A/N: Another challenge response, only this one was prompted by Clopie and is therefore dedicated to her. (Thank you for the very unique setting! I watched online videos and relived my childhood while doing 'research' for this one!)
The challenge was:
1. On the set of the Bananas in Pyjamas show.
i. peanut butter
ii. a "give way" road sign
iii. blood pressure
iv. broken glass
v. a printer
Girl and her best (guy) friend's, sister's, boyfriend.
Note: The title is a pun of sorts (you'll see why if you choose to read the story), but 'bear' is the correct spelling in that phrase. If you write 'bare with me', it would only be correct if you're asking somebody to get naked with you. So, if you're asking somebody to cope, please don't tell them to strip. (Sorry, it's a pet peeve of mine.)
Bear With Me
- One-shot -
"Imelda, you do realize they're real people right?"
I bared my teeth at Max, my best friend. "Next you're going to tell me Santa is a skinny dude in a fat-suit."
"Shut up, Max. Seriously." I turned back to what I had previously been doing - which was to ogle at the 7-feet tall bananas that were walking around awkwardly.
And you'd be wrong to think that we were at some sci-fi museum. In fact, they were actually on the Bananas in Pyjamas (Pajamas to those Americans) set.
The children's entertainment show had been temporarily reinstated for a final season - years after its creation - before it was replaced by another show featuring fruits. (Or vegetables, because they were the new fruits. Maybe tomatoes, since nobody could agree on what the heck they were...or how to pronounce them, come to think of it.)
Max and I were snooping around the set after getting special visitor's passes to visit the studio.
"Max, tell your friend to be quiet or be thrown out!" A girl walking around with a clipboard snapped as she walked by in dangerous-looking stilettos.
I shrugged sheepishly at Max's glare. "Max, tell your sister she's going to snap her neck running around on those...things." I pointed at her shoes.
"It's been said and ignored."
Before I could figure out how Max projected his voice behind me, somebody dropped onto the seat next to mine. Oh, that wasn't Max. Cue hysterical laughter.
"Who are you?" I asked him, taking in the frayed dark-wash jeans and rolled up dress-shirt the guy wore. He looked like a model.
Man, if he worked on set, I was totally going to hit on him to get complete access to the-
"He's the son of one of the producer's," Max said, leaning over me to shake the guy's hand. "Meet Duke-"
Hey, this was so much better than my original plan! "Hi Duke!" I chirped, taking his hand once Max released it. "I'm Imelda!"
"Imelda, meet Duke," Max hissed in my ear.
"I am meeting Duke," I hissed back, still shaking the guy's hand vigorously.
"Yes. Duke." I said, dropping all pretenses of being quiet.
Max threw his hands up in the air and yanked my hand away. "Duke, my sister's boyfriend."
"Duke, your sister's- Ah crud." I pulled my hair out of its ponytail and turned back to Duke. "Hello Duke, my best friend's sister's boyfriend." Trying not to sulk, I changed the topic. "Do you know Lulu?"
"The bear," Max said. "Hey Duke, you probably have something important to be doing..."
Duke shrugged, taking the hint. "Yeah, I'll talk to you later Max. Nice meeting you Imelda."
I watched him go, feeling sad that I had lost my chance at getting regular access to the show's set.
"Imelda, you just hit on my sister's boyfriend!"
"I know," I said quietly, "but maybe if I met him before Morgan I would have gotten regular access to the set." I brightened up at the reminder of what had plagued me all night. "Hey, don't you think it's super-cool how your sister's name is Morgan-"
"-and she's working on a set that has a character named Morgan?"
I gasped at his audacity. "You can't mean that!"
"Okay guys!" the sound technician shouted. "We're going to start filming so let's keep things quiet!"
I nodded, even thought he probably couldn't see me - what with his back facing me and all.
They ran through the beginning of the episode, which took place on the beach set. I had to hold back giggles at the way B1 and B2 walked - their costumes were clearly too big on the actor's, and the clumsiness was actually very charming.
It took some time for the first scene to be shot, just because it had been ages since the show's previous episode had been filmed, and the crew was all new. So before the bears made an appearance, the director called for lunch-break, and Max and I hurried after his sister to find the food.
Duke was standing by the buffet table, clearly having set up the room.
"Peanut butter and jam!" Max exclaimed grabbing three full sandwiches. "Mom hasn't let me around the stuff for two whole years!"
I watched my best friend in distaste as I reached for a chicken salad sandwich.
"Try the pie after you have your sandwiches," Duke suggested.
"Banana cream pie?" I shouted in delight, sounding much like Max had earlier.
