Leblanc was getting married. Married. Leblanc.
Oh the poor soul. Nooj, I mean. I don't understand how he could propose to that monstrosity. And if the fact that they were getting married wasn't bad, I'm one of her bridesmaids…I was ready to strangle myself.
"So I'll see you there loves! Remember, you want to be fitted just fabulously for your gowns!" And then, she was gone. The three of us were still bent around the CommSphere. I cocked my head to one side.
"Does anybody just know what happened?"
Paine snorted. "I'm still trying to get past the fact that Nooj actually proposed to that monstrosity of a woman."
My thoughts exactly.
Yunie sent us disapproving looks. After she and Tidus had "found" each other again, she'd become even more motherly, telling us how to eat properly, how to act around strangers…the whole shebang. "Oh come on you two. We have to be happy for them. I mean, look at me and Tidus."
Both Paine and I groaned and backed away. No way she was going to pull that on us. We turned out of the tent and walked away, I with my hands behind my head. Beaches were nice, I thought as we ambled down to one.
"So we're going to be bridesmaids…" Paine ventured.
"I'm almost scared to think what she'll make us do. She doesn't have that great of a fashion sense you know? By the way, how many respect points does she have?"
"None." I sat down in the sand and flopped backwards.
"Well that's wonderful."
We sat there is silence for some time before Paine brought up the subject again.
"Ahem…Uh…You don't think she'll make us…ah….dress up?" The query was hesitant and I couldn't help but snatch this opportunity.
"Why do you sound so afraid? Do you not want to be all purdy for your dear Baralai?"
Paine slowly turned her head to look at me. My playful smile lessened in its radiance. I was almost scared. And then the sand hit.
Sand does not taste good.
I practically flew out of my sitting position, spitting sand for all I was worth. Paine's quiet chuckles were making their way mockingly through my cacophony of spitting.
"Not funny!" I managed. "But I'll get the last spit laugh when you have to do something spit different with your hair!"
"Minus ten respect points. That leaves you with…five…" I was horrified. Crawling over to her, I sat up on my knees, in a kind of pleading position.
"Paine? Please don't take away all my respect points. I-I promise I won't make fun of your…uh…your thing for--" Paine cut me off.
"What thing? The only one of us that has a thing for someone is you."
Well now. I did not have a thing for anyone! "Thank you very much but I am thing-less!"
Now, I have a little pet peeve. Not that big but it's still there. Whenever people plot something, they get this glint in their eyes. I've gotten in plenty of times and so I guess I'm a hypocrite. But Paine on the other hand…her glints should have a class of their own. They belong more in the "maniacal and just plain dangerous" category.
So anyways, I'm sitting here, looking like a little dog, when she gets her glint. "I don't know Cid's girl. Seems kinda obvious to me. But hey, if you don't want to admit it, I guess I can lower your respect points down to the negatives." And it was all said so nonchalantly. I pouted. I gaped.
"You'd take my respect points away?"
"Absi-posi-you better believe it."
"Aww…don't be such a poopie Paine! Please!"
"Then just admit you have a thing for someone and we'll all be on our merry way."
"You, merry? That's like telling me--"
"Rikku, just tell me right now. Do you like Gippal?" I brought my upper lip down to meet my lower lip. I considered it a talent of mine. I opened my mouth to tentatively answer her question before an ingenious idea struck me! Muahahahaha!
"You tell me you like Baralai and I'll tell you that I really like Gippal!" I pointed accusingly at her through this whole thing and was pretty much gloating with my wonderstuff. That was until she got up and started walking back towards the more populated area of Besaid.
I got up to run and follow her, jumping up and down during the while.
"Wait! Where are you going! Don't you wanna know?"
"You already gave me your answer Rikku. You like Gippal." I stopped, staring at her retreating form open mouthed. Once I recovered from my shock, I reiterated my words in my head. Sure enough, I'd acted like me and told her that I liked him.
I slumped down on the sand and 'ughhed' myself a few times. Gippal seemed to be a little pest that always buzzed around at the most unneeded times. And yet, he was someone I constantly thought about. Well…not constantly. Just sometimes. It wasn't like he plagued my thoughts, he just sat there, in the corner, strolling around a bit. Yunie described her love for Tidus that way.
