Penny couldn't quite believe that she had kissed Seaweed live on Television. It wasn't as if she had kissed any old boy. If she had, her Mother would have doused her in holy water and locked her in the basement for a week. But, having kissed a black man on TV, she was homeless.
Everyone partied after the Miss Hairspray Pageant. Penny sat on the steps and watched as Tracy danced with Link, Seaweed danced with his sister, new Miss Hairspray, and Mrs and Mr Turnblad danced around in little circles. She wanted to be happy, she wanted to get up and dance with everyone, but she couldn't push this feeling of grief for her old life.
Tracy went over to Penny and sat beside her.
"What's wrong?" She asked and Penny sighed.
"Trace, what have I done?" She asked and Tracy placed a hand on her knee.
"No one said this was going to be easy. But you can guarantee it will be worth it." She beamed up at her friend.
"Will it? I'm homeless." She told her and it was the first time that Tracy had seen Penny truly upset.
"Come and stay with me for a little while, we can sort something out." She told her and Penny let her head fall onto Tracy's shoulder.
Tracy left when she saw Seaweed approaching.
"Dance with me, baby?" He outstretched a hand to her. She smiled and took it, letting him lead her in little circles.
"Talk to me, why you down baby girl?" He asked her and she sighed.
"My Mother-" She began and he chuckled.
"The one who tied you up?!" He then looked down at her and sobered himself.
"Baby, this ain't going to be easy. But I'm in for the ride if you are." He told her and she smiled, laying her head on his shoulder as they danced.
Edna didn't mind having Penny. She thought her Mother had been too harsh, bringing around all of her clothes in trash bags, but then Penny's Mother always was harsh.
"I will pay you rent, Mrs Turnblad. I'm going to get a job at the diner down the road so I am not freeloading." She told her and Edna smiled.
"Oh dear, you don't have to do that. Just stay here until you get on your feet." She told her.
Every evening, Penny would take the school bus home with Seaweed. It was finals, and she was determined to go to the local community college, so that she could further herself. They would study together, and Maybelle would bring them dinner and drinks.
"You're a good girl, baby." She would always tell Penny and she would always thank Seaweed's Mother, saying she was trying her best.
Seaweed was so proud of Penny, and she was even having a positive effect on his grades too. Seaweed didn't have any plans to go to college, but he would work in the record store, as well as being on the Corny Collin's show, which was now fully integrated. He thought maybe he might get noticed, but he was ready for a simple life, he had no expectation of a life of fame.
Penny had been dating Seaweed for a few months now, and all they had done was kiss. She couldn't help it. Any time that Seaweed placed a hand on her thigh, she would move it, any time he would go to touch her breasts, whilst they kissed, she would move. She knew that he was getting frustrated, but she didn't know what to do.
"I just got told for so many years that it was the worst sin of them all. It's kind of hard to forget." She told Tracy one day.
"Link and I have done stuff and it is amazing, even better than I imagined." She told Penny and she was happy for her friend, but she couldn't help feeling left behind.
"I just don't know if I can." She told her and Tracy shook her head and turned on the TV.
"Come on, watch him on the show and then we'll talk." She told her and Penny smiled and nodded.
There was no doubt that she found Seaweed attractive. Her cheeks flushed when she saw him dancing on screen. He had such amazing rhythm and the way he smiled set her heart aflutter.
"Have you got any lollipops?" Penny asked and Tracy smiled. She hadn't seen Penny with a lollipop for weeks and she was glad that she was getting back to the old Penny again.
Maybelle was shocked when she saw Penny enter the record shop.
"Hey there baby!" She called out to her, smiling seeing her with candy again.
"Would it be alright if I wait for Seaweed here, Miss Maybelle?" She asked. Maybelle smiled and waved her in.
"Of course baby, come back here, I've got some new records!"
Penny rushed back and saw Maybelle with a box of records in her arms.
"Let me take them for you, Miss Maybelle." She told her and Maybelle shook her head.
"You just stay there, beautiful." She told her and Penny stayed put. She watched as Maybelle sorted through the new records and put on a new one by Sam King.
"I saw Seaweed and Inez on the show." She told Maybelle over the music.
"My babies! They always amaze me, when I see them dancing alongside those white folk." She smiled and shook her head.
"Seaweed is the best dancer there." She said, bobbing her head to the music.
"Oh, you best believe it baby. My boy is the best dancer in Baltimore." She told her and Penny smiled and nodded.
Seaweed walked home with Inez, as he did after every Corny show.
"Oo Momma, you got those new records in?" He hollered when he entered the shop.
"You bet I did baby!" She called out. Penny watched round the corner as Seaweed and Inez started dancing to the new music. It seemed that rhythm ran in their veins. She envied them in a way, being so free and so talented. Penny had never really been allowed to dance or sing or paint, but she was sure if she had been allowed to, she wouldn't have been a dancer.
Maybelle let her children dance for two songs before she decided that Penny had seen enough.