Duke laughed, as if I was kidding. (I wasn't.) "No Imelda, it's apple." He leaned forward as if telling me a secret. "I made it."
"Duke, man up," Morgan - the sister, not the bear - snapped. And then quieter, "You're the producer's son, not the caterer. Have some pride!"
It was at times like these that I remembered Morgan had an adult-complex. She was 22, going on 23 in a month, but she acted as if she was some 45-year-old duke's prissy wife. Pun not intended.
Duke's face changed in a snap from playful to angry. "You know what Morgan, maybe you should just find someone who's a 'man' instead of trying to shape me into your idea of one. I'm 21 - I don't have to deal with a brand new mother at this age."
Max and I stared after him and then turned to see Morgan's reaction. She looked surprised for a moment but, when she realized we were watching her, quickly wiped the expression off and smirked. "He's prone to mood-swings," she said confidently, choosing a sandwich and moving on.
I noticed she didn't pick up a slice of pie.
"This reminds me why I hated her so much when we met," Max muttered.
I frowned before realizing what he meant. "Oh yeah..." Morgan was actually his step-sister, the daughter of his mother's second husband.
We grabbed our sandwiches and pies, deciding to eat outside the bustling room. The moment we stepped through the door, somebody started shouting for the producer.
Max and I frowned at each other before shrugging and following the commotion, finding ourselves at the open door of a changing room.
Duke was inside, speaking to a man while another man gently escorted a small woman out of the room.
"I wonder what's going on," I whispered to Max, getting ready to bite into my sandwich.
I must not have been too quiet, because Duke looked over the man's shoulder, while the man himself turned around. I instantly pegged him as Duke's father - he looked exactly like his son, except about 30 years older and with the gray hairs to show it.
"And you are?" he asked.
Duke quickly stepped forward. "That's Imelda, dad," he said. "And he's Max...Morgan's brother." He turned to me. "The woman acting as Amy had a fainting spell - she's being taken home. Dad," he looked at him, "don't stress - we can film without her and then edit it in."
"Don't stress?" senior Duke said with a harsh laugh. "Son, you don't even realize how tight a schedule we're running on!"
"Dad, your blood pressure-"
He waved his son off. "It's fine, it's fine..." he trailed off as he looked at me in contemplation. "You're short."
I sighed. "I know, it's entirely my paternal grandma's fault! I mean, my parents are both giants, and then they had me, a midget, and everyone-"
"Can you act?"
I stopped short. "No."
He grumbled under his breath. "Let me rephrase that. Can you walk around in a stuffy costume for a few hours without killing yourself?"
Max chuckled. "Knowing Imelda...probably not."
"Max!" I snapped before beaming at Duke's father. "If you're offering to let me suit up and be Amy...that's a definite 'yes'!"
He looked me over again and then nodded. "Fine. Duke, help her dress." He began walking away.
"I can dress on my own-" I called to his retreating back as Duke grabbed my arm and dragged me backwards into the changing room.
"I'm sure you can," Duke said in amusement, pulling a furry blob from a closet, "but you'll have a hell of a time buttoning this up by yourself." He grinned. "It defies physics and includes being double-jointed everywhere."
I gnawed on my lip and shrugged at him. "If you say so...hey, can I eat first?"
Duke nodded and pointed to a wrapped sandwich sitting on the table. "I'm going to eat too - we have another half-hour before we have to get you ready."
As the three of us ate, I wandered around the dressing room, checking out all the make-up and clothes. I could feel Duke's eyes following me - probably making sure I didn't steal anything...or set something on fire.
"Watch out in that corner," he called to me. "When the woman fainted she dropped her hand-mirror. There's broken glass over there that needs to be cleaned up."
I nodded and cautiously tip-toed around the fragments. "Hey Duke?"
I dropped onto a chair beside him. "What exactly is it you do around here? I mean, other than make pie."
At the mention of pie, Duke looked away. "I only came in today to see some of dad's colleagues - they're friends of mine from previous projects dad worked on."
"Morgan?" I asked, and then wished I'd kept quiet.
"Morgan..." he trailed off and looked at Max.
Max swallowed his food and shrugged. "She's a complete bitch. Continue?"
"I think she might have used me to get an internship here," Duke admitted quietly. "I wasn't really into her at first, but she convinced me to date, and then she convinced me to recommend her for this job...and now she's-"
"-a complete bitch?" Max interjected with a nod. "That sounds a lot like her."
Duke smiled. "I know she's your sister-"
"-but she's a complete bitch?" I finished, feeling a little left out.
They laughed. "Pretty much," Duke agreed.
