A/N: hey guys! I be back:D longer chapter here for you all, just 'cause I love ya! once again, reviews are all beautiful! keep 'em coming, because I know you all love me XD. but yeah, I had a LOT of fun writing this chapter, it made me smile the entire time. so yeah, here you all go! and I'm pretty sure there will be only one more chapter after this one.
Disclaimer: I don't own Cars or its characters. Nor do I own the song, "Wishes" by Lari White. (though I do recommend listening to it, if you can, during the last part of this chapter).
"There Was Only You and Me"
Chapter VII - "To Have Everything"
Mater and I agreed to wait until later than evening when everyone gathered at Flo's. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday everyone went to the café after closing hours to just sit and relax, and talk to one another about the day. It had always been one of the things I looked forward to the most during the week, just sitting in the dimly-lit room with everyone in town, talking for hours about everything and nothing.
And now I never thought I would feel so nervous about walking through those doors. It was still a couple of hours before closing time, but I still felt anxious. Mater had decided to close early that day, and came home with me, just so we could spend time together. I told him he didn't have to, but he insisted, and I was actually very glad he was here now. His presence was helping to ease my nerves a lot, and I was thankful for it.
So here we were on the couch again. He had himself propped up on the pillows, and I sat next to him, my arms around his middle and my head resting in the crook of his neck. One of his hands played idly with my hair while the other was on my shoulder. Lord how I loved just sitting here with him like this, quiet and warm. I never knew sitting and doing nothing could hold such pleasure, but I guess when you're doing nothing with the one you love, it's not really nothing.
"No matter what happens…" I paused for a moment, trying to find the right words. "We'll always have each other, right?"
It was a little random, and not a matter that worried be to the point of insomnia or anything, but…
"Of course we will, Lightnin'," he responded almost instantly, as if he didn't even need to think about it. "But… whaddaya mean 'no matter what happens'?"
For a while, I didn't answer. It had meant one thousand different things, really. But I guess what we were planning on doing later tonight was what made the question surface in my mind.
"Nothing really," I lied. But Mater didn't question it, and we fell silent once again. It didn't take long for me to fall asleep.
Mater shook me awake who knew how much longer later. Mumbling something even I didn't understand, I snuggled closer to him for a moment. He gently nudged me again, and I sleepily opened my eyes. I moved my head so that I could look up at him, and he looked about as drowsy as I must have. I guess he fell asleep too.
I yawned, lifted myself from him, and stretched.
"It's almost ten," he stated.
My eyes widened. "I slept that long?"
He nodded. "We both did," he replied. "But that just means you're nice n' comfy! Come 'ere!" And before I had time to react, he had pulled me into his arms, laughing happily.
"Hey!" I chuckled out as my head came to rest upon his chest. I reached up and wrapped my arms around his neck, the both of us laughing.
After a few moments, we calmed down, our laughter subsiding and our bodies falling limp atop one another's. We were pretty much in the same position we started in, but I wasn't about to complain. I wished we could stay like this all night, but I knew we couldn't.
I hoisted myself up off of him, and met his gaze as I did so. Leaning in, I gave him a quick kiss, and then moved myself off of the couch. I reached out a hand to him, which he took and I helped him up. But once he was on his feet, he smiled, and pulled me to him by the hand I had offered, and our lips met for a second time.
My longing to stay home only got stronger, half because I didn't want to do what he had to do tonight, but mostly because I really didn't wanna move. But because we both knew we had to leave, we broke apart, looked at one another for a moment, and took his hand in mine, and left the house.
But of course I had to let go of it once on the sidewalk in front of the house.
We both looked over to see who had called our names, finding Sheriff, Luigi and Guido all on the other side of the street. Sheriff was the one who had called to us, and was waving us over to him. We obliged, walking quickly across the street to the three of them, who all smiled in greeting.
"You boys are headin' over to Flo's, right?" Sheriff asked.
I answered with a yes, and Mater nodded.
"Well then, let's a-go!" Luigi said excitedly in his thick Italian accent. Guido just stayed silent, but smiling happily.
We ended up walking the rest of the way together, the five of us. Mater took to talking to Sheriff about his truck acting up (again), while Luigi enthusiastically told me about a huge sale he had made that day.
