Pre-Wedding Jitters, by DoofusPrime
Notes - another story with a dash in the title that can't be displayed in the story listings on my profile. Rrgh! Ah well, enjoy it.
Bow ties, Ron decided, must have been invented by supervillains.
No amount of fumbling and fidgeting seemed to have any effect on the thing. Ron was at the end of his rope - which, in his opinion, would probably be a lot easier to tie around his neck than a bow tie. A clip-on would have been good enough for him, but his dad had insisted Ron wear what looked like a dated-looking beige fossil overlaid by white pinstripes. Something from the 70's, maybe. Some kind of family heirloom. Ron vaguely remembered his father saying he had worn it at his own wedding. Unfortunately, Dean Stoppable was nowhere to be found when Ron actually needed to figure out how to put the darn thing on, as both his parents were ferrying a few last guests to the nearby church where their wedding would be held.
Most everyone was probably at the church already; Ron had stayed with Kim's family as they finished up a few preparations before heading out, as he didn't want to mingle with some of his crazier relatives until the last possible moment. He supposed he could just get the bow tie ready when he got there, but he knew he'd get comments from Uncle Harrison if it didn't look right.
Ron poked his head into the kitchen to see if anyone could give him a hand. A single mug of coffee lay on the table, alongside a newspaper that fluttered in a light breeze that came from a wide-open window. It was a beautiful, sunny day outside, although kind of hot and muggy. He could hear the birds chirping in the trees, even saw a flash of brown here and there; they seemed really loud today. Almost like they were screeching.
"Hey, Mr. Dr. P-"
Ron paused in mid-sentence as he caught sight of Kim's father on the phone. Mr. Dr. P. gave him a curt nod and an impatient wave. It sounded like he was in the middle of giving a relative last-minute directions on how to get to the church. Ron waited for another moment, but gave up when it became clear that Kim's dad wouldn't be hanging up anytime soon. Maybe his faithful mole rat could help him instead; he was pretty sure Rufus had helped handle his bow tie for that first prom he had enjoyed with Kim, after all.
"Rufus!" he shouted. "Hey, buddy, where are you?"
Ron poked his head into a few rooms, but the mole rat was nowhere to be found. He began to get a sneaking suspicion that his normally-faithful rodent friend had probably hitched a ride to the church already - maybe with his parents - in order to get to the food before any of the guests did. He and Kim would be lucky to even have a wedding cake by the time the ceremony was over.
It was too bad college didn't have some kind of class for important adult activities like handling bow ties. Grumbling impatiently, Ron decided to go upstairs and see if Kim could help him out. This seemed like something that needed fatherly advice, but then again, anything was possible for Kim. There was no way a bow tie could be much trouble for her, could it?
Still trying feebly to get the tie to bend to his will, Ron stumbled up the stairs and into Kim's loft room. He almost tripped a few times, but all his attention was absorbed in trying to defeat his evil accessory – at least until a piercing shriek brought his head up in a whiplash-inducing snap.
Kim dashed sideways, using her open closet door for cover, but Ron had already caught a good look. Apparently, she had been checking to make sure her wedding dress fit, although the dress, Ron noticed, was currently lying on her bed. "Come on," he said, "it's not like it's anything I haven't seen before, KP."
"It's not that, Ron. Isn't it bad luck to see the bride before the wedding?"
Ron frowned. Maybe she was right. It did sound kind of familiar. "Yeah, maybe," he said. "I can't believe you're worried about that, though. That seems like something I'd be freaking about!"
Kim took a moment to throw on a big shirt and emerge from behind the closet door, sitting down on the bed with a sigh. "You're right. I think I'm just really nervous."
"About the wedding?"
"No," said Kim, rolling her eyes. "About the state of the Middle East, Ron."
"Well, KP, I'm no expert, but I think if people could just learn to accept each other for-"
Ron trailed off after he realized Kim was being sarcastic.
"Sorry," she said. "I'm not trying to be snarky, Ron. Just a case of the jitters."
Ron couldn't blame her; he was definitely feeling a little nervous himself. He had the feeling that under normal circumstances, this bow tie would be no challenge at all, but today was an exception. Today, after all, was the last day of the life of Ron Stoppable, debonair bachelor and incorrigible ladies' man. Not that he was a bachelor, exactly, seeing as he had been going out with Kim for a while. Wait a sec, he thought. Bachelor – is that when you're single, or just unmarried?
