A/N: Still don't own Flushed Away, unfortunately
Chapter Four: The Bog & Brush
Rita took the soup bowl from Roddy and walked steadily into the kitchen, followed by her mother.
"Mum," she said as soon as she heard enough noise coming from the front room to hide the conversation she was about to have, "I know what you're playing at."
"What's that, dear?" was the innocent reply, as her mother took the bowl from her and placed it in the sink.
"Don't play the innocent," Rita grumbled. She loved her family, but they were very good at ticking her off sometimes. "You're dropping hints to me and Roddy. You and dad are trying to play matchmaker. Again."
Rita's mother sighed. "Honey, looking at your previous track record for boyfriends, can you blame me?"
Most of Rita's old boyfriends were common as dirt and certainly none of them were as refined, handsome or willingly helpful as Roddy. She had dated some twits in the past, yeah, but she'd also gone out with some decent lads. She voiced this thought to her mother, who laughed.
"Rita, honey, the only decent lads you know are Sid and Roddy." She sighed. "I know you don't want Dad and I playing matchmaker, but we like to think we know what's best for you – even if you don't agree. But it would make us ever so happy if you'd give him a chance, darlin'."
Rita was trying to think of a counter-argument when she heard Roddy singing in the front room and called her mother over. "Hey, mum, come have a look at this."
Standing on the table, Roddy was singing Tom Jones' She's a Lady, doing his own dance to it. Rita had to admit, he was a good singer, and not a bad dancer, either. She and her mother entered the room almost cautiously and Mum took one of the chairs while Rita remained standing – a decision she immediately regretted, because Roddy spotted her and in one swift motion, he reached down, took her hand and pulled her onto the table with him, trying to get her to join in.
Her siblings cheered, called out and laughed; her parents were cheering her on and her grandmother was even joining in; and all the time she was standing on the table with Roddy singing, dancing around and holding her hand. Seeing no other way out, Rita relented and joined in the dancing; and Roddy grinned at her. As he ended the song, he spun her under his arm once and dipped her slightly. For a minute Rita thought he was going to drop her.
Looking into his eyes, him holding her like he was… Rita had to admit, it was nice. She smiled, and this time Roddy really did drop her. Normally she would've laughed at the look of shock on his face, but instead she scowled playfully. She felt almost drunk – which reminded her, hadn't she agreed to meet Sid at the pub?
"C'mon Roddy," she said, heading for the door. Roddy looked a bit disappointed but he followed her as she called over her shoulder, "I'll be back soon!"
"You said that the other night," her father replied.
"Ah, but then she met me," Roddy called back, smiling. Rita shot him a dirty look and boarded the Dodger. "Where to, miss Captain-Skipper… thingie?" he asked, joining her.
"Pub," Rita said shortly. "I told Sid I'd meet him there, remember?"
"Didn't you say maybe?"
"That pretty much means always, in our family."
Sid turned up at the Bog & Brush about five minutes after they did. He'd gone to work since they'd left and was now in his work overalls.
"Roddy; it's Roddy." Roddy replied irritably, as Rita high-fived Sid; and from there they grappled their hands together, pulled the other towards them and patted each other on the back. When they let go and Rita turned to Roddy, he looked almost jealous.
"Don't look so down, Rodders," Sid cheered. "We'll get you a drink, yeah?"
Roddy sighed and Rita caught him glancing sideways at her. He blushed and looked down. "Oh… alright," he said at last.
Sid told them the first round of beers were on him and headed to the bar while Roddy and Rita stayed at their table.
"So…" said Rita, "my parents like you."
"They do?" Roddy seemed pleased enough.
"Yeah. Mum made a point of telling me so."
"Is that why you wanted to speak to her?" Roddy asked, almost gently.
"To your mother. You wanted to talk to her about the hints they were both dropping, right? The ones about – us…" he said the last word hesitantly, almost as though talking about the two of them was a topic to be carefully sidestepped. Rita thought she saw him blush a bit.
"Yeah," she said. "Mum and dad like playing matchmaker. They think it's fun."
"Oh. I see." Roddy looked a bit dejected, so Rita placed her hand on his and gave his hand a gently squeeze; he flashed a charming smile, but Sid chosen that moment to turn up with their beers. He was holding them between both his hands, which were organised into a triangular-ish shape.
"One for you –" he put a beer down in front of Roddy; "– one for you –" he did the same for Rita; "– and one for me!" Sid plopped down in a seat and looked between the faces of his companions; then down at their hands.
"Sorry! Was I interrupting something?"
