opportunity to reassure her mother. It was just a shame that Cecil had forgotten about the males in Lisa's family.

Bart (when did that little pipsqueak become so ... sturdy?) joins Homer, and they both corner Cecil until he's backed up against the fridge.

"Now you listen here," says Bart calmly. "You already know none of us are happy about you perving on my little sister."

"In fact we'd say we're quite put out, sir!" chimes in Homer. He's been trying to match Cecil's refined skills of elocution all evening.

"But for some reason Lise likes you, and I know enough to trust that she knows what she's doing. So we're making the best of a bad situation."

"Yeah!" agrees Homer. "I know your type – can't make up your mind about anything. Are you a Brit, are you a Yank, are you posh, are you in the closet ... plus there's that whole stealing and killing thing. The point is, don't hurt my daughter!"

"She's one thing I hope your mind IS made up on, or else ... let's just say there'll be trouble," says Bart in a low voice, clenching both hands into fists to illustrate his point. "Ever heard of Fat Tony? Yeah. I got connections man!"

"My mind is made up about Lisa – I am a changed man! I love her, I don't intend to ever hurt or leave her!" protests Cecil.

"We'll be watching very closely to see if you make good on that promise," says Homer. "Now out of my way, stop blocking the fridge."

Apparently satisfied for now, the burly man carelessly shoves Cecil to the side. Under Bart's watchful glare, Cecil beats a hasty retreat.

He decides not to tell Lisa – it took long enough for them all to get to this point where they could even be in the same house together. And there's no point trying to persuade Bart and Homer that his intentions are honourable – he can only prove himself with his actions.

And now he just has a tiny bit of extra incentive to do just that!

26) Tears

It's a spookily familiar scenario.

Lisa stands on the hillock overlooking a wedding marquee – her wedding marquee – in a gorgeous white dress with tears in her eyes. At the tender age of 21, her heart truly broke for the first time in this exact spot. She had loved Hugh – but ultimately, he couldn't understand where her heart was, and they had to say goodbye.

But it's not a totally identical scenario – this time, her tears are not from sadness, but from pure, undiluted happiness. Her father marched her down the aisle. Her brother gave a surprisingly touching speech. And most importantly, she's standing with her new husband beside her, holding her hand, and she knows that she'll never have to say goodbye to him.

27) Foreign

Cecil scowls childishly from their hotel bed. The juvenile effect is not helped by the fact that Lisa is standing over him with her hands on her hips, tutting as she mutters things like, "I told you so, stupid stubborn Brit, delicate English constitution..." Hmph. Bloody know-it-all, nothing more annoying than someone younger who is always right. Cecil meets her stare with defiance. He will not admit that the strong curry didn't agree with him, and refuses to grimace in pain from the crippling stomach ache. When one is in a foreign country, it is only polite to immerse oneself in the culture. He stands by that. He is many things – one of them is courteous. Courteous to the bitter end.

28) Sorrow

Bob is uncomfortable with the title of 'best man'. The title of 'worst man' is more accurate, plus it still satisfies his ego – extremes make him happy, there should be no in between.

He watches Lisa walk down the aisle, looks briefly at Cecil's adoring smile, then back again to the blushing bride. She IS beautiful, he has to admit.

He feels a pang – something akin to grief. Suddenly Bob's world is full of 'could haves'. It could have been him. He could have fallen for Lisa – if Cecil could make the age difference work, he certainly could – or if not her, then someone else. Brainy, beautiful, forgiving ... a rare breed, certainly, but by no means extinct.

It could have been Francesca. But for all her fiery Italian mannerisms, Bob's obsession with revenge and the ensuing emptiness once he relinquished that desire was something no woman, much less a child, should be expected to follow.

This melancholia he was experiencing ... has he lost his belief in love? No, that's not it. No one witnessing the way Cecil and Lisa are gazing – yes, actually GAZING – at each other could doubt the existence of true love. No, he hasn't lost his belief in love. He's lost his belief – until now, not quite stamped out, even after all these years – in love between himself and another. And quite frankly, it's killing him.

29) Happiness

Eventually, Cecil has found a way to categorise the intense feeling that his engagement to Lisa Simpson induces.

30) Under the Rain

It's been a long day at work, and Lisa is not in any way prepared for the highly irregular sight before her. Lying out on their tiny balcony, patio furniture haphazardly shoved into the house out of the way, is her boyfriend. Totally drenched. Lisa had run and nearly lost her footing several times to escape the downpour all the faster – Cecil is lying quite serenely, allowing the rain to plaster his hair limply to his forehead, risking the ruination of his suit.

Lisa drags a chair over to the doorway, sits, and waits patiently. The rain finally stops, and Cecil stands, looking a trifle stunned. Lisa silently holds her hand out – he takes it, and enters the apartment. She helps him to the kitchen, and makes him some tea with lemon, and decides to draw him a bath.

Even after many happy years under their belt, the couple does not speak to each other about the time under the rain. Like a plant that is exposed to too much sun, trying to dissect the meaning that the moment held for Cecil could only be damaging – would only strip it of its strange significance.

After the time under the rain, Cecil all but stops trying to persuade Lisa to be the strong one and leave him. They focus on nurturing what they have.
Part 3 of Liscil drabbles/oneshots of Lisa and Cecils' relationship. All rights go to Matt Groening.

Seriously, someone go give Bob a hug, rekindle his sense of romance!
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:iconacompanyofswans:
ACompanyofSwans Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
Baptism was in the back of my head when I wrote that, but I didn't want to make it too explicit in the fic. I'm not religious, but the idea of rebirth by water has always held a lot of fascination for me, so this is the point where Cecil decides to let go of his misdeeds, and not let them define who he is, or define his love for Lisa any more - a new man, as it were. So you're right about Cecil exposing himself to Lisa in that way - saying, "here I am. Take it or leave it."
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:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
If DA had a "like" button, I'd "like" this. ^__^
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:iconacompanyofswans:
ACompanyofSwans Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012
XD
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:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
30. Under the Rain

I'm not sure I really understand what's going on. Here I see Cecil being himself, TRULY himself, in such a bizarre way, and unafraid to let Lisa see, even at the risk of her leaving him. Like he has truly exposed himself to her, letting her see what she's in for for the rest of her life, and she loves him regardless.
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:iconacompanyofswans:
ACompanyofSwans Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
Gah, I meant to reply to you, not just leave another comment on my own fic! The comment above is meant for you.
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:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
Which one?
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:iconacompanyofswans:
ACompanyofSwans Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
Under the Rain XD
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:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
I meant which comment was meant for me? I assume it's the one about baptism? Because that one only just now appeared below, not above.
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:iconacompanyofswans:
ACompanyofSwans Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012
Yep, that one! It was sitting above your Under the Rain review on its own when I posted it ... Oh well, at any rate, that's the one.
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:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
29. Happiness

LOL nice simple follow-up to Misfortune! :D
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