Disclaimer: I don't own "Hairspray".
Sorry for lack of updates…
LAST CHAPTER. :(
Our Love Story
Yours, Mine and Ours
Hannah looked up at her grandmother, bug-eyed, "What did Amber want?"
I smiled, "Well, Amber being the talented lady she was, got Link a job opposite her on Broadway,"
"Great!" Hannah exclaimed enthusiastically.
"But…it meant he and Penny had to make the move to New York…"
"New York?" Penny whispered, staring wide-eyed at her husband who was pacing the kitchen.
"Yes. The production will be shown in New York, on the stage, in front of thousands…"
Link trailed off wistfully, "Too bad I have to turn it down…"
"Turn it down?" Penny said sharply, "Why on Earth would you do that?"
"Penny, I know this is gonna sound weird but…we have to stay in Baltimore right now,"
"Because…well, one, you're pregnant. I am not moving you in your vulnerable state! Two, we can't raise a baby in New York. And three…we'll seem like cowards."
Penny's eyes narrowed, "Cowards?"
"Yes. A couple of people shun us for being teenage parents, and we flee. I can't be so cowardly, Pen,"
Penny stared at him a second longer, before getting to her feet, walking towards him slowly.
"That, Link, is…" she began in a seductive slow voice. As soon as she got close enough to him, her demeanour change entirely, and she smacked his chest angrily.
"…completely moronic!" she yelled, hitting him again.
"Ow!" Link yelped, jumping out of her reach, "What the heck?!"
"You want to pass up a perfect job because of a matter of pride?!" Penny snapped, "Sure, let's stay in Baltimore! Where everyone hates us, where you don't even have a job now! The kid may starve but at least we have frickin' pride!"
Link's eyes widened at Penny's emotion outburst, "Baby, calm down…"
Penny breathed deeply, shaking her head, annoyed, "Link. You love acting. And singing! This is perfect. Take it."
Link looked up at his wife, and could see her insistence in her eyes; he could see she thought it was for the best. So he nodded slowly, and took her in his arms, shushing her.
He frowned when he felt moisture on his shoulder, "Penny…"
She sniffled, and sobbed slightly, "I'm sorry…"
"Hormones all over the place?" Link chuckled, kissing her hair. She nodded, giggling tearfully.
"As soon as the baby is born, the better!"
Penny was regretting this choice of words 5 months later.
She was lying on her hospital bed, her hair stuck to her sweaty forehead, teeth gritted in screaming in what could only be described as complete agony.
She had been in labour for 12 hours now, and apparently was at 10cm dilated. Link was, obviously, not allowed in the room while she gave birth, and was banished to the waiting room with the other expectant fathers by Midwife Godzilla.
She and Link had moved to New York a few weeks after Amber's phone call. They were renting an apartment not far from the theatre, and Amber lived close by as well. After rehearsing for three months, Link and Amber's Broadway play, Grease, was a sell-out instantly, making Link a star overnight.
(A/N: The film 'Grease' was made in the '70s, but the original play was in the 60s or 70s. Just go along with it or your clean clothes will vanish (: …)
Amber, now 18, older and more mature, had become a trusted confidant of Penny. Amber and Penny went shopping together, chatted, swapped stories. Amber even gladly went out maternity outfit-buying.
"Push, Mrs. Larkin!" exclaimed the midwife. Penny gritted her teeth and pushed hard, so far forward she was shrieking muffledly into her knees.
Suddenly, her screams were drowned out by a wailing and she found herself looking up into the face of a baby. A shrieking, little, covered-in-goodness-knows-what baby.
Penny stared at it, watching as they washed the baby and wrapped it in a blanket before letting Penny hold her…
Link sat knawing on the skin of his thumb. His parents, and Penny's sat either side of him, and Amber and her current boyfriend, James, were leaning against the walk, talking quietly.
"Hard to believe that my daughter is having a baby just the other side of this wall." Peter suddenly said, glaring at the wall as if it was responsible.
"We're gonna be grandparents." Lilly said, disbelieving.
"I'm gonna be an aunt!" Amber interjected, the only person who sounded excited.
"I'm gonna be a dad," Link mumbled.
"Yeah. Only took you nine months to realise," James joked, ruffling his friend's hair. Link smiled slightly, when they heard footsteps and Doctor Smith burst into the room, smiling. Link practically leapt to his feet.
