Disclaimer: So, I realized I haven't really written anything for Gerald and Phoebe, other than second hand in stories and that one chapter of Suku. This one could have gone in there with the rest, but I decided against it. Therefore I give you this with the hopes you enjoy.
His palms were sweating – damn near leaky faucets – as he stood at the door, trying to work up the nerve to ring the bell. Sure he had always been calm cool and collected when he had asked her out, much as he had been on the previous dates he's had in the past – but this was the girl he had always wanted to date. Always. Why shouldn't he be nervous? Besides, she was probably worse off than he was, she was a girl after all. Wasn't that what they were programmed to do – freak out before every date they ever have?
Steeling his nerves and wiping his hands on the back of his jeans, Gerald Johanssen took that extra half a step separating him from the front door, his finger finally making contact with the little white knob and alerting the household to his presence. What seemed like a second later that same imposing door was opened to reveal a short black mustache, black hair with a gray streak here and there, and of course, wire-framed glasses holding back the suspicious eyes of a father. He had to swallow the lump in his throat at the look in those orbs, so different from the warmth they usually held for the young man – but that was before he knew of the intentions towards his one and only daughter and child.
"Good afternoon Mr. Heyerdahl, is Phoebe ready to go?"
Kyo Heyerdahl simply looked him over, and just when Gerald thought he was going to self combust from the gaze, his little savior as well as her mother appeared at the door. Slipping past her elder nimbly Phoebe was out and standing next to the young man in a matter of seconds, smiling at her parents with almost embarrassment. Just as she began pulling him down the walkway, a deep voice shot out almost like a hand.
"Gerald." Turning on his heels, the young Johanssen waited patiently for what he knew was coming. It always did from the fathers of daughters.
"Where are you going?" Kyo asked, much to the chagrin of his wife and daughter. Phoebe groaned while Reba slapped a hand to her forehead. They had only been over this three of four times a day since Phoebe came home on Monday, excited and squealing that Gerald had finally asked her out.
"A friend of ours is having a party – err, gathering of friends. There'll be a band, and probably some form of alcohol." Figuring honesty was the best policy, Gerald smiled to try and pacify her father, which didn't seem to work at all.
"And will you be drinking?"
"Nah, I'm the one driving, and it's not even my car – at least not yet. It's my older brother's car, and he'd kill me if I screwed up his baby." A terrified shudder worked its way down his spine at the thought of just what Jamie-O would do to him if anything was out of place on his car. A shudder that did not go unnoticed by Mr. Heyerdahl.
"Will you let Phoebe drink?"
"Well, Phoebe doesn't drink, why should she?" Gerald had to hold back a psshf that threatened to come out at the thought of Phoebe getting herself drunk willingly.
"Are you going to pressure her into it?" Suddenly all attempts to keep him happy were gone, as Gerald looked Kyo Heyerdahl dead in the eye, straight faced and serious.
"Mr. Heyerdahl, I have too much respect for her to do that."
The air was silent and thick as Reba and Phoebe looked at Gerald in shock – pleasant shock but shock nonetheless – at Kyo eyed him again before nodding.
"Alright. I've trusted you before, and I trust you again. But if she comes home at five in the morning drunk and puking her guts out Gerald Johanssen so help me you will be sorry." Behind him, Reba Heyerdahl smirked, knowing her daughter was in good hands and that her husband's threat, while not empty, was certainly unneeded. Phoebe squealed again and hugged her father, before grabbing the stunned young man and dragging him towards the red '88 Volkswagen Passat GT parked at the curb. Her parents watched as he opened the door for their daughter, and shut it behind her in a well-placed display of chivalry, before sliding across the hood and slipping into the driver's seat.
With an almost giddy smile of her own, Reba watched the lovebirds take off down the road before slipping her arms around Kyo's middle and nuzzling her face in his back.
