Child of Illusion
Love is the child of illusion and the parent of disillusion.- Miguel De Unamuno
"I just don't understand why you want to do this," Joel said as he shrugged into his coat. "When we decided to keep the wedding a secret from them, I didn't think that meant we'd just wait a while, and then tell my parents."
The two had married in late February in the family cemetery, sheltered from the sleeting rain by waterproof canvas tents, festively striped black and blue.
Wednesday rolled her eyes as she wrapped her long braids around her head. "Stop whining, Joel," she commanded, and turned to face her husband of six months. "We need to go so your parents won't leave the restaurant thinking that you aren't coming."
As the couple walked toward the front door, Joel reached out an intertwined his fingers with Wednesday's. "I just don't know why you would want to subject yourself to their mean, petty comments," Joel muttered. "I don't want you to."
"If you truly want to know so badly, Joel…" Wednesday began and he squeezed her fingers. "Tell me," he urged. "I have to understand what's going on in that weird mind of yours." Wednesday gave him a rare and wicked smile.
"I thought they might want to know that they're going to be grandparents," she said in a neutral tone.
"Thought they might…" Joel trailed off and stopped in the middle of the graveled driveway to stare at Wednesday. "What?" he asked helplessly before he passed out and hit the pavement.
Wednesday stared at him impassively. "More regular heartbeat than when we were young," she remarked after taking his pulse. "Joel," she called, patting his face. "Get up." Joel opened his eyes weakly and they grew wider as he stared up at her. "You- you're not-" he stammered, completely pale.
Wednesday snorted. "No, I'm not," she assured him. "Now get up before I make you get up." He scrambled to his feet and kept clearing his throat and wiping his forehead as Lurch opened the door to the car. Wednesday glared at him when he kept doing it as they sat in the back of the automobile.
"What's the matter?" she demanded. "I wanted to practice my technique- just to make sure I hadn't forgotten since we were kids." Joel grinned weakly. "I know, I figured that out," he replied. "I'm sure you will be able to make me pass out in shock and or fear for the rest of our lives without fail. I'm just trying to get over the shock of this last one." Wednesday raised her eyebrows. "Still?" she asked. "I must be improving."
The newlyweds ending up arriving ten minutes before Joel's parents showed up. Joel offered Wednesday a chair and after they both sat, Wednesday looked around the small but chic café with a hint of a sneer.
"Okay," Joel said. "Your new hairstyle, I can admire. Practicing your scare techniques, I can understand. But I can't ignore your expression. What are you thinking?"
Wednesday stared at her husband, nose scrunched up slightly in distaste. "Pastels," she announced despondently. He stared at her for a moment and then had to look away to keep her from seeing his smile. She wouldn't appreciate it if she thought Joel was laughing at her.
While Joel was busy staring at the fichus in the corner in order to avoid looking at his wife, Wednesday spoke. "Oh, look," she said tonelessly. "The in-laws." Joel started and jumped up from his seat.
When the Glickers spotted their only son, they smiled. Ever since they had sent him to Camp Chippewa, he had grown so much. Oh, he had still read all the time and was still allergic to mostly everything. But despite his quirks, he had actually begun to go outside and socialize much more often. He had told them that he made some new friends and he visited with them at the park on the hill.
Oddly enough, they never met those friends, but Joel had been so much more companionable ever since he started leaving the house for long periods of time.
Their smiles vanished abruptly when they saw who was seated at the table next to their waving son.
Wednesday Friday Addams.
She was a horrid girl, always dressed in black and scowling. Well, right then she wasn't scowling, but she didn't have any other expression on her face, either. She was a blank slate. Joel hadn't mentioned her in a long time, years actually, so the Glickers had thought that he was no longer in contact with her.
The Glickers exchanged a glance. This was their only child, and he had been away for almost seven months. They silently made a resolution to ignore the Addams girl the best they could while they visited with Joel.
"Darling," Madeleine Glicker cooed, briefly embracing her son. "You look well; how has your first week of university been?" Joel had an odd expression on his face as he replied. "Fine, Mother. I did arrive late in the winter- I had plenty of time to, er, settle in."
