Hello, everyone! This is my first Zoey 101 fan fiction, and my first post here in many years.
I am fully aware that it might be a while before anyone finds this story, as it has been over a decade since this show went off the air. But I recently binged the whole series and it gave me all the feels, so I had to get this out of my head and onto the page/screen.
Some things to note to make the reading easier: I was inspired by Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" because many of the lyrics reminded me of scenes from the show. Anywhere there is a series of o's (oooooooooooo) is a particular set of lines from the song, but the lyrics have been removed. If you wish to read this story with the lyrics included, please find it under the same title over on AO3. I also included many quotes from the show to assist the narrative. Those are in italics for identification purposes.
Hope you enjoy! PLEASE leave a comment, whether you liked it or not. I am hoping to find some feedback.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything relating to Zoey 101. That honor lies with Mr. Dan Schneider. I also do not own "Perfect". That would be the unbelievably talented Ed Sheeran.
You Look Perfect Tonight
A Zoey 101 One-Shot
Never in a million years did I ever expect to be here. For years, I thought I was destined to only be the best friend, the pal, the sidekick.
I'm still the best friend, but now I get to add another title to the list of nicknames.
That's right. I, Chase Matthews, finally got to marry Zoey Brooks.
Man, does that feel good to say.
I've been in love with Zoey since the first day I met her. That was her first day at PCA and I couldn't even stop looking at her long enough to make sure I didn't run into the flagpole. So, of course, I ran into the flagpole. And Zoey didn't laugh or make fun of me. She just ran over to see if I was okay, some clumsy loser she didn't even know. That was the beginning of a great friendship, but I was already in love!
She was easy to talk to, even though I was insanely nervous. But that made it easier to offer to show her around campus. It was easy to be myself around her, quirks and all.
I showed her to her dorm room, where we discovered a gross old sandwich in her mini-fridge. Tossing it away like it was about to explode gave me the opportunity to look "macho" and protect her. At least, I thought it did.
Then she smiled at me. "My hero." They were my favorite words for a while.
Within her first few days at PCA, she had managed to win over almost everyone she met. Pretty much the only one who didn't like her was Logan. So of course she just kicked his butt in basketball and earned herself a spot on the boys' team.
It broke my heart to hear that Zoey was leaving PCA. But it hurt even more to hear it from anyone that wasn't her. And I heard it from a lot of people who weren't her.
"Oh, hey! When's Zoey leaving?"
"So, what do you think about Zoey? Leaving PCA? Moving to London?"
In true Chase Matthews fashion, I over-reacted. I became bitter about the whole thing, but I couldn't put my feelings for her or about the situation into the right words to tell her, so I told her the opposite of what I really wanted.
I reluctantly opened the door when she came by my dorm room.
"Hey! You got a sec?"
She looked as beautiful as she always did.
"For you? Sure!"
I'd give you the world, and my whole heart, if I could.
"Good, 'cause there's something I gotta talk to you about."
Why didn't you talk to me sooner?
"Oh, yeah? What's that?"
"Um, is everything okay?"
Life as I know it is over.
"Okay, um. See, my parents are moving to England for a while and well, there's this boarding school near London called Covington…"
"Oh, Covington! That's supposed to be a really amazing school. Uh, wow! That's really cool that you get to go there."
Please don't go!
"Well, see, I wanted to talk to you…"
"When are you leaving?"
Please, please don't go! Stay here, at PCA! Stay with me.
"Uh, could you stop throwing darts?"
"No, I gotta tune up, but keep going! I'm listening."
If I stop throwing darts, I won't be able to control my emotions at all. So I keep moving.
"Well, I just wanted to talk to you about this."
"Oh, well, ya know, you should probably get some warm clothes. The weather in England's not like California. You should get a big coat. Oh! And uh, some sweaters. Maybe some heavy socks."
She can't say I never cared about her well-being.
"That's all you have to say?"
"Umm. Oh, yeah! They drive on the left in England, so be careful crossing the street."
Or her safety.
"Thanks. Appreciate the advice."
I continued throwing darts as she left the room, but my heart was shattering.
That was the last time I saw her before she left for England with her parents. I let her walk out that door and leave my life, so she could leave the country. I tried to play it off for weeks and pretend that I wasn't bothered by it, but I instantly regretted the way I acted and everything I said. I avoided talking to Michael and Logan about it, and I didn't hang out with them and the girls in case Zoey was there. I played video games or studied by myself. I did everything I could think of to not think about Zoey.
I'll never make that mistake again.
I remember the first time she kissed me like it was yesterday. I had just fallen down a flight of stairs and I couldn't really feel my left arm, which was bleeding just as it had the day we met. But Zoey was looking at me like I had always wanted her to, like she loved me as much as I loved her, and she leaned in to kiss me. When she pulled away, I just looked at her in shock. She smiled that gorgeous smile of hers and let out a small laugh, then she leaned in and kissed me again.
It was perfect. It was everything I had wanted for years, and then some. Because I knew that Zoey loved me. The girl I had loved since the very first moment I saw her actually loved me back. I gave her my heart that day, involuntarily, as I crashed to the ground at the flagpole and struggled to release myself from the fallen flag. But I never wanted to be released from the look in her eyes in that moment when she kissed me for the first time. She was my best friend and she loved me too.
