Learn You Inside Out
Summary: Can Link and Tracy's relationship survive her own insecurity and the rest of the outside world? Velma and Amber devise a plan to get back at everyone who scorned them. When Amber finds herself feeling things she shouldn't, will it get in the way?
Disclaimer: You already know I don't own Hairspray, and if I did…well there would be a sequel in the works right now. Oh, and Zac and Nikki would be locked in a basement forced to mate. lol I can't help myself, love them!
Rated: M (Just in case!)
A/N: I know the summary sucks…I know where the story is going but couldn't think of a very good summary. Sorry, and I hope everyone still checks it out. The song used is this chapter is 'Learn you inside out' by Lifehouse.
Instead of hiding my face
My minds in your eyes
Can your love embrace me as I am?
Tracy Turnblad stood in front of the mirror examining her appearance for the millionth time. It had been 2 ½ months since the Miss Teenage Hairspray pageant. It had also been 2 ½ months since she and Link Larkin had begun seeing each other. She had spent so much time just dreaming about being with Link, that now that it was actually happening, it all seemed surreal.
There was a time when an accidental bump or nudge had sent her heart soaring through the roof. Now she could hold or kiss him whenever she wanted. She had to admit that was much better than an accidental brushing of the skin. She had wanted this for so long. She should have been in complete bliss.
But now as she stared at her own reflection, she noticed things that never bothered her before until now. Things that had never bothered her before were now standing out in her mind as huge flaws. She hated how flabby her arms seemed to look in this blouse and how the fabric clung to the fat rolls of her stomach. She wasn't used to this. She was usually always so confident and self-assured.
She had learned dreaming of being with Link and actually being with him were two entirely different playing fields. Tracy had never seen her weight as an issue the way others seemed too. She never let her size hold her back and she certainly never felt inferior to others because of it. Most of the time she was happy with herself. At least that is until she began dating Link.
She really didn't have any experience in relationships. This was all so new to her. Link was her first real boyfriend. Link also happened to be the boy of every girl's dreams. He could have any girl he wanted and from what she understood, he pretty much had. Link had dated plenty of girls admittedly. This fact didn't surprise her, just look at the boy. Among those girls had been a few council members, and a few girls who weren't on the show.
The one thing that all of these girls had in common was that they all looked like they could be super models. Each of them was stunningly gorgeous. Link's type of girl, the type he had gone for in the past, was slender, stacked, had nice eyes, beautiful hair and the face of a goddess. Tracy frowned looking at herself feeling like she definitely wasn't Link's type at all. Which left her wondering the cruel things everyone else had been wondering. Why was a guy like him with a girl like her?
Tracy had always been confident. She had always considered herself to be a pretty girl. But she would never be skinny or perfect looking, like the other girls he had dated. How could she possibly compare? Tracy heard a familiar voice grumble from behind her. She threw Penny Pingleton a glance over her shoulder. Penny had been staying at Tracy's ever since her mother kicked her out for dating a black boy. Penny was sitting cross-legged on Tracy's bed watching on as Tracy tried on everything in her closet.
"Does it look like I've gained weight? Does this blouse make me look fat?" Tracy asked looking back in the mirror.
"What?! No, not at all." Penny exclaimed, her face contorting into a weird expression indicating she thought Tracy was crazy.
"I'm huge anyway, would you even be able to tell?" Tracy grunted bitterly sounding completely unlike herself. The scary part was, that it was summertime. School hadn't even started back up yet. Tracy was already feeling self-conscience and insecure when she and Link hadn't even gotten the full blunt of the ridicule yet.
Of course there was the Corny Collins show. And they had sometimes seen some of their classmates when they went out. But once school got back in, the stares and the comments would be even worse. She had to wonder if Link was really prepared for that. So far he had handled it in stride. Tracy unfortunately was used to ignorant comments and being made fun of for being different. Link, however, was used to being popular, adored and worshipped by all. Was he really prepared for the ridicule that went along with dating the fat chick?
"Tracy, what's gotten into you?" Penny asked sounding concerned.
