Disclaimer: Nope. Don't own Meet the Robinsons. Disney has that privilege. I be but a humble fanfic writing fanatic—who clearly has no life and spends her days with a glazed expression coming up with plotbunnies. : D:.. (It's not a complaint, it's a fact XD)
A little experiment for me. A friend recently told me that I rocked at ANGST writing, but that I sucked at ROMANCE.
So I'm dipping my feet in the genre, by going with my strong suit ANGST and working some romance into it. Gotta crawl before you walk…you know? Hopefully, it works out, though if it doesn't feel free to tell me. I probably won't do anything, cuz I'm lazy but I always enjoy feedback…no matter the side of the spectrum.
Props to Doodlegirl, Mrs. Wilbur Robinson, RockDiva, Gigi the Ragdoll, and the rest of you awesome promoters. You guys know how magical you are. Huzzah to you!!!
Here's my contribution in the Fran/Cornelius campaign.
Thanks to MissingthePoint for telling me to go for it!^-^
As always, I apologize to Spelling Police, Grammar Nazis, smart people versed in science, And/Or anyone else that I might be offending…now onwards! Mush!
Fact: Standing in a ladies public restroom was NOT an awesome way to spend Saturday night.
Well, maybe if it was a bathroom at some rock-out dance spot, or the movies, or an amusement park it would've been acceptable.
But no…no, she was at the Silverston Theatre of the Performing Arts—which in any other circumstance would've been wonderful; as she was an avid lover of musicals, orchestras, and dance…but no piece was playing tonight.
No, the stage was being rented out for a Science Award Ceremony. One that hardly concerned her at all.
Her name may have been in the pamphlet, but there was no glory there. Anyone who entered last month's fair would be featured.
She knew who the main attraction was.
There emblazoned in bold lettering at the top:
Guest Speaker: Cornelius Robinson
That's who everyone was eager to behold…and if she was honest with herself, that was her purpose here tonight as well.
Checking and rechecking her reflection, she practiced smiling—once again put off by the sight of braces there.
A close-lipped smile would probably be best while she crossed the stage.
With a critical eye, she looked over her hair, twin buns plastered with hairspray, to keep that awful cowlick from sticking up. She'd put a pink sequined flower in front of the right one, hoping it'd add some flair…it didn't.
She looked exactly how she felt: young and awkward and fourteen.
Smoothing her little pink cocktail dress for the umpteenth time, she sighed; her body was still growing, her budding curves far from impressive, but…she was rather proud of her chest. Filling in quite nicely Thank You, and if the dress's cut wasn't so darn modest, she could've flaunted it a bit.
Heaven knew it was one of the few advantages she had over the other science girls her age.
Most of them belonged in one extreme or the other: gangly or pudgy.
She fell into a third category: athletic…not slender, not yet…the yearned for hourglass shape forming slowly.
It made her a rarity in this crowd—she could run a six-minute mile and bench-press her own weight. Black belt in Karate first dan. Too bad she couldn't credit significant scientific/scholastic achievement to her name.
Now she maintained her 4.0 GPA without a snag and while that may have impressed her schoolmates, no one here would blink.
Smart was commonplace here, Brilliance was given, Genius was the sought-after title.
But she was fairly pretty…surely that counted for something.
She sighed; too bad there was no one to tell her she looked nice. Daddy and Art normally complimented her. Mama always found something to nitpick and Gaston would always cover his eyes hissing whenever she entered a room.
She fingered her dangling pink earrings. Much longer than Mama would've allowed had she been present.
Franny moved her head this way and that, studying herself closely.
She was going for nice. She'd settle for nice. It'd be a while yet before she was cocky enough to aim for gorgeous—though she strongly hoped to achieve that someday.
Someday…there was always a "Someday" attached to all her thoughts.
Someday she'd be successful.
Someday her frogs would sing.
Someday…someday all her of hard work…all of her…would be appreciated.
Someday was NOT today…er…tonight.
She growled at her reflection, lips pouting.
No, being dropped off like express mail by her father made her feel less then precious. She'd barely shut the car door, before the Camry spun around and out.
She knew Gaston was really sick and her parents were fretting over his fever—101! Mama Mia! Call the doctor direttamente!
