A/N This oneshot was written for the wonderful H6p8gv's birthday and I regret it is a little late but I do hope that he enjoys this and had a fantastic birthday! BTW this is an AU of Hairspray...
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters that you recognize, or the restaurant Chez Josef's. I also don't own any of the recognizable names or movies either
I had never seen anyone like her before. The way this short, brunette girl slapped her ass in the detention room was something I couldn't forget. Most girls would never have been brazen enough to do a stunt like that in public; it was seen as unladylike; this girl didn't mind showing off such a bold move in the middle of a crowd. But when she turned around, she was utterly embarrassed at seeing someone watching her, her chocolate eyes staring straight at me. Looking into her doe eyes, I literally felt my heart skip a beat. Since that day she was always on my mind, though I didn't know her name.
"Come on man, are you still pining after that girl you saw?" Brad asked one day as we strolled down the halls of Patterson Park High School on our way to our lockers.
My eyes lit up as I spotted a short brunette coming towards me but upon seeing her face she had green eyes, not brown. Since that fateful day whenever I saw a short brunette in the hallway or just walking along the street I would search her face hoping to find the same brown eyes that had captivated me. I frowned as the green eyed girl passed us. "I need to see her again Brad."
"You don't even know this chick's name," Brad reminded me.
"I know, but if I saw her I could ask her."
"Who'd had thought the great Link Larkin would be a basket case over a girl."
I shoved Brad's arm. "I'm not a basket case."
"Oww," he said in mock seriousness, rubbing the area I had touched.
I just rolled my eyes as I reached my locker and turned the combination to open it. I took out my thick biology book and closed the locker.
"Goodbye, Brad," I said before walking away from him.
We had been friends since middle school so it was strange seeing Link act that way over a girl. He was the lead dancer on the Corny Collins Show; he could have any girl he wanted. Heck if he didn't want one of those girls that chased after him, he could always send them to me. I wanted the slick, confident friend I had always known to come back so as I grabbed my English book and headed to class. I decided that I would find some way to get Link and the girl, whoever she was, together. I just hoped I could find her soon before my best friend found himself was stuck in a deep depression.
Outside of the classroom I noticed two girls talking. One had light brown pigtails and was wearing a green dress; the other had a shorter, darker 'do and was wearing a yellow plaid skirt and white blouse. When the shorter girl looked up I did a double take. It was the girl that Link was smitten with! I couldn't decide if it was better to go over and talk to her but before I could do anything she walked away from her friend in the opposite direction. I didn't have the opportunity to go after her since the bell rang. I scurried in the door and sat down at my desk as Miss Elliot began class. She began to talk about chance encounters and how those encounters can change a person's future.
"For instance if Romeo hadn't been at the Capulet party he might have never met Juliet and fallen so deeply in love," she said.
"But he could have met her some other place like the marketplace or Verona's equivalent to the mall," Brenda argued.
"What about fate or destiny?" the girl with light brown pigtails asked.
"Fate and destiny are for those with no love life," Brenda answered tartly.
The pigtail girl said nothing to counter Brenda and that was probably a wise move since Brenda could probably decimate her within minutes if she wanted to; the girl seemed timid to me.
As class droned on I started thinking about what Miss Elliot had said. Maybe there was a way that I could get Link and the detention girl together with their own chance encounter. Since she was friends with the girl in my class maybe I could ask Miss Pigtails about her.
When class ended I waited outside for the girl's friend to come out. When she did a few minutes later I touched her shoulder to get her attention. She looked both shocked and curious when she turned towards me.
"Hi, I was wondering if you might help me with something," I told her earnestly.
She raised her eyebrow. "Me, help you?"
I nodded. "I'm Brad by the way. You might have seen me on a little show."
"I'm Penny. I watch you and all the other council members on the Corny Collins Show everyday with my friend Tracy."
"So who's your favorite dancer?" I asked smoothly.
"It's hard to single one dancer from the rest," she answered.
That wasn't the answer I was going for so I moved on. "Is Tracy the brunette you were talking to earlier, before class?"
She nodded, her hair bobbing up and down.
I smiled; finally being able to put a name to the girl Link was looking for. "If you watch the show then you must know about my friend, Link Larkin."
