In response to feedback regarding "Winter Wonderland":
John Steppenwolf – Ever heard of 'astrophysics' – physics that involves how celestial bodies move and work? I doubt any astronomy major would pass without knowing the physics behind how the universe works. Ever heard of Newton's three laws of motion? They clearly apply to celestial bodies. Gravity? Same thing. Einstein's famous EMC² applies to the Big Bang and how stars burn energy. Etc. I'm not saying Debra has to know advanced physics, but she does have to know the particular physics required to be an astronomer.
Well, the girls didn't say anything that they beat them. They simply pounded the stuffing out of the boys for attacking them first with snowballs. Ah, revenge is sweet. ;D
Forlong – You already received my response by email, but I want to repeat here what I told you regarding your review of "Winter Wonderland". I've lived in New Jersey, not far from New York City, all my life. I know the weather here, and I certainly do know that in the past 20 years, with the exception of this year and the past few years, it rarely snow in New York City before Christmas. If I don't get snow, NYC doesn't get snow. Therefore, what I have written for Loretta is true. NYC and I very rarely ever had a White Christmas in the past 20 years; therefore Loretta very rarely had a White Christmas.
Everyone else who had left signed reviews has received a reply from me through FF-net's new reply function, and that's what I'm going to do from now on. Signed reviews will received a reply from me through email via the new reply function. I'm not going to guarantee a reply for every signed review though, for it depends on whether a review maybe is worth to reply. :) (For example: If I received a flame, who in their right mind would respond to that? Not me.)
Big thanks to all who read "Winter Wonderland." :-)
Once again, great big thanks again goes to Spitfire F.22 for beta reading for me, despite being very busy with school. Thanks, man! (big grin)
Disclaimer: All Kim Possible characters are the copyright of Walt Disney Corporation. All songs used are copyright (if any) by their respective owners. I'm just borrowing them to write up a story with no intention of making any money. This is for fun. All other characters in my stories, that Disney doesn't own, are mine. :)
A/N: Unlike "Winter Wonderland," this story is totally into the holiday spirits as the TUY gang enjoys the Holiday Season before the grudging workload arrives preparing for the finals. :)
Story rating: Rated K+ (aka PG)
Written: November/December 2005
Summery: During the Holiday Season, the gang attends the annual Upperton U Christmas Ball.
Kim Possible: The University Years
'Tis the Season
By JuPMod (aka JPMod)
Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.
'Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.
Don we now our gay apparel,
Fa la la, la la la, la, la, la.
Troll the ancient Yuletide carol,
Fa la la la la, la la, la, la
Smiling, Upperton University's star gymnastics athlete hummed along with the carol as it played on the overhead speakers. She snuggled into the cushioned corner of the lounge chair as she continued to hum while reading her notes and book for math class. Out of the corner of her blue left eye, she noticed the young man, whose wheelchair was sitting next to her chair, was grinning at her.
"You love singing Christmas carols, don't you?" Felix Renton teasingly asked, an opened book on advanced robotic mechanics in his lap.
"Is it obvious?" Debra Oxford Tsuda chuckled as she turned her head to face him, her long blond/brown hair piled up on the back of her head by a hair claw clip. With a finger, she pushed a loose hair strand behind her ear.
Felix chuckled as well. "Ever since we've arrived here, you've occasionally hummed along with the songs playing out of the lounge's overhead speakers." His amused grin widened. "It doesn't take much guess work to figure it out."
Gently laughing, Debra nodded. "Guilty as charged," she said before giving a soft, happy sigh. "The Holiday Season is one of my favorite times of the year." Her eyes then transversed around the lounge to take in other students studying and working as well as the sun-lit, snow-covered landscape seen outside through the windows.
Since several weeks ago, when Felix met Debra in the student center's cafeteria that one Saturday morning, it had became a ritual for them to meet for breakfast and study together every Saturday, sans holidays, school breaks, and important events. Other than the Thanksgiving Saturday, they had yet to miss a Saturday, for they enjoyed each other's company.
Seeing her soft, joyful expression, Felix's face changed to match hers. "I too enjoy the Holiday Season." This caught her attention as her head turned to face him. "The music, the good cheer, and the warm feeling of family and friends."
Her grin turned into a warm smile. "Hai," she said, focusing on her companion's blue eyes. "Christmas is not an official, national holiday in Japan, but the spirit of the season along with the ringing in the New Year is welcome by many Japanese. It's a joyous occasion for family to gather together and celebrate."
"And from what you told me, your family is quite large," Felix softly chuckled.
Debra smiled and rolled her eyes. "Oh, Kami! Much as I love the family festivals, it sometimes gets to be a drag at times." Felix laughed, causing her to giggle in turn.
"Speaking of celebrations," Felix said, "are you going to the university's Christmas Ball tonight?"
Blinking, Debra was confused. "You didn't know? Yes, I'm going. I thought Ron would have told you, since I told Kim and Monique a week ago, the day after Snowball Mayhem Day."
Now it was Felix's turn to blink in confusion. "Ron certainly didn't tell me anything." He gave a slight grin. "You think Kim would have shared everything she hears with Ron?"
"Yeah, I suppose," Debra slightly shrugged, looking a bit sheepish. "They are a couple, and I thought they would have shared everything with each other."
Shaking his head, Felix grinned. "Whether Kim told Ron or not, I certainly did not know that you were attending, Debra."
"Well, I am," the petite, young woman replied with a small grin. "This is my first year in Upperton U as you know, and I'm curious to see the ball." She chocked her head to the side as her lips curled up into a small smirk. "Besides, this is the last weekend before the finals, and I want to enjoy myself before I'm immersed with the intense studies and work preparing for the finals."
Felix chuckled. "Same here. I didn't attended the ball last year, because I'd needed the extra time for studies, but I'm going to attend this year."
"Great!" Debra beamed as she reached over and placed a hand on his arm. "We're going to have fun!"
