Apologies to everyone who was expecting this earlier. Had to rework it a little bit after New Year's. That...and I may have been a little inebriated. Anyways...enjoy.
Disclaimer: All characters of Phineas and Ferb are the property of Dan Povenmire, Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, and Disney Channel.
Chapter 9 – The Year
"HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
The cheering commenced immediately after the giant ball dropped. There was mass hysteria, cheering, and fanfare to be had. The entirety of Danville was ready to celebrate into the night.
Linda pulled her husband closer, kissing him softly on the lips. "Happy New Year, sweetheart."
"And a merry one to you as well, dear," Lawrence replied.
She looked over his shoulder, catching a glimpse of what the rest of the citizens were doing with the first few minutes of the new year. It appeared that most of the kids, even though they were young, were taking advantage of the festivities around them.
Gretchen tiptoed up high to quickly peck Ferb's cheek, the both of them blushing furiously.
Django and Milly were together in a tender hug, which Linda knew was something that the two did not have a lot of in recent times.
Ginger had Baljeet around the waist, shaking him around like a madwoman, Holly unsuccessfully trying to detach the two of them.
Adyson was on Buford's shoulder, silently fist-bumping him into a brand new year.
Irving was jumping up and down, fully basking in the glory of the celebration, Katie slowly shaking her head in equal parts embarrassment and humor.
And Phineas? Where was-
"Oh, there you are, Phineas."
She saw her son walking up to her, hand in hand with Isabella.
And both of their faces were very, very pink.
"So, I take it that you had an eventful New Year's, Phineas?" his mother asked him, a dangerously knowing smile on her face.
Phineas glanced at Isabella, then back at his mom. "Yes, you could say that."
Linda smiled, spying the new piece of jewelry on Isabella's neck. "Where did you get that pretty necklace, Isabella?"
She looked down at the ground, her face getting redder by the second. "Phineas...um...gave it to me," she whispered.
"Well, wasn't that sweet of him?"
Phineas was doing a very good job of not looking directly at his mother, his blush approaching the level of Isabella's. She wisely decided that he had had enough gentle teasing for one night. "We're probably going to hang out a little bit longer here, kids, then head home. So be ready to leave in about a half-hour, OK?"
"OK, Mom." Phineas gently tugged on Isabella's arm, and the two of them went over to their friends.
Lawrence, noticing the entire exchange, smirked at his wife. "It would appear that we were not the only ones who partook in something special tonight."
"Yes," Linda agreed, "It would appear that way."
"And I suppose you're going to bother him about it?"
Linda smiled. "Of course. I wouldn't be a good mother if I didn't."
And she did. A little bit, anyway.
The car ride home was mostly uneventful, with everyone taking their same positions as the trip to the park. However, there was one key difference between then and now.
Both Phineas and Isabella were fast asleep.
It was a sweet sight to his mother, seeing Isabella with her head on her son's shoulder. It was unfortunate that she didn't have a camera, or else she would've taken a picture on the spot. If she wasn't driving, of course.
Linda pulled into the garage, turning the car off with a flip of her wrist. She turned around to Ferb and Candace, who were still next to the other two. "You two get ready for bed. I just need to wake these two up."
They silently nodded and scooted out, exiting through the garage door.
"Lawrence," she continued, looking at her husband, "Can you give me a minute with these two?"
"Don't be too nosy, dear. I'm sure Phineas will tell you what happened between him and Isabella."
"What makes you think I'm going to interrogate him?"
Lawrence scoffed as he climbed out of the car. "Because he's your child, sweetheart. Parents are entitled to a little inquiry, especially in situations like this."
"I'm just waking them up, that's all."
"If you say so," he replied, walking toward the door. "See you in a few, honey."
Linda watched him walk inside, and then diverted her attention to the kids in the backseat. "Phineas," she whispered, shaking his shoulder slightly. "We gotta get you inside, sweetie."
He opened his eyes, rubbing them to get the doldrums out. "OK, let me just-" He then noticed Isabella's head on him still and reddened. "Oh, hey...when did that happen?"
"I would say about five minutes ago," Linda chuckled, checking her watch. "She must be tuckered out from all of the excitement."
"Excitement? What are you talking about?"
She pointed to Isabella, where her necklace was still shining as bright as ever. "I would say that. Did you really get that for her?"
"That was very thoughtful of you, dear. I'm sure she appreciated it."
"Oh yeah," he added, thinking back to the cliff and blushing even further. "She most definitely did."
Phineas saw that his mother was considering asking an undoubtedly awkward question after he said that, but decided against it. "I'm going to drive Isabella over to Vivian's house, OK? Go inside and get ready for bed."
"Mom, is it all right if I walk Isabella over instead?"
His mom looked at him with a curious look, on that Phineas couldn't quite place. After a bit, she relented. "Of course, honey. Just don't take too long, OK? I don't want to have to slap a curfew on you when you're this young."
