Thank you, God, for everything.
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own Tangled. I'm loving all the awesome feedback this story is getting ME GUSTA. Thanks for reading, all you lovely people! God bless you!
"Rapunzel, dear," Mother Gothel said the next morning, April 5th. It was three weeks until the actual concert, a Saturday. Mother was home from work and therefore Rapunzel couldn't get out to see Flynn about the plan she and Pascal had devised.
She tried not to appear too anxious, though, as she turned from her knitting and said pleasantly, "Yes, Mother?"
Mother raised an eyebrow and said, "Your hair's in a braid, again."
"I was cleaning this morning, Mother," Rapunzel said quickly after a second, knowing that she had actually cleaned this morning, ending her sentence with a quick smile before she turned back to her knitting. She had gotten into quite the habit now. It made her feel a tiny bit rebellious, actually.
Mother Gothel looked at her bowed head for a moment before she sighed and gave up on the idea, settling back into her chair as she said, "Now, dear, a very important date is coming up." Rapunzel instantly looked up at her mother hopefully. "I've got a very large business appointment coming up in three weeks that'll be taking up my ENTIRE day." Rapunzel's face fell; she had hoped that Mother might have remembered her birthday. Neither of them had mentioned it at all, mostly because Rapunzel had hoped to not upset Mother's good moods with news of a day to worry about. Still, she had hoped that she would remember it on her own.
"Sounds wonderful, Mother," Rapunzel said.
"Oh, business is business, there's nothing but talking and yelling and-and screaming, and everyone is SUCH a barbarian, Rapunzel, I only go out because I have to," Mother told her, sighing deeply.
"Yeah," Rapunzel said quietly. She then sucked in a breath and said, "You know what else is coming up in three weeks?"
"What?" Mother asked.
"I'll give you a hint; I'll be WAY older on that day," Rapunzel said.
"Rapunzel, don't play riddles with me, not now-"
"All right, I'm going to tell you: It's my birthday!" Rapunzel said, scrunching her shoulders against herself and smiling big. She waved her hands slightly and said, "Ta da!"
Mother Gothel looked at Rapunzel, almost slightly taken back, for a moment before she said, "Of course not, dear. I distinctly remember. Your birthday was last year."
"That's the funny thing about birthdays: they're kind of an annual thing!" Rapunzel said. Her smile faltered, though, and an idea came to her. Her mother was going to be gone the night of her birthday which was also the night of the concert? This could work out very well.
She straightened and said in an innocent voice, "Does this mean that you won't be home for my birthday, Mother?"
"Oh, I'm afraid not, dear. But, business meetings; you can't work around them," Mother Gothel said, and Rapunzel looked up to see that she was standing in front of the hall mirror, applying mascara for the umpteenth time that day. The subject didn't matter very much to Gothel; that much was obvious. Rapunzel turned back to her knitting with a special sort of smile on her face. She looked to the cookie jar where Pascal was hiding. He changed color and gave her a quick thumb's up, something which she returned, smiling broadly.
"Okay, Blondie. WHY are we at the Snuggly Duckling again?" Flynn wanted to know. It was a bright Monday, with nineteen days until the concert. Over the entire weekend Flynn and Rapunzel had been separate, and she had left him at the studio without an explanation but a secretive smirk that had him wondering what the heck her idea was.
Now, they were supposed to head back to the studio to work on the song, but Rapunzel had called him from the Snuggly Duckling and told him to come over.
"I've got some exciting news," she had told him, and now she was standing in front of him, wearing tan capris and a sun yellow T-shirt. The chameleon was on her shoulder, looking protective. "Come in," she said, and Flynn followed her into the bar.
It was an early to mid-afternoon, and the bar was slightly fuller than it was in the mornings. Right about the crowd Rapunzel had first sung to.
Flynn looked around, trying to catch sight of some musician, someone who stuck out of the crowd as clean and talented, but only saw the usual bar crowd.
"All right, I give up. What is it, Blondie?" he said, hands on his hips, looking to Rapunzel.
She gave him her secretive smile and then turned and waving a hand, yelled, "Hey, Hook!"
Flynn groaned as the security guard grinned at seeing the girl and came up to them. "Hey," he said. He joked, "It's been a while."
"I know! Far too long," Rapunzel said. She looked from Hook to Flynn to Hook again and said to Flynn, "What do you think?"
"About what? The decor? The hook?" Flynn asked sarcastically.
"Our new pianist," Rapunzel said happily.
"What?" Hook said at the same time Flynn said incredulously, annoyed, "Are you kidding me? Blondie!"
Hook glared at Flynn, who folded his arms over his chest, and turned to Rapunzel, looking positively elated. "You need me as a pianist?"
"Yes." Rapunzel drew a poster for the concert from her purse and said, smiling, "I'm doing the opening act. I wrote a song but Flynn wants me to add more to the music. I need a band. I'll play guitar, and I need a pianist."
Hook took the poster and Rapunzel grasped her purse to herself, saying, "Can you do it? We'll need to do practices, and work with the song, but please, because you are literally the only person I know who can play the piano." She smiled brightly and said, "You play it so well too."
Pascal nodded, agreeing, and Hook looked up from the poster. That was when Flynn sighed and said to Hook, "Excuse me for a moment." He gently grasped Rapunzel's forearm and turned her and himself away from Hook, saying quickly, "What was that, Blondie?"