"True," he agreed, pleased in seeing her excitement. "I know George and Ron will be there."
"Loretta is going to attend," Debra said as she released her hand from his arm. "Same with Monique and Kim."
The wheelchaired, Junior-year student grinned. "Looks like everyone will be there."
"Hai," the Freshman-year student agreed. "I'm looking forward to tonight." With that said, she settled back to her previous position on the lounge chair and looked down to her book and notes.
Felix, on the other hand, wasn't yet ready to return to his studies. "Do you have an escort for tonight, Deb?"
The question caught her by surprise as she quickly lifted her head to look at him with raised eyebrows. "Escort? I wasn't aware a person has to have an escort to the ball."
"Oh, no." Felix shook a hand. "One doesn't have to have an escort to the ball." He shrugged as he gazed down at his book and appeared to be reading it. "It's sort of a tradition to have an escort though, even though it's not necessary."
Looking at her brown-haired friend, Debra was still confused for a moment, until her mind recognized what he was aiming for. Her lips formed a small smile as her heart fluttered. "Felix?" He raised his head to look at her. "Are you asking me to be my escort?"
Realizing he was caught, Felix gave a slight sheepish grin. "Well, are you looking for an escort?"
Debra pretended to give it some thought. "Hmmmm… Well, I wouldn't mind having an escort, if I find the right man." Her eyes narrowed as her lips quirked. "Are you that man, Mr. Renton?"
Seeing her playfulness, Felix confidently grinned back. "That I am, ma'am." He gave a small bow as he played along. "Miss Tsuda, would you mind if I escort you to the ball tonight?"
Feeling her heart quivering, Debra widely grinned. "Yes, Mr. Renton. I accept you to escort me to the ball tonight." Unable to contain herself, for she was quite touched, Debra threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. "Thank you," she said in his ear before kissing him on the cheek.
As she pulled away, Felix was grinning proudly as he felt his cheeks flush. "You're welcome."
Feeling like he would blush even redder with Debra beaming at him with a full, warm smile, Felix coughed a bit with a fist in front of his mouth before speaking. "So, what time you want me to pick you up tonight?"
Settling back into her former position again on the lounge chair, Debra's radiant smile waned a bit but still remained. "The ball doesn't start until 7 PM, so I don't mind if you pick me up at 7:30. I don't have to be there at the start, given the ball lasts until 1 in the morning anyway."
"7:30 PM, it is," Felix grinned at her.
"Good," Debra said with a nod, before gently slapping his arm. "Come on. Let's get back to our studies."
"Aye," Felix said, still grinning, as he raised his book and began reading it.
Still feeling touched that Felix had asked to escort her, Debra, a grin on her face, turned to look back at her math book and notes. After a few minutes, she began to hum once more to the Holiday music playing from the speakers.
Despite the large increase of shoppers normally found at this time of year, Kim Possible was not deterred the slightest as she walked past the many stores in Upperton Mall. She had grown accustomed to the holiday shopping crowds since she started being an active, serious shopper so many years ago. Nonetheless, there were times she had felt fighting Shego would be a cakewalk compared to facing the shopping crowds of the holidays.
Carrying a shopping bag in each hand, the 20-year-old redhead quickly looked over her shoulder. "Come on, Ron. We still have to find something to give the Tweebs."
Trailing just behind her with two shopping bags in each hand, Ron Stoppable narrowed his eyes a bit at his steady girlfriend. "And I'm telling you, KP, Jim and Tim are easy! Just give them any electronics and they'll be happy!"
"Yep, yep," Rufus said from the front pocket of Ron's unzipped winter coat.
"Absolutely not!" Kim huffed as she faced forward. "Now that they are dating, they should have some nice clothes for their wardrobe."
Ron smirked and rolled his eyes. "Kim… Knowing them, they have no desire for fashionable clothing anymore than me."
Hearing the amusement in his voice, Kim shook her head as she slightly grinned. "Ron, their image will improve in front of their girlfriends, if they have least some fashionable clothing." She gave a small shrug. "Besides, they're growing now. Mom told me they need some new shirts to replace the ones she bought last year."
The 20-year-old blonde man frowned. "You never complained about my wardrobe when we were in high school."
This time Kim frowned and rolled her eyes. "Ron, that was before we became a couple. I certainly didn't mind your clothes back then, but as my boyfriend I like for you to least have some good, fashionable clothing to wear occasionally." Her lips curled into a smirk. "Are you saying you don't appreciate me shopping for you?"
"Oh, no!" Ron grinned. "It's good to have a girlfriend with fashion, savvy experience to help me occasionally." His eyes narrowed a bit as he focused on the back of her head. "Just lay off the ambushes as you did weeks ago."
Kim giggled. The day after Thanksgiving, she, Ron, and Debra went shopping at Middleton Mall, and she had ambushed Ron to try on clothes at Club Banana. He wasn't happy, especially after she had placed him in tight pants that showed his shapely butt. The result was that Debra had taken a snapshot of that butt with her cell-phone camera and had sent it to Monique. In turn, George Castle, Ron's roommate, had taken that shot and plastered copies on various bulletin boards in the boys' and girls' dorms. Poor Ron had to take the brunt of 'Butt Man' jokes and ribbing for several days after returning to Upperton U.
Today, the couple was shopping for Christmas gifts for their families and close friends. Given they would be busy studying and preparing for the finals in the days ahead, this weekend was the last chance they would have to shop for Christmas presents. They wanted to find a gift for everyone on their lists prior to the end of the semester, so they wouldn't have to endure the shopping madness in the days between the last day of school and Christmas Day.
As they started to past the central area of the mall, where the huge 2-stories tall Christmas tree stood, Kim and Ron stopped and stood by the railing to gaze down to the first floor from the second floor. In front of the tree, two dozen boys and girls, wearing typical winter clothing, stood together in four lines of six in front of a woman with a conductor's stick. A small sign on the side indicated this was the choir from Upperton Junior High School.
