After Kim and Shego's exit Ron and Monique joined arms and followed, then Ed and Bonnie, and Will and Justine. As the attendants headed downstairs Will Du announced, “The reception is being held downstairs,” and guests began to leave as the rabbi helped the canopy bearers take down the chuppah. By the time she folded Shego's tallis and put it away the quartet was preparing to move downstairs.
“Great ceremony, Ruth,” one of the professors said.
“Thanks, you guys did a wonderful job. This must be one of the more eclectic wedding selections you've performed.”
“I'm not sure. You wouldn't believe what we've been asked to do at some weddings. Oh, did you recommend us for this gig?”
“No, Sharon found you all by herself.”
There was no reception line, or sign of the brides when the rabbi got downstairs. But people were gathered around the food tables. “Ease up a little,” Ron told Will Du, who was in charge of the spiked punch, “you don't have to card everyone.”
“Hey, Ed,” Ron asked, “did you hear about the two radio antennas that got married?”
“It wasn't much of a wedding, but great reception.”
Ed groaned, “I think I figured out what drove Kim into the arms of my sister.”
The cake was gorgeous, probably four times as large as necessary but so dramatic it was worth it. It stood on the center table, waiting the appearance of the brides. The figures for the top had been a problem. The cake specialist had a catalogue of options, and Ron had wanted to mix-and-match a Kermit the Frog groom from a set where he was with Miss Piggie and a traditional bride of a matching size. “Poor taste,” Kim had told him when she vetoed it. “She's self-conscious enough about it without you rubbing it in her face.”
“Speaking of rubbing it in the face, are you two going with that tradition?”
“No, Ron. That is like, so childish.” But it did start Kim thinking. And in the end Ron had gone with two traditional brides atop the cake.
Ron had enough to eat spread out on the buffet tables that no one seemed too anxious to get to the cake. Monique, however, was curious about the noticeable absence of Kim and Shego. “Where are the guests of honor?” she asked Ron.
The blonde man chuckled, “I told them about the yichud. I suspect they're--”
He suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder; the rabbi turned him around, “And just what did you tell them about the yichud?”
“And what is a yichud?” Monique demanded.
“It's a little time for the couple to be alone,” the rabbi explained. “If they haven't eaten anything before the wedding it is a chance to have some food and talk for a minute.” She glared at Ron, “There are other traditions about what used to happen at the yichud. I want to know what you told them.”
“Why do I still not feel like I know what is going on?” Monique asked
“Well,” Ron stammered, “I might have mentioned the story that the couple would have sex then, just sort of testing out the old virginity clause in the wedding contract.”
“Ron, you didn't!”
“Sorry, 'Nique, it's just such a good story.”
“Oh yeah, the perfect thing to say to those two who haven't seen each other in a week. It would be nice if they could make it to their own reception.”
Fortunately the two appeared a few minutes later, looked only slightly disheveled and very happy.
Flashes went off as the two cut the cake. The first big slice went onto a plate and Shego carefully held up dainty piece up on a fork for Kim. More flashes went off as Kim opened her mouth for the small bite. Then Kim grabbed a large chunk of cake in her hand and held it up. “Don't shove it in my face, please don't shove it in my face,” Shego thought desperately as she leaned forward to take a bite. Those with cameras hesitated, suspecting they knew what was going to happen and wanting to record the look of Shego's face when the inevitable occurred. Unbelievable as it seemed Shego bit off a small piece without harm. As she chewed Kim put the rest of the cake back down. “I'm sorry for doubting you,” Shego whispered after she swallowed. “I thought you were going to shove the cake into my face.”
Kim patted her on the rear, “Would I do a thing like that to you?”
“I thought you would. I apologized.”
“Oh, no need to apologize,” Kim giggled. “What I'd do is get white frosting all over my hand and then pat your fanny. You've got a big white handprint on your ass now.”
“I'm going to--”
Ron and Zita had been distributing champagne during the cake cutting. Before there was time for any violence Ron spoke up, “Somehow it always falls on the Best Man to make a toast. I'm hoping if I really do a bad job on that today I can kill that tradition all by myself.” Ron raised the glass and looked at Kim and Shego. “Here's to the happy couple. If these two can work it out there's hope for all of us.”
After the first toast the string quartet, who were now relocated into the entryway, began a slow dance number and the fathers of the brides claimed their daughters for the first dance. They were soon joined on the floor by Hego and his mother, and Jim with his.
