A/N: The following fanfic is based on a true story. Names have NOT been changed to protect anyone's identity, so feel free to go stalk these people. I'll even make it easy for you: there is a link to the Review Game in my profile. Constructive criticism is always appreaciated. But don't take the fic too seriously. It's just for laughs. Enjoy!
Their love had been an awkward one. Of course it had to be considering the circumstances, right? One can't exactly have a "normal" relationship with a stripperlo from Celebrate night club. Their relationship consisted predominantly of reckless, impassioned sex in linen closets and scattered clandestine phone calls to arrange meetings at an abandoned city park. They didn't date; didn't shower each other with gifts; didn't even carry pictures of each other in their wallets. But they were in love. And that's all that mattered.
Bubbles stepped into the Off Topic with her head down. She made her way to her favorite couch and put her feet up. Work had been another wasted day of back-breaking monotony. All she wanted was to relax and let her brain turn into mush. She laid her head back and shut her eyes. Thud. Bubbles turned on her side to get comfortable. Thud. She clenched her teeth and buried her face into a pillow. Nothing would ruin this moment. Thud, thud, thud. Exasperated, Bubbles leaned over the back to give the person kicking the couch a piece of her mind.
"Omigawd, Karas!" Amid the wild and sweating mass of limbs, Bubbles could make out her friend's giddy grin. Her eyes darted around the room as she realized what was going on. Dancing, random hook-ups, gratuitous drinking… it could only mean one thing: Party in the OT!
Bubbles panicked. She wasn't ready! She was wearing her comfy outfit, not her party outfit. Jeans and a t-shirt do not a sex kitten make! "Karas! Lemme borrow your clothes!"
The young girl tried to shoo her friend away. "You can have 'em if you can find – Oh!" Bubbles rolled her eyes and began the hunt for Karas' long discarded clothes. She didn't even know why there was a party. Her philosophy was look cute now, ask questions later. So it wasn't until she had finished squeezing into Karas' mini-skirt and silver halter and was applying mascara with a shaky hand that she finally requested an explanation.
Frac couldn't be bothered to look up from the hot chocolate she was sharing with a well tanned and toned shirtless man. "Beatles and Zion demanded marriage."
Bubbles' jaw dropped. She only had to look at Beatles blushing like a fool to know it was true. How did this happen? How did she miss it? Dodging the flying projectiles that jettisoned this way and that as part of Sesshy's and Dolly's full-blown bar brawl, Bubbles made her way to the bartender. Upon receiving her Bailey's on the Rocks, Bubbles raised her glass.
"A toast!" Her voice was inaudible above the din. "To the happy couple. May they have many more years to come."
"We're not married quite yet."
Bubbles beamed and greeted Zion with a ferocious hug. "I. Am. Soooo. Proud! My lil bowler hat! Beatles is such a good catch! Oh, my Menz and their cute lil wives! I...I... I'm so happy!"
"Ehem, yes. Right." Zion brushed his shoulders off and straightened his jacket. "You ladies enjoy your hen party. I'm going to watch footy highlights on my last night of freedom. That is all."
Beatles scowled at Zion's retreating figure. "Footy? Ew. That's just… no."
Bubbles grinned at the young lovers. Perhaps she was a bit too giddy, for Beatles slowly began to back up.
"I found the records of what you missed, Bubbles."
Beatles handed her an electronic device. It was slim and fit into the palm of her hand. A circular pad allowed the user to scroll through everything that was ever said at RG Manor. With the play button, one could watch the events as they unfolded on the small LCD screen. The iBackread was an invaluable piece of technology.
"Go to track thirty-four. That's where it all started." Beatles swooned. Bubbles nodded her thanks and slipped the headphones over her ears.
Just as she found a quiet corner, she felt a man wrap his arms around her. The rich smell of ground coffee brought a smile to her lips. Bubbles relaxed against his 6'2'' frame and tousled his thick black hair. "I don't like to be kept waiting, Manuel."
"I apologize, Querida," he trilled. "In my defense, I went to Celebrate. We've never been allowed in the Off Topic before."
"Yeah, I don't know what dumbass thought that was a good idea."
"Well, I'm here now. Perhaps I can make it up to you?" Manuel held her tighter and let his free hand drift below her waist.
Tempted, Bubbles ran her fingers across the stubble on his jaw line. "Mmm, hold that thought." She broke from his grasp, found a clear patch on the floor and made herself comfortable. "As soon as I'm caught up, you can let me know exactly how sorry you are."
Manuel laughed and sat next to her. "Fair enough. Afterwards, I need to tell you something. It's important." Bubbles nodded and hit play.
They sat like this for quite a while: Bubbles drinking champagne and guffawing randomly at jokes only she could hear and Manuel nuzzling at her neck. Arriving at a particularly romantic part in Beatles' and Zion's unforeseen courtship, Bubbles turned toward Manuel. "Why don't you ever say nice things to me, hmmm?"
