"Just another minute, KP," Ron said to his girlfriend as he gave her a reassuring pat on the knee from the drivers' side of the Sloth. It wasn't often that he was the one driving her car, and he figured as much as Kim trusted him, she was probably just a little worried about it. Of course, the nervousness wasn't helped by the fact that she couldn't see anything.
"Good," Kim replied. As badly as she wanted to rip her blindfold off to find out where they were going, she resisted the urge. If Ron could both plan a romantic dinner for their three-year anniversary and avoid spoiling the surprise in the face of the Puppy Dog Pout, she figured he deserved his victory. However, that wasn't the only thing bothering her about her current predicament. "This thing's starting to get itchy," she added.
Ron smirked. "Well, I guess the Ron-man will have to keep that in mind next time I have to blindfold you."
For the first time during their twenty-minute drive, Kim finally had a chance to score a measure of revenge on her boyfriend. It wasn't that she liked to tease him, but she liked the effect it had on him – breaking into a nervous sweat, making him stumble over his words. Knowing that she could do that to someone made her feel so... bad, but in a good way. As a nice bonus, the make-out sessions that served as her apologies for teasing him were just as enjoyable. Grinning, she decided to make her move. "Oh? What makes you so sure there's going to be a next time?"
"What makes you so sure there won't be?"
Kim was surprised at the reply, but only slightly. Ron didn't respond like that often – only when he was feeling extremely confident about something. Keeping a secret like this from her would definitely put him in that category, she thought. With that, she knew that this round was indisputably Ron's.
"Alright, Casanova," she said. "How much longer until we're there?"
Kim waited for an answer, but she didn't hear one. At least, not from Ron. She felt the car come to a stop and listened as the car's engine fell silent. A moment later, Ron grabbed the blindfold and pulled it off of Kim's head. As her eyes adjusted to the light, the first thing she was able to make out was the face of her smiling boyfriend. "We're here," he chimed as he moved back to his seat.
With Ron's head out of her field of vision, the second thing she saw was a dimly-lit building covered in vines with a tiny waterfall built into the wall next to the entrance. It looked just like the restaurant she had seen in that fancy-living magazine she was absentmindedly reading last night. She had mentioned that it would be nice to go there, but the waiting list for a reservation was a mile long so it couldn't be that one. Nonetheless, the third thing she saw was the simple lettering in front of the waterfall indicated that it was that one.
"Ch... Chez Mauvais?"
"The one and only!" replied a beaming Ron.
"How... how did you know about this place before last night?"
Ron's grin grew larger. "I didn't!"
Kim was stunned. "But... it takes weeks to get a reservation. How did you... HOW?"
Ron cracked his knuckles. "What can I say? It was nothing once the Ron-man called in a few favors."
Upon hearing that last word, Kim's look of astonishment turned into one of concern. "Ron, you know how I feel about-"
Ron put a finger to his girlfriend's lips. "Not those," he said. "We had a special guest instructor for our wine pairing class. I was able to pull him aside and trade him a couple of my recipes for a reservation tonight."
Kim's concerned softened, but didn't disappear completely. "So you got your instructor to give up his reservation for you?"
"Don't be silly, KP. The instructor was Antonio Canaglia, owner and executive chef of..." Instead of finishing his sentence, he simply pointed to the building in front of them.
A devilish grin crossed Kim's lips as she put a hand on her hip in mock indignation. "So you're admitting that you forgot to make reservations until last night?"
"Hey," he replied, "I just wanted to make sure that you'd have the peace and quiet you deserve on our anniversary, unlike the last two years." Kim and Ron both laughed, which was an impressive feat. Their first and second anniversary dinner plans were abruptly canceled thanks to the respective global domination schemes of Duff Killigan and (of all people) Falsetto Jones. Neither villain succeeded in taking over the world, but they did succeed in keeping Kim and Ron occupied half a world away from their romantic dinners. Both anniversaries ended with the young couple rolling into town at almost midnight, with only one dining option still open. That reminded her...
"Did you call Bueno Nacho?" Kim asked.
Ron nodded. "Yeah, Plan B's still available. C'mon, let's eat."
Kim made a motion to the door but froze instantly. "Wait!" she cried out. Ron turned to her with a look of concern. "You know, this place is pretty pricey. We can go halfsies if you want."
Ron held a hand up. "Nonsense. Milady deserves nothing but the finest and shall be treated as such. I can cover it."
"You sure?" Kim asked.