Joss snagged Ron for the first dance. “Ron, I have a problem I'm hopin' you can help me with.”
“What is it?”
“There's this older guy I kinda' like--”
“How much older.”
“I don't know for sure, four or five years anyway.”
“Too old for you Joss, definitely too old.”
“I'm jus' askin' for how I should try and tell him.”
Ron thought for a second, “You should approach him with a hypothetical question. Ask him what you think you should do to tell someone you like him.”
“I have a hypothetical question. How should I try an' tell a guy I think I like him?”
“Do like I suggested: ask the hypothetical question.”
“That's all you're gonna say, isn't it.”
The rest of the dance was silence between them.
Drakken looked around, most of the women had been claimed as partners. He noticed a thin woman standing by Felix. The blue man hung his cane over a doorknob, went over and bowed slightly, “Might I have this dance?”
Justine looked at Felix, who tightened his mouth but gave a shrug that said, “It's your choice.”
“I have never danced,” she apologized.
“Well, it's time you learned.”
Drakken proved a good dancer. “Mother started me in dance lessons when I was five,” he explained.
Justine enjoyed herself, and tried again with two of Shego's brothers, Jim, and a second dance with Drakken. Felix felt a strong sense of frustration with his own lack of mobility. Justine felt his frustration and stopped dancing to be with him. He urged her to dance more, but was pleased she wouldn't, and he felt guilty for feeling pleased.
The fathers of the brides switched partners for the second dance.
“I really want to thank you and Jean for all you've done for me,” Shego said. “Kim tells me that I'm hard for you to accept, but you've always been kind to me. I… I appreciate that, really.”
He was silent for a minute. “Has Kim ever told you about her mom's parents?”
“They really taught me the importance of accepting whoever my children choose to love.”
“Really open caring people?”
“I'll let Kim tell you about them. And you got a lot of parental approval points for playing bridge.”
Shego's father had not had as much time to grow accustomed to the idea. “It's a funny world, isn't it?”
“Yes, I guess it is.”
“You're not exactly what I've pictured for Georgie. Do the two of you know what you're doing?”
“Did you and Susan really know what you were doing when you got married?”
“Well, if you're going to put it that way, we probably didn't.”
“And you've had how many happy years together?”
“The years haven't all been happy. And we never had some of the problems you two will face.”
“We're trying. We love each other. That's the most important thing.”
“Yes, it is.” He kissed her on the forehead, “Welcome to the family O'Ceallaigh. We don't always play nice with each other, but we try to be there for each other when it counts.”
Monique left her plain punch bowl often during the afternoon and early evening to dance with Will Du, who paid more attention to his spiked punch bowl and less to his partner than he should have. She took him by the chin during one dance and turned his face back to her, “There're only a few minors here. And they're all bright. Pay attention to me. Weddings get women in romantic moods.”
Monique sighed. So bright in so many ways, and still dumber than a post in others.
Ron managed to grab Wade, “Go ask Joss to dance.”
“I can't dance.”
“That never stopped me. Look, go ask her to teach you to dance. That's even better.”
“What if she says no?”
“If she says no then she says no. Is that the worst thing you can imagine? Man, you need to have Monkey Fist sic his monkey ninjas on you.”
“They can only beat up your body. A girl can kill your ego.”
“Go for it guy, you don't know unless you try. Shego says you were doing nothing but stare at her after the trial.”
“Shego saw that?”
“Well, Kim saw it too after Shego mentioned it to her.”
“I am so dead.”
“No, you're just a little shy. Have you ever asked a girl to dance?”
“No, I… Ron, stop it!”
Ron had Wade by the arm and steered him over to where Joss stood by Kim's mom. “Joss,” Ron interrupted, “I think you've been introduced to Wade. Wade here has had one aspect of his education sadly neglected. I was wondering if you could to take him out on the dance floor and show him how to move his feet.”
“Well, I don' know…” Joss hesitated, fearing that Ron was trying to get her out of his hair.
Wade had never felt so embarrassed in his life,“Ron, I'm going to get you for this.”
“Please, Joss, as a favor to me?”
“Well, I s'pose. Come on Wade.” She took him out into an open area, “Now, put your left hand 'round my waist like this. Okay, now we hold hands and…”
Ron and Jean Possible watched from the side of the room.
