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 8: Spirit of Radio
Cimmy's Notes: It's been over a year since I updated, and all I can say is that I've lost motivation to keep updating like I used to. Chapters nine and ten are finished and have been so for the last two years, but as soon as they're posted I doubt I will have the time to continue writing this story. I hope you have enjoyed the story so far, and I hope you will like these new (last) chapters. Thank you for reading!
The following day didn’t seem to shape up to be any better than the previous. Averman made an astoundingly $32 after Kate and Portman got into a huge – and loud – dispute concerning the chocolate chip cookies in the cafeteria. After a few lethal threats, Averman decided to share some of the win with Portman.
To prepare for the big party later that day, to which Adam was still objecting loudly, Portman dragged Russ and Dwayne away from English class to go pick up some necessary items at the store. Even though it had been his suggestion, Portman complained all the way there. The topic was, of course, Kate McKinley. “Did you know that she collects those tiny little plastic horses? She talks about them like they’re people! ‘Bucky did this, Poncho did that, oh, look at little Ashie’ – who would put up with that?!”
Russ shrugged, barely listening. “Those friends of hers?”
“And her hair! It’s like a farming accident; you can’t not be annoyed with it!”
“Apparently not,” Russ sighed, exchanging a weary look with Dwayne. They were both sick of hearing of Kate McKinley’s latest escapades. “I’m actually starting to regret missing out on another dull literature lecture.”
“Yeah,” Dwayne said glumly. “Mrs. Bartoli were gonna tell us all about Medieval literature today. Sounded interesting.”
Russ made a grimace. That didn’t sound the least interesting at all to him. “Uh, yeah. That’s what I’m sayin’. Hey, Portman, did you just drag us along to tell us all about Kate McKinley’s My Little Ponies?”
“No. We’re going to buy stuff, too,” Portman explained briefly.
“Oh, please, don’t drown us in details,” Russ muttered.
Portman was not interested in talking about anything other than Kate for the rest of their walk to the supermarket a few blocks away. He hadn’t told anyone yet – save Fulton – but he had already worked out a plan to get rid of Kate McKinley, even if it would take a lot of effort and determination to make it happen. Portman wasn’t used to putting that much effort into anything but figured it would pay off eventually.
Russ and Dwayne walked a few steps behind Portman, while Portman went into a long rant about Kate’s favorite My Little Pony. “This is gonna take us nowhere,” Russ complained, scowling at the back of Portman’s neck. “Listenin’ to him rant about that girl’s ponies – is this the problems rich people have?”
Dwayne shrugged slowly. “What about the party?” he asked with a smile.
“Yeah, what about the party?” Russ muttered. “There’s no way we’re gonna have time to buy anything if Mr. Short Attention Span over there keep focusing on that damn girl!” He turned to face Dwayne and they both stopped at the crossing, while Portman walked right into the street without looking. “It’s up to us, Cowboy. You and me, we’ll make sure we get everything for tonight, all right?”
Dwayne contemplated this for a moment, while listening to the sound of screeching tires and Portman cussing. “What am I supposed to do?”
“That’s the spirit!” Russ grinned widely. “I’ll think of what we need. And somebody gotta baby-sit Portman so he won’t accidentally commit suicide.”
Dwayne nodded practically, following Russ across the road.
Luis Mendoza was not a happy guy.
After having to spend three hours hiding in a rosebush the previous night, and picking thorns out of his arms and legs for an additional three hours, and getting a grand total of two hours of sleep, just to be met by a surprise pop-quiz in his English class, Luis was at his patience’s end. Guy hadn’t even bothered to show up for class; Luis guessed that sneaking across campus in the middle of the night had taken its toll on the moron.
He didn’t have time to be annoyed with Guy, though. He was to meet up with Linda over lunch, and considering how ‘well’ things had transpired between them the past week, Luis knew it would take all his strength not to kill her on the spot. Charlie probably wouldn’t approve of that.
To his surprise, and utter relief, Linda seemed to have found something more important than schoolwork to devote her time to. She was ten minutes late for lunch, so Luis had decided to go sit with Mindy at her table when Linda finally came running. “Something important has come up,” she explained hurriedly without saying hello first. “Will you be terribly upset if I cancel our lunch? We’ll met up tomorrow instead, all right?”
“I don’t know, that sounds like something Ms. Hudson would give us an F for,” Luis muttered.
“What? No, she won’t do that, will she?” Linda asked worriedly.
“I was kidding,” Luis sighed tiredly. “I don’t care. I don’t think the eggs will care much either.” He juggled one of the eggs in his hand.
Linda immediately grabbed it in mid-air. “Be careful! What if it breaks?” she shouted with a high-pitched voice before slapping his hand and running off.
“She’s a neurotic little lady, isn’t she?” Mindy pointed out after watching the scene between Linda and Luis play out.
