A/N: One more day 'til Rocky Horror Glee Show (and Touch-a!). I wrote this partly to keep myself occupied until the wemma goodness goes on air. Unfortunately it has not kept me from watching the leaked TTTM vid and consequently squealing madly in front of the computer. What you're about to read actually happened to me a few months ago while visiting this certain grade school fair, which ended up with me getting happily married to one of my block mates. After the 'ceremony' I was all 'OMG what if Will and Emma got dragged down into one of these asdfghjkl;' and that was when the idea behind this story was born. Sadly time only allowed me to actually get down to writing it now.
There's a bit of Carl in the beginning and the end, but I assure you this is mainly about our favorite couple.
Thanks again to the jaymamazing 4cherryblossoms for beta-ing! She's so awesome that she did the job on her iPhone. What is dedication? That is dedication and I love you for that.
Last but not the least, I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this. :)
Emma always loved going to carnivals. It was one of the few places where she did not mind being exposed to those nasty microbes. Even as a child, she had adored the flashing lights, the jolly sounds and the general carefree vibe of the place. It never failed to make her feel as though the world wasn't as bad a place as it seemed to be. This was why when Carl asked her if she wanted to go with him to the annual local fair over dinner, she said yes almost instantly. Carl thought that her uncharacteristic impulsiveness was, like everything else that she says or does, adorable, which earned her a kiss on the forehead from the dentist.
After some brief planning, the date was set for Friday night. The week passed by rather quickly and soon enough, Emma was taking one last look at the mirror before they left for the carnival grounds. She was very excited and it showed in the smile on her face and the beat in her steps.
The all-too-familiar carnival music filled the air when they finally arrived. A nostalgic feeling enveloped her system as they took their first steps in the vicinity, her gaze drinking in the sights that surround her. She was about to walk over to one of the stands when she felt something grabbing her waist. She yelped, her eyes wide as she turned around and saw that a teenage boy with a huge smirk on his face had wrapped a belt around her. "Hi there. How can I, uh, help you?"
Emma could have sworn that she heard Carl laughing. She couldn't blame him. There were a million more appropriate responses to the situation and she just had to ask that. The kid just stared at her and tilted his head slightly before pulling her towards God knows where.
"Hey, where are you taking me?" she asked, trying to resist the boy's pull. Unfortunately, he was far too strong. Panic was slowly taking over her. Unsure of what to do, she looked back and called out for Carl. "Carl. Help me, Carl!"
It was then that she discovered that he, too, was being dragged away by a person half his age. She realized that this must be why he had chuckled earlier. Much to her disappointment, he only shrugged as another kid pulled him in the opposite direction. How he could keep his calm and feel amused instead of terrified at that particular moment was a mystery to her.
Emma struggled a few more times but eventually she figured that there was simply no way that she could escape. With no choice but to go along, she resigned herself to whatever was in store for her.
Now that she had complied with the boy's unspoken demands, she believed that it was only fair that she got an idea of what she was about to get into. She asked the kid but he didn't say anything. Thinking that he didn't hear her, she decided to repeat her question but like before, she got no response. Undaunted, she asked again, then again, but not a word of explanation escaped the boy's grinning lips. All he told her was either that they were almost there or that she'd find out soon enough. Still, she persisted and soon enough, it paid off.
"Can you please tell me where you're taking me?" she begged for the nth time.
The boy stopped mid-step and for the first time since the beginning of the ordeal, addressed her directly. "You're about to get forcibly married!" he happily informed her.
"Oh, okay," Emma mumbled, satisfied that she finally got an answer. It took half a second before the implications of those six words became clear to her. "Wait what?"
She was wrong when she thought that the smirk on the boy's face could not get any wider. "You heard me right. You're about to get forcibly married!" the kid repeated, as if she hadn't suffered enough the first time he said it.
The kid figured that there was nothing wrong if he told her about her fate. It appeared to be the only way to get her to keep her thoughts to herself. It seemed to have worked as Emma hadn't spoken a thing in quite a while. Unfortunately for him, though, this success was only short-lived.
"Can't I bail? Take all my cash!" Emma offered, breaking the momentary silence.
"Sorry miss. You can't bail on this one," the kid informed her.
She wasn't about to give up. "How about free teeth whitening sessions? Braces? I can ask-"
"No thank you. My teeth are just fine," he cut her off, flashing his set of pearly whites which were indeed in perfect condition.