“Joss talks about you far more than she should,” Jean teased Ron. “I think you have hopes of ending that.”
“A guy can always hope,” he laughed. “By the way, I don't think I've ever stepped on your toes.”
She smiled. “I don't think that's any way to say 'thank you' for all the meals I've served you over the years. But come on, with any luck Kim only gets married once.” The two joined the other couples on the floor.
Bonnie had latched on to Ed for a dance. “Howdy, stranger,” she said, “I haven't heard from you in a long time.”
He was silent for a minute, “Yeah, I'm sorry. I was hoping to ask you to homecoming last fall… I really wanted to--”
“Then why didn't you?”
“My dad kind of pressured me into a blind date. And we sort of hit it off. I've been dating Connie since--”
The dancing paused momentarily as Bonnie screamed, “WHAT!”
As the dancing began Ed asked, “Why are you so upset?”
“You're dating my sister?” she hissed.
“Your sister? Your father is the Alchemist? Theo is your brother?”
“What are you talking about?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You said you're dating my sister Connie.”
“I said I was dating a Connie. Do you have a sister named Connie?”
It was Bonnie's turn to be silent for a moment, “Yeah, I have a sister named Connie. Sorry about the outburst. I don't get along very well with my sisters.”
“I'm sorry. I really wanted to call you. I just… I don't know. I didn't plan on liking her.”
“That's okay. She's probably closer than I am.” She impulsively kissed him on the cheek. “To what might have been.”
Ed returned the kiss to the cheek, “To what might have been.”
At the end of the dance Bonnie drank the second of what would be too many glasses of champagne.
A second toast was followed by a fast hora lesson from the rabbi and the Stoppables. Then two wooden chairs were set in the circle and Kim and Shego told to sit on them. Several of the stronger guests picked up the chairs and danced around in the center while the outer dancers circled them. After Kim and Shego had their turn on the flying thrones Kim's parents went aloft.
“That's your brother?” the rabbi asked.
Shego nodded. “He wouldn't participate in the ceremony, but he's willing to lift and dance.”
“He's stronger than an ox.”
“Yeah, and almost as bright.”
And finally Shego's parents took to the air in the third circle dance.
A third toast was followed by a couple traditional non-Jewish wedding customs.
Kim stood up on the fifth step with her back to the guests and threw her bouquet over her shoulder. Kim had aimed in what she remembered as the general direction of Monique. As Monique reached for the flowers, however, she was suddenly shoved to the side and Justine grabbed the bouquet. Several people laughed, and Justine and Felix simply looked at each other and smiled.
After the tossing of the bouquet came the tossing of the garter. Kim stayed on the third step while Shego reached underneath her dress to take off the garter. Kim turned deep red and glared at Shego as her hand emerged from under the dress with a blue garter, and a pair of panties
Shego gave Kim a smirk and slipped the panties into her jacket pocket, then tossed the garter which generated a small struggle from which Shego's brother Will emerged with the prize.
The quartet began dance music again, and Ron went out on the floor with Kim, who appeared to be in an ill humor.
“Why are you so upset? It's an old groom trick. You have a pair of panties balled up tight in your hand when you reach under the dress, then you show them after you take your hand out.”
“It wasn't the old groom trick. Those were my panties.
“You mean you're not wearing--”
“No, I'm not!” Kim hissed. “I don't know if she did her burning trick or something else to get them off me, but those were my panties. I've got figure out some kind of payback.”
“Uh, it seems to me that you already kind of paid ahead.”
“The white handprint on her ass, remember?”
“Oh, that,” Kim giggled. “So you're suggesting we call it even?”
“That's one suggestion. The other is go upstairs and put some panties on.”
“Sounds like a good idea… Hey, you were looking at Shego's ass?”
“Duh, hello! You put a big white handprint on it and everyone is going to look
The twins and Jason were under the nominal supervision of Tara, who mostly indulged her son. Jason's entertainment seemed to consist of pushing down one girl, then the other and laughing. “I'm going to stop that,” Kim muttered to Shego
“Chill, Princess, the girls seem to enjoy the game and attention.”
“We can stop it now, while they're just playing. Or we can wait until someone started crying. I say we stop it now.”
“Stop them while they're having fun and they resent you. Come to their rescue when they're crying and you're a hero.”
