Where it all Began
The new year was just on the horizon.
The team at Hamilton habitat were celebrating another successful year of protecting the world from giant alien insects.
A lot had changed that past year.
Relationships formed, new people met and different and exotic insects were discovered.
Dex tried to keep his attention on the countdown, yet his gaze continued to wonder to Jane, the newest member of Hamilton Habitat.
He couldn’t seem to get her out of his mind. It was now or never.
All the eyes of the entomologists followed their leader as he strolled casually over to the girl in green.
uncontrollable smile broke out on Jenny’s face, which she tried to cover with a
gloved hand. Zap cocked an eyebrow, an expression of disbelief crossing his
features. Tung leaned back in his chair, a smug, knowing look on his face as he
watched the scene unfold in front of him.
eyes widened at the sight in front of her, as Dex lowered to one knee.
“Will you marry me?”
A lot had changed in the past year. Dex had visited Jane's home planet more frequently with the discovery of a new and rare insect. Although he insisted the visits were work related, a pattern fell consisting of the younger entomologists tackling the dangerous missions while Dex remained at the campsite with Jane.
A swift kiss delivered after a life endangering rescue is what promptly bought them together. It was like something out of a fairy tale. The damsel in distress was found caught between a cliff and a large Grylloblattodea, or rock crawler as Dex later explained. Dex lowered himself down on a rope and blocked the path between his secret love and the ferocious insect, strategically hiding her in a nearby crevice. The team watched helplessly from the cliff above, but not without a few ideas.
"We have to help them?" Zap choked in a panic. Jenny had already begun rummaging through her backpack full of useful electronics.
"We've got to get this to Dex," she said, holding a small metal box. Zap snatched it from her grasp, nervously looking between the box in his hands and Dex about five feet down.
"How do we get it to him?" the bug boy questioned, his nervous glance meeting hers.
"Here" Tung shouted, pressing is sticky bullwhip tongue to the side of the box. Using it as a rope, he began lowering it down to where Dex was standing. An expression of disgust crossed the leader's face as the slimy tongue retracted. Examining the box once over, Dex pushed a button, releasing a high pitched sonic noise aggravating the nervous system of the giant insect in front of him. Screeching in pain, the alien bug scurried into a nearby cave to avoid the noise, leaving Dex alone with Jane.
"Are you alright?" Dex cooed, holding out his hand to her. She took it in a tight grasp, her eyes meeting his in a dreamy gaze.
"Yeah" she breathed, their hands still held together tightly.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
They have been inseparable ever since, with Jane moving to the habitat not months later with the installation of many cameras and the long, back-breaking process of delivering a few crickets, including the beloved Sam, down to a pavilion similarly designed to its native Aryliss habitat.
She had become an admirable member of the team, filling in the gaps that the other team members lacked and missions had become much smoother since she had joined.
Her fate at Hamilton habitat was to be decided today; the moment she had only dreamed of finally coming true as she watched Dex lower himself to his knee.
"Will you marry me?" his voice sounded confident, the fear hidden and only recognised by the woman who had shared so much with him. His eyes gleamed with hope, hiding the uncertainty and nervousness that only Jane could see through.
As her mind slowly caught up with her surroundings, she allowed a small smile to creep its way onto her lips, her large dark eyes filling with joyful tears. She wiped them away quickly with the back of her hand, her breath shaking behind a huge grin. She was finally able to say the words she had always wanted to say to her entomologist, boyfriend, hero.
The entire team was excited. A habitat wedding, there was so much to do. Jane had called Jenny into the teams' dining room to begin discussing the smallest and most crucial parts of a wedding.
"Where do you start?" Jenny pondered aloud, her grip tightening on the cup of tea in front of her. Jane lowered the cup from her lips.
"I've got no idea," she breathed in a chuckle, her head shaking in slight amazement.
"I can't believe it," Jenny chuckled. "You've done the impossible. You've tamed the most alien of all species; a dedicated entomologist."
"Oh it wasn't that hard," Jane giggled with a smug expression. "We share lots of interests and it was easy to accommodate each other into our work. Besides, we basically clicked the first time we met."
Both girls sipped on their cups of tea in synchronization, placing the ceramic mugs back down with light clinks.
"So…I guess the first thing to do is assign the positions," Jane began, opening a small notebook and clicking a pen in her hand. She was just about to write when she looked up at Jenny 10, confusion evident on the clone's face. "You know, the wedding party positions. Groom, bride, maid of honor-"
"Or right, of course." Jenny shook it off with a small wave of her hand, taking the book and scrawling down the names. "So, you're the bride, I'm assuming Dex is the groom," Jenny's smugness was met with Jane's playful stare. "Who would you like to be the maid of honor?"
The blue haired girl turned the book back to Jane. The room had fallen silent. Jenny though nothing of it as her gloved hand reached once again for her cup, but was ceased when Jane placed her own comforting hand over hers on the table. The clone met the gaze of the entomologist.
"I would like it very much if you were my maid of honor."
Jenny was speechless. The idea had never crossed her mind. She had never thought of ever being a maid of honor, let alone an important member of a wedding party. It sounded like a lot of work for a maintenance worker, and she had no idea what a maid of honor did. Jenny realized that Jane was waiting expectantly for her answer. 'What the heck?' the blue haired girl thought. 'Give it a go. What did she have to lose? It could be fun.'
"Um…yeah…sure. I would love to be your maid of honor."
"I knew I could count on you!" Jane cheered as she picked up her cup. "There is just one thing. The maid of honor has to dance with the best man at the wedding, you know during the reception."
The older woman took a generous sip as she watched the eyebrow of the girl sitting opposite her furrow in thought.
"Who is the best man going to be?" curiosity had gotten the better of the engineer.
Jane lowered the cup to the bench, grasping the pen once again. "By my understanding, I heard Dex was going to ask Zap to be the best man," the bride-to-be began writing, unaware of the small sigh of exasperation released from Jenny.
Zap? She was going to have to dance with Zap? The boy she worked with who was known for his bad temper and aggressive mood swings. Great…lord knows how exciting those dance lessons are going to be. Jenny remained in her own thoughts, too distracted to listen to Jane as the entomologist continued to scrawl on the small notebook.
"Now if Tung is the ring bearer, I figure Bream could be the flower girl, and…"
"All right men," Dex clapped his hands together in his usual boss-like manner as the two other entomologists stood in a small line facing him, wondering whether or not it was necessary that their boss pulled them out of their proton ball practice just to talk to them.
"Ah," he muttered, rubbing his hands together and looking around the room for some assistance. "I have to talk to you guys about the wedding."
"What about it?" Zap sighed in annoyance. "Isn't planning a wedding more of a girl thing?"
"Well," Dex stuttered, his hand rubbing the back of his neck. "Jane asked me to do this so I'm going to…because I want to," the leader corrected himself, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Dude, you don't have to sweat about anything. I got this completely covered," a huge grin crossed the frog boy's lips as he jabbed a green thumb towards his fat face. Dex's mouth grew into an amused grin.
"Thanks but no thanks Tung. Jane thought it would be better if you didn't-" the leader ceased his train of thought, trying to piece together his sentence in the correct fashion that would spare his trackers' feelings. "…if you had a different part in the wedding."
"Awesome, so what part would be best for the frog boy?" Tung questioned with a big smile. Zap merely rolled his eyes.
"What part indeed."
Dex rested his hand onto Tung's shoulder, kneeling down to his height. "Despite a lot of…er…debate, I, we, both think it would demonstrate a lot of responsibility on your behalf if you could be the ring bearer."
"What does a ring bearer have to do exactly?" he pondered with a gloved finger touching his chin.
"You have to bring the wedding rings down the aisle," Zap explained in a bored manner. If it were possible, Tung's grin grew tenfold as he saluted his boss.
"You can count on me, Dex," the boss stood tall again, covering his uncertainty with a small smile. I sure hope I can.
"What about Zap?" Tung blurted out loudly, pointing to the bug boy who was looking down with his arms folded, a slightly exasperated expression etched on his face. His head lifted at the mention of his name, first towards Tung and then finally Dex.
"Zap," Dex began, looking hopeful. "Would you be able to get me down the aisle as my best man?"
Zap's face softened to slight shock. "Me?"
"Yes, I feel you can give me that tough-love attitude when and if I feel inept to go through with the nuptials," both boys stared at Dex with confusion. "Just…be there for me if I need it."
"Oh," they both exclaimed in recognition.
"Sure I can do that," Zap replied with a much friendlier expression.
"Great, and I'm sure you'll be fine with the dance lessons too," Dex was about to continue with the planning when Zap interrupted him.
"Yes," Dex's voice appeared calm as he studied Zap's shocked face. "The best man has to dance with the maid of honor during the reception part of the wedding."
"Who's going to be Jane's maid of honor?"
"Jane told me she was planning on asking Jenny," Zap's slight mumble of fear was covered by the wolf whistle released by Tung.
"Shut up Tung," the bug boy held a menacing fist towards the small frog boy.
"You wanna go dude," Tung squeaked, puffing out his chest. "Least I don't have to take embarrassing dance lessons."
"Well…" Dex began, avoiding eye contact with Tung and rubbing the back of his neck once again.
Tung sat on his bed on the warm Saturday afternoon; the dull, heated temperature of the outside warming his room and himself into a dazed and sleepy state. He had completed all his jobs for today; feed the acid glowworms, find out what was agitating the siren beetles, even eat that old block of cheese that had been sitting in the fridge since it was invented, but that was by his own accord.
But now, he had nothing to distract him, nothing productive to do. He was bored out of his brain.
Perfect time to check your holo-mail, I guess.
Flipping his wristcom up, he opened his inbox and began scrolling through the very few holographic mails that sat there. Nothing really interesting caught his eye, but then again that had been practically programmed into him. Jenny had given him a huge lecture about the dangers of the internet and spam holo-mails after Tung had sent a significant amount of the habitat's money to a man claiming to be the prince of Omiza 9.
Want to feel invincible? Order now for only a few small payments.
That sounded like it wasn't true.
Lose weight quickly by using this one product!
Now that was definitely one of those "fake" holo-mails Jenny was telling him about.
Win one hundred dollars by simply staying at home!
Hmmm…that sounded good!
Intrigued, Tung opened the holo-mail, watching as the green glow filled his room.
"Win one hundred dollars and be on TV," the frogboy read, a broad smile growing on his lips.
"Simply film your home life or work life over the course of a few years for the chance to win. The more exciting the video, the higher your chance is," Tung thought long and hard about this. That did seem pretty easy. His home life is practically his work life and no place would be more exciting than to live at Hamilton Habitat. Aside from the documentary on Nature 3000, shouldn't the humble citizens get a closer look on the inside lifestyle of one of the most famous alien insect habitats known to Earth?
Then again, this could just be a phony message designed to entice the faint-hearted.
Too many decisions, Tung's head was beginning to throb. That's it, he wasn't going to do it. His finger hovered over the delete button.
Then again, it is one hundred dollars…
With one final smirk, Tung hit the 'accept' button on his wristcom and the holo-mail dissolved in a mist of green particles. All he had to do now was film his work and home, and he would be a hundredaire.
"Now then, where's that camera?"
"Is she here yet?" the frog boy questioned the engineer as he started eagerly at the clock held high above the station.
"Almost Tung," Jenny responded in a bored manner, as though she had answered that question many times before. He looked up the tracks, and down, and up again. The trains at Metro City train station usually ran on time, so he had nothing to worry about unless her train didn't arrive within the next five minutes.
"What are you so worked up about, Tung?" Zap asked with attitude, earning a scowl from the easily offended tracker. "She's going to be here for a couple of weeks or so."
"For your information," Tung's eyes narrowed at the pilot. "She'll be here for exactly one month. I should know, we've been video chatting-" his proud sentence was cut short as Zap released a wolf whistle. Tung's face began to turn a deep shade of embarrassed red which Jenny giggled at the sight.
