Author's note: I don't own Hairspray. I'm not being paid for any of this. I love the movie and it has inspired my imagination to run wild.
The wind gently blew the snow around on the ground outside. Though Tracy Larkin, formerly Turnblad, was safe from the freezing temperatures out there, she felt a chill run down her spine. Warm arms encircled her and her husband placed his bare chest to her back. Tracy fought the blush she could never quite escape. She had never forgotten just how lucky she was.
"You're always here in the nick of time," she said, appreciatively accepting his warm arms around her.
"It's my job to anticipate your needs." His voice was deep and soothing. The rumble in his chest vibrated against her back. He leaned down and kissed her on the top of her head. She bit her bottom lip to keep from giggling. "I can see your reflection in the window," he said. Tracy relaxed in his arms and laughed. "I love that I never have to wonder how you feel about me. You're so expressive. Your face, your smile, your attitude says it all." She sighed dreamily. "C'mon. It's cold. Let's go back to bed."
"No can do, hubby," she said, turning around and placing her palms against his chest. "I promised Penny I'd help her find the perfect Christmas gift for Seaweed."
"Hm, well Trace, when he and I were walking home from visiting Corny the other day, we passed by the shoe shop. He's really got his eye on that new pair of PF flyers they have in the window."
"She's been saving every cent she has. I'm sure she could afford three pairs by now. Anyway, what do you want for Christmas, Mr. Larkin?" He smiled at her, and the corners of his eyes wrinkled ever so slightly. His boyish good looks had given way to those of a handsome man and loving husband. The contents of his heart had matured as well. Tracy couldn't go long without looking at him, not because of his physique but because of the way he looked at her. She might never get used to being so adored.
"Everything I need is right here in my arms, Mrs. Larkin." She often felt unworthy, but the luckiest in love often felt mismatched. She reached and he settled, or at least the doubts in her mind would drag down her smile with that thought. She felt her chin being lifted. She hadn't realized her gaze had dropped and she'd been staring at his chest.
"My eyes are up here, frowny," he joked. He leaned down and pecked her on the lips. "What's with that frown, anyway?"
"Silly, stupid thoughts. Nothing important." Link made a face but let her explanation go. The phone began to ring.
"I'll get that. You get ready, okay darlin'?" Link winked at her. Tracy began to get ready. She decided to forgo ratting her hair, something she rarely did anymore, because she'd smash her 'do with a cap anyway. She began pulling her shirt over her head when her stomach began churning. Tracy grabbed her midsection and fell to her knees. She breathed deeply until the feeling stopped. She passed gas moments later, thankful Link hadn't been around for it. Her mother had taught her that ladies should never pass gas in front of men. The thought of doing so mortified her anyway. She loved Link, and though she realized he would understand that she was human, she couldn't get it out of her head that it just wasn't right to share that part of her life. To her relief, Link must have felt the same way. Link's grandmother (whom he still called 'Gammy' much to Tracy's amusement) had told her that eventually she and Link would be comfortable enough to, quote, "let them rip" anywhere. Gammy was certain to know a lot more about marriage than she did. Tracy had dated her one true love for two years and had only been married for another two, but she doubted that sharing gas would be something they would add to their relationship anytime soon.
"Little darlin'?" Link asked through the bathroom door. "Is everything alright in there? Penny's here."
"Yeah Link, I'm fine," she said, pushing herself up from the floor. She grabbed her toothbrush and made a quick run over her teeth. She walked into their shared bedroom and spun around on her heel. She lifted her hair with her arms and looked at him over her shoulder.
"Can you zip this shirt? Oh, and snap the top button? I left it undone becaue I considered ratting my hair, but I'm not gonna." Link stared at her for a moment, a smirk playing on his lips. He stepped forward and zipped and buttoned the shirt. He gently kissed the back of her neck. Tracy turned back around and gave her husband a chaste kiss. He was still in his pajama bottoms but now he wore a white t shirt as well.
"Be careful, okay?" he asked, his eyebrows creasing.
"Of course!" she chirpped. She skirted past him, and Link took a moment to slap her rear end. Tracy gasped and Link laughed. She made a silly face back at him. Link blew her a kiss. Tracy caught it and put it in her pocket. Penny appeared in the doorway and started dragging Tracy out of the bedroom.