But she could really use some support here…couldn't have at least one of them come?
She knew Art wanted to, but he'd been called in. Three of his co-workers were sick, and they were depending on him to save the day. How could he say no?
No one was rooting in her box tonight. Literally, spiritually, or otherwise.
They used to indulge her. Buying her cute little frog trinkets and stuffed animals. But time had passed. And if it had stopped being cute at twelve, then it definitely wasn't now.
Mama Framagucci didn't even mention the word "frog" anymore, like the noun had been deleted from her vocabulary.
No one else was quite so extreme, but she noticed from birthdays and holidays she received awfully ordinary things—socks, movies, bookmarks—which perhaps wouldn't have been a big deal. But she noticed from the coloring of each gift—neon pinks, oranges, purples, reds—that her family painstakingly chose not to give her anything green.
No one believed in her project…a crushing revelation that still twisted her heart now and then.
And why would they? It's not like she ever placed in these…never even got an honorable mention.
Franny breathed in deeply, imagining herself walking gracefully up the steps, side-stepping the velvet curtain, graciously accepting her three seconds of acknowledgement, and sauntering off the stage.
She wasn't worried per say, but she liked to visualize victory—helped build confidence.
It wasn't even that Franny was clumsy, quite the contrary, martial arts had refined her movements—sharpening and polishing them to a feline-like grace. Well-balanced, exceptionally coordinated, dangerously agile...fierce.
Yeah, fierce was the word to describe her.
She left the porcelain sanctuary, heading toward the stage, passing two nerds snogging in the hall.
Why did people always like to do that right where they'd be in the way?
Really though, around blind corners, doorways, the middle of crowds?
Can you say fire hazard?
Her eyes flit over them one last time before she disappeared through a sidedoor to the backstage.
That boy was a solid 5 on the Attraction Scale but that girl…a 2.5 at best.
It was an awful, mean thing to think…but it raced through her mind constantly: plenty of unattractive girls had boyfriends.
And here she was at least a 6.8 possibly 7 (on a great, acne-free day) and she was unattached?
Heck, it wasn't even as though she was really ready for a boyfriend, but she would at least like to be asked for a dance.
Or given a flower on Valentines, or sent a letter, or be told she looked okay. She wasn't picky; a wink in her general direction would be enough to thrill her.
That wasn't asking too much, plenty of girls had that.
They just weren't…odd…like her.
Apparently, a voracious love of frogs was considered a defect…go figure…guess that meant she was doomed.
She weaved her way to the eaves.
It was the same kids, she was always fated to stand with. So it was easy remembering that she was between Jonathan Frall and Cammie (scuzi Camellia now) Franklin.
She sighed fingering an earring out of boredom. Humming Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean A Thing," she's about to start tapping her heel to the beat when it happened:
She spotted Cornelius; dressed smartly in a crisp, black suit, green shirt with a dark emerald tie.
In mere seconds, she deduces he must've had outside help picking that outfit—Cornelius was brilliant but he'd never had much fashion sense.
The fact that his ensemble matches says volumes.
Guess, he considered this event pretty important.
Which means…the fact she's in it at all, must be SOME scrap of achievement.
Maybe he'd come over and congratulate her on…well…she didn't actually place…um…compliment her…yeah! He could compliment her on her….hmmm…overly modest, juvenile pink dress…well…no…maybe, maybe…maybe he'd cheer her on for being persistent….or something. Maybe…and then...maybe...something wonderful...could...
She waved frantically, feeling her heart light up as he noticed her.
He waved back, smiling and she felt her heart flutter a bit.
Just a little bit. A teensy bit. Hardly worth mentioning.
After all, he WAS cute…in a nerdy sort of way. Not that she cared…she was just observant.
Aaand maybe she had a slight crush…okay, a crush… fiiiiiine, a BIG crush—a hopeless infatuation—an unrequited love that she'd just discovered this summer.
Maybe she'd always liked him and just didn't realize it until now.
And why not? He'd always been so nice to her…
He's sitting next to some blonde girl his same age, she had a speech too: something about her achievements in Nuclear Physics if Franny remembered the pamphlet right.
Smarter and older than her.
And she wasn't too hard on the eyes, a little geeky in that plaid skirt and bow ascot…but they fit.
