It's Showtime : Knock 'em Dead
A/N: Well... this is my first multi-chap fic for Beetlejuice. Here it goes!
Ever since Lydia Deetz was a little girl, everyone told her that there was no reason to be afraid of the dark. They said that the dark would never hurt her because the dark was never alive. Plus, there was no such thing as the Boogeyman.
Well, Lydia was certain that those people had never met Betelgeuse.
She had been thirteen when she met the Boogeyman. Thirteen. Barely a teenager. At thirteen years old she had been suicidal and tricked into a marriage with a dead man. Hardly a childhood to brag about.
"Lydia? We'll be starting in five minutes."
Jean Potter, Lydia's sewing teacher, poked her head from behind the curtain. Trying to smile, Lydia nodded.
"Good. We'll see you in five."
The woman disappeared, leaving Lydia Deetz alone. In the dark.
Not many people knew she hated the dark. Not even Charles and Delia. Barbara and Adam knew. The nightmares, the reluctance to leave the attic at night. She was seventeen and if there was one thing that could stop her, it was a dimly lit hallway or a door open with nothing but blackness inside. Bring on the jocks and the bullies, but keep the night.
So Lydia counted. She did anything to take her mind off of the fact that she couldn't see two inches in front of her nose. Math equations, song lyrics, even basic instructions on origami filled her head. If not... terrible things would replace her thoughts.
Choking, Lydia squeezed her eyes shut. She knew this was a bad idea. He knew! He must! Her heart shuddered as she cursed herself of ever letting Mrs. Potter talk her into this mess. He would come back... he would...
No. No he won't. A deep breath calmed her. He's gone.
Her lip began to bleed, she had been biting it so hard.
I'm copying him... this is wrong...
The curtain opened. Bright lights gazed down at the little outcast. Staring straight ahead, she walked down to the very end of the stage. She had a cane, and her eyes glittered in the light. A sea of faces waited for her to saw the magic words.
Lydia rose her hands up into the air, the stripes running across her sleeves made her dizzy. Blood dribbled down from her lip, the red vividly standing out against her pale skin. She forced a toothy grin.
The lights turned off and Lydia fell through a trapdoor. The audience clapped, their hands creating a soft, hypnotizing echo. A pulse. She was darkness again. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, blood smearing across her chin.
She was backstage, not caring about the students dressed in clothes that she had designed. No. The clothes she was wearing had her attention. Lydia stood in front of a mirror, locking eyes with herself. The suit she had made was striped. Black and white. The stripes ran up her legs, chest, and across her arms. Her hair was a mess. It looked like she had styled it with a tornado. And to finish it all off, she was wearing white boots.
Staring into her brown eyes, she blinked. When her eyes opened, she was gazing into eyes so green they looked infected. Squeezing her brown eyes shut, Lydia told herself that she was just being irrational. It's just the dark.
Opening her eyes, she saw brown.
Dirty fingernails skimmed over contracts. Restraining orders. Accusations. On the bottom left corner of every document was a little red "X" with a line. Papers flooded Betelgeuse's house, and he had to sign every stinking one of them.
Whatever happened to forgive and forget?
Apparently, it was a dead art. The poltergeist sighed, every cell in his deceased body telling him to juice out of there and cause some chaos. As much as he wanted to, (and believe me, he wanted to) he was under house arrest. Talk about cabin fever.
He notice the smell of smoke before he saw Juno.
"Here's some more." The stack of testimonies almost brushed the ceiling. His superior dropped them, leaflets fluttering down like snow. "Have fun." He growled. "What?"
With a flick of his decayed wrist, the papers flew off his desk and fell onto what used to be his floor. Now it was a sea of legal documents.
"This is cruel and unusual."
"Funny, I thought that's what you were." Green eyes glowed with a hateful fire. "You're lucky that the council didn't exorcize you when they had the chance."
Enraged fists slammed down on the table.
"I did nothing wrong!"
"You forced a human girl—"
Juno sighed, hovering.
"She was a child for Christ sake."
"Hey, she wanted in. I was doing her a favor."
"She was confused! She had no idea what she was getting herself into!"
"Hey, babes, I don't make the rules."
"No, you break them."
With a cigarette hanging from her lips, Juno stared at the miffed poltergeist. She would never forget the day they first met. He was intelligent, determined, and enthusiastic to learn. Looking back, she realized how naive she had been. Now... he had more power than any other being in the Afterlife. It was a miracle that she had been able to seal most of it off before he realized what was happening.
