Author's Note: This movie was just to ridiculously adorable. I love how much potential is in this world. And a big thank you to jojo130151 for catching my slip at the end. ;)
Evie dusted some of the fallen leaves from the top of the picnic bench and carefully folded her skirt beneath her. She perched at its edge, her boots daintily crossed at the ankle on the bench seat. A few other empty benches dotted the grassy landscape behind the main building's back entrance. A dense array of tall fruit trees created shade and a natural barrier between the peaceful courtyard and sports field.
The fall breeze was just on the crisp side of perfect and Evie stretched back, shaking out her long hair as the final bell rang.
As if on cue, an apple fell from the tree above onto the bench seat splattering her left side with small, wet pieces of fruit.
"Ugh." She stood quickly, shaking the bits of apple flesh from her boots, a grimace on her face.
She could smell the apple's all-too-sweet aroma and was immediately transported to her mother's kitchen table. Apple pies. Apple strudels. Candied apples. Apple wines. Her mother was a fanatic for the red and yellow and green fruits.
Evie shuddered away from the memory.
If she never saw another Malus Domestica, the latin name for her most reviled food, it would be. Too. Soon.
She sat back onto the tabletop, nudging her feet farther away from the fallen fruit's splatter, and began picking bits of the mess off of her skirt.
She could hear the shouts, cries, and thuds from falling arrows across the courtyard where the Fighting Knights had just started practice. Clusters of Auradon Prep students began walking by bringing along flurries of conversation.
"—can't wait for the Winter Ball! I've had my gown for weeks! Do you think he'll manage to—"
"—see that coming? Never! It's like Professor Cogsworth is trying to drive us all—"
"—to extinction if we don't DO something about this infestation! We can't just sit around—"
"Waiting for someone?"
Evie's head snapped up as this last bit of conversation was directed at her, and smiled as she met Doug's bashful grin.
"Hi Doug. Yeah, I'm waiting for Mal. I think she wants to try out a new recipe tonight."
Evie smiled indulgently and rolled her eyes at her friend's baking antics, and Doug shrugged knowingly.
It had been two months since King Ben's coronation and that whole fiasco with her mother. Though Mama Salamander was adjusting nicely to the heat lamp and glass cage housing her in the girls' shared dormitory, Mal's reaction to the whole thing was strangely…domestic.
Talk about pies, tarts, and strudels. The Maleficent's daughter was becoming a menace in the kitchen.
"I swear that girl is going to make it so I can't fit into my Winter Ball dress." Evie pouted, placing her hands on her hips to accentuate her still-small waist. Then she tilted her head and fluttered her eyelashes at Doug.
He hadn't asked her.
But Evie hadn't given up hope.
Doug had turned pink, eyes still on the hands she held at her hips.
"Oh, well, I'm sure you'll…" Doug tugged at his collar and coughed, bashfully avoiding her sultry stare.
"You'll look…" He cough again, sounding strangled. "L— Are you feeling well?"
The abrupt detour of his thoughts derailed her and her eyebrows bunched together in confusion.
She hopped up from the bench, her heels digging in slightly to the soft grass, and crossed her arms.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
I mean I'd be better if you just asked me to the—
"Oh. Oh, good!" Doug adjusted his bow tie and finally looked back at her. "I thought maybe you weren't feeling well…since I didn't see you in Athletics class."
It was Evie's turn to look away, biting her lip to contain a smile. Just because she had passed remedial goodness, didn't mean she had to be good EVERY day. Or in every class. Especially on endurance day.
"No, I'm fine," she reassured him, letting out a small chuckle. "Thanks for checking on me."
Her smile was genuine and Doug turned a darker shade of pink, eyes suddenly enthralled by the splatter of apple on the picnic bench.
For being Dopey's son, Evie thought he took after one of his uncles much more.
She twirled a blue ringlet around her pinkie and opened her mouth to bring up the subject of the ball again.
"Oh!" Doug said suddenly, his eyes snapping back to hers. "That reminds me." Doug dropped his messenger bag on the park bench with a heavy thud and opened it.