Ron's sensitive nerves began to needle him relentlessly as he grew more confused over the definition. Here he was, about to get married, and he didn't even know what a bachelor was-
"You okay, Ron?"
He looked over at his soon-to-be wife, who stared worriedly.
"Oh yeah, I'm alright. Just nervous, like you. We'll be fine."
"Definitely," she agreed. "Weddings? So not the drama."
Kim leaned forward and pulled Ron closer. He felt her loose shirt rustle against his chest as she wrapped her arms around him and touched his lips with hers. Despite his frayed nerves, Ron couldn't help feeling a rush of excitement as they began to kiss. He felt the heat of her body mingle with his own, flaring up as they stoked their fire. The two of them dropped onto the bed as the curves of Kim's body pressed into him, separated only by the thin cotton layer of her shirt. She hadn't put on any pants when she was at the closet, and a pair of bare legs snaked powerfully over his own.
Lots of working out, Ron thought. Big thigh muscles. All that freak fighting. The bow tie dropped out of his mind, along with everything else. Wedding, schmedding. His worries began to dissolve in the heat of the moment.
"Are you sure-"
He broke away from Kim's lips.
"You sure we should be doing this when" - another kiss - "we have to go any minute now?"
"We have time," whispered Kim.
Sunlight from the open window seemed to set her hair into a glittering red blaze as she leaned down again, pushing Ron into the bed. He caught a twinkle in her green eyes as the two of them entwined again. Ron was barely able to catch a breath, the way Kim was having her way with him. His girlfriend – fiancée, he reminded himself – had always had a take-charge attitude, whether it came to freak fighting or even freakier activities. He liked that, although it was a little strange to see it coming out now, so close to the wedding.
But maybe this was Kim's way of calming herself down when such a life-changing thing was about to happen to the two of them. Ron decided he wasn't going to complain. Being handled by Kim sure beat trying to handle his bow tie, after all.
"Ronald Dean Stoppable!"
Ron's head jerked painfully into the air at the sound of yet another surprised yell. This time, it wasn't Kim's voice. The two of them lay on the bed, panting, partially-clothed, as James Possible stood at the entrance to his daughter's room and stared open-mouthed at the scene before him. His face seemed to have trouble deciding what expression it wanted to convey, but the overall impression Ron got was anger. Big time anger.
"What do you think you're doing to my daughter?"
"Um – naughty things?"
Ron grinned sheepishly, but judging by the way a vein in James Possible's neck seemed to be throbbing, he probably hadn't chosen the best thing to say. Still, he was a little confused. He realized he wasn't 100% sure about Kim's father's view on pre-marital hanky panky, but he wouldn't have expected this kind of reaction. And it wasn't like they had even gotten that far, anyway. Before he could figure out how to defuse the situation, Ron let out a screech of surprise as Mr. Dr. P. lunged forward and grabbed him by the arm, pulling him away from Kim.
"You're coming with me, young man!"
"Dad," yelled Kim, "what in the world?"
"Ronald needs to be taught a lesson, Kimmie-cub! Putting his hands all over my daughter, like she's some kind of human Naco with extra fillings, it's just – way over the line, I tell you –"
Ron gulped, too confused and frightened to appreciate the awkweird Naco reference, as Mr. Dr. P. began to drag him from the bedroom and through the house while muttering unintelligible phrases under his breath. Something definitely seemed wrong – was Kim's dad just nervous before the wedding, too? Even if that was the case, this seemed like an extreme way to express it. Especially since Ron's arm was really starting to hurt, and being pulled off Kim half-clothed within an hour of their wedding was more than a little embarrassing for both of them.
"Mr. Dr. P, look, I'll admit the timing wasn't great, but-"
"Dad, this is ridiculous!" shouted Kim as she followed the two of them downstairs. "Leave him alone! Why are you acting like this?"
James stopped before reaching the front door, turning to face his daughter with a furious light in his eyes. "I have to protect you, Kimmie-cub! It's obvious the two of you have moved too fast into the seductive wiles of adulthood, and it ends now! Do you know how many Stoppables are waiting to corrupt you?"
Kim pointed at her fiancé.
"Just that one!"
James turned and opened the front door, dragging Ron out into the yard with him.
By this time, the commotion had caught the attention of the rest of the Possible family – Kim's mother and brothers joined her as she followed her father out the door and pleaded with him to calm down for a moment. Ron gave Kim's mom a desperate look of his own, becoming more and more certain that Mr. Dr. P. had gone totally bananas. He knew he was protective of his daughter, but this? It wasn't like they were still in high school!