I did not just say that. In fact, I didn't say what I just said. I only said what Yunie said and what Yunie said has nothing to do with what I thought I said…
"So what did you say?" I cringed. I hated it when I talked out loud.
"Nothin'." I turned my head. Tidus and Yunie.
"Well it obviously includes us. So I think we deserve to know what you're talking about." Yunie finished it off with a short giggle. Tidus glanced over at her, a smile lifting his lips. They were too cute. Really.
"So, about this wedding…" He tore his eyes away from my cousin as he began to speak. "Yuna tells me I'm gonna have ta walk down this aisle thing. But I have a problem Rikku."
"And what would that be?"
"I've never met the groom." I nodded appreciatively, taking into account that, yes, he'd never even laid eyes on Nooj.
"Well maybe since Leblanc chose Yunie, Nooj chose you because all of Spira knows you're back." I kicked my feet out and wiggled my head a little. Both of them were now seated next to me.
"Maybe. But now, I've got to let something creep in. That would be the protective brother gene in me." Yunie giggled even more and then patted Tidus' arm. He was grinning too much.
"We heard something from Paine. Care to indulge us, my dear cousin?" Yunie smiled deviously at me, her arms now linked with Tidus'.
I began to blush. I tried to control it by inflating my cheeks but Tidus poked me real hard and all the air came whizzing out. I was still blushing.
"W-What are you talking about?" Yunie smiled even harder and then tilted her body towards me.
"Oh…I don't know. Maybe some dashingly handsome man named Gippal? Stop pouting Tidus."
I let my eyes sweep around the lightly populated beach. Could anyone save me? No…So I had to save myself. Implementing Operation: Save Rikku From Embarrassment!
"Sorry. I have to go. I have to implement OSRFE. Top secret you see…yes…very important." I bustled off, dusting the sand off my tush and trudging up the sand. Oh wow…
"That's just not your color darling. I'd say more of a…brown and orange combination, love. There, there. Try this on."
I almost gagged. Brown and my skin tone did not match. Orange fared well…but brown? No.
I pretended like I didn't hear Leblanc and went to the nearby bed where all of my dresses to choose from were laid out. I picked up the lavender one and put it down quickly. I might love the color but it would not look good on me.
All these were in Kilikan wedding dress, I noticed subconsciously. The top was tube-top, dark and NOT transparent until just above the belly button. Then the fabric was clear all the way down to the knees. Under that was a pair of slacks of the same color.
I sorted lazily through the piles upon piles of clothes in my size, murmuring to myself about whether I liked that certain color or disliked it. Then I found it.
It was green. I adore green. This green was like Al Bhed eye green. Not bad. I hefted the suit up and turned to show it to Leblanc who was trying on her wedding gown. It was actually kind of nice but since I'm not wearing it I won't describe it.
"This one's mine." Leblanc looked at my reflection through one of her mirrors. "Oh. So I'll have the colors lavender, blue and green? This will be lovely!"
"Actually, I'll go with the red." Leblanc's face fell. I guess that we kind of messed up her color scheme. Now we looked like a jungle theme. Red, blue and green. Not bad. Whatever. Not my wedding, not my problem.
"Are you sure, love? I do think that the lavender suits your skin tone quite nicely." Leblanc intoned nervously as she intoned her words towards Paine. Shaking her head, Paine picked up the red one and hefted it over her shoulder. Leblanc muttered a little before a different look just seized her face. She looked like a possessed fiend.
"The Honorable Maiden." Yunie stopped admiring herself in the mirror and I turned to look at Paine, who was looking at Leblanc.
"I need an Honorable Maiden if I'm going to have a Kilikan wedding. Why, I think my dearest Noojie-Woojie already has his Best Man chosen." Leblanc scuttled over to her desk and shuffled through her papers. As weird as a lady she was, I was surprised to find that she is really organized…well, more so than I am.
"Ah-ha! He has chosen a Best Man." I knew Yunie was safe. Heck, she knew it too. Nooj didn't know Tidus that well but took him on because Yunie was going to be all alone down the aisle if he didn't.
But me and Paine…
It's not like being the Honorable Maiden in a bad thing. Leblanc is the problem. She's psycho and she'll get the HM to do some pretty weird things. Weird things that I, at all costs, wanted to avoid.
