Cooper recoiled, but managed to catch the bouquet.
Charlotte eagerly leaned forward on the bed. She crossed her ankles and grinned. She was dressed in what Cooper assumed was the world's most hilarious honeymoon lingerie; all ruffles and bows and lace in odd places. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Cooper noted that Charlotte was wearing the same fishnet stockings she'd used in their game of 'naughty school girl'. The pearls had made a brief appearance in 'mistress and butler' and the platform shoes had been present for a somewhat kinky stripper fantasy.
But the beaming smile on her face distracted him from all those silly details. She looked take-your-breath-away beautiful and Cooper heard himself say, "Lets do it, Charlotte." She immediately rose up onto her knees, practically aglow with happiness. And he wanted to make her happy, til death did they part.
Cooper took an excited step forward, clutching the bouquet, and screeched, "Ah, it's gonna be great!" She beamed. "The Cyo County Freedmans meet the Kings from Monroeville!" As he got more excited, he began gesturing wildly with the fake flowers. "We can do that, half-way in between!" He was talking a mile a minute. "How do you feel about..." he trailed off, mentally locating the place evenly between Ohio and Alabama. "Nashville?"
"I wanna marry you," she said softly, still smiling. Charlotte grabbed the bouquet and tossed it onto the bed. "Tomorrow," she decided. "In Vegas."
Cooper faltered. "Tomorrow?" When she nodded, he immediately began groaning, "No, my mother-"
"Families complicate things." She shook her head. "Family is messy."
Cooper was frowning. All his giddy excitement had fizzled out, and left him disillusioned. Vegas. He didn't want to get married in a tacky wedding chapel by some Elvis impersonator. And asking him to do it without his parents was just cruel. His mother would never forgive him for excluding her, and his father would never forgive him for hurting his mother.
"Lets do this," she prompted. Her expression filled with honest, hopeful sincerity, and she said, "Marry me, Cooper Freedman."
But he just couldn't muster any enthusiasm. He wanted to marry her, but he wanted to marry her under a chuppa in front of all his family and friends. "I want to marry you," Cooper quickly assured her. He wrinkled his nose. "But family, family is great-"
Charlotte's shook her head. "You're the only family I need."
That made him smile. "Char." He wrapped both his arms around her waist and leaned their foreheads together. They stood like that for a few seconds before he whispered, "I know family is a sore subject, but-"
"You think I'm being unreasonable," Charlotte finished. Her smile had disappeared and she looked upset. "Fine." She turned away from him and climbed off the bed. Cooper started to go after her, but stopped when she grabbed the phone off the nightstand. She turned on the speaker phone. "Lets see how great family is." Cooper was confused, but he didn't try to question her. Charlotte finished dialing and shot him a look; an angry, hurt, and determined look.
After endless rings, someone finally picked up. He heard a rustling sound and uneven breathing, then a scratchy, "Hello?"
"Hello, mama," Charlotte said briskly. "It's me."
More silence, followed by a confused, "Who?"
"It's me, mama. Your daughter. Charlotte."
"Oh, of course." He heard more rustling, then what sounded like the clinking of ice cubes. "I have a splitting headache. Can I call you back in the morning?"
"No," Charlotte said quickly. "I have important news, mama."
"Charlotte, it's late," the woman pleaded. "I'm tired-"
"I'm getting married, mama," Charlotte interrupted. When her news was greeted with nothing but silence, she repeated herself, "Did you hear me, mama? I'm getting married." Cooper caught Charlotte's gaze and smiled; surely, congratulations and well wishes would be along any minute. Once the shock wore off, she'd be thrilled.
"How much is this going to cost me?"
Cooper couldn't hide his revulsion. And Charlotte saw it. She just gave him a sad smile, then said into the phone, "Nothing, mama. I just wanted to tell you." She hung up without waiting for a reply and then turned her back on Cooper. Over her shoulder, she whispered, "I told you family was messy."
A/N: Reviews, please!