"Bye Link!" she called over Tracy's shoulder. The smitten look remained on Tracy's face the whole time Penny was pulling her out of her bedroom.
"Penny, be cool!" Tracy said, snatching up her coat and slinging it over her shoulders. Penny pulled Tracy's hat down over her head. Tracy had to adjust it. She and Penny walked out of her front door and down the hallway.
"It's cool enough outside for both of us, and I'm running late on finding the perfect gift for my hot chocolate dream man!"
"You know, you don't have to keep bringing up that he's a negro."
"I do so, Tracy Turnblad Larkin, because I'm proud to be a checkerboard chick," she beamed, pushing open the entry door to Tracy's apartment building. She held the door open for Tracy and they walked outside together, pulling their coats closer to themselves.
"The point is you shouldn't care what race he is."
"I don't care that he's black but I am proud that we're an interracial couple, Tracy. Jeez, you're pretty snappy today."
"I'm sorry, Penny. Truth be told, I really kind of wanted to stay in bed with Link."
"I'm glad you've found the perfect Christmas present for Link, but I don't have time to waste!"
"The perfect... Penny, how many days is it until Christmas?"
"Three! Gosh, Tracy, what has gotten into you? Tracy? Tracy!"
"What?" Tracy asked, feeling as though she'd never be able to uncross her eyes.
"Oh thank God you're awake!"
"What? Why am I on the ground?"
"Tracy you just passed out. I'm going to get Link to come and help you back inside."
"No! Penny! I have to help you with Seaweed!"
"Don't worry about it. There's something wrong with you."
"I'm fine and... oh gosh, Penny! I don't have a present for Link!"
"You? Half of the world's most perfect couple? Finally a fault!" Penny cheered. Tracy glared at her, and then Penny sheepishly helped her up from the ground. The girls started walking again.
"I'm just under stress that's all. And my sugar has probably bottomed out. I haven't eaten yet today."
"Right, then. We'll grab a quick bite but we have to hurry! I have no idea what to get Seaweed!"
"Link said that when he and Seaweed were leaving Corny's house the other day that he was looking at a pair of shoes in the window at the shoe store."
"That's not good enough, Tracy!" Penny moaned. She pushed open the door of a cafe'. A large cattle bell above the door jangled. Tracy and Penny squeezed into a booth.
"G'mornin' dolls!" the waitress said. She gave Penny a menu and then handed one to Tracy.
"Morning Darlene!" Penny said, her grin stretching across her face. Darlene was a new friend of Penny's. She was a black woman who also happened to be openly engaged in an interracial relationship with a tall, thin white guy nicknamed Twiggy. "How is Twiggy?"
"He's great, he's at his Dad's house working on cars. You know him, ever the shade tree mechanic!" she smiled. "How's your boyfriend doing?"
"Seaweed is great! He's teaching jazz tap to the ten year old class right now."
"Does that man ever stop?"
"Never!" Tracy and Penny said in unison, much to Darlene's amusement.
"So what can I get you?"
"I'd like the biggest, fattest, greasiest burger you have, a chocolate shake, an order of onion rings and an order of french fries and..." she frowned. "I guess that'll be it for now. I'm not that hungry."
"What about you, Tracy?" Darlene asked. Tracy didn't know Darlene well, but she was used to being recognized around town not only because of her stint on the Corny Collins show, but because of the mishandling of the truth with the police officer and the aftermath of the Ms. Hairspray pageant.
"I think I just want some toast and a glass of milk," she said, half frowning. "I'm not that hungry, either."
"You haven't eaten all day, Trace. And you look green all over."
"I'm fine, I guess I'm just coming down with something." Darlene smiled and nodded, taking their menus away. Penny began to ramble on and on about possible presents besides just the shoes. Tracy lowered her chin to her fist and stared at Penny. She nodded occasionally as Penny rambled. The girl was in love. It was normally very cute, but for some reason, Tracy was just completely nauseated today. The food arrived and Penny wasted no time tearing into her hamburger. Tracy sipped on her milk, but as Penny devoured her food, Tracy soon found herself scrambling to get to the bathroom as she relieved herself of everything she had ingested.
