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 6: Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Cimmy's Notes: I'm back from my Easter Break and am now in the middle of my Spring Break, so I finally have some time over to update. Thanks for the reviews and for sticking with the story. The next update will probably be once school is over, as both Kristine and I are kind of busy at the moment.
Connie sat down in the cafeteria with her newly purchased cheese sandwich and Adam’s Economics Studies book. She was hell bent on figuring out how the budget and economy parts of the assignment were done to beat Daniel at his own, obnoxious game. She had to learn, or he’d belittle and taunt her for the extent of the project.
She’d gotten to the part about bookkeeping, and how to enter profits and losses, when she caught a glimpse of someone a few tables away. Remembering what Daniel had said a couple of days ago; she closed the book and put it aside. “He’s not here, you know,” she explained loud enough for her voice to carry through the room, and then she took a bite of her sandwich.
Guy lowered the book he’d held in front of his face, crestfallen, completely surprised that Connie had managed to spot him. He sighed heavily and got up to join her table. “How’s it going?”
Connie giggled at his attempt to sound cool. “It’s all right. I don’t need to yell at you again, do I?”
Guy smiled, stealing a piece of bread from her sandwich and putting it in his mouth. “I was just making sure you’re all right.”
“Yeah, I often get into loads of trouble in the cafeteria in broad daylight,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Daniel’s not gonna be here.”
“Well, it’s not about you-”
“No, not at all,” she interrupted sarcastically.
“I mean it! Charlie and the others are just as concerned about Daniel’s intentions-”
“His intentions are to drive me crazy. Guy, we went through this-”
Guy rested his head against the table. “I know, I know,” he whimpered. “I’m sorry. I know you can take care of yourself.”
“Yeah, but that’s not what I meant.” Connie reached out for his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. “You trust me, don’t you?”
Guy stared up at her, woefully, wondering why he always had to do things that made her feel insecure. “Man, I’m really sorry, Connie. I, uh… Of course I trust you. I just don’t-”
“-trust him,” she finished for him, expecting him to say all the standard lines to make her feel better – he didn’t do it to patronize her; it was just the only thing he could think of to say. Original expressions of emotion weren’t what sixteen year old boys knew best, after all. “Daniel is a jerk, that’s true. But aside from rude remarks and offensive questions, he’s pretty harmless. You don’t have to follow us around. That only makes it fun for him.”
Guy didn’t know what to say. Connie could assure him a thousand times that Daniel was as innocent as a dull poodle, and Guy would still think he was Beelzebub himself. “He doesn’t know I’m checking up on him,” Guy finally claimed.
“Guy, you’re just about as smooth as a bull in a china shop,” Connie said tiredly, reaching for her book again. “He spotted you by the pool the other day. And he knows you’ve been sneaking around under his window.”
Guy scoffed through his nose, trying to come off as indifferent even though he knew he’d been caught. “Connie, he’s only saying that.”
She smiled affectionately at him, tilting her head to the side. “Fine, Guy, but it would mean a lot to me if you stopped doing it anyway.”
Guy muttered something inaudibly.
“Fine, I promise. Man, we were really sneaky, though,” he said confidently. “How the hell did he figure it out?”
Connie shrugged thoughtfully. “I don’t know, Guy. He’s pretty smart. He knows the answers to all our assignments, and he hasn’t even looked at the papers yet. He just sits there and stares and talks about irrelevant matters while I try to explain what I’m having problem with, and all of a sudden he just tells me all the answers out of the blue, like it’s no big deal at all.”
“So, he’s smart,” Guy muttered quietly. “So what? A lot of people are.”
Connie scoffed. “Not smart enough to avoid retaking freshman year, obviously. If he’s supposed to be so damn smart, wouldn’t he have passed a long time ago?”
Guy straightened up, suddenly a lot more interested. “He flunked ninth grade?”
“He must have. He’s one year older than any freshman in this year. He probably spends too much time flirting with girls,” Connie hissed acidly. “You see? Someone can be a genius and still be as stupid as a cashew nut. Knowing all the answers doesn’t help if you don’t wanna answer the questions in the first place.”
Guy was barely listening to her anymore. “Right, sounds great. Gotta go.” With a swift movement he pushed back the chair and ran for the door. Connie watched him with bewilderment, surprised at his quick exit.
Luis was walking back to his dorm, having just followed Mindy back to hers after their trip in to the city. He was still trying to find a solution to be able to have time for everything Linda had planned for them. Not wanting to make her unnecessarily angry with him, he’d decided it was best to try and do as many of the things on her list as possible. Unfortunately, she seemed to be a hopeless perfectionist – and unnecessarily hyper regarding schoolwork. Luis wondered if maybe she was burying herself in work to compensate for how lonely she was without Charlie. Charlie had spent the first week after their breakup skating around the rink so much that he’d gotten an eye infection from the cold.