Ron flashed his trademark smile again. "Hey, you've got nothing to worry about as long as you're with me..." He paused. "...and as long as I didn't forget anything important." He reached into his right pocket and instantly felt the hard metal of Kim's car keys.
A little farther down, he felt the leathery exterior of his wallet, but that wasn't his real concern. His hand slid deeper into his pocket until he felt a small velvet box. Without removing it from his pants, he opened the box just enough for his finger to verify that the ring was still inside.
"Check. We're good to go, KP." At that, he sprinted out of the drivers' side door and dashed to the passengers' side. Before Kim could do anything, he opened the door and held his arm out for his girlfriend.
"Oooh, what a gentleman!" Kim cooed as they made their way into the restaurant. As the couple entered, they were immediately greeted and seated at their table. Before they could utter a word to each other, they were approached by an older gentleman in an all-white outfit.
"Signore Stoppable! " the man cried as he took Ron's hand in a hearty handshake. "Welcome to Chez Mauvais! So glad you could come!"
"Our pleasure, Chef Canaglia!" Ron replied. He did a fine job of hiding the pain he felt from the 'firm' handshake. "I've been looking forward to this all day."
"Well I hope my food is worth the wait, but..." The chef turned his attention to Kim. "I doubt that it's the real reason you're excited. This is the Kimberly you were telling me about, ci?"
Ron beamed with pride. "Why yes it is. Kim, I'd like you to meet the chef de cuisine of Chez Mauvais, Antonio Canaglia. Chef, this is Kim Possible."
Kim held her hand out for a handshake. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Canaglia."
The chef took her hand, but not in a handshake. Instead, he bent down to kiss the back of her hand. "Don't be silly, Signorina Possible. The pleasure is all mine." He released her hand. "You know, I hear dozens of men every day proclaim that the one they love is the most beautiful woman in the world, including Signore Stoppable here... but he is the only one to be correct in their assessment."
Kim blushed at the compliment. "Why thank you. I bet you say that to all the beautiful women that come here."
Chef Canaglia leaned towards Ron. "I think she's on to me," he half-whispered before busting out a big belly laugh. After collecting himself, he turned back to the blonde. "Ronald, that recipe for mustard-garlic chicken paillards is heavenly. When we go to our summer menu next month, your dish will be right at the top."
It was Ron's turn to blush. "Aw, thank you. I'm just glad so many people will be able to try it."
"No, thank you," Chef Canaglia insisted. "Now I must return to the kitchen, but this is a night for celebration. I'll have a bottle of my finest wine sent to you... on the house, of course."
Kim held her hand up. "Chef? We're so grateful for your hospitality, but we can't possibly-"
"Nonsense," he replied. "I heard what happened to you the last two years and I think the two of you have some catching up to do."
"It's not that," Ron interjected. "It's... well, in our line of work, we're kinda... on-call at all times. So we can't-"
"Say no more." The smile remained on the chef's face. "I have just the thing. We have a delizioso sparkling apple cider straight from Normandy, France. Best in the world, I promise. You'll love it!" The last of his words were said as he was backing away from their table. He rounded the corner towards the kitchen and disappeared. Kim and Ron looked at each other and smiled. He was right about the last two years – they had some serious celebrating to make up.
Moments later, their waiter brought two wine glasses to the table and filled them half-way with the cider the chef had heartily recommended. Kim grabbed her glass and held it in the air. "To us."
Ron clinked his glass to hers. "To us..." he paused and took a deep breath to calm his nerves. "...forever."
"Awww, Ron that's so..." her voice trailed off as Ron removed himself from his chair. She wondered where he was going, but her question was answered in milliseconds. Her brain started processing things slowly. Ron was walking to her chair for some reason. He was looking right into her eyes... for some reason. He grabbed her hand... for that reason? He started reaching into his pocket for THAT reason! Ron DROPPED TO ONE KNEE OHMIGOD OHMIGOD OHMIGOD IT'S HAPPENING!
Kim was almost bouncing out of her chair, ready to answer the question right then and there, but she wanted to hear him ask it. Ron was about to oblige.
"Kim, I..." He appeared to tug at something in his pocket, but nothing came out. "Kim, I..." Another tug. Still no dice. He gave his pocket another tug and the box he was reaching for finally came out of his pocket.
Unfortunately, the box also came out of his hand.
Both Kim and Ron watched as the box bounced and tumbled towards the table next to them, stopping underneath one of the occupied chairs. Ron turned to Kim with a look of shame on his face. He just had to not screw up for two minutes and he couldn't even do that. "Kim, I'm sorry I screwed-"
"It's okay, Ron!" Kim practically screamed as she wore the biggest grin Ron had ever seen. "I can get it!" She started scrambling out of her seat, but Ron stopped her with an upheld hand.
