"Ow! Watch it; I have a low tolerance for pain."
"Well, maybe you wouldn't get pricked if you would stop moving so much." Prince Gumball snaps back, rolling his magenta orbs before he zeroes in on the hem of Marshall Lee's brand spanking new tuxedo trousers.
"You think she'll like it?"
"Well, it is a Barnaby Original." Gumball almost snorts, but silently decides that's not princely and instead gives his vampire friend a dumbfounded look. "Who wouldn't?"
Marshall Lee sticks his pale blue hands in the deep pockets of the pants, partly because since his friend is made out of sugar, in heat he'd melt so the air-conditioning was consistent in the castle, but mostly because he didn't want his friend made out of sugar to realize he is shaking. And it had nothing to do with the temperature.
If Gumball noticed anything, he sure didn't let Marshall Lee believe he did. "Have you seen her yet?"
"Good." Barnaby nods tersely as if pleased. He turns on the toes of his pink patent leather shoes (that he designed himself) and rummages around in his sewing kit. But he pities the vampire, so turns back around with a grin on his lips, pink cheeks bulging. "She looks beautiful, by the way."
Inside his chest, Marshall Lee's heart is thrumming like it's made out of guitar strings, and someone is pulling on them, hard. His stomach is churning, and there's a raging party of angry butterflies behind his belly button. He's been feeling like this for a while now, four months to be exact. Ever since the day he asked Fionna to marry him.
It had been the scariest thirty seconds of his long, long life, but somehow Marshall Lee had managed to spit out, "Will you marry me?" among all the gibberish and string of nonsense he had coughed out.
Much to his surprise and relief, she had stood there, hands covering her mouth for a moment before she exclaimed, "Yes!" so loudly he was sure that every kingdom in Aaa heard.
And now here he was, four months later, the set date of the wedding of the century. The one that would join together a Human and a Vampire in holy matrimony, something completely unheard of but not discouraged in the Land of Aaa.
Here he was, four months later, getting primped and polished by one of his good friends, about to be legally wed to the love of his life. Here he was, four months later, being practically man-handled by Prince Gumball.
"So, would you mind speeding it up a bit?" The vampire frowns, not enjoying the sensation of the prince's hands all over him and around his neck as the pink man slowly fiddled with the bowtie.
"Patience, my vampire amigo. Bowties take time, you know." Gumball silences Marshall Lee with a flick of his royal, gummy fingers and continues to take his time in tying the bowtie and when he is finished, he smiles. "There, all done."
"Finally." Marshall Lee breathes, stepping down from the little platform Gumball had forced him to step on and then begins his journey to make his rounds around the castle. He had given Candy Butler the task of making sure that the grand ballroom was decorated, the food and pastries were prepared, and everything was just how it should be.
He wasn't quite sure if his butler could handle all that responsibility, so if he wanted something done he would just have to do it himself.
He was almost at the door when someone behind him coughed, "Ehem."
"What?" Marshall Lee spun on his heel, brow raised at Gumball's facial expression and outstretched hand, palm facing the ceiling.
"I do believe that I didn't do all this …" Gumball says, gesturing broadly at Marshall Lee's tuxedo with the matching hat and cape. "… for free."
With a wave of realization hitting him, Marshall Lee nods understandingly before he connects the candy Prince's palm with his own so that their skin slides against one another in a glorious high five.
"Thanks, man." Marshall Lee yanks his hand back and wiggles his eyebrows, knowing full well that that wasn't what Barnaby had in mind at all. "You're a really good friend."
Then before the prince can protest, or smack him, Marshall Lee uses his floating powers to fly out of the room and into the hallway, disappearing around a corner.
"Vampires." The prince mutters beneath an exhale of annoyed breath before he's distracted again, complimenting a Candy Kingdom resident that breezed by the room on the gorgeous fabric that made up her dress.
But Marshall Lee didn't have time to waste on praising people for their choices in clothing; he had bigger matters to worry about, like, why there was no silverware on any of the tables in the dining room.
He had to admit, the hired decorators did do a good job of tidying up the place. The ballroom looked extremely elegant, with hundreds of tiny white tea lights strung from the rafters, and hundreds of folding chairs set up in rows with big red bows wrapped around the back of each of them. At the altar, there was a choir of marshmallows practicing, their voices syrupy and sweet.
The dining room looked just as magnificent, with its forty tables or so covered in silky white table cloths and fresh roses bundled together to make a centerpiece. But next to the expensive China plates, there was no silverware. No forks, no spoons, no knives. Nothing.
Sucking in a deep, irritation filled breath, Marshall Lee made his way to the kitchen, nearly knocking over a purple gumdrop resident clad in a suit that whizzed by him at the last moment.
The kitchen was bustling with life, as all the candy staff darted around like little bumblebees trying to get everything done. Floating in the doorway with his arms crossed, he watched as Candy Cane Chef carefully pulled a steamy cherry pie out of the oven, and a chocolate covered strawberry helper balanced two bottles of champagne.
