Taf: I'm like a coke whore for my series, and this was well-half-written. I don't know if this will be a regular experiment in masochism, or if I'll learn to ignore Roseview's siren song.
Mistakes in Spanish are attributable to the fact that I do not speak Spanish.
Episode 14: Marry Meet
Sunday afternoon found Roseview's feared fivesome once again sitting in Mark and Benny's common room, doing nothing that in any way resembled school work – unless, of course, your high school offered Risk ™ AP. Mark, Melissa, Jack, Juliet, and Benny had finished their first Junior year exams and, goddammit, they were going to bask in the afterglow if it killed them.
"I am now in possession of all of Asia," said Mark. He hated to gloat.
Melissa quietly increased her stronghold in Europe and was preparing her attack on China when her strategies were rudely interrupted by the unceremonious landing of several ornate envelopes on the Australian continent. (Jack groaned. His game plan hinged on Madagascar.)
Benny looked up at Robert Frost (no relation), who was serving his month-long detention doing mail duty. "Rob," Benny said reasonably, "mail doesn't come on Sunday. And you're upsetting Juliet."
Juliet cradled a miniature cannon and keened exaggeratedly. "So many good men lost! I haven't seen such carnage since the syphilis outbreak of '79!"
"Jack's mom dropped 'em off personally," said Robert, apparently unaffected by the slaughter of Greeneland's infantrymen. "Didn't trust the mail system."
"Lost the family dog once," Jack explained to Benny, who nodded sympathetically. "Nikki cried for weeks. Until we bought her the python."
"She was going to come in and visit," Robert continued determinedly, "but I told her you were probably macking on your boyfriend and might want some privacy, and she took off."
"Gee, thanks," muttered Jack, knocking over Juliet's foot soldiers in Africa petulantly.
"Hey, no problem, man. It's my job. We-ell, I gots to go shovel Mr. Rodman's walk. You blow up one Chem lab..."
"I hope you break your neck on the ice," Jack growled at Robert's retreating figure. Melissa shot Jack a reproving look, while Juliet patted him lightly on the arm.
"Your mom didn't like you, anyway," she murmured.
Jack tore open one of the envelopes with his teeth.
"Ugh!" Jack spat out a handful of black and white confetti bells. "The hell?" Jack extracted his letter from its glittery envelope and scanned it briefly.
"'Jack Sullivan,'" he read, "'You are cordially invited to witness the blessed union of Timothy Andrew Sullivan and Cherise Rosenberg on Thursday the 16th of January, 2003.' Dude! Tim and Cheri are getting married and they didn't tell me? And on a school day? Score!" Jack flipped the letter over. "Oh, and, 'The bride has requested guests to make donations to the following...' blah, blah, blah, 'or to give kitchenware, to encourage the groom to eat actual food.' Oh man, this is awesome."
"Jack," said Melissa, holding up a yellow note card, "this fell out of the envelope."
"'Jack,'" Jack read, "'you're going to be my best man, so you better think of something really good to say. (Don't mention Cabo. No, I'm serious. I know where you live.) I'm inviting all your friends, because if Mom's going to make me get married in a Catholic church in Jersey, then she is going to pay through her teeth. Promise me you'll get married in Boston – oh wait' – funny, Tim – 'Make sure you bring Benny – piss the bruja off -'" (Jack and Benny high fived.) "- and make Grandma forget I'm marrying a Jew. Can't wait to see you, Jackie. Mom's driving me crazy. Love, Tim. P.S. Ignore Cheri. No silver tea pots, bring Ramen.'"
"These must be ours!" cried Juliet, tearing open an envelope and sprinkling Mark liberally with confetti. "I love weddings! I drink champagne and wear funny hats!"
"Me too," said Melissa warmly. "I was a bridesmaid in my cousin Sofia's wedding two years ago. We went to the Malfi coast."
The girls and Jack turned expectantly to Mark and Benny.
"I was ring bearer at my mom and stepfather's wedding when I was ten," said Mark. "Andrei – my dad – convinced me to let him paint me red and then to go running through the Temple shouting 'down with the bourgeoisie!' Rabbi Ziegler wouldn't talk to me for months."
"Mark's parents are divorced?" Jack whispered to Benny. Benny shrugged.