"I've got it. Just let me..." his voice trailed off as he made his way to the neighboring table. He approached the seat in question and spoke to the occupant. His shame was evident; he couldn't bring himself to look at the person he was speaking to, and his voice was barely above a whisper. "Excuse me, I seem to have dropped something under your chair."
The person in the chair held up the palm of her hand in his direction. "Well you know what, tough-"
The person in the chair suddenly realized that the voice asking the question was familiar and annoying. At the exact same moment, Ron realized that the hand in his face was feminine.
"Oh, no," they both uttered.
They turned to each other and confirmed their fears. It wouldn't be a battle with the fate of the world in the balance, but they each knew that a war of words was likely.
"Hi yourself, blondie," Shego snarled. Then her snarl turned into confusion. "What the crud are you doing here?"
Ron turned away from the former villainess. "Kinda trying to do the whole anniversary thing, you know. And you?"
"Oh," she began, "just doing the whole..." She sighed. "...pre-karaoke date night with the Doc."
"Aaah," Ron said. "So that would mean..." he turned towards the other end of Shego's table and saw the blue man he expected to see. He gave him an awkward wave. "Hi Drakken."
"Aaah." Drakken said.. "If you're here, that would mean..." Drakken turned towards the other end of Ron's table and saw the red-headed girl he expected to see. He gave her an awkward wave. "KIM POSSIB-" He cut himself off. "Err, sorry. Force of habit."
"It's okay!" Kim pleaded, still as enthusiastic as she was moments before. "Ron, could you..." she pointed to the box under Shego's chair.
"Oh, yeah!" Ron turned back to Shego. "Look, I dropped something. I'll be out of your way as soon as-"
"Allow me," Drakken interjected. He quickly shot a vine out of his neck and took hold of the velvet box in question. With the target in hand, he held it over Ron's outstretched hand. "Here you go."
A split second before it would've been in Ron's sweaty hands, green ones intercepted the jewelry case. "Whoa, whoa, whoa. What do we have here?" She opened the box and took a look at the ring inside. Her eyes bulged open as she cried "Yowza!"
Ron was confused. "I didn't think you were the type of person to say 'yowza.'"
"Neither did I," confessed Drakken. At that moment, Shego turned the open box towards Drakken so he could see its contents. His eyes bulged as well. "Yowza!"
Ron sighed heavily. "Oh-kaaay, everybody likes it. Now may I?" He reached for the box, but Shego moved her hand, keeping it out of Ron's grasp.
"Let me guess," she continued with a smirk. "This is the only way Princess'll let you have any fun."
"Actually, we've had that discussion and-" Ron paused. "Wait, WHY AM I TALKING TO YOU ABOUT THIS?" He lunged forward and snatched the box back before Shego could react. With his prized possession in hand, he gave Shego a serious look. "May I?"
A bit of venom seeped back into Shego's voice. "Go ahead. Your funeral."
Ron took a cleansing breath and straitened his suit. He turned back to his hopefully-soon-to-be-fiance and took her hand again. "Redo?" he asked.
Kim, still beaming, nodded anxiously.
Ron dropped back to his knee and took a deep breath. "Kim, I..." He stopped again. He turned towards Drakken and Shego's table and saw they were both watching them intently. He shook his head and turned his attentions back to Kim. "Kim, I..." He sighed. "I... can't do this."
Kim's face froze with fear. "What... what do you..."
Ron realized what she thought he meant and mentally kicked himself. "No-no-no-no-no-no-no. I can do this," he pleaded, waving his hand back and forth to indicate that he was talking about what he was about to ask. "I just can't do it with them watching."
Kim turned towards the former villains at the neighboring table. Drakken held his hands up defensively. "Don't mind us, we're not even here."
Ron sighed. "Look, I know we're not doing the whole fighting thing anymore, but... I just want this to be perfect, you know? I want to do this without worrying about you saying something to tweak us."
Shego smirked. "Don't worry, blondie. I won't say anything."
Ron wasn't sold. "Promise?"
"Yes-she-promises-now-ASK!" a still-giddy Kim pleaded as she held her hand out.
"C'mon, go for it!" pleaded Shego. "I mean, ever since Drakken gave up his world domination business, I rarely get a chance to see a guy make the biggest mistake of his life. No offense, honey."
"None taken," Drakken replied nonchalantly.