I remember the night of PCA's dance contest, the one Zoey was so excited about competing in, until her dance partner broke his leg and couldn't dance with her. Now, I've never been known for my smooth moves on the dance floor, but Zoey was so excited for this competition. I couldn't stand to see her disappointment at not being able to compete. I did what any best friend would do: I made Michael and Logan teach me Zoey's dance.
It was not easy. I was a terrible dancer. I had no rhythm at all and I kept stumbling over my own feet, like I usually do. But I was determined to do this, for Zoey! So I kept pushing. I kept practicing. By the night before the contest, I wasn't half bad. I had learned all the moves and my timing and rhythm had improved to the point that I felt Zoey wouldn't be super embarrassed to be dancing with me. I still looked like a dork, but I knew the steps. I stayed up all night practicing to make sure I knew it perfectly, even after Michael and Logan went back to our dorm for the night.
But I fell asleep at some point and slept through the whole thing.
By the time Zoey woke me up from my lawn chair and let me know that I had missed everything, it was already dark and most of campus was quiet. I couldn't believe I had let myself fall asleep, after all the practicing to make sure the dance contest was perfect for Zoey.
"I'm the worst."
"You're the best. You practiced dancing for almost 24 hours straight, just so I wouldn't have to drop out of the contest."
I may have practiced all that time, but I still hadn't gotten to dance with her…
"That's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me."
I was pleased to see her nod her head.
"Well, thanks, but, ya know, it was all for nothing."
"Oh, I don't think so. Come on, let's see whatcha got."
She turned the radio on and waited for me to get up and follow her.
I definitely wasn't a wonderful dancer, but I was at least able to make her smile and laugh. I didn't step on her toes and I didn't trip or fall down the stairs. The best feeling, though, was just getting the chance to dance with her. Taking her hand to help her step up onto the fountain ledge. Stepping and snapping in time with her. Wrapping my arms around her after chasing her around the fountain. Carrying her in my arms while I spun us around. Hearing her giggle and seeing the smile on her face through all of it.
She wasn't disappointed in me for not showing up, because she hadn't known I planned to be there. She was just content to be dancing with me, and I was ecstatic, even if that was going to be the only opportunity I got to dance with Zoey Brooks.
One of my favorite things about Zoey has always been how strong and independent she is. She stands up to bullies, she speaks up about injustices, she always tries to do the right thing. And she's always been an incredible friend. Even when I wasn't always that great a friend to her.
She loves her little brother fiercely and will do anything to protect him, from a bully or a bad influence. Like the time she tried to get me to convince Dustin's girlfriend to break up with him, and Trisha decided to date me instead.
If she sets her mind to do something, she does it passionately. Like the time she was determined to get Drake Bell to perform at Spring Fling. Or when we tried to start a disc golf team to get out of running laps in gym class.
She's smart and really good at finding solutions to some of the strangest problems that came up around PCA. Like when we accidentally burnt down Sushi Rox and raised money to rebuild it. Or when Quinn's alpaca was lonely back home without her.
She tries to make friends with everyone she meets and if she has an argument with someone, she does whatever it takes to be friends again. Like the time she and I fought over my grandfather's radio. Or when she and Lola got in a fight because of Logan's stupid beauty pageant.
I could talk all day about how wonderful she is as a person, because she has done so many incredible things in the years I've known her. She won the class Jet-X commercial competition with Dana and Nicole. She got Quinn her first date with Mark. She dropped out of the class president race because it was causing us to argue. She even tried to get me and Michael on the local tv station with our webcast.
One of the most amazing things she ever did for me, though, was the time she threw a birthday party for me and tried to get my grandma there to surprise me. My grandma got sick and couldn't make it, and she passed away shortly after that, but Zoey never left my side. Even in the pouring rain. She knew how close my grandma and I were, sharing a birthday and all, and she knew that I'd be heartbroken over it. Zoey is the only person I would have wanted with me in those moments.
Zoey knows everything about me. She knows how much I love coffee and video games; she knows my favorite animal, color, and foods; she always knows when I'm lying or hiding something from her; and she knows how to make me laugh like no one else.
I've always been able to tell Zoey absolutely anything. Well, except for how I felt about her. She never judged or made fun of me. If I was being stupid, she'd tell me. If I needed advice or a listening ear, she was always right there. She was and is my best friend.
Not telling her how I felt for three years was one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life. Actually telling her how I felt was also one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life. But I knew that if I told her and she didn't feel the same way about me, it would ruin our friendship and things would never be the same again. And I just couldn't let that happen.
But due to a computer malfunction and a very stressful intervention initiated by Michael and Logan not long after Zoey moved to England, she finally learned the truth about how I felt about her.
"You're right... Everything you guys said is true."
Michael has known since the beginning, and even Logan caught on eventually. The only one who didn't know how I felt was Zoey herself.
Michael tried to make me feel better.
"We know you miss Zoey, man."
Miss her? The way I felt was so much more than just missing her.