Already, a large crowd of onlookers was gathering around to watch as the conductor, no doubt the music teacher of Upperton Junior High, raised her stick, and the choir, holding their song sheets in front of them, began to sing.
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!
As the song continued, Kim and Ron grinned and were moved by the beautiful harmony of the combined voices singing as one. Rufus was also touched, for he sighed and grinned, as did the many spectators from the first floor and around the railings of the second and third floors.
A few minutes later, when the choir finished on a splendid high note, a loud applause was heard in the mall as every member of the audience clapped. As far as everyone was concerned, this group of youngsters deserved it.
Kim and Ron, still grinning, stopped clapping, picked up their bags, and walked away from the railing just as the large ovation slowly died down. As they walked away side-by-side from the central area, they heard the choir began singing "I Wish You a Merry Christmas".
"They're good!" Ron exclaimed.
"Uh-huh!" Rufus agreed as he bobbed his head.
"Yeah, they are," Kim replied, her face still grinning. "Too bad we don't have the time to stay and listen to them some more."
"Yeah," Ron said a bit deflated, but his jolly mood wasn't diminished. "Come on, KP. Let's find those shirts you want for Jim and Tim."
Looking up at the man she loved, her grin broadened into a full smile, which made him smile in turn. They continued on their shopping quest, their spirits in good cheer as the sights and sounds of the holiday season bustled around them.
As he lay on his bed, George Castle sang along with the music blaring out of the speakers of the notebook computer on his desk. He was in a festival mood.
Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring
Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun
Now the jingle hop has begun.
After looking at the digital clock on his nightstand and seeing it was 5:10 PM, the sophomore student got up and danced a bit as he traveled the short distance to the closed door of the bathroom. He pounded on the door.
"Hey, man! Get a move on! You're going to be late!" He grinned, knowing very well what the response would be.
"All right! All right!" Ron replied from the other side of the door. "Let me finish shaving first!"
Even Rufus joined in the ribbing as he stood on Ron's bed. "You're late!"
"Don't you even start, buddy!" Ron chortled, causing George and Rufus to laugh. Doing a little dance gig as he went, George moved to his desk chair and sat down. He continued to sing along, tapping on the wooden desk in tune with the music.
A few minutes later, Ron emerged from the bathroom wearing fresh boxers and a white t-shirt. He began to don the simple chef clothes placed on his bed. "Man, Kim's shopping spree took longer than I expected!"
George chuckled. "Ron-man, you obviously should know by now the way your girlfriend works when it comes to shopping."
Ron gave a snort of a laugh as he placed on a red, long-sleeved chef shirt before putting on black pants. "George, it so happens that Kim just forgets the time when it comes to shopping, even though she knew we didn't have much time." The blonde man donned the white chef jacket last before sitting on his bed to pull on black formal shoes.
Shaking his head as he grinned, George still wondered how much Kim really had her boyfriend wrapped around her finger at times, despite the loving couple's claims that their relationship was equal.
Finished tying his shoes, Ron rose and faced his roommate. "How do I look?"
Rising up from the chair, George walked around his friend and tugged the jacket down before grinning. "Looks great, Head Chef Stoppable!" He gave two thumbs up, making Ron grin in return.
"Cool!" Ron replied before he reached out for his formal winter coat on his desk chair. "I don't want to be late to help make the ball's buffet as head student chef." His arms slipped through the jacket and buttoned it up.
George nodded as he continued to grin. The university's student chefs had always prepared the food for the Christmas Ball and other special occasions as a way to help them gain practical experience. In the past two years, Ron had only been one of the regular chefs, but this year he was selected to be head student chef under the guidance of the professor chef. Rumors said that, under Ron's guidance, the food was tastier than anyone could remember in years. From the few occasions he had sampled Ron's cooking, George was a believer of the Stoppable Cooking Magic.
Finally ready, Ron strolled to his closet and pulled out a black, formal suit still on its hanger and inside its protective plastic. Lugging the suit over his back, Upperton U's Head Student Chef made his way to the door. "I'm gone!"
George and Rufus waved as Ron opened the door. "Rufus and I will catch ya at the ball, Ronnie!"
Ron turned his head to look at his two buddies as he smiled. "See ya two then!" With that said, he closed the door behind him as he left.
After he was gone, Rufus jumped from the bed to the floor and up onto George's desk. The pony-tailed, brown-haired man gazed down at the pink mole rat and smiled. "So, Rufus, how about we dance for an hour before I have to prepared myself for the ball?"
"Okay!" Rufus said as he gave a thumb up.
The pair danced away to the Christmas music, having a nice pre-party before the main one coming up.
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There's a feeling
Meeting smile after smile
And on ev'ry street corner you'll hear
Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day
As the song played on her notebook computer, Monique examined herself in the full-length mirror attached to the inside of her dorm room's closet door. She approved of what she saw, for her slim and toned body was in a form-fitting, red evening gown. The ankle-length gown had short sleeves, open back to the waist, collar, open chest with slight deep cleavage, and thigh-high leg slits. Her black hair was kept in the usual form she loved with a ruby clip holding it at the back, and her appearance was completed with black high heel shoes. She smiled, for she definitely loved the way she looked.
Stepping away from the mirror, Monique eyed the bathroom door. "Yo, Kim! Are you ready, girl?"
"Yeah," Kim said from behind the door, "I'm coming out now." The door opened, and Kim Possible came out. With an impish grin, she posed in front of her best friend. "Well, what do you think?"
Monique gave a wicked smile as she eyed Kim from head to toe. "Girlfriend, you are gonna be hot to trot tonight!"
Kim was in a sleeveless and strapless, ankle-length, purple evening gown. With low back and eye-catching cleavage, the dress was tight on the torso yet flowed loose and smoothly past the hips. One hip-high leg slit allowed her shapely left leg to be exposed. Her gorgeous red mane was pulled back, into a sort of ponytail, then twisted & pulled up and held by a clip to the back of her head to show her neck, shoulders, and back. Matching color high heel shoes with straps adorned her feet, and given her natural beauty, make-up was kept at a minimum with light pink eye shadow, slight blush, and light red lipstick
"Thanks, Monique," Kim replied to her friend's compliment. "I know Ron loves this evening gown best out of all the ones I have."