“I would say yes, but this project is making everyone high-strung,” Luis said, shaking his head. He took the egg Linda had placed on the table and tapped it against the edge of the tray. Linda had been too worked up to notice that the egg wasn’t their unborn child, but Luis’ actual lunch. “Was it like this when you did this project?”
“Hardly,” Mindy muttered. “I was paired with Cole. Had to do all the work myself to avoid failing completely.”
Luis snorted with laughter. “With Cole? Can he even spell marriage?”
Mindy smiled, shoving at him with her elbow. “He’s not that stupid. He managed to keep all our eggs in one piece, which is more than I can say for you.”
“What? This is the egg from the cafeteria,” Luis said, holding up the hardboiled egg for her to see.
“I’m talking about the egg that’s currently making a break for it,” Mindy chuckled, pointing at another egg that was rolling across the table towards the edge.
Luis leaned forward to grab the egg before it plunged to the floor, but before he had a chance to catch it, someone put down their tray right on the egg, crushing it to pieces. “Oh, crap!” Luis exclaimed, hitting his forehead against the table.
“Aww, Luis,” Mindy snickered, patting him on the arm. “It’s just an egg, honey. We’ll go to the store later.”
Cole stared down at him, unaware that he’d just placed his tray on Luis’ firstborn. “What is it?”
“You smashed my egg,” Luis sighed woefully.
“Stop being such a bitch and go get another one, then,” Cole muttered, rolling his eyes. He picked up the tray and looked under it. “Man, I thought they boiled the egg or something before they serve them.”
Luis glared at him. “Cole, spell marriage for me.”
Portman had packed their trolley so full that things were starting to fall to the floor each time they pushed it to another aisle. “There’s no way in hell we can afford all this,” Russ pointed out, as Portman shooed Dwayne away to get a second trolley. “Do you have money for all this?”
“It’s not that much,” Portman sighed, not sure why he’d brought Russ with him in the first place, since all he did was whine and complain. “Ooh, we need Jell-O!”
“And mix it with what? Milk and cookies?” Russ asked tiredly. Portman grabbed a bunch of packages of Jell-O, carrying it in his arms, waiting for Dwayne to come back.
“I’ll think of something,” Portman explained determinedly, starting to walk. “Man, someone oughtta have an older brother or cousin or something that can buy us a few bottles – hey, don’t you have a brother?”
“Yeah, he lives in Los Angeles,” Russ said with forced calm.
Portman looked thoughtful. “That probably won’t work, no… Adam’s got one, doesn’t he?”
“I suspect he won’t like the idea of buying us alcohol so we can trash his grandparents’ place,” Russ muttered, wondering why he was cutting classes for this.
“Isn’t there anyone we can ask? It won’t be no party if we haven’t got-” Portman ranted, but was effectively cut off when he turned the corner and walked right into someone. All his Jell-O packages fell to the floor. “Dammit, look where you’re walking – oh, it’s you.”
Russ was glad that it was just Fred they’d run into, and not some old lady with a walker. “Sorry, I didn’t see you,” Fred apologized, bending down to help Portman gather the Jell-O. “You guys shopping for tonight?”
Russ could see Portman coming up with a brand new scheme right on the spot. His face lit up into a wide diabolic grin. “Uh, yeah, you’ll be there, right?”
“Thought so,” Fred shrugged, handing over two strawberry flavored Jell-O packages.
“You’ve got money, right?” Portman asked excitedly, dropping all the packages into the trolley so Russ had to throw himself over it to keep everything from falling.
“Uh, I guess so,” Fred said suspiciously as Portman lead him towards the checkout counter.
They’d only gotten a few steps when Daniel suddenly blocked their way. “Couldn’t find her, man. I saw her walk in here... What’s going on?”
“Hi, Daniel,” Portman said with as much genuine niceness as he could procure.
Daniel, however, didn’t have a trace of the naivety Fred had. “What do you want?” he asked brusquely.
Russ decided to interfere before Portman chose to make some irreparable damage to Daniel and toss him into one of the iceboxes down the aisle. “We were talkin’ about getting something for the party tonight. You guys wanna chip in on buying a kegger or something?” It was the only thing he could think of to say that wouldn’t result in a bloodbath. Luckily, it seemed to be an acceptable suggestion by both parties.
Daniel grabbed one of the Jell-O packages. “You can’t make jelly shots with beer,” he frowned, staring at Portman as if he was crazy. “You need vodka or tequila.”
“Well, if you know how to get that-” Portman snapped, taking a step closer to Daniel, who backed away.
“Maybe I do,” Daniel said defiantly, trying to look like Portman wasn’t intimidating him at all, which had him moving backwards until he was standing behind of Fred.
“Right,” Portman snorted, scowling.
