One hundred and twenty
It wasn't easy, but Wally managed to make it to the front door of Marty's house without dropping anything. Juggling eight large brown paper grocery bags full of Oreos wasn't easy. The trick now was to ring the doorbell.
Unable to release his fingers to reach the doorbell, he did the first thing that came to mind; he bent down to press the button with his nose. Just as he was about an inch from the bell, the front door swung open.
"Wally?" Kali asked, stunned. "What are you doing?"
"Umm…" was all Wally could say.
Kali looked positively stunning. Dressed in a tea length red dress with satin sash, and with her hair tied back and loosely pinned up, she looked very sweet and elegant at the same time.
"Here, let me help you with those bags," she said, carefully taking two from him. "What have you got in here?" she asked, peeking into the bags. "Oreos?" she asked curiously.
"It's a long story," Wally answered, unable to take his eyes off Kali. "You are the most beautiful woman in the world," he added, following her into the house.
"Thank you, Wally. I'm glad you got here before the others," Kali said, placing the grocery bags on the counter in the kitchen.
"Me too," Wally replied, putting the rest of the bags on the counter as well.
"Oh my!" Kali exclaimed at the sight of Wally in his tuxedo.
The look on Kali's face was priceless.
"Do you like it?" he asked, smiling from ear to ear.
"Wally, you look amazing!" she said in awe.
"Wally? is that you?" Margo asked, entering the kitchen with Marty right behind. "Wow! You look incredible!"
"Hey dude, you trying to show me up?" Marty kidded.
"Thanks," said Wally, turning around 'modelling' for his friends. "Hey guys, thanks for throwing me this party," he said giving Kali, Margo, and Marty each a hug.
"What's with all these groceries?" Marty asked, looking into one of the bags on the counter.
"Thank you, Wally, but you didn't have to bring anything," Margo said. "We have more than enough food."
"Oreos?" Marty asked quizzically, removing one of the boxes of cookies from the bag.
"Yes…" Wally began.
"Wally, there's nothing in these bags, but boxes of Oreos," Marty added, interrupting Wally. "What? are you on some kind of special Oreo diet or something?" he asked.
Curious, Margo stepped forward to see for herself and immediately began removing all the assorted boxes of Oreos from the grocery bags.
"Double Stuf Oreos, Creme Oreos, Miniature Oreos…" Margo recited as she emptied the bag.
Wally smiled and waited for Margo to finish.
"I had no idea there were so many kinds of Oreos," Kali said in amazement. "There must be a dozen or so…"
"Eleven to be exact," Wally announced.
"Since when are you such an Oreo nut?" Margo asked.
"Oreos are J'onn's favorite snack," Wally explained.
"J'onn the Martian?" Marty asked excitedly. "You mean he's coming? Wow! See Margo? I knew Wally would get the Justice League to come!"
"They said they'd try to make it, Marty, so don't be surprised if they don't all show up at the same time," Wally warned. He knew J'onn would only be able to morph into one person at a time, so it was best to warn Marty not to expect them all to attend the party at once.
"But they're all coming, right?" Marty asked expectantly.
"Yes, Marty, they are," Wally said confidently.
"Margo, did you remember to get film for the camera?" Marty asked worriedly.
"Yes, Marty. I bought two rolls of film today," she answered calmly.
"Only two rolls? That won't be enough! What were you thinking?" Marty replied, panicking.
"Well, Marty, if you think we need more, then you can run down to the corner store and buy it yourself," Margo suggested.
"Are you crazy? They'll be here any minute! I am not going anywhere!" he said emphatically. "You'll just have to go," Marty added.
"What? I've got things to do here, Marty. If you want more film, you know where to get it," Margo said, carrying a stack of plates out onto the deck.
"But Margo…." Marty's voice faded as he disappeared out of the kitchen after Margo.
One hundred and twenty-one
"At last," Kali sighed, "Now that we have a few moments alone," she began.
"Let's take advantage of it…" Wally said, finishing her sentence for her. He slowly moved closer to Kali, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her into a passionate kiss.
Just as their lips met, the doorbell rang.
Wally and Kali ignored the doorbell expecting Marty or Margo would get it.
The doorbell rang again.
Wally and Kali pulled apart. Glancing out the kitchen window, Wally spotted Margo and Marty busily arranging the food trays and eating utensils.
"I'd better get it," Wally said apologetically.