"You know, Babe, they'll be gone all night. We have the house to ourselves." He could almost see her sly smile as she sensually rubbed his chest. A lusty smirk gracing his features, he slowly let her back him into the house, and swiftly shut the door.
Once they were out of sight of the house and her dad's magically killing intent, Gerald took a moment to appraise the young woman sitting next to him. Blue really did look good on her, he noticed, she had traded in her light blue sweater and skirt for a slightly dressier dark blue button up and dark jeans. Her hair was freed of its half bun and let loose to bounce around on its own. And as for those green owl-eyed glasses, she had them reduced to wire frames – although they were still fairly thick.
He was glad he wasn't the only one who had made an attempt to dress nicer.
His number 33 jersey was replaced with a crème- brown-maroon colored silk shirt that Jamie-O said reminded him of their parent's bedroom carpeting – which Gerald later had to admit it did look like that floralesque (was that even a word? He wasn't sure) pattern that adorn the floor. There was a loose – very loose, pretty much useless – deep purple skinny tie around his neck, and he finished the look with a dark brown, almost black leather jacket that he picked up at a thrift store. There was no doing anything with his tall hair. His dad said he looked like a throwback to the sixties, but Gerald ignored him in favor of getting the keys from his stupid older brother.
After he signed a waver agreeing that bodily harm could and would be done in the event of even a scratch or dent.
"Did you really mean what you said back there? About having respect for me?" he turned his eyes back to the road, afraid for a minute that he'd been caught staring instead of driving. Yeah, that'd go over well . . . until he realized what she'd said. With a charming grin used with intent and purpose of getting a blush, he looked at her though the corner of his eyes.
"Well, yeah. Phoebs, you're important to me, and I could never do that to you." Garnering the expected response, he felt his chest swell at the dusting of red on her cheeks as they sat back in silence for the majority of the ride – that is until he spoke again.
"Besides, Helga will be there, and if she knew what I was up to I'd be more dead than if I returned Jamie-O's car totaled." Phoebe laughed and smacked his thigh as he took a left turn and drove them into the industrial port area of Hillwood. Instead of looking confused and nervous, Gerald watched as his date smiled and bopped her head to whatever crap music his brother kept stockpiled in Alice (Worst name for a car that was obviously male if you asked Gerald). He almost felt a little disappointed at her lack of surprise, but then remembered that she had been invited by their host too, not him, and so she had to of known where this party was.
He still felt let down, though, when he smiled widened at the sight of all the cars they recognized as their friends' parked around the entrance to one of the buildings overlooking the port. The roof was ablaze with strobe lights already in the waning day, and they could feel the bass from an amplifier – however weak – on the ground floor.
Opening the door, he moved quickly in order to open her door for her, and was pleased to see that she waited for him, wanting this date to start off well as a good omen. Unfortunately, as soon as she was out of the car she paused only long enough to softly run her hand on his before b-lining straight for Helga, who was climbing out of the passenger seat of a big green and rusty bus the pair instantly recognized as Philmore.
Letting gravity shut the door, Gerald moved to join Curly, who was standing just outside the little bubble the pair made, and nodded to the tall haired man.
"Hey man, is Helga with you?" Gerald asked, watching as a small flicker of something akin to mischief spark behind the thick glasses of his friend, before he shook his head and stuffed his hands deep into his pockets.
"Negative. She needed a ride, and we're all compadres here." He laughed, and Gerald had to shake his head at the crazy boy's absurdity. Suddenly Phoebe rushed over and grabbed his hand, Helga in tow with a smirk on her lips.
"Should we go up, Gerald? Death to Strangers is playing tonight, and I can already hear them." Gerald nodded, his heart rate picking up when her hand slid more intimately into his, and didn't let go. Together, the four of them made their way up the secured but rickety stairs to the roof, the music getting louder and the bass stronger with every step.