"Hook can play the piano. It'll be perfect with my song! Why don't you like him?" she said, looking from Flynn to the pleased-as-punch Hook.
Flynn caught her attention as he said, "Because he hates me back, has had to wrestle me out of here when I've been too drunk, and I am NOT having him playing piano on a high end stage at a big concert, Blondie!"
Rapunzel ripped her hand from his grasp, saying in a low voice, "You're having me."
"Hey, I LIKE you, Blondie, and you can sing; now this guy, he plays piano during the morning shift when no one is dead drunk except the hung over guy at the bar!" Flynn said.
"So? That doesn't mean he isn't good. Flynn!" Rapunzel said. She added pleadingly, "Please!"
"You don't have anyone else-"
"I can find someone-"
"Who? Flynn!" and the two both sighed greatly and folded their arms, glaring at the other, though Rapunzel's face could hardly count as a glare.
Flynn finally sighed and said, turning to Hook, "Fine, we've got YOU as the pianist!"
"That's great!" Hook said.
Rapunzel, at the same time, squealed loudly, probably breaking any hearing aids that the patrons were wearing, and instantly wrapped her arms around Flynn, hugging him tightly for a moment in her happiness. He grunted, not used to affection from her, and she let go and turned, undeterred, to Hook, and said, "Do you know anyone who can play drums?"
"I got this college kid working for me. Can play the accordion a bit. I'll see what he can do," Hook said.
"That sounds so great! Right, Flynn?" Rapunzel said, throwing him a look.
Flynn sighed but nodded. "Yeah, we'll expect you at THIS address" - he handed Hook one of the studio's business cards - "tomorrow morning at ten." He looked to Rapunzel and said, "We've got a lot more practicing now, Blondie. And you need to rework your song a bit."
"And that's where you're helping me, right, Flynn?" Rapunzel said cheerfully. Pascal threw the man a look, making Flynn nod.
Rapunzel nodded and hurried to the door, making Flynn go after her. Hook waved after them, saying, "You all come back now, you hear?"
The two young adults and the chameleon walked down the dirty, cracked sidewalk as they made their way to the prestigious part of the city. Rapunzel, one hand holding tightly to her purse, which had its strap on her shoulder, and her other swinging slightly by her side, looked dreadfully pleased with herself. She was humming.
"That was your plan, Blondie?" Flynn said, incredulous, (annoyed sounding as well), as he hurried to keep up with her short, quick steps.
"Yes, and it was a VERY good plan. You agreed to it," Rapunzel said, nodding.
"You're persuasive," he said.
"Is that a good thing?" Rapunzel asked as they came to an intersection. Flynn automatically reached out in front of her, holding his arm out to keep her from going out into the busy street.
"It's a good thing you've got that purse on you," Flynn said sarcastically.
Rapunzel frowned, holding her black purse protectively, and said, "I will use this."
"Exactly what I thought."
Rapunzel raised an eyebrow, which he raised back, and then nodded for her to go ahead and cross the road. After a few minutes of walking past the patrons of Hollywood, Flynn got an idea (and as he said it, he had no idea why he had gotten it or why he was mentioning it to Rapunzel at all). He turned to Rapunzel, making them both stop, and said, "Hey, are you hungry? I know a great place for lunch."
"Um, okay. What's it called?" Rapunzel asked.
"It's a outdoors-y, farmer's market sort of place," he said. They walked on, and he continued, "It's warm out and it's out in the open. I think you'll like it. They sell ducklings there!"
"Well, I DO like ducklings," Rapunzel said, remembering.
"Yay!" Flynn said sarcastically, and after a few minutes of walking around and asking for directions from a police officer ("Flynn, you're lost! Just ask for directions!" "A real man doesn't need to ask for directions!" "Flynn!" "Ugh, fine . . ."), they arrived at a cute long bridge. They walked over it and a large, rushing river that blended in well with the grassy pastures and trees of what looked like a park.
"Ah, there it is. Corona!" Flynn said, and he waved ahead to a little place that made Rapunzel gasp with delight. It was like a smaller part of the city, with apartments that were close together and an open air market and people talking and walking everywhere on a tan rock paved road. It was like a little place from Europe, in Flynn's opinion, but as Rapunzel had never seen such a place as Italy or any part of Europe to compare it to, she just thought it a lovely little piece of heaven she had never seen.
"Flynn!" she said. She turned and started walking backwards, jumping up and down excitedly. She could barely talk, it was so wonderful.
"You're welcome," he said, walking after her. "Careful, Blondie. Don't want anyone walking on your hair."
"Good thing I've got a braid in, then, huh?" Rapunzel said shakily with a laugh. She turned around and stepped off the bridge into the market. It smelled like fresh bread and pastries and vegetables. There was stalls marketing everything right next to the apartments, where children were laughing and riding on skates and playing jacks and skipping ropes.
Rapunzel spun around, laughing, giggling, so incredibly excited. Pascal cheered from her shoulder.
She stopped when she saw Flynn watching her, hands on his hips, a curious look on his face.
"So," she said breathlessly, straightening. "Where do we go first?"
Thanks for reading! God bless you!