I haven't watched this show in ages, but I used to be a little Rocket Power freak, so I'm pretty sure I'll do okay. Please excuse any OCCness, but I'm pretty sure Otto would be less cockier when he's older, Lars would be less of a jerk, and Twister would be slighty brighter.
Please review. It lets me know that someone is out there and reading.
I'm Not One For Speeches
"-and so she says that she's going to get a better job because her current one was interfering with her love life. Honestly, I think she should've stayed with-"
"-killer waves. My son got knocked out by a few, but he got right back up and kept at it. I swear he'll be as good as your son soon-"
"She gave up her job to get married? There must be a mistake, she'd never-"
"-even though I always knew he'd make this much money one day, working with the movie world-"
"So what are you doing for your honeymoon? Romantic? Wild? Maybe, topless?"
Otto Rocket had grown bored of this constant chattering over two hours ago when the reception had first started. By now, his raging headache had turned into a dull throb. Painfully aware that everyone was waiting for him to stand up, he did so, clinking his spoon on the side of his champagne glass. The dull noise awoke everyone to the sound of his presence, and all talk was silenced. Some people looked happy, others looked confused. There was even a little boy crying at a back table. Otto loosened his tie, then tightened it again, not used to the tie's confine on his neck. A sharp elbow in his side sent him hurling back to reality, as he loosened his tie. Another jab told him to get started, and he tightened his tie until it hurt. Clearing his throat, he looked down at the table, receiving another poke in the side.
"Ow!" He yelped, glaring at the owner of the elbow, who stuck her tongue out at him defiantly. He looked around the attentive hall, his eyes finally resting on the two people across from him. Their eyes told him all he needed to get started. Inhaling deeply, he began.
" I know speeches are supposed to reflect on how you're feeling at the moment. Or what you've been feeling for a while. But I think that I'll just tell you a story."
He looked over at the two of them, with their clasped hands. He owed it to them. Squaring his jaw, he spoke.
"It was always the four of us, from before our pre-teen years and onward. We'd be together almost all of the time, exceptions only being family, sleep, food, classes, and sickness. I, being me, of course, was usually the center of attention- and the camera. I tried to take the lead of our group even though I wasn't the oldest. I was cocky, defensive, especially around my friends and when things pertained to them."
There was an almost audible wave of agreement through the audience. Otto rolled his eyes. "When I was 14, I noticed the camera was pointing more toward my 16 year old sister. I knew it wasn't her moves, even though they rocked, but the cameraman instead. The cameraman was my best bro, Twister, also known as Maurice Rodriguez."
Many people in the reception hall were smiling now; most had not heard this story before. Otto only kept his eyes locked on two, never breaking eye contact.
"I wasn't sure if a relationship between the two could survive without affecting our friendship. Before this, this diaster, as I had called it, it had always been little fights that would end in high fives and a "race you to Madtown" type of thing. I had a feeling that lover's quarrels would be different than arguing over who had shredded the half pipe better or who totally nailed that wave. Right, then I knew I should've confronted Twister and calmly asked him why he filmed Reggie more, but I was so jealous, so fuming mad, that I flipped. I went straight to Reggie."
"I love this story," the bride whispered to the groom. He looked at her curiously.
"Because I know the ending." She laughed as she laid her head down on her new husband's shoulder.
Otto tore his eyes away for a second. He looked down at his scuffed black shoes and frowned.
"We all make mistakes that we regret. We all wish that we could change a moment in time. We all wonder what life would've been like if we had changed one single detail that made such a big impact. We all try to forget, to bury it, to hide it underneath our bed. In the long run, I guess everything happens for a reason."
Otto took a deep, shaky breath, wondering why he had started this story when all it did was make his insides turn and clench repeatedly. He felt like he had reverted back to his teenage self, watching Reggie at her computer, typing away, smiling to herself. His stomach heaved as he looked up, straight into the faces he could not look at. He turned his focus to the back wall.
"I never knew it tore him up this bad," the groom whispered to his wife on his shoulder. She shushed him and he wrapped his arm around her happily.
"She was in the garage, like she usually was when our group had parted our ways for the day. I stood behind her as she typed on the computer, guessing she didn't hear me creeping behind her. I didn't want to disturb her; she looked so peaceful and absorbed in her work. I got ready to leave just as an instant message popped up. I nearly blew my cover from behind her when I saw it was from Twister. 'Reg,' it had said. 'Busy this weekend?' Appalled that my best friend could type, I waited for Reggie's response. She seemed to contemplate it for several long moments, a small smile coming across her face. I silently cursed every hair on Twister's head."