"James," said Mrs. Dr. P.. "What's going on here?"
Ron hoped Kim's mother might make a difference, but Mr. Dr. P. ignored her as he opened the door of the family car – which was waiting outside, alongside Kim's parked Sloth – and stuffed Ron into the passenger seat. He wondered if James was taking him to the church now. Maybe Mr. Dr. P. had just been really annoyed that he and Kim were in her room, not paying much attention to anything but each other, when the wedding was so close. Maybe Kim's dad was just a little more anal about being late than Ron had realized.
Jim and Tim raced up to the passenger's side door. Ron rolled down the window to talk to them.
"What'd you do?" asked Tim.
"Yeah," said Jim, "he didn't even get this mad when we filled the lawn mower with J200 rocket fuel!"
Ron remembered that. It had been badical, but that wasn't important right now. He was about to tell them he had no idea what he had done – or, at least, he sort of did, but it still didn't make sense - when the car reversed abruptly out of the driveway. Ron turned and saw Mr. Dr. P. gripping the wheel tightly, knuckles white, lips clenched in mute fury. If they were going to the wedding, Kim's dad sure seemed like he was in a hurry. Maybe they were later than Ron thought.
"Don't worry!" he yelled out the window as the car tore down the street, leaving Kim and the rest of the Possible family standing in their yard, looking shocked and perplexed. "I'm sure he's just got the case of the pre-wedding jitters!"
They definitely weren't going to the wedding. Not unless somebody had rescheduled the venue to the Middleton Space Center without Ron's knowledge.
They had parked in the lot a moment ago, James getting through the closed gatehouse at the entrance with some kind of special work ID he flashed in front of a sensor. Now, they were making their way through the facility. James was still holding Ron tightly by the arm and leading him through antiseptic-looking hallways, which were mostly empty of workers, since it was a weekend. Ron began to gulp as a feeling of apprehension surged through his system, slow but gaining in pressure. Nothing about this situation looked good.
"Dude," he said, "can we talk about this?"
"Don't you 'dude' me, Ronald!"
"I promise we weren't going to go any further," said Ron, trying to think of something that might calm the inexplicable wrath controlling Kim's father at the moment. "We were just, like, letting off some steam!"
The two of them made their way through a few empty corridors until they entered what looked like a control room filled with stumpy mainframes and servers that bleeped and blooped in greeting. James did not pause, going straight through the room, down a set of utility stairs, and finally reaching a lower floor where he entered a combination into a keypad on the wall beside a sturdy-looking metal door. The door slid open, and James led Ron out into an open area surrounded by facility buildings. It was like a small courtyard, but empty of trees or grass. There was only one prominent sight to be seen:
A rocket ship, sitting smack dab in the middle of the square.
Ron briefly tried to convince himself that Mr. Dr. P was calming down a little and just wanted to show off some new project he had been working on at the Space Center, but even before the thought crossed his mind, he knew he was kidding himself. The two of them walked up a spiral boarding ramp and approached a door in the side of the rocket. Ron gulped in fear; he knew what was happening.
The phrase 'black hole' crossed his mind, like a sinister whisper. Not in a million years would he have thought Mr. Dr. P. was serious, and yet here they were. Ron's worst nightmare was about to take flight.
Ron cringed as Kim's father jabbed a button on a control panel near his head. The door on the side of the rocket opened with a metallic whoosh! as Ron stepped reluctantly forward. He was on a short walkway that bridged the gap between the skeletal launch tower and the rocket itself; guard rails on either side prevented him from escaping, and Kim's dad blocked his exit, slowly pushing him closer to the door. Ron made one last attempt to break free – he turned abruptly and wrestled wildly against Mr. Dr. P, but the man seemed possessed by a freakish energy. In the blink of an eye, Ron found himself pushed inside the rocket, the door closing in front of him with a sound like a death knell.
"Mr. Dr. P, come on! This is crazy! Let's have a little chat or something!"
"Not a chance!" said James, his voice already fading away as Ron listened to him through the door.
"At least give me some of those space meals in the little packages! What am I supposed to eat in here?"