"Nothing, sweetie," she said, smirking. "I'll see you in a few minutes." With that, Linda sat up, heading inside for the night.
Phineas sighed. He would have to talk to his mom about that one later. For now, however, he has more important things to worry about.
He gave Isabella's arm a slight shake, trying to wake her as gently as possible. "Isabella."
"Mmmm?" Clearly, she was perfectly content where she was right now.
"You got to go home. You can't stay in the car forever."
"But what if I want to?"
"I'm pretty sure your mom would not approve of that."
She opened one eye, looking squarely at Phineas. "Are you sure I have to?"
"Mom said so. She didn't say anything about not coming over tomorrow, though."
Isabella stretched her arms, stifling a yawn. "Well, I suppose I can do that, then."
Phineas scooted out the car, Isabella not far behind. They took their time walking the short distance to her front door, though he was conflicted about how he wanted this night to end. They had already realized and done so much in a short amount of time; what was there to do to put a cap on it?
They reached Isabella's front door, but before either of them could say anything, it swung open, revealing Isabella's mother, Vivian Garcia-Shapiro. Her right leg was currently in a cast, which made her crutches all the more distinguished. That didn't appear to dampen her spirits, however.
"Shalom, mi hija! I saw Linda pull up a minute ago. Happy New Year! And also one to you as well, Phineas!"
"Thank you, Mrs. Garcia-Shapiro!" He looked at the cast on her leg. "Mom told me about the leg. Tough break."
"Oh, this? It was an accident," she replied, shrugging him off. "Naomi fixed me right up. I just have to not go barging around the house like I normally do, and it will heal in no time. Not that I barge, mind you, but I would have figured that-"
"That's...great, Mom," Isabella said, awkwardly shuffling her feet. "Can you...um...give us a minute? Please?"
Vivian, who was ready to go on another tear, stopped in her tracks. It looked as if she had finally noticed what was around Isabella's neck. "Dios mio, Isa! That is a most beautiful necklace! Wherever did you get that?"
Phineas raised a nervous hand in the air. "That would be me, Mrs. Garcia-Shapiro."
Isabella's mom took a look at him, then to her daughter, then back again at Phineas. "You did? So...Ooooh! That's why you...Ahhh!" She kneeled down, bringing Isabella closer to her. "Forgive me, mi hija, your mother is not thinking too fast tonight. The New Year and all."
"It's all right, Mom," Isabella said, smirking at her mother's slowness. "So..." She motioned to the door with her head. "A minute?"
"Oh, of course, Isabella! No need for me to intrude!" She backed up through the doorway, waving to the redhead again. "Happy New Year, Phineas!"
"You as well, Mrs. Garcia-Shapiro."
The door closed, and Phineas was finally able to breathe easier. Now that Isabella's mom was out of the way (even though he pretended not to see her peering through the blinds), he could have a proper send-off for the night.
"Well, that was interesting," he admitted.
"Yes, you have to pardon Mom," Isabella said, rolling her eyes. "I know she had to contain herself because of this." She pointed to her necklace. "She knows how much I...like you."
"Ahh." He wished he could think of a better response for her, but she stepped closer and the prior few minutes became a distant memory.
"Phineas, this has been one of the best nights of my life. You really don't have any idea what it means to me. I know that you aren't on the same level of me when it comes to my feelings, but knowing that you care about me as much as you do is...well, if I sat here and told you, we'd be here until the morning."
"Thank you, Isabella." He took her hands in his, mirroring their position from earlier that night. "I'm just glad that I managed to get this figured out before...I don't know...we get into high school and you set your sights after the quarterback or something."
Isabella laughed. "Oh, Phineas, it's always been you. You don't have to worry about that at all."
He pulled her into a warm hug, feeling her head come to rest on his shoulder. What he wouldn't give to just stay here with her for the night, but the cold (not to mention the parents) would have something to say about that.
"Are you coming by tomorrow?" Phineas asked.
"Of course. Do you have anything planned?"
"Oh, I'm sure I can think of something."
Isabella laughed as she pulled back from him, hands on his shoulders. "Like you always do."
They stood there for a moment longer, Phineas knowing that he didn't leave know, his mom would probably have a fit.
"I have to go, Isabella," Phineas said. "I'll see you tomorrow, all right?"
"OK, Phineas. I just need to say one last thing."
"And that would be?"
Suddenly, he felt her hands come up to his cheeks and saw her head lean in, delicately kissing him on the corner of his mouth. He would have been completely stunned if not for the fact that even crazier things had happened that night. She pulled back, her blush radiating in the darkness.
"Good night, Phineas."
"Good night, Isabella."
She walked backwards toward her house, playfully waving at him as she opened it up. He waved back, watching her close the front door behind her.
Now that she was inside, the cold air felt appropriately that way, a fact that came as a shock to him. Perhaps this was what a deep companionship did to someone. He would certainly have to figure out some sort of experiment to figure that out, but in the meantime, it was time for bed.