"Joel," his father, Simon, greeted him as he pulled Joel into a manly hug. "How has life as an adult treated you?" Simon asked exuberantly. "I thought it was odd that you wanted to start off with no help from your mother and me. How have you been?"
With the same awkward expression, Joel responded, "I've been doing fine, Dad. Life's not too hard on me." Simon was about to continue when a quiet voice interrupted him.
"Mr. Glicker. Mrs. Glicker. Sit down," Wednesday said composedly, meeting their gaze with eyes the color of obsidian. Simon and Madeleine exchanged another look, but ended up sitting down at the small table for four anyway.
Joel joined them after he had waved a waiter their way. The two couples made a show of glancing over the menu while the waiter waited patiently, then gave their orders.
"I'll have the roast chicken with a side salad," Madeleine instructed, followed by her husband: "I'll have the bacon cheeseburger with a baked potato."
When the waiter looked up at Wednesday and Joel expectantly, both looked a bit queasy as they closed the menus firmly.
"Nothing for me, thanks," Joel said, quickly handing the two menus to the waiter.
Wednesday's lip lifted in a delicate sneer. "I will not be eating, either," she said, and the waiter hurried to place the Glickers' orders with the kitchen.
"Joel, what's wrong?" Madeleine said. "Are you feeling ill?"
Joel looked over at Wednesday, who merely raised an eyebrow. "Oh, come on," he complained. "This was your idea. Can't you help me out a little?"
Wednesday let out an almost imperceptible sigh. Abruptly, she lifted her left hand from where it had been resting on her lap and displayed it over the tabletop.
Madeleine gave a little strangled shriek as Simon stared, eyes glazed, in Wednesday's general direction. "No!" Madeleine snapped. "You are lying to me! Why would you tell me such a lie!"
Joel looked once again at Wednesday, but she shook her head as she pulled her ringed hand back into her lap. "I did my part, mon cher," she said firmly. "Now I want to watch the show. You know how much I like explosions."
Joel sighed. "You see, Mother, Dad…I really haven't been up at the university since winter. I haven't even left the county, actually."
Madeleine looked furious. "Then-where-did-you-go?" she hissed angrily.
Simon still couldn't seem to focus.
Joel swallowed. "I've been seeing Wednesday frequently ever since Chippewa," he admitted. "And when I turned eighteen, I asked her to marry me. She said yes."
Joel looked over and smiled at Wednesday's unruffled face. Taking her hand in his, he continued. "We were married two months later, in late February. I left home a month before the wedding, and Wednesday and I have been living together in the Addams family home ever since."
"Actually," he continued conversationally, "That's why we didn't want anything to eat here. After eating Grandmama Addams's cooking for so long, nothing else sounds palatable."
Simon looked about ready to pass out while his wife became redder and redder in the face.
"You- you- you insolent little slut!" Madeleine shrilled, pointing at a calm Wednesday. "I knew you were bad news, ever since I saw you and your freak family at Camp Chippewa!"
"I should have never left Joel there! If I hadn't, you wouldn't have corrupted him into- into one of you!"
Wednesday just tilted her head to the side and scrutinized Madeleine Glicker's cherry-red cheeks. "You know," she said serenely, "it's quite possible that any further stress to your system might even cause a heart attack, the way the blood in your veins is rushing so wildly about."
Wednesday looked at her husband. "Oh, mon cher, I've never gotten to see a heart attack. I would love to…" she trailed off, sounding as hopeful as Wednesday Friday Addams ever could.
Joel shook his head exasperatedly. "Cara mia, you know I only want to see you happy," he purred.
Wednesday deliberately leaned her head against Joel's chest and gazed at her mother-in-law. "As I was saying, yes, I do think a heart attack is quite possible, given your pulsing jugular and bulging eyes. I shouldn't do anything to add to stress, I really shouldn't," Wednesday stated, and began to smile widely at Madeleine.
Madeleine shoved herself further away from the table and the monster that had corrupted her only child. She could only watch, horrified, as Joel kissed Wednesday's forehead and murmured, "Don't stress yourself, cara mia. I'll tell her."