"That's just like my Noojie. He chose his best friend. Baralai."
I snorted. I couldn't help it. I already knew that I would have to walk with Gippal. But Baralai was walking with Paine which meant…
"So I'm your Honorable Maiden?"
I burst out laughing. It was just too darn funny. Yunie covered her amusement with her hand, like the proper little lady she was. Paine gave me one of her death glares then began discussing the newest turn of events with Leblanc. This was too much fun…really.
"Hmm?" I turned from the mirror and looked at Leblanc.
"You and Gippal will dance with each other, won't you? I have no problems with the other two." I felt my cheeks redden. Dance with an undeniably sexy man? Yes please!
"S-sure Leblanc. Anything for you." I refused to look at Yunie and Paine.
"Rikku would like dancing with Gippal." Paine deadpanned. Was it me, or after finding the 'real Paine', did Paine seem like more of a…well…pain?
"'Like' is an understatement, don't you think Paine? I'd say more along the lines of 'passionately love'." Yunie was practically dancing with glee.
"Yunie!" I stomped my feet and pouted.
"Do you mean she loves him? Oh-ho-ho-ho! This is so romantic! Just think! A love story unfolding during mine and Nooje-Woojie's wedding! It's so perfect!" Another thought then seemed to strike the blonde. Leblanc brought down her hands and peered closely at a fidgeting me. "You're still a virgin, right love? Because if you aren't, that'll just ruin my plan."
My mouth dropped to the floor. "Where did you get the idea that I wasn't a virgin?"
"Well, look at the way you dress, love. It's promiscuous."
"Leblanc has a point, Rikku. Better watch it in those clothes." Paine was just reveling in her revenge.
"Yeah Rikku. You never know if Gippal might decide to take you into his arms and run his hands all up and down your bare--"
I ran out of the room before I heard the rest of Yunie's statement.
I had to endure a week of Yunie and Paine constantly whispering conspiratorially to me. Every time one would walk past me, they would whisper something about "bare skin" or "Gippal" or even "wild squatter monkey sex"…wait…that might have been Tidus.
But then the day of the wedding came. We'd taken a ship over the day before and were pleased to find comfortable little tents to house us separately. Just a small bed and a sink on one side of the place. Very nice and practical. Sadly, my positioning was not. I don't know whether Paine just really had it in for me, but she always managed to find ways to be near me. And she'd always have something to say.
I was regretting ever making fun of her during the real Gullwing days.
However, I got my fair share of revenge too. Especially that night, when all four hundred (I know…huge!) of the wedding guests were invited to dinner. There was this huge buffet line in the courtyard of the Kilikan temple. The bunch of us decided to get dinner together, and naturally, Paine decided to stand in front of me, while Gippal was behind me. But, Baralai was in front of her.
So I just conveniently tripped and sent Paine sprawling into Baralai's arms. Leblanc was delighted.
"So ya actually got some spunk in ya, eh Cid's girl?" I turned to face him. "I don't know what you're talking about, poopie head. And I have a name, you know?" Gippal leaned closer. "I do know." And then he looked down at my…well…yeah…I was blushing brighter than a red elemental.
"You four lovebirds are kind of holding up the line." Tidus poked his head into the conversation, grinning like an idiot. The murmuring of the curious crowd just became intelligible ('Is he staring at what I think he's staring at?') and I quickly whirled around, smacking Gippal with all five million of my braids and began to hastily dump any assortment of food into my plate. Paine was doing the same…hey…that almost rhymed…
So anyways, we all got our food and bustled off to find a place to sit…more conveniently, the steps of the temple. I somehow managed to get away from Gippal who was still grinning like a rabid fiend. And then I realized.
He'd meant to embarrass me.
Ooohhh he made me mad! I looked away and began to shovel food into my mouth, not really caring. The night was spent, thinking of ways to get back at Gippal. Of course my plan to embarrass him didn't work very well, but I tried. I kept on bringing up stories of his childhood but the way he glossed them over, he sounded like a Yunie by the end of the dinner.
That self-absorbed, cocky, arrogant, good-looking, sexy, funny, witty, idiotic, half-assed (well, maybe not) son of an Al Bhed!
Wow…That almost sounded like an insult.