Evie tucked some stray strands of hair behind her ear as she watched Doug shuffle through his things. The grassy courtyard was emptying of students as everyone headed back to the dormitories for the night. It was Tuesday and there were only three weeks left before the ball, so she was certain most of the girls were still working on their outfits. Evie had already constructed four dresses, three for herself alone. She thought it was important she have options once this Dopey-headed boy in front of her finally got around to asking.
The other dress was for Mal, of course, though her magically-gifted friend seemed to think she could get out of going.
Evie shook her head and sighed, causing Doug to stiffen for a moment, but continue his search into the depths of his bag.
Mal was dating THE KING. She couldn't NOT go to the Ball. He was practically a shoe-in for Snow Court King, which made Mal the only real contender for Snow Court Queen.
Evie's eyes sparkled as she thought of the dress she'd made for Mal. She'd finished the main construction only yesterday. It fit her best friend like it was absolutely made for her. Which, well, it was. Evie smiled thinking about the deep maroon silk of the skirt that was just a few shades darker than Mal's magenta locks. She still needed to line the interior with the same dark velvet from which she'd formed the small, detachable capelet. She was enamored with the delicate golden—
Evie's dress-filled, euphoric gaze, immediately turned to one of disgust.
Doug had finally found the treasure in his bag, and held it out to her. Sitting in the unwrapped fabric of a thick, white handkerchief was a shiny, blood red apple.
"Like I said, I thought you might not be feeling well, so I got you this. You know, an apple a day and all that." Doug, who was still looking down at the thoughtful gift he'd brought her, missed the array of emotions flashing across Evie's face.
Disgust. Indecisiveness. Disgust. Happiness. Disgust. Flickering hope. Disgust again.
When she didn't say anything, Doug looked up at her, and she hoped she had managed to school her features into something close to appreciation.
"Thank you, Doug."
Evie moved to take the apple, but her hand flinched at the thought of touching the fruit's bright skin, and she instead cupped her hands around the white handkerchief, wrapping the fruit back inside, and held the bundle to her chest.
Doug looked apprehensive and slightly confused, making Evie smile in earnest.
"Really. Thank you."
The concern fell off of his face.
"You're welcome." He smiled, and after a moment, bit his lip. His fingers found the edges of his cuffs, tugging nervously on them.
"So, Evie… about the Snow—"
Mal appeared beside them, clapping Doug on the shoulder. The boy immediately shrunk into himself and smiled tensely at the magenta-haired girl.
Evie's grin which had been growing as Doug spoke, immediately fell as Dopey's son turned away with a "I'm glad you're feeling better, I mean, not bad, I mean…" and practically ran into the distance.
Evie immediately groaned, stamping her foot, and smacked her friend on the shoulder.
"Hey!" Mal said, frowning. "What'd I do?"
"You have the WORST timing." Evie huffed, watching the retreating form of her maybe-date escape towards the back of the main hall.
Mal rolled her eyes and glanced at the door Doug had seconds ago disappeared into. "Oh come on, he'll get around to it."
"Not if you're always in the way." Evie tossed her hair over her shoulder and began following Mal towards the pathway to the dining halls.
"Besides it's easy for you to say, Miss Snow Court Queen."
Mal grimaced, and Evie suddenly felt much better.
"Don't remind me."
"Oh don't say that." Evie patter her friend happily in the same place she'd swatted her. "You're going to look divine."
Mal smile turned soft as she glanced at her friend, "Well, that'll be thanks to you." Her gaze turned questioning. "What's that?" Mal asked, looking at the bundle of white fabric in Evie's hand.
Evie grimaced, and shook off the corners of the handkerchief so Mal could see the red skin of the fruit beneath.
"Ooh!" Mal exclaimed excitedly. "I was thinking about trying a turnover tonight."
Mal made to snatch the apple out of Evie's hand, but the Evil Queen's daughter quickly stepped out of reach.
"No! You can't have it."
Mal stopped short. "Wha-why? You hate apples."
Evie kept walking, gaze on the red fruit shining brightly in the afternoon sun.
"Yeah, well… Not this one."