When we got there, it seemed to me that everyone else in town was already inside, us being the last ones there. Sheriff, Guido, and Luigi walked in ahead of Mater and I, and for a split second before walking in, we looked at each other in a reassuring fashion. And then we went in, and greeted everyone happily.
Near the middle of the room, Sally waved to us from an empty table. As usual, we went and sat down with her. It had just always been some unwritten rule that the three of us sat together in the café. Just like Flo and Ramone, Sarge and Fillmore, Guido and Luigi, Sheriff and Doc, and Red and Lizzie.
My 'number one fans', Tia and Mia were here as well, now working as waitresses in the café, and had become apart of the Radiator Springs family as well. They took to being the ones who serves refreshments at these get together nights, which I had always considered quite nice of them, since it was past working hours. But they said they enjoyed it.
"So…" Sally spoke after a few minutes. "How are you two?"
She had had a tone that told me she was asking a bit more than how the day went.
"Well shoot, Miss Sally, ya just saw us today," Mater answered. I guess he didn't catch it.
Sally and I laughed.
I mellowed my expression then into a soft smile. "We're great," I said. "We…"
I looked up at Mater, and he met my gaze.
"… really are."
I smiled at him, and looked back at Sally, who smiled as well. And from then on she asked us about this and that about Mater and I, and just little things that a friend like her should know about. And it felt so nice to tell her about it all.
But then she asked, "No one else knows, do they?"
Mater and I glanced at each other and then looked down at the table. But you know… we said we'd tell them here and now. No more being afraid.
"They're about to find out," I said to Sally as I stood up from my seat, turning to face the rest of the room. Mater tugged at my shirtsleeve and muttered my name as if to ask if I was really gonna do what he thought I was gonna do. Bit I ignored him. So, putting two fingers to my lips, I whistled as loud as I could, and it worked. Everyone in the café stopped whatever it was they were doing or saying, and looked over at me.
For a moment I was frozen, but I quickly regained my composure and cleared my throat. "Hey there, everyone!" I spoke, waving to them all nervously. They all greeted back cheerily.
I waited for them to go quiet again, and with my heart pounding wildly in my chest, I said, "I… I would like to make an announcement."
They all looked on at my silently in reply. Mater had already let go of my sleeve, but I longed for it to be there, just for some sort of comfort. I knew I had to do it though, there was no turning back now. I took a breath and let it out.
"M-Mater… and I, we're…"
I looked down at him for just a moment, and he smiled at me.
That was all I needed. I smiled back, took his hand in mine, and finished, "We're together."
It was an agonizingly long handful of seconds that passed. I swore time stood still after I got the words out, waiting with a painful knot in my stomach for their reaction. I felt Mater's hand tighten around mine.
Then I was surrounded by a loud sound. It took a moment for my mind to register with everyone's hands coming together to realize… they were clapping! Someone was even cheering out loud. Sally ended up telling me later that Doc was the first to start clapping, and I would have to thank him later for that, but… they were happy! They weren't upset, they… they were all smiling so joyfully, and clapping for us! Mater and I!
At some point, Mater had stood up alongside me, hugging me to him. He said something about being proud of me, but I was unable to hear exactly what he had said, the sound of the cheering overwhelming my senses. But nevertheless, I returned the hug with much enthusiasm, happy as could be. It felt as though the weight of a freight train had been taken off of my shoulders, now able to embrace him in front of everyone else.
Completely unbelievable, it was. I felt so elated that I swore I could've reached the sky if I tried. But what was so wonderful about it was that I knew that even if I couldn't make it all the way there, my friends would always be there to catch me, no matter what.
Mater and I separated and put our arms around each other's shoulders. But then Flo stood up.
"Well it's obvious what we gotta do know, y'all!" she exclaimed, quieting everyone for a moment.
"We gotta dedicate the rest of tonight to the new couple!" And with that, everyone started cheering again, in agreement now. She then came over to the two of us, gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, and repeated the gesture with Mater. She spoke a good luck to us, and then walked over to the twins and said something I couldn't hear to them. They smiled, nodded, and went back into the kitchen. A good few minutes later, they came back with large trays carrying wine glasses and bottles. They set the trays down on a table, filled up each glass with wine, and everyone grabbed themselves a glass.