Wally left Kali in the kitchen to answer the front door.
"Hi Wally. Happy Birthday," Superman said, handing Wally a small colorfully wrapped gift.
"Hey, thanks for coming," Wally said patting Superman on the arm. "I really appreciate it. Make sure you see Marty, before you go," Wally instructed.
"Uh… sure… Flash," Superman answered.
"Oh yeah, the Oreos are in the kitchen," Wally added, leading Superman into the house.
"Hi Superman," Kali said, greeting him with a friendly handshake.
"Hi Kali, nice to see you again," Superman said warmly.
Wally left the room to get Marty. He put the gift that Superman had given him on the coffee table in the living room.
"Marty?" Wally called poking his head out the back door. "Superman is here."
"Quick Margo! Get the film!" Marty ordered.
Margo shook her head and disappeared into the house.
"He's early," Marty said excitedly to Wally. Do you think he'd mind me taking a picture of him 'hovering' in the air over me?"
"I think you'd have to ask him about that, Marty, but I wouldn't ask him to do much more than that," Wally answered. He didn't want Marty to get suspicious if 'Superman' couldn't bend steel or see through walls, after all, J'onn may look like Superman, but he couldn't duplicate Superman's powers.
"Oh, okay. I get it… he's not a big one on flaunting his powers," Marty replied.
"Exactly," Wally answered, following Marty to the kitchen where Superman and Kali were chatting.
"Superman, the food trays and drinks are out back on the deck," Kali offered, directing him to the back door.
"Everything looks delicious," Superman said. "May I use your bathroom to wash my hands?" he asked politely.
"Of course," Margo said excusing him.
Kali and Margo returned to the kitchen to get some last minute incidentals.
"Isn't this great?" Marty asked Wally, aiming the camera at Wally and snapping a picture.
Wally nodded, pouring himself a glass of soda. "Want something to drink?" he asked Marty.
"No thanks, I'll get something after I take a few pictures of Superman," he said heading back into the house in search of Superman.
The doorbell rang.
"I'll get it," Wally offered, setting his drink down.
Wally was surprised to see Batman at the door.
"Wow, that was quick!" he said, greeting the Dark Knight.
"I can't stay too long," Batman said apologetically. "Happy Birthday, Flash," he said, handing him a long gift-wrapped package.
"Hey, nice touch," Wally said, taking the present from Batman. "Did you notice I got all eleven varieties of Oreos," he added. "Don't worry, whatever is left here, I'll make sure gets back to the Watchtower."
"O…kay…" Batman replied giving Wally a strange look.
Gee, Wally thought, I'd have thought that J'onn would be a little more excited about the Oreos than that! I guess it's just part of the act, he reasoned.
Wally led Batman outside to the deck, joining Marty, Kali and Margo.
"Wally," Kali said, after greeting Batman. "Can we talk privately a moment?" she asked.
"Sure," he said, following Kali into the living room.
Wally didn't see Superman leave the bathroom and head out to the deck.
"What is it Kali?" he asked with concern.
"I wanted to give you your birthday present," she said shyly.
Kali walked over to the living room closet and retrieved the gift she had put there earlier.
"It isn't anything fancy, but…" Kali handed the present to Wally and waited for him to open it.
"Thanks, Kali," he said, tearing the gift-wrap off the present.
Inside the box was an oaken framed, hand-calligraphed poem entitled Face to Face.
"Face to Face," Wally read aloud, noting the author's name at the bottom of the delicately scripted work. "You wrote this?" he asked, impressed.
"Yes, I wrote it for you," Kali answered quietly. "Go ahead, read it," she urged.
Wally began again, "Face to Face, by Kali O'Malley,
Face to Face
Face to Face
I stand before you
Face to Face
I cannot hide
Face to Face
There are no secrets
Face to Face
I will abide
Face to Face
I'll always love you
Face to Face
You're my best friend
Face to Face
There are no secrets
Face to Face
To the end
"Kali, this is beautiful. Thank you so much. I love you, in fact…"
The doorbell rang.
One hundred and twenty-two
Wally opened the front door and was surprised to see Green Lantern.
"What are you doing?" Wally asked nervously, taking a quick glance behind him checking to make sure Kali, Marty, or Margo wasn't close enough to overhear him. "Don't you think you're pushing your luck?"
"Huh? What do you mean?" Green Lantern answered, looking confused.
