Story: Good Clean Fun and Other Myths of Modern Day Life (chapter 1)

Authors: Rhianwen

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Chapter 1

[Author's notes: Disclaimer: I don't own 'em, they don't like me. Still.]

“This was a really nice idea,” Maggie said with a small smile, two small pink circles forming on her cheeks.

From her side of the soft cushy booth at the back corner of the restaurant, Nenene returned her dinner date’s smile with one of her own, one that tried to be dry and failed entirely, turning of its own accord rather warm and squishy.

“Well, we don’t exactly get a lot of time alone, with Michelle popping in every ten minutes to read us this absolutely amazing bit she found, and Short Stuff raising Hell every time we’re out of milk,” the brunette said, her expression becoming something best described as a fond grimace. Then she grinned a little wickedly. “I wanted to have you all to myself for an evening.”

Maggie blushed brightly, and was in the process of ducking her head with a slightly goofy grin, when she froze, both mid-duck and mid-grin as something curvy, blonde, and covered in frills caught her eye.

“It’s Michelle,” she informed Nenene in a soft, urgent voice.

Nenene’s eyes grew wide, and she scrambled to peek over the back of the booth. Then, righting herself, she leaned over the table.

“Get over here before she sees you.”

“Maybe she’ll go to the smoking section,” Maggie murmured hopefully as she slid into the other side of the booth, the side of her leg brushing Nenene’s. She blushed again.

“Look, the worst that can happen is that she finds out,” Nenene muttered back, taking the opportunity to inch closer to the tall girl. Maggie wondered if her face had spontaneously caught fire, although she made no effort to move away.

“Yeah…I guess. I just wanted to tell everyone, instead of letting them find out by accident. They might think we don’t care about them.”

Nenene considered this very carefully, and was on the verge of replying, when a cheerful, excruciatingly familiar voice rang out behind them.

“Yes, this is just fine, thank-you!”

“Would you like a menu?” the two girls heard the young water ask amid several nervous vocal cracks, sounding for all the world as though the dream of his boyhood might come true at once if she should accept.

“Just a dessert menu, please. I’m meeting my friend from England here, but we won’t have time for dinner – just dessert and tea. She likes tea,” Michelle confided very seriously to the water, who made a sound distinctly like someone nodding vigorously, before floating away on a fluffy pink cloud of bliss at having just had a real, live conversation with a gorgeous woman, that did not end with her drink on his head.

Maggie, meanwhile, was blinking in surprise.

“Her friend from England?” she repeated to Nenene in a very confused whisper. “Who likes tea?”

“Yeah; what are the odds of that?” Nenene whispered back with a teasing smirk. “But at least she said they’re not staying long.”

“But the last time we were in England was two years ago,” Maggie pressed as they heard Michelle rustle about, getting settled in the booth behind theirs. “And we were too busy saving the world – when did she have time to go meet people?”

Nenene began to add a vocalization to her shrug, but was cut off again by a happy squeal, joined after a moment by a far more subdued, slightly embarrassed laugh, and the sound of a hug being exchanged.

“Hi, Michelle,” said a voice that Maggie recognized instantly and tensed at, one hand flying instinctively to the little cardboard cocktail menu propped up in the corner. Nenene snickered softly into her hand. “How are you?”

“I’m good,” Michelle replied easily as the two settled back into the booth. “Maggie and I just got back from a job in Sweden. Anita was in school,” she added sadly, “so she had to sit this one out. But while we were there, we had time to get a lot of shopping done!”

“Oh, did you get to visit the big Ikea warehouse?” the other voice asked excitedly.

There was a long pause, during which Maggie wondered befuddledly where people’s priorities were sometimes, and during which Nenene wondered if this woman had ever actually met a Paper Master.

“No…” Michelle finally admitted slowly. “But we did find a lot of really great bookstores! And what about you, Wendy?” she asked amid that same young lady’s completely unsurprised laughter. “What are you up to these days?”