"Ready to go to the hospital now?" Penny asked from the other side of the bathroom door. Tracy groaned her approval.
When Tracy and Penny walked out of the diner, Tracy backed out on going to the doctor.
"You've been so cute about this shopping trip. We've got to pick something up!"
"Seaweed won't mind. You're sick, Tracy!"
"No. We're getting him something, and we're getting Link something, and that is that!" she said.
Only... that wasn't exactly that.
With the new PF Flyers wrapped up in brown paper and topped off with an awkward bow, Penny and Tracy were in search of the right gift for Link. Tracy had thought about buying him a novelty comb that unsnapped like a switchblade knife. It seemed too cheap and not thoughtful enough. Though she understood that Link was not the shallow teen he was when they'd first bumped into each other, she still couldn't stifle the feeling that nothing seemed good enough for him. He hardly asked for anything to begin with, and when she did spoil him with a surprise it was always with a new shirt or a new tie or some other piece of clothing for work. She had bought him cologne once, but she hated the way it smelled on him, so he had given it away. His natural smell, a light tint of sweat, his soap, and the scent of Ultra Clutch Hairspray were all she liked on him. Tracy almost swooned thinking of Link. Penny had been speaking to her,but she hadn't been paying attention.
"Yeah," she said absentmindedly.
"How far along do you think you are?"
"You know... how pregnant are you?"
"Pregnant?" Tracy shrieked. Two older ladies walking by gasped and shook their heads. They walked away complaining about the terrible language of progressive youths.
"Shh!" Penny said, wrapping an arm around Tracy and using one gloved hand as an indicator that she should lower her voice.
"What do you mean by that?"
"You haven't been paying attention all day. You're forgetting things and spacing out. You've been getting sick. You're nauseus. You passed out because you didn't eat!"
"So?" she scoffed, trying to make light of the situation.
"So I think you need to see if there's a little Link growing inside of you, that's what's so!"
"How do you know so much about this anyway?"
"Don't be naive, Tracy. Just because they didn't teach it in school doesn't mean Maybelle hasn't made it a point to drill it into me and Seaweed so much that for a while he was afraid to even dance too close! Remember?"
"I remember... you're not... are you?"
"Please. Tracy, of course we are."
"Penny! You're not married!"
"I'm not black, either. I don't exactly think inside the box when it comes to my relationship." Tracy laughed at this, and Penny joined her. "Look, they're going to be rolling up the streets eventually. I think we need to find out for sure if you're pregnant or if you're sick. Either way, a doctor has to be involved, okay?"
"Sure," she whispered.
(Earlier that day)
When Link answered the phone, Seaweed was excitedly filling his friend in on the present he wanted to get for Penny for Christmas. He'd asked if Link wanted to join him. Link's brow creased as he heard Tracy in the bathroom.
"Yeah," he said absentmindedly into the phone.
"Great! Because Penny should be almost to your house, and I don't want her to know we're going out right now."
"We?" he asked, his finger wrapping around the coiled phone cord.
"You're such a kidder, Link! I'll be there in ten minutes, so be ready!" Link sighed. What had he gotten himself into? The moment the phone clattered to the receiver he heard banging on his front door. Knowing it would be Penny, he swung the door open.
"Seriously, shirt!" she said, throwing her hands up to cover her view of Link's chest.
"Good to see you too, Pens," he said, turning around and walking into his bedroom. Penny shut the door behind herself and began pacing on the spot. Link pulled on a plain white shirt he'd worn the day before and had thrown at the foot of the bed. It was fine while Penny was here, and then he would be dressing for his super-secret shopping trip. Link had decided to forgo traditional Christmas gift giving in lieu of shutting out the world for a three day Link and Tracy in home mini vacation. There would be wine, bubble baths, massages, and most importantly, the phone would be unplugged. There would be no bother for them from the outside world. He had ordered fine Belgium chocolates and assorted cheeses that he couldn't find in town, things he and Tracy had tried a couple of years before when he was on the road singing. He was away from the studio for Christmas and had instructed his employers he would not be returning until the second week of January. He deserved to relax. Tracy had still been working, creating dance moves and picking up shifts where Seaweed worked while they weren't travelling. The best of the "Nicest Kids" had been picked up along with Corny Collins to travel the country dancing and singing. A new album was about to be recorded to precede next year's summer tour.
