No ownership implied of Hairspray, songs, figures, etc. Just writing for fun. Thanks for the reviews and the follows! Y'all don't know how much I appreciate it. :)
"It's getting bad over there, isn't it Link?" Tracy asked. She was sitting on the couch fumbling with her crochetting. She still wasn't amazing at it, but she had only been doing it for a couple of days. Link was staring pensively out the window. It had been three days since the devastating news that Seaweed would have to go in to be evaluated. Link knew Seaweed was in top physical condition. He would get a high ranking. He would leave on the very first lotto pick. Link had watched for the mail carrier every day since. He knew he had to be next.
"Yeah sweetheart, real bad," he said, but he left it at that. The mail carrier was headed towards their building. Maybe Seaweed had the right idea. He didn't know he would be called in for the draft. Though they both registered at 18 when they were supposed to, they had somehow slipped through the cracks. It had been a tremendous blessing at the time, but in hindsight, Link might not have married Tracy. He felt guilt churn in his stomach just for thinking so. He shoved the nausea from his mind. The last thing he ever wanted was to make Tracy a widow. When the mail carrier entered his building, Link casually walked to the front door.
"Mail's here," he said in a nonchalant manner, though he thought he might have to swallow his heart if it rose up any higher in his throat. Link scooped up the letters and casually leafed through them, pretending to read each one and examine it. Bill… bill… late Happy New Year card…
"Link?" she asked, her voice barely above a whisper. He flicked his eyes up to her. "Please just shuffle through and tell me you're safe." Link sighed a heavy breath through his nose and nodded curtly. He flipped through the remaining letters and thankfully, not a single one was from the government. He heaved a sigh of relief as he plopped down on the end of the couch.
"We're so lucky, right babe?" she asked, though the heartbreak in her voice was evident.
"Yeah," he said emotionlessly, "real lucky." Tracy set her crochet aside. She scooted to his end of the couch and laid her head on his shoulder. "I need to get a shower. I'm supposed to meet with Corny today," he said. Tracy frowned.
"Sorry," she whispered, but he had not heard her. She sat back at her end of the couch and put her energy into finishing the little yellow hat she was working on. Link walked to the bedroom and shut the door behind him. He leaned against it and blew out a breath he didn't know he was holding. He bowed his head and slid his eyes closed.
"Please God, if you have to take me and Seaweed out there, please bring us back alive, I'm begging you." He opened his eyes and proceeded to get ready to meet Corny.
Link climbed the stairs toward his apartment. The meeting with Corny had been uneventful. None of them could really focus on making the show more upbeat when three of the new "Nicest Kids" had been drafted right out of high school. Link opened his front door.
"Honey?" he called. There was no answer. The apartment was eerily silent. The air felt like it was filled with static. Link felt the hair on the back of his neck raise. "Sweetheart?" he called again, peeking into the livingroom and kitchen. His stomach flip flopped inside him. His bedroom door was open. "Little darlin'?" he asked. Tracy was sitting on their bed. The hat she had been working so hard on had been torn apart. The yellow yarn was strewn about the room. "You were almost done," he said gesturing to the heap. Tracy's eyes lifted to his. He'd never seen her look so sad. "What the hell is going on Trace, you're scaring me."
"Only the worst day of my life," she cried. Link stepped toward her, and she held up her hands in protest.
"What did I do?" Tracy looked away as the tears welled up. "Please Tracy, please, I'll make it better, whatever it is." She reached to her right and lifted up the dreaded envelope he knew would be on it's way. He put a hand to his mouth and she burst out into tears. Link ran to her and threw his arms around her.
"Why are you mad at me?"
"I'm not, I-"
"Trace, you can't push me away over this. It's not my fault!"
"I'm not pushing you away because of that. I'm pushing me away."
"Why?" he asked, refusing to let go of her, even though she fought against his arms. She heaved a defeated sigh.
"I lost the baby."