"But, uh, I like missing school," Mark finished lamely.
"Ye-eah!" cried Jack, punching Mark's shoulder. "That is the wedding spirit. Now, who wants to chip in and help me buy a teapot?"
"Do we really need to miss a whole week of school for the wedding?" asked Melissa. The train jolted, sending her flying into Benny's lap once again. Not that she was complaining, but, really, Mrs. Sullivan could have driven them to New Jersey.
"Of course!" cried Jack, "We need to get clothing. And I need to write my best-man speech, and give Tim moral support, and, uh, you guys need to give me moral support, and..."
"And Dr. Huxley is a major push-over for weddings," Juliet finished.
"Or just a major push-over," said Mark, taking off his head-set. He turned to Benny, chewing on his pen. "Benny, do you think we could do a wedding-based Watcher strip, or would that give us away?"
"We're not bloody Cathy, Mark."
"Point taken." Mark returned to his sonatas.
The train jerked to a stop in the New Brunswick train station. Melissa flew forward, slamming her head into Benny's jaw.
"I am so sorry, Benny! This train –"
"It's...alright...Melissa. I'll forgive...you, as soon as I regain my facility for...speech. Ow."
Jack put on his concerned face and stroked Benny's arm consolingly, before throwing Benny's duffel bag at him and shoving him out of the train.
"I get no love..." muttered Benny.
"Benny!" cried a friendly if somewhat manic voice. "Let me help you with that." Jack's elder brother appeared in a flurry of Hawaiian shirt, grabbing Benny's duffel bag and swinging it over one broad shoulder before leaning in close to Benny and whispering frantically, "You have to go distract Cheri and my mother. They're arguing over flower arrangements again. Work your mojo."
But Tim had moved on. "Melissa! Great to see you again! Juliet, I like the hair. ...The green bangs are new, right? Good. Lookin' good, Mark. Glad you all could make it. Help me with the bags, Jack, you lazy ass!"
Deciding he would get no help from Tim, Benny followed the sounds of hysteric women until he found Cheri and Mrs. Sullivan.
"I've told you, Maria, I'm allergic to lilies, and, besides, those are funeral flowers!" shouted Tim's short but extremely vocal fiancée.
"That is Mrs. Sullivan to you, ladrón de hijo. Besides, infidel descreído, lilies are a family tradition!"
Cheri tore at her stylish brown hair (it had been cut for the wedding). "How many times do I have to tell you? I am a Spanish major. I know when you are insulting me!"
"Um, hi guys. I'm here for the wedding," said Benny uncertainly.
Mrs. Sullivan growled ferally, and stalked away to criticize Jack's hair and help with the luggage. Cheri heaved a sigh of relief. "Thank God for you and your mojo. Benny, right?"
"Yeah, but... seriously, mojo?"
Jack tackled Benny from behind, effectively ending that line of inquiry. "My hair is sexy and stylish, right, Ben?"
"No. You need to get it cut. You look like the worst parts of the Eighties."
Jack looked affronted. "Nobody loves me, Melissa," he said, glaring at Benny. "See if I dance with him at the wedding."
"This is going to be a very long week, isn't it?" Benny asked Cheri.
Cheri slipped her arm through Benny's and started guiding him towards the minivan. "Oh, Benjamin, you have absolutely no idea. Have you ever tried on wedding dresses?"
Benny decided that that was probably a rhetorical question.
Jack sat in the farthest corner of his attic, legal pad and pencil in hand. Juliet and Melissa were shopping for clothing with Cheri and her maid-of-honour, Aurora; and Mark had been kidnapped by Nikki, even though Jack had warned her that Mark ate nine-year-olds for breakfast. With ketchup. So Jack, abandoned by his friends, had had to come up here to avoid his mother and Tim's latest fight over serving vegan wedding cake – Jack was all for brotherly solidarity, but he wasn't touching that one with a pole of any size. He'd left Benny down there, though. His mojo was needed.
"Okay, I have no idea what this mojo deal is," said Benny, slamming the attic door and sitting down on a trunk rumored to hold Jack's uncle Antonio, "but I think there may be something in it. I went into the kitchen for some orange juice and your mom set off for the nearest vegan bakery. In Brooklyn. I hear there's even talk of making the cake gluten free."
