This article is property of Mixitup21.
|!||Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended.|
|Set It Up|
|Rating||T / PG-13|
|Pairing(s)|| Gunther/CeCe |
|Written||November 5, 2011|
|Updated||November 21, 2011|
|No. of Chapters||2/?|
Future fic. CeCe's back in Chicago for a close friend's wedding. As expected, she reconnected with a lot of the friends she'd left behind. But she didn't expect this.
- CeCe Jones: Age 24, lives in New York City, New York as head choreographer of Shake It Up, New York!
- Gunther Hessenheffer: Age 24, lives in Chicago, Illinois as head choreographer of Shake It Up, Chicago!
- Rocky Blue: Age 24, lives in Chicago, Illinois with her boyfriend, Deuce Martinez.
- Tinka Hessenheffer: Age 24, lives in Chicago, Illinois with her fiancé, Ty Blue.
- Ty Blue: Age 26, lives in Chicago, Illinois with his fiancée, Tinka Hessenheffer.
- Deuce Martinez: Age 24, lives in Chicago, Illinois with his girlfriend, Rocky Blue.
- Flynn Jones: Age 19, lives in Chicago, Illinois. CeCe's younger brother.
|Time management. That's what I need. Do they have classes for that? Or some kind of seminar or something...
Her bedroom was an absolute mess. Several pieces of clothing were strewn all over the floor, some even going as far as the door and creeping out into the hallway.
This would be easier if she had both of her hands completely free.
"What time should I pick you up?" A voice on the other end of the line broke her out of her thoughts.
CeCe racked her brain, trying to remember her flight details while trying to reach for her favourite handbag, which was conveniently placed on the highest shelf in her closet. She hated packing; she was so indecisive.
"I'll be landing around 11am," she replied, finally gripping the strap of the handbag and pulling.
"Okay. She's got me running a few errands that morning, but I'll be there. I can't wait 'til you get here."
"Me neither, Rock," she smiled as she tossed another shirt into her haphazard suitcase. "It'll be so great to see everyone again."
A comfortable silence met her on the other line.
"We all miss you here, you know?"
CeCe smiled sadly and took a seat at the foot of her bed. "I miss you guys, too. I know I've missed out on so much these last couple years."
Rocky scoffed. "You think? My brother's getting married!"
They both let out an excited squeal. "And to Tinka Hessenheffer! If this were, like, nine years ago, I wouldn't have believed it."
"Well it's nine years later, so believe it, baby," her best friend laughed.
CeCe could hardly believe how much has changed in that span of time. If she had known that she would be out of Chicago and moving to New York to be a choreographer, she would have thought herself crazy. CeCe had been enrolled in Columbia College for a year before leaving her studies to move to New York. She was trying to major in Dance, but when the opportunity to become a choreographer for Shake It Up, New York came along, she couldn't say no. With a deferral already taken care of, she went to Rocky and apologized for needing to leave; if it weren't for Rocky, CeCe wouldn't have been able to even get into college. If it weren't for Rocky, CeCe Jones wouldn't be a lot of things. It was a bittersweet goodbye, but the girls had kept in touch regularly and visited each other whenever they could. She couldn't even remember the last time she visited home. Rocky would make the odd trip out to New York because of her job, catching up with CeCe through lunch or shopping down SoHo. She would love to go back to school; her deferral to Columbia had long been invalid because of how busy she was with the show, and she felt that she already knew everything she needed to know by being on Shake It Up, New York. 'It would be nice to go back, though,' she thought. Maybe one day. For now, she was going on 25 and enjoying the life she had chosen for herself.
"How long has it been since I came home to Chicago?" CeCe asked aloud, looking over the contents in her suitcase so far. She honestly couldn't remember if it was four years ago or five.
"Five years ago," Rocky said without missing a beat. "When Deuce and I started dating. I remember you were there when we celebrated our one month anniversary."
"Ah, right," she nodded, grinning. "He had Crusty's Pizza cleared out for just the two of you."
She could practically hear her friend roll her eyes over the phone. "Never mind that he scored it for free because his Uncle Frank owns it."
She couldn't hold back her laugh. "It's the thought that counts."
"True. He's gotten better with planning the dates, thankfully," Rocky chuckled. "But hey, what about you? Are you still seeing that actor?"