"Little darlin'?" Link asked through the bathroom door. "Is everything alright in there? Penny's here."
"Yeah Link, I'm fine," she said. Link's brow creased. He should tell her she couldn't go. He should go out and tell Penny that there would be no way that he, as a responsible husband, would allow his wife to go out in the cold while she was sick. Link nodded to himself, ready to enforce his decision when Tracy walked out of the bathroom. She looked absolutely beautiful. She lifted her hair with her arms and looked at him over her shoulder. She was so gorgeous. Link hadn't heard a word she said, but when she lifted her hair from the nape of her neck, he allowed the context clues to fill him in. He gripped the zipper and tugged upward and then fastened the little button. Unable to help himself, he leaned down and kissed the back of her neck. Tracy turned around and beamed at him. She leaned up on her tip toes and gave him a soft kiss that he had been tempted to explore. Tracy broke the kiss leaving Link a little disappointed. He was unable to help his next statement, but sensing something had to be wrong, he couldn't help himself.
"Be careful, okay?" he asked.
"Of course!" she promised. As soon as her back was turned, Link spied her rear end sashaying away. He raised an eyebrow and then reached out and grabbed it. He heard her gasp and he could not help but laugh. She looked over her shoulder and made a funny face at him in retort. Link simply offered her a blown kiss. Tracy caught it in the air and saved it for later. Penny showed up behind her and ripped his lovely sweetheart out of the doorway.
"Bye Link!" Penny yelled. Link wrinkled his nose at her. He could hear them chatting as they scuttled out of the house. Link walked over to the window and waited for a moment. When he saw Tracy walk out of the front of their apartment, he turned from the window, drew the blinds, and prepared for Seaweed's arrival.
Seaweed ran late, but it was alright to Link. It gave him time to rest a little longer. He hadn't slept well, watching Tracy toss and turn and moan and groan for a little over an hour before she woke up. He couldn't stop himself from worrying. He should cancel on Seaweed. He should find Penny and Tracy and take Tracy to see the doctor.
Link hadn't realized he'd fallen asleep until he was roused by a banging on his door. He stood up from the couch and answered the door. He grinned at Seaweed, who immediately went into the strange song and dance handshake they'd made up together. It was probably pretty lame by most people's standards, but most people didn't have the capacity to make their bodies move in the ways that they did.
"So what's this great gift you've decided on at the last minute?" Link asked, walking with Seaweed to his car.
"You gon' flip, man. I'd rather you be sitting."
"Nah, go on, you can tell me!"
"I'm finally asking Penny to be my wife!... Link?... Link!"
"What? How'd I get on the ground?" he asked.
"Man some crazy kid came by throwing snowballs with rocks in 'em. He hit the side of my car and hit you between the eyes. It's alright, a cop happened by. You okay, man?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," he said, rubbing his forehead and sitting up. Seaweed reached down and helped him up.
"So did you ever tell me what the gift was?"
"He hit you pretty good. Get in. I don't need you passing out on me again!"
"Yeah, alright," he said, sliding into the passenger side door of the car. He sprawled out against the window. "Well?"
"I'm asking Penny to marry me!" he said excitedly.
"Woah, way to go, man! Took you long enough!"
"Hey, your raging hormones raced your wedding."
"Your girlfriend wasn't exactly witholding. You wouldn't understand."
"I understand that the best things in life are worth waiting for. I've bought us a house down town."
"Where all the white folks live?"
"Yeah man. They've got some pretty cool folks down there. They loved us on the Corny Collins show, and they invited me into the neighborhood with open arms."
"That's what I thought, too. But anyway man, you know, I was waiting 'till everything was perfect. I didn't want to jump the gun in any fashion- not that you did!"
"Exactly! So I wanted to have the car- tada! And the house," he said, flashing the key, "And now all I need is to ask her to marry me."
"I couldn't be happier for you, man!"
"Thanks. And thanks for coming with me to pick out a ring. You're gonna be my best man, right?"
