Disclaimer: I don't own it. The specifics on what it really is I won't get into.
A.N. I'm glad you guys liked the last chapter. I'm sorry it's taken so long for this chapter. I'm really sick of writing about happy people. I HATE HAPPINESS!!!!!!!! The next few chapters hopefully will come out better and sooner, I hope.
A year ago, if someone had told me that I would be dating Jimmy Neutron, they would most likely find themselves in the hospital with a fist sized knot on the side of their face. If someone told me I would be pregnant with his child, I would have found myself in jail for first degree murder. But, if someone told me that I would find my best friend beside herself, pacing back and forth in a gorgeous designer white gown in the middle of a Sunday school classroom, I probably would have laughed myself sick. Mrs. Folfax and Sheen's sister mysteriously vanished the minute they finished dressing, saying that they were "going to go check on the caterers," leaving me alone with the apprehensive bride-to-be.
"It's here, ain't it? It's really here?" The tension in her voice clanged through the room, echoing off the mirror as she stopped to check her reflection for the fiftieth time that afternoon. She braced herself against the frame of the full-length mirror. Libby's face paled as she searched her likeness for the fatal blemish that would ruin her pristine complexion.
"Is what here, Libs?" I asked, attempting to adjust the hem of my dress so that it lay flat and not fall over in the three-inch, deep plum colored heels Libby insisted I wear at the same time.
"Am I really getting married today? To Sheen?" She refused to look at me, but continued to inspect her face for any flaws.
"No. You're marrying Carl," I stated blandly, finally giving into frustration and kicking the shoes off. Only ten minutes in those walking death traps Libby considered shoes and I could already feel the muscles in my legs cramping. "Of course you're marrying Sheen. You've only been talking about how much you love the kid for ages now."
Libby's face paled further. She turned to me with a desperate pleading in her eyes. "Cin, I can't do this. What if I trip? Mess up my vows?"
"Lib-bee! You're going to be fine. You've handled worse. At least it won't be anything like prom. It's just a walk down the aisle to Sheen. You tell him you love him, let him slip on that fabulous rock you said he bought but won't let me see; kiss and then spend the rest of your life happily ever after."
"Ok," she squeaked. Her fingers toyed with the veil for a moment before she blurted out, "What if Carl knocks over the cake?"
"Sheen and Jimmy are babysitting him today."
"But what if one of Jimmy's inventions…"
"He didn't bring any. I told I'd kick his butt if he even thought of trying to sneak one in. Plus I have Carl and Sheen keeping an eye on him."
"Don't even say what if Sheen does something. Jimmy and Carl said they'd watch him. Between the three of them, no one 's going to cause any harm."
She snickered at that, "Wow! Love must do crazy things to you, Cin, if you're gonna trust those boys together."
The two of us shared an abbreviated giggle before I added, "Everything's going to be perfect. I already told the three of them that if something went wrong, someone would die. Plus I heard from Jimmy that last night Sheen showed up and went groom-zilla on the workers who were setting up the sanctuary. He wants this day to run flawlessly for you, and he's trying his best."
"Thanks Cin," She sighed and I knew I still hadn't assuaged all her fears.
"You want me to check on them anyway?" I offered.
I quickly padded barefooted across the carpeting to the door. I scrunched my toes into the carpet, relishing the feeling of the extra padding underneath before turning back to add, "You know, you're supposed to be the mellow relaxed one, and I'm one who stresses over the little things."
She nodded in acquiescence. Cognizant of the fact that she would be capable of handling five minutes of desperately needed solitude, I strode out into the corridor to hunt down my prey. A short time later I found myself standing outside the door with a handwritten sign that read "No Girls Allowed, Men Only." I stifled a giggle and rapped on the door.
"Who dares disturb our domain?" Jimmy popped his head out the wooden door. Pretending to not notice my presence, he glanced up and down the hallway. "Blasted kids!"