"If you can call him that," CeCe scoffed, recalling the three weeks she had dated an aspiring actor who's idea of a good time involved attending high end parties that he had no business being a part of, while insisting on calling her CeCelia because he thought everyone around him should be as sophisticated as he was (which he wasn't). That, and trying to grope her ass in public. "He crossed so many lines with me, they started looking like a field of dots."
She heard laughter on the other end. "Sorry to hear that. You always bounce back though, you'll have a new play thing in no time."
CeCe wrinkled her nose. "Yeah, but... with this whole wedding thing happening, and you and Deuce being together for five years? I'm kind of over the whole casual dating scene, you know? I'm turning 25 in a few months. I think it's time for me to get serious."
"CeCelia Jones, is that you?" Rocky asked, incredulous.
"Honestly!" CeCe answered. "I can't keep going on random dates and not take things more seriously. It's getting old, I'm not in high school anymore."
"That's funny; Tinka's been telling Gunther the same thing for God knows how long," Rocky chortled.
CeCe couldn't picture it. "If you say so," she laughed. It's kind of hard to picture Gunther Hessenheffer dating, period.
"Anyway, knowing you, you probably need a lot of time to pack, so I should let you go."
"It's crazy how well you know me."
She got off the phone with Rocky and stared at her unorganized suitcase. This was going to take all night.
The next day, she hopped on a two-hour flight to Chicago and couldn't shake her excitement. She would get to see her mom, Flynn, and all of her friends after years of being absent. She was taking a much-needed break from the show and was confident that her co-choreographer would hold down the fort for the next two weeks. This trip would be unlike any other trip she'd taken home; Ty and Tinka were the first ones from her childhood friends to get married. She remembered when they told everyone that they had become an official couple back when they were teenagers. Ty was in the 12th grade and Tinka in the 10th. CeCe recalled the hard time people gave Ty for dating "that foreign freak", but the boy paid them no mind and it only made their relationship stronger. Now it was nine years later, and here they were, taking the biggest step in their relationship. CeCe wasn't going to lie, she was a bit jealous. Jealous that she still hasn't found that special person that she would spend the rest of her life with. She hasn't even come close. She thought about Rocky and Deuce's relationship; they've been living together for the last year and a half, and dating for five. CeCe's relationships didn't even put a dent in that. The longest she'd ever dated someone was last year, with a fellow dancer on Shake It Up, New York, which had lasted 11 months. She thought it was such a bummer that they didn't even make it to the coveted one year anniversary. He had to go and be a pig and cheat on her with a girl living in her apartment building, one floor below her. After that, she didn't want to enter a long term relationship out of fear that it would end just as badly. Almost a whole year of being with someone, and it only took one day to ruin everything. She just wasn't as lucky as Tinka or Rocky.
After sleeping off her relationship woes on the plane, she was finally home.
"A little word of warning," Rocky said, tugging CeCe's sleeve before she reached for the doorknob of Tinka's apartment door. CeCe turned and looked at her, noting the eager look on her friend's face. Rocky's voice dropped down to a whisper. "I love the girl, but Tinka's a total control-freak right now, and her mom's even worse. You're lucky her mom's not here tonight."
"Strangely, that doesn't surprise me," she laughed, pulling Rocky along and into Tinka's apartment. Her jaw dropped at the scene in front of her. It looked as if a fabric store had exploded inside, and after a few scans over the room, CeCe finally spotted her friend in the mess. Catching her eye, the girl got up and practically jumped on her.
"Tinkabell!" CeCe laughed, hugging her back.
"Thank goodness you are here. My other two bridesmaids won't be flying in from the old country until the day before the wedding, so I need you two to help with the preparations."
CeCe gave her a small salute. "That's what I'm here for."
Tinka shot her a grateful smile and shoved a long box into CeCe's arms. "My veil. It needs these flowers threaded all along the crown," she explained, topping the box off with a basket of false glittering white flowers. "If you will?"
CeCe barely had any time to blink. "Uh, yeah, you got it."
She turned to the other person in the room. "Oh, and remember: these next two weeks is strictly just for the girls," Tinka said, shaking her finger at Rocky. "You and Deucey can play catch-up when I am good and married."
Rocky rolled her eyes, a smile gracing her lips. "I got it, I got it... sister-in-law."
A huge smile broke out on Tinka's face, and CeCe couldn't hold back her own excitement. She dropped the taffeta in her hands, Rocky and CeCe following suit. The three of them screamed and hugged each other. Tinka kept her hold on CeCe as the hug dissolved.