Sally climbed atop one of the chairs, raised her glass in the air and shouted, "A toast to our two good friends, Lightning and Mater! May they have the best time together with the best of luck!"
Cheers erupted from everyone again, accompanied by the clanging of glass on glass as we all banged our cups together. I took a big swig from mine while I watched Mater take only a little sip. I chuckled, knowing he couldn't hold his liquor very well.
"Hey Kid," I heard a gruff voice from the left of me say. I turned to see Doc standing there, wine glass in his hand and a small grin on his face.
"Hey, Doc," I replied.
"Can I talk to you for a moment?" he asked.
This took me a bit by surprise, but the nonetheless I replied with a, "Yeah, sure."
He cocked his head toward the other side of the room. "Come on," he said, and turned and started walking away from everyone else. I knew it would be hopeless to question or try to stop him, so I just followed. He stopped at the wall and stood silent for a while. Then he looked me right in the eye.
"I wanted to give you my personal congrats, Hotshot. And… well, I gotta say that you never cease to amaze me."
Well that was unexpected. I raised an eyebrow at him.
"I mean… well, I don't mean to be rude, I love the boy to death, but… Mater isn't the sharpest one out there, and he sure isn't gonna be in the running for next year's Miss America pageant. So the fact that you see enough in him beneath all that to say that you love him –." He paused. "You do love him, right?"
"Yeah, I do."
He smiled. "Well I'm proud of you, kid. And I'm happy for you, for the both of you. I guess I'm jus saying that it's wonderful that you've learned to look past physical beauty. I've known that Mater had taken a lot more than a shine to you –,"
"You did?" I asked incredulously.
He nodded. "He told me. It was really bothering him, but he made me swear not to tell you. And then you and Sally separated, and now this. I'm just really glad you were able to let yourself have this happiness with him. If I know anything, it's that Mater will make you happier than you've ever felt."
I smiled, my respect for the man before me only increasing.
"He… already has, Doc," I said. He didn't seem surprised, but just nodded and patted me on the back.
"The best of luck you ya, Kid."
"Thanks Doc," I said. And with that, he turned and rejoined everyone else. For a moment, I remained there just watching everyone having a good time, thinking to myself. It was still a bit of a shock, and I was still trying to get used to the fact that everyone was happy for Mater and I.
After a few more seconds, I rejoined Mater near the center of the room, who was looking around for me.
"Where'd ya run off to?" he asked once I was next to him.
"Doc just wanted to talk to me," I told him, slipping my arm around his waist casually.
I shrugged. "Just saying his congratulations. He said… he was proud of me for allowing myself to find happiness with you."
Mater raised an eyebrow. "What did he mean by that?" he questioned. I just laughed.
"Just means that I'm darn well the luckiest guy in the world right now," I said teasingly, holding him closer to me. Mater laughed.
After that, the party continued on… well, everyone treated it like a party, anyway. Ramone had put on some upbeat music over the speakers that usually played softer music while the café was open. Everyone was walking around, talking loudly t one another over the music. Sheriff and Red at one point cleared the café of all the chairs and tables, pushing them all to the sides of the room, making a makeshift dance floor.
Ramone and Flo were the first to go out and dance. Mater tugged at my shirtsleeve, and I looked over at him. He gestured with his head to the dance floor. I widened my eyes at him.
"No," I said firmly, shaking my head. "I don't dance."
He laughed. "Don't, or can't?"
"I don't dance," I snapped jokingly. Sally and Doc were dancing now.
Ignoring me, Mater just took hold of my hand that was closest to him, and just started walking forward. I tugged back.
"Mater, no!" I exclaimed between laughs. But he ignored me, and didn't turn around until we were in the middle of the room. He grinned, took both of my hands, and started moving back and forth to the country music that sounded through the room.
"I don't know the steps," I tried desperately, now feeling everyone's eyes on us. I felt embarrassed just standing there.
"There ain't no steps, you just gotta go with it!" he told me.
At this point, I knew I didn't have a choice, so I bit down on my lip, and hesitantly began to move to the beat of the music. I figured I'd be best off copying what Mater was doing, so that's what I did. And after a few seconds – much to my surprise – it became easy. My body seemed to form a mind of its own and just went with the music, and my awkwardness disappeared. It was my first time dancing, I'll admit, but it was really a lot of fun.