"Death to Strangers? Isn't that Iggy's band?" Gerald had to shout as they opened the roof hatch, and found that his question answered itself. There was Iggy off to the side, moving his head to the beat he was creating on his guitar, his body moving back and forth on the stage. His girlfriend was bouncing around with her bass, wild red hair flinging around as their lead singer and other guitarist muttered numbers and check into the microphone. There were two more guys Gerald didn't know, twins or at least brothers, one on the drums and one on an old brown piano. They were just doing warm ups, but suddenly stopped and grew silent as they gathered the attention of the crowd.
A pixilated guitar, bass, drum and piano version of the Universal Theme played, and crowd cheered in excited anticipation. "DEATH TO STRANGERS!" the drummer shouted once they finished the intro, before counting off and beginning a sick compilation of the instruments. The redhead was mouthing the words as the singer's voice rang out clear, being joined every now and again by Iggy's.
"Come on Crazy, let's go get you set up with Princess." Helga shouted over the band, grabbing Curly's wrist and dragging him through the crowd. Phoebe turned to him, smiling shyly as she waited for him to make a move. That special grin he saved only for her, Gerald tightened his hold on her hand and leaned into her ear.
"Wanna dance?" he asked, and she nodded with excitement before hauling out into the middle of the crowd. Spinning wildly, she almost began mash pitting, and probably would have had his hand not been on her hips as he lost himself in the music just as much as she had.
Some four hours later, the pair was sweaty and red-faced and smiling, taking a breather from all the dancing. They moved over towards the edge of the roof, sitting as the breeze from the bay cooled them off and the multicolored strobe lights attacked their backs. The band was still going strong, no signs of winding down, although there was a boom box blaring techno whenever they needed to take quick breaks.
Suddenly Phoebe leaned over rested her head on his shoulder while lifting his right arm in order to look at the wristwatch he wore. Ten to ten. Gazing up at him beneath long lashes, Gerald vaguely wondered if she realized just how sultry and coy she appeared right now.
"Wanna go back to my place? Maybe watch a movie?" he offered, and she nodded, before letting him help her to her feet. Waving to a sweating Helga who was dancing with Sid, and Arnold who standing by the drink cooler with Harold and Stinky, the two wandered down steep stairs, trying to keep themselves from falling to their deaths – her father would definitely not let him see her again if they died.
She was quiet as they reached Alice, and once again he opened the door for her. Gathering up the courage and knowing he would pay for it later, Gerald slid into the driver's seat and slipped his hand beneath him, pulling out a small CD case. Popping out the current disc, he slid in a new one, and the magical sounds of Sex Bomb-Omb flooded through the speakers. Seeming much more in her element, Phoebe's head moved more freely with this beat as he pulled out of the make-shift parking lot, taking the back roads through twists and turns, eventually leading into his small block.
The lights in his kitchen were on, but no movement could be detected, so he figured everyone had just gone to bed but were thoughtful enough to leave the lights on for him. She got out of the car as quietly as she had ridden in it, and was suddenly overcome with a feeling of timidity: this was the first time she would be alone with Gerald, the boy she had a crush on since the fourth grade. She would have no Helga security blanket to hide behind; it would be just her, and him, together . . . watching a movie.
Gerald led her into the house, offering to make them some popcorn while she searched through their movies to find anything she wanted. She nodded with a shy smile and wandered out into the living room, leaving him to exhale a sigh of relief.
The night was going well. They had gone to the party and had a good time, dancing for nearly four hours straight. Correction: dancing together. She even held his hands on multiple occasions, free will and all. Now all he needed to do was watch them movie to seal the deal – hopefully she picked something scary so she would snuggle up next to him for comfort. Then he could put an arm around her shoulders, and if he played his cards right he might even get a kiss!
"Gerald, I found a good movie. I think I need your help with the DVD player though. Why won't it work?" she called from the other room, and Gerald let this strange combination of a smirk and an eye roll cross his face. Jamie-O probably left the setting from the gaming console on, and poor little Phoebe couldn't figure out how to change them.
