Disclaimer: Despite my numerous break-in attempts on the Burton compound, Willy Wonka still remains out of my reach and therefore isn't mine.
AN: I'm afraid the end of the story is here. I have officially worn myself out on the delectable Willy Wonka. I still love the film and all, but after writing one story and co-authoring another, I'm worn out. However, you can still find me in the Pirates of the Caribbean section, and quite possibly the Phantom of the Opera section…after Christmas break, of course. Happy reading!
Chapter 12: Life Afterwards:
"So what happened after that?" Charlie asked, not taking his eyes off of the woman in front of him.
Astra laughed as Mrs. Bucket set a plate of sliced vegetables and ranch dressing in front of her. "Well, Willy spent an entire month romancing me in every way he could," she said, picking up a carrot stick and stirring the ranch with it. "You know, the usual flowers, dinner together almost every night, long walks along the chocolate river, that sort of thing."
She took a bite of carrot and chewed slowly before swallowing, the entire Bucket family watching as though the fate of the world depended on her eating movements. After she had swallowed, Astra took a drink of milk from the cup that Grandpa Joe had set beside her. Once she had eaten the entire carrot stick, she noticed the attention she was getting, and blushed. The Bucket's had the decency to look away and cough or pretended to be interested in other things. A few moments passed, and Astra cleared her throat to catch their attention once more.
"Anyway, where was I?"
"You were talking about Mr. Wonka romancing you," chimed Mrs. Bucket, who had taken a seat next to the younger woman.
"Oh, yes," Astra said, smiling as she blushed. "Well, anyway, after Willy had did his best to win me over, he finally asked me to marry him…"
Willy had been unusually quiet and tense this evening, though Astra couldn't figure out why. Most of the time the man couldn't stop chattering and laughing, and this sudden change of mood was beginning to worry her. He had been all right up until now, after he had followed her onto the Swan Boat and they had cast off, the Oompa Loompas rowing extremely slowly through the river of chocolate. Once they were away from shore, Willy had pulled the rope to close the tent around them, cutting them off from the world outside.
"Willy, are you okay?" she asked, turning to her left to face him after they were safely wrapped in privacy. "You seem a bit…uncomfortable today. Is everything alright?"
Willy looked away and coughed nervously. "Well, you see, my Starshine…"
Astra put her hand on his shoulder and was rewarded with him kissing her hand, a smile on his lips. She saw him reach into his jacket and pull out a small red box tied with a purple ribbon. He handed the small box to her and watched as she untied it and carefully opened it. Inside was a lovely diamond ring in the shape of a heart with tiny golden pearls on either side.
Astra gasped. "Oh, my goodness," she whispered, looking from the ring to Willy's violet eyes. "Willy, are you…"
"I want you to marry me, Starshine," he said, taking the ring out of its box and slipping it onto her finger. "My factory is so empty and cold without you, and if you aren't here to make me happy, well…not even the greatest candy in the world could make me feel better."
Astra smiled and gave him a quick, loving kiss on the lips. "That means yes," she whispered, smiling up at him.
"But if Willy Wonka married you, why would he need an heir?" Grandma Josephine asked, her old, wrinkled face frowning in puzzlement.
"Yes, why would he send out the Golden Tickets?" Charlie quipped, looking Astra straight in the eye.
"Well, you see…"
At this point, Astra seemed very uncomfortable, shifting back and forth in her seat before speaking once more.
After three years of marriage, Willy and Astra had never been happier. The factory was doing wonderfully in its candy sales, and children all over the world were crazy for the wonderful Wonka confections. With each new creation, Willy would race down the hallways, trying to find his wife to show her his proud achievement, which would only make Astra even happier about her decision to stay with the unusual candy maker.
However, Astra would have been much happier if her family had come back into her life and accepted the invitation to come to the factory for the wedding. She had desperately wanted them there, but the invitation had been returned without even a message. In the end, it was only Willy, Astra, and the Oompa Loompa tribe at the ceremony. The Oompa Loompa women had made a white silk gown with crystal bead stars on the bodice, and had crafted a headdress from white chocolate roses to fasten the veil with. Willy had been pressed into wearing a black suit for the occasion, and the two had exchanged vows in front of the Oompa Loompa chief and his head tribe members.
For a month after that day, Willy almost never let Astra out of his sight. He constantly had to have her by his side no matter what he was doing or where he was going. Sometimes he even followed her around, just to be sure she was still in the factory! It was as though he feared that she would disappear and never come back to him, leaving him alone in his factory once more. Finally, though, he allowed her to roam around the factory as she pleased, even letting her go out into the town whenever she wanted to go shopping or get some fresh air.
However, the really critical part of their marriage came when trying to have children. Both of them wanted kids, and the thought of little (human) footsteps running around the factory and sitting in their parents' laps appealed as much to Willy as it did to Astra. Despite all attempts, though, the two never found themselves blessed with a child.
Finally, the real test came after Willy found a gray hair while getting his semi-annual haircut. Willy had come running out of the depths of the factory, panic in his eyes as he found his beloved wife in her room, reading a book. He'd waved the hair in her face and began babbling on about needing a 'hair' for the factory.
Astra had immediately translated his problem and word choice in her head, trying to sooth her agitated husband in the process. Eventually, Willy had calmed down and the two of them settled down to discuss how to solve the problem of there being a lack of Wonka heirs. Eventually, they decided on adopting or choosing a child from the outside world. But whom would they choose?
