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 9: The Winner Takes It All
The last time Luis had seen Guy, he’d been miserable; cold, wet and with rose thorns in various painful places in his body. This was not the Guy he met in their room after classes, even though he was covered with band-aids, most noticeably on his right ear and left cheek. For once, Luis could sort of understand why Mindy thought all his friends were crazy, as Guy was bouncing all over the room with the papers he’d stolen the night before.
Mindy had followed him up to his room to get the books she’d left there earlier, and both of them stood silently in the doorway, watching Guy run around like a maniac. “What’s up with him?” she whispered to Luis.
“No idea. Hormones?”
Mindy laughed, grabbing her books from his desk. “Well, get him to calm down a bit. I’m not sharing a car with him if he’s gonna be all hyper. I get enough of that from my little brother.” Luis nodded with a grin, leaning in to kiss her goodbye. Mindy jumped back. “Watch it, lip gloss!”
“You’ll live.” Luis rolled his eyes and pulled her closer to give her a proper kiss, despite the violation of the important lip gloss.
Mindy sighed, smiling slightly. “You’re impossible.”
He laughed. “You’re the one worrying about your damn lip gloss!”
“Yeah, yeah,” she smiled, pushing him away from the door so she could leave. “Pick me up at seven?”
“You got it,” he smiled back, closing the door with his foot. “And you, you moron, what’s up with you?”
Guy waved with the paper. “This, Mendoza, is gold. Pure gold.”
“Oh, yeah? Is he wanted in five states?”
“No, it’s better than that!” Guy exclaimed happily, throwing himself down on his bed. “Of all the papers I could’ve snagged, I took the best ones!”
“I’m sure,” Luis muttered, highly disinterested. He went over to his closet and pulled out a sweater that seemed cleaner than most of the others; making a mental note that it was time to do laundry.
“Look at this,” Guy said dreamily, glancing fondly at Daniel’s records. “He got kicked out from eight schools! And at his last school, he got caught smoking pot in the hallway after curfew! I told you he was a juvenile delinquent. I’ve got all the proof I need now. Do you think it’s enough to get him kicked out of Eden?”
“Uh, Guy, I think they already know all this, since it’s in his records,” Luis pointed out, checking under the bed to see if his towel was there, making another mental note that they needed to clean their room.
“Right. Well, maybe they didn’t look very close?” Guy suggested, reaching for straws. “I could tell them-”
“And also explain to them what the hell you’re doing with Daniel’s missing student record?”
“Oh, right,” Guy said thoughtfully. “I could at least tell Connie, right? She won’t think too highly of him after this!”
“I think she already dislikes him quite a lot,” Luis continued. “And you’re gonna tell her how you stole school property?”
“Work with me here!” Guy shouted frantically. “What the hell am I gonna do with his stupid student record if I can’t tell anyone about all the shitty things he’s done?!”
“That’s exactly what I wanna know too,” Luis muttered. “I’m taking a shower. We’re heading to Adam’s in two hours, Guy. Maybe you should get ready or something?”
Guy scoffed. “Yeah, yeah, blah, blah. Look here, he was suspended for starting a fight in the assembly hall… oh, and it says that some guy reported him for assault two years ago – oh! Vandalism!”
Luis closed the door behind him, dead tired of hearing of whatever it was Daniel DeRienzo had vandalized.
“I’m locking the door.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am. You’re not getting in there.”
“Yes, we are.”
“You’re not getting in there!”
“Yeah, we are!”
“You’ll scare the hell out of Dinky!”
“Nobody cares about that stupid dog!”
Adam gasped indignantly. “Dinky has been in the family for-”
“Ages and ages, yes, Banks, I know the damn story!” Charlie shouted. “That dog is crazy, and has most likely rabies or something!”
Adam shrugged stubbornly. “I’m locking the door.”
“You’re not locking the door!”
“Is there gonna be an intermission soon? I’m out of lemonade,” Kate spoke up. She was sitting on Charlie’s desk, watching Adam and Charlie argue back and forth regarding the party that would take place in a couple of hours.
“Lemonade? Talk like a normal person!” Adam snapped aggressively, taking a few big steps towards the door to leave the room and slamming it shut behind himself.