Getting to the bottom of Linda’s issues was suddenly the least of his problems, when Guy came running towards him. Luis’s first impulse was to run the other way, but decided that would only cause more problems than it would solve. “I got it! I got it! I have something!” Guy announced jubilantly, coming to an abrupt halt in front of him.
“What do you have?” Luis muttered, not in the mood for more of Guy’s jealous rampages through the school.
“Daniel. I know something about him. It might help us… do… something… I don’t know – something!” Guy ranted expectantly, looking more excited than ever. “We could – we could – we could use it against him somehow. I don’t know. It’s something, at least!”
“Guy, I don’t wanna disappoint you, but I’m really not in the mood for this right now. Linda and I aren’t getting along very well, and Mindy is pissed because I’ve had to cancel all our dates for next week. Could we please do this some other time?”
Guy shook his head enthusiastically. “No, no, no. We have to do this now. We need to get into the principal’s office. They keep all the student records there, I’ve seen them. All we need to do-”
“Oh, forget it!” Luis exclaimed nervously. “I’m not helping you break into the filing cabinets just because you think Daniel DeRienzo has connections in the mob!”
Guy laughed lightly, looking up and down the hallway. “Don’t be ridiculous. It’s not like it’s a crime or anything!” He grabbed Luis’s arm and started dragging him down the stairs.
The atmosphere in Fulton and Portman’s dorm room was not the best. “Hmm, this is tricky,” Kate mumbled slowly, taking a quick look at her paper sheet and then scrawling down something with her pen, holding her arm protectively around the paper to keep the others from seeing it. “It could be anyone.”
“There will be more than one murder here if you don’t hurry up!” Portman hissed. “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
Kate drew a deep breath of indignation before she announced with an outraged voice, “Someone is dead, Dean, and you’re worrying about time.”
“Calm down,” he said nervously, hoping someone outside wouldn’t hear her shouting. “You think someone will notice?”
Fulton, who sat opposite him on the floor, leaned closer to investigate. “I don’t know, dude. It looks pretty bad.” He had trouble keeping a straight face.
“This is awful. Awful I’m telling ya,” Kate whimpered sadly, shaking her head. Her red curls fell into her face and she quickly brushed them away. “His life was so rich and full of joy and now look at him! Dead!”
Charlie rolled his eyes. “Oh, be more dramatic, will ya? Do you have to make a scene out of everything?”
Kate flashed a grin at him, before regaining her fake devastation. “I think we should pray,” she said solemnly.
“Oh, come on!” Adam finally snapped. “Just roll the dice already!”
Kate wrinkled her nose at him, rolled the dice and moved her piece across the board. “I think it’s Ms. Pinky in the study with the rope.”
Charlie sighed with relief. “Was that so hard? Took you ten damn minutes to roll the dice!”
“And you can’t make up your own names for them,” Adam pointed out, looking at his cards.
“Pink is a nicer color than scarlet,” Kate decided with a nod. “Scarlet clashes with my hair.”
“And pink doesn’t?” Fulton asked just to have something to say. He couldn’t care less if scarlet made her look like a green-eyed monster – which wasn’t too far from the truth, he’d learned that afternoon.
It had, of course, been Kate who’d convinced them that a ‘friendly game of Clue was just what they needed’ and for lack of other things to do, Fulton had agreed to it, and, although grudgingly, Portman had too. After convincing Charlie and Adam to join them, Fulton had expected them to play one round to keep Kate off their backs, so that they could throw her out without feeling guilty.
That had been one hour ago, and they were still in the first round, as Kate kept stalling the game each time it was her turn to roll the dice. Fulton suspected she was bored and didn’t have anyone else to bug – or ‘hang out with’, as she liked to call it. Portman wasn’t helping at all, either, by playing along with her nonsense.
“Whose turn is it?” Kate asked perkily, holding out the dice in front of her.
“Could we maybe stop playing this soon?” Adam muttered. “I still haven’t done all my homework and I have to leave to go home straight after school tomorrow.”
“And I’ve had enough of serious murders in my family for one day,” Charlie sulked, glaring at Adam.
“I wish I could have a serious murder in my family,” Portman growled as Kate forced the dice into his hand. “All right, let’s see… Five! Okay…”
“It’s Ms. Pinky, I’m telling ya!” Kate shrieked excitedly, almost upending the board. “This is so cool. Fred and Daniel never want to play with me.”
“One might wonder why,” Adam said, exchanging a look with Charlie, who in turn watched Kate as she leaned over the board to move Portman’s piece. “Why don’t you go play with your other friends?”