“Oh, more of the same,” Wendy replied with a tone that heavily implied a shrug. “Hiding out, mostly; we’ve switched houses again, so just now, we’re in the middle of redecorating. Lucky for me, Joseph has reasonably good taste, for a man. Other than that, trying to convince Joseph that he isn’t secretly Mr. Gentleman in disguise, cleaning up after the dogs he’s decided to buy on a whim—”

“Ooh! You two have puppies!”

Maggie smiled fondly at Michelle’s happy squeal. That was her Big Sis, alright; even a nefarious villainess couldn’t be all bad, if she liked puppies.

“I brought photos,” Wendy said hopefully.

Nenene choked on her coffee in the desperate attempt to bite back a laugh.

“Let’s see!” Michelle chirped.

Maggie and Nenene exchanged disbelieving glances as they heard the erstwhile Token Evil Chick rifle through her purse.

“This one’s Joseph trying to teach Theodore how to play chess…and here’s Joseph trying to rescue his Bishop from Theo’s voracious appetite…and here’s Joseph huddling in a corner whimpering after reaching into a hyperactive German Shepherd’s mouth to get it himself…and here’s me, washing my hands vigorously after he had me do it for him…”

Michelle giggled as Wendy’s narration took on a slightly resentful tone.

Maggie wondered helplessly how this strange friendship had come about, and wracked her brains for how it could possibly involve a scheme of some sort.

“And here are Lionel and Abigail giving Joseph a thorough face-washing,” Wendy added cheerfully. “He doesn’t know I took this one. Oh, and here’s the family portrait.”

“Aww,” an increasingly confused Maggie heard Michelle croon. “They’re so cute! And you look so happy!”

“That’s because none of my four children made a mess on the carpet that day. And because…well, because Joseph’s handsome doctor came to visit again. And Joseph got angry when he kept me talking on the doorstep too long,” Wendy added with a dreamy sigh.

At this, there was a decidedly disapproving rustle of napkin.

“Wendy, you’d better not be doing our special thing with that doctor!”

At this, Maggie, who had just relaxed into a fairly neutral confusion, sat bolt upright, her expression stuck somewhere between shock and nausea.

“Ohh…of course not,” she heard that ice-cold pixie-woman assuring her sister with something approaching apologetic kindness. “Although, he might not read the whole time…”

“I like reading,” Michelle said weakly.

“Joseph doesn’t read the whole time.”

“You did our special thing with him!” Michelle exclaimed, outraged.

“No! Well, yes, but only once, and long before we’d started,” Wendy explained hastily. “It was horrid, by the way; he spent the entire time complaining about all the noise.”

Maggie felt the salad she had earlier consumed for an appetizer making an untimely reappearance. Yet, when she snuck a glance at Nenene, the author appeared completely untroubled by all that they were learning – heavily against their wills. If anything, she looked like she wanted to laugh.

Michelle, meanwhile, was sighing.

“Men always ruin it.”

At this, Maggie allowed herself a moment off from being horrified, to nod sagely. Well, Michelle had a point there.

“Actually,” Wendy said hesitantly, breaking into Maggie’s thoughts, “I was thinking it was about time we just tell everyone about this. I’m starting to feel a bit silly, always having to sneak around, lying to Joseph about who I’m going to see, wearing these sunglasses – not to mention, this silly scarf on my head—”

“Aw, I think it looks cute!”

“You would.”

“We can’t tell anyone, Wendy; you know that.”

“Right, right, the mortal enemies thing,” the older girl sighed sadly.

“It’s a big thing!” Michelle pointed out. “Everyone here would probably just as soon kill you as listen to what’s really going on, and who’s to say that Joker wouldn’t just assume that you’re changing sides?”

“Three years after the fact,” Wendy added, chin in her hand, elbow resting on the table. “Awfully stupid assumption.” Then she straightened up and frowned. “Hold on; it does sort of sound like him…”

“So you see? It’s for the best. Although…” Michelle trailed off.

“Although…?” Wendy prompted

“W-well, I’ve just been thinking lately that it might be more fun if we tried to find someone else to join us, you know?”

If the unfortunate Miss Mui seated inches away had had a mouthful of something at that point, it is quite certain that it should have erupted over the table in a fine mist of lovely beverage. Therefore, it seems nearly providential that she did not. Nevertheless, she did manage to choke, and suppressing a grin, Nenene thumped her soundly on the back.