"Oh yeah dude, well-" once again, Tung's words fell on deaf ears as the loud 'hoot' of a train whistle was released. Excited and nervous, Tung stood closer to the edge of the platform in anticipation to meet her.
Dex and Jane where there too, too much in their own little 'wedding planning' world to notice the train pull in. They did, however, walk towards the platform as they continued discussing something important.
'Where is she? Where is she?' Tung pondered with every bounce on the balls of his feet. The large, silver train shifted to a silent halt in front of him. The doors slid open gracefully and people of all different shapes and sizes came pouring out of the train. Tung looked up with hopeful eyes, hoping to see the target of his desire. But there were too many people. And they were in too much of a rush. One person, completely ignorant to the small stature of Tung, knocked the poor tracker away from the door while engrossed in his newspaper hologram.
"Ow," the frog boy landed outside of the crowd, holding his head as he pulled himself off the cold metal flooring. Shaking his head, Tung decided to do one thing he was good at; track. Lifting his nose in the air, he began inhaling all the scents associated with the station.
Business men, polished shoes, something that Tung couldn't quite wrap his head around but for some reason he was getting the image of something yellow.
He tried one final sniff…what was that? That was a different smell. It smelt like…like fish. An expression of great excitement washed over his face as he turned towards the source of the smell. There, standing a small distance from the crew and hauling a large suitcase was a thin green frog girl.
"Bream!" Tung shouted, loud enough for a few passer-by's to swivel their heads. The girl in question raised her head from her bag and upon seeing Tung, waved across the crowded station. The rest of the team had stopped what they were doing and had backed away from the train.
I shouldn't, but she looks like she needs help.
Tung debated in his mind whether or not to play it cool and stay where he was, or run and help her with her bags. His foot twitched.
Maybe if I met up with her halfway?
One step, two. His pace began to quicken unintentionally. Five, six. By this point he had begun a steady jog. The rest of the team watched on curiously. Because he was focusing so much on his feet and trying not to fall over, he didn't realise Bream had finally readied her bag to a proper wheeling position and had begun comfortably walking up the platform.
"Hey Tung," Bream stated cheerfully when the frog boy reached her. His face snapped up. When did she get here so quickly?
He opened his mouth to say something, anything.
Nothing came out.
He stood standing in front of her, his mouth ajar as Bream watched him with pity.
"Ok," she said softly, avoiding the awkward one-sided conversation. The team had caught up to the group, so Bream became distracted with the greetings of everyone else. She gave Tung one last concerned stare before wheeling her bag around him to say hello to everyone.
He stood dumbfounded. What just happened? He felt like such an idiot. Normally whenever he spoke to her, he couldn't shut up. But this, this was different. Tung finally snapped out of his daze as he heard Jenny's voice call to him.
"Tung! We're going," the tracker turned around and resumed his jogging pace to catch up to the group, internally cursing at himself for behaving the way he did.
If he wanted to dance with Bream at the wedding, he was going to have to work on this.
Zap stood nervously outside the proton ball practice room. This was the place where he and Jenny were to learn how to dance together during the reception portion of the wedding and obeying Jane's crazy schedule for the wedding planning, he decided to show up a few minutes early.
Where are they?
He could just be overreacting; after all, this was one of the moments he had dreamt of. The crew all knew it, except for Jenny, that Zap felt something special for the team's engineer, and although he acted cool and calm, he could never truly tell her how he felt. With this opportunity to spend more time with Jenny, Zap wanted to seize this chance to get to know her better and maybe turn it into something more.
He rested his back against the door, too engrossed in his own little world to notice Jenny walking up the corridor with Dex by her side.
Before Dex had found her she was rummaging through her closet, hunting for the shoes that Jane had mentioned would be perfect to practice in. Dressed in a lose shirt and a flowy skirt, the engineer crawled out from the bottom of her cupboard with a pair of strappy heels. Jenny studied them closely. 'It's not going to be easy dancing in these,' she thought sceptically.
Upon hearing a tap on her door, she scrambled to her feet and allowed it to open with a swish. Dex stood tall, looking slightly tired from all the planning that had been going on the past few weeks, and slightly impatient.
"You're late," was all he said, tapping his foot impatiently on the floor. Jenny furrowed her brow in his direction as she snuck past him to get out of her room.
"I'm not late, you're early. You do know you don't have to follow Jane's schedule precisely, especially when she's out choosing flowers," Dex was left gobsmacked at her words.
"Really?" he questioned with hope. His shoulders dropped slightly in relief as the clone nodded. "Thank God."
The two began walking down the corridor, Dex shifting his gaze to Jenny every few seconds. "You okay?"
"Sure," she nodded numbly.
"Are you sure you're not…nervous?" Dex asked, slightly amused at her whitened expression.
"Sure I am. It's my first dance lesson, and I have never danced in these before," Jenny held up the high heeled shoes. Dex gave her a sympathetic look, but remained silent for the rest of the walk.
Finally, they reached the door of the proton ball practice room, where Zap was standing impatiently at the door. Once Jenny reached him, his mouth dropped slightly and a small blush spread on his cheeks.
"You look really nice," he mumbled quietly as the three of them walked through the door. Jenny, however, didn't hear his low voice as the blue haired girl made her way to a chair in the corner to put on her shoes. Secretly, he wished she didn't hear.
"All right, as you both know, as maid of honor and best man, you two need to dance together while Jane and I are dancing during the reception," Dex began to instruct. Jenny's heels made a clicking noise as she strolled over to the boys. "So ah… let's get started. You guys should be standing a small space apart with your right foot pointed in between your partner's feet."
Jenny and Zap stepped closer to each other and correctly positioned their feet. Jenny looked up from her shoes, and gasped slightly at the proximity of her and Zap. His face became a darker shade of red as her perfume filled his nose.
"Good. Now Zap, place your right hand on Jenny's back, just below her shoulder blade-"
"What?" the pilot questioned with a slight break in his voice. He turned quickly to Jenny after witnessing Dex's stern stare.
"Is that ok?" Zap asked the clone while holding out his arm. Jenny nodded meekly and stepped a little closer to him. He rested his hand on her back, ignoring the slight tingle in his fingertips.
"…and Jenny, your left arm should be on Zap's upper arm," the leader continued to instruct. Jenny curled her lips inwards before gently resting her arm on his, goose bumps growing on both dancers.
"Great, now just cup your free hands together and you're in the starting position," the employees did as they were instructed, shifting uncomfortably in their new situation. "So to start, you'll go back, right, forth, left, forward-"
This probably isn't what Dex actually instructed, but to two novice dancers, Jenny and Zap simply stared in amazement as the entomologist checked off the different dance steps on his fingers. It wasn't long before he ceased and stared at the two.
"Well go ahead. Zap leads."
The bug boy's eyes widened in shock as he faced back to Jenny, but considering her expecting look, he decided to just take a step.
"Ow," Jenny squealed in pain. "You stood on my foot."
"Sorry, sorry," Zap messily tried to apologise as Jenny cradled her bruised toe. He tried to assist her by bending down, but was immediately knocked back as Jenny snapped her head up.
"Oh my god," Jenny clasped her hands over her mouth as Zap held his nose. It wasn't broken, but looked a little worse for wear. Dex, who was still standing at the side of the room, held his hand up to his eyes and shook his head at the disaster of the dance lesson.
"Maybe we should leave it for today," he suggested calmly as he walked up to the pair.
"Good idea," Zap moaned, moving his red nose around to see if it still had feeling. Jenny watched as Zap walked out of the room without another word, holding her hands to her chest.
This wasn't the way Jenny wanted these lessons to go. Despite her hard exterior, the clone believed that there could be more than a friendship between her and Zap, with the only people knowing about how she felt being Jane and Bream. This opportunity to get to know Zap had turned into a catastrophe as both left with injuries.
She could only hope that the next lesson will go smoother.
The first dance lesson had been a disaster. This was the only thought that plagued Jenny's mind while the girls travelled into Metro City to find the wedding gown and bridesmaid's dresses. She really didn't want to think about it, the thought of almost breaking his nose made the situation all the more embarrassing. She didn't care that he stood on her foot; it was their first dance class, it was basically expected…
"I just wish it went differently" she mumbled, accidentally aloud.
"What was that Jenny?" Jane asked from her standing position in front of the dressing room as she waited for the store owner to bring out a dress for her to try on.
"Oh…ah…nothing," she muttered, her face slightly flushed.
"So do you have anything in mind?" Bream asked Jane in a bid to change the subject. The engineer and the frog girl were seated on the carpeted floor, the small coffee table in front of them covered with multiple bridal magazines.
"Well, I guess I can have the huge dream wedding. Dex said we aren't going to worry about money so I suppose something…princess-ish."
The girls nodded in agreement as the owner came back and handed Jane a large white dress. The bride entered the change room without another word, looking at the material with great interest.
"So Jenny," Bream asked in her soft voice. "How did your dance lesson go?"
"Brutal," the engineer moaned. "Zap stood on my toe."
From the corner of her eye, Jenny caught the giggle the frog girl was trying to hide.
"I'm sorry, that is kind of funny," Jenny rolled her eyes, unamused. "but didn't you say you hit him in the nose?"
"Yeah," the clone sighed sadly, only to receive a chuckle from both Bream and Jane.
"Don't worry about it too much, Jenny," yelled Jane from the dressing room. "You'll have more practices coming up."
The maid of honor and the flower girl stood up as they heard Jane moving from behind the curtain. The red fabric was pulled back and the entomologist stepped out in a long, tight white dress adorned with sequins across the straps.
"You look amazing," Bream complimented in awe.
"Stunning," was all Jenny could say. Jane admired her image in the mirror, but the more she stared, the more she doubted the dress.
"I'm not sure," she said sceptically. "It just doesn't seem like me."
"Well it's your choice," Jenny spoke calmly, completing her role as the maid of honor. "You can try on another one, we have all day."
Jane seemed calmed by the engineer's words and walked back into the change room with another dress.
"So Bream," Jenny began, trying and failing to hide a sly smile. "Is Tung going to ask you to the wedding?"
"Don't get me started," Bream shook her head while poking her fork in the piece of complementary wedding cake the shop had given the girls. "He hasn't spoken a word to me since I came down. He looked so nervous at the station."
"Well he should come around," Jenny comforted while cutting her own slice. "Hopefully-"
"Ok, there is a solution to both of your problems." Jane spoke with a slightly raised voice through the curtain. "I know this is typical of an entomologist to say, but boys are like bugs."
The bride stepped out of the changing room in a strapless and large A-line dress embroidered with beads at the edge of the corset top. Jenny and Bream stood with their mouths ajar.
"Is it too much?" Jane questioned nervously. The girls numbly shook their heads no.
"Fit all right?" she questioned again, to which they nodded their heads.
"As I was saying," Jane began, scooping up the dress to walk towards the mirror. "Boys are like bugs. Take Dex and Sam for example; as I was moving to the habitat, Sam was not happy that I wasn't focusing much on him and more on Dex. He became a bit of a nuisance. So one day I told him to stop acting rudely to Dex and, he did," the bride admired her reflection in her dress, the smile never leaving her face.
Jenny shared a look with Bream. "How does this help us?"
"Men like strong women," she turned to her conversationalists. "You stand up to them and take control, they will respect you for it."
When Jane still received quizzical stares, she sighed in exasperation. "Or…I don't know, give them a present. Anyway, it's time to try on your dresses."
The clone and the frog girl were shoved into separate changing rooms; each holding a dress they never realised was in there. Hurriedly, they changed into the gowns and pulled back the curtains, revealing Jenny and Bream in shiny red, short halter dresses. Jane stood up, covering her mouth with her hands.
"Do you like them?" she asked hopefully, already changed out of her enormous gown. Jenny and Bream nodded immediately. They did like them, honest, but even if they didn't they'd have to agree with the bride. After all, it would be her day. Jane nodded, looking impressed with the flowing dresses. The theme for the wedding had a cute twist to it; red and green, the colours of Dex and Jane. Girls would wear the red dresses, and the boys would wear green cummerbunds.