Emma thought hard. "How about counseling?" she asked, desperate.
The kid stopped walking again. He sighed before looking at her straight in the eye to make sure that he would get his point across. "Listen miss. You can offer all you want but there's just no escape. Fate has chosen you to tie the knot with some dude tonight. You can't argue with fate," he told her flatly, hoping that this would keep her quiet for the rest of the journey. But this only terrified her more.
"But, but you're a kid…fate is not…you, you're not…I'm older than you, you know!"
Emma struggled to form coherent sentences. Her mind spun light-speed. She knew that it wasn't going to be a real wedding. She knew that she was going to be an unwilling customer of one of those marriage booths she'd been hearing about. It was just for fun, nothing serious. But even so, the fact she would be sharing such a moment with a person she has never even seen before was what bothered her the most.
Before she could even begin to blame the heavens for her current predicament, she was snapped out of her reverie when the boy told her that they were there. A small tent stood in front of them. The light inside had cast through the thin plastic walls the seated silhouette of who she assumed to be her groom-to-be. The kid finally released her, but not without giving her a few reminders. She paid little attention to it, however, as her mind was fixed on the shadowy figure who she noted was now tapping his foot. She wondered if this was whether because the guy was just as, maybe even more than nervous as she was or because he had simply been waiting for a long time and thus must be very bored.
"And don't try getting out. We'll know," the boy concluded, this being the only part of his instructions that Emma had caught. She could still feel his gaze watching her as she took a deep breath and entered the tent.
Once inside, she froze mid-step as her eyes set on the top of a curly-haired head, which was the only thing she could see of the man she was about to get forcibly married to. The chair that he was sitting on had a tall back which concealed the rest of him from view. She could have stood there unmoving from that spot all night if he had not noted her presence and greeted her in what he thought was the most appropriate manner.
"Hello future wife who I have never met until now," he welcomed her. He figured that he'll see her eventually anyway so he did not bother to look behind him.
"I'm not too sure about that last part Will," Emma differed.
"Emma?" Will could not believe it. Did he miss her so much that he was actually hearing her disembodied voice? Now he was hearing the clacking of high heels against the ground and it sounded like the unmistakable clack of a pair of Mary Janes. Luckily for him, Emma came into view before his doubts about what was left of his sanity overcame him completely. She took a seat beside him in a chair identical to his own.
"Talk about small world," Emma began, her eyes set on the ground.
"Yeah. What are the chances?" Will agreed. "And let me revise that last statement. Hello future wife who I have first met two and a half years ago. Better?"
"Definitely," she told him with a chuckle.
God did he love hearing her laugh. He didn't need a mirror to know that he must have been smiling like an idiot at that time. And he didn't care. He believed that love could make fools out of even the brightest of people. He also believed that there was a thin line between foolishness and ignorance – and he might cross that line if he continued to let his emotions take control of his actions.
"So you got dragged down into this mess too huh," Will said, sounding more like a statement than a question. Either way, he did not wait for her to reply. "I was just going to grab something to drink when this kid wrapped this belt on my waist and dragged me all the way here!"
"Same story. I just got in and this kid came out of nowhere and brought me here against my will," Emma briefly recounted her own experience.
"What brought you here by the way? This isn't exactly the kind of place I'd expect to see you in," Will asked her, more than curious. His question must have made her feel uneasy, as she abruptly tore her gaze away from him.
"Carl. He, uh, took me here on a-"
"Date?" he finished for her.
Emma nodded weakly. She wasn't really comfortable with calling those nights out on the town that she and Carl had ever so often as dates, since to her the term entailed a certain degree of intimacy. They were not dating, they were seeing each other.
Before the awkward air could get any heavier, she decided to put an end to it right then and there by returning Will's question. "And you?"
"With the budget cut implemented, the glee club had been having trouble making ends meet. That's why we decided to set up a stand here for the weekend. The kids, they're taking shifts," Will explained to her.
"Gosh Will. I'm sorry to hear that. I tried talking to Figgins about it but it seems that his mind has already been made up," Emma told him, to which he promptly expressed his appreciation. "So what are they selling?"
"Cupcakes. It proved popular the last time so I thought why not do it again?"Will chuckled as he remembered something which he found amusing. "And would you believe me if I told you that it was Puck who came up with the recipe? Who would have guessed that the kid had a knack for cooking?"