"So you guys are over?" Max asked. I shot him a look, realizing he sounded a bit hopeful.
Duke nodded. "Yeah, we're over. I guess I still have to convince her, but it's over."
Max looked satisfied as he sat back in his chair. "That's great," he said, confirming my thoughts. "Hey, you know who else is single? Imelda!"
I felt a blush rise from the back of my neck. "Max," I said in warning.
Duke chuckled and stood up, brushing crumbs off his jeans. "Hey Imelda, are you ready to costume-up?"
I looked down at my plate, only to realize it was empty. "Wow, that pie was good," I told Duke as I shoved my plate at Max and stood up. "Suit me up!"
Two hours later, I was sprouting nonsense while running away from B1 and B2. On set, of course, because otherwise my inner-child would be screaming at me to hug them instead.
Sound and voices were to be dubbed in during editing, so the crew didn't care that I was shouting out random things as the bananas chased us bears.
"You know what would be a great idea?" I called out at one particular moment, after avoiding crashing with Lulu.
Through the corner of my eye-holes I could see the question had come from Duke, who was laughing out-right and enjoying my comments.
"What we need on set is a give way sign!" I announced, darting behind a cardboard tree. "Aren't you going to ask why?"
Duke laughed. "Why, Imelda? Please do tell!"
"To avoid- oomph!" I ran out from behind the tree, only to get tackled to the ground by Morgan. The bear, not the evil step-sister who, coincidentally, looked like she wanted to tackle me as well. "To avoid," I repeated as some people ran over to help us up, "exactly this. If there was a give way sign right about here, Morgan and I wouldn't have ended up on the floor of the set."
I recognized the chuckling, and swatted at Duke after he set me on my feet. (Boy was he strong!) He kissed my nose - okay, fine, the nose of the bear - in response. I think I swooned.
"Duke!" Morgan stormed up to us, Max following her while making faces at her back. "The office printer's out of paper - make yourself useful and go buy some."
Duke raised an eyebrow. "Make myself useful?" he asked her incredulously. "I'm sorry, but I don't work for you. Hell, I don't even work for the studio - you can find some other guy to do it. Or," he continued as if struck by a new idea, "why don't you just do it yourself, since you're not exactly required on set?"
Morgan opened her mouth, clearly about to swear, but stopped herself in time.
"Man, I'm so glad she doesn't live with us anymore," Max commented after she huffed and walked away.
I nodded my agreement, although they probably couldn't see it because the bear costume was so big that my head was dwarfed inside it.
"Okay everyone, let's just run through this one more time, and then we'll call it a day!"
I sighed and got back in position, ready to run around once again. Walking around in the costume had made me realize just how hard it was to perform this particular role. It was hot, it was stuffy, and it was bloody repetitive!
When the director finally let us go, I dragged myself over to the dressing room. Once there, I stared at my bear reflection in the mirror, wondering how exactly I was supposed to get out of the costume without some help.
As if sensing my thoughts, Duke's face appeared in the mirror. "Need help?"
"Please," I muttered, stretching my arms out. "Unbutton please."
He disappeared behind me and, although I couldn't feel him unbuttoning, I assumed he was doing just that.
Sure enough, a few minutes later his face appeared in the mirror again. "Step out."
I tried to pull my legs out of the huge bear feet, but found that my shoes - which I had kept on for balance - were stuck.
"I'm trying," I assured him, "but I think my shoes are stuck."
He hummed for a moment. "Do you want me to try and pull you out?"
"Anything to get me out of this thing," I begged him.
Duke grinned at me in the mirror and then ducked behind to slid his arms into the costume and around my waist. "Max, grab the bear's feet," he said.
I hadn't seen or heard Max come in, but he must be there because I felt another pair of hands grab my feet and then travel lower to hold the costume's feet instead.
"Hold on," Duke warned Max, his arms tightening on my waist as he pulled.
I gasped quietly when the pulling motion brought his arm up high enough that it repeatedly brushed against my breast. Thank God I was in the stupid costume, or the blush would have been very evident.
"Imelda, take your arms and head out of the costume first," Max said impatiently. "How're we supposed to get your legs out when you don't even release your other limbs?"
I heard Duke mutter an 'oh yeah' under his breath. He and I had both overlooked that very important fact.
"Sorry..." I murmured, bending my body to free my arms and head. "Oh, fresh indoor air!" I declared when my sweaty face encountered the air-conditioned air of the dressing room.
Duke chuckled and tugged me again.
My body was pressed tightly against his now, and only my sweaty shirt and his not-so-sweaty shirt were barriers between us. The back of my head was squeezed under neck so that - if I were able to tilt my head back a little more - his chin would be touching my forehead.