"I don't just miss her... I'm in love with her. I've been in love with Zoey ever since I met her. When she got out of her dad's car, and I saw her standing there, and I rode my bike into that stupid flagpole. I was in love with Zoey before I hit the ground, and I don't think that feeling's ever gonna go away."
I had no idea that Zoey was, at that very moment, sitting in her dorm room in England listening to me confess my love for her. It was the only secret I had ever kept from her, and suddenly, it wasn't a secret anymore.
After three years as her best friend, she finally knew how I really felt about her. But I was the idiot who had transferred to London to be with her, while she had gone back to PCA to see me. I didn't know when I left that she knew how I felt, but I quickly found out what happened.
Being stuck in London made that the worst semester of my life. I told her I loved her, and not only had it not ruined our friendship, but she told me she loved me too. And I couldn't go back to California until the semester ended.
When my classes were over, I got on the first flight I could back to California. I didn't tell anyone I would be there. I wanted to surprise everyone, but the first person I wanted to see was Zoey.
That was the night of PCA's prom, and the night that Zoey kissed me for the first time. I finally got to call her my girlfriend, as well as my best friend. I knew it would be an incredible adventure for us, because we had already been through so much.
We survived the play that I wrote when Logan stole the lead role from me and the school dance when Zoey got matched with me and another guy, but she picked the other guy. We made it past the nearly-catastrophic class election with little damage. We barely made it out in tact after the Gender Defenders, TekMate debacle. Most surprising of all, we came out better off when I dumped Rebecca for telling me that I couldn't even be friends with Zoey anymore. After that, we promised each other that no relationship either of us ever ended up in would ruin our friendship. We just wouldn't let it happen.
But I had no plans to be an idiot this time and let her walk away. I had spent too much time loving her with everything in me to mess this opportunity up by being myself. I was going to do whatever I could to make this work.
We spent the rest of prom dancing the night away with all of our best friends. She invited me to spend the summer with her in Hawaii. We were finally together again. And we were finally a couple.
The future can be really scary to think about, especially when you're only 16 years old. But the only thing I cared about that night was that my future definitely involved Zoey as my girlfriend. Staring into her eyes, wrapping my arms around her, the future looked very bright.
Now here we are. Dancing, once again, but instead of prom, it's our wedding. She is breathtakingly beautiful, of course, in a wedding dress she designed herself. When I saw her walking towards me down that aisle, I was struck speechless. It reminded me of one other time I had seen her in a ball gown and couldn't find any words.
Logan planned his dumb beauty pageant because he thought colleges would look at it as a good extracurricular activity. Initially, Zoey, Lola, and I were all on the same page that beauty pageants were sexist and degrading to women. When Logan told the girls that the winner would be featured on the cover of Buzz Magazine, Zoey and Lola suddenly wanted to be contestants.
Zoey asked for my opinion of her ball gown, so I was pacing outside her dorm room while she got changed. When she finally opened the door, I forgot how to speak. And breathe. And form coherent thoughts. I always thought Zoey looked beautiful, but I couldn't think of any words that felt strong enough to describe how amazing she looked in that red ball gown.
That ball gown was a good dress. But her wedding dress is simply beyond words. I absolutely feel inadequate in my jeans and white button up shirt, but Zoey? She looks perfect.
The sun has set on the beach where our wedding was held. We are still twirling together slowly on the dance floor, and even though she has changed into a simple white sundress and my shirt sleeves are rolled up and neither of us are wearing shoes at this point (did you know there's a lot of sand on the beach?), this has been the most incredible day of my life.
All of our friends and family are here, celebrating this momentous day with us. I'm so glad they were all able to be here for this, but for the moment, the only thing I care about is holding my new wife in my arms and considering what the future holds.
I know, I've always known, that I will spend every day of the rest of my life loving this woman. There is no one else in this world that I would rather live this life with, through all of the ups and downs. As I spin her around and back into my arms, she giggles and gives me one of her signature smiles. I've never seen her look this happy, and I gotta say, I know the feeling.
Holding her from behind with my arms wrapped around her as the night begins to wind down, I lean forward slightly to whisper in her ear.
"Zo, you've always been beautiful, but you look more gorgeous today than I've ever seen you look before."
"You look pretty good right now yourself, Fuzzy Head."
She chuckles and I try to look hurt by the old nickname.
"Does that make you Mrs. Fuzzy Head?"
"Hmm. I guess so. But I think I prefer Mrs. Matthews."
The last notes of the song begin to fade out and I spin her back around to face me.
"I love you, Mrs. Matthews."
Her eyes close as her smile widens. She sighs and leans forward to kiss me softly.
"I love you, Mr. Matthews."
It may have been a long road, with many turns and bumps, but we are finally here. And although I still can't believe this is real, and she really loves me as much as I love her, I've never been more thankful for that flagpole.
Thank you sooooo much for reading this story of mine. It turned out to be much longer than I intended, but I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. It doesn't feel the same to me without the lyrics, but I hope you still enjoyed it.
Please leave a comment so I can know what you thought. I have a few other ideas rolling around in my head for other stories, so who knows? Maybe those will get posted one day.