To Love With The Spirit
To love with the spirit is to pity, and he who pities most loves most. –Miguel De Unamuno
"She wasn't sick. She was sloppy. If I wanted to kill my husband, I'd do it, and I wouldn't get caught," Wednesday stated as she stood by the stone bench. Joel shook his head as he knelt on the earth before a tombstone.
It read "DEBBIE JILLINSKY ADDAMS. WIFE AND PSYCHO."
"No, you wouldn't," Joel said, then spoke to the tombstone as he laid a bundle of flowers in front of it. "We're all very sorry, Debbie, and wish you only the best-!" A hand burst violently through the earth underneath the flowers, and Joel screamed in fright until he passed out.
Wednesday gazed at his slumped form with a serene expression before she knelt and checked for his pulse. It was there, slowly and steadily thumping. "Hmm," she remarked to Thing, who had brushed itself off and come to look at Joel as well. "I suppose with practice I'll improve."
Just then, the boy groaned, twitched, and opened his eyes. "We-Wednesday?" he mumbled. "What-what was that?" Joel exclaimed suddenly, scrambling away from the tombstone and the small hole in the earth in front of it. Wednesday rolled her eyes and extended her hand to the hand on the ground next to her. "Are you coming, Thing?" she asked. It crawled up her arm to perch on her shoulder. She stood up and turned toward the house.
Looking over her shoulder at Joel, still on the ground, Wednesday called, "Are you coming, mon cher?" With that, she sauntered up the path towards the ballroom.
Joel sat silently in the dirt, staring after her. Finally he stood and brushed the soot off of his clothes. Shaking his head, he sighed: "Cara mia." With one last glance at Debbie's tombstone, Joel trudged up the path in Wednesday's wake.
Some five years later, Joel attended Wednesday's seventeenth birthday party. He had long since noted the proper dress (a formal suit) and attitude necessary for gatherings with her family. The suit was rather difficult to pull off, as his parents quite emphatically Did Not Approve of him going to the Addams' residence, and therefore he was required to perform elaborate distractions in order to leave the house undetected. Nonetheless, Joel was determined to retain relations with that family. That way, he could continue to attempt to convince Wednesday to change her answer to a question he had asked her soon after they met.
Joel sat next to Wednesday, twelve years old and still a bit uncomfortable with the opposite sex. He opened his mouth, then closed it again. Finally, he spit out the question he had wanted to ask since he had met her parents and observed their relationship.
"Wednesday, do you think someday you might want to get married and have kids?" Joel stuttered out, and braced himself for her reply.
"No," she said immediately, no inflection in her voice as she looked impassively at him.
"But what if you met just the right man, who worshiped and adored you- who'd do anything you say- who'd be your devoted slave?" he asked urgently.
Wednesday stared at him. "I'd pity him," she said, and left it at that.
At the moment, he was following Wednesday with his eyes as she spoke with Cousin Itt and his wife, Margaret. Her father, Gomez, was standing next to Joel, talking on about something or other, but his eyes were fixed just as permanently on Morticia, dancing nearby with Uncle Fester.
Suddenly, Joel turned to Gomez, mouth abruptly dry and palms sweaty. "Sir," he asked, interrupting the older man, who turned to look at him curiously. "How old were you when you married Morticia?" Gomez chuckled.
"I was barely twenty years old, and I had just escaped from an arranged marriage to Morticia's older sister, Ophelia." He shuddered delicately. "Morticia saved me!"
"Oh," Joel said, sounding slightly downtrodden.
"Of course," Gomez continued, "I would have married her years earlier if I could have. As it was, we married as soon as we knew for certain we were destined for one another."
"Oh?" Joel asked. "How long did it take you two?"
"Forty-five minutes," Gomez remarked. Joel coughed a bit. "So, hypothetically, if you had met Morticia when you were twelve, and decided she was your soul mate, you would have wanted to marry as soon as legally possible?" he asked carefully.
"Of course, old man!" Gomez exclaimed, clapping Joel on the back. "I regret every moment I spent apart from her! Only a fool would stay away from his true love any longer than necessary!"
Joel nodded seriously and swallowed thickly. "In that case…Gomez, may I speak with you in private?"
A few moments later, the two were ensconced in Gomez's study. The patriarch of the Addams family looked inquisitively at the younger man that now stood taller than him. "What can I do for you, Joel?" Gomez asked, placing a cigar between his lips as he spoke.