Kate looked at Charlie with a confused expression. “I thought I was talking like a normal person. They say that all the time in England. My grandmother calls it fizzy drinks. You think I should’ve said that instead?” she asked curiously, chewing on her straw.
“Ah, don’t worry about it,” Charlie suggested, grinning. “He’s just pissed off at me. We fight like this all the time. You just happened to get in the way. The others never interrupt when we fight.”
Kate shrugged happily, jumping down from the desk. “It’s all right. Daniel shouts at me all the time when he’s angry. I don’t really care.”
Charlie sat down on his bed, looking through the pile of laundry he’d dumped on the bedspread, which had been the initial trigger to his fight with Adam. “What’re you doing here, McKinley?”
“I dunno. I got bored and thought I’d hang here for a while,” Kate explained cheerfully, slipping a hand through her hair. “Fred took Daniel with him to go talk to some people.”
“Right, they’re getting the drinks,” Charlie nodded to himself.
“Yeah, they say I can’t come with them when they’re doing illegal stuff. They say I’ll get them into trouble. They say I suck when it comes to keeping my mouth shut.”
“And that is somehow related to them getting us liquor?” Charlie grinned.
Kate sat down next to him, throwing her empty soda can in the trash. “Oh, shut up. I’m a lady. I don’t make a lot of noise.”
Charlie laughed. “You make more noise than anyone I’ve ever met, Kate!”
Kate giggled. “I’m special.”
“Yeah, you are,” he said earnestly, smiling.
They gazed at each other for a second. Kate opened her mouth to say something, but they were both interrupted by Portman, who came bursting into the room without knocking. “We got the stuff,” he announced loudly, casting a quick glance their way. “Eww, I’m not interrupting something, am I?”
Charlie stood up. “Don’t be stupid. What’d you get?”
Portman scoffed. “Good. Damn, even you can do better than that.”
Kate kicked at his leg when she went for the door. “I’m a wonderful girl and I’m sure Charlie would love to be my boyfriend,” she said with a pout. She was pushed out of the way by Daniel, who came carrying another two bags that seemed to contain a few more bottles.
“You tell yourself that, Red,” Daniel muttered, putting the bags on Adam’s bed.
Kate didn’t have time to shout a reply, as Adam came running in after them, shoving her out of the way in the process. “You’re not bringing that into my grandparents’ house!”
“Banks, chill out!” Portman groaned with annoyance. “It’s just a damn party; it’s not the end of the world!”
Kate glanced at Charlie, before deciding it was better to leave to let them settle the fight on their own. Daniel grabbed her arm and hauled her out into the hallway as she waved goodbye to Charlie. He waved back with an apologizing look on his face.
“What is with you?” Daniel growled as they walked back down to get to their own dorms. “Must you flirt with everything?”
“That’s fresh coming from you,” Kate mumbled quietly.
Daniel stopped and stared at her, not used to her comebacks being so subdued. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he muttered confusedly. “I don’t flirt with peasants.”
“They’re not peasants!” Kate howled angrily, quickly walking away from him, heading for the stairs. “Just because they don’t have as much money as we do doesn’t mean they’re worth any less!”
“All right! Stop with the bloody yelling!” Daniel snarled back.
“You’re yelling at me!”
“Yeah, but I have no idea why!” Daniel shouted, catching up with her. “If you’re gonna get testy every time I say something about those damn Ducks-”
“Oh, like you’re not trying your ass off to be their friends!” Kate snapped, turning to face him. “Why go through so much trouble to get on their nerves? Huh? They already know who you are; that you exist, so you can stop pretending!”
“Yeah, that’s why,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Call me when you stop being so irrational.”
Kate watched as he walked down a few steps. “I thought we were friends!” she finally screamed. Her voice echoed in the empty hallway and Daniel came walking back up, stopping right in front of her. “I thought we were friends,” she repeated with a quiet voice.
“What the hell…? Who says we’re not?” Daniel demanded, a bit surprised and shocked at her outcry.
“You’re acting like we’re not,” she said, looking down into the floor. “You know I don’t like Chrissie Connors, and you’re still running after her. She’s always so mean to me, and you… You don’t care about that at all, do you?”