We ended up dancing to three more songs, and others joined in. It was now obvious to me that there was quite the majority of men in town. Guido and Luigi had started dancing with one another, as well as Sarge and Fillmore (who I have to say looked like they were enjoying themselves quite a bit… I almost had to wonder…). But some others danced by themselves, or just not at all.
And then a much slower, but still sort of upbeat song began to play. Twangy slide guitar, followed by a woman's voice, "If wishes were horses, I'd ride a fast one. If wishes were blue skies, I'd never get rained on…"
I felt Mater put one arm around my waist, while he took his other hand in mine, intertwining our fingers. "Now put your other hand on my shoulder there," he then said, and I did as told. He then began rocking slowly back and forth to the music with me now pressed against him.
"I whisper your name on each star I see fallin'. That old wishing well gets each penny I find. And every year I blow out every candle, and close my eyes and wish you were mine..."
It was hard for me to not get completely lost in the music. With Mater's warmth surrounding me, the soft, flowing music, and just the overall atmosphere of the room… it was all so comfortable, yet exhilarating. I let my head fall against Mater's chest, my eyes drifting shut.
"If wishes were wings, I'd fly wild and free. If wishes were trains, I'd be on the last one. Oh if wishes came true, you'd be lovin' me…"
I sighed contentedly.
"Hey Lightnin'?" Mater whispered.
He hesitated for a moment before speaking. "Lightnin', I… I know'd ya pretty much know this already, but… I ain't never felt this way about anyone before," he said to me. This seemed a bit random, but still made my heart flutter. I didn't reply though, and just waited for him to continue.
"N' well…" he chuckled lightly. "I don't really know how ta go about sayin' this…"
I opened my eyes bit. "What is it?"
He paused for a moment again. "Well I… I wanna spend the rest of my life with you, I really do," he said nervously. I felt his heartbeat pick up underneath my ear. A little confused, I looked up at him. What was he…?
"Lightnin'," he spoke, a deepness in his eyes that I couldn't recognize. "I was wonderin'… if ya would do me the honor of havin' me as your husband."
My mind went completely blank. Shut down completely. I stopped moving, frozen in place, and unable to do anything else but stare at him, eyes wide and mouth hanging open.
Oh… my God.
He… did he?
He asked… me to… oh, I couldn't even think it!
I was so shocked that I couldn't feel anything but shock. There was no capacity for any other feeling at that moment.
But… he… oh, God.
This was just… so unbelievable! And… and, beyond anything that I could ever imagine happening to me.
"Mater, I…" was all I was able to manage out before choking back a sob. God, I felt so happy, it was making me cry!
"Yes!" I cried joyfully. "Yes, of course!" And with that, I lunged myself at him, throwing my arms around his neck, and burying my face in his shirt. He almost fell backwards in surprise, but was able to regain his balance, and wrapped his arms around me, laughing happily. As for me, I was between laughing and crying.
I could barely think. Marriage… me, married! Oh God, it was insane! But… along with the extreme amount of happiness that I was feeling, I also felt a tad bit nervous. But I think that was a normal thing.
I broke away from Mater and ran over to the nearest chair, dragging him behind me. Climbing on top of it, I whistled like I had earlier to get everyone's attention. It worked again, all of them turning to look up at me. I squeezed Mater's hand.
Proudly, I held up our hands and shouted, "Everyone… we're getting married!"
In an instant, I was surround by cheers and clapping for the second time that night, though even more enthusiastic than before. I hopped down from the chair, and hugged Mater to me with as much energy as I could muster. Everyone then came over to us, slapping us on our backs, giving us hugs, and saying things like "congratulations", "way to go", and "good luck". And it was as if all of their excitement was fusing itself into me, because I know felt happy enough to count for everyone in the café.
That night, Mater and I walked back to my house together, my arm linked with his, and my body pressed as close to his as possible. We didn't say anything the entire time, but it wasn't a bad thing. Unlike the night that this all began, in his truck on the way back to town, when we had fallen into an uncomfortable silence.
A lot had changed since that night. A whole lot.
I smiled to myself, completely and utterly blissful with the world. Everything was perfect, and it seemed as though nothing could destroy it. I had Mater, I had all of my friends. I couldn't ask for more.