"Oh yes, he's a great dancer," she answered enthusiastically. "Not that you aren't," she added before I could say anything.
I smile at her. "Well Link saw your friend Tracy in detention the other day and was completely taken by her."
I nodded. She sounded so elated by that news.
"Tracy has had a crush on him since he started on the show," Penny admitted.
"I think we should create a situation where they could meet and get to know each other."
"How?" she immediately asked.
I puckered my lips in thought. "I was thinking that we could set them up on a blind date."
"But they've seen each other and Tracy knows Link's name," she retorted innocently.
"They don't actually know each other nor hung out; Link doesn't even know her name," I stated before adding, "And they won't actually know they're going on a date with each other."
"So how are we going to 'set them up'?"
"I will tell Link to meet me at that new French restaurant near the park, and you ask Tracy to meet you." I answered. She was about to ask a question but I cut her off. "We won't actually be there. There will already be a reservation under Larkin and a note from us explaining what we did."
"And they will just go along and have dinner?" she said.
I grinned. "That's the plan."
Her voice faltered a bit when she finally spoke; like she wasn't really sure that the plan would work. "Alright."
"Do you think Saturday would be too soon?" I asked her. It was four days away.
She shook her head. "Well, we should be going before we get in trouble," she added looking nervously around.
"You're with the Brad, doll, we won't get in trouble."
She just scoffed at me.
I was slightly miffed that she saw through my charm but let it slide. "Okay then lets go over everything again," and we spent the next couple of minutes finalizing our plans before going our separate ways.
When Brad asked me to meet him at Chez Josef's on Saturday at six, I was caught off guard. If we usually met anywhere on a weekend, it would be at a place where we could relax; not a fancy new restaurant. He even told me to dress in my best suit. He had to be up to something and when I saw him, I was going ask him what he had up his sleeve.
I put on my gray suit and sprayed my hair with some hairspray.
"Got a date son?" my dad asked when I was nearly at the door.
"Something like that," I answered. I couldn't give him a straight answer when I didn't even know all of the details.
"Well, have fun," he said.
"Thanks," I said, opening the door and walking to my 1958 black Chevy Impala hardtop. I hopped in and sped off towards the restaurant.
It was a small brick building with glass doors and a huge sign out front. I took the first parking space I saw and headed into the restaurant. Brad wasn't there and I looked at my watch to see if I was early. It was two minutes after six so he was late.
A flash of blue crossed in front of me. I caught sight of a girl wearing a delicate looking blue dress. It was knee length with tiny little sleeves. I couldn't get a clear view of the girl since she was partially behind a tall gentleman with sandy blonde hair. He moved and my breath caught as I saw the exact pair of brown eyes I had been searching for. I stood there a moment just drinking in her mesmerizing beauty. How could a girl, the polar opposite of the types of girls I've dated in the past, captivate me so?
She saw me staring straight at her and her eyes brightened, stunning me. This doe eyed goddess recognized me?
I ran my hand through my hair and walked over to her. "Hi, I'm Link," I told her.
She smiled and I felt my face brighten at the sight of it. "Tracy," she answered back.
We stood there silently for a few minutes, not knowing what to say next. She was the one who broke the silence. "I was supposed to meet my friend, Penny, here at six," she said.
"I was supposed to meet my friend, Brad, at six."
"That's quite a coincidence isn't it?" Tracy mused.
I smiled. "It is."
"Maybe the host can tell us if he' seen either of them?" she suggested.
"It is fifteen past six," I mentioned as a way of agreement.
I let her lead me to the host's station. When we got there we found the sandy blonde haired guy I had seen earlier.
"Good evening, can I help you?" he asked.
I nodded. "I hope so. We were both supposed to meet friends here and we were wondering if you had seen them?"
He looked at Tracy, more so at her chest than her eyes and smiled. "Maybe they went in already? What is your name?"
"Link Larkin," I practically growled. I had never growled at another guy like that before. If he hadn't smile at Tracy while staring inappropriately at her I might have stayed calm. Even though I had just met her, I knew that Tracy should be treated with more respect.
"Larkin…table for two. No one has arrived but there's a note here for you."
