Summary: The Ducks wrap up their first school year at Eden Hall with the yearly marriage project. Seven of the players are more on the verge of divorce than others, though, when the whole project starts to get completely out of hand.
Dedication: I was going to say none, but I have to dedicate it to Kristine (nygoldfish54) and Sam (trulyforgotten9) as I wouldn't have become a better writer without their help.
Disclaimer: The Mighty Ducks belong to Disney. I own Fred, Kate and Daniel. Lex belongs to nygoldfish54. (Lex was originally not in this story, but Kristine suggested I'd use her, and I just couldn't pass that up...)
Chapter 4: Witchy Woman
Cimmy's Notes: Thank you for the reviews, people! Just keep 'em coming.
This chapter is dedicated to Sam because it is her birthday, and as the crappy friend I am, this is all I have to give her. Happy birthday, chica!
Charlie found that sulking was a lot more boring when no one was around to pay any attention to it.
It was Wednesday afternoon and two days into the marriage project from hell. Tired of listening to Adam admonishing him every time he put a toe over the threshold of their room, Charlie had retreated to the Rainbow Café. The weather was a bit better than he’d expected, but that also meant that he was almost alone in the diner.
He’d been thinking a lot about what Fulton had said the previous day, and whether he liked to admit it or not, it made a lot of sense. Not the part about him and Adam, of course. They certainly didn’t fight all the time. The part about asking Linda out was far more accurate. Charlie missed her, and at times, he couldn’t quite remember exactly why they broke up in the first place.
Adam would claim that it had to do with Charlie and Linda being too dependent on each other, resulting in both of them needing some time apart to breathe, but Charlie just knew that wasn’t the problem, because when had Adam ever been right?
Anyway, it wasn’t like he really cared what Linda was doing or who she’d be going to the dance with, or anything. Not at all.
“Woe is you, Captain?”
Charlie groaned inwardly as Kate McKinley came bouncing up to his table. “Kate.”
Kate imitated his grumpy expression. “Charlie,” she said with a low voice, before taking a place opposite him. “Why such a sourpuss?”
“The nerve!” she said with feigned insult. “Here I’m trying to be friendly and you tell me to go away even though I’m such a lovely company to have.” Charlie only glared at her, fighting back the impulse of dumping his milkshake over her head. Kate tilted her head to the side with a glimpse of sympathy in her eyes. “No, seriously. Did your cat die or something? Man, I love kittens.” She gasped worriedly. “Don’t tell me a kitten died!”
“No one’s died,” Charlie said impatiently. “I don’t have a cat.”
“I hade one once. So, why are you here? Why so gloomy? Is the project not going all right?”
“The project is hell!” Charlie exclaimed dissatisfiedly. “I have the worst partner in the world and everyone thinks I’m mooning over my ex-girlfriend.”
“Well, are you?”
“So, why do you care what they think?” Kate asked curiously, grabbing Charlie’s milkshake and pulling it across the table to take a sip. “People always talk. Most of the time it’s not even true. Believe me, I know how this works. I’m a cheerleader.”
Charlie gave her a confused look, and was then unable to keep from smiling. “Oh, yeah? That’s how it works?”
Kate grinned. “Look, I’m paired with monkey-boy Portman. How much worse can it get?”
“My partner keeps carrying around our egg in a basket.”
“Hey, unless he tried to put you in a dumpster headfirst, I believe I’m winning.”
Charlie laughed. “He did that?”
“Apparently I talk too much,” Kate shrugged with a smile. “He threw me over his shoulder and said that he’d put me in the dumpster behind Rainbow, and I mean eww! How gross wouldn’t that have been? I was wearing my designer jeans and everything! You don’t put my tush in a dumpster when it's wearing designer jeans!”
Charlie raised an eyebrow. “You’re always wearing designer clothes.”
“Which is why putting me in a dumpster is a deadly sin!” Kate pointed out energetically. “Anyway, he put me down again before dropping me into that thing, but he was dangling me over the edge for nearly ten seconds! The nerve!”
“Well, I haven’t been able to find him today. I think he’s hiding.”
Amused by Kate and Portman’s antics, Charlie was suddenly feeling a lot less miserable. “Sometimes he hides out under the bleachers by the pool.”
Kate looked excited. “Awesome! I’ll check that out. Thanks, Captain.”
“You know, I’m not really your captain,” Charlie smiled.
“I guess you’re not. Can I call you Charlie?”
“Most people do.”
“Your friend Adam doesn’t.”
“Adam is too inhuman to be a real person,” Charlie muttered, taking back his milkshake. “Don’t you have other friends to stalk?”