"CeCe, I am so glad you made it."
"My childhood friend and my childhood frenemy are getting married," she teased. "Wouldn't miss it for the world." She gave Tinka another hug for extra measure. "But hey, I know it's strictly girls only, I just miss the guys so much. You can make one tiny exception for about an hour, right?"
"I guess that would be alright," she sighed. After a beat, she gave CeCe a smile. "Hurry back though! One hour exactly. There is still much to be done."
Rocky gave her an 'I-told-you-so' look and CeCe laughed. "Yes, boss!"
Now, CeCe didn't know if Tinka was being serious about taking one hour exactly, but from what Rocky was telling her, and what she had just witnessed herself, she didn't want to take her chances. Thankfully, Ty's apartment was only a 10 minute walk away. She knew Deuce, Flynn, and Gunther would be there together with Ty, and she couldn't bear to not see them all for a day longer. Arriving at the building, she was let in by an elderly lady who had asked her if she forgot her key. Shrugging, CeCe trudged right in.
"Honey, I'm home!" She called after finding the apartment door unlocked.
All of a sudden, three pairs of eyes were on her.
"CeCe!" They yelled in unison. The next thing she knew, she was being pulled into the apartment and engulfed in a group hug with her three favorite guys.
"I missed you guys so much," she said, hugging each of them individually. She held on to her younger brother for a little longer. "My little brother's not so little anymore," she said, her voice laced with affection.
Flynn hugged her back, letting out a laugh. "And my big sister still hasn't gotten any bigger." She reached up and ruffled his hair, taking a step back.
"Someone's missing," she observed, looking around. "Where's the bride-to-be's brother?"
"Oh, Gunther stepped out to pick up the flower pin things," Deuce said, popping a french fry into his mouth.
CeCe laughed. "You mean the boutonnieres?"
Deuce waved his hand. "Yeah, those."
Ty rolled his eyes. "Aren't you glad I picked this guy as my best man?" He teased.
She spent the next little while catching up with all of them, telling Flynn that she would be home late tonight after taking care of things for Tinka. Their mom was now the chief of police and still worked her ridiculous hours, so CeCe was hoping that when she got home, her mom would be there. In the meantime, CeCe was immersed in a conversation with the guys about how Ty proposed to Tinka, and their initial plans of having a traditional wedding in the style of the old country that Tinka's family came from. When Ty found out that the groom had to wear goat fur on his tuxedo, he had to draw the line. They came to a compromise and settled on a simple park wedding with Tinka's wedding dress following her traditions, while Ty's tuxedo followed his traditions; which meant the basic three-piece suit. This made CeCe curious about the bridesmaids dresses. She continued to listen to stories about their lives; she laughed, she gasped, sometimes she gagged. These guys haven't changed one bit.
"Well if it isn't Miss CeCe Jones," said a softly accented voice from the doorway. Her head whipped around to see a tall blonde holding a box of what she assumed to be the boutonnieres. She met him with a smile.
"Gunther Hessenheffer," she said, extending her arms the way she remembered him doing from many years ago. He laughed and set the box down on the counter, crossing his arms and taking a step towards her.
"You know, I should still be angry at you for being chosen to move to choreograph Shake It Up, New York instead of me."
Her arms retreated and she shrunk back slightly. "Are you?" She asked in a small voice.
A grin broke out on his face. "Of course not; get over here," he said, enveloping her into a hug. She let out a laugh of relief and hugged him back.
"That's a relief. You're the only one out of everyone that I haven't heard or had a visit from since I moved," she said with an accusatory tone in her voice, narrowing her eyes at him.
He at least had the decency to look ashamed, stepping back and reaching up to scratch the back of his neck. "Yes, well, I did envy seeing you on television for a good year and some months. Then things just got busy, and..." he trailed off.
CeCe shrugged, shaking her head. "Hey, really. No big, I understand." She placed her hand on his arm and smiled. "It's good to see you, Gunther."
He returned her smile and CeCe found herself having trouble looking away. "You, too."