"It could be either male or female, Willy," Astra said thoughtfully. "It doesn't really matter, as long as they are willing to learn your technique of candymaking."
"But I don't want any spoiled or rotten kids, Starshine," Willy remarked, making a face. "There are enough of those in the world, and I want to be sure to pick the right one."
"You mean like picking the right ticket out of a raffle to win the prize?" Astra asked, amused at her husband's behavior.
"Exactly!" he exclaimed, grinning broadly as he leapt out of his chair. "It'll be a contest," he said, pacing back and forth around the room. "I'll send out some tickets for some kids to find, and they could come to the factory and we'll pick out the best one to take over!"
It sounded pretty out of this world to Astra, but it was better than nothing. Besides, the worst that could happen was that they would have to simply send out more tickets, should the first batch of children prove unwholesome and/or unworthy of being taken into the Wonka family. In the end, Willy and Astra decided to act out the plan in one year, where five golden tickets were to be printed and sent out all over the world for five very special children to find.
"Wow," Charlie said, perched on the edge of his seat. "So that was why the tickets were sent out!"
"Were you there when we were allowed to tour the factory?" Grandpa Joe asked from his seat on the bed. "We didn't see you anywhere, so how did you know who won at the end when Mr. Wonka had immediately taken us up and away in his Glass Elevator?"
Astra smiled. "There are many secret passageways in the factory," she explained. "And all of them have some way of observing what's going on in the rooms, so I merely followed you along the tour." She frowned for a moment. "I'm afraid that getting to the Television Room was a bit difficult, but given the fact that the Teevee boy loved the thing so much, I pretty much expected him to choose that room as soon as he got into the Elevator."
Charlie and Grandpa Joe laughed as they remembered the incident with the other boy. Astra joined in and finished the small vegetable snack tray Mrs. Bucket had left her. Finally, once the dish had been cleared away, the room became silent as the buckets contemplated Mrs. Wonka's story.
"How do you feel about Charlie winning the factory?" Mrs. Bucket asked, gazing at the woman next to her.
"Oh, I knew Charlie would win the moment I saw him at the front gates," Astra replied, smiling at the young boy. "I saw from the news what spoiled brats the others were, but when Charlie showed up, I liked what I saw and knew that he was a boy that would appreciate candy and all that it had to offer. I'm actually very proud of him winning."
Suddenly, Mr. Bucket spoke up. "What about your parents?" he asked. "Haven't you spoken to them after all this time?"
Astra shook her head, her eyes sad. "I've tried a dozen times to get in contact with them. I've tried to write and call them, but letters are sent back unopened and calls get hung up on," she said, sighing. "I even tried to visit, but the door was slammed in my face. I've accepted the fact that I've disappointed them and that they will not forgive me for quite some time." She gave them a sad smile.
Mrs. Bucket immediately covered the young woman's hands with hers, giving her all the comfort a mother could give an abandoned child.
An hour later, Astra entered the factory through the back gates where an Oompa Loompa took her coat and led her back to the rooms she shared with Willy. She figured that she still had some time to herself, given that Willy had taken to constantly visiting his psychiatrist after Charlie had rejected the factory. What she didn't expect to find was a very upset Willy Wonka standing in the middle of their bedroom suite.
"The Oompa Loompas tell me that you've been out to see Charlie," he said, frowning a little.
Astra sighed; she hated it when he got into one of his little moods. "I had to apologize to the Bucket's and explain why things are the way they are," she said, taking a seat in one of the chairs by the fireplace. An Oompa Loompa handed her a cup of hot, creamy soup and a spoon, which she thanked him for. "And it wasn't right for you in the first place to have him choose between his family and the factory like that. He's just a little boy, and he needs them very much right now."
"But you know how family and p-p-p-"
"Parents," she automatically replied before taking a bite of soup.
"Yeah, that," he said, pacing back and forth. "You know how they can be about things like this!"
Astra sighed and put her soup on a nearby table. "I know," she said, getting up and walking over to her husband, wrapping her arms around his neck to make him stop pacing and face her. "But it was still wrong of you. The Bucket's are good people. I knew that when they opened their door to me and let me into their home. They're good parents and grandparents, and they've managed to raise a very good, creative, inquisitive young boy who would be perfect at running the factory."
She hushed any protests by pressing a kiss to his lips.
Like he always did, Willy threw aside anything else he had to say and kissed her back, his arms snaking around his lovely wife's waist to hold her close to him. He truly loved her more than anything, and she was right about Charlie, as well as the entire Bucket clan. They must have been good people to have raised such a good boy. He sighed in protest when she pulled back.
"Now, you do realize that you need to talk to Charlie and apologize," she whispered, pecking him on the lips. He nodded. "Promise?" She kissed him again.
"I promise," he whispered, pulling her back into his embrace for another kiss.
'Tomorrow,' Willy thought to himself, hugging Astra as close to his body as he could get. He'd apologize tomorrow and renew his offer to Charlie. Until then, he had something more important to do…like spending the evening with his loving wife.
AN: The end! I'm so glad so many people liked reading my story; it was fun to write. Feel free to review and tell me how you liked (or disliked) it, and check out my other works! Thanks for reading!