Disclaimer: I own nothing except this crazy idea. :-P
Dedicated to: three pairs of friends who got married within the past 365 days and the one pair whose wedding is coming up soon. :)
"Come on, Taffyta!" Vanellope pulled her friend up beside her.
"Are they here yet?" Taffyta whispered.
"Of course they are. Hurry up!"
The two friends were on another of Vanellope's reconnaissance missions. Though no one would believe it if they were caught, they really did have a good reason for sneaking around on the rafters of Tapper's. And anyway, there was nothing so fun as eavesdropping on grown-ups when they hold secret meetings intended to keep you out. Together, Vanellope and Taffyta jumped from rafter to rafter, thankful that whatever noise they made was masked by the chatter and the sound of heavy glass mugs against the tables. "Aw, we've already missed some of the action," Vanellope whispered, pointing to the table below: Felix was already blushing, face held in his hands and a very silly expression on his face. Taffyta snickered.
"I don't see anything wrong with it," he was saying.
"And besides," said Ralph from inside his mug, "she's a very independent woman. I mean, have you seen her in action?"
"Oh, she's so much more than that," Felix countered dreamily. "She's the most dynamite gal…."
"Oh, stop it," Calhoun playfully reproached him. "And remember, I didn't have an escort last time." She paused her gun-polishing to inspect the gleam of the barrel.
Up in the rafters, Vanellope sighed. "I was hoping they'd be done with the planning," she muttered.
"Maybe they'll still say something we can use," Taffyta responded hopefully.
The priest held up his hands in surrender. "Alright then, alright. No escort. What about a maid of honour?"
Calhoun rubbed her rag over her pistol again. "Do I need one?"
"Well, no, I don't suppose you do, but it would be good to have someone stand opposite Ralph."
"I don't really know anybody I could…."
"What about Vanellope?" Felix suggested.
Vanellope felt herself glitch in surprise; Taffyta had to clutch her by the hoodie to keep her from pitching forward.
"Hey, yeah!" Ralph said with a bit of a root beer-induced burp. "I know she'd do it for you."
Calhoun inspected her pistol for a moment, then suddenly stood up. "Tapper! A ginger ale, please!" Tapper filled her order and she downed the tankard in one long draft. "Well, I'm off to talk to our little president."
Ralph added, "Don't forget to talk to her about the cake too."
"Wait, you're leaving?!" Felix suddenly leaned forward on the table. "But we have plenty of time before the arcade opens!"
"And I have pansies to whip into shape before the wedding." Calhoun planted a quick kiss on the top of his head. "See ya, Short Stack." With that, she swaggered out, leaving Felix to turn a vibrant shade of pink.
Vanellope sat back on her heels in defeat. "We'll never find out anything at this rate. How am I gonna find out what gifts to give them?" Taffyta patted her arm and the two of them sat in thoughtful silence for a couple minutes before they realized that the priest had left, leaving Ralph and Felix – the latter still blushing brightly – to likewise sit quietly together.
"Ready to go home?" Ralph said at length. "Felix? Helloooooo." He waved his beefy hand in front of his friend's face.
Felix let out a happy sigh. "Oh!" he exclaimed. "She gives me the honey glow something awful!"
"Okay, lover boy," Ralph chuckled, "let's get you home."
Vanellope and Taffyta watched them drain their mugs and leave. "Well," Taffyta began slowly. "Maybe we can just ask them what –"
"I have an idea!" Vanellope suddenly burst out, forgetting entirely that she had now exposed herself and Taffyta as sneaks to Tapper and his customers. "IhaveanideaIhaveanideaIhaveanidea! Come on, I'll tell you on the way home!"
Vanellope and Taffyta made a quick stop at the racetrack to get the roster race started – much to the surprise of everyone as neither girl was ever known to pull out of a race – before they themselves raced to the Kart Bakery. Together, they convinced Sugar Papa to open up the storeroom for them, but once they were in the massive vault of baking ingredients, Vanellope stood stock-still.
"What's the matter?" Taffyta called down from her position on a high shelf.
"I just realized. I don't know the first thing about… you know?"
Taffyta bounded back down, a piping bag of pink frosting in hand. "That never seemed to stop you before."
"But this isn't racing!" Vanellope protested. "This stuff isn't, like, in my code. What if I mess it up?"
"Well," Taffyta answered brightly, "that's what I'm here for. And really" – she swiped a handful of cinnamon hearts from a box – "the only way to make what you want is to try it out and see if it works."
"You mean… there isn't a 'right way'?"
"Hey, your car works, doesn't it?"
Vanellope felt a grin crack across her face. "Let's do this!"
The two of them bounced around the storeroom at sugar-high speeds, grabbing things, calling to each other, tossing ingredients of any kind onto the work table in the center of the room: cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles, lollipops, peppermints, icing sugar, liquid cane sugar, cake mix, marshmallows, waffle cones, honey, ice cream syrups –
"Think that's enough?" Taffyta panted.
Vanellope looked at the mess of a pile they'd made, suddenly dreading the moment they'd have to clean up. But she forgot about it a second later. "For now, right? So now what?"
Taffyta brandished a rolling pin and cleared a space on the worktable. "Throw whatever you think makes sense together." Then she used her rolling pin to pound and grind her cinnamon hearts to powder.
Vanellope just watched her at first, unsure as to what she should do, but soon enough, she ventured to pick things off the table to dump into her mixing bowl: a bit of icing sugar, the bag of pink icing, a cloud of cotton candy, a pinch of Taffyta's powdered cinnamon candy, and a touch of honey. She revved up a little hand-mixer as if it was a car and thrust it into the bowl. A puff of white and a splatter of pink later, Taffyta was giggling at her. "What happened?" Vanellope asked once she recovered.