I took the letter from him and opened it.
Link and Tracy,
We know that you are probably standing there wondering where we are and we have something to confess. We set this whole evening up so that you two could have dinner and get to know each other. Link, you have been looking for Tracy since you first saw her, a week and a half ago and Tracy, you've had a crush on Link since he started dancing on Corny's show. We, as your friends, want you two to realize that you should be with each other and get together. Have fun and we'll see you tomorrow.
Brad and Penny
I read the letter twice then handed it to Tracy. She crimsoned as she read through it.
"I guess it's just you and me," I told her.
She nodded slightly and we let the host lead us to our table. It was located in a quiet little cove; a place where we could easily talk.
"Brad thought of everything didn't he," I mused once we were sitting at the square, white linen table. Like a proper gentleman I had pulled out Tracy's chair for her before sitting across from her. She had a pink tinge to her cheek as she thanked me.
Before I turned to the menu I chanced a glance at her. She smiled. "So is it true that you've had a crush on me for three years?"
"Well is it true that you've been looking for me?" she countered.
She was quick to put me in my place and that fact only heightened my attraction to her. "Touché Miss..?"
"Turnblad," she finished for me.
"Turnblad," I whispered, making sure to memorize her name.
Our waitress came to take our drink orders. She was tall and blonde, reminding me too much of Amber. We each got a coke.
"So what do you like to do Tracy?" I asked once the waitress left. I had to roll my eyes at the way she was ogling me; like she had a chance when I had a goddess across from me.
"I love to dance along to the Corny Collins Show."
"And you watch the show everyday?"
She nodded. "You are a great dancer Link."
"Why thank you doll," I said flashing my famous smile.
She laughed. "We have only been sitting here a few minutes and already you are letting your ego driven television persona shine through."
My mouth dropped. How could she tell? Was she really observant?
She laughed again. "Link…" My name seemed to just roll off her tongue. "You do have a certain face you show to the camera but I know there's a really sweet guy lurking deep within you that is as nervous as I am right now."
I smiled again, not my patented camera smile, but a real genuine one. "Am I making you nervous?"
"Aren't you nervous?" she retorted.
I was a little nervous though I would never admit it. "No," I answered quickly.
She just looked at me like she didn't believe me. The waitress came back with our drinks an asked if we were ready to order. The menu was in French and I tried pronouncing "Poulet aux champignons" when Tracy stepped in and pronounced it flawlessly. I had taken French so I hoped I had translated the menu correctly and chosen chicken with mushrooms. Tracy then went on to order a steak dish.
The waitress wrote down our orders and left.
I gaped at Tracy. "You speak French!?"
"My maternal grandparents are French and I heard it in their house while I was growing up so I just picked it up," she admitted.
I was in awe of Tracy Turnblad. She was witty, charming and learned.
"Do you speak any languages Link?" she asked forcing me out of my reverie.
"Besides English? I took French but I only know the basics."
"Like oui and monsieur?"
I nodded. "So what kinds of dances do you like?" I asked going back to her saying she liked to dance to the show.
"Anything I can shake to."
I waited until the waitress had placed our dinners in front of us before responding to her. "Like the music in detention?"
She turned bright red at the memory I was indicating; the one where she slapped her ass. "Well that was the first time I ever did anything like that."
"And a room full of people seemed like a good place to try it?"
She shook her head. "I just really got into the music."
"What kind of music do you like?" she asked, switching subjects.
I took a bite and was rewarded with tender chicken. At least something I learned in French was still intact. After swallowing I answered, "Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, singers like that…what about you?"
"I like Elvis and Frank Sinatra too, along with the Platters, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and…" her voice lowered as she finished her sentence, "Link Larkin."
I heard her despite her soft voice. "So you like how I sing?"
She nodded her head as she swallowed her food. "I do."
We finished up our meals and I paid the bill before pulling Tracy's chair out for her again.
"Such a gentleman," she murmured as she passed by me on the way to the door.
I followed behind her, accelerating my speed shortly before we reached the door so I could hold it open for her. She beamed up at me and my heart swelled with pure happiness.