"She promised me."
He knew the rules now. Betelgeuse had picked apart every law and restraint against him and continued to find new loopholes. Smoke drifted out of the gaping hole in her neck. He truly is a genius. Too bad he is too much of an ass to put it to any use.
When he wasn't causing trouble, trying to pick up women, or harassing her, Betelgeuse always had his nose buried in a law book. Those wild eyes devoured every word, storing it away for later use. Juno shivered. He probably knew more than she did.
"That's an obligation, Juno. Promises with the dead are never broken."
Her smokey lips curled.
"By the time you're done with all those papers, Lydia Deetz will be dead and gone."
It was midnight when Lydia Deetz finally rolled in the driveway. Turning the car off, the teenager closed her eyes. Her suit was in the trunk. She didn't want to bring it in the house and risk Barbara and Adam seeing it.
Yawning, she stepped out of her old Volvo and shuffled into her house. She was instantly greeted by Barbara and Adam's smiling faces.
"Hey!" She hugged the young woman. Adam had her next, spinning her around in the air. It brought a smile to the tired teen's lips. "So, how did it go?"
Brown eyes glittered.
"They loved it and are going to do an encore tomorrow night!"
The three beings jumped up and down, grinning. Adam pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose.
"You're sure on your way, Lydia!"
Sure, she was a senior in highschool, but it all seemed like it was happening so fast. Lydia never would have dreamed that the entire school would get caught up in her clothes.
No... they wouldn't have if it wasn't for him.
The suit. The suit is what was drawing them there. It was the insanity, the mischief, and the flare that Lydia harnessed to open her show that lured her audience in. No matter how indirect... it was Betelgeuse's doing. Lydia excused herself and climbed the stairs wearily. She smiled to herself as her mind fluttered over the memory of the crazed bio-exorcist.
He was terrifying, perverted, and dangerous. He had almost killed her father and taken her as his bride.
But... he also saved Barbara and Adam, and for that she could never be grateful enough. As horrible as he may be, he gave her a family that loved her for who she was. Lydia pulled off her clothes, slowly putting her pajamas on. Her brown eyes stared out the window.
If I ever see him again... I'll have to thank him.
The suit... the suit of his design was still in her trunk. He may have given her nightmares that were soon replaced with the achluophobia... but he was also giving her the opportunity of a lifetime.
Yes, I'll have to thank him.
Lydia? Dead and gone? Not if I can help it.
As soon as Juno vanished, Betelgeuse began signing papers as fast as his power allowed him to. His hands blurred together for two years. He had spent one and a half years waiting in the Afterlife Office... and for two straight years, Betelgeuse did nothing but sign his name repeatedly.
His hands fell off in an act of mutiny. Rubbing his eyes with his stumps, Betelgeuse looked over his shoulder.
Stack after stack of papers were signed. In front of him were ten. Only ten. Yellow teeth grinned. That'll teach 'em.
After coaxing his hands back onto his arms, Betelgeuse pulled a pair of glasses out of his pocket. Dusting off his charges, Betelgeuse began to read.
Endangering the Living... exposing the Living to the ways of the Dead... Vulgarity... Lechery...
Betelgeuse let out a sinful laugh. If he rounded up all his "crimes" together, it would make one hell of a movie. Putting all the charges against him together, he pieced his sentence like it was a puzzle.
They gave him an opening. As always. It wasn't much, but it was enough. The stiffs thought he'd never finish the paperwork... they didn't even dock his powers. He still had as much as he did when he met the sappy, young, deceased couple that started everything.
All he had to do was... wait to be summoned.
Not a lot of Living people knew his name... and he had a hunch that those who did would not be uttering it any time soon.
Tapping his foot, Betelgeuse frowned. There was always another way, no matter how much the "facts" reared their butt-ugly faces. He always found the path less traveled that led to a desired location. If not logical, go for the illogical.
The answer came to Betelgeuse like the answer to a prayer. He would not be able to use his power... and he would be a bit translucent... but he could get his name out there.
Spitting on his hands and rubbing them together, Betelgeuse grinned.
Blood red paint shimmered on Lydia's fingernails. Her tongue stuck out between her teeth as she carefully applied the polish. Her nails were not long, but she knew the red would add to the suit. She wasn't sure why, but something told her that tonight was going to be big.