Coming up to the redhead, a smiling Monique looked at Kim's hairstyle. "You've done your hair differently than you did last year when you wore this gown." She gave a slight chuckle. "Come to think about it, I don't recall seeing you ever wear your hair up like this."
Kim nodded as her hand reached up to pat the hair at the back of the head. "Yeah, I like my hair to be mostly loose and free, but I'd decided that I might try something new for a change." Her lips and green eyes, as they held Monique's brown ones, became sly. "I remembered last year Ron complained that my hair had gotten in the way for him to kiss my neck from behind. His lips this year will have plenty of open space to maneuver now."
Monique pretended to fan her face. "Woo! You're going to cook Naco Boy tonight, Dragon Lady!" Both young women giggled.
Kim took a few steps to pull open her nightstand's small drawer. Taking out a small jewelry box from the drawer, she opened the lid and her hand reached in to remove two diamond stud earrings. "Yeah, Monique, I know we're going to have fun tonight," she said as she placed on the earrings. Next her hand took out a three-row pearl necklace with a pearl teardrop hanging on the bottom.
"Well," Monique began as Kim wrapped the necklace around her neck, "this is our last party before the…" Her face grimaced. "Heavy studying in the days ahead."
Her hand took out a three-row pearl bracelet before Kim closed the jewelry box. "I know, Monique," she frowned as she attached the bracelet around her left wrist. Her lips gave a small grin. "So let's have as much fun as we can tonight."
"You betcha ya, girlfriend." Monique matched her best friend's grin.
Walking over to Monique's full-length closet mirror, Kim inspected herself and gave a satisfied grin on what she saw. "Well, I'm ready as ever." Turning around she took a few steps to her desk chair and picked up the formal woman's winter coat that hung there. The coat was knee-length with soft fur on the inside lining and around the neck. It had been her mother's until the previous Thanksgiving when Mrs. Possible had given the coat to Kim to wear for formal occasions. Her mother insisted she have the coat, since she already has two other formal winter coats anyway.
Placing on the coat and buttoning it up, Kim faced Monique and saw she has placed on her formal winter coat, which was nothing fancy like Kim's but least it kept her warm. After placing on her coat, Monique quickly turned off the music on her computer.
Eying the digital clock on the nightstand, she saw it was 6:45 PM. "Come on, let's go," Kim said with a grin as she retrieved her strapless purple purse from the bed. Monique picked up her black strapless purse on her nightstand and followed Kim out the dorm room. The African-American woman shut off the lights before closing the door behind her.
Inspecting the results with a keen eye, Loretta Brown came to the conclusion that it was finished. "Debbie, I believe you're good to go," she smiled as her brown eyes moved from the back of Debra's head to the bathroom's mirror, where she held Debra's blue eyes through the reflection. Loretta picked up a handheld mirror from the sink countertop and positioned it behind her roommate's head.
"Thanks, Loretta," Debra beamed at her friend's mirror image through the mirror as her eyes surveyed her hair through the reflection of the handheld mirror. "It looks great." Her blonde/brown hair was in a nice, smooth, loose flat bun at the back of her head held by a hairclip in the center of the bun. A few strands fell in front of her ears along side her cheeks. A few weeks ago, at the memorial ceremony for those who died during the brief Drakken War, she had her hair in a tight bun, which appeared quite rigid. Now, however, her hair made her look quite feminine in a formal way.
"You're welcome, Deb," Loretta replied with a warm grin. Her free hand squeezed Debra's shoulder before she placed the handheld mirror back on the vanity. After that, she left the bathroom as Debra began to apply make-up to her face.
As Debra carefully brushed light-blue eye shadow onto her eyelids, her ears picked up the music and lyrics playing from the small radio on Loretta's nightstand.
Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
It's the best time of the year
I don't know if there'll be snow,
but have a cup of cheer.
Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
And when you walk down the street
Say Hello to friends you know
and everyone you meet.
She couldn't help but grin. It seems almost every radio station was playing holiday music at this time of year.
Finished with the eye shadow, the young woman gently brushed some blush over her cheeks. Not much though, but just enough to make her face pretty. The final touch was light pink lipstick to the lips, and after applying it, she gave a sly grin at the face in the mirror. Even without make-up, Debra knew she had a pretty face, and she only wore make-up for special occasions and rarely did she spruce herself during those occasions. Tonight was the exception and she knew right now she looked beautiful.
Looking down at her sleeve-less, black, wide hem, ankle-length dress, the same one she wore at the memorial service weeks ago, she made certain it was smoothed from wrinkles and the top portion hugged just right on her chest to give modest cleavage. Satisfied that the two-strap dress was okay, Debra walked out of the bathroom toward her bed, where she scooped up the matching full-sleeved, open crop jacket, which completed the attire.
Sitting at her desk with one leg over the other, Loretta watched Debra slip on the jacket and smooth it out. She gave a low whistle and grinned broadly. "Looking hot, Debbie girl!"
Shaking her head slightly as she chuckled, Debra pointed to her roommate. "Same as you, Loretta."
Standing up, the native New Yorker proudly displayed herself. "You got it, Deb! I'm smoking!"
Instead of a dress, Loretta opted for a white/silver formal woman's pants suit with white high heels and jacket, which had a V-neck that stopped just above the cleavage. Her shoulder-length black hair was slicked back with hair jell, and the only pieces of jewelry she wore were white, teardrop earrings. The white of the suit made a great contrast with her brown skin.
Pulling out her nightstand's drawer, Debra took out a small, Japanese decorated jewelry box, and after opening it, removed two sets of jewelry. Small diamond stud earrings were attached to her ears, and a small golden heart in a golden chain went around her neck, where the small necklace positioned the heart just below her adam's apple.