She couldn't believe it. She almost had to do a double-take when he had walked in. Gunther wasn't the same guy she had last seen when she was 19. Rocky had mentioned him a few times over the phone when they were playing catch-up. She would tell CeCe about her and Deuce going on double dates with Ty and Tinka, and once in a while, Gunther would join them... with a different girl every time. 'The guy's a total chick magnet,' Rocky laughed once. 'Gunther? Please,' was always CeCe's response. Rocky bet her numerous times that, if she were still living at home, she would be the one with Gunther on their triple dates, because he's "totally her type". Plus they've all been friends forever, so it would make sense. CeCe thought that was completely cliché, but what does she know; she was the single one. The whole time, CeCe thought Rocky was exaggerating. But looking at Gunther now, she'd definitely never doubt Rocky again. The girl was always the smarter one out of the two of them anyway.
She shook herself out of her reverie. "How have you been, anyway? Last I heard, you were co-choreographer of Shake It Up, Chicago."
"Head choreographer," he corrected, a glint of the Gunther she knew coming back in the way he smirked.
She gave him an impressed look. "Ah! Looks like you're my competition, then."
"CeCe, you may be in the Big City now, but I assure you there is still no competition," he teased.
"Oh, really?" He gave her a curt nod. "That sounds like a challenge, Hessenheffer."
"Maybe it is, Jones," he narrowed his eyes at her, taking another step towards her.
"Well then I guess we'll have to settle this on the dance floor." CeCe mimicked his expression and after a beat, they let out a laugh.
"I'll meet you there," he said, giving her a genuine smile this time. She smiled back and didn't realize that the other three in the room had been watching with amused eyes the entire time.
"Well," she started, clapping her hands, not meeting any of their eyes. "My hour's up. I should head back before Tinka sends out a search party." She waved to no one in particular and strode towards the apartment door. "I'll talk to you guys later!" She shot Gunther one last smile before jetting off.
The guys said their goodbyes before the door clicked, but a certain blonde's eyes never left the door until Ty spoke up.
"You okay there, Hessenheffer?"
He blinked and turned his head to the voice. "What? Of course." He cleared his throat, grabbing the box he had brought off the counter and swiftly moving across the room to put it with all the other things for the wedding.
Deuce and Ty exchanged knowing looks and shared a silent chuckle.
On her way back to Tinka's apartment, CeCe was berating and mentally slapping herself. Was she being too obvious? She touched his arm and was pretty sure she batted her eyelashes at one point. Batted! She didn't mean to get all flirty on him like that, but it was just what she did when she encountered attractive men. And Gunther Hessenheffer? Definitely attractive. Who would have known? The guy had filled out and, from what she saw today, ditched the sparky clothes. And maybe it was just her, but did his accent seem more subtle? A part of her kind of missed the old flashy Gunther, but she guessed that living in a different country for 20 years did that to a person. She began to tell herself over and over that it was nothing; he's just another guy. But on the other hand, he was a guy that she grew up with, even became close friends with in high school. Suddenly, CeCe thought that maybe Rocky wasn't lying about Gunther being her type now. Granted, her "type" usually just meant tall, handsome, and... a dude, but CeCe liked to think that she had higher standards than that. She wouldn't act on anything around Gunther.
It was nothing.
Later that night, Rocky was sitting at the counter at her brother's place, where she was staying, thanks to Tinka's rule about dragging her bridal party into not seeing their significant others for more than a few hours per day until the wedding day.
"Gunther totally wants CeCe," Ty told his sister, looking in the fridge.
Rocky's eyes widened. "You're kidding."
"The boy couldn't take his eyes off her when she came around today." He shut the refrigerator door and leaned on it, grinning at his sister. "She left and I swear I thought he was gonna burn a hole through my door from staring after her for so long."
"Oh this is too perfect," Rocky laughed. "CeCe was acting all weird when she got back to Tinka's. I asked if she saw Gunther and she got all fidgety."
Ty laughed. "There was definitely some flirting going on earlier. You know, I always thought you were a freak for wanting everyone in our little circle to be paired up, but we're 2 for 3 now, and after what I saw, I'm kinda thinking that you're on to something."
"Told you," she said matter-of-factly.
When Rocky warned CeCe that Tinka was controlling, she wasn't kidding. It was only her second day there, but Tinka threw around jobs for everyone as if she were a princess and they were her housemaids. Even Ty was at every beck-and-call, although they never saw each other since CeCe arrived; something about it being a "tradition in the old country" that the bride and groom stay separated two weeks before the wedding. They only communicated through the phone and text messages. Tinka had conveniently applied the tradition to her bridal party, prohibiting Rocky from seeing Deuce for more than two hours a day, accomplishing that by having the girl basically be her personal assistant. This was one of the only times that CeCe was thankful she didn't have a boyfriend. She was allowed to see the guys as much as she wanted and help them out with whatever they needed.