"No!" Roddy and Rita exclaimed simultaneously, both pulling their hands back. Rita picked up her beer and gulped half of it down in one go; then realised she'd probably be driving back so she should probably only have this one, and put the glass back down again. She spotted Roddy staring at his beer with deep suspicion. Sid had already finished his.
"What? Oh! No, I just –" Roddy leaned in toward Sid and Rita – "I've never had a beer before."
"You what?" Sid exclaimed. "Rodney my friend, you are missing out big time! Come on me ol' cream cracker, you gotta drink with us!"
Roddy glanced over to Rita. "Is he drunk already?"
"No," she answered simply. "He's just being Sid. Just ignore him and try your first drink."
Roddy gave her a nervous look but she just raised her eyebrows defiantly at him; he complied and raised the drink to his lips. Opened his mouth to let the alcohol in. Swallowed. Immediately started coughing. Rita patted him on the back. "No fancy drinks here, mate."
"It's stronger than I expected," Roddy coughed, as though it was an excuse.
"Puts hair on yer chest," Sid said cheerfully. He slapped Roddy on the back and – judging by how loud the impact sound was and how far Roddy's eyes bugged out of his head – put a few vertebrae out of place in the process.
"Indeed," Roddy winced. He picked up the beer and downed the rest. Sid and Rita found themselves watching his face expectantly.
Rita's eyes flicked from Roddy's face in general to his chocolate-ish-coloured eyes. They were looking at hers; their gazes locked for a moment before Roddy shot out of his seat and excused himself so he could go to the bathroom; but he came back about five seconds later to ask where it was. A drunk rat told him before stumbling outside for a tactical chunder: throwing up in the gutter so he could drink more.
Sid looked around to make sure no-one was listening; then leaned in towards Rita. "I reckon 'e fancies you."
Rita turned to look at the rat who'd just returned from his chunder and pretended to study him thoughtfully. "Nah," she said, grinning. "He's not my type."
They laughed. They both knew Sid had actually been talking about Roddy.
"My parents were trying to hint at me and Roddy getting together earlier," Rita said. She took a drink from her glass. "You know what they're like."
"They just worry about you," said Sid. "They probably think you should be settling down, luv."
"Or maybe they think if you got a bloke he'd be able to help look after you when you get yourself in trouble."
"Out of you and Roddy, Sid, I think you're better suited to that."
Roddy was returning from the bathroom, looking significantly paler. "Trouble holding your drink, mate?" asked Sid.
"A little," Roddy replied, sitting back down. "Truth be told, I'm not accustomed to a working-class lifestyle."
"There's a surprise," Sid teased. "Come on, Mister Fancy! You're one of us now!" Then Sid proceeded to pull Roddy into a cross between a headlock and a hug, and tousle his hair.
"Lucky you," Rita drawled sarcastically, trying not to laugh at the look of shock (and some horror) on Roddy's face. Sid didn't generally smell to great when he'd just got back from work, and Roddy had just been given a face full of armpit. Lovely.
"Yes, well," Roddy grimaced, "just so long as 'us' includes a working shower."
Rita chuckled. Sid sniffed his armpit, grimaced as well, and removed his arm from Roddy. "What I get for turning up straight from work, I guess," he laughed. "I'm going for another beer. Anybody want one."
"I'm driving," Rita replied simply, taking another sip of her own drink.
"No, thank you," Roddy told Sid.
Rita wasn't surprised to find that her parents, but not her siblings, were still awake when she and Roddy returned to the house. Her mum was going through the clothes. She held up the green prom-style dress again.
"Roddy, how did you say Rita looked in this dress?"
"Hello to you too," Rita said under her breath.
"She looked absolutely beautiful," Roddy told Rita's mother, wrapping an arm around Rita's shoulders. She shrugged him out and leaned against the wall.
Her parents immediately ceased the pointed looks they had been giving her.
"Are you sure you want us to keep these, Roddy?" her dad asked.
"Of course. They would go to waste otherwise."
"Well, thanks very much, m'lad! Rita, Mum said you told her Roddy's given us another ruby."
Rita shook her head. "A ruby, dad. A ruby. Ours was just glass." She retrieved the real ruby from the heel of her boot.
"How beautiful," he mother cooed, gazing at the ruby. Her father wheeled himself closer to better inspect the jewel. Then he looked at Roddy.
"Seems like we owe you a lot, son."
"It's nothing. Really."
Rita caught Roddy staring at her again. They both blushed and averted their gaze. Rita really wished that would stop happening.
"I'm off to bed," she grumbled, trudging outside to sleep on the Dodger. What was going on? She wasn't starting to develop a crush on Roddy, was she?