"As if you ever had a doubt."
"Sweet, Cracker boy! Let's roll!" Link smiled at his friend as they drove to the opposite side of town.
"You don't think that I did the wrong thing by Tracy with getting an apartment first do you? I mean, I don't know where she wants to live. We obviously won't be there forever."
"Nah, man... you did the right thing because you know the girls are going to want to live close together. Now that you know where Penny and I are gonna be, it will be a matter of time before Tracy starts in with all those little hints about moving."
"I figured they'd want to be close. I loved California when we were out there, but everything about Baltimore says home to me, you know?"
"Run and tell that!" he smirked. The thought brought Link back to the day he'd first met his new best friend. They had both grown so much. Times had definitely changed. "I've got to level with you though, man," he said, turning into a parking space beside the jewelry store and pulling to a stop. He put the car into park, killed the engine, and then turned to face his friend. "I'm pretty concerned about how things are escalating in Vietnam. I don't put it past them to draft us."
"Nah, man, we ain't goin' to war."
"But as a patriotic citizen could you really not do your duty?"
"I'd have to. It'd be shameful not to fight for my country, or for Tracy," he drew his brow pensively.
"Exactly my point. That's why I've been workin' non-stop. I needed to make sure my girl would be taken care of. She'll have a house and car and money, just in case."
"In case what, Seaweed?" Link asked.
"Come on!" he said excitedly. "Let's get in there and find my baby a ring!"
"Seaweed, wait-" Link said, but Seaweed had gotten out of the car and slammed the door behind himself. Link sighed and laid his head against the back of the seat. He got out of the car and followed his friend inside.
"... but we have a strict colored policy. I'm sure you understand."
"Yeah! I understand! You don't want my money!" Seaweed said. He turned around to see Link had just walked in.
"Did you hear that, man?"
"No, what's going on?" he asked.
"Man, forget these clowns, let's roll!"
"Seaweed?" Link asked, following his friend out of the store. Link climbed into the car beside his friend. Seaweed slammed his palms against his steering wheel as angry tears flooded his eyes.
"Look, man, I can take the money and run in..."
"Aw but no!" he growled, throwing his hands up in the air. "My money ain't good enough for them out of my hands, it ain't good enough for them at all. I just... I don't know where else I'll be able to get a ring at such short notice without going out of town. Do you?" he asked Link, but Link shook his head in the negative. "I've been dreaming about the way I'd ask and the way her face would light up. Now what am I going to do for Christmas?"
"Propose with the house key."
"Are you for real?"
"Yeah, man. Ask her to marry you, but present the house key."
"Penny's too classy-"
"Hey, watch yourself talking about my woman, man!"
"I didn't mean it that way. I meant that Penny isn't the type of girl you have to go out of your way to impress. You swept her off her feet from the get go. Rescuing her from her deranged mother kind of cemented things for her I think."
Seaweed sighed. "Yeah, but you know, it's such a disappointment to think things are still the way they are. Maybe I shouldn't have bought our house where I did."
"Things change one step at a time. It's nice there. And your neighbors already like you, yeah?"
"I'm just wondering how long it will be before we're driven out."
"Please, with women like Penny and Tracy there? It will never happen."
"What if we had kids, though?"
"Yeah." Seaweed said, and something clicked in Link's brain. The thought of having children with his wife was beautiful. Warmth swelled in his chest and he realized it was something that he would be perfectly okay with. "What's with that weird look on your face?"
Seaweed's smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. "What were you thinkin' just then."
"I was- I was thinking about a baby. With Tracy."
"Better be with Tracy!" Seaweed joked. He eyed the stupid grin on his friend's face. He kind of felt the same way on the inside. He wondered how dark or light his and Penny's kids would turn out. Whatever the case, he hoped that they wouldn't suffer injustices and inequality. He frowned for a second but wiped it away before his friend could see. He didn't want to bring down Link's day with a bummer. "Wanna go see the house?" he asked, and Link nodded.
Hm... so I wonder what will happen next? A good chunk of the next part is finished, and this will probably be a three or four parter. I'm like 4 years too late to jump on the bandwagon, but I hope someone out there is enjoying these as much as I am enjoying writing them. :)