The doctor stepped forward and shook his hand, "Congratulations, sir. Your baby daughter is just fine and dandy, as is Mommy!"
Link's eyes widened, "It's a girl?"
Several things happened at once. Amber squealed excitedly and practically leapt at Link, pulling him into a hug, Peter and Lionel began sombrely congratulating each other on their granddaughter (they were quiet men and weren't often seen letting their emotions show too much), Prudy began thanking God for this little miracle and Lilly burst into tears, to be comforted by yet another expectant grandmother.
Penny sat staring down at her daughter, smiling ever-so slightly.
The baby girl had large dark blue eyes and the sweetest button nose, with fine blonde hair covering her hair. After what Penny could only assume was blood-and-guts had been cleaned off, it revealed lily-white skin. Penny frowned slightly, as she tried to picture the baby older. Maybe…Penny's blonde hair, in plaits? Link's blue eyes? Link's pale skin?
Penny was pulled out of her thoughts by the Man-of-the-Hour himself (Link) bursting in, his face lighting up at the sight of her.
She grinned back, holding her daughter tighter to her.
"Penny!" Link breathed, stepping forward and pressing his lips to hers quickly. He pulled back and smiled fondly at her.
"How ya feeling, li'l darlin'?" he asked. Her smile grew.
"Better. Flatter!" she laughed, patting her stomach, before looking back down at the baby, "…much better,"
He looked down at his daughter and inhaled sharply, as this very real baby looked back up.
"Oh, Pen," he murmured, perching on the bed, "She is beautiful,"
"Isn't she just?!" Penny exclaimed with a smile, "D'ya wanna hold her?"
Link nodded soundlessly and took the baby from Penny, cradling her like a piece of glass.
"Hey, there," he whispered. The baby gurgled up at him.
"Well, this li'l girl needs a name, I think," Link smiled, still completely mesmerized.
Penny nodded her agreement, "Yeah. I was thinking maybe Grace,"
Link grinned, "Grace Amber, perhaps?"
Penny nodded enthusiastically.
"Well, maybe we could call her Donna too? After my grandmother?" Link suggested.
Penny smiled softly, "Of course, if it means a lot to you,"
"It does! So…Donna Grace Amber Larkin?"
"It's perfect," Penny mumbled, feeling tears spring to her eyes.
The two – three – stood in a silence for a moment, until a manic knocking on the door.
"Come in?" Link called uncertainly, and suddenly Donna's namesake was bounding in, hugging Penny and Link before snatching the baby and cradling her.
"Oh my goodness!" Amber Von Tussle squealed, "What a cutie! Does this lovely fella have a name?"
"Yes," Penny smiled, "Donna. Donna Grace Amber Larkin."
"Ah, what a precious name. For an utterly precious ba – wait, what?!"
Penny just smiled at her friend's shocked face, "You heard me."
Amber gaped at the pair for a minute, before squealing again and yanking Link into a hug, startling Donna, "You guys are amazing! Thank you so much!!"
"No problem," Link gasped between trying to fill his squeezed lungs and hugging Amber back, "Amber…perhaps you could…give us a minute?!"
"Oh! Sorry," Amber grinned sheepishly, releasing him. She planted a kiss on the baby's flushed forehead and restored her to her father's arms and leaving the room.
Link stared in shock at the baby in his arms. It was the first time he'd held his little girl and suddenly, the crushing weight of the past year crashed onto him: getting drunk at Maybelle's party, falling in love with Penny, beginning a secret affair, breaking up with Tracy, being seduced by Tracy, getting his heart broken, the lie about Penny's pregnancy, discovering he was truly going to be a father, getting married, shamed by the whole of Baltimore, becoming a Broadway star…all of it suddenly made sense. It was all leading up to the beautiful blonde, blue-eyed baby girl in his arms, and the gorgeous woman lying in the bed next to him.
"I love you," Link blurted out, not sure who he was talking to; he loved them both equally.
"We love you too," smiled Penny, gently tugging on his shirt and making him sit on the bed next to her. Link grinned softly, and the young parents quieted, staring down at the sudden ray of hope in their lives.
"Grandma," Hannah frowned at me, mimicking her mother perfectly, "You're making it soppy."
I scoffed, "It's how she felt at the time, baby. It was like Donna made everything worthwhile; and, obviously, so did having Link be hers at last. To do with as she pleased."