Ron got no answer. Another few moments passed, and after the sound of James' footsteps dissipated, he leaned his back against the door and let himself slump slowly to the floor in confusion and defeat. It wasn't like he and Kim had even been doing anything beyond making out! Even if Kim's old man was crazy about pre-marital sex, this was going a bit far. But premarital smooching?
The clock was ticking, and Ron anticipated feeling a rumble at any moment as the rocket began to launch. He took a look around the room; he seemed to be in a small chamber somewhere in the body of the rocket, and the interior surface was plastered with control panels and blinking lights, with the exception of a small viewing window directly across from where he sat against the door.
Ron got up, feeling his survival instinct kicking in. He tried the door: locked, of course. He began to press some of the buttons wildly. Hopefully there wasn't a self-destruct button, but then, this wasn't a supervillain's rocket, and pressing random buttons had worked in bringing down Drakken's spacecraft during that one Christmas, so it was worth a try.
What are you doing, Ronald?
Ron ignored the tinny voice – it was Mr. Dr. P, broadcasting on some kind of communications system inside the rocket chamber. He continued running his hands haphazardly over rows of buttons and dials, also pulling the occasional lever for good measure. His excitement soon turned into a fresh wave of fear, however, when he realized nothing seemed to be happening. He wasn't a button expert or anything, but he had been expecting at least a few red flashes or warning signals. Something, at least.
Nice try, Ronald, but I've disabled all interior control functions. The rocket is under my control, and I'll be making sure I put a lot of distance between you and my daughter. I'm talking black hole distance!
And there it was.
"Mr. Dr. P," shouted Ron, "have you been drinking lately?"
I had a coffee this morning. Why do you ask?
"Um, like, I dunno - because you're totally going supervillain on me here!"
A faint chuckle came through the PA system – maybe the first thing that sounded genuinely like Kim's father since he had appeared out of nowhere in Kim's loft bedroom. Who's the supervillain? he asked. The father who protects his daughter by launching her fiancé into space, or the fiancé who sneaks into the daughter's bedroom and does completely inappropriate things right under the father's nose?
Ron scratched his head, nonplussed.
"Is that a trick question?"
There was no reply.
Ron looked out the viewing port, beyond the launch area, and realized he could see Mr. Dr. P. looking at him from the window of a nearby building – the control center where he was launching the rocket, Ron assumed. Sure enough, Kim's dad gave him a triumphant look as the rocket began to vibrate.
"Open the pod bay doors, Mr. Dr. P!"
The plea got no answer. Ron felt the ominous rumbling sensation rise from beneath him. It traveled up from the metal floor, through his feet, and eventually spread through his entire body. A roaring sound grew louder, and he looked around wildly until he saw a chair he could strap himself into. He knew he should have been doing something, anything to try to escape, but as he felt the rocket preparing to launch, getting himself strapped in safely as almost an instinctive impulse. Maybe he'd get flung against the ceiling if he didn't – he never really saw what happened in the movies if astronauts didn't wear their seat belts.
This was it. No more missions with Kim. No more wedding. No life of blissful wedded peace, punctuated by the occasional supervillain fight and maybe a couple of Ronlets and Kimlets scampering around their future house. None of that. Just Ron Stoppable, alone. Lost in space. While he awaited his fate, another voice came through the PA system: not Kim's father, but a robotic female.
Liftoff in ten... nine... eight... seven... six... five...
Ron counted down the seconds until the rocket finally began to take off. As he craned his neck from the seat and managed to look out the porthole, he caught a brief glimpse of James Possible watching him with a malicious smile before exhaust from the rocket's engines billowed out and obscured his view. Moments later, the roaring smoke and fire cleared a little, and the surface of the earth began to draw farther away as Ron watched, crestfallen and defeated.
He wondered if passing through a black hole would sting.
Notes - Stay tuned until next week (or maybe sooner, 'next week' just sounds nicer) for the final chapter. Will Ron be rescued by the Lorwardians, get sucked into a black hole, or maybe learn how to activate a charming English shipboard robot companion who teaches him the value of friendship? I don't know, probably none of those things, come on. But hey, leave a review and let me know what you thought.
Also, thanks to whoever nominated me for various categories in the 2010 Fannies - I think I've been nominated for Best Writer, Best Comedy, and Best Story Overall, if memory serves. At least half of my stories are eligible for that contest, so if you like anything else of mine and want to nominate me for a category, or nominate someone else, or just figure out what the heck the Fannies even are, check out the Kim Possible Discussion Forum and look at the thread about them. Thanks again!