Kate shrugged limply. “Guess they got better things to do. Fred had to study with Julie, and Daniel left to go talk to some chick. He said it wasn’t Chrissie Connors, but he’s always looking at her anyway! Why would he do that?”
“Chrissie Connors? She’s hot,” Portman said tactlessly. Kate gasped heatedly, crossing her arms and turning her back against him. Adam rolled his eyes at her melodramatic performance. Portman went on, “I don’t think anyone here can disagree with that!”
“I can!” Kate shouted, spinning back to face him. “She looks like a pig.”
“A cute pig,” Fulton added.
“A hot pig,” Portman went on.
“A barbecued pig,” Adam filled in randomly.
“Don’t make me hungry!” Charlie complained.
Kate stared at them for a couple of blissfully quiet moments. “You all suck.” Adam was surprised to see that she actually seemed hurt by their opinions of Chrissie Connors, and it hadn’t been his – or the others, he assumed – intention to say something hurtful. Kate didn’t seem to get upset or genuinely sad very often, so he decided to let it go.
Charlie was thinking something along those lines too. “Come on, Kate, we’re just kidding with you. You can take that, can’t you?”
Kate sniffled dramatically. “Of course I can. You don’t understand anyway,” she said determinedly with her trademark pout.
“It’s perfectly understandable,” Adam said. “You’re jealous.”
“Nuh-uh!” Kate gasped even louder. Adam wondered how Fred and Daniel put up with her annoying sounds as much as they did. “I’m way prettier than she is!”
“Yeah, you are,” Charlie agreed to indulge her – at least that’s what Adam assumed he was doing.
Kate looked a bit flustered at Charlie’s remark but quickly shook it off. “She is my mortal enemy!”
“Mortal enemy?” Portman snickered. “Didn’t know teenage girls had those.”
“Yuh-uh, we do,” Kate nodded energetically. “You know, if it hadn’t been for her, I could've been the captain of the JV squad! But she’s always wrecked all my chances – wouldn’t even let me join until Ms. Sawyer stepped in! I had to be on the Goddamn pep squad!”
The others watched as she worked herself up into frenzy. “Kate…” Charlie tried.
“You know, Mindy Keller likes me better than Chrissie, she’s told me, and the Varsity cheerleaders have much more influence than we do, so Chrissie Connors can just bite me,” Kate spoke rapidly. Her voice turned bitter in an instant. “Daniel says he’s not interested in her, but she’s just the kind of slag he’s always drooling over. I… I’d hoped he liked being my friend more than he’d like getting her into bed, that’s all. But I guess he’s just like every other guy, only thinking about himself and how to get laid.”
Waiting to see if her tantrum was over or not, neither one of them said another word until Kate sighed heavily and relaxed a little. Adam made a feeble effort to say something. “Err… Kate?” he prodded. Kate looked up at him with questioning eyes. Adam had no idea what to say; he now knew more about her than he’d ever wanted to know, and he was quite certain that he didn’t care about it as much as Kate probably wanted someone to. He wasn't even sure if he knew what a ‘slag’ was. “It’s your turn.”
Kate’s face lit up. “Oh, right! Forgot.” She reached for the dice, once again as cheerful as one could be. Adam realized that he preferred the perky Kate. The emotional Kate was much too scary.
Fred left Julie’s dorm five minutes before curfew. They had actually managed to get along fairly well without too many spats. They weren’t actually getting anywhere with their endless bickering; accusing her of being a spoiled brat would only backfire on himself, since he was just as spoiled as she was. And each time she told him how unreasonable he was, she was being just as unreasonable herself. Just like that, their fights went back and forth until one of them just gave up.
They still hadn’t settled which one of them was the richest, most spoiled brat – Fred was certain he was winning, though.
As he walked down the stairs from the girls’ dorm and turned the corner to head towards his own room, he almost walked right into a girl who was coming from the other direction – from the boys’ dorm. She had her arms folded and was staring into the floor, stopping only a few inches away from him and then looking up. “Sorry.”
Fred just nodded at first, taking a step to the left to walk around her. The girl also moved to his left, blocking his way again. When he tried walking on her right, she also stepped in that direction, until she lost her patience. “Could you watch where you’re going?” she growled with frustration, throwing her arms to her sides.
“I’m sorry,” he muttered. After having to deal with Julie all evening, he was dead tired of people snapping at him for no reason.
The girl glared intently at him, before sighing resignedly. “Sorry. I’m a bitch, I know.”
“No, you’re not,” he said immediately.
The girl looked him in the eyes. “No, maybe not, but I’m having a really bad day.”