"Have you seen Amber Von Tussel in a bathing suit? How am I supposed to compare to that?" Tracy offered plopping down on the bed beside Penny. Another thing summer brought was the unfortunate image of Amber, prancing around in her bathing suit, looking like a million bucks. An image that did nothing to calm Tracy's growing worries.
"Who asked you too? Tracy, Link chooses to be with you. It's not like you twisted his arm." Penny reminded helpfully. "Amber might look good, but that's all she has going for her. Link chose you over her, shouldn't that tell you something? That plastic spastic is cruel, vain, manipulative and the only person she cares about is herself." She insisted heatedly.
"I guess I'm just scared this thing with Link is just too good to be true, and that eventually he'll wake up and realize he doesn't want to be with a girl who weighs more than he does." Tracy sighed looking away, her eyes fixating on the floor.
"Aren't you the one who told me with all the confidence in the world that no matter what anyone else said, someday Link would look your way and he'd look inside of you and love you for who you are? You were right, and he does." Penny reminded thoughtfully causing Tracy to smile.
"Yeah, that's true." Tracy agreed with a soft smile. "But I also want him to want me as much as I want him. Link liking me for who I am is wonderful, but I want him to be attracted to me. I guess I am just finding it hard to believe that a guy who was once attracted to Amber, could be attracted to me." She tried to explain and hated the way her insecure feelings sounded out loud. She hated feeling this way.
"Tracy Edna Turnblad, would you stop being so ridiculous!" Penny scolded sounding eerily like Tracy's mother. "Link is head over heels for you. Anyone can see that. You said it yourself, Link could have anyone. He chooses to be with you. If he wanted one of those wafers he used to date, than he'd be with them." She reasoned. Tracy sighed heavily in one last attempt to shake off her doubts.
"Your right." Tracy decided standing from the bed and walking towards the mirror. She tried to muster the confidence she once had, that had somehow gone into hiding.
"You should wear the red dress, with your new heels and your hair should be down." Penny offered. Tracy smiled at Penny's suggestion and grabbed the red dress out of her closet. It was the second thing she had tried on when tearing apart her closet.
"I think we have a winner." Tracy smiled holding the dress up to her self.
"Finally!" Penny let out an exasperated laugh taking her lollipop out of her mouth and glancing at her watch. She jumped up from the bed hastily.
"I've gotta go meet Seaweed." Penny beamed.
"What are you two doing tonight?" Tracy inquired curiously.
"We're going to the passion pit." Penny smiled dreamily. Her eyes lit up with lust. The passion pit was otherwise known as the drive-in theater.
"I'm sure you'll really be paying attention to the movie." Tracy teased.
"What fun would that be?" Penny grinned innocently putting the lollipop back in her mouth and heading for the door.
"Penny…" Tracy called and the blonde turned back around with a smile. "Things have been a little tense between Link and I…with the way I've been feeling. He said we needed to talk, that it was important…you don think…" She began to ask looking alarmed.
"Link loves you! He's not gonna break up with you." Penny reassured. "But if you don't stop doubting what you guys have, eventually you might lose it." She advised offering a supportive smile.
"Thank Penny. You're a great friend." Tracy smiled watching her sometimes goofy, always lovesick friend rush out the door.
Amber Von Tussel lazily sat on her bed stroking her beloved stuffed animal, while watching a rerun of the Corny Collins Show. Her airtime on the show had been cut down significantly since her mother's public firing. Amber herself was still quite popular, although her status had suffered a bit. She still had her little group of loyal minions. But, she also had many more haters.
The Von Tussels had lost a lot, especially her mother Velma. Velma had begun drinking heavily on a regular basis, and her mother was a mean drunk. She became mentally, verbally and sometimes physically abusive at one point when she slapped Amber right across the face. Velma had been a mess ever since the pageant.
Amber sighed. She didn't know how much longer she could take it. She just wished her mother would get out of the slump she was in. Running that station had become Velma's life and now it was like she had nothing. Amber was brought out of her thoughts when a few black boys began singing and dancing on the screen.