Meanwhile, the silence on the other side of the divider was once again growing slightly disapproving.

“Someone else?” Wendy repeated. “Are…are you not having fun anymore?”

“No, no, it isn’t that,” Michelle assured her quickly, and Maggie thought in astonishment that the noise she caught was someone patting someone else’s hand comfortingly. “It’s just that another person could bring a new perspective, you know?”

“Who did you have in mind?” the other girl asked softly, sounding distinctly crestfallen.

“I think Nenene might have fun!”

Here, Nenene winced as Maggie’s hand tightened instinctively over hers, and her eyes narrowed.

“Not in this lifetime,” Wendy said emphatically. “She’s never liked me, even before the whole raging villain mess.”

“Well, then, how about Junior?”

Junior! What was wrong with Michelle today? Obviously, that psychotic villain-fangirl was getting to her. Maggie had come about a hair’s breadth from climbing resolutely to her feet to show the unwittingly unfortunate Miss Wendy just what a protective sister could do – again – but Nenene’s hand on her arm, and the minute shake of the other girl’s head stopped her.

Thus was Wendy able to continue her conversation with a former mortal enemy, quite undisturbed.

“Hmm. I think he’d enjoy himself, but don’t you think he’s a bit young yet?”

A bit! Maggie thought emphatically at her.

Michelle made a noise of deep consideration.

“Maybe a little,” she admitted. “We’ll wait a few years, and then ask him.”

Oh, God…

A vaguely nervous-sounding pause.

“Em…Michelle,” Wendy began, and for one absurd moment Maggie swore she could actually hear the woman blushing and fidgeting shyly. “You know earlier, when you said you wanted to keep this our special thing? W-well, I’d kind of like that, too. If you’re really not happy with it anymore, of course we can open it up a bit, but…well, I think it’s nice with just us.”

The sentimental tears filling Michelle’s eyes were almost audible.

“Oh, Wendy, I’m sorry! I didn’t know it was this important to you! Of course we can keep it just for us!”

“And speaking of which,” the older girl continued, brusque partly in regret of such a show of affection, “we’d better hurry or we’ll be late.”

“But we didn’t get to have dessert,” Michelle pointed out sadly.

“We could always go for some real food afterwards,” Wendy suggested with a hint of a laugh.

“Yeah…I usually get pretty hungry. It does have a way of working up an appetite,” Michelle agreed thoughtfully. “Alright! I’ll just leave some money for my coffee, and we’ll go!” A giddy laugh. “Ooh, I’m so excited!”

“Really? That’s nice,” the other girl said indifferently. There was a long pause. “Oh, alright, me too! Let’s go!”

Maggie shook her head, utterly lost and horrified, as the two blondes scampered happily from the restaurant.

Nenene peeked up at her date, then gave a soft, sympathetic laugh.

“Pretty crazy, isn’t it?”

Unable to form a coherent word that would not be affected by five-second delay on most family-friendly television networks, Maggie settled for a perfectly G-rated nod.

Nenene shook her head and laughed again.

“And the funniest thing is, they think we don’t all know!”

I didn’t know,” Maggie pointed out. “How long have they been meeting?”

“Oh, I’d say about…a year and a half now.”

“A year and a half,” Maggie would have exclaimed had she been anyone else. As it was, she settled for a low, disbelieving, ominous sort of growl.

“Yeah, about that. Maybe a little longer. I’d like to know how it got started, but Anita and I don’t want Michelle to know that we know; it’s more fun to ask her where she was last night and watch her squirm.”

Maggie gaped helplessly for a moment, feeling quite as though Nenene didn’t fully realize the significance of the situation.

“Nenene,” she finally said slowly. “Did you hear what they were talking about? And getting Junior involved?”

“Yeah, I know,” Nenene said emphatically. “I think Junior could get into the spirit, but neither of those two seems much like a Rammstein fan to me, either.”


End Notes: Hehe! I don’t know if this was funny to anyone else, but the mental image of Michelle and Wendy rockin’ out to Rammstein was enough to make this story absolutely hysterical to me. And hey, there was Maggie/Nenene!

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