"WHAT?!" Madeleine demanded, her own heartbeat sounding loudly in her ears.
Joel hugged Wednesday to him, and as far as the slightly more lucid Simon and Madeleine could tell, placed a hand lovingly on Wednesday's stomach. Beaming, Joel said, "You're going to be grandparents!"
If possible, Madeleine's eyes widened even more as she started to choke and cough. She continued on in a similar vein until someone at a nearby table began to rise and call for help; then she collapsed. Simon just looked around at the décor and remarked mildly, "How pretty. The flowers are so lovely."
Wednesday stood gracefully and went to check the older woman's pulse. "Damn, she said, sounding slightly put-out. "She's just unconscious." Wednesday stood and fiddled with a steak knife next to one of the place settings. Joel rounded the table and gently moved her hand away from the sharp utensils and grasped it with his own hand.
Looking down at his mother, he made no outward sign of distress. Inside, he was seething. That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you deserve, he thought viciously. You never loved me as I was growing up until you only saw me a total of an hour a week, and now, when I'm finally happy, you insult the woman I love more than life or death. Death is too good for you.
His face smooth, he called out imperiously, "Someone call an ambulance." As various bystanders scrambled for their cell phones to place the call, Joel clapped his father on the shoulder. "Bye, Dad," was all he said before he and Wednesday vanished out of the café.
An hour later Wednesday was sitting on the arm of Joel's favorite wing-backed reading chair as he stared into the empty fireplace. "I can't imagine what's bothering you so much," Wednesday murmured. "Your parents never upset you so much in the past."
Joel scowled darkly. "In the past, I never had to listen to my mother insult you to your face- to my face! I only ever overheard her ranting to my father when I first arrived back from Chippewa."
Wednesday rolled her eyes and slid off of the chair's arm and into her husband's lap. "It doesn't bother me," she said as she straddled Joel's waist and pulled the out pins securing her braids. Joel's eyes followed her fingers, distracted as he watched Wednesday comb out her braids into long, wavy locks of ebony-colored hair.
Threading her fingers through his hair, Wednesday pulled Joel's head forward to gently rest against her chest. "Mon cher, do you hear that?" she asked quietly. Joel exhaled softly as he wrapped his arms around her waist. "Yes," he breathed.
"My heart, Joel, is surrounded by a cage of steel. And a rather large collection of booby traps. Nothing can ever get through the walls surrounding it- even with a chainsaw," Wednesday murmured. "The only thing that can get through to it is you. Remember, I gave you my blow torch?"
Joel gave let out a muffled laugh as he looked up at her, his face relaxing and a lazy grin on his face.
"Mi corazón?" he said, half asking. Wednesday met his gaze as she pulled one of his hands up to her face. "Sí," she said coquettishly before she kissed his knuckles. Joel's breath caught in his throat before he wrapped that hand around the back of Wednesday's skull and pulled her lips down to his.
Breaking away for a moment, Wednesday panted, "Are the manacles clean?" Joel shook his head quickly as he ran his fingers through her long hair from her scalp to the tips that brushed her thighs.
"Excellent," she declared and put her lips to his again.
Downstairs in the family parlor, Gomez and Morticia both glanced at the ceiling as seven-year-old Pubert busied himself with working on his "Burned at the Stake" project for school. (He was writing a biography on Aunt Singe to accompany the small model of a burning woman.)
"Gomez," Morticia said delicately. "What do you think about fixing up the old manor on the northern edge of the property for Wednesday and Joel?"
Gomez nodded fervently as he lit a cigar. "Capital idea, Tish. It will be ready for them by morning."
A/N: I guess I was inspired. This one seems just as sappy, so go brush and floss- right now. Or at least utilize some Listerine.
By the way, there really is an Aunt Singe that was burned at the stake mentioned in one of the Addams Family episodes. Ha ha ha.
And I just realized that I never mentioned Pubert in To Love With The Spirit, so let's just say he was out putting cherry bombs in the neighbor's mailbox.