"Reggie tossed her head and wrote back, 'No. What are you planning?' Now I was so steaming mad, I was surprised that she couldn't see, or hear, the smoke coming out my ears in great angry bursts. I assumed that they were having this secret relationship behind me and my father Raymundo's back. I cleared my throat and Reggie jumped a foot in the air, whirling around. 'Twist likes you.' I blurted out, covering my mouth afterward, as beeping came from the computer. Reggie had stood up. If this wasn't a secret relationship, I was going to feel so guilty about betraying my best bud. If it was, he was going to feel the guilt."
"Oh, this is so exciting." The bride exclaimed, moving closer to her husband, who was rubbing her back in lazy circles.
"I thought you knew the ending," the groom replied slyly.
Otto fidgeted, wondering if everyone could see him as he felt, like a little hotheaded 14 year old brat, that couldn't get his feelings out without flipping. He met eyes now, still avoiding the two pairs that he had met so easily before.
"It was time for the moment of truth. Reggie winced, sinking into the seat. A tidalwave of guilt rushed over me. 'I know,' Reggie said and my guilt was suddenly heavy in my fists as I clenched them, turning away from her, and acting on impulse. 'Otto!' Wait!' She called after me but I was deaf to everything but the blood pounding in my ears. I stalked across the street toward Twister's house to see him already sitting on his front porch stairs with his camera. I stopped for a second on the sidewalk, confused. He must've sent Reggie another message, explaining the beeping noise and why he was there so fast. I walked on, stopping on Twister's lawn. He stood up and grinned, glancing behind me. I turned and saw Reggie. She was smiling too. Right then, I flipped. I threw a punch at the teenage boy that had stuck by me for years."
The whole room was puzzled now, faces contorted, with arched eyebrows. This was not the happy story that they had planned in their minds.
"I don't think they like where the story's going." The groom stated to his bride, looked at the confused faces that surrounded them.
"I don't like where it's going either," she grinned up at him and he graciously returned the smile.
"I had made everything so much worse. I had assumed, I had resorted to fighting once again."
Otto felt sick with himself, even though he was talking about something that happened nearly seven years ago.
"Twist ducked, narrowly missing my hand. He looked at me in a whole new light, surprised at what he saw. 'Ottoman?' He started, but I swung again, hitting his shoulder with all my might. Reggie stood between us before Twister had time to react. His face softened as he looked at her. Reggie moved to his side as I breathed heavily across from them. While I was an inch or two taller than Reggie, Twister had a good four inches on me. He could've easily swung and hit me. Reggie looked upset and Twister had his trademark confused face on."
That got a good laugh from the audience, a couple hoots and hollers. The tension was relieved a bit and everyone leaned closer, listening to my words as if they were candy and they were sugarholics.
"They're moving in closer now, but I don't know why. The story just seems to be getting worse." The groom frowned.
"It always gets worse before it gets better," his wife remarked.
"'Why'd you totally go aggro on me, Ottoman?' Twist rubbed his shoulder. Reggie answered for me, 'He thinks that we're dating.' Twist look went from confused to depressed. 'We aren't?' he questioned, frowning. Reggie elbowed him. 'I mean, we aren't!' Twister rephrased. With that said, I walked away."
Otto sighed and looked up at the ceiling, his voice breaking as he spoke his next words.
"Some moments in life are to be savored, cherished and replayed over again. Others are meant for the garbage, failures that aren't worth getting upset over."
He rubbed his face, devoid of his sunglasses. He ran a hand through his slicked-back hair. He thought of everything he was then and how different it is from who he is now.
"He's losing it," Both the bride and groom whispered together, looking at each other.
"I was feeling a new feeling now. I was scared. What would happen to our quartet when they broke up? Things would never be the same, ever again. I needed advice. I grabbed my gear and headed to Sam Dullard's house, only to find out he wasn't home anyway. Disappointed, I headed home, but was suddenly compelled to go to the Rodriguezs'. Twister and Reggie had gone from the yard to who knows where. Before I knew what was happening, I was crossing their lawn and knocking on the door. Twister's older brother Lars answered. Reality hit me like a truck and I shook my head, getting ready to leave. Lars had always teased our quartet when we were young but he was finally maturing and laying off us. He rolled his eyes and leaned his now muscular frame against the doorframe. 'Rocket Dork, you get into a fight with my lil' bro?' I scoffed and started walking, but Lars ran after me, stepping in front of me before I reached the street."