CeCe found herself being in charge of seating arrangements, decorations, and assisting Deuce with the music. Tinka knew Deuce, and if her thoughts were correct, he and Ty would ensure that the night's entire playlist consisted of bass-heavy remixes that came attached with ridiculous dance crazes that Ty would force the guests to do on the dance floor. Although she would have loved that, CeCe had to agree, unsure if Tinka and Gunther's family from the old country would appreciate that very much. It was her job to make sure there was a fair mix of both. One problem... she had no idea about music from their country. She had told Tinka that, and she only told CeCe that it was "no longer her problem", and to talk to Gunther about it. 'Fantastic,' CeCe thought, not wanting to at all. Deuce was all too happy about the idea and urged them to get right on it. It was strange.
"Why are you insisting that Gunther and I meet up so badly? It's just some CD's," CeCe said, looking through some music on Deuce's laptop. "I mean, I can always just Google 'music from...'" she looked up. "What's their country called?"
Deuce guffawed. "I can't even tell you. Gunther mentioned it once and all I heard was random letters mushed together."
"Just talk to Gunther, get some ideas. I'm sure he'll be very happy to help you out," Deuce said slowly with a smile on his face.
Her head shot up and she narrowed her eyes at him. "Why do you say it like that?"
"Like what?" He said innocently.
"In your creepy voice. I know that voice."
"I don't have a creepy voice!" He said, offended. "I'm just saying, you two should catch up, I know he's the one you haven't spoken to the longest."
She gave him a suspicious look but decided to let it go. Considering it, she nodded. "I guess you're right."
She didn't know what she was so nervous about. It was only Gunther.
|Later that afternoon, CeCe worked up the nerve and went over to Gunther's apartment to get help with the music for the wedding. As she stood in front of his door, she couldn't help but roll her eyes at herself. She felt ridiculous. This was Gunther; the same Gunther that she couldn't stand in middle school, and the same Gunther that paraded around like he was the king of everything. But he was also the same Gunther who, a few years later, became one of her best friends. They, along with Tinka and Rocky, had developed a certain camaraderie while being on the show, and without really realizing it, they became inseparable. The further they got into high school, the closer they all became and she couldn't imagine their friendship any other way.
Well, she didn't want to, and she couldn't figure out what had come over her to start looking at Gunther differently. Ignoring her impending feelings, she shook it off and concluded that this visit was purely a friend coming to another friend for advice. That was it. She knocked and waited for him to answer.
"CeCe, hello," he said, looking a bit surprised that she was there.
"Hey, sorry to just come over unannounced, but I was across the street at Deuce and Rocky's, and he said that... maybe you could help me with something," she slowed down as she realized she was rambling on.
He blinked at her a few times before opening his mouth. "Yes, of course." He stepped aside to let her in. "Sorry about the mess in here, Tinka's been having me alter her dress. One day it's fine, the next it's not. I don't know if you've noticed, but she's kind of crazy right now."
CeCe let out a laugh. "Really? I haven't noticed at all." She looked around at the area. The coffee table was covered in fabrics and magazine photos that had been ripped out. "You still make clothes?"
He was walking around, picking random things up and trying to tidy up a little. "Not so much anymore," he shrugged. "I'm too busy with the show to keep up with it. Actually, Mama made the dress. It's tradition in the old country that the bride's dress be made by her mother, or the closest person. But Tinka's mind changes every ten minutes that Mama refused to do anymore alterations for her, so I got stuck with the job."
CeCe definitely didn't ignore the fact that he was strutting around his apartment in a grey wife-beater and sweatpants. She shouldn't be surprised, she kind of did come over unexpectedly. She remembered years ago when he and Tinka always had to out-dress everyone, and never left the house looking as fabulous as they thought they did. He was in his pyjamas at 3 in the afternoon and he didn't even care. But he still owned it, she admitted, checking him out (she couldn't help it). Maybe that was one of the reasons; his confidence was attractive to her. Sure, he was confident to begin with, but now it was like he checked his ego at the door and was more internally sure of himself than he was cocky. Same Gunther, but more... mature.
She watched in amusement as he gathered up the fabrics and carelessly tossed them into what she assumed to be his room. "Did you want anything to drink?"