“I think my connections are a wee bit better than yours,” Daniel growled defensively, throwing back the Jell-O to Russ.
“Oh, really?” Portman said doubtfully, crossing his arms over his chest.
Daniel glared back, and shuffled his feet hesitantly, before lowering his voice. “Fred, you can get that stuff, can’t you?”
Russ saw that Fred had trouble keeping from laughing. He suspected that the only real connection Daniel had was, after all, Fred. “Uh, yeah,” Fred said nicely. “What do you guys need?”
Daniel sent Portman a triumphant glance, mumbling insults under his voice while Portman thought up a list of things for Fred to get for them. Fred had just explained that he probably couldn’t get twenty bottles of Casa Noble tequila on that short notice when Dwayne returned, accompanied by Connie and Guy.
“What’s up? You gonna buy all that?” Connie asked, looking at the poor trolley that was almost falling sideways under the weight from all the bottles of Sprite Portman had stacked on one side. “What’s going on?”
“Business, Connie. You wouldn’t understand,” Portman grinned.
“Oh, it’s a man thing, is it? God knows there’s enough of that in the world already,” Connie muttered, sending Guy an annoyed look. “We’re only here to buy band-aids. Guy says he got stuck in a tree yesterday. For three hours. Apparently some trees at Eden Hall have rose thorns now.”
Guy wasn’t paying attention to Connie at all; he was staring at Daniel with an evil glimpse in his eyes. Russ was rather glad he didn’t know what Guy was up to.
“Hey, I’ve been looking for you,” Daniel exclaimed loudly. Connie winced; she hadn’t seen him from where he was lurking behind Fred. “You were supposed to give me your part of the budget report today! You think I’ll want to read through that shit tonight when I’m drunk?”
“I don’t have it with me right now,” Connie muttered. “C’mon Guy, let’s go pay for this.”
Daniel walked up to them. “You weren’t skulking outside my window last night, were you? There are rosebushes there too, ya know.”
“Thanks, I know,” Guy grimaced. “And no, I weren’t. Get over yourself.”
“You’re the one who keeps stalking me! Why don’t you get over yourself?” Daniel growled. Fred stepped between them before they started ripping each other’s throats out.
Dwayne followed Guy outside to avoid more semi-fights, and Russ let Connie pay first since she was only buying some band-aids. Portman was still instructing Fred on what sort of alcohol he wasn’t supposed to get. Daniel seemed to have grown bored of starting fights with everyone around him, so he cut in line and pushed himself in between the trolley and Connie, out to cause more trouble.
“That’ll be $1.75,” the cashier told Connie.
“Man, I only have a dollar,” Connie muttered, going through her pockets. “Russ, do you have-”
“I can pay,” Daniel said quickly. Connie made a face, mumbling ‘thank you’ under her breath. “It’s all right honey, no need to pay me back-”
“Don’t call me-” Connie hissed angrily.
“Oh, and wait…” Daniel interrupted, looking around until he found what he was looking for. “We’re gonna need a package of these.” He held out a package of condoms for the cashier, who in turn just rolled her eyes.
Connie flushed red, stomping her foot at his toes. “No, we don’t! Daniel!”
“What? You’ll make good use of these, Moreau. With all your boyfriends and escapades, they won’t even last ‘til tomorrow.”
Connie gasped loudly, hitting his arm hard with her fist and turning to Russ again. “Russ, please, do you have 75 cents?”
Before Russ could go through his own pockets, mostly for show since he knew he didn’t have any money at all with him, Daniel placed his arms on Connie’s shoulders and pushed her towards the exit. “You have to excuse my girlfriend. She gets a bit feisty,” he explained to the cashier. “It’s that time of the month.”
Connie growled angrily, shoving at him with such force that he stumbled into the trolley. The Jell-O packages fell to the floor again. Too pissed off to get another word out, Connie turned and stormed out; shoving at people left and right to get past them.
Daniel snickered and got to his feet again. “Just put her stuff on the same tab as this,” he said, nodding at the items Russ had begun taking up from the trolley.
Daniel hurried after Connie, most likely to torture her some more, and Portman pushed past Russ, also heading for the exit. “Man, I’m getting sick of this place. Meet me outside, dude.”
Russ growled and was about to object when he spotted Connie’s dollar, still on the counter. He grabbed it and decided to see if he could catch her before she imploded with rage. “Connie, wait up!”
Fred sighed heavily, realizing he was the only one left to pay for all the things in the trolley.
Credits & References
+ Spirit of Radio is a song by Rush.
+ Yes, I know the My Little Ponies have actual names, but I can never remember them, and I doubt Kate would care about that even if she could remember them.
+ Did you know that there are at least three different ways to spell 'Jell-O shots'?
+ Casa Noble is an exclusive brand of tequila. Portman has expensive taste.