Her blue eyes momentarily rested on the nightstand's digital clock. "Loretta, you can go ahead to the ball without me, since you've already helped me with my hair." She turned around to face the other woman. "I know you want to meet up with your friends."
Loretta's lips turned crafty. "Or perhaps you want me to leave so you will be alone with your date?"
Feeling her cheeks slightly burning, Debra gave a giggle. "Yeah, that too."
Picking up her coat from the desk chair and donning it, Loretta gave a mock-ticked expression as she waved a hand. "Say no more, Miss Tsuda. I know better than to hang around when your boyfriend arrives. You perhaps want to snog him before leaving for the ball."
Debra's eyes went wide as she laughed. "Loretta! So not true!" With that said, she gently slapped her friend on the arm, causing Loretta to grin widely with mirth. Debra may not have learned every American slang term since arriving in the United States a year and an half ago, but she definitely knew what 'snog' meant.
Grabbing her white purse off the bed and shouldering her arm through the arm strap, Loretta, face still mirthful, made way to the exit. "I'll catch ya at the convention hall, Debbie!"
"Right," Debra responded, her face grinning with arms crossed. She was still a bit tweaked over Loretta's joke.
With a wave and a wink at the younger woman, Loretta left, leaving Debra alone with the holiday music playing from the radio.
Knowing she had enough time, Debra went to her closet and retrieved a pair of black high heel shoes to slip on her black-stocking covered feet. She had worn flat slipper shoes at the memorial, but tonight, high heels were a must for a formal ball.
With high heels on her feet, the young athlete knew she was ready. Her formal coat was on her desk chair, and the black, strapless purse was on her desk. All she has to do now was wait for her escort to arrive. So she strolled a few steps to the windows and gazed at the landscape under the clear night sky. The moon was already above the buildings, and the various lights from lampposts and buildings, as well as the moonlight, reflected a bit off the snow.
Many minutes later, Debra heard a knock at the door, and she quickly moved to answer it. Opening the door, she smiled at the sight of Felix wearing a formal men's winter coat over a black suit with white shirt and black tie. His hair was combed back, completing the image of a properly well-dressed man. "Hi, Felix," she greeted.
Upon seeing her, Felix was momentarily blown away before he returned Debra's smile with his own. Debra was a bit petite, but her well-shape, lithe body and physical attributes put many women to shame. "You look gorgeous," Felix said.
Her smile grew wider. "Thank you," she replied, pleased for the flattering remark. Her eyes narrowed as she slyly looked up-and-down Felix's form. "I have to say you're looking quite handsome."
Felix smirked as he cocked his head to the side. "I aim to please." Both chuckled. "So," he began as their laughter died off, "are you ready?"
She raised a finger. "Give me a moment." Retreating back into the dorm room as Felix watched, Debra retrieved her coat and purse before turning off the lights and the radio. She came back out and locked the door behind her before placing the coat on. After buttoning up the coat, she smiled at her escort. "Now I'm ready."
"Where's Loretta?" Felix asked as his wheelchair rolled down the hallway with Debra walking besides him.
"She went ahead of me," Debra answered as she briefly locked eyes with his. "We'll see her at the ball."
"Good" Felix said with a small grin. "Seems like everyone will be there tonight," he finished as they reached the elevator, which was just before the stairs.
Debra giggled as she pressed the elevator button. "Oh, we know that not everyone will be there, Felix." The doors opened before them. "I doubt the entire student population can fit in the convention hall."
Both chuckled as they entered the elevator, and after Felix pressed the button for the first floor, the doors closed in front of their amused forms.
On the opposite side of the university from the athletic campus stood Upperton U's convention hall. It was a building roughly three stories high and made mostly of marble stone. With the exception of the rear addition, narrow high windows were placed all around the building. It was built in the late 1940's for the purpose of providing a place for large gatherings or small meetings. The university's main auditorium was okay for events such as the annual orientation for first time students, but it was unsuitable for certain events, like career day, science/engineering fairs, or even a holiday ball.
The convention hall was also one of the university's moneymakers, for not only was it used for university purposes, it also was occasionally rented to nearby businesses and organizations. This was why the building had a large parking lot off one side with a road leading to the main road, so people coming from outside the university could easily find it. Oh, the hall certainly was nowhere in the league of Middleton's huge convention center, but for businesses and organizations who don't need such a large place for a meeting or convention, Upperton U's convention hall was ideally suited.
As for now, the convention hall was host for Upperton University's Annual Christmas/Holiday Ball for students and facility. All the outside lights on the walls and ground were on, and some of the ground lights had green, red, and blue color filters to light up the outside walls in holiday colors. Even a Christmas tree, little lights blinking on and off, was placed off one side of the wide, large front stairs.
Approaching the front of the hall on a walkway, Felix and Debra took in the sight before them. "They've done a good job this year," Felix admitted as they stopped and stood at the bottom of the front steps as a few people walked past them up the stairs.
Debra shrugged a bit as her eyes wondered over the structure. "This is my first time I've visited this building, Felix." Felix's head turned to face her upon hearing this. "Until now, I didn't need to ever come here."
"Really?" Felix asked.
Giving a small grin, she turned to face him, puffs of white clouds appearing in front of her face as she breathed out into the cold air. "Yes, really. I'm not a member of any clubs or university organizations. I'm satisfied with just being a member of the girls' gymnastic team, nothing more."
Felix gave a small grin. "Well, Ron and I occasionally come here for meetings as members of the Science Fiction & Gaming Club. Not always, given our meetings could just as easily be held in any of the lounges at the student center."
Debra blinked in confusion and disbelief. "How many members are in your club?"