"These are great," Bream complimented, looking the blue haired girl up and down in her dress. "Zap is going to flip, Jenny."
The engineer blushed while the bride and the flower girl giggled. "Yeah well…let's hope Tung can talk to you at the wedding."
Bream took the hit, blushing and nodding in a sign of 'well played' while Jane poked and pulled at the frog girl's red satin.
"All right, I guess it's just these," Jane spoke with a broad yet slightly pulled smile. "I guess it's great how quickly this wedding is falling into place."
"It is great," Jenny corrected with a stern yet comforting stare. "This wedding will be amazing for two main reasons; that you two love each other and are going to be together."
Jane smiled a genuine smile. "Thank you girls for doing this."
"It's no problem, now lets get these gowns wrapped up!" Bream spoke enthusiastically. Jane shared an amused smirk with Jenny before following the sprinting fish girl to the check out.
"Zap, you shouldn't worry about it too much," Dex tried to comfort the moody teenager as the pilot looked at the clothes in his hands in disgust. The first dance lesson had been a disaster, proven by the small bandage resting on his red nose. The leader gave him a sympathetic look from his podium where the owner of the store was recording his measurements. Tung had taken a great interest to all the different sorts of fabrics and their textures along the back wall.
"I don't know. I just wish it went differently," he spoke through the curtains of the changing room. "This was my chance, you know, to show her I can do gooey romantic stuff."
"It is kind of funny," Tung said as he returned to the group. "The way you stood on her toe and everything."
Zap could hear the giggles from outside the change room. He stepped out of the cubical, presenting his dress pants, polished shoes and dark blue collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up. "What do you think of this?"
"I don't think so mate," Dex grinned cheekily as he shifted the jacket on his back. "You're going to be a best man, not attending your high school prom."
Zap rolled his eyes before flipping open his wristcom. "Jenny said we have to get green cummerbunds. What the heck is a cummerbund?" the pilot questioned incredulously. Both the leader and the bug boy were shocked when Tung responded.
"It's the silk belt part of the tuxedo," he was met with quizzical stares. "What, I read."
"So Tung," Zap spoke slyly. "Are you going to ask Bream to the wedding?"
The frog boy blushed at his words.
"Just count yourself lucky you don't have to take a date Zap," Tung complained. "It's so hard to talk to her now."
"I don't know," the tracker mumbled while entering his own change room. "Just that I know she's here, it makes me feel open to rejection."
"You can't think that way Tung," spoke Dex as he adjusted his bow tie. "Let's put it in words you can understand. Girls are like cake. They can be very sweet, and a lot of work goes into them. You might not get it right the first time but it takes practice"
Tung shared a look with Zap. "How does this help us?"
"I'm just saying you have to treat them right to get the flavour you want," he was met with quizzical stares. "Or…I don't know, give them a present. Nothing says I love you more than a material gift."
Zap had left by this point, fed up with the ridiculous nonsense that Dex was speaking. Tung had retrieved the cummerbunds, and after throwing Zap's over the dressing room door to him, he was attempting to pull his around his wide tummy. The pilot walked out of the room, dressed head to toe in a neat tuxedo identical to the ones worn by Dex and Tung.
The theme for the wedding was red and green, the colours of Dex and Jane. Boys would wear Jane's 'green' in their tuxedos and the girls would be wearing Dex's 'red'.
"This is great," Dex complimented, draping his arms over Tung and Zap as they all stood on the podium, looking at their reflections in the mirror. "The girls are going to flip."
As soon as the words left his mouth, the cummerbund around Tung flicked off his body with a loud twang like a rubber band.
"This wedding couldn't come soon enough," Zap groaned as he pulled at his bow tie.
"Wow, since when is this hall so dark?" Tung muttered whilst walking down the gloomy lit walkway, luckily for the frog boy, his vision was impeccable.
Maybe it was just his nerves, after all, he was on a mission. His red eyes traced to the small gift in his hands.
"Just remember what Zap told you…"
Tung had found Zap cleaning the dash of the ship. He stood at the door for a minute, planning what he was going to say.
"Hey Zap?" he questioned shyly.
"Hmm," he hummed in recognition, his eyes not leaving his work.
"How… how do you get a girl to like you?" the bug boy ceased his work for a split second, mulling over the tracker's words before resuming his work.
"If I knew, I'd tell you," he looked up from the dash to face Tung. "But I think doing stuff for them like cleaning the ship doesn't hurt."
Tung only appeared more uncomfortable as he scuffed his shoes on the floor. Zap felt a small wave of sympathy wash over him.
"This about Bream?" he already knew the answer, but just wanted to make sure. The original Tung had come back, nodding his head like a happy puppy and flashing a shy grin.
"Well, first step dude," Zap began, kneeling down to Tung's level. "You gotta be able to talk to her; you've got no shot if you can't say anything."
"I know," Tung looked away and slumped his shoulders. "It's just hard. I don't know where to start."
"Say hello for a start," Zap stood up tall, practically towering over the frog boys stubby figure. "Then do something like give her a compliment or a small gift of appreciation. If you're going to ask her to the wedding, give her one of those flower things that girls wear on their wrists. She might like that."
The pilot watched as Tung's small smile grew into a large grin. "Wow, thanks Zap. You're a genius," the frog boy hopped happily towards the door, but stopped before he exited.
"If you know all this, how come you and Jenny aren't together?"
"Because I can't talk to her," Zap spoke in a chuckle.
Tung was brought back to reality when he noticed the small beam of light pouring on to the floor at the end of the hall.
You know the place, Hamilton Habitat. That huge spherical dome placed on the top of a steeple at the peak of the building was one of the places Tung enjoyed visiting when he was having a rough day, and by the scent of it, the very person he was looking for had found their way to this place too.
There she was, standing on the balcony structure of the building and watching the stars. From the door, Tung gazed in amazement at how the moonlight poured down so gracefully over her. He could feel the fear rising in his gullet again, preventing speech, but he bravely swallowed it with a clearing of the throat to announce his presence. The frog girl turned.
"Tung?" she spoke, more to state the obvious; sometimes his footsteps are not so light.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, turning her eyes back to the full moon.
"This is one of my favourite places to hang," he mumbled coherently, staring at the moon as well to avoid eye contact.
"Really?" she asked, slightly interested. "Sorry if I've interrupted you. I'll go if you-"
"No, no," Tung spoke up quickly, this time meeting her gaze. Her eyes bore into his, so he was relieved when he remembered the perfect distraction in his hand. "Here…this is for you."
Bream took the small white box, curiously looking at Tung who had dropped his head. She pulled at the blue ribbon and opened the gift. A smile grew on Bream's face as she pulled out the green and white flowered corsage.
"Tung, it's beautiful," the frog girl admired the flower as the white petals reflected the moonlight. The tracker took a chance and glanced up at her.
"It's ok I guess. You…you look really nice," his confidence grew with her smile as he lifted his head up. Her red blush became evident in an instant.
"Thank you Tung," the girl knelt down to the frog boy's level, holding out the flower. "Do you want to put the corsage on my wrist-"
"You can say no," Tung spoke immediately, in a slightly angry tone that startled Bream. "I don't…want you to feel on the spot."
Bream tilted her head in an adorable fashion as though pondering the situation. With one webbed hand, she grasped Tung's hand and placed the flower in it.
"Put it on," she spoke softly as she held out her wrist. He did as he was told. "And I would love to go to the wedding with you."
"How did you-"
Bream stood up, shaking her head slightly. "Wasn't that hard," she turned away from him, grasping the cold metal poles of the balcony railing. Tung's eyes watched nothing but her for a split second, debating whether or not to leave. He turned to the railing, releasing an annoyed groan at the height of the top pole. His feet twitched; and a smile grew on his face.
What does Tung do when he's happy? He bounces.
Bouncing on the balls of his feet, the tracker focused on the pole in front of him and jumped, grabbing the railing and sitting comfortably on the barrier. Bream flicked her head over to him in slight amazement, before lowering her shoulders and cuddling up to him. He decided against trying to hide his huge smile.
"I can see why you like this place," Bream said quietly, still staring at all the stars scattered across the sky.
Another image of Bream flashed inside Tung's eyelids, bathed in a glowing moonlight. "Yeah…"
"How about this one?" Dex pointed to a large frosty tower sitting in the window. This was their fourth cake shop he and Jane had visited that day so by now, he was ready to take anything. And personally, anything in this shop looked better than whatever Tung had dropped in front of them the afternoon before.
"No…" Jane drawled out in thought, biting down on her thumbnail. "It just doesn't seem like us."
Dex sighed loudly in exasperation, his arms falling to his sides. "This is impossible," he groaned. Out of the corner of his eye, he spied another cake resting near the glass.
"How about that one?" he questioned, kneeling down for a better view.
Jane looked at him incredulously. "Dex, that's for a boy's seventh birthday party…"
"Yeah but it's green and shaped like a bug," a cheeky smiled was flashed in her direction. "How much more us can it be?"
"No," the bride spoke instantly, causing the leader to stand to her height once more.
"Can we please make a decision. We've been at this all day and frankly, they're all starting to look the same."
The girl sighed a sigh of relief. "Yeah, you're right."
"Great, so how do we do this?" Jane peered around Dex to find the back wall coated in different wedding cake samples. She made a bee-line to the back, her husband-to-be following her steps.
"Should be simple enough,"she spoke uneasily as the sheer number of different styles and patterns and decorations flooded her mind.
"Hey, check this out," Dex spoke excitedly while walking over to the decorations. "This green ribbon is the same as our theme."
It didn't take long for Jane to find the 'Dex red' coloured ribbon in the opposite corner of the colour section. Both entomologists stared at each other, sly grins adoring their features. Within an instant, ribbon was being unfurled off the spools at an alarming rate as each person competed to see who could finish their reel first.
"Do you like this base?" Jane questioned with Dex by her side, gesturing to a three tiered, medium sized plain cake. He draped his strong arm over her shoulders, a mass of ribbon in his fist.
Dex stood behind Jane as both wrapped their ribbons around the base, green ribbon settling over red. They repeated this act on the other remaining tiers until they ceased and stood back, admiring their work.
It was simple, and not very fancy, just like them. Jane was about to ask her fiancé something but was interrupted by his quick words.
"Wait, it's missing something," Jane was left dumbfounded when he disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Immediately he returned with an object hidden in his hands.
"Close your eyes," now by this point, a stressed out bride who had been hunting for the perfect wedding cake all day is usually exhausted, but to the excited and ignorant stare of Dex, she obliged while huffing in slight agitation. The groom quickly stretched his hand past Jane's shoulder and placed the mystery item on the top of the cake.
"Ok, open!" Jane did as instructed and turned to the dessert. To her surprise, a small green insect decoration had been placed on the wedding cake, covering the large circle where the 'bride and groom' statue would normally stand. The cricket expert turned to the entomologist with her mouth agape, only to see a cheery and child-like grin on his face.
She felt all anger wash out of her.
With a small step forward, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him on the cheek, resting her head on his shoulder as they admired their teamwork.
"We made our cake," she whispered softly, Dex smiling contently as he leaned his head on hers.
The plans for the wedding were coming along smoothly. The ceremony, scheduled to take place the following month was only missing a few things necessary to make it the perfect day for Dex and Jane.
Speaking of the two, they had fallen into their very own world where only they existed, hopelessly pathetic and pitiful; Zap's words. They would spend countless hours never leaving each other's sides, which did make some recent missions impossible with no teamwork and many communication errors.
Without surprise, they were together again, shopping for another wedding 'necessity'. Jane had dragged Dex to the jewellers to organise the wedding bands that would be used in the ceremony. Dex released another sigh.
"Are we going to be here much longer?" he questioned for the umpteenth time.
"You know," Jane spoke, slightly irritated at his five year old behaviour. "The lucky couples are usually the ones who chose their rings together; no complaints and lots of smiles."
