Fred stood outside the Toontown theatre of dance, waiting for Daphne to finish her rehearsal.
"C'mon..." He muttered, under his breath, checking his watch. "The restuant's booked for 7!"
After waiting for a few more minutes Fred decided the best thing to do was just to go in.
"Hi." He said, flashing the girl behind the desk a dazzling smile. "Fred Jones, here for Daphne Blake. Where is she?"
The receptionist giggled and told him it was stage 7. He gave her a wink and headed off, smirking to himself as he did so.
As he approached stage 7 though, he ran a finger through his hair, making it look presentable. He straightened his askot [he didn't care what his critics said, he loved it.] and straightned his cuffs before gently pushing the door open.
The music hit him straight away as the beat of 'Do You Want To Live Forever' pounded round the studio. Being as quiet as he could he slipped into a seat and watched the number.
He always forgot exactly what the steps were called, but Daphne did a twirly move [spun by that pompous idiot Bram, of course.] then saw him and stopped. "Freddie! Hi!"
The director waved his arms wildly. "CUT! Daphne-"
"Sorry! I forgot I had a dinner reservation tonight! We'll pick it back up again tomorow. Bye Bram." She gave the actor a quick peck on the cheek before leaping gracefully off the stage and heading over to him with a smile. "Sorry about that, Freddie. Lost track of time."
Fred smiled at her. "No problem. How was today?"
He spent the entire journey to the restuant [which was about half an hour] listening to his wife talking about what her and Bram had done today, the funny jokes Bram had made during breaks, how Bram had just LOVED her outift and did you even NOTICE I was wearing a new dress today, Freddie!?
"Sorry?" He blinked back to reality to see his wife scowling at him.
"Thought so." She said, before flinging the car door open and storming off towards the restuant.
Fred sighed and tapped his fingers on the dashboard. 'Stupid, stupid, stupid.' He thought to himself. His phone pinged and he saw a text from 'Daphie'. 'Are you COMING in or not!?'
He went in.
The next day he decided he was going to make it up to her and brought a big bunch of roses to the studio to do just that.
Annoyingly there was a long line of traffic which he had got stuck in, so by the time he got there Daphne had been waiting for twenty minutes. He may have rushed a little bit. It wasn't that he didn't TRUST Toontown it was just...he didn't trust Toontown, there was something about the amount of villains that were allowed to just WANDER around that unnerved him a LOT.
He came round the corner and stopped dead. Daphne was with Bram. They were dancing despite the fact that rehearsal had ended half an hour ago.
He stood there for at least a few seconds until Bram caught sight of him and tapped Daphne on the shoulder before pointing at her husband.
Her eyes lit up. "Freddie! Ah, are those for me?" She ran forward and plucked the flowers out of his frozen hands, looking at them happily.
Fred shook himself back to reality and said. "Ye-Yes! Yes, they are. Er...do you like them?"
"Oh, I love them!" She leaned up and gave him a peck on the cheek. "Thank you, sweetie."
"Uh-huh." He was still looking at Bram, who was looking back at him oddly.
Daphne looked at him curiously, before following his gaze. "Oh!" She gave a laugh. "Bram very kindly offered to stay with me until you got here. Wasn't that nice of him?"
"Very nice of him." Fred echoed, and his voice sounded off even to his ears.
Probbaly picking up on the tone, Bram backed away a few steps before saying. "Well, I'd better be off. See you tomorow Daphne."
She gave him a cheerful wave, before sniffing the flowers again and giggling. "They smell lovely, Freddy. Where did you get them from?" No answer. "Freddy? Freddy!"
"Huh?" He blinked. "Oh sorry. No, I just got them to show you how important you are to me, that's all."
She frowned. "Important to you? Oh yes, I'm clearly VERY important to you! That's why you're not LISTENING to a single word I say!"
"I AM listening to what you say!"
"So what DID I say then?" She demanded, eyes blazing.
He opened his mouth and his mind went blank.
She scoffed. "Thought so." Then dramatically spun round and stormed off.
"Daphne, wait!" He ran after her and caught her arm.
"Why!?" She snapped. "You're not even listening to me! All you're doing is STARING at Bra-Oh!" She stopped herself.
"What?" Freddie asked, he could practically see the dots connecting in her mind and he wasn't sure he liked it.
"Oh!" She said again, then she looked at him and said slowly. "You're JEALOUS. You're JEALOUS of Bram!"
"I am not!"
"Good! Because there's no NEED to be! I do not LOVE Bram, I love you, Freddie. And I've told you this before and we've had this conversatiom before, and, I admit, sometimes it's the other way round but-" She took a sharp breath. "It shouldn't be like this. I mean, can't you just think WHY I like hanging out with Bram?"
"-Because he's nice!" She exploded. "Because he LISTENS to me and doesn't tune me out all the time! Because he doesn't but me roses because HE thinks HE'S MESSED UP! Because I can dance with him!" She sighed wistfully. "I love dancing."
"I know." Fred said, and he did. Daphne had always loved dancing. And music. And acting. It was one of the many things they had in commen.
"But you're not good at it." She said, and it was true. "You can't dance, Freddy, and you'll never be able, because you're not willing to learn. You can't STAND someone else telling you what to do!"