Phineas made his way back to his house, kicking off all of his winter attire. Climbing the stairs, his mind was racing with everything that had occurred over the past several hours. It would be somewhat of a miracle if he managed to get any sleep tonight.
He opened the door to his room-
"So, how'd it go?"
"GAH!" He recoiled, failing to immediately notice Candace and Ferb sitting cross-legged on his bed, dressed in their pajamas. They had without a doubt been waiting for him to enter for a little bit. "Geez Louise, don't scare me like that, guys."
"Yeah, yeah, sorry about that." Candace waved his statement off. "Spill! I want details."
"And I, as well," Ferb concurred.
Phineas looked at the two of them, slightly peeved. "I didn't think Ferb knew what I was doing."
"Sorry, Phineas," his sister said, her tone sincere this time. "I kind of told him about earlier today. I figured that you had already figured out things between you and Isabella at the park. But if it's any consolation, we still don't know what you did."
He strode over to his sketch table and pulled out the roll of parchment he was using in the garage. He brought it over to the two and unfurled it. "This was it. The necklace that I drew up in no time at all. Happy now?"
"Wow," Candace marveled, tracing the locket drawing with her finger. "That's really fancy there, Phineas. And you made that?"
"That's why you had everything covered in the garage," Ferb chimed in. "I figured you were up to something, but I didn't know what."
Phineas rolled the parchment up again. "Now you know. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you about my plans. I just...needed to do it on my own. And I wanted it to be perfect."
"That's fine; I don't blame you," Candace said. "Although I thought I said not to go overboard for this thing."
"Candace, Phineas' middle name might as well be 'Overboard.'"
"Are you two done now?" the redhead questioned, his face becoming flustered. "I've had a pretty eventful night; I'm going to need sleep."
"Oh yes, you sure did."
Phineas looked at his sister again, hand poised over his drawing table. "What do you mean by that?"
It was Ferb who answered him. "Mom came in and told us that you were walking Isabella home. And...we got kind of nosy."
Phineas could see that Candace was very determined to not look her little brother in the eye. "Oh my goodness, you didn't really-"
"Sorry, Phineas," Candace repeated. "We're siblings, remember? It's sort of our obligation to pry." She got up from the bed, heading to her room for the night, but stopped at the doorway. "By the way, I would give it about a seven. There's definitely room for improvement on your part. But I think you got plenty of time." Smirking, she left their room. "Good night, twerps."
Ferb peered at his brother, whose face was hidden by the hand that had suddenly slapped it. "I tried to stop her, you know."
"Yeah, I'm sure you did." Phineas made haste to put on his pajamas in a desperate attempt to get to bed.
He pulled his pajama shirt over his head, seeing Ferb staring at him. "What?"
"I am really happy for you. I hope you know that."
He climbed into bed, pulling the covers over his body. "I know that you are. I'm just not used to all of this, that's all."
Ferb laid down, dimming the lamplight. "Yes, but like Candace said, I think you have a lot of time to work on it. And I'm sure Isabella will be patient. She's been so for a long time now."
Phineas silently agreed, feeling the doldrums of sleep starting to catch up to him. Finally, it seemed like peace was getting ready to settle in his mind.
"I just have one last question, Phineas."
A little annoyed, Phineas opened one eye.
"...What exactly happened after you left me during the party?"
There was so much that he could have said to him at that time. He could have mentioned the song. He could've mentioned the way her hands felt so right in his. He could have mentioned her overjoyed reaction to his gift to her. He could've mentioned the myriad of hugs they had shared.
He could've mentioned the kiss.
"Ferb," he said firmly, turning his body away from Ferb, hiding the blush creeping up his neck, "There are some things in life...that are just better left to the imagination."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Before anyone asks...Dr. Hirano.
And also, there is a reason why the previous chapter and then this chapter ended the way it did. The reason? It was planned that way.
It's no secret that you can probably guess what happened on the cliff at the end of Chapter 8. When you have an emotional moment that is a defining point in time and you're so overwhelmed with what you could say...sometimes it's just a better idea to say nothing at all. I will leave it up to your imagination to figure out what happened. Again, it's not that hard of a guess.
As for the end...Phineas is so going to take it to his grave. The...special part, anyway.
I originally had another cutback to Isabella planned at the end, as well as an epilogue involving when they get back to school, but you know what? I'm pretty pleased with the way it ended.
I have to take the time to give thanks to everyone who has read this story and those who took the time to review. It is really awesome that so many people liked this fic, which is great because even with the time constraints, I put a lot of work and heart into this story. And I'm glad to see that it paid off. Special thanks to the repeat reviewers, who kept coming back for more, even when I felt I did a crappy job. You guys are the reason why I do this. Thank you.
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Read and review, if you like. Until next time, ladies and gents.