“Join the club,” Fred mumbled, taking the opportunity to move past her now when she was standing still. He stopped and measured her with a look. She had light brown hair and brandy brown eyes, and he recognized her for some reason, but he wasn’t quite sure from where. Her hair was put up in a messy bun, and while she looked very pretty, she also looked exhausted, and he couldn’t leave it at that. “You all right?”
She shrugged dully. “It’s late, and I’m not in a good mood.”
Fred scoffed amusedly. “No one seems to be nowadays.” He suddenly knew where he’d seen her before. “You’re in my Health class.”
“Yeah,” she nodded. “What a joy it is,” she added with mock excitement. “I’m just dying to get married after this.”
Fred couldn’t help but smiling. “Who’s your partner?”
“Oh, I don’t have one,” she said with a determined nod. “I’m all on my own. Well, in theory it’s supposed to be Guy Germaine, but-”
“-he’s too busy stalking his girlfriend,” Fred continued, far too familiar with the source of her initial problem: Daniel. “I’m sorry.”
She sighed again. “Oh, it’s not your fault. I just… I have no idea how to pass this subject if I can’t even find him,” she mumbled dejectedly. “I’ve been to his dorm about a hundred times today, and he’s never there. And… and I think Ms. Hudson is about to fail me… so… that’d be bad. ‘Cause I’ll lose my scholarship if I don’t pass all my classes.”
She was starting to look extremely upset and Fred was worried that she might burst into tears, and he had no idea how to handle a crying girl other than to offer her chocolate. “I’m sure it’ll… be all right. I see Guy almost every day, I can tell him to stop being an ass and… help you out.”
“Thanks, but… All right, that’d be cool, actually,” she decided, nodding persistently, doing her best not to look so messed up. “That’s nice of you.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not having too much fun with my own partner, so I can relate,” he smiled. “I’m with Julie Gaffney. I mean, she’s a nice girl and all, I’m sure we’d get along if we weren’t forced to do this project, but… I guess we’re not compatible as partners.”
“It’s just so much to do,” she mumbled dispiritedly. “The outlines, and the stupid little eggs – did you know we have eight eggs to take care of? – and the budget-”
Fred straightened up. “We’ve finished our budget. If you want, I can try and help you with it.”
She hesitated for a second before she answered. “Are you sure you have time for that?”
“Yeah, it’s… it’s no big deal. Julie did most of the work anyway. I’m not allowed to touch anything before she’s finished it,” he explained with a nod.
She snickered a little. Fred noticed that she had a beautiful smile. “When do you have time?” she asked quietly.
“We can… we can do it now, if you want. Uh, I mean, we can do the budget… now,” he stuttered slightly.
“It’s almost curfew,” she pointed out, looking at the clock on the wall next to them.
“We should probably… uh… go somewhere there are no teachers,” she suggested thoughtfully. “Rainbow. Let’s go there.”
Fred was surprised, but had no problem obliging with that. He wondered why he hadn’t noticed her in class more distinctly earlier. They walked side by side down the corridor to sneak out through the side entrance on the second floor. Fred threw a quick look at her before he opened the door. “I’m Fred, by the way.”
She gave up a short laugh. “Yeah, I know,” she said amusedly. “Everyone knows who you are.”
For some reason, that made him feel slightly self-conscious. “Oh,” he mumbled, blushing.
She smiled shyly. “Your friend Daniel dated one of my friends once.”
“That doesn't surprise me at all,” he said, trying to look at something else to keep the blush from creeping up on his face again. He was struck by an unsettling thought. “Oh. You… uh… you didn’t… You didn’t date him, did you?”
“Me?” she laughed. “I don’t think I’m his type.”
“You’d be surprised what he’d be willing to date just to get laid,” Fred muttered bitterly, and then wanted to bite his tongue off. “Uh, I mean…”
“It’s all right,” she said with a smirk. “He’s not my type.”
“Oh. That’s good,” he added, feeling strangely relieved. “Don’t change your mind… about that.”
“So, you’re Fred,” she smiled amusedly.
“Uh, yeah, that’s me. I don’t remember your name, though,” he explained uncertainly, feeling dumb for not knowing her name when they were in the same class together.
“It’s all right,” she assured him, with a much more cheerful tone from when he’d first met her. She held out her hand towards him and he shook it, as she told him her name. “I’m Lex O’Leary.”
He smiled. “Nice to meet you, Lex.”
She grinned at him when he held up the door for her, and they both snuck around the building to get to the diner.
Credits & References
+ Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love is a song by Van Halen.
+ I owe the inspiration for the entire Clue part of the chapter to Kristine. It was originally intended for another story.
+ Also, the eight eggs was Kristine's idea, not mine. Don't ask me why it had to be eight.
+ Six is the magic number. Stick around to find out how much trouble Guy and Luis will be in once they break into the principal's office.