Disclaimer: "You lost your birthright in one hand of poker?" "What can I say? I am an asshole."
(An: This was done for a challenge by my friend 'Lock- I believe it involved having a cheerleader, a wedding, a plane to London, and the line, "I hate not being the most important thing in your life." I've been stalking the BJ fandom for a while, and this was a surprising amount of fun.)
It was a gorgeous dress. Lydia hated it. She hated hated hated it.
For one thing, it wasn't black. Black could make anything tolerable, even a wedding dress. And anyway, she had issues with wedding dresses in general. After all, the first time she'd ever worn one was to marry him.
He was the main reason she loathed it so much. She'd designed the damn thing herself; she should like it! But looking at the dress and knowing that she was going to be the one wearing it was… well. Really, really annoying.
Because she loved Paul, she really did. Even Beetlejuice's scorn couldn't change that. He was sweet, funny, loved her art, and loved her, Lydia, even more. And, oddly enough, he was a cheerleader too.
She stared blankly at the wall as they fitted her for the dress she loathed (And wasn't that just the thing? She had adored the sketch when she hadn't thought she was going to be the one in it), Beetlejuice's derisive snort ringing in her ear.
"He's a cheerleader? You need to pick up some taste, babe."
Lydia glared at him for that… even though she agreed. "There's nothing wrong with it."
"Except that he's looking up other girl's skirts every day of the week!"
"Paul's not like that," Lydia snapped, mostly annoyed because the same thing had crossed her mind when Paul told her about his hobby.
"Sure, babe, sure."
"Quit calling me that. I have a boyfriend!"
Beetlejuice didn't even bother replying.
"You're hell to get along with, you know that?"
Beetlejuice swept her a bow, looking incredibly pleased and rather touched. "Why, babe, I didn't know you cared."
"Ly-di-a! Call me it!"
"Agh!" Lydia pitched her pillow at him.
Beetlejuice didn't bat an eyelash as it flew over his head. Instead, he yawned, stretching. "It's too easy to bait you, babe. It's getting boring."
"You're an asshole."
Beetlejuice sat on the end of her bed, inspecting his nails. "Lyds, babe, you should probably stop with the sweet nothings. After all, as you keep reminding me, you have a boyfriend." He clasped his hands under his chin. "Yes, the cheerleader, dear, sweet Paul-"
For some reason, hearing him say Paul's name so nonchalantly made her angry. Do you actually want him to be jealous? a small part of her asked. Lydia found it extremely easy to ignore that voice, no matter how true it seemed; she just tackled BJ.
He was stronger, of course, so she was the one who landed hard on her back, her breath escaping in a rush. Beetlejuice propped his elbows on the floor on either side of her head and looked her straight in the eye, something he didn't do too often. "Smooth, Lyds, smooth."
"Say it with me," she gasped, trying (but not really very hard) to shove him off. "Lih-dee-UH."
"Fine," he replied, leaning in closer to whisper in her ear. "Lydia."
She had a nasty idea that her continued lack of breath had nothing to do with her fall, and she certainly couldn't blame her shivers on it. "Get off me. My arms are going numb."
For a moment, she thought he wouldn't. He lingered, his breath warm on her cheek. Then he got up, helping her to her feet. "So. Have you actually ever seen him cheer?"
Lydia shoved him, and, thankfully, the last of the whatever-it-was left the moment. Things were normal again.
One of the many pins in her hem poked her, and Lydia started, snapping back to reality. Had that really been almost a year ago? Lydia absently smoothed the skirt. It had. She and Paul had been dating for nearly twelve months when he got a new job overseas. He left, but he proposed first.
Beetlejuice, amazingly, hadn't been amused by this. He just crossed his arms and huffed.
Lydia, annoyed by his non-reaction, poked him in the chest. "Well?"
He refused to look at her as he said, "I'm sure you'll be very happy," but he sounded sincere. Then he looked at his watch (which ran backward) and pretended to have some pressing appointment in the neitherworld.
So now I'm here, Lydia thought, stepping off the stool and studying the half-finished dress in the mirror. She was getting the final fittings for her wedding dress, which would be shipped to London, where Paul was waiting for her. She herself would be shipped to London by plane in two days. She hugged herself, suddenly overwhelmed by the thought.
And she pricked herself again!
She dropped her arms with a yelp, inspecting the neat cuts. They weren't bleeding much, thankfully, so she probably wouldn't get blood on the dress.
"Ouch," someone commented.
Lydia was not at all surprised to look up and see her reflection had disappeared.
Beetlejuice leaned against the glass, eyebrows raised. "Smooth, Lyds."
Lydia stuck her tongue out at him. Why did he always have to show up when she'd been thinking about him? It was like he had a sense for it! …Which was altogether possible, she supposed. "I'm changing here. Scatter."
He smirked. "I like it where I am fine, babe."
He blew a raspberry at her and disappeared, leaving droplets of spit on the wrong side of the mirror. Rolling her eyes, Lydia got back into her normal clothing, glad to be wearing black again.
Lydia was finishing her packing when he reappeared, sitting cross-legged on the opposite end of her bed. "So you're really going?" She glanced up, surprised to see a lost look on his face. She frowned, but he just smirked back. "I mean, no second thoughts?"
Lydia shook her head. It had the conviction she lacked. "None. I love him."
"Was it just me, or did that sound like a total lie?" he murmured. She looked at him again, but the smirk was back, a shield against actual emotion. His grin had always annoyed her, but never as much as tonight. "Oh, good, I thought not."