"You make her appreciate having a heterosexual son. Even if he is marrying a pagan New Yorker," said Jack. He scribbled something down on his legal pad. Maybe he could work this 'heterosexual' thing into his speech...
"That is my mojo? That is quite possibly the lamest power ever."
"I dunno. One of the girls in Sky High turns into a purple hamster."
"You really need to get over Kurt Russell. It was cute for awhile, but now the crush is both sad and pathetic." Benny collapsed next to Jack on the floor. "Working on your speech?"
"Yup. But you can't read it yet. It's a work in progress. Do you think Ralph and Sue Dibny are too obscure a reference for a wedding toast thing? I mean, they are Justice League, so it's not like they're nobodies, but, then again, Sue was brutally murdered in recent arcs, so maybe that's not the sort of thing I w—"
Benny clamped a hand over Jack's mouth. "Jack. Darling. While I have great faith in your ability as a public speaker, and while I'm sure Tim will get the reference, I would just leave the comic books out of it. Speak from the heart. Or whatever."
Jack sighed. "You're right. Dude, you are my Yoda."
"Thank you...Justice League is comic books, right?"
Jack stared at Benny.
"I love you, Benny."
Benny lay back on Jack's legal pad. "I know," he sighed contentedly. "Hey. Your mom's out shopping. Wanna make out?"
"This is my python, Cesar. I feed him mice. He eats them whole, because he can disconnect his jaw. I tried that and I choked and the mouse died. Do you have any pets, Percival?"
Mark gritted his teeth. "I have a lion. I feed him little girls."
"Oh. I thought lions ate Christians. What's your lion's name?"
Melissa set the breakfast dishes to soak as she fixed herself a pot of tea. She hated being an unhelpful house guest, and she sensed that sausage pans might push Mrs. Sullivan over the edge. Melissa was intimately familiar with nervous breakdowns.
"Is that water boiling?" asked Tim, dropping his jacket on the kitchen table and nudging hopefully at the tea kettle.
"It should be pretty warm by now."
"Fantastic." Tim pulled a packet of ramen out of his jeans pocket and started crumbling the noodles up into the kettle. "Oh, man, I used to be healthy. I am putting on unsightly pounds and inches," he moaned around a mouthful of barely cooked noodles. "Oh. Were you making tea with this?"
"No," Melissa lied.
"You're the smart, helpful one, right? I clearly remember Jack saying that. You need to help me!"
Melissa sighed and put a hand on Tim's wrist. She could do the counselor thing. "Tim, I don't know you very well, but you and Cheri seem very happy together. You're young, but I think that if you truly love each other, marriage can be a beautiful way of acknowledging that bond and exp—"
"What?" said Tim, wiping broth off his chin. "Oh, um, thanks for the support. But I was really just wondering what you know about catering."
"Greene, pray tell, what are you doing in Jack's bed with Benny?"
"Oh, Magic Marker, your wildest wishes have indeed come true: Benny and I have finally decided to give you that one night of wild passion for which you have so longed."
"We're here to rock your world," Benny added flatly.
Mark sputtered. "Where's Jack?"
"See, I really would've expected Melissa to be the object of his hidden passion," Juliet said conversationally to Benny. "But if he wants Jack, I guess we can comply."
Benny rolled his eyes and said, before Mark could die of ruptured neck vein, "Quarters have gotten sort of close, now that Tim's family is arriving. Jack's mom is bunking us here. Except for Jack. He's staying with Tim. So that neither of them can get up to any sexual shenanigans. And whatever you're about to say, Juliet? Pretend it's already been said."
Juliet leered. "And it was damned clever."
"And Melissa has her own room. Because Mrs. Sullivan actually likes her." Benny rubbed his eyebrow. "Aren't weddings fun?"
Mark stared at Benny and Juliet and considered his options. "Yeah, you know, Nikki's snake Antony and I really hit it off. I think I'll go sleep in the basement with him." Mark backed up and bolted for the stairs.
"YOU ARE A KINKY, KINKY MAN, PERCIVAL MARK ROGERS," Juliet yelled after him.
Oh, weddings. Standing in the way of Mark and perfectly justifiable homicide.
Taf: I might at least try and finish this arc? Since nothing happens in this episode? At all?
I should probably hide in a cave.