"Well, as they say, looks can be deceiving," Emma simply said, which drew the subject to an abrupt close.
With nothing more to say on the topic, Will looked around the room and sighed. "So what's going to happen to us now?" he asked her, even though the answer was very obvious.
Emma did not waste the opportunity to emphasize just how obvious it was, but not without injecting it with her own brand of humor. "Based on those giant sparkly red letters in front of us, I'm assuming we're about to get married."
Will grinned. "I don't recall bending down in one knee and professing all my love for you," he joked.
"Well, you did. In my apartment in the middle of the night, in fact. You knocked on my door at three in morning, struggled to get down on one knee without falling over and when you finally did, you held up a bottle cap to my face and said 'I love you like hell baby. Let's get hitched!' in a raspy but oddly passionate tone," Emma played along with an equally huge grin drawn on her lips. She paused to note the priceless look on Will's features. "Yep, I remember it clearly all right."
"So that's why I don't remember." Will shook his head in mock distress. "I knew that bottle of Gatorade tasted funny!"
They laughed and they laughed some more, just like old times. They had never been so comfortable, so happy in each other's company since the break room fiasco. The past seemed like one big blur at that moment; it was only the present, that instant of time which mattered. But the sad truth was that nothing lasts forever and for this particular instance, it was the sound of bells ringing that put it to an end.
They looked behind them and saw that three teenagers, including the one who Emma recognized as the kid who got her into this crazy mess, had entered. One of them, the lone female in the group, stood by the entrance and rang a pair of silver bells tied together by a blue string. One of the guys, who had a guitar strapped on his chest, proceeded forward and took his place on one side of the room. The kid from earlier lit the two candles in front of them before leaving the area once more.
When the ringing had ceased, a brief silence settled as the guitarist adjusted his grip on the instrument. The familiar chords of the Wedding March soon drifted into their ears. As the melody played, they didn't notice that behind them the kid from before was now dressed like a priest and was walking towards them. Like the bells, the guitar's strumming disappeared eventually, this time when the fake priest had reached the makeshift altar. The ceremony had begun.
"We are gathered here today to join…" He paused to asked their names, which they promptly gave. "…Will and Emma in faux matrimony." He turned towards Emma. "Do you accept Will as your unlawfully-wedded husband?"
Emma smiled. "I do."
The kid turned towards Will. "Do you accept Irma-"
"It's Emma," she corrected a little too strongly, much to Will's surprise and delight. As if Sue dropping her name every so often wasn't enough this kid had to hop in the bandwagon too.
"Okay then…Emma to be your unlawfully-wedded wife?"
"Oh damn yes I do," Will vowed, earning a light chuckle from Emma.
With the affirmations done, it was time to move on to the exchange of vows. The girl who had rung the bells handed them cardboard which had a piece of paper where the text had been printed on was taped.
"I take you to be my falsely committed life partner, to have and to hold onto from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part." They somehow managed to say the words at the exact same time. While reciting the vows the girl with the bell had given each of them a silver ring topped with a fake diamond, the kind which could be bought in one of those novelty gift shops at dirt-cheap prices, which they carefully slipped into each other's fingers. "Or until some unknown contagion which turns the afflicted into a mindless zombie infects one of us and we have no choice but to find another partner who has no urge to eat our brain."
Emma could see from the corner of her eye that a small grin had formed in the kid with the guitar's lips. The last part must have been his idea, she mused.
"I now pronounce you man and wife," the faux priest declared, raising both arms up for effect. The bells and the familiar notes of the Wedding March filled the air once more. "You may now kiss the bride," he then said, smirking. He intended it as a joke, but to Will, this order was no laughing matter.
Everyone, even Will himself, was taken by surprise when he turned towards Emma, leaned his body forward, and captured her lips with his in an unmistakable kiss. He had no idea what strong force had possessed him to commit such an act. He knew that it was against all the unwritten laws of love but he was just too blinded by his longing to heed them.
Emma made no effort to resist. He assumed that it must have been because she was too shocked by his actions to move. When he pulled back he noticed that her hand was resting on his chest and that her mouth was still partially he failed to notice were the kids running the booth excitedly snapping pictures of their best customers with their mobile phones. They stared at each other for a moment, completely at a loss for words. Finally, just when Emma's brain was about to implode, Will took the lead. He stood up, waited for her to do the same and when she finally did, set out to leave the scene. They were on their way out when the kid dressed as a priest called their attention.