"We don't usually have time for small talk," he crooned in response.
Bubbles clicked her tongue. "Yeah, well you better learn to multi-task." With that she went back to the iBackread.
"Omigawd!" Another outburst. "Beatles chose Karas as her maid of honor!"
"And this is bad, I suppose?"
"This is horrible!" Beatles, realizing that Bubbles had learned the awful truth, hid for the duration of the rant.
"I have to be maid of honor! Zion is one of my Menz! I have to give him away! Besides," Bubbles pouted, "I wanna give a speech!"
"Well it makes sense. Karas is their fellow Brit. Furthermore you were maid of honor last time –"
"Um, do I pay you to be the voice of reason? No, I don't think I do." She pulled her rebelling hair into a messy bun and adjusted the earphones. "All I ask is that you smile, look gorgeous and agree with everything I say. Not that hard."
Manuel cringed at the harsh words. "We need to talk, Bubbles."
"You are repeating yourself, Papí. What I need is to finish this track. Then I have to go enjoy the party, and I have to get an outfit ready for the wedding tomorrow, and I have to write a speech and get a gift, and get some beauty sleep. So we'll talk when I have a minute to spare, m'kay? Honestly, all you ever think about is yourself…" She un-paused the iBackread and went back to giggling. "'Beatles and Zion = Rawr!' Ha! They are too cute!"
Bubbles wouldn't be disturbed. She paid no mind to Manuel fidgeting next to her. She didn't see him pull out his cell phone and reply to a text message. She didn't hear him say, "I have to go, Corazón." She didn't feel him give her a peck on the cheek. She didn't notice him leave her side.
Bubbles wiped a few dramatic tears from her cheeks and put the iBackread away. "Oh, I don't know which I love more: forced marriages or demanded ones!"
At this, Sesshy and Radio groaned in unison, the memory of their coerced wedding all too fresh in their minds. Still the wizards fought the validity of the marriage, swearing in the Speech that they were simply life-long wizardly partners – a powerful bond, yes, but a platonic one. No one believed this, of course; anyone with eyes could see they were in wiz lurve.
Bubbles made her way to the heart of the crowd, grabbing a drink (a daiquiri… or a mojito maybe? Either way it was quite pretty) off a serving platter. The styrofoam plates had been abandoned a while ago. Everyone was licking cake icing off of their fingers. A few people were still bobbing hypnotically to the music; others were massaging their throbbing temples and shielding their eyes from the multi-colored strobe lights. Over by the hammock, some of the girls were gambling and chortling like hoodlums at a cockfight. They had pitted the strippers against each other in a scandalous game of Naked Twister; Frac's pick was exceptionally… flexible. On a bar stool in the far corner, Zion sipped his rum and watched the madness.
"Zion!" Bubbles yelled. "It's a party! Let loose a bit! I'm sure we can find you some nice strippers to play with…"
"Marvellous as it is, I'm not really into the strippers. Only have one lady on my mind tonight." With the charm of a well-bred courtier, Zion took Beatles' hand and gave her a small, teasing kiss. The poor girl nearly melted.
"Aw! My lil bowler hat is so wonderful! Treat him good Beatles!" Beatles' head bobbed up and down on command, as she had lost the proper use of words hours ago.
Bubbles let the two have their privacy and went off to find her own entertainment. She scanned the room and frowned when she did not spot her target. "Where's Manuel?" She felt her heart rate increase at the thought of being at a party and not getting any. Her thoughts flew to her only real rival for male attention. "KARAS! Did you steal my stripper while I was iBackread-ing?"
The silence that fell over the OT was eerie. It wasn't quiet. It was tense, taut, like a stretched rubber band waiting to snap. The OT was usually cacophonous, with each minding his own conversation. Now, however, attention was being honed on to the hardwood armchair rocking madly in the corner.
"Sorry Bubbles!" Karas gasped in that clipped British accent. "I'm a little busy right no – ah! AH! Oooh… oh, that's it, mhmm…"
There was a collective cringe by those who knew the consequences of Karas' actions. "This is what happens when strippers and OT mix," said Sesshy before finding a safe place to weather the fallout.
Beatles dove to mediate the tenuous situation. "Karas," she hissed. "What did I tell you?" Karas tried to answer, but her words were indiscernible among the moans.
The band snapped. "You fuckin' bitch! Manuel was mine!" Bubbles sputtered like a taunted toddler, wiping away the fat tears and struggling to understand her powerlessness. "Dammit! Now, where am I gonna find a 6'2'' Colombian stripper!" She wheeled away from the shameless harlot and grabbed a flask from the bar. She stalked back to the hammock. "Left knee, yellow!" she barked. "I said on your knees, fool!"