“Not really. Fred’s with that girl Julie, but he says they only fight all the time,” Kate shrugged. “And Danny’s with Connie Moreau.”
“Ah. And how about the hordes of other friends you have?” Charlie asked, starting to think that she’d never leave.
“Eh. They’re not really my closest friends or anything. I just hang out with them.”
“Right… Why would you hang out with them if you don’t like them?”
“They’re all right, I guess. I have a reputation to uphold, you know. I can’t be popular and not have any friends! That would never work!”
Charlie laughed at her dramatic gesticulation. “I guess it’s tough being the most popular girl in school.”
“Oh, you have no idea,” Kate grinned. “But, uh, I know that’s what they’re saying.”
“That they think it’s weird Fred and I keep to ourselves and hang out with Danny when we’re supposed to be surrounded by the richest and the prettiest, you know. I was never one to pay much attention to what people say, really. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not, just to be accepted, you know.”
“That’s… That’s cool, I guess,” Charlie said, realizing he’d always wondered that about her. “But you’re still friends with people you don’t really like.”
“Eh, it’s all part of the game, Charlie. You have to play it to get somewhere. I just play by my own rules, that's all. So, do you wanna go catch a movie or something? I’m bored and you’re not as bad company as I thought you’d be.” Kate got up from the seat and grabbed his hand to haul him to his feet. “Come on, I’ll even let you choose movie.”
“So, we’ll go see a surf movie, or something,” Kate giggled. “Come on, don’t be such a grouch.”
“Fine. But you’re buying me popcorn,” Charlie caved in, getting to his feet. Kate led him out of the diner and towards the bus stop on the other side of the street.
“You’re such a gentleman,” she snorted. “Is this how you treat your dates?”
“Well, you have to take me out sometime and prove me wrong, then,” Kate said determinedly. “Come on, cough up some money. I can’t pay the bus fare with my credit card.”
Charlie watched her as he went through his pockets for enough change to get them into town. She was a very peculiar girl.
“Remind me again why this is a good idea.”
Daniel grinned lopsidedly, turning his head to look at Connie. “What? It’s sunny and it’s hot, so I don’t really see why it’s so bad to be laying by the pool.”
Connie sighed, shoving her notepad into his chest. “We’re supposed to be studying. God, I can’t believe I agreed to this.”
Daniel stretched out across the bleacher they were sitting on, leaning back against his elbows, still grinning. “I don’t see what the big deal is.”
“I’m surprised you can see anything with those things covering half your face,” Connie growled, snatching his sunglasses off his nose. “Now, could you maybe stop ogling those girls long enough to help me out?”
Daniel held out his hand towards her, holding the egg, without taking his eyes off the girls that were walking by them. “Sorry, honey. I’m taking care of the little one right now.”
“Don’t call me honey,” Connie warned, poking at him with her pen. They’d been down by the pool for almost an hour, and had made no progress whatsoever. It had been Daniel’s suggestion to go down there and study instead of sitting in the library. Connie regretted this decision, as all Daniel seemed to be interested in was checking out girls.
The pool was located right behind the school auditorium and had a set of grandstands along one of the long sides. The bleachers were packed with people studying or sunbathing in the good weather. Connie imagined that in the right company, she would actually enjoy being there. However, she was definitely not in the right company at the moment.
“Stop poking me and tell me what the problem was again,” Daniel said distractedly, still without looking at her.
“The budget. Our budget. We have three kids to support-”
“Let’s just sell one and see if we make any profit,” Daniel shrugged; giving the egg he was holding a quick glance. “This one’s pretty cute. I’m sure we could get at least $5.50 for it. I’ll ask those chicks over there-”
“You’ll go nowhere,” Connie quickly interrupted, digging her fingers into his arm to keep him from getting up. “Last time you left, it took you twenty minutes to come back!”
“But I did bring you back a nice soda, didn’t I?” Daniel grinned, rubbing his arm. “Stop nagging and fill out the budget. It shouldn’t take this long.”
“If you helped-”
“If I help, how will you ever learn?” he asked simply. “Look, you fill out the total amount here-” He pointed at one of the columns in the chart she had in her lap. “-you fill out your income here, and my income there, and you make the deduction-”
“Wait, wait, wait! What did I put in this column?” Connie asked hurriedly.
“Your income. Come on, it’s just like balancing your checkbook.”
“I don’t have any checks to balance,” Connie pointed out, quickly filling in the correct amount in the columns Daniel was pointing at. “If you know this crap, why won’t you just help me with it?”
“It shouldn’t be that hard,” he muttered, taking back his sunglasses from her. “Let me know when you get to the tricky parts.”