The blonde girl said something that made him blush, He rubbed the back of his neck abashedly.
He peered at the girl (Nancy? Nina? Blargh, Franny was awful with names) rather shyly, chuckling. His attention now focused on her bespectacled face—Froggy Franny, as her classmates dubbed her, completely forgotten.
The girl leaned in, hand on his shoulder, whispering something in his ear that made him grin.
A brilliant inventor and a nuclear physicist…a fairytale ending.
What chance did Franny really have?
Only damsels in distress got rescued. So unfair.
When you were the hero of your own fairytale, did you get a prince?
And though she'd never admit it to another breathing human being, she HAD kissed Frankie ONCE…you know, for scientific purposes…
Alright alright, because she reeeeeeaaaaaalllly hoped that he'd turn into her Prince Charming no matter how unlikely.
The experiment failed of course, but she'd learned a valuable lesson.
Now null hypothesis couldn't rule out that fairytales existed; but she could successfully conclude with mounting evidence that SHE, at least, definitely wasn't in one.
Her eyes locked on the young inventor's profile. The house lights dimmed, the velvet curtain opened and the spotlight fell on the podium.
Cornelius swept over to it, grinning, and laughing lightly at the whoops.
Standing tall and confident, he delivered some awe-inspiring speech that she didn't hear a word of.
The crowd roared its approval, applause thundering in the auditorium.
And she knows the most she can hope for when they read her name is a light scatter of polite clapping.
What place could she really have in this society?
Suddenly it's all too much and her eyes blur.
The adults (scientists or theorists of some grand importance that escapes her feeble mind) commandeer the podium and take turns calling out names.
More clapping. Cat calls of "Go NATE!"
No one will cheer for her…
Feeling like such a failure, she slipped out of line; dashing down the backstage corridors—small strips of directional glow tape the only things keeping her from slamming into walls.
She sprinted out—out past the green rooms, past the deserted lobby, out through the great front doors—hurrying away—far, far away…or at least to the parking lot.
The cold night air made her shiver—fingers digging into the pink-sequined clutch she brought—so small it can only carry her cell, a tube of pink lipstick (Mama didn't know she bought), and a wadded up ten dollar bill.
Cars fill every available space and then some: she can already see several double-parked vehicles.
But even while the lot was full, it's vacant…of people at least. Everyone was busy inside being dazzled by the brilliant Cornelius Robinson and Nancy what's-her-face.
Franny trudged back toward the front of the building, the grand fountain catching her eye.
She walked close enough to feel its spray, smiling slightly at the moisture coating her outstretched fingers. She's always been a water-girl. Catching frogs was sometimes nearly as fun as teaching them.
Well…if you could call it teaching. Blasting music at them 24/7, 365 days a year—experimenting with diet and supplements…maybe she really was crazy…
She moved on, sighing--up those stone steps, through those front doors, life was waiting.
She turned back around, staring longingly at the parking lot. A whole world lay beyond there…
The wind howled and she glanced upward; A half-moon awash in dark clouds. The sky looked like a turbulent sea, she can relate.
Violent and powerful, morose but beautiful…
She knew she was being melodramatic, knew that her "Horrible Hormones" (as her parents referred to it as) were in overdrive, knew on some level that she was being utterly ridiculous…and yet it made her feel alive.
Who knows how long she'd been out there watching the clouds pass over the moon in turns—forgot to wear a watch tonight. Could probably whip out her cell, if she reeeally wanted to know the time.
She shifted her balance lazily from one foot to the other, debating over whether to call home; she's going over a list of plausible scenarios: she could say there'd been some confusion or that it'd ended early or that she was feeling a bit sick or-"
"Fran?!" a concerned voice called.
"Franny?" it repeated.
She froze, knowing that voice. Slowly, she peered over her shoulder stealing a glimpse at the young inventor who's looking a bit winded, "They said-you-spr-sprinted out here. Is everything okay?"
She turned, smiling blandly, "Oh my cell was about to go off, it vibrates twice before starting an obnoxious song. I didn't want to be a bother so I-I, ya know-" she gestured wildly with a hand.
She's trying to laugh it off, silently pleading with fate to grant her SOME dignity; that he'll leave and she can go back to feeling sorry for herself.