The day of the wedding. Gippal had walked me back to my tent last night and had apologized for his behavior, all the while standing as if he was a flan azul doing gymnastics. I accepted and went on my merry way.
And now here I was, dressed in the green thing that I'd chosen that day with Leblanc and the girls, with my hair half up. I felt like puking. I don't know why. I wasn't the one getting married yet I felt like I was. My stomach was twisting in ways I'd never felt it twist and my face seemed to be stuck in a "sick" look. It got even worse when the groom's guys came to visit the bride's girls.
"Hey hey hey! All you ladies are lookin' lovely! Even Cid's little girl looks great!" I didn't turn to look at them. I just kept on staring at myself in the mirror, gripping the bouquet of flowers that was used during the rehearsal.
I heard what Gippal said and opened my mouth to give my usual reply. However, I swiftly shut my mouth. Didn't want to give lunch an excuse to come spewing out. Gippal walked on over to me but I stood there, gripping the flowers and staring at my frightened self.
"Rikku? You okay there?" I shook my head. "Your color ain't that pretty. You sure ya don't want anything?" I shook my head again and just kept on staring at myself in the mirror. I was terrified of making a fool of myself.
"She's scared because she thinks Leblanc's going to make her do something." Paine said, breaking her conversation with Baralai, who seemed mildly annoyed. Yunie giggled at me with Paine, while Tidus grinned like an idiot. Gippal looked back at them.
"Nah, don't think so. She's jus' scared of makin' a fool outta herself. That right?" I didn't react. He knew me too well. We were practically living with each other before I was a month old.
He took me and guided me to a chair where I sat down. I did just that and breathed. The wedding was going to kill me. I knew it.
"No it's not." Gippal cut off my thoughts. I looked up at him and stuck out my tongue, knowing that he knew what I was thinking. And then, the planner came bustling in.
"It's time!" Shelinda hissed. We all stared at her wide-eyed. She'd never hissed before.
I felt even worse.
I gripped Gippal's arm. He didn't seem to care and just squeezed my arm back. I took a deep breath. He took one too. In the end, it became a game that frustrated those behind us. I'd swing my leg, he'd swing his. I'd move my hair out of my face, he'd move his hair out of the way.
"Will you two cut it out?" was the testy question posed to us by Tidus. There was a murmur of agreement from Yuni, Baralai and Paine. I sighed dramatically. Gippal shot me a smile before sighing as well.
And then, the doors opened.
The wedding was in the antechamber of the Temple. It was bedecked with flowers and surprisingly, it was all done in good taste. Purple, red and crème drapes hung from various points on the wall while sprays of Djose roses hung from the ceiling. The bridesmaids carried a bouquet of Guadosalam ukkirians and Mushrrom lappig's. Very nice and simple.
The music started up. I took a confident step forward, in sync with Gippal's towering frame. We made our way down the violet rug that served as the aisle. Gippal and I reached the end of the carpet and bowed towards Nooj, as was customary. Then we went off to our separate sides. Yunie and Tidus came a few seconds later, followed by Paine and Baralai.
As Baralai took his place next to Nooj, Paine stood standing at the end of the rug, as Leblanc came down the aisle, led and followed by Ormi and Logos, respectively. She looked beautiful in her red and crème gown. Once Leblanc reached Paine, Ormi and Logos sat down in their seats and Paine came to stand next to Yunie.
The ceremony began. It was so utterly boring. I could see Gippal trying to keep his one eye open as he blearily tried to stifle his yawns.
Thankfully the ceremony was quick. And then came the reception.
I shakey-shaked my way up to it because it was outside where the buffet had been the day before. There was no semblance of order. Once the wedding was pronounced over, everyone, including the bride and groom, made a beeline for the reception. This time, there was a dance floor, tables, a bar and covering, just in case it decided to rain.
I jumped at the chance for food, ignoring the toasts that were being made. I listened in on Paine's and I could tell it was painful (haha). She was trying so hard to make Leblanc sound good. It worked…but I could sense her struggle.
I turned to find a place to eat. There, with Gippal and that other girl. I went right over and sat down.
"Hey Cid's little girl." I gave up. "Hey."
"This is Helady. She's one of Leblanc's friend's." I held out my hand for her to shake. "Hi! I'm Rikku!" Helady looked at my hand and slowly brought hers out. The way she shook my hand almost made it seem as if she was trying her hardest not to puke.