Connie made an ugly face at him. Daniel was just as arrogant and stuck-up as her first impression of him had been. All he did was point out how much he knew that she didn’t, always with the same smug smile on his face. He was a pretentious ass with an ego larger than the entire state, and Connie wasn’t sure how she would ever be able to put up with him for eight more days.
“Now, I have a question for you, love,” Daniel said. He’d given up on staring at the girls that were lying on their towels in the grass right next to the stands, and was now instead fully resting on his back, eyes closed.
“Don’t call me that either,” Connie muttered, kicking at his leg.
“Ow,” he said, laughing. “Take it easy, girl. I have a question regarding your boyfriend.”
“Whatever the question is about, I can assure you that it’s none of your damn business whatsoever.”
“Take it easy!” Daniel chuckled, squinting up at her. “Now, I helped you out with your questions-”
“They were part of the assignment!” Connie declared furiously.
“It’s only fair I get to ask some questions too,” he smirked.
“Is there a particular reason-” Daniel ignored her, “-as to why your boyfriend is stalking us?”
“What?” Connie scowled at him.
“Your boyfriend. Stalking us. Does he always do that, or is it a new hobby of his?”
“What?” she repeated, having no idea what he was talking about. As far as she could see, there was no sign of anyone stalking her, and least of all Guy.
“Boyfriend. Stalking,” Daniel pronounced slowly. “Am I speaking too fast for ya?”
“Just tell me what you’re talking about!” Connie snapped.
Daniel sighed forcefully, sitting up. “Behind us, across the lawn, in the bushes. Two guys, one of them is your boyfriend, the other one is probably not, unless you’re the kinda girl who’s into that. I’m curious what he’s doing there. Is this some sort of game the two of you play? Stalking you turns him on?”
Connie quickly looked over her shoulder, spotting Guy and Luis right where Daniel had pointed out. Guy ducked down when he noticed she was looking, while Luis just stood there, shaking his head dejectedly, until Guy reached up and pulled him down behind the bushes.
Connie decided that Daniel had been far too rude over a very short span of time, and hit him over the head with the notepad. “Luis is not my boyfriend!”
“Just the average stalker, then,” Daniel laughed. “Man, they’ve been following us around all day, and yesterday they had been hiding under my window. At least I think it was them, as a cat wouldn’t have done as much damage as they did, nor would it be stupid enough to be outside when it is raining.”
“They’re not stalking me,” Connie said firmly. She didn’t know why Guy and Luis were hiding in the bushes, but she wasn’t going to let Daniel have the satisfaction of being right yet again.
“No, they just like following you around, watching your every move, breathing heavily each time you show some skin-”
“They don’t do that! Just leave them alone,” Connie growled, blushing slightly. She hated his rude comments. “Daniel, help me instead-”
“Doll, I’m protecting you from evil stalkers! What more can I do?”
“Stop calling me names! It’s very offensive and my name is Connie!” she finally exploded.
Daniel’s attention was elsewhere, though, as his gaze followed a blonde girl who was walking towards the pool. She was wearing a pink bikini and her hair was in a ponytail. Connie recognized her as Chrissie Connors, the head cheerleader of the JV squad. Chrissie had already noticed Daniel’s eager staring, but unlike the other girls that had found Daniel looking at them, she didn’t giggle or blush shyly.
“Charm’s not working for ya?” Connie said; amused to see that there was at least someone Daniel couldn’t flirt with.
Daniel shrugged, trying to come off as indifferent to this fact. “She’s a bad lay.”
Connie raised her eyebrow, finding it very hard to believe that Daniel would know that. “Oh, really?”
“Well, she’s gotta be. She’s refusing to go out with me, so what other reasons could there be?” Daniel asked conclusively, lying back down.
“I’m refusing to go out with you too,” Connie pointed out with a smirk.
“Yeah, but you have two boyfriends, so you can’t be that bad in bed,” Daniel shrugged again.
Connie promptly went back to hating his guts.
Credits & References
+ Witchy Woman is a song by The Eagles. I think Kristine is to blame for that song title, but I can't actually remember.
+ Charlie describing Kate as 'peculiar' is a Buffy reference. Here's a funny fact: Riley Finn, who originally spoke that line, is played by Marc Blucas, and he starred in I Capture the Castle with Rose Byrne, whom Kate is portraited by. (Sometimes I'm so good at this I scare myself. Sometimes I just scare myself.)
+ Kate originally had a line that referenced the movie Off the Lip (starring Marguerite Moreau) when she was talking about seeing a surf movie. It didn't really work, so I removed it.
+ The pool scene, or all pool scenes, are based on the pool scenes in Get Over It. That movie is one of my many guilty pleasures.