"It wasn't." Her response came out sharper than she intended, but he didn't seem bothered.
Beetlejuice just shrugged. "Whatever you say, Lyds."
Lydia shoved her shirt into her suitcase with more force than was really necessary. "What are you worried about it? It's not like my move is going to inconvenience you any."
He propped his chin on his fist. "Eh, I probably won't visit as much. You know, to avoid freaking out your husband-to-be."
"Since when has freaking anyone out bothered you?" Lydia demanded, straightening and putting her hands on her hips.
BJ grinned. "Since never." His expression softened somewhat. "But I want you to be happy, that's all."
She frowned at him, but he seemed sincere. "Are you sick or something?"
He snorted. "I'm dead, babe. I'm pretty sure it all comes to the same thing."
"Yeah, well, you actually meaning something is a sure sign of armageddon."
He rolled his eyes, but his heart wasn't in it. He sighed. "Ah, well, it all can't be shits and giggles, Lyds."
She stopped short, gaping at him. "You must be sick."
"I am not! You're pretty much the only friend I got, Lyds. It's my job to make sure you don't end up angry and alone."
Lydia raised an eyebrow. "Like you, you mean."
But BJ didn't retort. He pretended to spot something out the window so he could turn his head, but Lydia saw the flash of regret. "Yeah, babe," he mumbled. "Exactly."
And the day after that, when she was dragging her stuff out to the car, he reappeared, sitting on the hood. "So this is it. Hasta la bye bye."
Lydia paused, frowning at him. "There's no rule against you not visiting, you know. I won't deny that Paul could use a little shaking up."
Beetlejuice shrugged. "I'm staying away as much for your sake as for mine, babe. I'd really rather be spared the newly-wedded bliss."
"We're not getting married for another three months!"
He flapped a hand at her as if he wanted to cry "Irrelevant!" but didn't have the energy. "Egh, getting married, moving in together, it's basically the same thing. You get the same sappy expressions, the same longing looks…" He retched, sticking a finger down his throat. "Besides, I'm sure you'll be so busy with Paul-" this time, he sneered it, which gave her a strange feeling of satisfaction- "that you won't any time for poor old BJ."
"Is that what you're worried about? That I'll forget about you?"
Beetlejuice said nothing, instead toying with his suit as though he actually cared about the grime.
"Beej, forgetting you's about as easy as forgetting a train wreck."
He frowned, clearly unconvinced.
"Anyway, I expect you to visit. I need you to liven things up!"
"If you need me, why are you marrying him?" he asked, sounding sulky.
Lydia glared at him. "You weren't this way when I was dating Paul."
"Because I always figured you'd dump him for someone more interesting!"
Lydia crossed her arms. "Someone more like you, you mean."
"Well… yeah." He slid off the hood, now leaning against the door.
"So why are you complaining now? I'm leaving, Beej. For London. To meet my fiance." She stamped her foot. "If you wanted to stop me before, why didn't you?" She was angry, yes, but she was surprised to hear desperation in her voice as well. She drew back.
"I can still stop you now." He grabbed her hands.
Her anger disappeared, replaced by a fluttery panic. He was leaning in, and she had no idea what to do. This was worse than when she had first told him about Paul because he was doing it slowly, and she could actually think about it. And that part of her that was thinking was whispering, Shut up. This is what you wanted all along. She was surprised the voice in her head didn't add a "babe". "You're- you're in my way," she stammered, unable to think of a better excuse to push him back.
He was very close now, though, and looked annoyed at the interruption. "Yeah, 'cause I don't want you to leave."
"Because I hate not being the most important thing in your life."
Then he kissed her, and she was rather glad of it, since she didn't have a retort. And anyway, there was a wonderful shivery feeling humming in her veins, and she was pretty sure it had something to do with his lips on hers, although Paul's (or anyone else's) kisses had never made her feel this way. But she quickly got her sense back and pushed him back. "You're not because I'm engaged!"
Beetlejuice shrugged. "There's one problem with that excuse, babe- you were mine first."
As usual, Lydia was annoyed because he had a point. "Well, you've come a little late." She noticed he was still holding her hands and tried to pull back, but he just yanked her closer. "Why are you trying this now? You've had a thousand other chances!"
He shrugged, ignoring her question. "What's this guy Paul got that I don't, anyway?"
"A heartbeat, for one thing!"
He kissed her again. If her hands were free, Lydia would have slapped him. Keeping his face close to hers as if knowing that would allow for no thoughts but the call of the wild panic-bird, so close she could feel his breath, he murmured, "Do I feel dead to you, babe?"
Actually he hadn't- he hadn't been warm, but he hadn't been chilly either. But Lydia wasn't about to admit that. She'd gone this long without agreeing with him! "BJ, I have to go."
He let go of her hands to grip her shoulders. "Lyds, I'll let you go, but only if it's what you really want." He stared so deeply into her eyes that she was certain he could tell leaving him was the last thing she wanted. "Tell me the truth, babe. What do you want?"
A thousand replies popped into her head- safety, sanity, normalcy, everything he wasn't. Of course, none of them were true. So she just decided to go with the obvious answer: "I want you to call me Lydia, Beej... and probably a refund on my plane ticket."
Beetlejuice stared at her for a second, and then he burst out laughing. "Good job, babe. You listened to me for once. Telling the truth is liberating, ain't it?"
"Like you'd know anything about it!"
"...Don't rub it in, b- Lydia."
(My inspiration just kind of died at the end, but seeing BJ's Rocking Revue at Universal brought it right back. Review!)