No such luck.
"Fran?" He frowned, not buying it for a second.
It's moments like this where she feels he has some unknown advantage. He can just look in her eyes and see some answer, some small detail that screams her innermost thoughts.
Her family could always read her easily. But while Cornelius knew her, they were barely acquaintances if that—it didn't seem fair that he could interpret her emotions with such mastery.
"They read off your name" he started a bit unsurely, "You…you didn't appear. If you come back right now, they might be able to read it again at the end. I could ask if you like?"
And for Cornelius Robinson, science prodigy, she doesn't doubt they would.
"Its fine" It isn't. But she'd sooner swim in the fountain across the way than walk across that stage now.
"Franny? I don't mind. I can ask them. I can. If that's what you want I-"
She supposed on some level, she did want to hear her name spoken across the P.A. system. Without the snickers for once.
His brows furrowed and he moved closer, as though determined to do something. She's not sure what. If she was feeling poetic or deluded, she'd say he wanted to champion her cause.
Like he really cared…like he really knew her…impossible considering that they've only seen and spoken to one another a handful of times. Infrequent, sporadic meetings that never went beyond discussing weather or science principles.
Which for some reason made her feel more miserable—like she's aching somewhere deep and doesn't know why.
"No I don't want to be here actually" she admitted, surprising herself with the frankness of that statement.
Warm hands settle on her shoulders.
"Fran" her name's spoken softly, caringly.
She smiled more brightly, No pity, no pity please.
Because she really didn't deserve it. Not when she was being so petty…really to feel jealousy towards him no matter how fleeting…made her feel like the worst person alive.
He was sooo kind, so nice—an all-consuming benevolence towards mankind.
Which she could have and would have mocked if he hadn't been so genuine.
His clear blue eyes focused on her unwavering, sincerely concerned about her welfare.
Such a good person.
He deserved all of his successes.
Her gaze dropped to his shoes, peripheral vision noting the special award in his hand.
Clearly, they'd given him something for making the effort in coming tonight.
She'll never be handed one of those…she'll never be set apart in such admiration…not like that. No one will ever ask her to blather on about her frogs. Her heart plummets while her stomach twists, another wave of hot resentment flooding her.
Eyes still downward, she stepped out of his grasp.
Forcing some pep into her step, she trotted over to the stone steps leading back toward the foyer.
She twirled, once, twice remarking loudly "These ceremonies are dreadfully boring."
She plopped down, ignoring the icy sting of cold cement seeping through the sheer fabric of her dress.
He sat down next to her.
The cold continued permeating her—gooseflesh covering her arms.
It's funny—cruelly ironic—that moments ago she'd been fantasizing about spending time with him…and now she's counting the seconds till he goes already.
Not sure exactly why he's even out here. Maybe he considers them all his underlings; that he's some sort of Science shepherd, and he needs to keep the flock gathered.
While engrossed, battling with tumultuous emotions, she's vaguely aware of him asking her to come back inside with him. That it's freezing out here and he doesn't want her to catch a "viral upper respiratory tract infection."
AKA: common cold.
She smiled again, assuring that she's perfectly fine, and stares purposefully forward again at the grand fountain in front of the building. Noting detachedly that there's a pattern in the way the water sprays. First it arcs up, then across, then up high, then low, then nothing.
She watched it cycle three times before glancing beside her.
Still there. Brown eyes widened at his grave expression.
She flashed another grin, "Don't you have a final speech?"
Dismissed. Leave now. Go. She wasn't sure how much more blatant she can say it.
Besides, they both knew how it important his ending note was—the audience was practically drooling for another inspirational monologue—the participants eager to hear more from their idol/rival.
She smiled again, trying to work warmth into it; trying to make her eyes say what her traitorous mouth refused…stupid heart had sealed her lips closed.
I know where you're really needed. Don't worry about me. Get back there.
Nice guys like Cornelius didn't pry. Nice guys did as you bid them. Nice guys wouldn't risk ruining ceremonies…
So she's surprised when a suit jacket falls over her shoulders.
He was always a gentleman, it shouldn't have affected her. But the chivalry struck a chord in her heart, making it beat faster.
It could've been any girl, she reasoned calmly while part of her screams but it was ME!