Dex's gaze flashed to the girl.
"Besides, you owe me this, since technically I didn't get an engagement ring," the entomologist covered a sly grin well, considering Jane's back was to him as she admired the glass display case. He strolled up to her, wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her cheek.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, pressing his cheek to hers. "I'll pay more attention."
He was immediately rewarded with a hug.
"Thank you," her bright eyes shined up at him in gratitude. Their, yet another gooey moment, was interrupted by an assistant behind the counter who had returned with a tray of rings.
"How about these, Madam?" he questioned in a snooty voice. Jane held the two gold rings together.
"Do you like these two Dex?" she asked her fiancé behind her. Dex stretched his neck out to examine the rings.
"Maybe, but what about those two in the corner," Jane moved her eyes over to the rings in question, one appeared to have a line through the centre.
"I guess," Jane responded uneasily. She pinched the ring and tried to pull, yet found it difficult compared to the others. With a tighter tug, she pulled out the ring that was wedged in the display tray, only to discover that there were two rings. The 'line' on the ring was from two bands pushed together. Jane's eyes widened in amazement as she studied the second ring, a large jewel resting on its surface.
"Dex, what is this?" she turned around with the ring in her hand, the gem catching the light. Dex shrugged cheekily, taking the ring into his own hand.
"I know this is a little late, but I was trying to think of a clever way to give it to you. Turns out putting it inside an insect is not the best way to deliver something this expensive. When it was the countdown to New Years I thought, now's the perfect time to propose, but by then the ring wasn't ready," Dex delicately held Jane's hand and slipped the ring on her ring finger. Jane was quick to give him a soft kiss on the lips.
"Thank you," she whispered in his ear. "But Dex, this costs so much!"
"Actually it won't," he continued with his speech when Jane gave him a quizzical stare. "You see, when the mayor found out two of Earth's greatest entomologists were getting married, he decided to donate some money towards the wedding. Practically everything is paid for. I guess the mayor is a big fan of our work."
Jane's eyes lit up in amazement. "That's incredible," she beamed, Dex mirroring her smile.
"There's just one thing," he spoke slowly, resulting in Jane to raise her eyebrow in a testing manner.
"He said he would pay for it, if the wedding was open to the public," the smile never left Jane's face.
"That's perfect," she spoke softly, wrapping her arms around his neck. They were snapped out of their own world by the assistant clearing his throat.
"Ah, yes sir," Dex began, his eyes fixated on Jane's. "We'll take those two."
"Jane you are so lucky," Bream complimented the bride as she studied the ring. The whole team had come to admire the stone, some more enthusiastic than others. "Dex can really be romantic."
The alarm to the front gate blared in alert. Dex stared at the bright light before looking over at Jane. "Are we expecting someone?"
The leader stood from the chair and made his way to the door. It opened with a quick swish, revealing a tall man with a thick moustache. He appeared bashful as he stared into Dex's eyes; eyes that reflected his own. "Hello."
Dex stood with his mouth slightly agape. "Dad?"
"Habi?" Jenny yelled at the tiny robot that was resting on a small pillow positioned on some computing equipment. The bug-bot twitched slightly at the noise, resisting the urge to open his eyes in angry annoyance.
"Move you lazy bot!" the clone tapped him on the back. "I told you to take out the garbage."
Again, Habi did not move, trying ever so much to fall back into a sleep pattern. It was only after he heard the footsteps of his manufacturer leave the room that the robot took the chance to open his eyes.
No boss, no worries.
Stretching and releasing a yawn that squeaked with his gears, Habi shook his head and stared around the empty control room.
'Well, what to do now?' the bot thought as he sailed into the air with his robotic wings. Habi knew he had chores to do, but he wasn't so supportive of robot slave labour laws here. Usually he would sneak into Jenny's toolbox for a snack of cogs and gears, then have a game with the archive bots in the library, but today, I don't know, he was feeling adventurous.
Habi flew over to the garbage bag, eyeing it with disdain. That certainly doesn't look like a job he wanted to do. A small rustle caught his attention, and his gaze darted to the air vent above him. He moved closer to the grate, distinctly hearing the loud and nasally voice of Tung from a different room.
A sly expression crossed his robotic features. He knew what he was going to do today.
Using his tiny mechanic claws, Habi managed to unscrew the screws in the vent and successfully remove the grate. Upon flying inside the metal tube, he made a mental note to restore that to the way it was.
Maybe he should've thought this through first; after all, he wasn't expecting the vent to be so hot and small. Retracting his wings, he slid further and further down the narrow tunnel until he reached another grate. From his position in the wall, Habibot had a perfect view of Tung shoving his face in the fridge.
'No surprise there,' the bug bot thought in a bored manner, although he watched on as the frog boy pulled out a plastic container full of crawling caterpillars from the fridge. He held them closer for examination before darting his eyes back and forth on the lookout for anyone passing by. Habi watched on in horror as Tung pulled the lid off and tipped the container into his mouth.
'Ugh, is there anything that frog won't eat?' Habi thought angrily as he made his way further down the tunnel. That's it, he had had enough. Where is the nearest exit around here?
A striped reflection of light brought a smile to his robotic face, and he hurried as fast as his little mechanical legs could carry him. His smile faltered as he watched on in confusion at the sight in front of him.
Zap…was dancing. There, right in front of him through the grate, was the big tough guy wearing dance shoes and holding his arms around an imaginary partner. There was no music playing, only Zap humming some very out-of-tune tune. His steps were simple, walking around in a circle, turning at every step and constantly bringing his feet together. Habi felt slightly impressed. Suddenly, the bug boy ceased his dancing and lowered his hands as though those of the partners were still in his. His eyes snapped open and he stared at his shoes, as though what he was about to say was going to take a lot of courage.
"Will you go out with me?" his words sliced through the silence in the room. Habi stared with curiosity as Zap raked his hands though his hair and collapsed on his bed face first. The robot shook his head. It was time to walk away. Whenever you're watching someone asking to take their relationship to the next level with their imaginary dance partner, you know it's time to leave.
Please, please, let this be an exit! Yes, up ahead. I see the light!
The bugs legs clinked on the metal as he walked rapidly to the half open grate. The small circular bot was half hanging out of the exit when would you believe it, Dex and Jane strolled in. Habi was about to jump out, they wouldn't have seen or heard him from where he was, but he couldn't. It just wasn't the right time to jump out of a vent when the people in the room are having an argument.
"What is your father doing here?" Jane questioned in a slightly raised voice. Dex stood one pace away from her, both of them appearing to have a very intense staring match.
"I don't know, he didn't call me either and tell me he was showing up."
"So are you going to ask him?" Jane queried as she crossed her arms. Habi slowly started to retract back into the vent. Jane can look dangerous when she's angry.
"Do you think he'll take it well?" Dex appeared to droop in front of her. "I mean, what about Zap?"
Jane uncrossed her arms and stepped closer to Dex, recognising his sadness at the situation. "He'll understand. This is your father after all."
"Yes, a man who abandoned me when I was ten to take care of a bug in another universe. I don't even think I want him at the wedding, let alone be a part of it," this time Dex crossed his arms, facing away from his fiancé. Jane walked up to him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"It's alright, we'll talk to both of them," she cooed quietly. Dex turned around at her comforting words.
"You're right," he whispered softly, leaning in closer to her and grasping her hands in his. Habi turned his head from the grate and continued down the chute. He knew they were going to kiss; it seemed like all they ever did. 'Yuck', he had seen that before, and he definitely didn't need to see it again.
A brilliant shine of light lit up his eyes. The end of the tunnel. He walked as fast as his little legs could carry him, faster. Yes! The grate was open too. Habi carefully shimmied his round body out of the opening, only to fall with a small thunk…back onto his pillow. He shook his head from the sudden landing just as the clone walked back into the room with a clipboard in her hand.
"Oh Habi," Jenny gently spoke to the bug bot. "It's a bot's life," she said in a condescending tone. The bot nestled into his pillow, his eyes beginning to shut. However, his nap was short lived when Jenny spoke, his eyes snapping wide open.
"And yet, you still didn't take out the garbage."
Of course, not all jobs could be left to the bride and groom. Some 'smaller in comparison' jobs can easily be completed by the 'smaller in comparison' roles in the bridal party. In other words; Jenny, Zap and Tung.
The three stood outside the retail store, looking up at its storeys with worried expressions.
"Let's get this over with," the engineer sighed. The other two nodded in agreement.
"So what are we supposed to do?" Tung questioned, the usual character to not understand his role.
"We have to scan price tags on different items to register them for the wedding. People will come to the store and buy whatever we have suggested on that list," Tung's face lit up in excitement.
"So, we can register whatever we want?" Jenny rolled her eyes at his statement.
"No, that's where we have a list of items from Jane," Zap snatched the piece of paper from her hands and began reading.
"This is ridiculous. We have to find all this junk?" he questioned incredulously. Jenny snatched the piece of paper from his hands in the same rude manner.
"Yes. Can you guys please stop acting like children while we do this?"
"Sure, but can we visit a bathroom first?" Tung questioned bashfully.
"I'll get the scanners and meet you guys in the homeware section," Jenny instructed the boys once they were in the building. She left to find a counter, leaving the guys standing in Metro City's largest retail centre and without a clue of what to do.
"Where is the homeware section?" Tung questioned his co-worker. Zap shared the same confused look as the frog boy.
"I have no idea," the bug boy asked wearily. "Let's just follow the signs that say 'homewares.'"
They promptly found the desired section after following the signs. Tung had become intrigued with standing on the painted footprints on the floor. Jenny stood waiting at the end of the corridor with what looked like three black guns in her hands.
"There you are," she spoke with slight impatience, handing each of them a scanner. "So just find what you need on the list. Tung, you can go to the small items at the top of the list, while Zap and I get all the larger items."
Both boys nodded and the team spread out to their different areas.
Tung held the pistol close to his chest, as though what he was looking to scan was going to jump out at him at the next corridor. He walked towards a table covered in objects with extreme caution, pulling out the copy of the list that Jenny had given him.
Hang on, that was on the list. Wait, that was too. Tung looked around to the shelves on the other side of the store. Objects sitting there were on the list too.
Tung looked down to the gun and back at the shelf, a sly grin coming to his face. Oh this was going to be fun. He checked to ensure the scanner was ready, aimed, and fired. Left, right, changing hands mid-air, jumping high to reach the top ones, back flipping to scan the objects he missed, tumbling along the floor to reach the low ones. He felt like a spy, the noises of the beeps ringing in his ears. At some point this could be described as ridiculous, but he couldn't stop. He had to see the red lines, the satisfying beep which approved the gift. He tumbled out of the lane way and into the corridor, positioned on one knee and the gun aimed high. For a moment he was wondering why the object in front of him wasn't scanning.
"What do you think you're doing?" the worker at the store questioned Tung, a raging glare piercing through the frog boy's goggles.
"Um," he spoke quietly, unable to explain his situation. The assistant obviously held no patience as he snatched the scanner from his green gloves and left in a huff.
'Yeah', Tung thought as he looked around the store at all the scanned items, whether or not they were on the list. 'That was probably best.'
Meanwhile, Jenny and Zap had been busy scanning all their items.
"I can't believe they need all this junk," Zap voiced his opinion yet again. "Who needs two toasters anyway?"
Jenny rolled her eyes at his attitude. "I'm guessing you've never been to a wedding before?" she questioned, twirling the gun around in her hand.
"Neither have you," he snapped back with his usual arrogance. She nodded in agreement.
"True, but I know enough to say that all the guests who arrive feel the need to deliver a present, so wedding couples who don't need this stuff simply ask for it and then regift the stuff they don't want," Zap nodded his head in understanding.
"Seems fair, but I wouldn't want any of this crap at my wedding." Jenny snapped her head up at his words.
"You plan to get married?" she questioned almost unbelievingly. He scanned another kitchen item before looking at her.