It was five o'clock. The show would start in two hours. Lydia blew on her nails.
She was in the dressing room, and her suit hung on the wall. People rushed past her, applying makeup and shaving. Occasionally one would stop to ask her what she thought of their faces and hair, seeking her approval.
"We've come for your daughter, Chuck."
Her brown eyes had dark circles under them. That was not his fault. The memory of his voice gave Lydia Deetz the chills. She always thought of him before a show. Lydia told herself it was a bit out of guilt, but mostly so she knew how to act when she opened her show.
That's what she told herself.
Leaning forward, Lydia applied red lipstick. Her pale legs were restless. She was in a modest pair of black underwear and a white tank top. Suspenders hung from her shoulders, not yet ready to be clipped. Lydia smirked at her reflection. If she were at home... she would have been much more self-conscious. But she was far away from Charles's and Delia's disapproving eyes.
It felt good.
Mrs. Potter was standing behind her student. Lydia looked at her with the mirror.
"We've got a surprise for the audience... there are some big names out there."
"Don't tell me who they are until the show is over." The aspiring designer blew on her nails again. "What's the surprise?"
Jean Potter grinned.
"Just after you say those magic words, we're going to set off a small pair of fireworks. The smoke will conceal your exit more."
Lydia squashed the butterflies in her stomach.
"Okay. Good. Sounds exciting."
"It is." Mrs. Potter turned to leave, but not before calling over her shoulder. "Knock 'em dead."
Darkness. Wrinkling his nose, Betelgeuse rubbed his eyes. Nope. Still dark. He had a vague lock on Lydia. It wasn't too hard to find her, not many girls her age are in tune with the Dead like she is. But as he stood in a very big black room, the poltergeist had a feeling he might have made an mistake.
"Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to Peaceful Pines High School." Betelgeuse groaned. This was the place, but where the hell was Lydia? The microphone enhanced voice cut him off. "Never before has our school been so caught up in a fashion show such as this."
Betelgeuse rolled his eyes.
"I present to you the mind of Lydia Deetz!"
The audience fell into an excited murmur, but quickly hushed. Betelgeuse squinted. What on Earth was going on? Was Lydia gonna sing or something lame like that? If so, what little respect he had for her would vanish.
The curtains opened, the hot white lights illuminating the stage. Squinting, Betelgeuse's mouth fell open as he thought, for a moment, that he was staring at himself. The white boots, the stripes, the suit, it was all his.
It was only when the person walked forward, their hips swaying and their boots clicking that he realized that he was staring at Lydia Deetz. Her ruby red lips and nails made him levitate so that he was level with the stage.
She stopped, and Betelgeuse grinned.
"Why can't you just say it?"
"Because if I tell you, you'll tell your friends, your friends are callin' me on the horn all the time, I gotta show up at shopping centers for openings and sign autographs, and shit like that and it makes my life a living hell. Okay? A living hell."
To fight the darkness, Lydia recalled memories. Behind the curtain, she waited. Her nails were dry and shiny. She made sure not to lick her lips so they would stay sinfully rouge. Tonight was special. Special people were out there and it was the closing night. Lydia closed her eyes. Knock 'em dead.
The curtains opened. No one breathed. Lydia walked with a cat-like grace up the stage. She was gripping the cane so tightly that her knuckles were white. Staring straight ahead, she made it to the end of the line.
A feral grin spread across her face as she raised up her arms. Everyone was leaning forward. Her mike was activated. She waited, those big brown eyes skimming over the audience. Swallowing, she parted her lips, summoning the most sinful part of her to bless her with an alluring voice. It did.
Time slowed as the people roared. Her heart beat so hard against her chest that she thought she would die, it felt so good. The light dazzled her eyes, and that was when she saw it.
A... a... cloud?
It wasn't even a second when all of the following took place. Not even half a heartbeat.
Betelgeuse was hovering in front of her. Her smile vanished. She was thirteen again. New and scared. He was grinning at her. He had caught her, just like when a parent catches their kid with their hand in the cookie jar. Her mike was off, and her voice was hoarse.
A/N: Well, voila! Fist attempt. I enjoy constructive criticism, so please don't hold back. Tell me your honest opinion on this first chapter. Are you interested? Do you want to read more? Was it boring? Did you like it? I want to know everything. Please review!