I cleared my throat and tapped my foot impatiently. Jimmy sure picked interesting times to develop a sense of humor. Finally, he glanced his neck down and cracked a grin that hinted at trouble.
"Oh I didn't see you down there, short stuff."
He smirked and slipped, like an eel from its cave, out the door. The wooden barrier, painted with lilac and carnation patterns, clicked shut behind him as the latch sealed the portal to the "men's domain."
"What's goin… Quick!" Jimmy exclaimed in a hurried whisper. "Down this hall!"
He grabbed my arm and proceeded to drag me into an alcove.
"What's going on?" I breathed.
I could feel fear creeping up my spine, but I refused to let myself become a slave to it. I would master this feeling, no matter what the cost. Spinning on the balls of my feet I turned to look around. Stealthily I inched over to the corner and peer down the corridor. I tensed and quietly slipped into a crouching position, ready for any unseen attacker who may come our way. I felt my eyes narrow into slits as I attempted to see past their normal 20/20 vision. My blood beat a steady rhythm in my ears. I strained to hear any unusual noises that may have emanated from the other end of the hallway. Hyper vigilant, I waited for someone to come down the hall, to make a movement, a noise, something. Beneath my soles, a slight trembling vibrated through the thinner padding of the hallway floor.
"Cin," Jimmy spoke in a voice loud enough to be heard by anyone who may have been lurking in the hall. Inadvertently I jumped.
"Shh," I whispered. "Do you want them to hear you?"
"Who? Sheen and Carl?" A glimmer of mirth hid in the way that he asked the question and I risked a glance over my shoulder to look at him. A muted laugh shook his body, the source of the vibrations underneath my feet.
"No. Whoever made you pull me down here."
"No one made me do anything. I just wanted to get you alone before the wedding started."
"Oh," my mouth popped open with a snap. "You could have just said that."
"But where's the fun in that?" he asked. The mischievous look that rippled across his face caused an echoing growl to build in the recesses of my chest.
"You jerk! You scared me to death. Again." I yelled and then, because I knew he could take it, punched him in the chest.
"I guess I deserved that," he coughed. "I should have learned the last time, huh?"
"Yes, yes you should have. Now what was so important that you wanted to get me alone?"
"Um… ah… I wanted to ask you something." He stammered.
A hand reached for the pocket of his slacks and I took a step back to admire Libby's stylish handiwork. Somewhere he had found mousse and used it to arrange his hair neatly. I would definitely need to buy him some later. From head to toe, the man looked put together. Even though I thought that I had some sort of inkling how Jimmy would look in his tuxedo, I was dead wrong. The picture of the vest Libby showed in her apartment what felt like eons ago did nothing to describe how amazing Jimmy looked. A pinstripe tie lay around his neck waiting to be tied. My fingers itched to fix it for him, to complete his appearance. I held up a finger and beckoned him over.
"Hmm?" he stepped over, but kept his hand in his pocket.
"Let me do your tie."
My fingers fumbled with the knot for a moment before they remembered how the pattern went. Back before the divorce, any time Mom and Dad went out for a fancy dinner or to a big meeting, Dad always asked me to tie his ties for him. It was sort of a tradition. He hesitated to tell Mom that he never learned how to tie one himself, and didn't want to bother learning at his age.
"Now what were you going to ask me?"
"Oh... I was just going to ask you to… Well I was going to ask you to mend my appearance for me, but it seems you've already noticed that necessity and taken steps to remedy it."
I meant to give him a nonverbal scolding, one where he would understand that it was quite nonessential for him to phrase his sentences so formally, but my facial muscles froze looking into his eyes. That odd light flowed from them again, one that they gave off at times when something special happened, but as it had the last time, the answer as to why he stared at me so intently, eluded me. I waited on baited breath for him to say something more that may aid my search, but his expression quickly modified itself. In a flash I could read scores of different, more infuriating emotions before it finally settled into his natural, self-satisfied smirk.
"There," I murmured when I finished flattening out the necktie. I pressed both palms onto his chest and giggled nervously, struggling to break the ice. "You know you clean up really well, Neutron."
