Isabella blinked multiple times as her brain seemed to disconnect from the rest of her. This was one of those times where even she couldn't suspend her disbelief at the events happening in her life, or at least at the events happening in Phineas' life.
"You wanna run all that by me again," she asked, finally coming back to her senses. "I'm not sure I understood that all correctly."
"Grandma and Grandpa Fletcher got invites to the royal wedding," Phineas told her, starting over again. "They wanted to pass the invites along to mom and dad, but they've got another antique show to attend so they can't go, and Candace and Stacey are still currently grounded for the Laundromat cheese incident. So they asked if Ferb and I wanted to go instead, and we can each take a guest with us."
Isabella blinked multiple times yet again. "Yeah, see, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how in the world your family got invites when even the President of the United States didn't."
"The President doesn't have our connections," Ferb said in a cool yet cocky tone.
"Anyway, we're looking for two more to come with us and you were at the top of the list," Phineas told her. "You interested in coming, Isabella?"
'It'll probably end up like Paris all over again,' Isabella told herself mentally. 'But still, more time with Phineas is always fun.'
"I'd love to go, Phineas," she replied, smiling. "It's gonna be the wedding of the decade, after all."
"Excellent! Just make sure you pack something fancy for the ball later on."
Something akin to the sound of a record scratching rang out in Isabella's head. "Ball? As in…dancing?"
"Well yeah," Phineas said, now blushing a little. "We have to show up at a ball being held that evening. I'm not real used to stuff like this, especially with someone like y- er, I mean, especially going with a girl."
"So we're going to be together at a royal ball?"
"Pretty much, yeah."
"Just the two of us."
"Kinda hard to dance with more than two people, but yes."
Once again, Isabella blinked multiple times, her brain scrambling to process the situation she was now involved in. "Okay, well, pardon me. I need to go pack. And by 'pack' I mean 'explode'. Later!"
"Well that's one down," Phineas said, turning to Ferb as Isabella left.
"Did you really need to play that out with Isabella so much," Ferb asked as he walked with Phineas towards the living room. "You knew she'd say 'yes' before you even called her over here."
Phineas scratched the back of his neck a bit, nervously. "I'm taking some of Jeremy's advice. He said girls like this sorta thing. I gotta admit it feels a bit funny that I'll be doing all this grown up stuff with Isabella, though."
"Now would this be 'Clown-getting-hit-in-the-face-with-a-pie-funny', or 'I-don't-want-to-admit-that-I'm-blushing-at-the-cute-girl-from-across-the-street-funny'?"
Phineas narrowed his eyes at his brother as he blushed even more now. "You're hilarious. Anyway, on to the task of finding you someone to go with."
"That's easier said than done."
"Oh come on, all the people you know and you can't think of one girl to invite? What about that girl we picked up when we flew around the world, Vanessa?"
Ferb sighed and flopped down on the couch while Phineas leaned against the wall nearby. "She's got a boyfriend, and I seriously doubt she'd consider going with someone six years younger than her. Plus, the last time I saw her was in Paris. You know, where she left me holding a rose I'd bought for her?"
"Oh. Yeah. Sorry about dragging that memory up, bro. Well, maybe Isabella can help hook you up with someone. Let's call her back up and see what she has to say."
"I suppose, but you may want to hold off on that call for just a minute."
Just then, something that sounded like a girl's scream coming from Isabella's house permeated the air for several seconds. The boys both covered their ears to muffle it.
"You can probably call her now," Ferb said, uncovering his ears once the screaming had ceased. "I just didn't want you ending up in the emergency room for a ruptured eardrum."
Gretchen was used to responding to Isabella's summons, but that morning's phone call had been the most exuberant and frantic she'd ever gotten from her best friend. All she really got out of it was "come over now" and "most romantic trip ever". No doubt it had to do with Phineas.
Upon reaching Isabella's room, Gretchen was greeted by a pile of clothes in the middle of the room and no sign of her friend.
"Isabella," she called out, stepping into the room. "Are you in here?"
The mound of clothes shuddered for a moment and Isabella popped her head out from the middle of it. She looked almost catatonic. "Look at this! I have all these clothes and none of them are worth wearing!"
"Phineas invited you to something, didn't he," Gretchen asked as she pulled Isabella from the pile.
"Not just anything, Gretchen," Isabella told her as she grabbed her by the shoulders. "The most romantic - if unintentionally so - thing he's ever invited me to!"
Isabella caught Gretchen up about the royal wedding invitation and the subsequent ball. Gretchen, like Isabella herself, had to have it explained to her a couple of times before it all sank in.
"Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime event," Gretchen said in amazement. "Please make sure to take some photos while you're there, Izzie. I'd love to see what it ends up looking like."
Isabella smirked at her friend and second-in-command and put a hand on her shoulder. "Why not see it for yourself?"
"How exactly am I supposed to do that?"
"Ferb still needs someone to go with him, you know…"
"He does," Gretchen blurted out in a mixture of amazement and excitement. "I mean, uh…how does that figure?"
"Don't even try hiding it, girl," Isabella told her, folding her arms. "I know you've got a crush of some kind on him."
"So what if I do? I'm not totally crazy over him like you are for Phineas."
"But you do like him, right?"
"…well he is the reason for my first 'I Just Saw a Cute Boy' patch."
"The way I see it, you've got nothing to lose. Worst case scenario: he's not interested in you like that but you still get to go see the biggest wedding of the decade and get all dressed up to boot. Not to mention hanging out in London!"
Gretchen pondered the possibility as Isabella went back to digging through her clothes. She, like Ferb, was highly intellectual but also quite active. His usual quiet nature made him a bit mysterious as well, which she also liked. Finally, Isabella's logic was sound for once. Even if things didn't go her way romantically, how many other opportunities would she ever get to attend a royal wedding in her life?
"Mind if I step out for a bit, Izzie," Gretchen asked, standing up and stepping over to the door.
"What for," Isabella asked, half-buried in clothes once again.
Gretchen smiled back at her as she opened the door. "I know what I'm going to do today."
Isabella smiled back and pumped her fist in the air for her friend. "That's the spirit! Just please come back soon, I'm totally lost on what I should wear."
Nodding quickly, Gretchen left Isabella 's room and made a bee-line for the house across the street. It was time for her to seize the day for once.
Ferb climbed back down the tree in his backyard, scratching his head once back on the ground. Perry had gone missing as usual, and a quick search of the house and yard had been fruitless. As he began pondering other places to check for the missing platypus, the gate opened and he saw Gretchen step though. She stopped for a moment upon seeing him, and then continued over towards him.
"Good morning, Ferb," she said pleasantly. "I didn't come over at a bad time, did I?"
"Not at all," Ferb replied. "Merely attempting to track down a particularly elusive Ornithorhynchus Anatinus."
"Ah. I'd offer to help, but I've never had any luck getting my 'Semi-Aquatic Monotreme Tracking' Patch."
Ferb cocked an eyebrow at her. "Such a thing exists?"
Gretchen giggled at him. "Only in my own imagination; though I do keep meaning to suggest it as a possible future patch."
"Well, if you do ever get it, please share your tips with me someday. The question of where Perry goes every day is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
"Will do, though I'm not sure Perry would love the idea of being compared to Russia."
Ferb was full-on intrigued now. "Familiar with quotes from Churchill, are you?"
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty," Gretchen said in response, closing her eyes as she spoke. "That's probably my favorite quote of his."
"It's one of my favorites as well. You didn't speak to Phineas about that before you came here, did you?"
Gretchen shook her head at him. "Nope, haven't even seen him yet. I just came over from Isabella's. She told me about Phineas inviting her to the royal wedding. That's really something else."
"It's quite an opportunity. I can't speak for Phineas, but I'm quite honored to be attending. I just need to find someone to take with me now, is all."
"You know people all over the world, right? Any of them would probably jump at the chance to go."
"It's not as easy as that, not for me at least. I don't want to go with just anyone. I'd rather it at least be a friend like…"
Ferb cut himself off when he finally put all the pieces together. Phineas had called Isabella earlier for ideas on who he could invite and here was Gretchen freshly over visiting from Isabella's house. He mentally smacked himself and noted that he would perhaps be a bit less hard on Phineas for the obliviousness he usually showed around Isabella.
"Gretchen," he said, clearing his throat and recovering from his momentary lapse, "I don't suppose you'd care to attend the royal wedding in London with me?"
"I would like nothing better," she replied with a smile. "And don't worry, I'm not another Isabella."
"I knew that when you quoted Churchill."
"Heh, yeah, Isabella's not the bookish type. Speaking of which, I'd better get back over to her before she becomes hopelessly buried in her own wardrobe."
"Mind if we trade cell phone numbers? I'd rather contact you directly with information on our departure, if that's alright."
Gretchen nodded and, after a quick trade of numbers, she hurried off back to Isabella's house. Once she was gone, Ferb allowed himself a moment of celebration as he not only solved the issue of his companion for the trip, but also that it was someone he previously hadn't realized was so interesting; or, for that matter, cute.