"Oh no, I'm okay. Thank you. I, um, I came over to ask you for some song recommendations, actually," she said, tapping her foot. Bad habit; she was never able to stand still. "Tinka wants the playlist to be a mix of our music and music from the old country, so..."
He looked up and nodded in agreement. "That's a good idea. I'll see what I can do. Make yourself at home," he said, waving his hand towards the sofa. She took a seat and waited for him to return as he went back towards his bedroom door. He came back holding some CD's in one hand and a laptop on the other. He lifted the handful of CD's. "These might be more... appropriate for a wedding reception."
They spent a few hours listening through music and coming up with an appropriate playlist. CeCe had to admit, the music wasn't bad. The stuff Gunther had right now was eons better than what he and Tinka had displayed when they were in middle school. He was currently playing her an artist named Aneliya Gottschalker, and the room was filled with a haunting and ethereal tune, something CeCe could definitely see people slow-dancing to at the reception.
"This is incredible," she breathed, taking in the sound.
Gunther nodded. "In our country, they prefer the music slow, so it's easier to connect with. You'd be surprised at the amount of Celtic and jazz music we have there. We have upbeat dance songs, too, but it's not as good as the songs here. I prefer this when I go to the old country."
"I would've never guessed that by how you and your family were," she laughed.
He grinned. "Mama and Papa's aesthetic preferences are more influenced by Las Vegas than the old country."
She was curious, and they had time. "What's it like over there?"
He shrugged. "The country is still ruled by royalty, so it's all about hierarchy. Don't get me wrong; it is home, and I miss it sometimes. But we came here for a better life, and we got it. I much prefer it here in Chicago. The music, the dances, the lifestyle, the company..."
His eyes stayed locked on hers and she felt her face heating up as she looked into his eyes. Why had she never noticed how blue his eyes were before? Neither of them were doing a very good job of keeping their friendship in tact if kept looking at her like that.
She cleared her throat and blinked to look away. "I'm- I'm glad you guys picked... Chicago..." she made a face, internally chastising herself for possibly saying the dumbest things around him. Whatever happened to her quick wit?
Gunther looked at her with a hint of confusion but let out a small laugh. "Me too."
They looked for more songs to use on the internet, and finally had something to give to Deuce by the time 7pm hit. She had gotten up with four CD's in her hand and stood in front of him.
"So I'll see you Thursday? Rocky says you guys are having a guy's night in tomorrow."
He shrugged. "We told Tinka and Rocky we'd be doing wedding stuff, but it's really just an excuse to play video games. They could do without me. Did you need any help tomorrow? It'd make things easier for you."
"No, no. I mean, I'm just gonna be driving around and picking things up for your sister," she said with a frown.
"It's fine, I'll go with you. And just between you and me," he said, his voice dropping, even though it wasn't at all necessary seeing as they were the only two there. "I'd rather be hanging out there than with them."
She tried to ignore how close he was to her again. "You're not into having sleepovers?" She teased.
He put out his hands and pretended to weigh his options. "Pretty girl, or a small room with three guys?"
A laugh escaped her lips before she could comprehend that he'd called her pretty. "You think I'm pretty?"
"I'm not blind, CeCe," he laughed, taking a step past her in the direction of the door.
She blinked, not exactly sure how to react to that. She decided it was just best to turn on the old CeCe charm. She began to follow him to leave. "Even if you were, you know I'd be the first person to tell you how pretty I was."
She tried to ignore the feeling in her stomach as he laughingly agreed.
Gunther kept true to his word and accompanied CeCe around the city, picking up flower arrangements and going to the caterers to make sure the menu was in order. She also went to pick up her bridesmaid dress, and at that point she felt bad that Gunther had to wait on her while she had a last-minute fitting and some alterations done. But he didn't seem to have any complaints as she tried the dress on, to her relief. But really, what could she say? She worked that dress.
When evening rolled around, they were exhausted. There was only a week and a few days until the wedding, and everyone was running around taking care of different things. CeCe was all too happy to help, seeing as the other Hessenheffer and Blue family members wouldn't be coming into the city until a few days before the wedding date, including the other two bridesmaids, who were cousins of Tinka and Gunther's. Rocky and Ty's parents were going to fly in next week from their home in West Virginia, and Kashlack and Squizza were already helping Tinka with whatever they could, so basically it was just the seven of them running the show at the moment. There was a lot to take care of.
After thanking Gunther for helping her out, he dropped her off at her apartment building and told her to get a good night's sleep. And she planned on doing just that.