"So…where are you from?" I asked. Trying to be nice here!
"Helady's from Luca. She grew up in Bevelle though." Gippal was still staring at her.
"Sounds like you two know quite a lot about each other." I remarked, picking at my food. Helady swept her cold black eyes over me. She didn't look to good in her dress. It was white and made her look pasty. Spira, she looked like a female form of Seymour, just with different coloring. Even her voice was like his!
"Yes. Gippal and I get along quite well, don't we?" Helady flashed Gippal a smile. Gippal gave her one of his pirate smiles, as I call them. They can win anyone over. Suddenly, I felt very small.
"Absi-posi-you better believe it, Princess Helady. Have I told you how you look beautiful in that dress? Really brings out your eye color and the beautiful blush on your cheeks. Hold on! Is that even more blush that I see showing up?" Gippal then leaned over more to her side as they continued speaking in lower tones. She was giggling like a fool.
I got up with my food. They both looked up, Gippal asking where I was going. Gippal looked slightly panicked, but I didn't register that. "I'm going to find Yunie. Knowing her, she's probably already promised someone she'll change the name of Bevelle to Shiny Little House of Lies."
I don't know why I got tears in my eyes as I turned to go. I walked away from the table, searching for the others but I gave up after two seconds. Passing a trash bin, I threw my food in and dropped the plate on top. I was walking down the steps of the temple within a minute.
Someone grabbed my arm when I was halfway down. The party seemed far away now, voices seemingly like flies in the air. Squatter monkeys seemed to be following me from outside the temple steps. They would chatter once in a while.
"Where do you think you're going, Cid's girl?" I shut my eyes tightly, willing the tears to come out. It wasn't so hard. I'd already been crying for a while.
I whirled on Gippal. The squatter monkeys stopped babbling.
"I have a name!" I said with contempt. "And if you're so keen on knowing about someone's whereabouts, why don't you talk to your little Helady, huh? I'm sure she has some interesting story about how her eye color has to do with her gown that she got stitched just for her royal self in Besaid!"
"My little Helad--" The babbling of the squatters had continued…
"That's right! You know you like her so much! Why even bother coming after me? I'm just 'Cid's little girl'. You can't even remember my name, yet you already have a title for your-your-your her!"
"Look, you don't--" Now they were quiet…
"Yes I do! You don't know Gippal! I wish I'd never laid eyes on you! Do you know what you do to me? Huh? Huh? Well do you? You make me sick! You make me happy! You make me cry, frown, smile and laugh! I don't know what to think of you! Yet when it seems like I know what I think about you, I see that you already have a little girlfriend named Helady! And her name is even weird! If you separate it, you might as well be saying he lady!"
"I don't see--" Still quiet…
"What do you mean you don't see? You may only have one gorgeous eye but that's good enough to see these tears! It's good enough to see that I'm crying because you seem to be fancying some-some-some two-bit little poopie head that you've never told me about! Spira, you're probably engaged to her! What happened to all that we've been through? I thought we actually had something! But now…Argh!"
…Rikku has left the party…I repeat, Rikku has left the party…
I whirled away again, ready to march down the stairs, feeling very good about myself, except for that sinking feeling I had in my gut. But then I realized that yes, Gippal was still holding my arm.
He yanked on my arm and I crumpled into his arms. I couldn't stop crying. He whispered into my hair and then hefted me up.
"Are ya done?" I sniffed and nodded. "Will ya let me talk, without interruptions?" I nodded again, hiccupping just a little. "Helady was introduced to me by Leblanc. Helady had no friends. Leblanc said 'Be her friend.' With me so far?" I was stricken with guilt already and he probably hadn't even gotten to the good part. The squatters rustled and one twittered loudly before being silenced by a particularly loud 'ooh-ooh-ah-ah.'
"So I sat down with her and spoke to her like a human being would. She wasn't very talkative and I was bored. The whole time was spent trying to get her to talk. I tried everything. Once you came along, I was on flirting. Flirting just so happened to work. I got her to talk and found out she doesn't like Al Bhed people. That's why she didn't like you. Right after you left, she saw my eye and smacked me. Hence the red mark on my cheek." He turned his head a little to right and I saw the mark. I took one of my hands from around his neck and laid it on his cheek. Wow.