Kim was about to intervene anyway, but the twins found a solution by themselves. When Jason came over to them for another round they both grabbed him and all three went down on the floor, rolling around and squealing with laughter.
“See, Princess, you'd have stopped their fun.”
“And if someone had hit her head on the floor how would you feel for not having stopped it?”
Kim had little time to talk with anyone as much as she would have liked. “I'm due any day now,” Tara told her. “We've picked out Jessica as a name, the ultrasound said it was a girl.”
“What does Jason think about having a sister?”
“I think he's excited. Maybe more excited than Josh. I keep thinking he's going to ask to marry me.”
“You could ask him. I mean, if you're living together you should be able to talk about it. Maybe he thinks of you as married already.”
“I don't know, Kim. I feel like he doesn't.”
Tara's impression was confirmed later in the afternoon when Josh saw Kim go into the kitchen and followed her a minute later. A shout of pain from the kitchen brought Shego and several other people into the kitchen. Josh was down on his knees on the floor; trying to get his breath back.
“Ron asked me to bring out another smoked fish platter,” Kim explained. “Josh came in to help, and he doesn't know the kitchen. He must have turned and really racked himself on something.”
Tara looked horrified, “Poor baby,” she said, giving him comfort.
Kim and Shego were finally able to get in a dance together a little later. “What really happened in the kitchen just now?” the pale woman demanded.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean there is nothing in the kitchen that would have given him a pain like that, except maybe for your knee.”
“That obvious?” Kim sighed.
“It was to me.”
“He was hitting on me--”
“Hitting on you?”
“Is it that impossible to believe?”
“It's no insult to you. I just mean, on your wedding day? To another woman? The man must have brass balls.”
“He doesn't,” Kim giggled, “I checked… Josh is good looking, and has always been a good talker. He's been stringing Tara along for years now. He knows I had a crush on him at one point. I don't know if he really wanted me, or just wanted to prove to himself what a great scam artist he is.”
“Do I need to defend my wife's honor?”
“No, I think I took care of that for myself… It's Tara, Jason, and Jessica I feel sorry for.”
“The one who hasn't been born yet.”
Drakken and Kim even managed to dance once. He was a much better dancer than she expected, but given how low her expectations were that wasn't difficult.
The rabbi got Mustapha Kemal out on the floor for one dance.
“I am surprised to see you and your wife here.”
“I was faculty advisor for them both.”
“How about today you skip the Zionist terrorist jokes and I skip the Muslim terrorists jokes?”
“I will accept that. You know, life was much better in the Middle East when the Turks were running everything. We knew how to keep the Arabs in their place. They should put us back in charge.”
The rabbi made a peculiar noise.
“What was that?”
“Just clearing my throat.”
“It sounded a lot like 'Kurds and Armenians'. I thought we agreed to not talk politics.”
“We did. Then you started it.”
“Sorry. How are classes this semester?”
“Pretty good. Two sections of comparative religion. We'll be on Islam in April. Can I have you back in for a guest lecture in both of them?”
“No problem - if there is no conflict with my schedule. Call my department and tell the secretary the class times.”
“How are your classes coming?”
“Nothing like the war in Iraq to generate interest in modern Middle Eastern languages. I've never had classes so large.”
The rabbi smiled grimly, “I think that's the first good thing I've heard coming out of the war.”
Drakken had a marvelous time, although he came dangerously close to being cremated in the evening for failing to warn Shego before a dip.
Kim approached Bonnie, “Okay, the quartet is leaving soon. One dance. You promised.”
“That was before Ron--”
“Ron and this morning have nothing to do with it. Come on, just like back in jr. high when all the boys were too shy to ask a girl to dance and girls always ended up having to dance together.”
Halfway through the dance Bonnie was able to relax and enjoy herself, “You're pretty good, Possible. You and Drakken are probably the two best dancers here - after me.”
“You should dance with Monique. She's probably number two here. Oh, and I'm warning you, I'm about to hug you.”
“Thanks for the warning.”
“God, Bonnie. Thanks for saving the girls. Thanks for busting my chops when I need it. Thanks for being my friend.”
“You're welcome. You can let go now.”
“Not 'till you hug back.”
“I can hug a long time. Shego's mom gives lessons.”
“Oh, all right,” Bonnie said and put her arms around Kim. “Thanks for being my friend.”
“See, not the end of the world.”
“Can I wish you were a cute guy?”