However, Rocky came in through her window like old times and declared that they were having a sleepover. She had been listening to one of the CD's that Gunther gave her, having kept it from Deuce. She'd give it to him tomorrow; she really liked this one. CeCe hit 'stop' on her laptop's music player quickly before Rocky could question anything.
In her room, they were both getting ready for bed and fully intending to get in as much sleep as possible, thanks to the busy day they both had.
CeCe felt a pair of eyes on her. She turned to see Rocky staring at her, eyebrow arched and arms crossed. "What's with you?" CeCe asked, putting down her brush and getting into bed.
"I think the real question here is: what's with you?" Rocky asked, plopping down on the bed next to her. "And Gunther?"
"What? Nothing," she scoffed pathetically.
"That's a lie, I know you spent the entire day with him."
"I thought Tinka told you not to talk to Deuce."
"I didn't need to talk to Deuce to figure out that something's changed between you and Gunther." Her nose scrunched and she shrugged. "But maybe we did have a little, tiny text conversation... Tradition or not, does she really expect me to just not talk to my boyfriend?"
CeCe chuckled, shaking her head.
"Anyway. Back to you and Gunther. I did not climb all the way up the fire escape for you to keep your mouth shut about this," she demanded.
"And here I was thinking that you wanted to spend some quality time with me," CeCe replied, rolling her eyes.
"Stop avoiding the subject."
"Okay, fine. It's... different every time I've talked to him these last few days, but that doesn't mean anything," she replied. "You said yourself that he talks to a lot of women. Maybe he's just like that."
She wondered if Rocky noticed the tinge of jealousy in her voice.
"You should see how angry you look right now," Rocky laughed.
Okay, so apparently she noticed. "Rocky, it doesn't mean anything," she repeated, slumping into bed a little more. "We're just two friends catching up. I mean, out of everyone, he's the one I haven't talked to much since I left- excuse me for wanting to know what's been going on in his life."
She lay down and turned her back to Rocky, huffing. She heard a chuckle behind her.
"If you say so," Rocky said, taking up the left side of CeCe's old bed. "I mean, look, Deuce and I will most likely get married soon- you know, if he knows what's good for him; Ty's my brother, which means Tinka's going to be my sister-in-law in literally a week; Gunther's her brother, which kind of makes him like my brother... we're all connected! And the only one missing is you, dear CeCe."
CeCe groaned inwardly, knowing where this was going. "You know, this obsession you have with all of us being one big happy family is getting creepy, I hope you realize."
"I just love all of you so much," Rocky replied, pouting. CeCe knew that face. "You would actually hold that against your best friend?"
CeCe rolled her eyes. "Stop. You know I love you, too. But-"
"So you'll go out with Gunther! Then you'll get married and have lots of adorable fair-haired babies for me to be a godmother to, and we'll spend holidays, birthdays, Vatala-whatever days together..."
"Oh my god," CeCe groaned, pulling the covers over her face as Rocky went on and on.
As things rolled along, Tinka and Ty got them all together for a small 'thank you' dinner at Crusty's, just to hang out and catch up, taking a break from all the wedding planning. Later on into the night, everybody had split up. Ty and Flynn were talking with Uncle Frank while Gunther, Tinka, and Deuce were standing off across the room near the stage. Rocky and CeCe remained at their table, empty plates and cups surrounding them.
"I think you and Gunther should at least go out on a date," Rocky suggested out of nowhere. CeCe's eyes got big and shot to where he was standing, then looking back at Rocky.
"I'm sorry, please say that louder, I don't think he heard you!"
"Oh come on, CeCe! You haven't dated anyone in like, a decade-"
CeCe's jaw dropped, offended. "It's been 6 months!"
"A.K.A. Half a year. Too long, honey. You're not getting any younger," Rocky said teasingly. CeCe narrowed her eyes at her and tossed a piece of pizza crust in her direction.
"Why do you keep thinking that it's such a good idea for me and Gunther to be together?" She whispered loud enough for only Rocky to hear.
"CeCe, you should know by now that sometimes the thing that could make you the happiest might've just been right in front of you the whole time." Rocky shrugged and let that simmer in CeCe's mind.
She watched Rocky get up and walk off towards Flynn. Her eyes travelled to where Gunther was teaching Tinka and Deuce a dance... or, trying to teach Deuce. She giggled to herself as the blonde threw his hands up in defeat at Deuce's lack of dance skills.