"Thanks, and ah… Don't tell Sheen, but he's wrong to think that Libby's the most beautiful woman here. You look stunning."
"Yeah right, Nerdtron. Did you forget to turn on the fume hood again? I'm eight months pregnant…"
"Seven and a half" he reminded me in a quiet whisper.
I rolled my eyes and continued, "…and wearing purple. I must look like a giant grape or something."
He held a finger to my lips to quiet me and gently murmured, "It doesn't take a genius to see how gorgeous you are, but if it did, I would be overqualified."
"You are such a cheese ball."
"No way! You know I'm smooth."
"Really?" I raised a skeptical brow at him. "And how many girls has that smooth line worked on?"
"Thus far?" he queried and I nodded. "Only one, and she's slightly biased in my favor."
"Your mom doesn't count, King Cranium."
"Ouch, Cindy. That hurts," he held a hand to his sternum like I delivered a physical wound to his ego.
"Aw does wittle baby Jimmy need someone to kiss it and make it awl better?" I batted my eyelashes at him and jutted out my lower lip in a picturesque pout.
"If you're offering,"
"I'm not," I told him with an impish grin. "You'll smudge my lipstick and we still have a wedding to attend to. I bet Carl would if you asked nicely though."
"Why did I choose to date such a tease?" he lamented. He took a step closer and like a fish caught on a hook, used his arm to reel me in until we were pressed together. I could feel every breath he took. In spite of myself, blood flooded my cheeks, and while I struggled to contain myself, the baby kicked, just hard enough for Jimmy to feel. He looked down in awe just long enough for me to regain my composure.
"You date me because your natural scientifically based curiosity demands that you figure out the how's and why's of the universe and I'm one of those enigmas that leaves you guessing and you assume by dating me it might give you some insight into solving the riddle that is me."
"Uh actually I was thinking it was because I was offering myself up as a sacrifice for the good of mankind to have you distracted with a perpetual battle of wits with someone who can adequately engage you, but that works too. You know who you sounded like just now with that oration?"
"Me," he grinned wickedly
"Oh Lord, help us. I'm turning into Nerdtron," I rolled my eyes and nudged him back towards the room the boys were using. "Now enough gratuitous flirting. I'm here on business. Libby sent me to check on you."
"Me? That's so sweet of her," he chortled.
"Ha. I meant all of you. Are you guys ready?"
"I am. I don't know about the others." He tossed his head to the side towards the door. "How's Libby?"
"Panicking," I muttered, remembering her anxious fussing. "Sheen?"
"Eh," Jimmy scratched the back of his neck and pulled an interesting face. His brows snapped together like he was in pain, but his mouth curled up in a grin. "The wedding planner kicked him out of the sanctuary until 5 minutes before the ceremony because he started yelling at the florists."
"What!?" I slapped a hand to my forehead. "Let me in there!"
Knowing better than to argue with me about this, Jimmy jumped out of the way. He didn't move fast enough for my liking, and so I barged past him into the room. Behind me the doorknob and the wall collided with a bang. A muffled "oof" followed from Jimmy as the door ricocheted into him. A soft hiss caught my attention first and I threw a glance at the right corner of the room where Carl stood. He repeatedly drew calming puffs on his inhaler. He glanced warily at Sheen in the same manner he would watch a hungry bear. Sheen prowled across the room. His hands clenched into fists at interchanging intervals, reminding me of a cat kneading a blanket. Though his back faced the door, I could still hear the constant murmur as he inveighed against the wedding industry.
"Deep breaths Sheen," I called lightheartedly.
"Cindy! Praise Ultra Lord you're here! You'll agree with me. The wedding planner is being ridiculous. How are the florists going to know where to put the hydrangeas if someone doesn't tell them exactly where to put them?"
"I didn't even know you knew what hydrangeas were Sheen," Jimmy remarked.
