With those cheerfully spoken words, and one last look at Natalie and the... strangely dressed woman who’d appeared suddenly in the little girl’s bedroom, Lizzie turned her attention back to the man in front of her.
His brilliant blue, if slightly uneven but utterly enderaring gaze was on her, nervously flitting between her mouth and her eyes. He seemed like he was about ready to vibrate clean off the soft pink carpet. Fred was always buzzing with energy, but right now he seemed fit to burst. He leant towards Lizzie, but abruptly stopped, holding himself back.
He wanted her to make the first move. To let her decide.
The enormity of what she was about to do, leaving her human life behind, to become like him, an imaginary friend...it should terrify her. To leave everything behind. The old her would have been scared of the huge, life altering change. To do something so impulsive, so reckless…
So utterly fun and rewarding. She’d get to make lonely little girls and boys happy. To help them in ways that no-one could ever hope to. Lizzie would be saving them.
Just like Fred had.
The risk was so utterly dwarfed by the love she had for the man in front of her. This man who brought out the best parts of her, all the fun and naughtiness and joy. And here he was, admitting he felt the same way about her that she’d been trying to bury beneath denial and frustration. He’d fallen in love with her, and even through the childish confusion and longing he was still letting her choose.
She nodded, biting her own lip through the pure excitement at the thought of spending the rest of her existence with him.
Fred grinned and took her hands in his, linking their fingers together, giddily leaning in. “I love you, Snotface.” and with that he finally kissed her.
And everything changed.
“Oh! I love this part!” Namby Pamby nudged Natalie, the pairs eyes finally opening and widening to take in the other worldly display taking place before them.
There was a jangle of disjointed chords and a spectacular shower of green sparks that showered the new couple. Neither of which were all that strange, considering it was Fred, but it slowly changed. Where the mismatched broken jack in the box jingle ended, a new jumble of notes in a different pitch and tone sounded, finally completing the original garbled verse. The oblivious couple were unaware of the green sparks cascading over their heads and shoulders, and were similarly uncaring of how the sparks tumbled from a sour green to a violent violet as they hit the carpet.
Natalie was in awe. Usually public displays of affection made her embarrassed but the fireworks more than made up for it. It wasn’t until the sparks stopped that she gasped, tugging at Namby Pamby’s skirt in shock. “Look! Look at Lizzie!”
As the new couple broke apart, Fred was reluctant to open his eyes or move away and instead pulled Lizzie into a crushing hug, only letting go when he felt her heartbeat thumping against his own. A hysterical giggle escaped him, and Fred hauled Lizzie up further into his arms so he could bury his face against her chest. The last time they’d kissed they’d had to leave one another, so you couldn’t really blame him for being relieved. Her soft hands combed through the nest of orange hair on his head and Fred felt he could just melt into a happy puddle right there.
“AHHH! Lizzie you look so COOL!”
The ecstatic shout from his charge pulled Fred out of his ponderings as to how best literally melt into a big puddle to finally look up into the face of his new bride.
“Oh!” His big blue eyes bulged as he took her in. It wasn’t quite as violent a reaction as when he’d first seen her as an adult for the first time. Nor was it as cartoonishly lecherous as the wolf eyes he’d given her as she exited the bathroom stall at the Art Gallery in that slinky little purple number he’d tricked her into buying.
It was the kind of dumb shock that made Elizabeth’s cheeks turn pink with the attention.
“Is something wrong?” Fred saw dark plum cupid bow lips ask, the question falling on deaf green tinted ears. Haloing her face was that beautiful dark hair, but teased high and out in a puffy purple streaked cloud. A big shimmery lilac bow drooped over one side of her head, mirroring the puffy sleeved shirt he’d buried his face in moments earlier. Thin black suspenders held up high wasted, violet striped slacks.
Her outfit mirrored his, Fred beamed proudly. Too bloody right too. They should match! He was hers and she was his. They were married.
Bloody hell. She was his wife.
Lizzie was his WIFE!
“Snotface! You look terrific!” Fred twirled her around and around, his own smile broadening when she laughed too, finally dropping her down again, only to circle around her, inspecting every inch of her new outfit.
“I do? Oh!” Lizzie finally looked down at herself, tilting her head this way and that, trying to see her self. She wandered over to the mirror, frowning when there was no reflection. “Why can’t I…” She grinned and twirled on the spot, her hair bouncing with the movement. “Guess I’m imaginary now, huh?”
“That’s how it works, dear!” Namby Pamby trilled, skipping over and scooping Lizzie’s hands up into her own. “Welcome to the club! I can’t wait to tell everyone that Drop Dead Fred got hitched!”
“Oi! I want to be the one to tell everyone!” Fred whined. “First I want to go on my honeymoon. Give all you chumps time to get us lots of presents.”
“A honeymoon?” Lizzie’s face turned pink, and visible steam rose from the top of her head. “We get a honeymoon?”
“Of course dear! We’ll make sure little Natalie is taken care of whilst you both enjoy yourselves. Oh it’s simply so sweet! Have fun you two!”
“Maybe we’ll get to break a bed!” Fred grabbed Lizzie’s hand, squeezing it triumphantly. “Always wondered what that means. Do we get to bash ‘em with hammers or-”
“I’ll show you how.” Lizzie grinned, and they disappeared with the new jangle of chords and an explosion of green and purple sparks.