"Eeew!!" Hannah yelped with a shudder. I chuckled.
"Hang on, Grams. Donna?" Hannah asked with a frown, "Isn't that Mom's name?"
"Yup," I replied, "Your mother was Penny's oldest child; born July 12th, 1963. Then, your aunts and uncles followed."
"But then…" Hannah's brow furrowed, "That makes Penny…you!"
I laughed happily. It took her long enough to figure out!
"So, all of that!" Hannah exclaimed, "That happened to you and Granddad?! Everyone was horrible to ?! Everyone was horrible to you?"
"Oh, Grams!" she cried, "Why didn't you say that at the start?!"
I laughed again, "And ruin the fun? No way!"
She pouted and jokingly cross her arms indignantly, before saying, "Tell me the rest?"
I chuckled, "I guess so…"
"Yes, the first year of Link's and my relationship was the hardest. After that, it quickly got better. We managed to have a total of four children, as you know. Your aunt Wren Isabelle Larkin was born three years after Donna, followed one year later by Rose Lyra Larkin (your aunt Rosie), and then Lincoln Junior finished the family eight years after Donna's birth. After that, I just about forced Link to get himself done, because I didn't think I could handle anymore! …"
It was exactly 12:00 PM on January 1st, 1971, and Link Larkin was about to say his first words of the new year. First words that would once again alter his life…
"I have a son?" he gaped at the doctor, who smiled confidently, "Yes, Mr Larkin; your wife just gave birth to a healthy baby boy."
He stared at her for a moment, before rushing off in the direction of the bedrooms. Ten minutes later, he was holding his first son in his arms, watching his three daughters and wife chatter.
"It was certainly an interesting new year's eve," Donna commented, stretching out languidly on the uncomfortable ugly sofa, and remembering the grisly scene at home in which her mother had suddenly screamed "I'M IN LABOUR!!" and a lot of water poured out between her legs.
"He looks funny!" four-year-old Rose giggled, running a finger down her new baby brother's face, "Like a…tomato…"
"That's how all babies look," Link assured her, to her horror. Then he looked at Penny, who was lying quietly on the pillows looking exhausted.
"Pen? You okay?"
"I'm tired…" Penny gasped, before fixing him with a hard stare, "No more."
"No more babies," she replied forcefully, "Four is enough, thank you very much."
"Why?" Link asked in confusion. She glared at him.
"…do you have to give birth, Link?" she asked. By now, Rose, Wren and Donna were all watching and giggling.
"Then, that answers your question."
Hannah giggled, "Then what?"
"And then my babies all grew up," I said slightly sadly, "Donna got married, and ended up welcoming twin boys named Marc and Lucifer, and then a certain little girl…" here I glanced pointedly at her.
"Who isn't so little!" she insisted proudly.
"Okay…a certain big girl!" I modified my sentence, grinning, "And then a sweet little boy called Kaleb. Meanwhile, lovely, quiet little Wren ended up becoming a big actress along with her sister Rose, and got engaged to a big car dealership owner who your brothers idolize – that means 'worship', Hannah –, while Rose is now having a baby boy with her boyfriend, your uncle Simon. And little Link Junior grew up to be a writer, and married a pretty lady named Dawn May Simm, who just so happened to be the daughter of a billionaire named Marcus Simm, and his wife, Amber Von Tussle."
"She's real too??" Hannah asked, shocked.
"Oh course!" I exclaimed, "You met her, silly; at Granddad's birthday party!"
Hannah squinted as she thought, before remembering the nice grey-haired lady with the pretty blue eyes, "Oh, yeah. Her. She slipped me candy!!"
"Yeah, her," I replied, dryly noting to have a 'chat' with Amber Von Tussle-Simm, "Anyway, Link Jnr and Dawn are now having twins; a boy and girl. So it ends happily."
"What about Tracy?" Hannah asked, her screwed-up face making it obvious she already hated the woman, "What happened to her?"
I frowned, "Well, I did see her one last time…when Donna was very young."
"Tell me! Please?"
"Okay…but just remember," I told her, "Tracy wronged us very badly, so I felt I had an excuse to be mad. But just remember, you should always be forgiving and understanding, okay?"
