NOTE: This is where it starts to heat up a little more. Sorry for all the time-skips, but that's just how it was written XD Also sorry for taking so long to post the rest of this, I was busy running around doing birthday things, eh heh. Enjoy!
The medium-sized room in the community center was decorated so garishly that Elsa nearly dry heaved. Pink streamers and crepe paper, balloons of all shapes and sizes. A glittering crystal punch bowl. Cupcakes and finger foods. It was offensive to her decorating sensibilities.
"You're the one that wanted to let Rapunzel handle this when she offered," Anna reminded her as they stood near the small stage. "We should have just done it ourselves, it'd look way less…"
"Hideous? I agree." Her eyes turned to the table nearest the stage, where Cindy and Aurora were chatting quietly. A few weeks with Anna had made it very clear to her that, while her own friends were very intelligent and accomplished, they were also somewhat dull compared with Anna's. However, when the two groups got together, they all blossomed beautifully in a way nobody expected. Elsa's friends curtailed some of the wilder tendencies of Anna's, and they likewise got the prudes to loosen up a bit.
"So, all our lines are memorised," Anna went on in a business-like tone. "We've rehearsed this a million times. Did we agree on what to yell? Last time we had settled on 'sisters', but 'related' could be funny, too."
"Yes, let's stick with 'sisters'; there can be no ambiguity." Straightening the front of her modest little black dress, she glanced upward. "Do I look okay?"
Snorting, Anna poked her shoulder very lightly. "Who cares? Do you need to look absolutely perfect for a prank?"
"We did agree we were filming this, after all. I want to look my level best when we show all our friends who's the wickedest of them all."
"Even Snow? She pulled a pretty good one on you last week."
"Especially Snow." Clearing her throat, she turned her attention to Anna. "You, of course, look so effortlessly cute that I want to strangle you."
"Yeah, right. You just want an excuse to strangle me anyway."
Elsa rolled her eyes, then reached forward and placed a single fingertip on the end of Anna's nose. "Not on your life."
As she did the last time Elsa booped her nose, Anna blushed and giggled. Elsa had discovered this involuntary reaction on accident, but since then had used it to her own advantage time and time again. An instant later, Anna fired up, "H-HEY, I told you to cut that out!"
"You did," Elsa chuckled warmly, pale cheeks bunching up from the all-too-earnest amusement she felt every time this happened. "And I can't. Maybe they have a twelve-step program?"
Before Anna could retort, Merida came over to gently slap her shoulder. "Oi, you two gits! What's all this kerfuffle about anyhow, or aren't you going to let slip, ever?"
"You'll see soon enough, you impatient foreigner!"
"Now, now," Elsa soothed her playfully as she leaned against her shoulder slightly. "What did I tell you about that casual anti-Scottish discrimination?"
"To keep doing it?"
"Okay, okay," Merida snorted. "But you'd better hurry up, I reckon everyone's here and we're all getting a bit antsy. Go on, then, go on!"
"In a minute," Elsa laughed. "I just need a word with the little lady." Then she led her up the steps to one side of the stage, dragging her behind the heavy tan curtain. There were a few scattered chairs and ladders and an old cutout prop from a production of 'Fiddler On The Roof', but not a soul to be found back there.
"What is it? Come on, you heard her, we stalled long enou-"
"Do we want to do this?"
Fidgeting, Elsa glanced back at the curtain momentarily before she turned back, fidgeting. "Are we sure we want to tell all our friends right here and now? To end the charade?"
"Of course." Eyes narrowing, she stepped forward and tried to get a good look at her sister's blue eyes as if trying to discern what was taking place behind them. "Dude, we have been plotting this whole thing for eons, it's… if we don't do it now, we never will, and there'll be no payoff! Why are you questioning it now?"