Daniel looked away, feeling oddly disconcerted. He knew that it meant a lot to Kate that he didn’t went running after Chrissie Connors. He knew that Chrissie had treated Kate like dirt in the past. He knew all that, and he had still kept trying to talk to her, because Chrissie was the only girl in the entire school that he hadn’t been able to impress in some way or another. “Of course I care,” he said. “I don’t want to hook up with Chrissie Connors, Kate.” He tried to ignore the feeling of remorse he got from lying to her.
“You promise?” Kate asked, looking at him with big, expectant eyes. Daniel realized he couldn’t lie her straight in the eyes, so he just nodded. “You’re my best friend, you know,” she pouted.
Daniel smiled. “Yeah, I know, you silly girl. No need to get all sappy, Red,” he said, putting his arm around her shoulders. “C’mon, let’s go find Fred. We can make our own Jell-O shots before we go to that lousy party.”
Kate nodded excitedly. “I don’t drink, though.”
“Well, you can watch Fred and I finish your drinks too.”
Julie sat down on her bed with a big mirror in her lap. Connie was still trying to decide what to wear, occupying the mirror they had on the door. Initially they’d only had that one mirror, but after a few minor fights and one pretty serious, they’d bought another mirror. The only problem was that they had nowhere to put it, other than in a box under Julie’s bed that they took out every time they needed two mirrors, with their room being so small.
“How are you getting there?” Julie asked, reaching for her makeup bag. “It takes a while to get there, right?”
“Takes about fifteen minutes, maybe,” Connie shrugged, leaning down to put on her shoe. “I’m going with Luis and Guy. We’re supposed to pick up Jesse on the way. I think Mindy’s going with us too. Have you noticed that she’s stopped glaring at everything I wear?”
Julie smiled a little. “Maybe she’s gotten used to us?”
“Once you go Duck, you don’t go back,” Connie giggled.
“Oh, that was so lame,” Julie laughed. “You’re going back tonight?”
“Hell no. I expect certain people to be too drunk to even find their car,” Connie rolled her eyes, straightening out her top. “I can ask if there’s room for you too if you want?”
“No, it’s all right,” Julie shrugged, applying more mascara. “Fred said he’d drive me if I needed a ride. He’s taking Daniel and Kate, and that girl from our health class, Lex, and one of her friends.”
“Uh, yeah, Lex O’Leary. She’s in that band, you know. They performed on Valentine.”
“Oh… Fred’s taking her?”
“Yeah, but it sounds to him like it’s not a date, so I don’t know,” Julie mumbled, leaning closer to the mirror. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him date anyone, really.”
“Maybe it’s his lucky night,” Connie smiled, pulling some more at her top.
Julie snorted. “That boy is too clumsy and shy to make a move on a girl. They’re probably just friends.”
“That’s too bad,” Connie said, frowning. “Fred’s a nice guy.”
“I guess. I’m just happy as long as I don’t run into Scooter,” Julie muttered. “Do you think they’ll show up?”
“For the biggest party of the school year? Nah,” Connie said sarcastically. “Is this top creased?”
“Isn’t it supposed to be?”
“Okay, I’m changing,” Connie decided, diving into her closet again. She had just disappeared when someone knocked on their door. “If it’s Guy, I’m not ready!”
“And if it’s my date?” Julie shouted back.
“You don’t have a date!”
Julie shook her head. “Thanks for reminding me,” she muttered, opening the door, finding Portman on the other side. “What are you doing here?”
“Looking for you. Are you done?” he asked, sounding rushed. “I’m going with you guys. And someone had better slipped Adam a tranquilizer of some sort; he’s supposedly climbing the walls over there.”
“Okay, I’m coming. Hey, Connie, I’m leaving!”
Connie peaked out into the room. “All right. I’ll see you there, maybe?”
“Yeah, probably,” Julie said, grabbing her jacket and bag. “Don’t drink too much!”
“No, Mom,” Connie muttered, climbing out of the mess in the closet. “Hey, Portman.”
He nodded at her. “What’s up? So, are you ready to leave? Con, you going with us?”
“No, I’m leaving with Luis and Guy. Have fun!”
Portman disappeared down the hall, yelling at Julie to hurry up. Julie moaned with annoyance. “I’m never getting rid of him.”