Sheen glared at Jimmy for a moment, which he brushed off with a shrug. Grabbing my hand, Jimmy tugged me across the room. With Carl looking on enviously, he deftly hopped up and took a seat. Jimmy beckoned me to the counter and patted the top, urging me to join him. For a second time that day I pointed to my swollen abdomen. Turning my back to him, I opened my mouth to reassure Sheen that his worry over his wife-to-be's fastidiousness was unfounded, but not before Sheen launched into another explosive tirade that rivaled any of my own.
"He's been like this for a half hour," Jimmy leaned down to whisper in my ear. "I'm surprised Carl's inhaler hasn't died on him yet."
"Jeeze," I rubbed a manicured hand over my face. "Libby was just saying something along those lines. These two were definitely made for each other."
"What was your first clue?" Jimmy whispered back. "Hey Sheen," he called a little louder. "Calm down. Ask yourself, 'What would Ultra Lord do?'"
Sheen threw Jimmy a surprised glance as though Jimmy finally lost his mind, a look that was echoed on both Carl's and my face.
"Pfft! That's easy. He wouldn't bother with this. He'd blast through the walls with his magma cannons, grab his Ultra Lady and fly to Planet Mektar to have one of their priests perform the ritual," he replied without hesitation.
He jammed his hands into his pockets and turned his back to us, rambling inarticulately about our unenlightened perspectives and need of education in all things Ultra Lord and weddings.
"Sheen would you relax? Libby's not going to leave you standing at the alter just because the hydrangeas are a centimeter too far to the left."
"But… but… but…" he sputtered.
"No," I cut him off sharply. "Now are you ready to go? You have your black socks?"
"I don't understand why they have to be black," he whined.
"Just answer the question."
"Do you have black socks or not?"
"Oh that one," he held up his pant legs to show me that they were indeed clad in black socks. "Check."
Sheen nodded and I held up another finger to indicate that I marked it off my mental list.
"Pants and shirt pressed?"
"Check and check."
"What the heck is a pocket square?"
"Ooh! I know!" Carl raised his hand in the air. "It's the folded square hankie thingy that goes in your pocket in case you need to blow your nose"
"You remembered underwear?" Jimmy piped up from the countertop.
"Dang! I knew I forgot something!" Sheen slapped a hand to his forehead and scrambled for his duffel bag
"And on that note… I'm headed back to Libby. You guys should be fine. See you in ten."
The wedding typified the core of the two's personalities. From the way Sheen bounced on the tips of his toes, straining his neck to be the first person to catch a glimpse of his bride, to the way the candlelight captured the joy that bloomed from Sheen and Libby when their eyes met across the crowded room that spread over the spectators bathing them in a soft glow until it seemed they too absorbed the light. Happy tears cascaded down Libby's cheeks, sparkling like diamonds. The golden gossamer threads intertwined into her braids threw a speck of light into Sheen's eye about halfway through the ceremony breaking his focus.
"Sheen!" Libby growled, though her smile still shone brightly on her face.
"Huh?" he asked, shaking his head to clear it. "Sorry you just look so stunning. Where were we?"
"This is the part where you say I do," Jimmy stage-whispered from behind his hand.
"Oh. Thanks," he turned to Libby and declared in a firm voice that would cement their future together. "I do, always."
The rest of the ceremony flowed like a dream out of any little girl's daydreams until Commander Baker asked for the rings. Sheen turned to Jimmy.
"I have the ring," he chuckled.
A chorus of murmured titters passed around the church. Jimmy blushed and ducked his head, but flashed me a quick wink as he did, so I knew he was only feigning embarrassment. As Sheen slipped the ring onto Libby's finger a honking noise resounded through the sanctuary and I hazarded a glance behind Jimmy to see Carl blowing his nose into a handkerchief. When I finally looked back at the happy couple, Sheen held Libby in his arms and was kissing her passionately. Applause and whistles broke out in crowd of spectators as the Commander announced them husband and wife. Little did we know that the happy feeling wouldn't be around for much longer.