"Would someone like to explain to me why there isn't any silverware on the tables?" He addresses no one in particular; he just wants someone to complain to.
Even though he wouldn't admit it, over the past four months, Marshall Lee has been turning into what Fionna would call a Groomzilla. The definition for a Groomzilla is a groom (just as Marshall Lee is) who, for some reason, turns into a complete mess trying to get everything prepared and perfect for his upcoming wedding. So, basically, if you look in the dictionary at the word Groomzilla, there will be a picture of Marshall Lee there.
Snapping out of his thoughts on how he can make some changes to the decorations now that there wasn't any silverware, he looks in the direction of the sound, Marshall Lee spots his butler across the kitchen.
"Sir!" Candy Butler's tiny arm waves in the air, and the peppermint is standing on the tips of his toes, trying to get Marshall Lee's attention. When he realizes that the vampire is looking at him, he elbows his way through the throng. "Sir, we have a problem."
"What's the matter?"
"Well, ehem, you see … I just thought I would do something a little extra because, it is your special day and all … so, I wanted to make my famous strawberry tarts and in order to make them, the microwave is involved but … um, well, you see what had happened was …"
"Spit it out!"
"I blew up the microwave. I blew it up." Candy Butler's eyes shift downward, and he shoves his hands in his suit jacket. "I'm sorry. You can hate me now."
Sliding a hand through his hair, Marshall Lee breathes out through his nostrils. "Candy Butler, I don't hate you, but I wish you wouldn't have done something so stupid."
"I didn't mean to, sir. The damage is pretty bad. Come see." The butler hangs his head and motions for the king to follow him into the cluster of Candy Kingdom kitchen staff.
"This is turning out to be a disaster." The vampire puffs up his cheeks with air and steps deeper in the kitchen, bracing himself to examine the destruction that Candy Butler as now delivered onto the castle's only microwave.
His heart beat accelerating, Marshall Lee turns and like an angel fresh out of heaven, the love of his life stands before him. Her gown is exquisite, cloudy white with dozens of tiny diamonds embedded within the material. Her hair is brushed back and pulled back into a simple bun, but there is a sparkly tiara atop her crown. Her makeup is complete, the mascara only making her eyes pop even more than they usually do.
"My God, you are breathtaking."
"You don't look so bad yourself." Fionna's laugh sounds like heaven in the air, and she uses one gloved hand to teasingly smack Marshall Lee's upper arm. Through his suit jacket, his skin burns. Then she uses the same hand to grab him by his wrist and pull him through a nearby open door. "Come on, you need a break from all of this."
Marshall Lee soon finds himself standing in the middle of a room filled with multicolored fabrics and mirrors that reflect his image back at him in a million different angles. He can see his hair, sweaty and matted to his forehead. He can see his cheeks, sunken in and pale blue. He can see his eyes, swollen and tired. His mouth is pulled tight and there a tiny tear in the sleeve of his tuxedo jacket.
"Are you alright?" Fionna says from behind him, and she's sitting in a chair near the door, her dress around her knees as she tries to slip on a pair of white heels with little matching crystals on them. "You look frazzled."
"I am frazzled." Marshall Lee pushes hair off his forehead and then scratches nervously at his vampire bites. The butterflies in his stomach still have yet to let up. "Nothing is going right, everyone-"
As if on cue, the door to the room bursts open, and Cinnamon Bun is standing in the door way, a clipboard shoved under his arm, an alarmed look on his face. "Sir, there's a problem! The decorators can't find the aisle flowers and-"
"Leave me the hell alone! Can't you see I'm busy?" The words erupt from Marshall Lee's throat before he has a chance to stop them and make them nicer. But time is not kind to him, and the words come out bitter and angry, and Cinnamon Bun immediately closes his mouth.
"I-I'm sorry, sir." Cinnamon Bun throws up his hands to surrender, the clipboard dropping to the floor. Bending over to retrieve it, he flashes Fionna a weak smile. "I'm really sorry."
And then he is gone, and there is silence except for the occasional sound of feet as someone walks by the door of the room.
"Marshall Lee-" Fionna starts, but he puts up a hand to stop her.
"I know, I'm sorry." Marshall Lee huffs out a low, exasperated breath and buries his face in the palms of his hands. "Today has just been really hectic for me. First, Barnaby kept sticking me with all those stupid pins and then Candy Butler blew up the microwave. Now the helpers can't find the flowers for the aisle. And there isn't any silverware. Our guests have to eat with their freaking hands! And you, you look so beautiful, but I'm not supposed to see you in your dress! I've ruined our whole freaking wedding!"
"Marshall Lee." Fionna states calmly, hands clutching her chest as she rises from her chair and strides over to Marshall Lee in breezy steps. "Breathe. It's not a big deal."
"But … today was supposed to be perfect." The vampire can't help it, his voice gets strained in his lungs and his words end up coming out like a five year old who doesn't get their way would say them.