"Baby, there's someone back here for you!" She called out and Seaweed ran to the back and stopped in his tracks when he saw Penny, stood with a lollipop in her mouth.
"Why didn't you tell me she was back here, Momma!" He complained, before turning his attention to Penny.
"I didn't know you wanted to study tonight, baby." He told her and she blushed under his gaze.
"I actually thought I could stay for some dinner, if that is okay with you, Miss Maybelle?"
"Of course, baby. My table is always open to you!" She called out and Penny smiled around her lollipop, a sight that Seaweed loved.
Penny had never been to Seaweed's house to do anything other than study. They stood in his room and she looked through his records. He got all the vinyls that the shop didn't sell. Ones they had too many copies of, and ones that just weren't any good.
Seaweed threw off his shoes and laid down on the bed, watching Penny, bathed in the last bit of Baltimore sunlight.
"You're so beautiful, baby." He told her and watched as she blushed and smiled. He was up then, walking over to her, looking down at the record with her.
"I saw you on the show." She told him and he smiled.
"I see, and that was why you came over?" He asked, taking the record out of her hands, placing it on the side and brushing her neck with his lips.
"I had to see you." She whispered and Seaweed felt himself smile against her skin. He had waited for her to become comfortable with him, without them having a motive.
"Why is that, baby?" He asked, still kissing her neck. Penny felt her breath hitch.
"Your dancing-" She began, but couldn't think of a way to finish her thought.
"Go on baby girl." He ordered her on and she thought of how she could finish her sentence.
"You're the best." She said and watched as he pulled away and looked at her with an eyebrow cocked.
"On the show." She told him and he smiled, removing the lollipop from her lips and placing it in his mouth. Penny gasped, it was so naughty and made her feel tingly inside.
She perched on the edge of the bed, and kicked off her shoes, whilst she watched Seaweed put on a record. He looked over at her and smiled as he saw her perfect posture, sat on the edge of the bed.
"Don't worry, baby. I'm going to take care of you." He told her and she smiled, taking back her lollipop and placing it in her mouth.
Seaweed knew he couldn't rush. He had never been with a white girl before, and Penny was not just a white girl, she was a white girl who had been told her whole life that any kind of physical pleasure was sinful. If he listened to his own desires, he would have taken her then. But he couldn't. He had to work at Penny pace.
Penny placed the wrapper back on her pop and placed it on the bedside table. Seaweed smelt like sweat and drugstore cologne. He leant down and placed a kiss to her lips. She tasted so sweet, sweeter than anyone he had kissed before. It's all that candy he thought to himself.
"You're so sweet, baby." He told her, knowing that communication was going to be everything for her whilst they were starting out.
Penny arched up into Seaweed's kiss and let herself enjoy it. Enjoy him placing his hands on her face, enjoy the soft skin of his lips, enjoy the music in the background, everything. She couldn't think of her Mother or Tracy or anyone.
"Lay down on the bed, sugar. I won't bite." He smiled down at her and watched as she laid down, flat on her back, looking up at the ceiling.
"Relax, baby." He told her and he watched as she took a deep breath. He laid on his side and looked down at her. She looked terrified.
"No need to be scared of me. I'm just the man on the box." He smiled as he leant down and kissed her smile.
Penny let her mind be engulfed by Seaweed as he kissed her. She loved laying with him in this way. She could intertwine her feet with his and he could stroke his fingers over her face and ghost a hand over her stomach.
"See, there's nothing to be afraid of, is there baby?" He asked and she shook her head, letting one hand weave around his neck. She felt him move an inch closer and she let her fingers stroke his head. He let out little sounds of encouragement, which she enjoyed.
As much as Penny loved all of this, the kissing, the touching, she wanted to talk to Seaweed. So, she pulled away and looked up at him, smiling.
"Tell me about the show?" She asked him and he smiled down at her, tucking a hair behind her ear.
"It's so amazing, they treat us like we're equal. There was resistance from a few in the beginning. But they know we're not going anywhere now." She smiled up at him and Seaweed thought he could stay in that position forever.
"The boys must find it quite a shock. I'm sure not all of them are happy." She giggled and he cocked an eyebrow.
"How so?" He asked and she shook her head.
"You gotta tell me baby." He whispered in her ear. She sighed and admitted:
"Because you boys are better dancers." Seaweed laughed.
"You think so?" He asked and she nodded.
"That might just be because you're watching me, baby." He winked at her and she chuckled.
Seaweed felt the mood lower then.
"What's up, baby?" He asked and she sighed.
"I can't stay with Tracy forever. I feel awful freeloading at their place. I need to find somewhere of my own." She told him and he thought for a minute.
"Why don't I see if Momma can get you something at the shop? Help you earn a little money so you can find a room or something?" He asked and watched as her face lit up.
"Oh I would just love that, Seaweed!" She beamed and he kissed her on the lips softly.
"I'm always here to help, sugar."