She smiled with intrigue at the way they moved. They danced different from the white boys. One Negro in particular caught her eye. She couldn't say she had never noticed him before. He was kind of hard not to notice. His voice was smooth like velvet and he moved his body in a way that completely captivated her. She shamefully wondered what it would be like to kiss a colored boy, to kiss that colored boy.
Velma unexpectedly came booming into the room and Amber jumped from her bed fast, in an attempt to shut off the TV. She unsuccessfully stumbled over her own two feet and hit the floor hard. It was too late, her mother looked at the TV and then back down at her. Velma looked at her like an inferior rodent.
"Ouch." Amber groaned from her position on the floor.
"There's nothing graceful about clumsiness Amber." Velma scolded. Amber looked up to find that for the first time in months her mother was sober and looking a lot more like the Velma Von Tussle she knew. Her mother's speech wasn't slurred and her clothes weren't a mess. She looked quite nice.
"Don't tell me you were watching those Negroes again." Velma sighed disapprovingly as she shut off the TV herself. Amber got up from the floor, dusting off her dress.
"Of course not Mother. They just came on and I was about to change the channel." Amber lied. Her face flushed with embarrassment.
"Honestly Amber, I don't know what to do with you." Velma sighed sounding annoyed. Amber hung her head and didn't say anything. The last thing she wanted to do was upset her mother; especially with the way things had been lately. The Corny Collins Show featuring Motormouth Maybelle had become a sore spot for her mother ever since the firing. So catching her own daughter watching those dirty Negroes only added insult to injury.
"You look nice today Mother." Amber smiled cautiously.
"I know I haven't exactly been myself lately, but now I've found purpose. Today is the beginning of a new era." Velma smiled wickedly. Amber recognized that smile. She didn't know if she should be happy of frightened to see it back on her mother's face.
"How's that?" Amber asked curiously.
"Because I have a plan to get back at the network, Tracy Turnblad, those Negroes and everyone else who scorned us. They'll regret the day they ever fired Velma Von Tussel. We may have fallen from grace, but we'll be back on top in no time." Velma promised and smiled with determination in her eyes. "Von Tussels always win, remember that. They may have gotten the best of us in the battle but the war has just begun. We won't get mad, we'll get even." She hissed, her eyes lighting up with fury.
"What's the plan?" Amber asked suddenly feeling much more interested by the glimmer in her mother's eyes.
"I'll need your help. Now we both know I'll never be hired at any of the other stations after the way I was fired." Velma began and Amber agreed with a hesitant nod. "So…I've decided I am going to open my own station." Her mother smiled proudly.
"What?" Amber uttered not sure if she had heard her right.
"I'm going to use some of the money your father left us and run my own TV station. After I get the station established I want to create a show that will compete with the Corny Collins Show. It will be a dance show just like Corny's, except it'll be all white. The way things should be. This is where you come in." Velma explained deviously.
"What do you need me to do?" Amber questioned obediently.
"As you know, after the Corny Collins show was integrated some of the parents yanked their kids from the show. I talked to some of the parents and their interested in letting their kids dance on the new show once it's launched and everything is up and running. I'll spend some time looking for talent, including a new host that can upstage Corny." Velma began plotting bitterly as she paced the floor in front of Amber. "What I need you to do is lure some of the kids away from the Corny Collins Show and onto our show. You're going to have to cozy up to Link Larkin." She informed Amber.
"Mother, why?! He embarrassed me in front of thousands of people and left me for that heifer!" Amber whined.
"We could really use him on our show. He has quite the female following. If we can manage to get Link off of the Corny Collins Show, their ratings will drop significantly." Velma enthused her eyes glowing evilly. "Do whatever it takes to break Link and that chubby girl up." She ordered.
"Yes, Mother." Amber sighed reluctantly.
"Whatever it takes." Velma repeated more sternly.
"Yes Ma'am." Amber nodded. "Consider it done. Anything else you need from my end?" She asked trying to be helpful.