Felix smiled, for he knew what Debra was really asking with that question. "There's roughly 300 members in our club," he said yet continued on seeing she was about to speak, "but not everyone attends every meeting, Debra." Seeing she was still confused, Felix chuckled. "Deb, we can't hold our meetings to conform to the school schedule of every member. Whether a member can attend or not, we will hold our meetings at the date and time we scheduled. This is why our president asks that every member tell him whether he or she can attend a meeting, so he will know whether to book a room here at the convention hall or simply just use a lounge at the student center. At times, we can get up to 100 members attending, we have to book a room here," he indicated the convention hall, "yet if only 20 to 30 members attend, we can easily fit in a student center's lounge."
"Oh," Debra said, her face showing she was a bit in a stupor. Giving a small sheepish grin, she shrugged it off. "As I said, I'm not a member of any clubs, so I don't know any of this anyway."
"Not even a member of any clubs when you were in Japan?" Felix inquired.
She shook her head with a slightly lopsided grin. "No, not even there." She closed her eyes as her body shivered a bit, causing her escort to notice with some concern.
"Come on, Deb," he said with a hand on her arm, "let's go inside, where it's warm."
"Hai," she agreed and began to climb the stone stairs. Instead opting for the long, winding handicap ramp off the stair's side, opposite from the Christmas tree, Felix just used his wheelchair's hover abilities to drift over the steps along side Debra.
"Got your ticket?" he asked as they drew near the top.
Debra grinned and raised the purse in her hand. "Right in here." Felix grinned in return.
The one drawback to the annual holiday ball was that the convention hall could not hold the entire university's student & facility population. Therefore, tickets had been sold, starting in mid-November, to a limited number of students and facility on a 'first-come, first-serve' basis. To prevent ticket scalping, the administration had only allowed each buyer to purchase no more than two tickets.
Upon reaching the top, Felix returned his chair to normal mode, before the pair moved toward five sets of double doors, evenly spaced along the wide width of the front stairs. Each door was made of steel with engraved designs and a narrow rectangle window in the middle. Four of the double-door sets were closed off with crowd-control lines, leaving only the center set for anyone to enter the building.
Felix and Debra entered through the double-doors to find themselves facing two university security officers. One stood besides a small box on a stand.
"Tickets?" the officer next to the stand said.
Debra popped open her purse to retrieve and hand over her ticket. Felix followed after getting his ticket out of his coat's breast pocket. The officer ripped the each ticket in two and handed back one half to each person and the other half into the box.
"Enjoy yourselves," the officer said with a smile.
"Thank you," Debra replied with a grin before walking past the officers, while Felix only grinned and trailed her into the vast red-carpeted lobby of the convention hall.
Felix couldn't help but feel amused as he watched Debra gaze awestruck at the interior of the convention hall. "This place looks like it came out of a fairy tale book!" she exclaimed, making the wheel-chaired man chuckle.
Exactly centered with the central-front double-doors was a wide carpeted staircase that extended up to another lobby, which was situated in front of the main convention room/ballroom. A large sparkling chandelier hung from the ceiling over the staircase, while two smaller chandeliers were off to each side of the larger one, equally distanced over the width of the building. Easily seen at each end of the front lobby was a ramp that descends down and disappears under the main convention room's floor.
Using a finger, Felix pointed to one ramp. "Those ramps lead to smaller rooms that are underneath the top floor. My club, for example, only used a smaller room, since we don't normally get past 100 people in any of our meetings anyway."
Debra nodded in understanding, before she realized something. "Felix, I know you have your chair's hover ability to go up these stairs," she indicated to the stairs in front of them, "yet what about other handicap people? How can they get up there?"
Felix sighed and frowned a bit. "They have no choice but take one of the small ramps, down the hall, to an elevator at the rear of the building." He waved his hands to point to the entire lobby. "There's no way they could build an elevator here."
"True," Debra agreed, frowning.
Seeing a few well-dressed students passing them to ascend the stairs, Felix activated his chair's hover ability again and took Debra's hand. He smiled at her as he dragged her up the stairs. "Come on, Deb," sensing Debra's slight melancholy mood due to the previous conversation, "let's get to the party."
Laughing, Debra nodded. "All right! All right!" she cried out as she struggled to keep pace with Felix as he pulled her along. "Stop yanking me already!" Felix laughed; making Debra gently slap him on the arm in mock irritation, yet her eyes twinkled.
Stepping onto the main convention room's lobby, Felix's chair again returned to normal. Around them, there were a few people talking and mingling in small groups on small couches and chairs near the walls or rails. In front of Debra and Felix were three opened, wooden double-doors, where they saw the ball was going on at full swing with music, dancing, and more people socializing while standing or sitting at tables.
The pair passed through the center double-doors and into the ballroom, where once more Debra stood in awe at what she saw.
The convention hall's main room/ballroom was quite large, at least three times larger than the main student center's cafeteria, and able to hold 1500 people comfortably. A chandelier, a bit larger than the one outside above the staircase, was in the exact center of the cathedral-high room over the dance floor, which was surrounded by round tables that could seat least eight people each. Situated out from the large chandelier were smaller ones. All walls had opened, wooden double-doors with the exception of the three rear double-doors, which were closed, and through the doors one could see that the lobby outside surrounded the ballroom by carpeted side halls and the one in the rear. Above each double-door was a ceiling-high, stain-glass window.
Even though the lighting inside the ballroom was dimmer than outside in the lobby and the surrounding halls, Debra's eyes didn't have to adjust much at all. She turned to face her escort, who was again amused in seeing her astonishment. "This is quite a beautiful ballroom! It looks like something out of the 19th century!"
"It was designed that way, yes," Felix replied, still grinning. He pointed to the wooden floor. "The entire room can be one huge dance floor, if needs to be." His index finger rose to point at the rear of the room. "If someone needs the room to be a convention room, the staff could easily set up a raised stage platform at the rear and place rows of chairs in front of the stage."
Nodding, Debra again surveyed the room as her hands unbuttoned her coat; now that she felt quite warm due that she was indoors and not outdoors. "As I said, this is quite a beautiful ballroom."