"Sorry to see you here, Cracker boy," Seaweed said. He walked up and gave his best friend a handshake.
"Sorry to be here," Link flashed his best stage smile at Seaweed. Seaweed caught the insincerity but he let it go. He wasn't happy to be here, either.
"Man, ain't this a mess. You know we're going to be classified as I-A's, right?"
"I'm hoping for I-A-0 myself."
"Man that classification is an illusion. They're going to throw us all in the pit. All of us except tubby down there on the end. You know he'll probably get to stay home. What I wouldn't give to pack on a couple hundred pounds."
"Harsh, Seaweed," Link scolded, but Seaweed shrugged his shoulders.
"I ain't makin' fun of the man. I envy him. He's prolly got a woman he gets to stay with. Here goes old Checkerboard Seaweed out to war. I'd do anything to stay with Penny."
"I know how you feel."
"It's not too late to set Tracy up next door to Penny. She can help Tracy take care of the baby!" Link's eyes flashed and his expression became pained. Seaweed frowned.
"I don't want to talk about it," he spat. Seaweed scrambled to change the subject.
"Well, uh... if we both get back, we'll be neighbors... or if at least one of us gets back he can watch over the other's girl."
"We're both getting back, Seaweed."
"You don't even know if you're going for sure yet, guys." IQ said over their shoulders.
"Hey there, IQ! They got to you too, eh?" Seaweed asked.
"Yeah man, heavy situation we got here, but every man's got to do his duty for his country. You don't want communism to spread, do you?" Seaweed and Link shook their heads in the negative. IQ excitedly patted them both on the shoulder and then walked away.
The physicals went well and were slightly less embarrassing than they expected despite being lined up semi-nude around a bunch of other guys. It was kind of like being in a locker room, but it felt like being lined up like cattle. Representatives from every military branch were there. Physical exams and intelligence quizzes were administered over the course of the day.
Shortly after the exams were finished, the marine representative walked up to Link.
"We've chosen you to be part of our ranks," he said simply. "We take only the best."
"If you take only the best, sir, you must be mistaken. My friend Seaweed here is the best of the best." The officer looked Seaweed up and down. "A team? Friends." He smiled to himself. "Alright, men, you're both to report back here tomorrow at 0800 hours. Kiss your families goodbye. You're going to war."
"Wait, WHAT?!" Seaweed asked, but the officer turned and walked away. "No man, this ain't how it works! They don't send us right out like this! What the hell have you gotten me into?!"
"I didn't know-"
"Come on, Link!"
"Well you know what, Seaweed? It wasn't intentional, but I'm glad it happened!"
"You glad?! You crazy?!"
"Look man, if we have to go over there, we can watch each other's backs. We can make sure we get back home. Don't you see what a great gift this is?" Seaweed scoffed, shaking his head.
"Yeah, the best gift I ever got. I'ma be stuck with Cracker boy in the middle of the jungle instead of being here with my wife."
"That's not my fault!"
"He wanted you, and you volunteered me."
"Forget it, man! It's done. Ain't nothin' we can do about it without bein' draft dodgers. I'm going home to spend time with my wife. I suggest you do the same."
"Goodnight," Seaweed said, shaking his head and walking away. Link frowned and stared down at his shoes.
"See you guys in the morning," IQ said sheepishly as he walked past Link.
"Well?" Penny asked, jolting awake the moment she heard Seaweed open the front door.
"I could have been a robber! Why wasn't the door locked?!"
"I fell asleep, I didn't know you'd be gone so long."
"You can't do that Penny. Always lock the door. It's important."
"Penny," he said, sliding in on the couch beside her. "I won't be here to protect you. I have to know you are being proactive about this."
"If I didn't know better I would think you're mad at me."
"A little, yes!"
"Seaweed," she whispered, shaking her head. "You're never mad at me. What's wrong." Seaweed let an exasperated sigh.
"I'm set for the front lines."
"I don't know where they would have put me, but then came Cracker Boy to the rescue. He volunteered me for the Marine Corps. Ain't that nice?"