"Just work on getting Link and some of the others to sign with us." Velma answered. "Oh, and work on your dancing. Take some classes or practice until your feet fall off. We can't have that cow ever out-dancing you again. It's a disgrace." Velma added shamefully.
"Yes Mother." Amber agreed.
"No worries dear. We'll rule again soon enough." Velma promised with a laugh that sounded more like a cackle. Amber really hoped this plan worked and for once she wanted something for selfless reasons. She wanted this plan to be a success more for her mother than herself. She had a feeling her mother needed this to work.
Link and Tracy were sat at a cozy table in a classy restaurant he recommended they go too. Link had told her to dress up, but she certainly wasn't expecting this. They had to be the youngest guests there. The waiter took their order before disappearing into the back room.
"This is lovely." Tracy smiled warmly trying her hardest to feel at ease and act more like her usual self. Tracy bit her lower lip nervously, trying not to think about what Link could possibly want to talk about. A guy saying 'We need to talk' generally wasn't a good thing. She wasn't prepared for a break up, if that's what this was.
"I'm glad you think so. This is where my mother and father went on their first date." Link answered thoughtfully. He wanted to tell her the significance of this place and why he had chosen to bring her. He wanted to tell her he hadn't felt as close to anyone as he did to her, in a long time. He wanted her to know him, all of him, just as much as he longed to know her. He just couldn't bring himself to say these things. He was in some ways emotionally stunted. He hadn't expected the way Tracy made him feel. He reached for her hand intertwining their fingers. Tracy smiled, Link rarely talked about his parents.
I see all that you want to be
Look into your soul
Looking right back at me
I want to learn you inside out
"That must have been romantic." Tracy replied softly feeling butterflies in her stomach at the mere touch of Link's hand. He still managed to make her feel nervous even after a few months of dating. She had a feeling Link would always be able to have the effect on her, even when they were 90. She liked it, even if it was a bit scary and new. The waiter re-emerged with their food breaking up the tender moment.
They both began to eat and Tracy could feel Link's eyes on her. She tensed, suddenly feeling self-conscience eating in front of him. She raised the fork to her mouth taking smaller bites than she normally did trying to be prim and proper. Link softly chuckled at how cute she looked.
"What?" Tracy giggled looking over at him.
"Your adorable." Link smiled causing her to blush profusely. There was something about the look in his eyes that told her he meant it. He wasn't making fun of her.
"You really are a charmer." Tracy smiled bashfully.
"I've been told I get it from my Dad." Link grinned winking at her.
"Really? And did he teach you how to wink too?" Tracy teased with a smirk.
"Some things are just all natural." Link offered with a sparkling smile.
"I'd like to meet your parents some time. We have been dating for a few months and you've already met mine. Maybe we could all get together and have dinner." Tracy suggested enthusiastically with a bright smile but the suggestion caused Link to fidget uncomfortably.
"Yeah, sure thing." Link responded quickly faking a smile and she couldn't help but notice his discomfort.
"Do you not want me to meet them?" Tracy asked trying to mask any disappointment or sadness she might have been feeling.
"Of course not! Trace, it has nothing to do with you." Link sighed wishing the conversation had never started. "Remember how I said we needed to talk?" He said finally after a brief pause. The subject change caught Tracy off guard as she was reaching for the salt, causing her to knock over her water. The water spilt all over the table and onto the floor. She gasped in alarm grabbing a napkin and trying to clean up the mess. Link immediately jumped up and began helping her.
"I'm sorry." Tracy sighed feeling like an idiot while everyone in the room stared at them.
"It's okay." Link reassured with a smile. A waiter swung by to finish cleaning the mess.
"I'm sorry." Tracy repeated to the waiter this time.
"It's okay Miss." The waiter smiled after he finished.
"I'm such a clyde." Tracy winced feeling embarrassed.
"It's not a big deal." Link offered placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Dance with me." He requested softly as he offered his hand.
Tracy took it and he led her out to the dance floor where many couples were swaying to the rhythm of a slow song. He pulled her close to him. His arm wrapped around her waist and the other one holding her hand. She inhaled enjoying the closeness and breathing in his scent. Their bodies swayed to the beat as one and she could feel his heart beat matching her own. They danced closely like this in silence for a while, until finally she spoke.