Hannah nodded, showing she understood and was desperate to hear the story…
Penny sat in the front room of the small New York house she shared with Link, baby Donna on her lap, comfortably snuggled against her chest. Penny couldn't believe how fast Donna was growing; she was already six months old and could smile, sit up and was almost at the crawling point. Soon, she'd be able to walk, and then run, and soon she'd be running so fast she'd be out of sight.
A knock at the door jerked Penny from her thoughts and the young mother stood, setting Donna in her playpen and going to answer the door. To say she was stunned at who stood there was an understatement.
"Tracy?!" she gasped. Tracy Turnblad smiled awkwardly at her, her hair in pigtails similar to Penny's, "Hi, Penny."
Penny stared at her, open mouthed, for a moment, before stepping out and shutting the door behind her, glaring at her ex-friend, "What do you want?"
Tracy shifted uncomfortably and mumbled incoherently under her breath.
"What?" Penny asked confusedly.
"I came to apologise!" Tracy cried, "I feel so awful about what happened! I shouldn't have blamed you and Linky for falling in love, but I did! I could have just accepted it gracefully and stayed friends with you both, but for a while, I just…I don't know, just went mental and I've regretted it so much for so long! I want to be friends again; like we used to! I'm so sorry, Pen! Please forgive me."
Penny gaped, shocked, at Tracy's admission, before slowly stating, "I accept your apology, Tracy."
"Really?!" Tracy cried hopefully.
"Yes," Penny replied, "I do. But I can't…forgive you."
Tracy's hope fell away from her straightaway, "What? Why?"
"I just…" Penny searched around for the right way to phrase it, "You did so much during that time. You hurt me badly, you hurt Link, and to be honest, your actions were a little stupid and totally out-of-character. There's no way I can just forgive you for that and forget all of it, and I doubt Link could either. I'm sorry."
Penny was slightly proud of herself for dealing with it so maturely, but evidently Tracy thought differently as her expression darkened and, completely changing tack, she sneered, "My actions were stupid? You're the one that seduced my boyfriend and trapped him by knocking yourself up! I shouldn't have come to apologise; I should've come to forgive you, a worthless, boyfriend-stealing whore!"
Penny would've retorted, but as if on cue, Donna began crying inside the house and she looked coldly at her old friend, "Sorry, Tracy. My daughter needs me."
She turned and opened the door, stepping over the threshold and turning back to Tracy, "Again, I'm sorry, Tracy. But unlike you, I'm too busy to live in the past."
Then, she slammed the door.
"Grams, you were harsh!" Hannah exclaimed, "I love it!"
I chuckled, "So, it's like a fairy tale. We get the happy ending while the evil dragon is cursed under the magic bridge."
She giggled, before looking at me with a look too solemn for a six-year-old, "But it isn't, is it? It's real life, and real life never has a happy ending."
I knew instantly what she was referring to, and felt tears in my eyes. Seven months ago, there was an accident – a car accident involving my Link. He didn't make it. He had severe internal bleeding, and the family only just got time to see him before he passed. He was sixty-three, so not exactly young, but still too young. I was so distraught – this was the first time I'd agreed to baby-sit since his death.
"No, it doesn't," I replied in a choked voice, before twisting so I could look my granddaughter in the eye, "But whether or not it has a happy ending doesn't decide whether or not the story is happy, Hannah. Your grandfather didn't get a happy ending; in my opinion, he was taken too soon and too quickly. But leading up to it, Link was surrounded by people who loved him: his children, his grandchildren, his friends, his children-in-law, the lot. And he had me. Even thought he didn't know it when he was seventeen, a young man, he would always have me."
There was silence, as a now tearful Hannah digested this, before she muttered, "Is that the end?"
I paused, looking at her. What did she mean?, I wondered. Well, I suppose, now that Link was gone, the story was over. There was no more story to tell; it wasn't Penny Larkin's story, it was Penny and Link Larkin's story. And it was a story wrought with dramas and bumps along the road, just like any love story. Because that's what it was; a love story, filled with happy times, sad times, dramatics times, and sometimes completely cheesy times…but it was a love story that was hers, his, theirs. Without him, it was over.
"Yes, baby," I smiled, "It's the end."
Well, I want to thank everyone who has stuck by this story! It has been so much fun! Thanks for reviewing, supporting…and just all-round LIKING!!
So please, do me one last favour and REVIEW ONCE MORE!!
Thank you so much (:
& thanks Maddie.