She smiled at the three as they walked back towards her and sat back down.
"Hopeless," Gunther sighed, shaking his head as he referred to Deuce.
Deuce scoffed. "You're just not down with my style, man."
"Oh is that what you call it?" CeCe laughed. "I thought something crawled down your pants."
"That's funny, yeah," Deuce chuckled, emotionless. "Take pretty boy's side."
Tinka tried to conceal her smile as Deuce subtly teased CeCe and her brother. Little did the latter two know that Deuce and Rocky had both informed her that there was a certain new spark between them. If she knew her brother, he would have made a move by now. She wondered what was taking him so long, so naturally, she decided to meddle and give him a push. She cleared her throat, getting the three's attention. "Deucey, just face it, you were born with two left feet. As a groomsman, I can't let you step on the dance floor and make a travesty of my special day. Maybe Rocky and Ty can help you out with that before the wedding, so much so that you'll be dancing down the aisle."
Gunther and CeCe laughed at Deuce's unimpressed face.
"By the way, that leaves you two to walk down the aisle together," Tinka said to the two of them, waving her hand before turning to Deuce and instructing him to follow her, leaving Gunther and CeCe alone. Neither of them noticed the little high five that Tinka gave Rocky as she reached her.
Gunther turned to CeCe and opened his mouth to say something until his cell phone rang. He fished it out of his back pocket and looked at the caller-ID. He shot her a tight-lipped smile before rising and turning around to take a few steps away from her. CeCe could still hear everything.
"What is it now?"
CeCe raised her eyebrows in surprise. Whoever that was definitely wasn't on his good side.
"There was a reason I never called you back; it's been two months... Yes, I realize you will be there, too, but that doesn't mean that it was me who made that happen. It's Tinka's wedding, not mine. I don't get a say... Actually, no, I don't think that is a good idea. I have too much to do that night... Plus... I- I already have a date, so... there is really no point in you calling me anymore, okay, bye." He hung up in a hurry and shoved the phone back into his pocket.
"And I was under the impression that you got nicer. Problem?" CeCe laughed as he came back to the table, annoyance clearly written all over his face.
"Just a girl that I went out with. She apparently doesn't know how to take a hint," he winced. "She keeps insisting that we go to the wedding together as dates."
"Why don't you? It's only one night," CeCe pointed out. "I'm sure you could tolerate her for a few hours."
"I went out with her for one night. Just one date, and she's convinced that we're meant to be together or something," he shuddered. "There is a tradition in the old country. If a sibling of the person getting married isn't married themselves, they must attend the wedding alone, because it is a day about welcoming someone into the family."
"Oh," she nodded in understanding. "Then... why don't you just tell her that?"
"I did! She does not believe me. She thinks I am making excuses to not go with her." He muttered, "I'm running out of fake excuses."
The girl sounded like a flaky bimbo, but seeing him stress out like this was kind of entertaining. She watched him in amusement as he sat next to her, chin in his hand while he was deep in thought on how to get rid of this girl. She almost flew back out of her chair as he straightened up, turning to face her.
"Wait, I have an idea. And just hear me out on this one," Gunther said suddenly, looking at her. "I told her I had a date to the wedding, but... I don't, really. I can't. So all I need to do is find someone to pretend to be my date."
"Who in the world would go along with this ridiculous plan?" Her eyes widened as he grinned at her, raising his eyebrows. "Uhh..." 'Of course you would, CeCe,' she scolded herself.
"Please?" He asked, fake-pouting. She honestly didn't need much convincing, but she liked to play hard to get. So she crossed her arms, and narrowed her eyes.
"What do I get out of this, exactly?"
He shifted his eyes around, searching his brain. Shrugging, he said, "Me as your arm candy?" He gave her one of his irresistible smiles and she was done playing hard to get.
"Fine," she sighed. He clapped in delight.
"Alright, so you'll pretend to be my date whenever Heather is around."
She faked a smile. Pretend. "Right."
He shot her a grateful look. "Thank you."
"You owe me big time for this," she stated, jutting her chin out and recrossing her arms.
He chucked her chin playfully and gave her a nod. "Got it."
From a distance, Tinka leaned over towards Rocky and dropped her voice. "Looks like we didn't need to do much to push them closer together, after all."
Rocky shook her head, smiling. "I'm sure it'll play out. It's all just a matter of time."