"I know I haven't exactly been myself lately and it's made things a little tense between us. I'm sorry." Tracy apologized softly, her face lingering inches away from Link's. Link couldn't say he hadn't noticed.
He couldn't exactly place his finger on what it was. Although he was sure finding out about his romantic history, on top of the rude comments they sometimes heard when they went out hadn't helped. That was really when it had all began. When it came to his past all she really knew was how many girls he had dated, he could only imagine how she would react to the details. It had gotten to a point where she almost seemed uncomfortable in her own skin around him. This was the same girl that would groove to the beat of a song, and shake it not caring what the world thought. It was that trait, the shining confidence and beauty that seemed to radiate from within as she swayed her hips to the melody that initially attracted Link to her. Her overwhelming confidence had seemed to dim since they started dating and Link couldn't figure out why. Did it have to do with him? Was it something he did, or didn't do? He had noticed the tension between them. All he really knew was that he didn't want to lose her. In the past with relationships and girls, a break up wouldn't have fazed him. He would have a new girl the following week. He had never really cared about those chicks. This time, for the first time, he cared.
"Is everything okay?" Link asked gently coming out of his own thoughts. He wanted to know what had been troubling her and why she hadn't quite been herself. A relationship has nothing without honesty and communication. He believed in what they had and he really wanted this to work. Tracy hesitated feeling awkward talking to him about this. She let out a heavy sigh deciding she had to be honest with him no matter how uncomfortable it made her feel.
It was either that or risk losing him, which was really what her ultimate fear was. She feared the idea that her feelings were deeper than his, and that one day he would realize he'd rather be with a beautiful girl like Amber than settling for the chubby girl. She feared that if their relationship progressed and matured to a point where things became intimate, that he would look at her in disgust and wonder what he had been thinking. Then, she felt awful for even thinking of Link in that way. She tried to remind herself that he wasn't like other boys. He was a good person. He didn't judge others and he was warm and kind hearted. She felt like she was having an emotional tug of war.
"I guess I was just feeling insecure. I can't seem to stop comparing myself to other girls you dated and feeling like I don't measure up. Let's face it Link, you can have anyone you want." Tracy tried to explain looking away.
"Trace, you don't have to compare. They could never compare to you, so just get those thoughts out of your head." Link answered softly stroking her cheek.
"Are you sure your looking at the right girl?" Tracy murmured feeling her heart flutter at his tender touch. She had finally confided in him about the insecurities and doubts she had been having for so long. Every time she saw a pretty girl that was interested in Link, she couldn't help but remember Link's words that had hurt her. "I'm sorry Trace. I just think this adventure's a little too big for me." He didn't mean it the way she had first taken it, that much she knew. But that didn't stop the words haunting her whenever she was feeling doubtful or insecure.
"I'm looking at the only girl in this room and all of Baltimore, that's worth looking at." Link answered softly, his deep blue eyes looking down at her meaningfully. "Trace, I'm sorry if I did anything to make you feel this way. But I think you gorgeous. I'm here with you because I want to be. Those other girls are okay, but their not you. They ain't got nothing on you doll face." He purred and Tracy smiled her eyes lighting up with all the love and adoration she was feeling. "Although I have missed the confident, self-assured sex pot you used to be." He teased mischievously.
"Keep talking like that and she might just be back in full force." Tracy smiled playfully. Link leaned in softly kissing her. Her mouth adored his sweetly savoring the intoxicating touch of his lips. She was breathless when she finally pulled away to smile up at him.
"So what did you want to talk about?" Tracy asked happily with a bubbly smile feeling much more confident. She was done doubting it. She believed Link, and the way he looked at her made her feel beautiful. She still had insecurities, but she felt much better after finally talking about it. A dazzling smile played across Link's face as he remembered what he wanted to talk to her about.