“I’m sure Portman could be your date if you still want one,” Connie whispered quietly.
“Ha, ha,” Julie muttered. “Don’t forget to clean up before you leave.”
Connie hurried to close the door before Julie could think of more things for her to do.
Julie noticed that Fred wasn’t driving the same car he’d been driving earlier in the week, but a much larger passenger van. Kate came skipping over to her when she approached them on the parking lot. “Hi, I’m Kate!”
Julie smiled. “Yeah, I know. We’ve met.”
“Ooh… Julie, right? Or Julia? Or Julian?”
“Julian is a boy name, Kate,” Fred pointed out, walking around the truck to open the door for them. “Don’t mind her, Daniel had her tasting a Jell-O shot.”
“Oh,” Julie grinned, waiting for Kate to step in to the car so she could follow. “Nice car.”
“It’s a surubruan,” Kate explained happily.
“A what?” Julie asked with a confused smile.
“Suburban,” Fred clarified, shaking his head. “There’s a lot of alcohol in those shots.”
Julie looked over to where Daniel and Portman were arguing over a tray of green Jell-O shots. “You haven’t been drinking, have you?” she asked with a frown. She was quite sure Fred was more responsible than that, but as she didn’t know him all that well yet, it didn’t hurt to ask.
“Oh, no,” Fred assured her, waving at Daniel to hurry up. “Of course not. It’s not like Daniel didn’t try to get me to taste one, but I’m not really that stupid.”
“All right,” she grinned, climbing into the car. Daniel and Portman followed suit, now fighting over where to sit.
Fred got into the driver’s seat and put the key in the ignition. “Come on, put on your seatbelts.”
“Fred, don’t be such a bore!” Kate complained, nudging at Daniel to move away.
“This car isn’t built for six people,” Daniel pointed out, putting his arm around Kate’s waist to pull her into his lap. “And what’s with newbie, gettin’ to ride shotgun?”
Julie hadn’t noticed Lex until now, even though she’d been sitting in the seat in front of her all along. Lex turned to Daniel. “Shut up, will ya? You’ve been whining about that ever since we got here!”
“Shut up yourself,” Daniel muttered, clearly out of clever comebacks.
Lex rolled her eyes and turned back in her seat as Fred backed out from the parking space. “I thought we were supposed to be seven,” Julie pointed out, looking around.
Lex turned around yet again, pulling at her seatbelt so she could face Julie. “My friend decided to catch a ride with some of our other friends. I think it was for the best; there are already too many people in this car.”
Portman leaned over the back of their seat and grabbed two more shots. “You want one, Jules?”
“No, don’t drink that shit in the car,” Fred begged. “If I get pulled over-”
“Well, drive like a normal person and you won’t get pulled over,” Daniel sighed, shaking his head. “Seriously, we’re never gonna get there if you’re in charge of driving.”
“I’m not letting you drive!” Fred objected. “You’ve all been drinking.”
Daniel wrinkled his nose, looking awfully discontent. “Whatever.”
“Julie hasn’t tasted your shots yet,” Portman said stubbornly. “It’s only fair that she gets one!”
“And what are you gonna do with the other?” Fred asked tiredly.
“I’ll take it!” Kate offered; snatching the cup out of Portman’s hand and downing it before Daniel could stop her. Julie took the other one and tasted it, figuring it wouldn’t be recommended to do what Kate had done.
Fred looked at them in the rearview mirror. “Portman, don’t give Kate anymore of those. They’re strong as hell and she’s already had two.”
Portman shrugged. Julie wasn’t sure he was even listening. For the rest of the ride, she listened to Kate ranting about every topic she could think of; kittens, spacemen, the weather, and Fred’s ‘surubruan’ car. Fred and Lex were talking to each other and seemed blissfully unaware of Kate’s constant babble.
Julie had a feeling it would be an eventful evening.
Credits & References
+ The Winner Takes It All is a song by ABBA.
+ “Well, drive like a normal person and you won’t get pulled over.” This is a reference to Freaks and Geeks and the episode Looks and Books where Daniel says “Lindsay, please, drive like a normal person” right before Lindsay crashes her parents' car.