"$20 please," he demanded, his arm outstretched with an open palm.
"I'm sorry?" Will asked over his shoulder.
"For the rings. It's twenty dollars," the kid simply said. "Nothing's free in this world you know."
"Oh come on. Seriously?" Will remarked incredulously, his brows furrowed.
Unlike Will, Emma had no qualms about it. She was sort of expecting it, actually. "Here," Emma quickly settled the issue, handing the kid a crisp twenty dollar bill which the boy practically yanked from her hands.
"Thank you very much! We hope you have a blissful life as a married couple," the three kids bid their farewell.
It was only when they stepped outside that the gravity of the situation became clear. Will felt that an apology, as well as an explanation, was very much in order. She must have been sick of hearing that five-letter word but he couldn't just leave it like that. "Emma, I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. I just, I just-"
Emma placed a finger on his lips, just like he did almost a year ago. "You have got to stop it with your surprise sneak attacks, Will," she told him with a voice which like her heart was breaking. She was about to say more but she decided against it, opting instead to offer a small smile and light hand squeeze. After giving one last look, she turned on her heel and walked away.
Finding Carl wasn't that hard a task; in fact, it was him who saw her first. She learned that he was dragged down to a dress-up booth. He narrated with amusement how he was asked to roam around the carnival grounds for ten minutes donning a flowery dress and a blonde wig.
"Oh, it was just insane Emma. But Carl Howell never says no to a challenge," Carl concluded his tale, which she never really paid much attention to. "And what happened to you?"
"I, uh, got married," Emma told him as casually as she could. It was quite an effort, what with the lump on her throat that seemed to have grown to three times its normal size.
Carl laughed. "And I thought I had it rough. Who'd you get married to?"
"Oh, you know. Some random stranger," Emma lied.
"Aha, that guy must have felt like the luckiest man alive for getting married to an angel like you," Carl teased, grinning. "Too bad he can't do this."
Without warning, he pulled her in for a kiss. He made sure that it was chaste, as he knew how much Emma hated public displays of affection. "Anything wrong?" he asked her after he pulled back, noting the distress in her features.
Everything was wrong. She should be happy. There in front of her was guy who loved her, a guy who cared for her, and most importantly, a guy who had eyes for her and her alone. He has his flaws but altogether he was a great man. But she didn't need a great man. She needed the only man. And that man, as crazy as it may be, was none other than Will Schuester. She never thought that she could love and hate a person so much but he has proved to be the only exception.
When she did not respond Carl gave her a nudge on the shoulder, which proved to be effective in bringing her back to her senses. It took her a moment to realize that he was still waiting for her answer.
"No, no. Nothing's wrong," she lied again, forcing a smile. "Everything's where it should be."
Carl was far from convinced but he found it best not to press anymore. They spent the rest of the evening as if nothing happened. Before they left, Emma made sure to drop by the glee kid's stand. She wasn't able to sleep well that night as visions of that stolen kiss haunted her. But she wasn't the only one faced with a sudden bout of insomnia.
Will, too, had been wide-awake all night. Unable to drift off to slumberland, he decided to seek the company of his television set until sleep settled in. As he flipped through the channels, his eyes drifted to the shiny band on his finger, which glimmered against the light overhead. It was the only thing left of what had transpired that night, a memory which would've been picture-perfect if he had not been such a fool. He motioned as if to remove the object, his fingers ready to pull it out. He had barely slipped it off when a sudden surge of hesitation tugged at him. His mind told him that the ring would only serve as a reminder of a terrible lapse in judgment; but his heart saw it not as a mistake but as a moment in time when for once, everything felt right.
In the end, he never did take it off – and neither did Emma, who after a long reflection realized that what the kid said was right: there was no escaping fate. Destiny wanted to play with them that night and that ring was a reminder that she had come out a winner with no regrets.
With their minds finally at ease, the two were finally able to get some much-needed rest.
There was someone at the forum who mentioned something about Emma wearing a ring in one of the screen shots of the upcoming episode. Assuming that it isn't Adam's, maybe this fic can provide an explanation to that. :P
Review and I'll love you to bits.