Link didn't want to lose Tracy, so he had planned on giving her a symbol of his commitment that night. He had gotten his class ring back from Amber over 2 months ago, but he didn't want to give Tracy his class ring. He knew that it was tradition, but he just didn't feel right giving Tracy a ring another girl had already worn. It made it seem less meaningful that the ring had once been on Amber's grubby little finger. Tracy was special, and what they had mattered more to him than any other relationship he had in the past.
"Darlin', I really like you a lot. You're my girl and I want it to be official. So, what I am trying to ask is…will you go steady with me?" Link asked hopefully with bright eyes. He reached into his pocket pulling out a black velvet box. He had been saving up all of his money for this ring. Tracy gasped when he revealed the ring. She had definitely not been expecting this. This was a long cry from breaking up. It was a commitment ring. Tracy's head was spinning as her heart pounded wildly in her chest. The design of the ring was two hands holding a heart, surmounted by a crown.
"It's a Claddagh ring and a symbol of our commitment. The heart means love, the hands mean friendship and the crown means loyalty." Link explained excitedly. He wasn't a jewelry expert, truth be told he didn't know much about that sort of thing. He had learned everything about this ring from the jeweler, who had been very helpful in finding the perfect ring to convey his feelings.
"The jeweler was telling me the expression associated with the ring is "Let love and friendship reign." And that's what I'm hoping we can do. As long as we have each other we can rise above anything the outside world has to throw at us." Link professed taking the ring out of the box. "I'm hoping you'll accept this ring and wear it on your right hand, with the heart facing inward toward your body. That means you're in a relationship and someone has captured your heart. So, Tracy Turnblad will you go steady with me?" He asked once more and she finally seemed to snap out of the trance she was in.
"Yes, of course I will!" Tracy exclaimed with a happy gasp finally finding her voice. She jumped into his arms enveloping him in a huge hug. Link pulled away only long enough to slip the ring on her finger, and it was a perfect fit thanks to Tracy's mother Edna.
"I'm committed to you Trace. I'm in this completely." Link promised whole-heartedly. Tracy pulled him into a searing kiss letting him feel every emotion she was feeling through her mouth. Link returned the kiss softly slipping his tongue passed her lips. She eagerly parted her lips, flicking her tongue against his. His hand dug into her hip, loving the feel of her body flush against him. He tilted his head deepening the kiss and causing her to moan against his lips. Their kiss had become so passionate it was beginning to make other guests uncomfortable to the point that they moved off of the dance floor.
"This isn't the passion pit." The manager cleared his throat from behind them.
"Sorry Sir." Link laughed with a wink that seemed to discomfort the older man even more so.
"We're committed!" Tracy beamed waving her finger at him happily.
"Yes, the entire restaurant can see that." The old man grumbled brushing passed them.
"You want to spend the last hour of our date at the passion pit?" Link suggested offering his arm with a tempting smile.
"You read my mind." Tracy giggled happily like a girl head over heels in love. They walked out of the restaurant arm in arm and it seemed as though they were leaving all of the uncertainty of the last few weeks behind them.
Time isn't on our side
All we have is now
For the rest of our lives
Let's stay up all night
In the silence you stare at the world
Your eyes are screaming to be heard
I want to learn you inside out
A/N: I know a lot of authors have dealt with the idea of Tracy being insecure, but I feel like it's such a realistic issue. I think to ignore it and not deal with it in some form would be unrealistic so I wanted to include it in my fic a bit. I know Tracy is confident but at some point I do believe these kinds of doubts and insecurities would come up. All girls have them and I think they are heightened when you are a plus-size girl. With that said, I'm sorry if you guys are annoyed with fics dealing with this but I felt it was necessary to include. Don't worry, the whole fic is no based around it and there is more to come so I hope you all liked it so far. Please let me know what you think and leave a review!
Preview for the next chapter: School is back in session! Velma's plan is set in motion, but Amber can't seem to keep her eyes from wandering. Can Link and Tracy's love really reign over the outside world? Or will Tracy's insecurities still be an issue? Will Amber seduce Link? Will Velma's plan work? Plus Seaweed and Penny. All of that and much more. Please RR!