The families of the couple were the last to leave. Ron played host and said goodbye at the door. “Do you want us to stay and help clean?” Susan offered. “The job will go much quicker if you have Will and Ed working with you.”
“Those two look like they need their sleep,” Ron said. “I'm going to look around for anything that has to be put away tonight. Everything else can wait until tomorrow.”
“Okay,” Jean Possible said, kissing him on the cheek. “But if you need any help, just call.”
Zita had turned in early. Kim and Shego were upstairs putting the twins to bed. Monique and Will had left with Felix and Justine for some quiet time at C2K and other Valentine's Day plans. Ron wasn't sure where Bonnie was, but found her while he did a fast check in the library. She sat, alone in the darkness, on a chair that had been moved in from the living room to make more space for dancing.
She didn't even react when he turned on the light. He knelt on the floor beside the chair, “Are you all right?”
Bonnie turned to look at him. “Wha's ron with me, Wrong?” she giggled.
“Are you just talking about the fact I think you drank too much champagne and now you feel like your brain is wrapped in cotton?”
“I mean I'm suppose ta be thirty before all the guys are gay, gotten, or goofy. I'm jus' twenny-one and can't fine a nice guy. Wha was tha song Shego had 'em play for Kim. 'Where have all the good men gone? I wan a hero?' Hell, I don' wan' a hero. I just wan' a nice guy. Gay, gotten, or goofy,” Bonnie giggled. “I thin' Junior's gay. I like him, but he never wan' to kiss or anything. Ed jus' told me he's got a girl friend. He's dating not my sister. Isn' tha funny? He's gotten. Tha' leaves goofy. Are you goofy, Ron? I thin' you're mean. Or maybe you're gotten. You never tol' me about Yori. That was mean.”
Ron sighed, “We've been over that. I really am sorry. I like you, and you're so beautiful I--”
“You really thin' I'm booful?”
“Yes, you are.”
“Thans, Ron. I have to tell myself 'cause no one else ever seem to tell me.”
“You're drunk, you know that don't you?”
“I'm not drun' I'm booful!” she giggled.
“You are allowed to be both. Now, can I help you up to your room?”
She stared him blankly for a minute, then giggled again.
“I'm going to take that as a yes. Can you walk or do you need to be carried?”
There seemed to be a second of rationality. “I'm sorry, Ron. I thin' you need to carry me.”
He lifted her in his arms, she put her arms around his neck and sobbed, “I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.” He has no idea what she was sorry about, and suspected that the next day she wouldn't either.
He carried her upstairs and laid her gently on her bed. He took off her shoes and when she struggled in vain to take off her skirt he helped her. He folded the skirt and draped it over the back of her desk chair, then unfolded a heavy blanket over her and tucked her in before he turned off the light and started to head back for his own room.
“Ron?” Bonnie called
“Don' leave me. Please.”
“You're drunk. I won't take advantage of a woman who's been drinking.”
“I'm not askin' you to make love. I jus wan someone to hold me.”
Ron left the door open. “This is definitely a mistake,” he told himself as he sat down on the side of the bed and took his shoes off before slipping under the blanket on her right side. “She probably won't even remember this was her idea tomorrow.” But for some reason he didn't want to leave her alone, he wasn't sure if he was responding to her need to be with someone, or his own.
Bonnie snuggled up against him. Life had changed a lot since he was bottom of the food chain in high school. Bonnie had been at the top of the social order, and now she was so lonely she wanted his company. He had girls in two different classes sending signals they wanted him to ask them out. He had a high school sophomore confessing a crush on him; Ron smiled a little at that one. It looked like Wade would be working hard to take that problem off his hands, which Ron thought sounded like a good idea for everyone concerned. He suspected Zita had no real him, but Bonnie's warnings had made him overly nervous. But it was Yori that he loved and he had no business even thinking about other women. And here he was in bed with Bonnie. The kiss from two days earlier came back into his head, a memory so strong it left him aching. She had simply been scared he told himself. With one finger he gently pushed a strand of brown hair off her face. After the way he'd hurt her Ron was pretty sure she had no interest in him. He stroked her hair. She smiled in her sleep and snuggled closer. “This is definitely a mistake,” he repeated. “I love Yori. I love Yori.”He repeated his mantra softly to himself until he too fell asleep. Ron slept poorly that night, and only in part because of Bonnie's snoring.