"Sure, don't you?" his eyes almost looked hopeful, unnoticed by the clone.
"Well, yeah," she spoke softly, a light blush covering her cheeks. "I just never thought you would get married."
"I plan on it," he said, walking closer to her. "I just know how hard it is to meet people with our job," he collapsed on the couch in the store.
She rolled her eyes playfully. "Tell me about it," she fell on to the other side of the couch, staring at the scanner with huge interest.
"You'll find someone," she said confidently, still not staring at him although she could feel his eyes on her.
"You really think so?" he questioned, staring intently at her. He could feel his hope rising and falling with every breath. She flipped her head up in a snap, startling him slightly, a small smile growing on her lips.
"Sure," Jenny said, though her smile dropped slowly when she saw his head hanging down.
"Hey," she spoke kindly, shifting towards him. He shuffled in his seat as she edged closer. "You wanna register Dex and Jane for all the ugliest stuff in the store?"
His grin grew a little, which was a rare sight for…well, anyone. He grabbed his scanner and held it up like a gun. "Let's go," he spoke with enthusiasm, and both leapt up from the couch in search for the most hideous items that could make them feel better.
This time it was Jenny who stood waiting outside the proton ball practice room, waiting for her dance partner to show up. This lesson, in her mind, would hopefully make up for the first one, which as they both remember, ended in disaster.
I hope his nose is feeling better.
Jenny was slightly more nervous about today's lesson. Despite the fact that she had been secretly practicing in her room, this time there was going to be an audience. Jane was going to come and watch today to see how things had come along, which was only going to add to the anxiety.
She released a long breath as she saw Zap walking up the hall; his nose almost completely repaired. He smiled slightly, something she wasn't quite used to.
"Are you ready?" he questioned, eagerness in his voice. "Cause they're waiting for us."
He opened the door for her and stepped aside. "Lady's first," he ushered by holding out his arm. Jenny gave him a quizzical stare as she walked past.
"Dex has been giving us etiquette lessons for the wedding. I don't really want to talk about it," Zap spoke reservedly, Jenny smirking at the idea.
Mental note, ask about the etiquette lessons.
Dex and Jane were already in the room, patiently waiting for the performance. Dex moved from his seat next to Jane and walked up to the nervous pair.
"All right you two," Dex clasped his hands together in his usual fashion. "This practice, as you can tell is slightly more important, so I hope you've been practicing."
Jenny and Zap looked to the floor, blushes spreading on their cheeks and remaining silent; neither wanting to confess to the embarrassing act.
He walked away with quick strides and returned to his seat, leaving the dancers alone on the dance floor. They faced each other and stood in their first position.
"Don't stand on my foot this time," Jenny whispered to Zap, the bug boy recognising the playfulness in her voice.
"So long as your head stays away from my nose," he retaliated with the same amount of cheek. The two were interrupted by Dex clearing his throat, and with a quick nod, the dancing began.
Step forward, bring your feet together, turn to the left, step back…
"Have you been practicing?" she asked, almost incredulously. He shrugged slightly as their waltz began to quicken.
"Maybe. What about you?" Zap questioned as Jenny twirled sharply and returned to his arms with a slight jolt. Jane shared a look with Dex which pointed out the mistake, but smiled as she watched the two move together in perfect synchronisation.
"Maybe," she replied slyly. He smiled back, slowing down their dancing speed. With one smooth action he curled her out of his vicinity, hands still connected. Jenny curled back into him, albeit without another mistake. Her twirl back to her partner came faster than both expected and she hit him square in the stomach. Zap released a sharp breath of air as the wind rushed out of his lungs. He leaned forward slightly, clutching his stomach and closing his eyes.
"Oh sorry," Jenny leaned down to his bent over height, placing a hand over his back. From the corner of her eye, she could see Dex bury his head in his hands. Zap recovered quickly, after all, it wasn't anything like a hit to the nose.
"Are you ok?" Jenny cooed in sympathy. She took her hand off his back immediately when she realised it was still there.
"Yeah I'm fine," he spoke with a slight choke in his voice. "I've had worse."
Zap smirked at the blush that grew on Jenny's cheeks. By this point Jane had walked up and asked Zap the same question. Receiving the same response, Jane flicked her head back to her fiancé, who was looking very worried.
"We didn't do that badly, did we?" Jenny questioned Jane when she noticed her leader's look.
"No," the bride-to-be corrected immediately. "He's just got some…other wedding issues on his mind."
"Well we can work on that part more," Zap said hurriedly. He stepped closer to Jenny in preparation to begin dancing again, only to have Jane grab his arm.
"No that's all right," she spoke gingerly as she let go of him. The two looked up at Jane with slight caution.
"Your dancing certainly has improved, although it's not perfect," Jane looked back at Dex again. "Let's just, maybe finish up for today."
Jenny and Zap looked at each other and back at Jane with worry, but humbly obliged.
They exited the room without another word to the engaged couple. Jenny looked at Zap as they stood outside.
"I wonder where we went wrong," she appeared to be telling herself more than she was telling Zap, her voice soft as though fighting back tears. She turned and walked down the hall, her heels making a clicking noise with every step. Zap looked down at the floor, a bit disappointed with how things had gone. He was interrupted by another voice clearing their throat.
"Excuse me, I need to enter here," Winston gestured to the door behind Zap. The pilot stepped aside immediately, face flushing red.
"Sorry. Are you going in there for proton ball practice?"
"No dear boy, my son said something about a dance lesson."
The team at Hamilton habitat were in the final weeks in the countdown until the wedding. In a blink of an eye, it would be here. There were only a few things left to do…
"What are we going to say?" Jane said to her fiancé. They were both standing in the habitat staring into one of the pavilions.
"What do you mean?" Dex turned to her, his hands clasped behind his back.
"At the wedding, for our vows"
"Well it shouldn't be that hard," Dex spoke, turning his head back to the glass to watch a lava glow worm munch on some leaves. "Jane, I love you and want you in my life forever. There, done."
Jane shook her head with a smirk. "If only it were that simple."
"But it is," Dex assured her, turning his whole body towards her and gently grasping her shoulders. "We shouldn't have to over-think it. How about this," Dex held a finger to his chin in a thoughtful manner. "I'm proud to be taking this exciting step together. May our future be a bright and happy one."
"Yeah, I read that card too," Jane shot her gaze to Dex with a sly grin. Dex rubbed the back of his neck bashfully, shyly looking down at his shoes. "I think we should do something more original, something more us."
"What do you think is us?"
"I don't know," she faced the habitat with great interest. "You adore bugs, so why don't you say to me what you feel for the insects?"
"Ok," Dex crossed his arms comfortably across his chest and cleared his throat. "You are my best friend, my confidant and one of my favourite pests-"
Jane laughed as soon as the words left his mouth. Satisfied that she didn't take it offensively, he continued down a safer path. "You make me laugh and cry, you are honest and wise. You are my strength and you are kind-hearted. You always love me no matter what."
Dex ceased his speech as a small noise caught his attention. He turned his head to his fiancé, noticing Jane's mouth ajar as she gasped slightly in happiness. His eyes, sharp as an eagle, noticed the tiny prick of tears in the corners of her dark eyes.
"That's beautiful," she whispered. Dex shrugged bashfully.
"I guess I've been working on it a little," he turned to her with hopeful eyes. "What about you?"
"I guess I've been working on something, but it's not finished," he ushered his hand in front of her as a sign to begin. She inhaled a breath before beginning.
"I love the way you love and care for me. I love the way you trust and believe in me. I love the way you always look your best for me," Dex snorted slightly at her comment. "I love you and I love my life with you."
A warm sensation filled her hand as Dex interlaced their fingers. Jane looked down at their hands, unknowingly smiling.
"I guess it's a work in progress," she mumbled as she leaned on his shoulder. Dex draped his arm over her shoulders, pulling her close.
This was the day that most members of the wedding party had been waiting for, and no, it wasn't the wedding.
"Bachelorette party!" Jenny screamed at the top of her lungs. Jane and Bream had to cover their ears at her level of volume.
"Yes, ok," Jane shushed the clone slightly. "It is the bachelorette party, but nothing crazy is going to happen," Jenny's face appeared to droop at her words. "Sorry, I promised Dex."
"So what are we going to do tonight?" Bream asked in her sweet voice.
"We're hitting the bars," Jane announced as she opened the doors to the neon bar. Jenny and Bream's eyes reflected all the colours in the room.
"Excuse me girls, I'm going to get the drinks," Jane said. "Hopefully they'll come free if the bride is ordering them."
"I'm just going to go wash up," Bream said to Jenny, leaving the clone to claim their seats at the bar.
"I'm sorry, but no," Jenny mumbled, avoiding eye contact by prodding her straw around in her drink. The man who she was talking to left with a small grunt, his seat replaced immediately by Bream.
"What gives Jenny?" she questioned in her most subtle way. "That was like the forth guy you've turned down tonight."
"I just wasn't sure," she shrugged casually. Bream narrowed her eyes towards the engineer.
"Is this about Zap?" she questioned genuinely, but with an obvious taste of gossip dripping on her words.
"What?" she scoffed in a bad attempt to hide her embarrassment. "No. Why do you assume I like Zap?"
"Because you never shut up about him," Bream smirked while sipping her drink.
"Plus you mentioned his name in conversation with that guy," Jane piped in as she took the other seat beside Jenny.
"Look, I don't know what to tell you," the clone put her hands up in defence. "I don't like Zap and I probably never will."
The girl left her seat abruptly, Jane shuffling into Jenny's unoccupied seat moments later.
"Won't last long, she's still dancing with him at the wedding," both girls giggled before clinking their drinks together.
Jenny rolled over in her bed that morning, a slight headache threatening her peaceful morning.
Mental note: Never drink that much when upset.
Now just to remember that mental note.
Her headache began to grow slightly with the ever growing beep from her wristcom on her desk. She could've sworn she didn't set an alarm today. Begrudgingly moving across, she flicked open the com and studied its source. She had received an e-mail from Tung.
She opened the message entitled "last night" and gaped in shock as the image played on the green hologram in front of her.
"Quiet everyone, here he comes," Tung announced in a hushed whisper from his post at the door. He was ordered to keep an eye out for Dex and warn the guests in the room when he was coming. The crowd fell silent as they saw the shadow of the entomologist on the staircase.
"Surprise!" the crowd shouted as the groom-to-be entered the room. Dex flicked his head up in shock, but a smile quickly grew on his face. His eyes gazed around the room full of strangers until they fell on Zap and Tung at the front of the group.
"What's all this guys?" he questioned happily as he strolled forward. Zap gestured to Tung before heading to the bar.
"Your bachelor party awaits, dude," the tubby tracker bowed slightly, his hand outstretched and motioning towards a large table where many of the random guests, including a man holding Tung's video recorder, had started to take their seats. The leader's grin grew further as Tung lead him to a large chair.
"And since there isn't going to be any entertainment," Zap gave Dex a dirty look before sitting next to the entomologist and placing the drinks down in from of him. "I'm going to get started on these early."
"I'm sorry mate," Dex said, trying but failing to give Zap a sympathetic look. "I promised Jane."
Zap held up his drink in a mock toast before downing it in one sip. Others around the table looked on in worry and surprise.
"Ok," Dex spoke uncomfortably as he grasped his beer tightly in his hand and stood up. "Thank you everyone for coming to help make this night one to remember. I don't actually know how this works but-"
"Allow me dude," Tung stated as he rose from his chair with a glass of sparkling…apple juice. "We all thought that, since we are in the final days of Dex as a single dude, that his closest friends would say some nice words to the lucky guy."
"Not S'truth," Zap slurred from his position. Dex and Tung whipped their heads around to the bug boy, noticing the three empty shot glasses in front of him and the forth one in his hand. "S'truth is just…like…it's…it's just weird!"
Dex shook his head in disappointment. I can't believe how loose the drinking laws are for 15 year olds now.