"What? Why would he do that?"
"I don't know. He seems to think we can watch each other's backs."
"Why can't you? Tracy and I will be."
"That's different. I'd be guaranteed a chance to come back home if I got the right branch. The Marines are the most hardcore guys we've got."
"Then that's who you should be with."
"Whose side are you on?"
"I only meant that if they need the best and you are the best, maybe you can end this dumb war."
"Yeah, if only Penny. I'd love to be able to come back home in a few weeks. I don't think you realize, I'ma be gone for a long time. A very long time. There's a big chance I may…" Seaweed trailed off seeing the emotions cast over Penny's face. Her face fell to her cupped hands and she began to sob. "What I mean is there is a big chance I may have to be there for a while, that's all," he said, wrapping his arms around her to console her. "And I'll be the luckiest guy there because I know you'll write me all the time, right?" Seaweed chuckled to himself. "I hope Tracy pushes you to write me."
"It's not that I wouldn't write, I'd probably just forget to send!" she mumbled into his chest. Seaweed laughed louder. How he loved her sense of humor.
Link couldn't stomach going directly home. He had spent most of his last night driving around screaming obscenities into the wind and blaming God for his current predicament. He eventually found a quiet, dark place to park. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the seat pondering his life. He had been blessed with fame. He wasn't as big as The Beatles, but he was pretty popular and widely recognized. Elvis Presley had enlisted a few years before and served his country. What was Link's big hang up? Tracy's visage floated across his mind's eye, and Link's eyes flew open to be rid of the image. It was her. It was always her. From the moment he met her he knew she would be something else altogether. She would bring life to the Corny Collins show. He wanted her on there for selfish reasons. He wanted higher ratings and the excuse to dance like he'd never had a chance to before. He felt the moves inside, but he didn't have the right outlet for them until Corny had agreed to take Tracy on after the hop. It was a whirlwind adventure from the start.
He smiled, rolling his head to the left to stare at the halos of street lamps that dotted the otherwise blackened night. She was like a streetlamp in that she gave light to the darkness in the world.
What would you do for her? Would you stand beside her? Would you flee? Didn't you promise to protect her forever? What would you do? His voice echoed in his mind. What would you do for HER?
"I'd die for her," he muttered. Yes, he'd fight for his country, even in this unwinnable war. It was Tracy who would see him in. She would be the beacon to see him home. He exhaled, defeated. This was his life, no running away. Between he and Seaweed he knew he could make it back home. He worried about her being alone for so long. He hated leaving so soon after she had lost their only child. Link frowned. He sat up in his seat, bowed his head, closed his eyes and prayed.
"Dear God, my wife is usually the one that talks to you. I just don't know what to say. I guess I should start by telling you I'm sorry for yelling at you. I guess you're used to that but it doesn't make it right. Please, I don't care what you plan for me, but don't hurt her. Don't let anything hurt her. Don't you know how much I love her? Don't you know she is everything to me? Please keep me and Seaweed alive, God. Please bring us home. We need you over there. All our friends are getting called. I know a lot of guys who are already living with you, but I am not ready to go yet. Please… please don't take us," he whimpered and paused, running through his mind looking for how Tracy would end the conversation. "Uh… amen then, sir," he stumbled over his words. He opened his eyes and wiped them with his hands, previously unaware of the tears that had formed. He put his car into gear and drove home.
At home, Link stared at her sleeping form. The moonlight shone through the window and cast strange shadows against her unusually pale figure. The hills and valleys of bunched blankets added to the visual. She was perfect. Link watched her for a moment longer as he undressed. He pulled on a white shirt and a pair of pajama pants. He walked over to the bed and slid in next to her wrapping his arms around her. Tracy's eyes immediately fluttered open. She yawned. A sudden realization filled her, and her face grew into a big sleepy grin.
"Link! I'm so happy to see you!" she said, wrapping her arms back around him. He stared at her, but he did not smile back. Her eyebrows drew. "Link?"