Nothing to get so worked up over. Nothing at all.
He sat back down beside her, closer this time—their knees touching.
Her older brothers said she was romantically dense. Untrue. No one looked her way; that was all.
This was just a miscalculation of distance or instinctive reaction to the cold. There was no use delving deeper than that.
She'd never been good with details…her focus was always the bigger picture, the grand scheme, the far-off future. Much better than grasping at straws, making connections that didn't exist, pretending…
Deep breath. Choking down her big-girl pill for the night, she looked him in the eye.
"They'll be missing you" it wasn't hard working conviction into her voice, because she knew it was true, "You should go back. Your closing speech-"
"They'll figure it out" was the sharp reply.
She blinked, head tilting to the side, mouth forming a small 'o' of surprise. Because this was Cornelius, who could well be argued as the patron saint of good manners, and she doesn't think she's ever heard him snap before.
Aware of her wide-eyed stare, he hastily apologized that he didn't mean to bark at her, he's just stressed, and tired, and a multitude of other excuses…
When she doesn't respond, he begins to stammer a bit—more excuses and apologies flooding out.
He tripped over a spare arm of C4R1 and dropped a package of new beakers, after being chastised by his University for blowing up the chemistry lab again. He's been battling insomnia the last couple nights, which made him clumsy with the soldering gun and he accidentally ignited his lab partner's satchel. He missed breakfast this morning, ran into a doorframe, misplaced his tie and was searching for it so long that he was actually running late tonight and-
Her lips twisted into an amused smirk and she giggled.
His face stiffened into an unreadable expression.
"Thank you" she murmured softly.
His eyebrows shot up—perplexed.
She giggled again, nudging him with her elbow, "Nice to know you aren't perfect."
In a flat tone, he assured her that he was "far from it."
That lopsided smile really was endearing.
Their eyes bored into one another. And for some inexplicable reason, she felt like could tell him absolutely anything.
"I'm not sure why I'm here" she confessed suddenly.
He blinked, "You're here because of your theory on genetic enhancement of amphibians. Manipulation of certain key bases in DNA, such as cytosine, could result in a favorable mutation. With proper mapping and experimentation, the possibility for increasing the relapse time between synapses could well produce musical frogs."
She glanced at him in open astonishment, he-he actually stopped by her station last month? The great, world-renown, inventor paused by her cardboard display and read it. Taking it seriously.
And now she's moved closer, their sides touching.
It was cold enough now that smoke formed with every puff of breath.
And they're close enough now that each exhalation mingled in the air between them.
Washed in moonlight, finely dressed, and smiling, Franny's utterly taken with him—Intoxicated with the sight of him, the clean sharp smell of his cologne, his bright blue eyes, she couldn't help but label him a prince.
But not hers.
She looked away, up into the maelstrom of swirling clouds and twinkling stars.
She has the distinct feeling that he's watching her closely right now.
Great, a specimen on display, but she couldn't wrestle up any frustration. It felt too nice—surreal—having him beside her. His presence soothing her in ways she couldn't describe.
But she wasn't brave enough to convey ANY of that to the young man next to her. For all her boldness, all her fierceness, all her bullheadedness, she's terribly shy in matters of the heart.
So used to playing the fool in these Science Fairs…the constant mockery…Frog Princess they'd snicker at her.
The possibility of being humiliated by him…he who was always sooo nice…would devastate her.
To find out that what he felt for her was nothing more than kindness...
She took care not to look at him—knowing she'd drown in those eyes, wishing for something that she'll never have.
That blonde girl was lucky, catching his eye. Maybe…someday she'd be lucky too.
She sighed softly, eyes focused on the heavens.
Her heart swelled with hope at the thought, and she smiled even as her eyes blurred a second time that night.
Longing for the someday where she'd look up and find her prince smiling back at her.
It never occurred to her that they were both waiting for the same thing.
Read & Review PLEAAASE ^-^
Lemme know if you'd like to see it all from Cornelius' perspective--I see his angle having definite potential.
Oh! For anyone who's read 'Focus,' you might see a slight similarity between her and Wilbur's personality. I see him inheriting a good deal of his unique attitude from her. After all, in the deleted scenes--the rug bit....eyep XDDD