"Strooo-" Zap pouted his lips as he prolonged the note of the word. Tung, raising his eyebrow at the boy's shenanigans, held up his glass and cleared his throat.
"Dex, I've always looked up to you, and not because I'm so short," the table hummed with laughter. "It's because you've always been like a father instead of a leader; a friend instead of a boss. You let me eat insects-"
"…nothing. But most importantly, you've given me a home and a job and I couldn't ask for any more. Your kind generosity is one of your best qualities, and Jane is a lucky girl for having you," Dex smiled broadly at the frog boy, placing his hand on the tracker's shoulder in a comforting manner.
"Thanks Tung," he stammered with a slightly shaky breath as Tung resumed in his chair. Zap hic-cupped loudly as he placed another empty glass on the table.
"Zap, you wanna say a few words?" Tung questioned in the hopes that the bug boy would refuse his offer. Unfortunately, the pilot stood with a beer in his hand, his eyes glazed over from the effects of the alcohol.
"Thank you frog, I'll take it from here," Zap pointed his finger as a pistol and pointed it to Tung. "Hey, did you ever tell Dex about that time in the kitchen? I can't believe you ate all those beetle burritos. "
The frog boy gazed down, face flushing with embarrassment. "Not cool Zap-"
"Of course you didn't tell Dex about that, until now I guess. Hey, did Dex figure out it was me who set the oven alight?" the leader pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingers in frustration.
"Zap, he's right here," Tung looked at Zap in utter disbelief. The pilot held a finger to his lips.
"Well don't tell him, ok," the bug boy began to sway slightly as he spoke in a coherent slur. "I only did it because I couldn't stand your cooking. Anyway, Dex, I hope you're happy with Jane. You seem to be as she's the only one who can put up with your Australian mumbo jumbo. But…you know…you're very lucky to have someone so special in your life," by this point, Zap had slumped in his chair, a vacant stare plastered on his face. "Tung will be with Bream, Jane will stick with you Dex and I'll have nothing but stolen glances of Jenny across the room and the longing desire to smell her hair."
His voice had turned into a sob at the end of his sentence as he slammed his cheek on to the table, his index finger tracing the ring of water the glass had left. The rest of the table's occupants exchanged confused and obviously uncomfortable looks.
"Ok, that's enough," Dex stated as he rose from his chair, grasping Zap angrily at his shoulders and pulling him out of his seat. "Thank you everyone for coming. It's been…interesting."
The morning sun pierced through Zap's eyelids like a blinding light; a bright, unnecessary, unwanted light. He attempted to move his head, but grasped the side in pain as a huge migraine throbbed. His mouth tasted salty and unpleasant. The pilot managed to pull himself into a seated position on his bed, holding his head lightly to try and stop the small thudding. It didn't take him long to realise that the thudding was actually someone at his door.
He begrudgingly placed his feet on the cold metal floor and made his way over to the door. It opened in a swish to reveal Jenny, her eyes red and full of threatening tears. He was about to question her presence there, when he was met with a hard slap on his cheek.
"What the hell?" Jenny screamed on the verge of tears. Zap held his face as his cheek began to burn red. "How could you do that?"
"What are you talking about?" he groaned, squeezing his eyes shut as the headache throbbed with her volume.
"Tung sent me this," she screamed angrily as she typed on her wristcom. A green hologram burst up between them, playing a video entitled "last night."
"-and I'll have nothing but stolen glances of Jenny across the room and the longing desire to smell her hair."
Zap closed his eyes slowly and groaned in embarrassment, the memory of last night returning to him in a quick flash. Jenny closed the hologram between them, revealing a tight and angry expression.
"I can't believe you said that!" her voice reached a volume higher than Zap could imagine.
"Look, I-," he tried to begin explaining, but was silenced with a hand in his face.
"No, I don't want to hear it. You've embarrassed me, yourself and everyone else," her volume had dropped to a mere whisper. "Congratulations."
She walked off without another word, leaving him with a throbbing headache, an unpleasant taste in his mouth and a feeling of regret; none of which were from the hangover.
Great, he couldn't feel any worse.
Wait, yes he could, because before he knew it, Dex was at his door.
The leader was met with a dishevelled, half asleep boy. The entomologist's expression was less than impressed.
"Do you remember what happened last night?" he was answered with a silent nod.
"Zap your behaviour was atrocious," he began one of his lectures like he always would, making an obvious statement. "And if that influence is available at the wedding, I don't want another repeat of it."
Zap could feel where this was going, his facing drooping in further illness and shame.
"Look, you're still going to be a member of the wedding party, but I'm going to make my dad my best man," the hurt came back tenfold, far worse than when Jenny was here if that were possible.
"I'm sorry, but I need someone responsible," he crossed his arms tightly. "You don't need to come to the dance lessons any more. Jenny will be dancing with my father."
Blue eyes shot up almost immediately, glazing over with threatening tears. Despite the pain in his head, he began to shake it vigorously in a pleading way to make Dex change his mind.
"I'm sorry," he apologized again before slowly turning and walking away.
Zap closed the door and fell to his bed immediately, the tears falling freely to the covers. He had ruined everything…in one night. No chance to help Dex on the biggest day of his life, Tung would never forgive him for what he said, and most importantly, he had destroyed any chance he had to create a relationship with Jenny.
He had screwed everything up, and now he was facing the cruel reality.
Jenny stood in the proton ball practice room, Jane giving her a small overview of Dex's decision after last night. "…so basically, you'll be dancing with Winston now, not Zap."
Jenny nodded solemnly, a hint of relief filling her insides. She just couldn't handle being with Zap after his little meltdown, especially after what he said about her.
"Jenny?" Dex caught the attention of his engineer. Standing by his side was the moustache-clad, older version of Dex. "My dad is here to dance with you. We're lucky this time, because dad has experience in this matter."
"May I?" the older man held out his hand to the girl. Jenny smiled and took it and was immediately spun into the correct dancing position. The movements were fluid and unbroken, like a father-daughter dance. Jane and Dex watched on from the sidelines with content smiles at the beautiful dancing, while Zap stood behind the one way mirror watching as Jenny laughed her contagious laugh as she was spun again.
No one standing on toes, no hits to the face, no punch to the stomach. Zap groaned as Winston kissed the clone's hand, Dex and Jane applauding at the near perfect routine.
She deserves better…
This was it.
The big day.
Dex was about to become a married man, and although he was feeling slightly nervous, he was doing…ok…
"What do you mean there's no fuel in the ship?" Dex raked his hands though his golden hair as he shouted his question. Zap, who was casually leaning on the large computer desk simply shrugged Dex off while continuing to type on his wristcom.
"Relax," he said as he stood up and paid attention to the panic-stricken groom. "Tung and I just need to refill it and we'll head off."
The pilot left the room in a casual stroll, leaving the leader breathing heavily and his heart pounding.
Zap walked out the door slowly, but once he was in the corridor, he bolted down to the supply room to find the fuel and the frog boy along the way. It had been a few weeks since Zap's fiasco during the bachelor party, and most things had returned to normal. Tung is always quick to forgive, and even quicker to forget. Although things had been incredibly awkward, Jenny had only recently started talking to him again, in very short and infrequent doses. His role as best man had not been restored, but he felt it was a fair punishment, plus he was going to try and make up for it today by doing everything that Winston couldn't.
"Tung?" Zap called as soon as he reached the supply room. He was greeted by the frog boy poking his head out from behind a large metal barrel.
"Yo dude, could you give me a hand with this?" Tung moaned as he attempted to push the heavy container in from of him. Zap moved around to the back and with the tracker's help, managed to drag the barrel all the way down to the fuel tank.
"What are you guys doing?" Dex questioned when his team came into view. Zap and Tung exchanged looks.
"We're just about to fill the tank," Zap explained, resulting in a shake of the head from Dex.
"Hurry please; Jane wants us there in half an hour so we have three hours before the ceremony," both employees raised their eyebrows questioningly at Dex. The leader allowed his shoulders to drop as the words processed in his head.
"You're right, we have plenty of time," he agreed rationally before practically jumping at the container of fuel. "Let's just, be quick with this."
The ship hummed to life once the fuel had been replenished and within no time, the ship was on its course to Pyma where the huge wedding was going to take place. The groom finally looked relaxed, although the tension in his shoulders was visible through his entomologist uniform.
Minutes, or what felt like hours to Dex, rolled past and almost instantly, thanks to the amazing technology and development of the thirty first century, the groom and the male members of the wedding party had arrived on time.
"So, ready to get married son?" Winston gave Dex a hearty slap on the shoulder as all the guys exited the ship. His body quivered under the unexpected action, or at least that's what he told everyone.
"Sure," he mumbled slightly before turning around to his support team. A grin began to grow on his face. "It's just another adventure. Tung, could you bring the suits into the dressing room?"
"I don't have the suits, dude," Tung shrugged his shoulders with his palms facing up to prove to Dex that his hands were empty.
"Well, could you get them from the ship please. You have the keys right?" the colour seemed to drain instantly from Tung's face as he slowly shook his head. If you were standing close enough, you could've seen the beads of sweat rolling down the groom's forehead.
Oh no, please anything but that. Oh my gosh no!
"How can someone lock the keys in the ship!" Dex yelled angrily as he pulled on the door. Winston was searching for the locker on the outside of the ship that possibly held a spare toolbox, and Zap was on the top of the ship. Tung had been sent by Zap to ask Jenny if she had any useful tools for them to use.
"Zap! Can you transform into your beetle and tear the ship open. We'll fix it later," the pilot's tiny head popped out from above the leader.
"It's not exactly that easy to control," he explained as he flew down to the entomologist's level. Dex continued to slam his fists at the door without success.
Tung waddled back to the craft, Jenny running beside him. Zap couldn't help but stammer when he saw her.
"Whoa," his eyes wandered down her silk red halter dress as it flowed beautifully around her figure.
"Who locks keys in the ship?" she questioned in the same tone of voice as Dex.
"Now's not the time for questions Jenny," Dex corrected as his eyes darted around the door. Luckily for him and the rest of the wedding party, Jenny always carried a handy screw driver with her in case of emergencies like this.
Tung came out of the ship door with the four covered suits flung over his shoulder. Dex turned to Jenny, gratitude evident on his face.
"Thank you," he hugged her quickly, but she immediately shrugged him off.
"Don't thank," she yelled as she ran away from the team. "Just get ready."
The boys moved off without a second thought, each one grabbing their suit and hurrying into the large, white manor house.
Jenny closed the door behind her to the bride's dressing room, panting as she leaned her back against the wall. Bream, dressed in the same red dress and Jane in her huge bridal gown, raised their eyebrows at Jenny.
"It's alright, the guys locked their suits in the ship, but they've got them now," she reassured, walking over to both girls.
"Oh thank God," Jane placed a hand over her heart. "You got me worried then."
Jenny walked towards the champagne bottle, shaking her head with a smirk. "Don't worry, let's just get this day done as smooth as possible," she spoke as she poured three glasses of the bubbly liquid. Jane was about to bring the drink up to her lips before she stopped herself to speak, a smirk growing quickly.
"I guess we don't have to tell the guys about how we almost lost the rings."
"You alright?" Zap questioned the groom. The two boys were standing at the altar, two long columns of Metro City's citizens were seated in front of him. Dex began to nod, but his whole body appeared to freeze as the wedding march began to play. He noticed everyone's heads turn to the aisle, and his heart began to race.
"Dude, she's going to look hot, you're going to marry her and you're going to be the happiest guy in the entire universe today," Zap's words sank quickly into Dex's head, a smile growing on his lips as a result.
"Yeah," he whispered in response as the double doors to the manor house opened at the end of the walkway. Jenny was the first to enter the scene. Dex could hear Zap as all the air rushed out of the pilot's lungs.
She looked beautiful.