"Debra!" a familiar female voice caught Debra and Felix's attention to their right. They smiled upon seeing whom it was strolling toward them.
"Kim!" Debra greeted as she walked a few steps toward the approaching smiling redhead and both women embraced in a hug, while Felix rolled just besides them.
Breaking the hug, Kim turned and gazed down at Felix. "Felix," she said before reaching down and hugging her friend, who hugged her back. After a few moments, she parted and kissed his cheek before rising up again.
"Kim," Felix smirked, "you're wearing that gown again. With your hair up like that, Ron is going to have a heart attack."
"I say!" Debra agreed as she eyed Kim's purple evening gown. "That is quite a revealing gown, Kim!"
Chuckling, Kim struck a pose for her friends. "Yep, and Ron just loves it!" Her green eyes examined Debra's dress through the open coat. "I see you're wearing the dress you wore at the memorial service, Debra."
"Yeah," Debra grinned as she looked down at herself, "it is the best American dress I have in my wardrobe." Her face rose to eye Kim as her lips turned sly. "I certainly do not have anything fancy like yours, Kim."
"True," Kim admitted, matching Debra's expression, "but with high heels and your face and hair the way it is now, I have no doubt you'll have people turning their heads to you as well." Both girls giggled, while Felix gave a slight grin as he shook his head.
"Come on," Kim said with a wave of a hand to follow her. "Monique and I claimed a table for us to sit. George joined us 30 minutes ago."
With that said, Debra and Felix followed their friend along the edge of the ballroom until they reached a table three-fourths of the way into the room. It was nicely situated close by the dance floor with easy distance to the buffet at the front, and, like all the tables in the room, it has green paper tablecloth and in the center of the table, a small lit bowl-candle in the middle of a holiday holly wreath. As they came close to the table, Monique and George rose from their seats to greet the newcomers, while Rufus watched from the table, eating cheese and chips on a strong, red, plastic plate.
Monique came forward, and she and Debra hugged while Kim stood besides the two. "Great to see you here at last, Debbie girl!" she said in the young girl's ear.
As the girls embraced each other, Felix raised a hand to allow a grinning George to grasp it in a buddy grip. "Felix, my man, welcome to the party!"
"I wasn't going to miss it this year," Felix replied, grinning.
After Monique and Debra released each other, Debra placed her purse on the table and then took off her coat as the group settled around the table. Monique and George sat down as Debra, following the example of how the others had hung their coats, hung her coat over the back of an unused chair next to Kim's best female friend. Kim stood between Monique and Debra, who greeted Rufus with a smile and pat on his head.
After withdrawing her hand from the little mole rat's head, Debra sighed. "It's good to be indoors and take off this coat," she said, while Felix maneuvered his wheelchair between Debra and George. "At least it's nice and warm in here despite the wide open space."
Kim gave a small grin. "The heating system had been upgraded when they had added the rear addition and made renovations ten years ago. I've been told it's far better than the old system that didn't properly heat the entire ballroom, leaving some areas cold and other areas too warm."
"Yeah," Felix agreed as he took off his coat. "I heard stories that some people back then had to go to the hospital for frostbite"
Giving a snort/laugh, Debra gave a skeptical look. "I find that hard to believe, Felix." She reached over to take his coat. "Here, I'll put yours over mine."
"Thanks, Debra," Felix said as the young woman placed his coat over hers on her chair. After that, he turned his head to face George. "Did you wear that suit last year?" Felix and the girls eyed George's simple brown suit with white shirt, brown tie, and brown shoes. The sophomore student's brown ponytail hair was more fully pulled back than he normally wore.
George gave a half frown and grin. "Yeah, I did, don't you remember?" But before Felix could respond, George slapped a hand over his eyes and held the other one up to prevent any comments. "Wait, I remember now." He uncovered his eyes and pointed to Felix. "You weren't here last year."
Felix smugly pointed to George. "Now you remember!" The girls giggled, making George grin.
"Hey, least you weren't here to see me gentlemanly sweep the ladies off their feet," George proclaimed grandly.
Kim rolled her eyes, Rufus gave a razz-berry, and Monique huffed as she placed her left hand on her left hip. "Castle, you weren't even a gentleman last year!" With her other hand, she dismissed him with a wave. "You were more like a party animal than a man."
George pretended that a knife had plunged into his heart. "Oh, I've been stabbed again by Queen Monique. Oh, the pain!" Debra and Felix laughed, while Kim and Monique just grinned and shook their heads at his antics. Rufus just continued eating, rolling his eyes.
Her laughter dying down, Debra gazed around the table. "Speaking of gentlemen," she began as her eyes settled on Kim's green ones, "where's Ron?"
With a surprised, amused expression, Monique pointed to Debra as the others grinned. "That's right! She doesn't know!"
Befuddled, Debra's eyes went from Monique to George before saying, "What don't I know?" then went to Felix before settling again on Kim with a raised eyebrow.
Amused, Upperton U's head female cheerleader crooked a finger to the freshman student. "Follow me, Debra. You'll see." With that said, Kim led Debra away toward the buffet.
Smiling, Felix immediately pulled away from the table. "I want to see this," he said to George and Monique before reeling after the two women.
Rufus tried to follow, but George held the little guy back. "Not so fast, Rufus! You promised Ron, remember?" The little guy groaned and sulked a bit. He'd promised not to even be near the buffet, as Ron's professor wouldn't like seeing the mole rat near the food in public. It would have made problems if people thought the food has been contaminated.
As Kim and Debra came near the long buffet table, Debra noticed ten students in chefs' attires were helping serve the food from behind the table. One of them was the familiar form of Ron Stoppable. Despite knowing he could cook, the young woman was taken aback at seeing him dressed as a chef.
"Debra!" Ron, behind a pan of warming food, cried out in greeting upon seeing her standing besides his beloved Kim. "Felix, my man!"
"Hi, Ron," Debra managed a grin, still a bit shocked.
"Yo, Ronster!" Felix waved as his chair rolled up to stand next to Debra.