"Does there have to be a payoff? Isn't this sort of a mean prank? I mean, it didn't seem like it was in the beginning, but now…"
Shrugging, Anna held both arms out to either side. "Then what, we just… keep it up? Forever? Pretend to be lovers even if it means we have to act like it all the time anyone's watching?"
"You said yourself, it's been nice, you and I! And… and since I have our biological father's last name and you don't, they're never going to catch on, are they?"
"No, Elsa." Clearing her throat, she stepped in and whispered, "You said after Wednesday night at Punzie's, after the next morning, we had to end this before it got any worse. Maybe I liked playing along, and maybe…"
The silence stretched on for a long moment. "Maybe what?"
"Maybe you're the best relationship I've ever had, even if it is fake. But does that mean we can prolong the charade? It's already getting kinda ripe." Stepping back, she squared her shoulders and lifted her chin. "Now, how do I look?"
With a weak little shrug, Elsa sighed and said, "Too perfect." But before Anna could reply, she was turning to push aside the curtain. Heart in her throat, she rushed out after her.
"Alright, everyone!" their mutual friend Ezzy was saying into the microphone. "Here they come, and I think we're finally about to see what all this is about! Elsa and Anna!"
As the applause died down, Elsa stepped up to the microphone. For a long few minutes, there was only coughing and shifting of seats. Punzie's boyfriend dug into a bowl of dinner mints a little too loudly and she elbowed him to pipe down.
"Well then, I'm sure you've all been wondering why you're here." No response; that hadn't really needed to be said. "Well, so am I, a little. This was Anna's idea to call you all here, because after you matched us up together at that restaurant and set everything in motion, watched us get closer and closer and shared that growth with us, we had something we wanted to share with you."
Anna stepped up to the microphone with her, and they locked hands and gazes. Elsa smiled a smile that would have looked to everyone else like one filled with giddy glee - only Anna could see the tiny hint of regret.
"Actually," Anna interrupted, "I had a question for Elsa, before we go on."
"What?" But when Anna dropped down to one knee, her eyes went extremely round. "Alright, what are you up to now?"
"Think this is a pretty clear indicator, you dope," Anna laughed quietly. "But fine, fine." From somewhere down her neckline, he managed to produce a tiny blue velvet jewellery box. One she opened to reveal something that was not at all tiny, and not at all inexpensive.
"Anna! What the fu-"
"Well? What do you say?"
The entire room was dead silent. Eerily so. Most people seemed to have been expecting this had already happened, or not been expecting anything at all. The moment taking place right before their eyes was not on the agenda.
Elsa clutched at her heart, glanced between the crowd and the redhead crouched there in a pale yellow sundress that was not designed for kneeling and delivering marriage proposals. The expression behind her freckles was clear and earnest, devoid of the uncertainty that she herself felt.
"Are you crazy?" she whispered so quietly no one else could hear it. "We agreed we were done with the charade!"
"We are. I am, anyway." Glancing down and then back up, she said very quietly, "You passed."
The swimming of her head made it hard to take in the words. "Passed?"
"Backstage, when we- well sure, I had this ring already, but I told myself I'd never, ever go through with this unless… I had some kind of sign from you, any small sign. One that said maybe you felt the same way. Because, I mean, this isn't normal! We know that! So… so if you did drop some hints, I'd pop the question. If you were just like 'No way, we gotta tell them, it's a done deal'… well, I'd have to ask how much it costs to un-engrave something."
"You…" Already, her eyes were filling with tears. "How could you do this to me, in front of everyone? You didn't think I deserved to be asked in private?"
"I don't want to be 'private' with you. I want us to be everything in front of everyone. For me to be your everything, if I can."
It was a bold answer, and it impressed her. Deep down beneath her sheer and overwhelming panic, it did impress her quite a lot. Pressing one hand to her mouth, she turned and fled through the emergency exit - which immediately shushed the murmuring of all those gathered when the blaring fire alarm began to sound.
"Well," Anna sighed as her shoulders sagged. "Guess that could have gone better."
To Be Continued