"Let's face it, three Justice League members here at the same time. Isn't that a bit much, even for you?" Wally explained.
"Listen hotshot, it's a slow night and there are seven of us. Don't worry about it," Green Lantern answered, wondering why Flash was so worried about tonight's evening patrol coverage. Did he or didn't he want him to attend his birthday party?
"Hey! It's Green Lantern!" Marty shouted, interrupting Wally. "Can I get a picture of you?" he asked excitedly. "Come with me," he said. "Hey, any chance I can get a ring like that?" he asked, staring at Green Lantern's ring.
"I don't think so," Green Lantern answered, looking surprised.
"You might as well head out back to have your picture taken," Wally suggested, wondering how J'onn was going to pull off posing as three different people attending the same party. The guy has guts, I have to give him that, he thought.
Wally and Kali followed Marty and Green Lantern out back. He wasn't surprised not to find Batman or Superman anywhere in sight, but where was Margo? he wondered.
Marty immediately handed Kali the camera, asking her to take a few photos of him with Green Lantern.
"Why don't I take one of you with Wally?" Green Lantern offered.
"Really? You'd do that? Wow! The Green Lantern taking my picture!" Marty said in amazement.
Wally got a big kick out of Marty's reaction to having the Justice League at the party. Too bad, it was only J'onn pretending to be them. Maybe he'd see about getting the Justice League together for Marty's birthday.
"Ready?" Green Lantern asked, before snapping a picture.
The doorbell rang.
"I'll get it," Marty said cheerfully.
"How about I get a nice picture of you and your pretty lady," Green Lantern suggested.
Kali blushed as she stepped beside Wally to pose for their photo.
"Ready? Smile nice," Green Lantern ordered.
"Look who's here!" Marty shouted, leading Wonder Woman, Hawk girl and J'onn J'onz outside onto the deck with the others.
Wally's mouth dropped open in disbelief.
Green Lantern snapped the photo.
"That'll make a nice picture!" Marty joked.
One hundred and twenty-three
Wally's mouth hung open in shock. "J'onn?"
"Yes, it is I, Wally," he answered. "We all agreed to take a break from tonight's patrol to come to your birthday party," he explained.
"So… it wasn't only you…" Wally answered, letting it all sink in.
"No, Flash, it really is us," J'onn replied.
"Hey, thanks for coming!" Wally said with renewed enthusiasm. "Really."
Wally ran up to J'onn, Wonder Woman, and Hawk girl, and gave them each a big bear hug. "This is great!"
He turned around and looked at Green Lantern as if seeing him for the first time this evening. "G.L.! Hey bud, glad you could make it!"
"Yes, me too," Green Lantern answered with a perplexed look on his face. "Have you been drinking?" he asked dubiously.
"No… of course not!" Wally shot back. "Hey, where's Batman and Superman?" he asked, realizing they must be somewhere around there."
"Over here, Wally!" Margo called out. She stepped out onto the deck with Batman and Superman following closely behind her, carrying a large sheet cake topped with chocolate icing and 25 red sparkling candles.
"Happy Birthday…" they began singing. The others joined in.
Wally made a wish and blew out all the candles.
"Looks like you got your wish," Kali commented.
"I hope so," Wally said, smiling at Kali. He bent down, on one knee, in front of Kali. He removed the small white satin box from his pocket and looked lovingly into her eyes.
One hundred and twenty-four
"Kali," he said earnestly, "I can't begin to tell you how much my life has changed since I met you. I know we haven't known each other very long, but I do know I don't want to let another day go by without shouting to the world my love for you. I want us to be together and don't want to wait another day, another moment even, to declare my love for you for all the world to see. I love you with all my heart and soul and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?" he asked, opening the box and revealing a beautiful teardrop shaped diamond engagement ring.
"Oh Wally!" Kali threw her arms around him and kissed him.
"I take it that's a 'yes'?" Wally asked nervously.
"Yes! Yes!" she said, releasing him.
"Here, let me help you with that," Wally said, removing the ring from its box and placing it on her finger.
Green Lantern, with camera still in hand, snapped a picture of Wally and Kali.
Marty tenderly put his arm around Margo and gave her a gentle kiss on the cheek.
"Ah-hem!" Batman loudly cleared his throat.
"Anyone want a piece of cake?" Kali asked, stepping forward and removing the smoking candles from the cake.