Ron turned to Debra and gave her his Ron Smile. "You're looking quite beautiful tonight, Deb. Not as beautiful as Kim though," he eyed his steady girlfriend with narrowed, loving eyes.
"Nice save, Naco Boy," Kim smirked, pleased on his flattering remark. Ron winked back, making Kim giggle.
After giving a snort of a laugh at the loving behavior before her, Debra waved a hand to Ron. "So, Ron, why are you behind the table serving food and not out here next to your girlfriend?"
"Ah!" Ron raised a finger up with a face that looked like the cat that ate the canary. "It's time for this Junior to tell the Froshie of yet another Upperton U tradition." Felix softly laughed at this, while Debra and Kim smiled.
With a wave of his hand, Ron began to explain. "Every year in mid-November, ten of the best student chefs of Upperton U are selected to prepare the Christmas Ball's banquet! Out of the ten, a head student chef is chosen to determine the menu, and the head student chef, under the professor's supervision, leads the other nine to prepare and cook the foods prior before the start of the ball."
Things became clear to Debra now. "So you're one of the ten selected, right?"
"Right," Ron beamed.
Grinning, Felix held Debra's elbow to get her attention. "Deb, look at Ron's uniform. See anything different about it compared to the other nine chefs?"
Head turning back to Ron, the young woman eyed his chef uniform, turned slightly to examine the other nine students as they served food to people, and finally back to Ron, who was waiting for her to get the picture. "Your shirt is red, while the others are white," Debra finally spoke as Felix let go of her elbow. "That means you're head student chef."
"Got in one try!" Ron exclaimed joyously with both index fingers pointing at her. "This is my first year I've been elected head student chef compared to the past two years when I was just one of the regular nine selected."
"So all these food dishes," Debra indicated with her hand to whole row of cuisines with heavenly aromas, rich desserts, and very large bowl of punch at the very end, "were your choices to put on the menu?" Ron just smiled widely to display that she was correct. "I'm impressed, Ron." Her expression clearly showed that she was.
"As anyone should be," a female voice came from the side. "Ron is considered the best student chef Upperton U had in many years."
Debra, Felix, and Kim turned their heads to the left, which was Ron's right, and saw a female student chef walk over to Ron and place a hand on his shoulder. She was Debra's height, sans high heels, with tanned skin, short black hair, and dark eyes behind oval glasses.
Ron grinned at her. "Thanks, Ivy, yet I couldn't have done everything without the help of my bon-diggity crew." He nodded toward the other student chefs before turning to his friends on the other side of the table and focusing on Debra. "Debra, this is Ivy Mae, a friend in my cooking class and a junior-year student." With a hand gesturing to Debra, Ron turned his head to Ivy. "Ivy, this is Debra Oxford Tsuda."
Ivy reached over the table and held out her hand, which Debra took. "Glad to meet you, Debra," she said with a grin as they shook hands.
"Likewise," Debra replied with a polite grin. After another handshake, they retracted their hands.
Ivy, still grinning, moved her focus to the wheel-chaired man. "It's been a long time since I last seen you, Felix."
"Same here, Ivy," Felix grinned in greeting.
"Okay," Debra began, "I understand you're the head chef and everything, Ron," she then frowned, "yet that still means you're stuck behind this table and will not be joining the fun of the ball." Everyone chuckled, making Debra even more confused.
Kim placed a hand on her young friend's shoulder. "Debra… Ron, Ivy, and the others will be joining the party soon. For the first couple hours after the start of the ball, they have to serve the food to represent themselves as the ball's chefs. It gives them good publicity."
Ivy took over clarifying things just as Kim withdrew her hand from Debra's shoulder. "In another hour or so, the ten of us will be free to change into proper evening clothes and we'll be able to enjoy the ball for the rest of the evening."
"Oh," Debra blinked, as she understood before her eyes narrowed when a thought came to her. "Wait a minute." Her eyes locked onto Ron's brown eyes. "Did you pay to get into the ball as the rest of us did?"
"Nope," Ron smirked. "The ten of us and our prof get to enjoy the ball for free!"
"Lucky you," Debra snorted/laughed, while Felix chuckled.
Kim gave a mock tweaked expression. "Yeah, too bad the free pass doesn't extend to his girlfriend."
Ron smiled. "I don't make the rules, KP," he said with hands spread out in show of helplessness. "Yet, in an hour, after I change into my sleek suit, I'm going to dance the first dance," he pointed to Kim, "with my hot girlfriend."
Kim's lips curled up smugly. "And you'll give the last dance to your hot girlfriend as well, Mr. Stoppable."
"I always do," Ron shot back, making Kim grinned wider.
Ivy tapped his shoulder to get Ron's attention. "Remember, you owe me the second dance." With that said, she returned to her duties as she waved to Kim, who winked backed.
After grinning at Ivy's retreating back, Ron returned to eye Debra and Felix. "So what will it be?" he waved to the vast selection of food.
Felix quickly handed Debra a red plastic plate. "Now that you've mentioned it," Debra said, "I'm starving."
"Same here," Felix followed, picking up a plate for himself. "So what's the best you got, Ron man?"
As Ron explained the entrées, Debra noticed Kim didn't grab a plate. "Kim? Are you going to pick up anything?"
The redhead beauty shook her head. "No. Monique, George, and I already had our fill of the main entrées. I'll just grab another cup of punch and a brownie," she pointed to the dessert selections.
So as Ron guided Felix and Debra through the selections of the main courses, Kim snatched up a brownie and filled a cup with punch. The punch bowl was the last item in the entire buffet line, as it sat not far from the Christmas tree, which was placed in front of the exact center of the room's rear wall. To the left of the tree was the DJ, whose CD-disk players were hooked into the ballroom's speaker system, which filled the entire room evenly with music.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
With the kids jingle belling,
and everyone telling you,
"Be of good cheer,"
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
TBC in Chapter/Part 2