"Tracy, I love you so much," he said as the tears started to come. Tracy sat straight up, and Link slowly followed.
"Link, please, what's going on?" Link took her hands in his.
"They're shipping me out baby doll. I'm gone tomorrow morning," he said. His bottom lip quivered and he bit the inside of his mouth to stop it. He felt his stomach knot as her face ran a gambit of emotions before it fell into grief. She threw her arms around Link and began crying on his chest. Link stroked her hair and kissed the top of her head.
"I love you," he whispered repeatedly.
/The next morning/
Link thought it would be better to leave before Tracy woke. He gently pried her arms from around him, silently thanking God she had not woken. It would still be another couple of hours before he had to report, but he couldn't rest. His nerves were too bad. Link walked into the living room and opened up his desk drawer. He reached inside and pulled out a sheaf of paper. He began to write little notes on each page. Some were as simple as a heart with his and Tracy's names inside. Some were several sentences of Link pouring his heart out to her. Some were memories he wanted to share with her, including the hilariously embarrassing moment he'd watched her smack her own rear in detention. He folded each note and by the time he was finished, light was beginning to shine at the bottom of the window panes. He didn't have much time before Tracy would be awake. He began planting his letters all over the house. Some he knew she would find right away. Others, like the one in the medicine chest, would remain silently waiting. He wished he had a grander romantic gesture, but there was so little time and he needed her to be reminded every day just how much she meant to him. Link clenched his teeth to keep from crying. He couldn't say goodbye. It would be an impossibility. If he saw the disappointment on her face again, he would shame them both by dragging her away from everything she knew to hide out in the woods somewhere. No, someone high profile like him couldn't go missing. It wouldn't be right or fair. He had to be a man. Link dressed himself. He took one last look at his wife and headed out the door.
Seaweed's eyes slowly drifted open. Penny was staring at him. He smiled at her, but she didn't return his smile.
"Can't we run away?" she asked. Seaweed sat up. He brushed her hair behind her ear. He loved the way she looked when she wore it down, though nostalgia had him wishing she was wearing her trademark pigtails.
"I can't run from a fight. Had I run from what was right, I never would have found you."
"But this isn't right!" she said. Seaweed placed his hand on the side of her face and then leaned in and kissed her.
"It isn't right, and I don't want to go. But it's even more wrong to not go." He pressed his forehead to hers and they stared into each other's eyes.
"Then promise me you'll come home safe."
"I promise you that not only will I come home safe, but we're gonna get married right away. Start planning our wedding." He smiled, and Penny mirrored it. She threw her arms around her neck and hugged him.
"I've never been so in love. I don't know what I'll do without you."
"Then don't think about it. I'll be home before you know it," he said, gently pulling away from her. "I've got to get ready," he said sadly. Penny nodded. She left the room and began preparing breakfast. Seaweed came downstairs to find his plate was ready and waiting. Penny sat beside him. They didn't say much as they ate, but they held hands and stared at each other. Seaweed thought how amazing it was that he could never tire of staring at Penny. Penny thought about how lucky she was that the strongest feelings of desire and love she'd ever known had not gone unrequited. She loved Seaweed with all she was, and he loved her equally. The simplicity of staring into each other's eyes had not lost the impact. Her stomach still knotted and Seaweed's heart fluttered. It was the most wonderful breakfast either of them could remember. Penny's big blue eyes grew when Seaweed withdrew from her. She threw herself on him. They shared a desperate, passionate kiss. Penny's tears began to soak his shirt. He held her for a moment longer and then whispered that she must release him. Penny reluctantly obeyed. She watched the best thing that had ever happened to her walk out of their front door for perhaps the last time.
/to be continued/
Next stop is war. It isn't going to be pretty. :( Sorry the story jumps around. I know it isn't drawn out and fluid, but I have my personal works I'm writing too and I also work so thanks for being patient in that respect. :)