Swallowing another smirk he didn't want his cute date to see, he tossed a piece of popcorn in his mouth while emptying the bag into a big bowl, then made to join her. He found her by the TV stand, a slew of remotes scattered around her, a frown on her pretty face and the empty case of Drag Me To Hell at her feet. This time he didn't hold back the smirk as he took one of the remotes, and flipped the input from Gaming to HDMI, and led her to the couch. So she did pick a scary movie?
Let the cuddling begin.
Jumping for what had to be the bagillionth time, Gerald scowled while trying to pretend he was really stretching, all the while checking to make sure Phoebe hadn't seen it. She hadn't. She was too busy fighting back tears of laughter as the movie progressed into the final scenes. Every now and again she would utter out "Homicidal Goat!" mixed with laughter that he would have loved on any other occasion. But this was their first date, and they were watching a scary movie, and she was supposed to be hiding in his arm for comfort, not blatantly laughing at the horrible acting and outrageously hilarious situations. Or the homicidal goat.
He watched her, rather than the screen, as she leaned forward to shove another handful of popcorn in her mouth, giggling as the heroine was disintegrated by the cool visual effect of Hell's fire. This was wrong, so very, very, very wrong. She was a girl. Girls were supposed to cower before anything scary. Horror movies were supposed to put her in the mood to cuddle, and need his protection. Why was she not doing that?
And end credits.
She laughed while leaning back into his arm, smiling that cute, charming smile she always flashed him, hugging her knees to her chest.
"Helga was right, that was a funny movie." She admitted, and Gerald almost face palmed. This was not going as planned. Looking at his watch again, she blanched at realizing it was a little after twelve.
"Great, I better get home before Father has a heart attack." Was he soft statement, and Gerald nodded while absentmindedly shutting off the TV. Deciding he'd leave the popcorn for when he got home, he gently took her hand in his and led her to the door, then out and into the car.
Once again the rid was silent, this time Phoebe blushing the whole way. She had the feeling Gerald was disappointed that she hadn't snuggled into his chest and had him hide and comfort her throughout the movie, but come on! This was 2008, not the 1950s. Besides, she had every intention of playing the part with him none the wiser, but that was before it started, and once it began she simply couldn't. It was just too funny! Seriously. Homicidal goat? Who in their right mind would be scared of that?
Feeling the car come to a halt, she shook her head only to realize they were in front of her house. All the lights were off; good. With any luck her parents trusted her and went to bed – although in reality her father probably shut off the lights to shake away her suspicion but stayed up, and her mother was up if only to make sure he didn't do anything stupid.
Turning to look at Gerald, she smiled softly at him, before leaning over to kiss him softly on the cheek. Best kiss him in the car, if her father was awake.
"I had a really nice time." She murmured against his cheek, and was shocked when he quickly turned his face and stole her lips and essentially, her first kiss. Swallowing her gasp, he tried to keep it clean, but still slipped his tongue into her mouth before pulling away.
"Next time I pick the movie." He told her, and she pecked his lips one last time.
"Next time you pay for the movie." She quipped before sliding out of the car and walking briskly up the walkway. She at least wanted to be inside the house before she squealed. Once she was in the foyer with her back to the door, she heard the car take off, and her parents come in from the living room.
"He didn't even walk you to the door." Kyo muttered under his breath as Reba grabbed his arm.
"If you wouldn't spy from the living room, maybe he will." Phoebe shot back, although there was nothing but happiness in her voice as she scurried up the stairs and into her room. Kyo looked to his wife, who smirked triumphantly before following her daughter.
"Told you she would know."
Sitting at the curb, Gerald smiled in genuine happiness as he skimmed his lips with his fingers. Well that certainly went better than he thought. She didn't even slap him when he kissed her. And he dad hadn't killed him. Maybe he would really survive this night, after all.
Never mind that fact that as he flipped a Uey in the small street, the right fender grazed a not so friendly sidewalk, leaving a blatantly obvious scratch.
Well, he survived her dad at least.