His interest only peaked when Joel took an extremely deep breath before even looking him in the face. Finally- "I want to ask Wednesday to marry me as soon as I turn eighteen- that's in three months," Joel blurted out desperately.
Gomez was silent for a long moment, puffing on his cigar. "What did you wait so long?" he asked unexpectedly. Joel stared at Gomez. He couldn't seem to comprehend his answer.
"I-I wanted to," he stuttered out. "But before my eighteenth birthday, I need my parents' permission to marry- and Wednesday needs yours for another year. And my parents…" Joel trailed off. "We've never seen eye-to-eye on much- especially Wednesday."
"Ah," said Gomez. "The imperfections of legal systems. Anyway, should my daughter say yes, I have no problems with it! I stand by what I said just moments ago- only fools stay away! Have a splendid evening, old man!" he exclaimed and sailed out of the study, leaving a dumbfounded Joel gawking at his retreating form.
He raised a shaking hand to his face, pushing his glasses back up his nose. "Easier than I thought," he mumbled, and prepared himself to re-enter the party once more.
Wednesday faced her reflection. It stared solemnly back at her. She smoothed down the front of her dress and straightened her sleeves before her hands strayed to fiddle with the ends of her braids, now reaching her waist. Catching herself, Wednesday busied herself by slipping on her shoes and petting the family lion, Kitty Cat. After a moment, her hands strayed to her hair again and Wednesday growled quietly in frustration.
She had worn her hair in braids ever since it was long enough to wear in braids. Just a week ago, the last time she had seen Joel, he had casually expressed curiosity in seeing in loose. Then, Wednesday had scoffed at the notion, but tonight she kept finding herself thinking about the ineffectively hidden expression of disappointment that had flashed across his face.
And it was his birthday- or, the night before. Ever since they met at summer camp, their meetings had to be kept from his less-than-accepting parents. Each year on the night before his birthday, the two met somewhere in town and stayed out until the clock struck midnight. Upon the final stroke, Wednesday would wish him a happy birthday and they would part ways, his parents none the wiser every year.
This year they wouldn't be going far- Joel had said that he wanted to stay on her family's property, and walk with her around the grounds. He would arrive any moment- and there was the doorbell.
Wednesday dropped her braids again and walked from her room to the stairs as the sound of the echoing foghorn faded. Just as she reached the top, Lurch opened the front door and admitted Joel, dressed in a simple black collared shirt and black slacks.
Absently greeting Lurch, Joel walked to the base of the staircase to watch Wednesday descend calmly towards him. She offered no salutation, but briefly touched his face with her fingers. "Wait here," she directed, and as Joel watched, she seemed to float over to the entrance to the family room. "Mother, Father, Uncle Fester. Joel is here," she called to her family.
Immediately, Gomez and Morticia glided out of the room towards the young man, Fester following closely after. Grandmama Addams and Pugsley loudly emerged from the kitchen as Thing and Lurch crowded closer.
"There you are, chap!" Gomez exclaimed, embracing Joel in a manly hug. "Happy birthday!" Morticia offered him a sedate kiss on the cheek before echoing her husband's sentiments. Lurch, Pugsley, Fester, and Thing all offered a congratulatory handshake after Grandmama Addams waved cheerfully at him.
After all of the chatter and greetings died down, Gomez looked around the group, his eyes lingering on Joel and Wednesday. "Well, I suppose you two should begin your walk before the alligators escape onto the grounds again," he commented offhandedly before clapping Joel's shoulder and offering Morticia and Grandmama his arms. "We'll see you both for dessert!"
Wednesday and Joel were suddenly alone, and they stared at each other for a long moment before Joel offered his arm to her in an imitation of Gomez. She gravely accepted his offer and delicately positioned her palm on his forearm. They drifted together out the front door and walked along the side of the house until they reached the entrance of the family cemetery.
During their first lap around the graves, Joel and Wednesday spoke lightly (as lightly as Wednesday could) on any topics that came to mind. By the time they reached the section of the path by the closed up ballroom, both had drifted into companionable silence. Joel stopped walking and gestured towards the small granite bench slightly off of the path.
"Sit with me?" he asked. Wednesday nodded and they sat close to each other on the cold stone, facing outward towards the graves. After a few moments of quiet, Joel said softly, "Do you remember the first time we sat here together?" Wednesday nodded. "Yes," she said. "It was just after we buried Debbie. Uncle Fester was so distraught for a few minutes."