"You can't!" Daphne said, passionatly. "You can't and you've never been able to!" She took a deep breath. "I'm going home now, Freddie." She said, levelly.
He perked up. "I'll come with you-"
"-No!" Seeing his hurt look, she took another breath. "I want, no. I NEED to be on my own. You can sleep in the other bedroom tonight." And with that she walked away.
Freddie stared after her. It started to rain.
"So, like, hold on a minute. YOU want to learn to, like, DANCE?"
"Yes." Freddie said, defensivly. Really, there was no need for the look of horror on Shaggy's face, it was a perfectly simple request.
Fred sighed and filled the beatnik in on his argument with Daphne.
"Wow." Shaggy said, when he'd finished. "That's, like, rough man."
"So will you help me?" Fred asked, depsratly.
"Like, of course. What do you,like, want to learn?"
"Er...whatever dance Daphne and Bram are doing?"
There was a beat. Then a tactful. "You know, I, like, don't think that's a good idea. That's, like, a VERY hard dance. That's why they're, like, got two PROFFESIONAL dancers doing it."
Fred sighed. "Okey, then. What's the simplest dance?"
Shaggy fidgetied. "It's, like, not really a question of the simplest dance. It's, like, how much time you're, like, willing to put into it."
Fred thought a bit, mentally re-jigged his scheduale around, then said, thoughtfully. "What could I have learned by the end of filming?"
"LEFT foot, like, forward, Fred! Left, left - you're, like, OTHER left. Okey, like stop." Shaggy waved his hands around and Scooby cut the music for the third time in half an hour. "You DO, like, know you're right foot from you left, like, right?"
"Would you stop saying 'like?'" Fred muttered under his breath. Unfortunatly Shaggy heard him.
"Like, sorry!? Who's, like, doing WHO a favour here!?"
Fred held his hands up in surrender. "Sorry, sorry, i'm just tense. This is so complicated and my brain just won't do it!"
"Okey, what are you, like, finding difficult?"
Fred considered, then said, apoligetically. "Like, everything?"
Shaggy looked at him, probably trying to see how serious he was. Then sighed. "Okey, let's, like, try it another way..."
Two weeks later and the stickers on the floor had really helped.
"And...hold." Shaggy instructed. They held the final pose, smiled to the imagenery audience, then the music finished and they relaxed.
"Gee, I hope I can do that with Daphne." Fred said, mopping his brow.
"You'll, like, be fine." Shaggy said, breezily. "Another 6 weeks and you'll have it down perfectly."
Fred froze. "Six weeks!?"
"Yeah, you, like, said you wanted to show it her at, like, the end of filming right? That's, like, six weeks away."
Fred's legs nearly gave way. "I can't do this." He muttered.
"Sure you can-"
"No! You don't understand, I can't! I just...when would I even perform it?"
"Well, we are, like, having an end-of-wrap party..." Shaggy pointed out.
Fred gave him a look and said, sarcastically. "And you want me to stop the music and ask if Daphne would mind waltzing with me?"
A beat and then. "Actually Freddy...you, like, say that sarcastically, but I think that sounds pretty, like, darn romantic."
It was the end of wrap party. Fred was pretty sure he was going to be sick. He hadn't wanted to be to obvious about this whole 'waltz' thing, so he'd asked Shaggy to go and ask the DJ to slow things down when he was ready.
He just had to be ready first. Ooh - he massaged his stomach and took a deep breath.
"Nervous about asking Daphne to dance?" Velma said, discreetly, having just appeared alongside him.
"Like you wouldn't believe." Fred muttered, then did a double take. "Hold on, how do you know-?"
"-Shaggy told me." She said, eyes sparkling. "I think it's sweet. But you are wasting time. We've been here half an hour already and if you leave it to late everone will be to drunk to apprciate it." She flashed him a smile. "Just a hint." And disapeared back into the crowd.
Fred took a breath and forced himself to calm down. Velma was right, the longer he left it the more diffiult it was going to be. He went over to the DJ and asked him to slow it down.
The music first died down, then a classical tune come over the speakers. People were confused, but Fred just grabbed a micro-phone and steamrolled on with:
"Hi, hi. Er..." Gee everyone was staring at him. Deep breaths, Fred, you got this. Shaggy, Scooby and Velma gave him a thumbs up. Fred smiled back and said, with renewn confidence. "Sorry for interupting, but I couldn't go another moment with asking a favour from the women I love and will always love forever." He smiled at Daphne, who began to blush lightly. "For years now she's been asking that I learn to dance. I've always refused because i've been to..." He considered. "Nervous...to do it. But now, I've been taking lessons and..." He looked into her eyes and lost the point he had been going to make. "Daphne..." He said, instead. "Will you waltz with me?"
He could see her eyes brimming with un-shed tears [the good kind, he hoped] and she got up and walked towards him. In hindsight, maybe he should have done it a bit closer to her table.
She took his hand, looked at him lovingly, leaned forward and whispered in his ear. "Freddie, do you really know how to waltz?"
"Shaggy taught me." He muttered back.
That was, of course, enough to reassure her and, as the music started he looked deep into her emerald eyes and in that moment they were deaf to all applause, it was just her and him, together, forever.