Suddenly, my feet came loose and Duke and I went hurtling to the ground. He tried to break our fall with his arms, but one of his elbows hit me on the temple.
"Ow!" I shouted as I fell on top of Duke.
Max dropped the costume and crouched beside us. "Imelda? Duke? Are you guys okay?"
Duke groaned and slid an arm around me so that he could sit up without rolling me off. "I'm fine," he managed. "Imelda?"
I rubbed my temple. "How do you feel about facebook?" I asked Duke, leaning my back against his chest. It was only then that I realized I was sitting in his lap.
"I...use it?" Duke responded cautiously. "Is she concussed?" he whispered to Max.
Max started laughing. "Her? No, that's just how she normally is. Imelda thinks facebook was created solely to make her happy."
"Don't make me abuse you," I said with a glare. "And that's both in real-life and in facebook!"
"I'm scared," he promised, rolling his eyes. "Now, how about getting off my sister's recently ex-boyfriend before she walks in and chews you out for it."
I sighed and continued rubbing my temple. "She doesn't scare me...much. Does she scare you Duke? Will you be my facebook friend?"
"I think Morgan scares everyone," Duke told me, the fingers of his free hand - the other was still around me - crept up to brush my fingers aside and feel for a lump on my temple. "And yes, I'll be your facebook friend."
Max stood up and held a hand up for me to take. "Come on, get up."
I eyed the hand suspiciously and then took it. I had no more excuses for staying in Duke's lap - except that I liked it very very much. "Thanks."
"You're welcome. Now..." Max looked between me and Duke, who had also stood up. "When the two of you hook up, make it very clear to Morgan that I wasn't involved."
Another blush began to form on my face. "What do you mean?" I stammered.
"Oh, save the blushing idiot routine!" Max snorted. "Any fool could tell you enjoyed sitting on his lap!" Duke must have grinned, because Max turned on him next. "And you! You enjoyed it just as much - maybe even more - than she did!"
Surprisingly, Duke shrugged instead of denying it. "What of it?" he asked casually.
I gaped between the two guys, and then decided this was too surreal for me. My best friend was trying to hook me with his step-sister's ex-boyfriend...who had just dumped her a few hours ago. "Look at the time, I must get going!" I exclaimed, making a big show of heading for the door. I conveniently ignored the fact that, despite me being 18 and a good-driver, my parents insisted Max drive me to and from the set that day. "Good day to you boys!"
I'd almost escaped through the door when Duke called out my name.
"Yeah?" I asked, my hand gripping the door frame.
"Don't forget to facebook me," he said with a smile. "I'll be sure to confirm."
I grinned in response. "Don't worry!" I assured him. "I'll definitely poke you tonight."
A frown appeared on my face after those words as I tried to figure out whether I'd- Crap. Max was laughing his butt off, so that definitely had been an unintended sexual innuendo.
"Rated PG!" I promised Duke over Max's chortling. My frown deepened when I realized Duke was moving towards me. "Or even G...or E, for everyone!"
He came to a stop in front of me. "I'm sorry if you think I'm being too fast, but I can't resist," he said.
Before I could question him, he lowered his face and kissed the corner of my lips - lingering for a few seconds before pulling away.
"You...missed," I said weakly, making him laugh and press his forehead to mine.
"Max, get her home safely," Duke said, pulling away. I guess he knew Max was my ride. "I saw the two of you pull up earlier," he explained, as if reading my mind.
"Ah," I said in understanding. "Um...bye?"
"Bye Imelda. Max." They bumped their fists before Max began walking down the hallway, expecting me to follow.
So I followed him, not knowing what else I was supposed to be do.
Once again I stopped as Duke said my name. "Yeah?"
"Next time, I won't miss."
I grinned at him over my shoulder before rushing to catch up to Max.
I now had something to look forward to and, no, it wasn't just the regular set access I was sure to gain by dating the producer's son.
A/N: I kind of cheated, because I made Morgan the step-sister instead of blood-sister. It seemed more far-fetched to me that Max would set up his own sister's ex-boyfriend with his best friend, so I had to make that leap.
Like usual, I'm going to say that this may seem rushed (and short), but it's a one-shot, and it's a one-shot written based on a prompt with a very defined setting. It could not be helped, and writing more would have just painfully dragged the story.
* I do not own Bananas in Pyjamas or any characters within the show - including B1, B2, Amy, Lulu, and Morgan.
* As far as I know, the aforementioned show has not been slotted to be renewed, so the 'final season' I wrote of is completely fictional.