"I don't care about exploded microwaves or flowers or silverware or being seen in my dress before the ceremony. I care about you. Today is perfect, Marshall Lee." She places both hands on his shoulders, blue eyes glistening. "I get to marry my best friend."
"Excuse me?" The screechy voice suddenly rang from the other side of the wall, and the door to the dressing room flung open, revealing the sight of an overgrown cat with her arms crossed and eyebrow cocked.
"My second best friend." Fionna smiles in Cake's direction and then the feline lets out a satisfied meow before closing the door and leaving the pair alone once more.
"So, you sure you're okay with everything being all messed up?" Marshall Lee raises a brow.
"Don't worry about it." She silences him with a quick kiss on his lips, and it makes his insides jump. "Come on, let's go get married."
Fionna has always been a fast walker, so she wasted no time proceeding down the aisle, reaching the altar even before the choir finished their song and everyone got a good picture of her in her dress.
"Friends and family, we are gathered here today, to witness and celebrate the union of Fionna the Human and Marshall Lee the Vampire king. These two young love birds are making history today, in being the first ever couple to marry from the Human World and the Vampire Kingdom."
The audience lets out a low murmur in amazement, clearly impressed.
"But that is not all that this is about," The officiant continues, whom is actually an old, crumbling cookie known around the kingdom, and looks in between both Marshall Lee and Fionna, a faint smile on his mouth. "This is about love and harmony, two people coming together as one and making it last. Marriage is a special bond, something sacred to Glob, and to know that these young people are honored to be wed in front of him is heartwarming. Now, both of them have prepared vows that they would like to say. Fionna, would you mind going first?"
"Marshall Lee," Fionna nods and uses the fingertips of her gloves to pat the corners of her twinkling baby blues gently, because Marshall Lee can already see the tears welling up. "Wow, I don't even know what to say besides the fact that I am completely, totally, downright head over heels in love with you. Without you, I seriously don't know where I would be. Probably off battling Ice Queen somewhere. Okay, that's not the point, but I just wanted to tell you that I'm excited and ready for this. I'm ready for this adventure."
The spectators erupt in another murmur, but this time it's followed by a chorus of 'awes' and 'how sweet'. Then, Cake lets out a sniffle.
"Fionna …" Marshall Lee pauses, brushes the back of his hand over his eye, just in case any water loose in his tear ducts decides it's the right moment to fall. "Fionna the Human. My best friend. My lover. My soon to be wife. My adventuress. Words can't even begin to describe how much I adore … no, how much I love you. Coming to this rode was not easy. We fought, endlessly over the stupidest things, and we still do. But, at the end of the day, I knew you still loved me, and I still loved you. I've always loved you, and I always will. Nothing will change that."
Another round of sighs. Another sniff from Cake. Somewhere in the back rows, someone coughs. Marshall Lee is sure he can hear his band mates snickering.
"Now I will ask each of you a question, and if you agree to what I ask of you, please respond with 'I do'." Cookie Officiant's chocolaty brown eyes shift between the pair. They both nod, and Marshall Lee smiles.
"Do you, Fionna the Human, take Marshall Lee the Vampire King to be your lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, to love and to cherish till death do you part?"
"I do, a thousand times over."
"And do you, Marshall Lee the Vampire King, take Fionna the Human to be your lawfully wedded wife, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, to love and to cherish till death do you part?"Hu
"Hell yeah. I mean, I do. I do."
There's a couple more snickers coming from the vampire's band mates, and he quickly hisses in their direction before turning back to his bride.
"Are there any objections from anyone that these two should not be wed?"
Silence, and somewhere outside, a cricket chirps.
Cookie Officiant pauses one more moment, and when no one comes forward, he proceeds with the exchanging of the rings ceremony, which makes a whole group of gumdrops in the corner of the room burst into unexpected tears. When they are quieted down, Cookie Officiant speaks.
"Then, I have one last thing to say." The old cookie smiles at the young now newlywed couple, his two front teeth sticking out, his eyes crinkling at the edges. "Today you entered as individuals, but now you will be leaving as husband and wife. You will be leaving together. From this day forward, you two will embark upon the grandest adventure of your lives. And I just hope and pray that you are ready for that adventure. So, by the power vested in me by the Land of Aaa, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride."
And Marshall Lee didn't need to be told twice.
The whole ballroom rises to their feet and claps with joy, water dotting everyone's eyes as they watch Fionna the Human and Marshall Lee the Vampire King share their first kiss as newlyweds.
They watch the beginning of a love that will last an eternity.
Not even gonna lie. This brought tears to my eyes. And, like, now my chest feels like its collapsing cause writing this just gave me major Fiolee related feelings.
(Just to clear up any confusion – because my younger sister who is my editor and a faithful Fiolee shipper pointed this out – Barnaby, Gumball and 'the prince' are all the same person.)
I'm going to go away now. Reviews are magnificent.