Beatles looked from one friend to another. "Oh c'mon girls! Don't be like this! It's my hen night!"
Bubbles took a swig from the flask and gave Beatles an icy stare. "A proper maid of honor would have known that the strippers belong in Celebrate. This," she motioned to the debauchery surrounding them, "is what you get for picking that skank over me."
Beatles tittered but stood by her decision. "Bubbles you weren't even there…" She thought for a moment. "You shouldn't let a man come between you, girls; maybe – I mean, I'm sure you can share?" She gagged a bit at the mental image her own suggestion incited and gladly accepted the vodka Zion offered. Vodka washes away all problems…
Karas smirked at the idea but declined. She stretched like a cat and savoured some red wine. "You can have him back now, Bubbles. I'm all done."
Bubbles grabbed the nearest pillow and pegged it at Karas' head. "I don't want your sloppy seconds! You break those men! They are never the same after you!" She choked back her tears, her shaking hand sloshing tequila all over her skirt. "Are there any strippers left that you haven't defiled?"
"Ha!" Lassie interjected, seeing fit to grace the OT patrons with her wisdom. "Karas: Dick Breaker." There was a roar of laughter and Bubbles sunk even lower into her pool of self-pity.
"It's okay, Bubbles!" Karas suggested. "You can get with Squeaks!" Sesshy promptly and swiftly smashed a wine bottle over Karas' head. OT's regenerative powers got to work immediately but it was the thought that counted.
"Thanks, my lil peace pipe," Bubbles said. She gulped down a shot of whiskey and spat her reply back at Karas. "Number one: Sesshy is Radio's husband! Unlike somebody, I would never betray my sister! Number two: Sesshy is one of my Menz so like, ew."
Karas shrugged. "Radio knows it was just harmless flirting… and occasional topless torsos…" She winked at Sesshy from across the room.
"It was unwilling!" Sesshy said hastily. "I blew up the decoy but she just wouldn't die…"
"I don't have problem with what Sesshy does with other girls," Radio sighed, not knowing those words would later haunt her. "I just want my sisters to stop fighting."
Bubbles sulked in a corner, nursing a bottle of Jack Daniels. "Oh no, I'm fine," she hiccupped. "I get it. Had to pick one of your own, right Bee? Can't pick a lowly Canadian! Cuz we talk weird and are boring and our main export is bacon!"
"Aw Bubbles! That's not true!" Beatles hugged the blubbering girl and rubbed her back. "Hey, hey look! I got you a present!"
Bubbles sniffed and perked up a bit. "A present?"
"Yeah." Beatles motioned for someone to come in. A squat little man waddled towards her and bowed low.
Bubbles scrunched her nose and poked him with her foot. "What the hell is that thing?"
"It's Chico!" Beatles said. "I know it's not the same, but I thought he'd be a good substitute? Oh Bubbles don't cry!" Indeed Bubbles had already started bawling again and wiping her nose in Beatles' blouse.
"I lose my delicious hunk of Colombian perfection and you bring me –" She mulled over the words. "A Mexican midget?" The man huffed away.
"Now, that was uncalled for!" Beatles chided. "Sure, you've lost the only man you've ever loved, but there is no need to be uncivilised!"
Beatles' words were lost. At the mention of "love," Bubbles collapsed into a fit of vodka laced tears. "I just want to play dirty games with sexy men who don't have Karas-induced post traumatic stress disorder! Is that too much to ask?"
"YES!" the OTers said in unison. Bubbles curled up into a fetal position and bemoaned her misfortune.
Ever sensitive to the plight of others, Lassie mused, "I should go to the gym sometime today... many hot men gather there..."
Bubbles dabbed a napkin to her puffy eyes and looked up at Lassie. "Does RG Manor have a gym? 'Cuz I've got some cute shorts and a sports bra...."
"Psh, fuck if I know." Lassie continued her scavenger hunt through the OT fridge. "If there is, I'm not taking you! All you attract is under-aged punks and feminine pansies. I like men who are badasses… like Gerard Butler… Damn. I'd bang the hell out of Gerard…"
"Um, Lassie, I – "
"But, if I could go back in time, I'd fuck the hell out of Clint Eastwood in the '60s." Lassie examined some leftover pie and determined it was edible. "He'd have to like glare and look pissed off the whole time though… or slap me…"
"Lassie, please take me to the gym? I won't embarrass you, I – "
"I'd still let Robert Downey Jr snort cocaine off me though…"
Bubbles sighed. Despite her unending compassion, Lassie was now too lost in her own thoughts to provide much comfort. In fact everyone had gone on to other things and had left poor Bubbles to fend for herself. So, broken and betrayed, Bubbles gathered up the last of the schnapps and stumbled out of the Off Topic.