"You've gotta start it at a slower speed," Taffyta managed around her giggles. "Or else it'll make a mess." She picked up a cloth and wiped at the icing sugar and frosting on Vanellope's face.
Vanellope, in the meantime, ran her finger through her blend. "It's not supposed to feel like this, right?"
Taffyta swiped a finger at it. "Nope, but no big deal; we just try again."
And try again – and again and again – they did. Even with Taffyta's expertise, they seemed to make only little increments of progress… though part of that might be attributed to Vanellope's rather specific wishes. Night turned into day, neither of them sleeping or even emerging from the storeroom. Taffyta managed to brew up her half of their project with favourable results. Day turned into night and both of them dropped out of the daily roster race again – Vanellope even had Sour Bill initiate the race so she could concentrate on her half of the secret mission. All was companionable solitude and experiments and – though they didn't want to admit it – very messy. But, only a couple hours away from the arcade's opening, they had a breakthrough, or, at least, a potential one.
"You're going to bake it?" Vanellope asked incredulously.
"I didn't think you'd have to bake this."
"You don't have to, but it does make a difference. Trust me."
Taffyta slid Vanellope's creation into a small oven and flicked on the little light inside. They both stared at the teeny bowl of creamy, powdery coral-pinkness: Taffyta to supervise its baking and Vanellope to observe whatever difference Taffyta had been referring to. So focused were they that they quite jumped out of their skins when –
"Vanellope? You in here?"
The girls exchanged panicked glances. "Calhoun!" they whispered to each other.
"We can't let her see!" Vanellope gestured wildly at the oven.
"You have to distract her," Taffyta answered, pushing Vanellope toward the sound of Calhoun's voice.
"What, why me?"
"Because I have to watch this. Go, go!"
Calhoun called again. "Hello? Vanellope? Come on, be in here. I've been looking for you everywhere since last night!"
Vanellope dashed down the aisles, suddenly feeling small compared to the towering shelves and wishing she could cover more ground faster, if only to keep Calhoun from seeing what they were up to. She turned a corner and crashed into something tall and metallic. "Hey," she gasped once she looked up.
"Hey," Calhoun returned. "You okay?" She knelt on one knee to help Vanellope up.
"Yeah, thanks." Vanellope stood up and dusted herself off. When she looked up again, Calhoun regarded her with a curious expression.
"What happened to you?"
Vanellope looked down at her clothes again. "Oh…." Her clothes were rather a mess. Great.
"What are you up to in here, kid?" Calhoun craned her neck to look around the corner.
"It's nothing!" Vanellope said in what she hoped was a breezy tone. "Just typical Sugar Rush… stuff."
Calhoun's tone and raised eyebrow contradicted what came from her mouth. "Uh-huh. Listen, I've got something to ask you. About the wedding."
"Oh, you want us to make the cake? Yeah, we can do that! What kind of cake? How many layers? What do you want it to look like?"
"Whoa, slow down! I already talked to Sour Bill about it, but I had something else to ask you… in person."
Vanellope concentrated very hard on not betraying the fact that she knew about the whole maid of honour thing… or that she had gifts for the bride and groom. But between her naturally wide eyes and her typical expressions of excitement, Calhoun looked convinced of the act.
"Yes! Yesyesyesyes!" she squealed a little louder than usual. "Nobody's ever asked me – oh, this is so exciting! Of course I'll be in your wedding!" She pranced about for good measure.
One side of Calhoun's mouth turned up in a smile. "Now – Vanellope, will you – hey, calm down a little!" she chuckled. "It's a fancy affair. Pretty much a traditional white wedding."
"Okay," Vanellope said, wondering why in the world Calhoun would bother to point out something as obvious as that. But she took it back a moment later when Calhoun continued with,
"That means you can't… that you need to… wear… not-that." She ran her gaze up and down Vanellope's outfit.
As her words slowly sunk in, Vanellope's eyes grew wider and her mouth dropped. "You mean I gotta wear…?"
Calhoun nodded far too seriously to allow for disbelief.
Vanellope scratched her neck. She was so warm and this stupid stack of pink frills called a dress was no help whatsoever. Her hands envied the sight of Ralph's bare feet and begged to be released from the cloying gloves they wore. But then a nice smell wafted toward her. It had a nice, warm, welcoming sweetness to it and yet a sort of musk underneath: Felix had approached the altar, wearing a chocolate-honey cologne. Vanellope ran her eyes over the members of audience, flashing Taffyta a little thumbs-up for her good work.
Then the Wedding March played, filling the chapel and forcing all eyes to turn as Calhoun made her way down the aisle. Vanellope could hardly believe how sweet and downright feminine the sergeant looked in her gown and veil.
She tried to pay attention, she really did, but the priest's speech was lengthy and the exchanging of vows took longer than Vanellope thought it would and it wasn't long before she was thinking about her sweaty hands and itchy collar again. Finally, the priest said, "You may kiss the bride."
Dozens of laser sights dotted the stained glass window behind the altar – something about Calhoun's last wedding having had a tragic ending. Vanellope studied Calhoun's face as the bride raised her veil and let it fall behind the crystal tiara she wore. Felix flung his hat away – Ralph caught it – and pulled Calhoun into a dip. Vanellope felt herself swell with pride for, as they kissed, she noted that the blush she'd made for Calhoun matched Felix's "honey glow" exactly.
Happy belated Valentine's!