The same flowers that were arranged in the bouquet she was holding had been placed in her hair at her ponytail, and her fringe had a beautiful 'just been hairsprayed' look to it. Zap still couldn't get over how well the dress fit her, his thoughts knocked out of him as Dex gently elbowed him in the ribs.
"She will forgive you, you know," the groom explained kindly. Zap flicked his head towards the girl who had reached the altar, stepping to the opposite side of the men. He mumbled a quick 'we'll see', but his words we silenced out by the music.
Tung and Bream were next to walk up the aisle, the two looking very well suited to each other. Tung held a red cushion in front of him, the tiny gleam of gold from the rings was visible from the front. Bream delicately placed the same flower petals on the ground as she walked up in a rehearsed act. The audience stood in their seats and faced the now closed doors. The style of the wedding march changed slightly as an indication for the bride's arrival. Dex could feel himself shaking, but the smile never left his face.
The doors opened, the crowd gasped, and Dex's smile broadened much to everyone's amazement.
Jane, dressed in a huge gown, mimicked the smile on her fiancé's face under her veil. She slowly began to make her way down the passage, a bouquet in one hand, and Winston Hamilton's arm in the other. Considering Jane never knew her father, or mother for that matter, Winston had kindly offered to walk her down and give her away to his son.
They arrived quite quickly to the altar, although to Dex, she couldn't get there sooner. Jane turned to face Winston who removed her veil and lightly kissed her on the forehead, the words 'congratulations' leaving his lips. She replied a thank you as Winston moved to his position beside his son. Jane handed over her bouquet to Jenny before joining hands with Dex.
"Wow," he whispered for only her ears to hear. She smiled lightly, tears forming in her eyes as she mouthed a thank you.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the aged priest announced as everyone took their seats. "We are gathered here today to celebrate the joining of Dexter Hamilton and Jane Goodchild in holy matrimony…" the priest continued with his beautiful speech on love and what it means to different people. Dex and Jane appeared to be in their own world together as their eyes stayed locked in a trance, the words fading to the back of their heads.
"Now, I believe the bride and groom have their vows," he spoke with upmost importance. Dex slightly shook his head as he returned to the scene in the room, clearing his throat as he grabbed the ring from Tung's cushion. He held it just in front of her finger, his gaze returning to her as he spoke.
"Jane, you are my best friend, my confidant and one of my favourite pests-" the crowd murmured with slight laughter at Dex's words. "You make me laugh and cry, you are honest and wise. You are my strength and you are kind-hearted. You always love me no matter what. You've always been there for me and I hope to continue to grow with you. Today, I want to make a promise to you and to myself to love, honour and protect you for all the days of my life," he slipped the ring on her finger as he finished his vows, his head lifting up and noticing the tears in many of the audience's eyes; including his bride's.
"And you," the priest gestured his hand to Jane. She turned and grabbed the ring from Tung as well, holding it just in front of Dex's finger.
"Dex I love you more than anyone I know. You have helped me become the person I am today and with your help I will be a better person tomorrow than I was yesterday. I love the way you love and care for me. I love the way you trust and believe in me. I love the way you always look your best for me. I love you and I love my life with you and I promise to love you for as long as I'm alive," the ring was placed on his finger, and both stepped closer as they stared into each other's eyes.
"By the power vested in me by the United Church of Pyma, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride," the crowd erupted into applause as Dex and Jane shared their first kiss as a married couple. Confetti was thrown in the air along with tiny pink butterflies that filled the huge building. Dex and Jane parted, and even between all the objects floating between them, they could see the others smile.
Dex entwined their arms and led her back down the aisle between the rows of cheering people. Zap stood forward and gestured for Jenny to walk ahead, but was taken aback as Winston pushed the pilot forward with a small smile under his moustache and Jenny grabbed the bug boy's arm to walk back with.
"You're supposed to walk back with Winston," Zap whispered to her as they made their way down the confetti strewn carpet. Jenny kept the smile on her face as she spoke back to him.
"This wedding has been perfect," she seethed slightly through her teeth. "Let's just not ruin this moment."
Zap shrugged it off almost instantly, a smile growing immediately on his face. Winston followed after them, a proud look from a father on his son's wedding day. Tung and Bream trotted at the end, Bream smiling at the happiness of her friends and Tung stopping every few seconds to retrieve some more petals that he thought looked interesting.
"You know," he said to her as he grasped a particularly large pink petal. "This wedding has been pretty amazing."
"Yeah," Bream agreed in her soft voice. "Now it's on to the reception."
The wedding was over, and as the sun began to glow a golden orange to indicate dusk on the planet, the crowd began to filter out of the chapel section of the manor house and into the hall, where the reception was to take place. People filled the room and the seats almost instantly as the meals were brought out by sharply dressed waiters. The murmur of the crowd was silenced as a man stood at the wedding party table. Winston Hamilton cleared his throat and tapped the side of his champagne glass to begin his toast.
"Where do I begin? This is a speech written by someone very close to Dex who was unable to deliver it," Dex's eyebrows furrowed in thought, completely oblivious to Zap as the pilot shifted in his seat uncomfortably next to Winston. "Dexter, you and Jane make a wonderful couple. We hope to see you two smiling together for a very long time. Some words of advice to the groom; to keep a marriage brimming with love in the loving cup, when you are wrong, admit it and when you are right, shut your gob."
The crowd hummed with laughter. "Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present Mr and Mrs Hamilton!" applause could be heard from the other side of the planet as Dex and Jane stood at their seats, Dex offering his arm to his new bride. The hum of the strings slowly began as the entomologist lead his wife out to the dance floor.
"You read my toast," Zap whispered to the best man. Winston leaned over to hear the bug boy, before leaning back in his chair and winking a charming wink.
"I figured your words deserved to be heard," he smiled a genuine smile. Zap nodded to him in gratitude before both men's eyes fell to the happy couple.
One step, two, their routine was flawless, rehearsed for hours and planned precisely. The music grew louder, an Winston stood up straight as he offered his arm to Jenny.
"Milady," he bowed respectfully. Jenny giggled at his behaviour before graciously accepting his request for a dance. Zap could feel his stomach in his throat.
'That could've been me,' he thought depressingly as the waiter poured him a drink. Zap sat in his chair at the front of the room behind the white table-clothed table. What previously held the bride and groom, the maid of honor, the best man, the ring bearer and the flower girl, now only held the "back up" best man sitting all by his lonesome. He watched as Tung and Bream hoped around the room in a unique "lindy-hop" style that was completely their own, a smile growing on his lips.
'They look happy,' the pilot pondered as he grabbed his drink. His eyes fell on Jenny once again as she laughed loudly, Winston spinning her for the umpteenth time. It didn't look like the rehearsed routine that he had practiced with her, but they seemed to be in time with the music. His eyes wondered over the ice blocks sitting in his scotch drink, nose turning up in disgust. He probably startled a few people at the nearest table when he slammed it back down on the surface.
"No, you've had enough of that," the little voice in Zap's head spoke to him. "That's what has gotten you into this mess, so enough is enough."
The bug boy agreed entirely with his thoughts as he watched the girl of his dreams dancing with another man.
"Screw this," he huffed in slight annoyance. "People cut into other people's dances all the time. I want to dance with her today, and I'm going to."
He rose from his seat quickly and made his way to the large floor, now full of random Metro City citizens. He squeezed through a lot of people before he finally made it to Jenny and Winston. Why did they have to be in the middle of the dance floor?
Zap took a deep breath before lightly tapping Winston on his shoulder. The best man turned around, Jenny catching Zap's gaze as well once the couple stopped.
"May I?" the pilot questioned as he gestured to Jenny. Zap noticed the tiny grin under Winston's thick moustache as he bowed his bow and pushed Zap closer to Jenny.
"She's all yours, mate," he said as he gave him a hearty slap on the shoulder. Zap could only stare at Jenny as the two stood facing each other, the music slowly drifting to the background.
"Hi," he breathed out as he spoke to her, inwardly cursing at how stupid he probably sounded. He knew it was too soon to act on this, but his thoughts were corrected as she smiled sweetly to him.
"Hey," she replied, stepping closer to the bug boy. He could feel his heart pounding as a smile grew on his mouth.
"Shall we…show everyone what we learnt?" he asked sheepishly as he held out his hands. Jenny stepped closer again, pretending to put on a thoughtful look.
"Let's go," she grasped his sweating hands and pulled him closer, his shock covering the noise of the music changing slightly. He was pulled out of his daydream as he noticed her head moving around the room as though frantically looking for something. He copied her, wondering what was happening.
The orchestra had quietened down and couples all around them had started to sway together in pairs all throughout the room. A quick glance to the right showed that the bride and groom were doing the same. Zap flicked his head to Jenny, both staring at each other in slight shock. The bug boy was embarrassed, but had to admit was he was thinking.
"I don't know how to do this dance," he whispered quietly to her and prayed the blush on his cheeks could be mistaken as heat from the cramped crowd. She met his gaze again and giggled, causing his heart to drop.
"Me neither," she whispered back, his heart jumping in his rib cage. "But it doesn't look hard."
Jenny wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled herself close to him, the blush on Zap's face growing to his ears. He immediately brought his arms to her waist. The music began to grow to their swaying as they moved slowly together, mirroring each other's smiles.
From the other side of the room, Jane smiled at the cute couple. She lifted her head from her husband's shoulder, his gaze meeting hers after witnessing the same scene.
"They do make a cute couple," she spoke as he twirled with her once again. He nodded silently in agreement before resting his head upon hers, eyes closing softly and a smile growing quickly.
"Ready girls?" Jane announced as she faced the crowd. A large group of screaming girls had filled the dance floor, the men and a few women watching from the sidelines. Among the crowd were Bream and Jenny, who had the same excited looks on their faces.
Jane turned around and counted down.
The bouquet rose high into the air, the decibels of the girls screams exceeding normal range. It flew high into the sky and plummeted back down, almost disappearing when it landed. To his surprise, Zap picked up the bunch of flowers that had landed next to him as he was retrieving a piece of dessert from the buffet table.
Many of the girls had given up on finding the bouquet and had returned to their seats, mingling with other guests. Zap spied Jenny wandering near the wall of the building. His gaze fell to the bouquet and back at her. He pursued her with great confidence, his plate in his other hand.
"Hey," he choked through the piece of cake that was in his mouth. He held out the flowers to her, her eyes growing at the sight before her. "You want these? I figure you'd appreciate flowers more than me."
He handed the prize to her, crumbs littering his cheeks and his mind oblivious to the powerful meaning of transferring the bouquet. Jenny whipped her head up to catch the gaze of Jane and Bream, who were standing together and delivering the same sly grins to Jenny. The engineer delivered one of her 'don't-start-with-it' looks coupled with an embarrassed grin. Her gaze fell back to the flowers cradled in her hands, smiling at the sweetness of the act.
The newly-wed bride and groom stood together, Dex's arm wrapped around her waist and joining his hands in hers. Ever so carefully, they brought the knife down through their self-created cake as they cut through the frosting, the crowd erupting into applause.
"Yes," Jane cheered as the knife cut the entire cake and she immediately through her hands up in the air and wrapped them around her new husband. With fingers covered in red and brown cake, she kept them carefully distant from his perfectly-in-place hair as he pulled her in for a kiss.
"We still have to eat the cake," he murmured through the kiss. She pulled away quickly, placing that mockingly thoughtful look that Dex always found adorable. They faced the cake together and cut two perfect squares, each holding one in their hands. Facing the large group that had gathered around the cake table to watch the amusing act, Jane and Dex held up the delicious deserts for all the cameras before promptly shoving the squares in each others mouths. In a blur of crumbs, their lips were covered in frosting and cake as the lights from multiple cameras blinded them.
Jane brought her hand around his waist while subtly wiping the cream from her chin with a napkin. From the corner of her eyes she could see Tung's video camera hiding his chubby face.
"I think it's time this wedding was wrapped up," Dex whispered to her. He had already noticed a few people leaving and as Jane moved her head around the room, she began to notice the crowd thinning out too.