"So I came after you and you blew up at me. But just to make amends to a few of the things that you said, I am in love with you, so I suppose that makes us equal on that. That is, if I read your angered words correctly." I bowed my blushing face. "I do hope to marry you one day and hope that you have all fifteen of my kids. I want the first one to be a girl, like you, only she has to be taller so no guys like me have an excuse to carry her like I'm carrying you. I don't know any names yet but I like--"
I laughed and kissed him. The 'ooh-ooh-ah-ah' squatter let out another loud cry.
The kiss…It wasn't an attack. He just let it flow. We moved in sync, our lips molding and hugging, almost on the verge of being hungry. It was spicy, lovely and utterly heaven.
Spira, I can't even describe it! And then…we broke it.
He grinned at me before bringing his lips to my ear.
"Friends are in the bushes." I pulled back and stared at his one eye. He nodded. I looked at the bushes where all the noises had been coming from. They were dead silent now.
"You guys can come out. We just realized you were there and yes, we know you heard my confession…our confession of love." Gippal shouted.
Tidus came out first, holding hands with a blushing Yunie. Paine came out and 'harrumphed', looking quite happy with the way things turned out and Baralai was blushing at his capture. Next came Leblanc and Nooj, one looking extremely happy, the other very solemn and almost annoyed.
"My plan worked." Leblanc stated. I remembered and glared.
"Yup," Tidus quipped, "Now all that's left is the wild squatter monkey sex. You already go the kiss down." The rest laughed.
"We aren't squatter monkeys." I said with a frown as Gippal lowered me to the ground.
"Yeah. Unlike Baralai and Dr. P, we've admitted our love for each other. Unlike the Lady Summoner and Tidus, we don't sneak around pretending to be the monkeys and unlike the married couple, we'll be a happily married couple."
I would've laughed longer but once the six of them started chasing us, we had to run.
Well…This was a really long chapter! And I think this one is my favorite so far. But since I'm out of ideas, I need you guys to give me new ones. How about this…
Challenge: Give me a place (i.e., Macalania, Bikanel, etc.), a quote (something to be said by either Rikku or Gippal) and an item (something that you KNOW you would find in Spira…nothing like a cell phone or an alarm clock) that has to be used in the chapter. Make it mean something and if you want to give me a mini-plot, please do so!
Oh wow! So many reviews! Thank you so much you guys!
Back of Beyond: Thank you so much for your review! I wanted it to seem like Gippal died first. I didn't think I succeeded but I'm glad someone thought I did! I don't have any ideas yet (as you can see by the challenge thing up on top). But I'm hoping that you guys can come up with some really good ones!
Mistress Delavaire: Congrats on your account! Once I have some free time, I'll see if you have any stories up and I'll read them for sure! I did check out some of those Yuffentines and some are SO good! Just make you cry, don't they? Vincent is such a sad character and Yuffie is so awesome! Thanks for the praise!
skyhopper: I'm glad you enjoyed this! I do hope that this one is up to par!
mystic s n o w f a l: Phew! I'm glad you thought Gippal died first. I thought I had done a horrible job with that but I let it go and decided, what the heck…It'll only hurt THAT much. But I'm glad you think I'm a good author! There are others out there (like you) that are better than me!
kingleby: Ack! I'm so glad you liked that last chapter! It was hard to write because I didn't want to give away that it wasn't Gippal but yeah…I always thought Cid would prep his kids for his death and so when I was writing it, I figured he'd accept all and give all. I'm glad you thought that it worked! And 'cute' is a cute word! I love it too, lol!
Annjirika: Thank you for reviewing all three of my chapters! Rikku's POV is real hard to wirte…But I'm glad you like my lame attempts at humor. And Gippal's my fave too! He's just so laid back and nonchalant about everything! As for being sad, I felt that I needed to change the pace.
Crazylilgirly88: Aww! Your review was so sweet! Thank you so much! I'm glad you think I'm one of the best!
Faith Akiyama: That's what I went for! Three types of ambience in three chapters. Though it doesn't work that well in the first two and this chapter. Oh well! The once you reviewed was the 'odd one out'! Thanks for your review!