"He was," Joel chuckled as he intertwined his fingers with hers. "And then you gave him some homemade dynamite, and he was so proud of you he couldn't even bring himself to care about Debbie."
"Hmm," Wednesday sighed. "I was rather proud of that, myself."
They were silent a few more seconds before Joel broke the quiet again. "Do you remember what we spoke about that night?"
Wednesday hesitated, then said, "I remember calling Debbie sloppy, not sick. And when Thing burst out of the ground, you fainted in fright." Joel smiled faintly. "Yeah, I did. But do you remember what I talked to you about before that?"
Wednesday said nothing, but fiddled with the ribbons she had used to tie her braids with. Joel spoke again. "We were sitting just here, and I was dressed up like a small version of your father. You had called me disturbing earlier. After thinking about the fiasco with Debbie and your uncle, I had a question."
Wednesday looked away from the gravestone in front of them and away from Joel. Her fingers grasped the end of the silk bow.
"I asked you if you ever wanted to get married or have children. You said no immediately," he continued, still holding her left hand tightly. She pulled the ribbon loose with her right, and it fluttered to the ground.
"And then I asked, what if someone adored you, worshiped you, was devoted to you? What about then? And you said…" Joel swallowed thickly. "You said that you would pity him. I'd like to know- please- is your answer still the same?"
Wednesday tugged her hand sharply from his grasp, but she didn't slap him or immediately walk away. She used it to pull the other ribbon from the end of her braid and as the silk fell to meet its mate on the ground, she ran both of her hands through her hair and stood up.
Staring down at Joel staring up at her, Wednesday demanded, "Why do you want to know? What would it matter?"
Joel gazed up her. Her brilliant dark hair flowed in deep waves across her shoulders, chest and stomach, and her eyes shone in the dim light of the house behind him. "Because I want to marry you," he whispered as he stood up and grasped her hands in his.
"Cara mia," he breathed as he watched her face. "I love you."
Wednesday inhaled suddenly. "I'd have to say no," she said abruptly. Joel felt as if he had been punched in the stomach.
"No? You…don't want to? I…" he trailed off desolately, not knowing what to say- he hadn't planned for a rejection speech. He supposed that had been wishful thinking on his part.
Wednesday looked at him seriously for a few, silent, unending seconds. "No. I was answering your question. My answer is no longer the same."
Joel blinked at her uncomprehendingly before his eyes widened. "Really?" he squeaked. "It's not?" Wednesday nodded. "It's different," she confirmed. Joel gulped. "What- what is it now?" he asked nervously.
"Well," she said quietly, pulling her hands from his and placing them on his neck. "If someone adored me, worshiped me, was devoted to me- how could I say no when I loved that person just as much?"
Joel beamed down at her, pressing his forehead to hers and threading his fingers through her long, loose waves of hair. "You do realize, though, that my parents might just disown me?"
Wednesday shrugged, and a tiny, incredibly rare smile graced her lips. "There will always be room for more Addams, mon cher," she told him, and pressed her lips to his as he gasped. When the clock began to strike midnight Wednesday deigned to let him break the kiss, and Joel gasped again. "Mi bella," he said.
Wednesday pulled away and picked up her ribbons. Handing them to Joel, she began walking down the path towards the house. "Coming?" she called over her shoulder. Grinning like a loon, Joel tucked the silk ribbons in his pocket and hurried after her.
"Wednesday, what about the other part? What about children?" he asked curiously as he walked behind her, surreptitiously (he thought) admiring her feminine physique.
"Down, boy," Wednesday deadpanned. "I'm only seventeen."
"Oh," she said as he caught up fully and grasped her hand again. "Happy birthday, Joel."
Joel grinned and squeezed her hand tightly. "It's the best yet," he said. "I finally got what I've always wanted."
Wednesday rolled her eyes but another smile barely tilted the corners of her lips.
"Young love," Morticia remarked to her husband as they watched their daughter and her fiancé walking the grounds below. "Wasn't it wonderful?"
Gomez smiled at his lovely wife. "It still is," he purred, and kissed her smoothly.
Author's Note: I do not pretend to be an Addams Family expert. I have only recently watched the first two movies again (as the first time I saw them I was five and I hardly remembered them.) and I fell in love with them. The Addams Family Reunion sucked, and it shall not be spoken of ever again. There may or may not be sequels to this story. You never know.
And referencing the poem by which Wednesday was named, I think my version of Joel must have been born on a Friday. Because he's just cool like that.
One more thing: I thought that the quote at the top was scarily perfect for this one-shot.