As Kali began cutting the cake, sounds of a barking dog and angry man broke through the jovial atmosphere.
"Problem with your neighbor?" Superman asked Margo.
"I'll go check it out," Superman suggested. Everyone followed Superman through the house and out the front door to see what was causing all the ruckus.
They arrived out front just in time to see a man, dressed in an Animal Control's Officer's uniform, frantically chasing and trying, unsuccessfully, to catch a stray dog. The poor man was doing everything in his power to grab a hold of the lively pup that seemed to escape the man's clutches at every turn. Just as the officer finally laid a hold of the dog's collar, the pup dropped to the ground and wriggled free again. As the officer became more frustrated, the dog became more animated, taunting the man with his jumping and barking; it was a comical sight to behold.
There was something about the situation that elicited Wally's pity. The man was pathetically inept at what he was doing, completely untrained, obviously. Wally ran back into the house and snatched a slice of roast beef off a platter of deli meat. This ought to do it, he thought.
Racing back to the front, Wally stepped forward toward the weary officer and offered his help. "Mind if I give you a hand, officer?" he asked.
Breathless, the man stopped what he was doing, "I got it under control," he replied angrily.
Wally and the rest of the group watched as the man made several more unsuccessful attempts to catch the energetic little dog, before finally surrendering to Wally.
"Okay, sir," he announced sarcastically, "Let's see what you can do!"
Wally smiled and stepped forward. "Here little fellow," he called, bending down and waving the slice of roast beef before him.
The little pup stopped and slowly approached Wally.
"Sit," Wally commanded.
The pup quickly obeyed.
"Lie down," Wally ordered.
The pup, again, obeyed the instruction.
"Got a leash or something?" Wally asked the officer.
"Here's a rope," the officer said, handing Wally a nylon piece of roping.
Wally bent down and carefully looped the rope around the dog's neck. "Good boy," he said, feeding the meat to the waiting dog.
"Here you go, officer," Wally said, handing the other end of the rope to the man.
As the man stepped forward to take hold of the rope, the street light illuminated his face. Wally was surprised at what he saw.
"Randall?" Wally asked in disbelief. "Is that you?'
"West?" Randall replied, looking annoyed.
"What's the matter Randall, you don't look so good. You been drinking?" Wally joked.
Humiliated, Randall's face turned bright red. Speechless, he bent down, picked the dog up and walked away.
One hundred and twenty-five
It was after midnight that evening when Wally finally returned home to his apartment. He whistled contentedly to himself as he unlocked his apartment door, reflecting back on this evening's events.
It had been an enjoyable evening at the O'Malley's house. The party went well, he thought. It was fun swapping mission stories, playing games, and hanging out with the people who meant the most to him.
He was particularly glad Kali and his fellow Leaguers had the chance to get to know each other on a more personal level. After all, Kali was his fiancé now and it was important to him that the League accepted her as much as she accepted them; and tonight was certainly a casual enough setting for that to happen. He was sure the gag gifts from G.L. and Sups, which Wally thought were particularly amusing might have been a bit 'too casual' for Kali to appreciate.
Note to self, Wally thought, remember to get Superman back for the Superman underwear 'costume'. Besides, who could possibly sleep with that hideous red cape on their back anyway?
On the other hand, Wally did know that Kali had a great time playing Charades with the Justice League. They played the women against the men and of course, the women creamed them. She, Wonder Woman, Hawk girl, and Margo played against Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and him. (Marty was busy taking pictures and J'onn J'onzz was excluded from the game due to his mind reading capabilities.)
Perhaps if Batman hadn't been on his team things would have turned out differently, he considered. Wally laughed at the memory of Batman's awkward attempts to act out the title to the movie, The Sound of Music. Good thing he has other useful talents, because this wasn't one of them.
The best thing about the entire evening, though, was that Kali said 'yes'. Truly, this has been a whirlwind romance, very appropriate for the Fastest Man Alive, Wally considered. This gave him an idea. Wally would tell the world their love story.
Wally plopped down into the chair at his computer and began typing at Super-speed. It wasn't long before he finally completed his story; that is, his and Kali's story. All he needed was a title and he was ready to download his first few chapters to the Fanfiction internet website.
Instantly the perfect title came to mind. In honor of Kali, I will call it Face to Face, he decided, reminiscent of her love poem to him.
And he ended their story the way she ended her poem,
There are no secrets to…