"Flowers," a portly older lady with graying hair and yellow dress asked. She was holding a basket full of roses.
I walked over to her. "How much?"
"A quarter for one," she simply answered.
That wasn't a bad price in my opinion and I thought that it would be a nice ending to our date if I gave Tracy flowers. Girls always seem to like flowers.
"I'll take two," I told the lady.
She handed me two red roses and I handed her fifty cents. Tracy was watching me when I turned back to her.
"A flower to signify our first date and a second for the promise of another," I told her, handing her the roses.
She brought them to her nose. "They're beautiful, thank you."
I was glad that she liked the gesture. "You're welcome."
"So…would you like to go for a stroll in the park?" I asked not knowing what to quite say next. The only thing I knew for certain was that I didn't want to let Tracy go home quite yet. There was a park across the street so I thought we could go there and just walk and talk.
"I'd like that," she answered.
I was ecstatic that Tracy apparently didn't want this night to end either.
"Shall we?" I asked holding out my arm. Her small hand was so warm and when it touched my arm. I wondered what it would be like to hold it, would her skin be soft?
She giggled as she took my arm and it was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. It was like bells had begun ringing.
We meandered over to the park and started down the walkway. There were tall lamps lighting the way.
"So do you think that our friends will corner us tomorrow?" Tracy asked.
I placed my free hand on hers and was awarded with silky smooth skin. I moved her hand and briefly let it go so I could twine our fingers together. She smiled shyly up at me but didn't remove her hand. She didn't seem shy but maybe she this was the first time she ever held hands with a boy. This idea made me smile. "If I know, Brad yes," I answered her.
"Penny probably will too," she admitted.
"I know that we should be mad at them for tricking us but I am glad that they did," I confessed truthfully.
A breeze ruffled her short dark tresses. "I am too," she said.
"Do you like the movies Tracy?"
"Yes," she answered. I could hear a tint of excitement in her voice almost as if she knew what was coming next.
"Would you like to go see a movie with me tomorrow?" I searched for her brown orbs as I awaited her answer.
She didn't disappoint as her eyes found mine before she said, "Yes."
Her answer prompted my next question. "What kinds of movies do you like?"
"Musicals, Alfred Hitchcock films, and romances, you?"
"Musicals, creature features and westerns," I answered. "You really like Hitchcock?" I didn't take her to like mysterious thrillers.
"I can't believe you like westerns," she shot back. "And Hitchcock is a genius. We can see one of his films sometime."
"I think they are showing Psycho at the theater," I told her.
She smiled. "Perfect."
"And westerns aren't really that bad." There was action, adventure and romance, what could possibly be bad about that?
She blanched. "Not that bad? There are mostly gunfights in them."
"They have action, adventure and romance," I said, repeating my earlier thoughts.
She just shook her head.
"So will your folks min…."
I felt something whip around my feet and Tracy wobble. We turned and were instantly flush against each other. My cheeks burned and I noticed that hers were as well. I stepped back and saw a tan colored dog running away from us out of the corner of my eye. Tracy giggled and my eyes were drawn to her luscious looking lips. Leaning forward, I glanced back up at her eyes to see her reaction and saw that her eyes were shining in anticipation and that she was angled towards me. I closed the distances and once our lips met I felt a jolt throughout my entire body. Her lips molded to mine as they danced in harmony with one another, like they had been doing so our entire life. She placed her hands on my shoulder and mine cupped her cheek. I was breathless when we parted a few minutes later. Our hands stayed where they were. I looked at her and she was also taking deep breaths.
She smiled up at me and once she caught her breath said, "You were saying…"
I laughed rubbing my right thumb over her cheek. Her skin was very soft. "I was going to ask if your folks would mind me taking you out on a Sunday."
"I'm sure they'd be fine with it if you asked them," she uttered.
Her parents were fine with it when I called earlier and asked them for their permission to take Tracy out. Her mom seemed tickled by the fact that I had called and asked. We saw Psycho and I admit that I enjoyed seeing it. I think I enjoyed watching Tracy's reactions even more though. She jumped when Janet Leigh's onscreen sister turned the chair and saw Mrs. Bates skeleton.