"Shall we head off then?" she said slyly as she held out her arm. He took it immediately as he smiled back to her.
"We shall," the newly-weds made their way through the crowd to the wedding party table where the other members of Hamilton Habitat had returned to.
"We're going to head off," Dex announced to everyone, who all nodded in agreement.
"Have fun," Tung applauded as he pulled Bream away from the group. The frog girl flicked her head back around to catch the gaze of the bride and waved her hand gingerly. Jane smiled in response. He is very cute when he's trying to impress.
"Are you sure you don't want to change your mind?" Winston questioned on a serious matter, but Dex simply shook his head.
"No thanks Dad, I tried once and I didn't enjoy it. Plus Sam would miss us," the bride pulled his arm closer in a hug at the mention of the cricket's name. The older man simply shrugged before smiling and giving Dex a firm handshake.
"Congratulations again, son," he spoke with a proud sense about him.
Dex smirked as a warm feeling spread through him. "Thanks dad," Winston kissed Jane's hand in his charming way before returning to his chair. Zap and Jenny walked up to the bride and groom to bid their farewells.
"Have a good time you two," Zap congratulated when he stepped forward. Dex in return gave him a handshake while Jane and Jenny hugged.
"You too," he replied slyly, his eyes darting over to Jenny, causing Zap to blush.
"We're going to go to," the pilot gestured bashfully to Jenny, Dex giving him an amused grin. "The valet's parked the ship down the block so we're going to walk."
Without another word, the two headed out the door and into the night.
"A limo?" Jane stated in shock as she looked at the hover ship in front of her. Dex held open the back door for her to get in.
"I figured we do this properly, take a fancy ship back home," he proclaimed with pride. Jane shot him an impressed look as she slid into the back seat.
"So…that's it," Jane exclaimed, not in a way to say that she was upset that the wedding was over, but in a way to say that she was proud to have spent such a splendid day with Dex. The groom draped his arm around his bride with a content nod.
"Yep," he replied quietly as their ride lifted into the air.
"It was a beautiful wedding," Jane mumbled as she pouted her lips to him. He took the hint, immediately kissing her back. Their moment was interrupted when the bride heard a noise.
"What is that?" Jane questioned as she heard small explosions from outside. Dex looked out his window, a huge toothy grin spreading on his lips.
"Look," Jane leaned forward to the side window that Dex was seated next to. To her surprise, the sky had become littered with colours as fireworks exploded over the planet. She returned to her seat next to Dex with an enthralled expression.
"This wedding really was perfect," he mumbled into her hair as she rested her head on his shoulder. "Our future generations will be talking about this for a long time."
The entomologist pulled Jane closer, the two embracing once again before the bride pulled herself from him, her hands still resting on his chest.
"Wait, wait," Jane whispered as their eyes met once again. "Are…are you thinking about kids?"
"We're going to head off," Dex announced to everyone, who all nodded in agreement.
"Have fun," Tung applauded as he pulled Bream away from the group. The frog girl flicked her head back around to catch the gaze of the bride and waved her hand gingerly. Bream caught the smile that Jane gave her as she was further pulled into the crowd.
'He is very impatient when he's trying to impress,' the flower girl thought. She was pulled out of her thoughts as the small hand retracted from her arm. The delicious scent filling her nose told her that Tung had led Bream to the buffet table, the food looking as though it was slowly disappearing.
"The best part of a wedding," Tung announced in his nasally voice, his arms spread out as far as they could go as he gestured to the plates in front of him. "…is eating the leftover food."
Bream couldn't stop the giggle that left her lips. He really did understand her, and she knew how to get to him. Her eyes gazed over all the delicious treats, her mouth beginning to water.
"Dig in," Tung spoke through chewing his food, which looked like a piece of cake with two biscuits sandwiching it. Bream started to grab food with both hands and shovel it into her mouth, a trait which Tung found so adorable. He loved how she ate just as much as him; it's hard to find a girl who would do that.
They made their way down the buffet table, picking and eating all the lonesome treats that stood on white plates. Finally they reached their favourite section; seafood, or more precisely, sushi.
"Jane is so nice," Bream complimented as she pulled apart her chopsticks. "I can't believe she put this in just for us."
"Yeah," Tung agreed as he scooped a large lump of what appeared to be green ice cream. "By the way, what is-"
His jaw slammed shut as his tongue began to sizzle. Bream stood staring at him in shock, but quickly snapped herself out of it to mouth her question. "Wasabi?"
His little round face grew instantly red, water filling the inside of his goggles. His scream startled all the people in the hall as the boy hopped up and down, steam appearing to come from his ears. With blurred vision, he relied on his sense of smell to find what he was looking for. There, on the table, was a small pitcher of milk. He darted over the round table that was still full of people and dived for the little jug, the white contents pouring into his mouth. The tracker stood up and faced the table, wiping the milk moustache away with the back of his hand.
"Heh, sorry," Tung apologised to the table full of snooty royals all dressed in a posh manner and looking down their noses at him. His face returned to its red appearance, only this time due to embarrassment.
"More might come?" he said questioningly as he left. A person who doesn't voice their opinions would've left without another word, but that's not the way Tung plays.
He returned to the sushi bar, where Bream was holding a hand over her mouth in genuine shock. "Are you alright?"
"Yep," he mumbled as he wiped his tongue with his hands. "We might just want to get out of here before the Von Snoots come over," he jutted a thumb back to the table where various heads kept looking back in his direction. With a shrug, Bream casually ate her last roll of fish before grabbing his arm and pulling him out of the hall. They ended outside the manor house where everyone had spread out on the dewy grass.
"What are they doing?" Bream questioned as she looked around. It appeared to them that the crowd were waiting for something.
"I don't know," Tung responded as he looked around too. The couple stood on the flat concrete patio of the building, Bream leaning against one of the concrete pillars. It wasn't until the first one went off that Tung and Bream realised what was going on.
A man stood out in the field holding a remote pad. He pressed several sequences on the touch screen and people stared in awe as rocket after rocket was launched into the sky.
Blue, pink, purple, green… the sky was filled with colourful confetti as it lit up the faces of all those watching.
Tung glanced at Bream, watching the colours splash over her green skin. "This has been a pretty great wedding," he spoke, his words catching her attention.
"Yeah it has," she looked back into the night sky, the memory of Tung asking Bream to the wedding flashing in the tracker's head.
"I can't believe you never want to get married," he blurted out a conversation the two had shared when organising the wedding. He was never really good at keeping secrets. Bream looked down at the white corsage that was tied around her wrist, her words catching the interest of the frog boy.
"I never said never…"
"Have a good time you two," Zap congratulated when he stepped forward. Dex in return gave him a handshake while Jane and Jenny hugged.
"You too," he replied slyly, his eyes darting over to Jenny, causing Zap to blush.
"We're going to go too," the pilot gestured bashfully to Jenny, Dex giving him an amused grin. "The valet's parked the ship down the block so we're going to walk."
Without another word, the two headed out the door and into the night.
The fresh air was cold in the dark night and the grass was covered in dew. Zap and Jenny were fortunate enough to have their path on solid concrete. You see, once you walk down the hill where the manor house is located, you reach the central city in Pyma, similar to the tall building and lights display that is Metro City. It was fortunate, for Zap really, that the valet ship service parked the vehicles on the other side of this city, meaning a long and peaceful walk together.
Despite the dull lights scattered up the tall buildings, the city held a silent and uninhabited feel to it. Jenny rubbed her arm, a nervous chill running up her spine. "Cold around here, isn't it?"
Zap didn't realise until she spoke, but he had been staring at the back of her head. "Yeah, I guess," he mumbled slightly before noticing the tiny goose bumps trailing up her arms.
"Oh here, let me," he pulled off his tuxedo jacket with surprising speed, Jenny looking shocked as she felt the silk lining touch her shoulders. It was at this point that she was grateful for the darkness of the night as it hid her rosing cheeks.
"Thanks," she whispered quietly as she pulled the coat over her shoulders.
He smiled broadly in the dark at his smooth move. It was only until a thought crossed his mind that the smile was replaced with a frown.
"I'm really sorry," he apologised. Although the words left his mouth at an amazing rate, Jenny still heard what he had to say. "You know, for…everything."
A small sigh escaped her lips, not of exasperation but of acceptance. "I know," she said as she faced him, the two standing together in a darkened alleyway. "You didn't exactly have control over what you were doing."
"Thanks," he breathed, happy with how understanding she was with him. Jenny nodded with a small smile before rubbing her arms up and down.
"It's still so cold around here, and dark," her cold breath hit his nose, suddenly realising how close the two were standing. He glanced upwards, the lights from the manor house shining above the tall buildings. With a sly grin, he rolled his shoulders and braced himself for what he was about to do.
"Zap!" Jenny squealed into the pilot's ear as she saw the ground move further and further away from her feet. His grip tightened around her waist as she began to squirm in his arms. Luckily, his flight practice while working at Hamilton Habitat had trained him to handle difficult equipment.
"What the heck was that?" she yelled once the two had reached the top of one of the highest buildings in the city.
"Relax, you got here safely," he spoke distractedly as he wiped his hands together. "Not made easier by you struggling by the way."
"God you are so reckless," the engineer complained, throwing her hands up in exasperation. Zap rolled his eyes as she continued to ramble. "You never take anything seriously and you never think before you act. No wonder-"
In one swift action, Zap grasped her forearms quite firmly and faced her to him. She was silenced immediately, her breath catching in her throat. His gaze seemed intense, ice cold blue eyes staring deep into green. He jutted his head to the left, showing her the scene he was looking at not moments ago.
"Check it out," he spoke quietly as his strong arms released their grip. Jenny glanced down at her arms before looking at Zap, her eyes falling to what he could see.
The couple stood on the building, standing side by side and staring out into a star covered sky. In the near distance, the manor house seemed to glow a golden colour, mesmerising anyone who gazed upon it.
"Wow," was the only thing that Jenny could make leave her lips. Zap's head slowly turned to look at her.
"Yeah," he said in the same sort of breath, his eyes not leaving her face. He licked his lips before turning to face her, bracing himself for what he was about to say.
"Look I know, things have been a bit, awkward," he mumbled coherently as he rubbed the back of his neck again. He could see Jenny nod her head from the corner of his eye and he blushed deeply in reaction. "But would you be willing to let things go back to the way they were?"
"Yeah, I-" Zap and Jenny were startled out of their conversation as a firework exploded into the sky. One followed after the other, and soon the entire night was filled with colourful dots and loud bangs. Both became enthralled with the display, but it wasn't long before Jenny brought herself promptly back to their unfinished conversation.
"We can go back to being co-workers," she began, earning Zap's attention. "But there will always be this lingering feeling because now I know you like me."
"Don't you like me?" Zap questioned loudly over the sound of the display. Jenny blushed deeply at his words, an action that certainly didn't go unnoticed.
"Yes, I mean no," Jenny stumbled on her words as she tried to explain herself. "I mean, I don't…don't not like…you, I, care about…everyone-"
"So you do like me?" he grinned as he took another cocky step closer. She rolled her eyes dramatically.
"Yes Zap, I like you," Jenny yelled over another loud bang. She only realised now how close they were. "But I don't…think-" her voice was cut short as Zap's hand placed itself behind her neck, pulling her even closer.
"You over think everything. Don't you ever shut up?" Jenny would have been appalled at his words, had his lips not pressed on to hers almost instantly. They separated quickly, Zap curious about Jenny's next move. The clone looked around as though trying to think, her gaze falling to the fireworks. Eager to know how she was feeling, Zap attempted to catch her attention by tapping her shoulder.
"Shut up," the clone mumbled as she grabbed his shirt and pulled him in for another kiss. His surprise was short lived as he wrapped his arms around her waist and closed his eyes, enjoying the feeling of Jenny's hands slowly wrapping around his neck.
The two remained there, a young couple kissing under the beautiful radiance of fireworks.