Otto smiled now, this familiar memory bringing comfort to his frazzled mind. He remembers Lars standing in front of him, arms outstretched, trying to stop him from going any further.
"'You know,' he said, 'some people are going to have it better than you.' I unclenched my fists and looked into his eyes. 'There's always going to be someone out there that has everything going better for them. You can't try and prevent their happiness, you can only hope that yours is one day equal to theirs.' Lars had dropped his arms and was looking at the ground. 'Pi, Sputz and Animal were never close to me the way Reggie, Sam, and my little brother are close to you. Why change anything now?' A moment of silence passed between us, and though it should have felt uneasy, it felt calming. 'Lars?' I asked. And all of sudden, he was back to the bully I had once known, all of this sudden wisdom thrown away. He shoved me in the direction of my house. 'Go before you ruin it, Rocket Dork.'"
"Are you sure you know the ending of this story? I don't think I do." In response to the groom, his bride kissed him, then smacked him for not keeping quiet.
Twisting his fingers around, Otto gave a pained look to his attentive audience. Most were on the edges of their seats; eyes riveting following his every facial expression, every curve of his lips.
"And, well. You know the rest, I suppose." Otto grinned sneakily. All at once, everyone shouted remarks him, urging him to continue, telling him he couldn't stop there. Some even called him a few choice words that made several mothers cover their childrens' ears. "Alright!" Otto said loudly, over the din of the people seated before him.
"He's always liked stringing people along," the bride whispered, entwining her fingers with her husband's.
"I had made it halfway across the street before I saw Twister walk out of my garage; his head hanging and his expression defeated. When he saw me, it seemed as if every last ounce of his energy had been sucked away. 'I'm sorry, Ottoman. Me and Reggie have talked about it and well, we're going to just be friends. I wouldn't want to ruin a friendship with my best bro.' His punch toward my arm was half-hearted and his smile was fake and pained. He couldn't even look me in the eye. Before I could say anything, he trailed off into his house."
"Aw, poor Twister," the bride muttered sadly, caught up in the story.
There was collective gasp from the audience and silent murmurs errupted like tiny volcanoes.
Otto frowned also. He could remember Twister's hangdog expression, like every joy in his life had been sucked away and there was nothing left to live for. Otto remember that same expression on someone else's face five minutes later.
"Reggie was typing on her computer again, but not at her usual pace. Now her typing was slow and unsteady. She seemed to backspace after every five letters. She kept sighing until she eventually put her head down on the keyboard. An instant message popped up and the sound alerted Reg, who hurriedly checked to see who it was from. It obviously wasn't who she wanted it to be from and she looked like she was going to burst into tears right there."
"'I'm sorry,' I blurted and she whirled around, shocked that I was standing there. Her expression was just like Twist's-miserable. 'Nothing to be sorry for, little bro,' she said with a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. 'Really,' I continued. 'I overreacted and now I really think you and Twister should try this relationship out. I'm not saying you're going to get married or anything, but you should really give it a try. I really think you guys will make it. But you both have to swear you won't make this group fall apart if you two ever, well, fall apart.' Reg gave me a soft smile, but it still wasn't genuine. 'What?' I asked. 'No matter what you said, did or thought, I wanted to still be with Twister,' I could hear the pain in her voice when she said the name. 'But he wanted to keep the group together, so he was the one who said we shouldn't. He probably doesn't..want me back.'"
There was such a loud snort from the middle of the floor that most of the room started to snicker and chuckle. Otto let out a barklike laugh.
The bride smacked her husband.
He rubbed his arm. "What? It was funny!"
"You ruined the moment!" His wife stated pointedly, and he followed her head to where both his family and hers were cracking up.
"No, I just helped the moment move along. Someone had to start laughing soon. I decided I'd start moving the moment by myself."
There was a moment of pause between them.
"But really, when have I ever not needed you or not wanted you?"
Reggie grinned up at Twister and smiled. "Never," she remarked. "Same as me." She saw her husband's grin momentarily before his mouth swooped down to capture hers once again.
Otto smiled widely, like this giant weight had been lifted off his chest right then and there. He spread his arms wide, like Lars had done when he had stopped him with a piece of wisdom, like Reggie and Twister had done when they had reunited in the street later that afternoon back when they were kids, like his family had done when Reggie announced she was getting married, like his family had just done when the minister announced that Twister could kiss his bride.
He spread his arms wide and felt alive, surrounded by the ones he loved and those who loved him.
The power of love is a beautiful thing.