Brad had interrogated me about the date the next afternoon, as I was getting ready for my date. I thanked him for setting me up with Tracy, leaving out some details that he really didn't need to know.
"So now you'll be making goo goo eyes at each other instead of pining for her," Brad stated with a sigh.
I smiled. "I thought that was what you wanted..."
"Well the not pining over yes, but goo goo eyes is just too sickening."
"Wait until you meet someone man," I told him earnestly.
"Yeah, yeah. Have a good time with Tracy," he said before leaving.
It had been a week since I had my blind date with Tracy and I had never been happier. We never ceased to have conversation while we talked and if there were any pauses they were never awkward. Tracy was kind and caring and every time she looked at me I knew I was falling in love with her. Tracy also showed herself to be a confident, optimistic, and friendly person who'd do anything for the ones she cared about.
I first noticed these personality traits at school four days after our second date. A couple of white seniors were picking on a black freshman girl wearing an orange dress. Tracy had walked straight up to the guys and said, "Why don't you go pick on someone your own size."
"You mean like your chubby little self?" a round linebacker type with black hair asked.
My pulse raced and I wanted to give him a piece of mind about how he talked to my girl when Tracy simply told him, "I can take you any day."
Her confidence astounded me. Here was this girl taking on a three hundred pound guy. The guy just laughed. "You wouldn't want to hurt that pretty little face of yours, now would you?"
She put up her fists. "Try me."
The guys just laughed. "You certainly have spirit I give you that," the linebacker said. He and his buddies just laughed at her and walked away.
The black girl walked over to Tracy in astonishment. "Trace, you could've gotten hurt."
"I couldn't let them pick on you, Inez."
Tracy put her hand on Inez's shoulder. "No buts, they won't bother you again."
"I don't know what to say, thanks Tracy."
At that moment, I knew Tracy was something special. I wanted to officially ask her to be my girlfriend and give her my ring but Amber still had it so I spent the next few days after the incident with the seniors trying to get it back from her. It was hard since she took to avoiding me, hoping that her manipulation tactic would have me crawling back to her. It wouldn't.
It was our two week anniversary when I decided to ask Tracy to be my girlfriend. We were going to a trendy Italian place called Stella's. I had put on my favorite light blue shirt, which matched my eyes and navy blue slacks. Tracy opened the door wearing a sleeveless pink dress and matching shoes. She looked absolutely stunning. We kissed after she let me in.
When I pulled back we were both smiling. "Hi Trace."
She giggled over the fact that we had basically said hello to each other with our kiss. "Hi Link."
"You look stunning," I told her.
She smirked. "You clean up nice yourself."
I chuckled. "Why thank you, doll."
My tone turned more serious as I asked, "Before we go, can I ask you something?"
She nodded. "You can ask me anything."
I took her hand in mine and led her to the backyard so we could have some privacy. She had a curious expression the entire way.
"Link what is it?" Her voice wavered showing off how nervous she was.
When we had reached the middle of the backyard with laundry hanging everywhere I turned so that I was looking right at her. "Tracy, we've only been dating for two weeks but these have been the happiest two weeks of my life. Would you be my girlfriend?"
"I thought I was already your girlfriend," she teased.
I ran my hand through my hair. "Well, yeah, but I wanted to make it official." I was eager for her response so I added, "Is that a yes?"
She wrapped her arms around me and mine instinctively went around her. "Yes," she whispered before capturing my lips once more.
I smiled while reaching into my pocket and pulling my Corny Collins ring out. "Then I have something for you."
"Link, you didn't have to get me anything."
"Well, I didn't actually spend any money on it," I informed her.
She raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
I opened my hand and watched as her eyes fell upon the ring. "I know that Amber had this before you, but giving it to her, I thought it was the right thing to do at the time. With you I know it's the right thing."
Tracy took the ring from me and rotated it between her fingers. "Thank you," she said softly before adding, "Let me go grab a chain I can put this on. I don't think it'll fit my fingers."
As I followed her into her house, I couldn't help but think bout how my life changed since I first laid eyes on Tracy. And, if it weren't for Brad and Penny setting us up on our first date, I might have never had gotten to know this wonderful girl, who, not only accepted my ring, but stole my heart.