Title: Secret Admirer
Universe: Canon (Season 5)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Word Count: 1,315
Summary: Devyn and Connie hatch a plot to bring romance into Ryan's and Stacy's lives – only to see their scheme backfire in a most unexpected way.
Author's Note: Written for GloriaFan during his het comment ficathon, for the prompt "Devyn and Connie try to get Ryan and Stacy together…hilarity ensues."
DISCLAIMER: The Kids Incorporated concept, storyline, and characters are © 1984 – 1993 Thomas Lynch/Gary Biller/MGM Television/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment/Disney Channel. Any resemblance to any person currently living or deceased is unintended (aka, I am writing about the characters, not the actors who portray them). No money is being made from the creation of this material. No copyright infringement is intended.
"I did it," Connie heaved breathlessly, a note of triumph in her voice as she collapsed near the counter at the P*lace. "It wasn't easy, but I managed."
Devyn turned from her spot by the front table and smiled. "Great!" she replied happily. "I cannot wait to see the looks on their faces when they show up this afternoon!" She clasped her hands together and sighed dreamily.
Connie frowned as she studied her friend. "How did you get back here so fast?" she asked, still working to catch her breath. "I went right in when I heard the final bell ring, and I still only barely managed to get to Stacy's locker before she did!"
Devyn gave her a knowing smile. "Ah, but you waited for the final bell," she said in response. "I snuck into the high school during our lunch break, and dropped the note off at Ryan's locker then."
Connie giggled. "Smart move," she nodded approvingly. "I was almost crushed by the freshman class."
Devyn turned back to the table. "This was a genius plan, if I do say so myself," she declared, fidgeting with the arrangement of flowers that served as the centerpiece. A beautiful red rose stood proud, surrounded by a spray of baby's breath and nestled in a thin vase wrapped with a matching red ribbon. "Those two were meant for each other – I don't know why they can't see it for themselves!"
"I certainly don't mind playing matchmaker," Connie agreed giddily. "I can't wait to see it all come together!"
Devyn grinned at her. "That's why we're going to stick around and make sure it happens!" Her eyes widened as she glanced over Connie's shoulder. "C'mon – there's Ryan now!" She quickly grabbed Connie's hand and the two of them scurried around behind the front counter, their hearts racing with anticipation as they spied on their erstwhile bandmate.
Ryan frowned as he pushed through the front double doors, holding a folded square of paper in his left hand. He came to an abrupt halt by the front table, eyeing the rose dubiously before glancing up, his eyes sweeping over the deserted front room of the P*lace.
Devyn's stomach flipped as she watched him. He didn't look happy at all – not even the least bit curious! This was not the reaction she was expecting, not by a long shot.
Connie gripped her hand just then, drawing Devyn's attention back to the double glass doors – and to Stacy, who had just breezed in. She, too, stopped short when she noticed the flower in the center of the front table – and the other person lingering nearby.
"Ryan?" she asked softly. "Is that you?"
Ryan whirled around. "Stacy?" he replied incredulously.
Connie grinned at Devyn. "This is it!" she whispered.
I know, Devyn thought worriedly, chewing on her lower lip. She really hadn't liked the expression on Ryan's face before, and Stacy's utter confusion now was likewise deflating her sails.
The two stood in awkward silence for a moment before Stacy's expression melted into surprised pleasure. "Oh, Ryan," she breathed, throwing her arms around him, "I can't believe you went to all this trouble!"
"Wait – what?" Ryan sputtered, sounding completely confused.
Stacy smiled, breaking her hold on him just enough so that she could gaze up at him adoringly. "You're so romantic," she declared, curling her hands into his hair, "sending me anonymous poems and secret admirer notes. And here I thought you'd forgotten our anniversary!"
Connie and Devyn exchanged sharp, shocked looks. 'Anniversary?' they mouthed to each other, their jaws hanging slack.
"Of course I didn't forget," Ryan assured her, returning Stacy's embrace in kind. "But this…" He gestured to the table and the rose. "This isn't my doing."
Stacy pulled away, her brow furrowing as she stared at him. "It's not?" she echoed.
Ryan shook his head, lifting aloft the note he still held in his hand. "No," he replied. "I have those secret admirer notes, too. I've been getting them all week."
Stacy took the paper from his hands, her eyes running over the typed lettering. "Unbelievable," she sighed, glancing up at him once more. "This is exactly the same note I received." She dug into her pocket, producing an identical piece of paper with an identical typed message.
"Weird," Ryan murmured, taking the two notes and comparing them side-by-side. "But, strangely reassuring," he continued, looking up at Stacy once more. "I only came here today to figure out who was sending them to me – so I could tell them to stop."
Stacy's eyes fell away, a pink blush staining her cheeks. "Ditto," she admitted. "And I was feeling kinda bad about it, honestly – I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings."
"I didn't want to hurt your feelings," Ryan confessed. "That's why I didn't tell you about the notes."
Stacy smiled as she leaned into him, settling her arms around his waist. "You're amazing," she sighed, laying her head on his shoulder. "Kind, considerate, sweet, thoughtful, sensitive, and caring! I feel so lucky to have you."
"No," Ryan replied softly, tightening the brace of his arms around her, "I'm the lucky one. Six months have passed by in a flash, but every time I see you, I feel the same as I did the moment I fell in love with you."
Devyn and Connie sank down behind the counter. "I don't believe this – I don't believe this!" Devyn hissed incredulously. "How could they hide this from us?"
"Very well?" Connie replied dryly. She sent a wry glance in Devyn's direction. "Come on, what does it matter? The end result is the same, after all!"
"It matters, because – " Devyn began, only to be abruptly silenced when Stacy's voice reached their ears once more.
"So, wait," the older girl mused thoughtfully, pulling away from her boyfriend. "If I didn't send the notes, and you didn't send the notes, then who did?"
They brought out their notes again, studying them together, looking for any hint of a clue as to their mysterious sender. Devyn sent a hard, knowing look in Connie's direction as silence reigned; understanding dawned across the younger girl's features, her eyes widening with horror over the idea of being caught.
"These were typed on that old typewriter in the store room," Ryan announced, shaking his head. "Which means – I think I know who our 'secret admirer' is." He exchanged a long, amused look with Stacy before turning towards the front counter. "Am I right, Devyn?"
"Or should I say, Connie?" Stacy chimed in, settling a hand on her hip.
The girls wore matching guilty expressions as they stood up from behind Riley's counter. "Hi, guys," Devyn greeted them, while Connie averted her eyes and sent them a weak wave.
"Hi," Ryan and Stacy echoed sweetly in unison, with Stacy adding, "Oh, this is a story I can't wait to hear."
Devyn and Connie exchanged a brief look.
"Well," Devyn began.
"Well," Connie said.
Ryan glanced at his watch, seizing Stacy's hand as he looked up. "Later, okay?" he directed to the girls, before turning to his girlfriend. "I didn't forget our anniversary," he said, his voice dropping into softness. "I made reservations for us at Café Paris, and we should leave now if we don't want to be late."
"Café Paris?" Stacy squealed, her eyes sparkling with excitement. "Wow!" She squeezed his hand. "Have I told you, lately, just how amazing you are?"
"Yes," Ryan grinned, "but I don't mind hearing it again." The two turned away, drifting towards the front double doors, speaking and smiling softly to each other, their hands still laced tightly together.
As the pair crossed out into the street, Connie smiled happily. "All's well that ends well," she declared, clasping her hands and resting them under her chin.
Devyn heaved a heavy sigh of relief. "Yeah," she agreed, "but that was a close one."