Ron's head fell forward in dejection. "This isn't gonna work here. If only I could-" His train of thought was interrupted when he saw a waiter walk past him. Maybe this was salvageable. "Sir!" he called out as he flagged the waiter down.
The waiter turned around and saw a distraught young man in front of him. "How can I help you, sir?"
"Is there... another table that's available?" Ron asked as Kim looked on.
The waiter was concerned. "Why, is there something wrong with your current one?"
Ron waived his hands in front of him. "Oh, no, the table's fine. It's just that... well, I'm trying to..." Ron opened the velvet box and showed the waiter the ring. He hoped the waiter was able to fill in the blanks. "Yeah, and the couple next to us, we kinda have a history with them, and I just want to-"
"Say no more, sir," the waiter replied with a smile. "I do have a table that just opened up."
That was music to Ron's ears. Relief washed over his features. "Great, where is it?"
The waiter pointed to the far end of the room. "It's over there. If you'll just give me a moment to wipe it down, I can-"
"CLEAN IT LATER!" cried Kim as she leaped out of her seat. She ran towards the table at full speed. When it was a few steps away, she tumbled into a handspring and pounced into the air. Her body twisted and turned until she landed perfectly onto the open chair. While the other diners looked on in awe, Ron smiled broadly. Confidence renewed, he marched straight towards the only person he saw in the room...
...which is why he ran right into a man directly in his path.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Ron pleaded without paying him much thought.
"Next time you should watch my goings, no?"
"Look, I'm sorry." Ron turned towards the man he bumped. "I'm kinda in the middle of-" His jaw hit the floor. Before him stood a mammoth of a man who was well-bronzed, well-oiled and well... well, huge. That would have been fine if it were just some random guy, but Ron's luck dictated that this was not just some random guy.
Señor Senior Junior gave the blonde a puzzled look? "Ron Stoppable? What are you doing here?"
Ron's incredible run of bad luck left him at a loss for words. "I... Kim... date... you?"
Junior smiled. "I am merely enjoying an evening with my Bonnie."
"You... Bonnie... here... where?"
Junior's arm pointed in the general direction of where Ron was heading. "Right over there."
Ron's eye followed the path of Junior's finger across the room to Kim, who looked at Ron with a bit of concern on her face. He panned slightly to the right, praying that the table next to her wasn't occupied by Bonnie. His prayer went unanswered, as Bonnie, nose buried in her phone, sat a mere few feet from Kim.
The same waiter as before scurried over to meet Ron. "Is everything alright, sir?"
All Ron could do was point at Bonnie.
"More history?" he asked with a knowing tone.
"Heh... rough line of work," Ron muttered. "You wouldn't happen to have-"
"I've got one more," the waiter said with a smile as he led Ron to the opposite end of the restaurant. Ron took a mental note to tip this man very well at the end of the evening.
He was quickly joined by Kim, who grabbed his arm. "Ron, what was the problem with that table?"
Ron merely pointed back at their second table. Kim looked at the table she came from and saw nothing wrong. Then she looked at the table next to it and saw... no. It couldn't be her. Suddenly, Kim eye developed a twitch. "That was..."
"Yep," Ron replied, his voice drained of emotion.
"Ron, are you sure it was-"
All Kim could do was give her boyfriend a pat on the shoulder. "Third time's the charm, right?"
Ron didn't get a chance to answer, as the patient waiter reached his destination. "Here we are, sir. Will this location work?"
Kim and Ron quickly scanned the tables surrounding their intended seating. To the left: two men who appeared to be talking business, neither of whom seemed familiar. Good. To the right: another young couple. They didn't ring a bell either. Good. The table in front...
"Oh, no" they both uttered as they saw the horrifying sight. DNAmy was cooing as she brought spoonfuls of soup to the mouth of the still-stone-encased Monkey Fist.
The waiter saw their reactions immediately. "Should I get the owner?"
Both of them nodded.
With that, the waiter walked to the kitchen to track down Chef Canaglia. When the chef emerged from the kitchen moments later, he had no trouble finding Ron. Neither he nor Kim could move, as the disturbing scene in front of them paralyzed them. "Signore Stoppable, is everything alright?"
Ron sighed for what seemed to be the fortieth time that evening. "I'm sorry, it's not your fault, it's just..."
"We keep running into old friends," interjected Kim. "Not-so-friendly friends."
"Aaaah," the chef said with a nod. "I understand. The life of a villain limits one's social opportunities, no?"
Kim raised an eyebrow. She turned to Ron and saw that he had the same reaction. She turned back to Chef Canaglia. "Wait, what did you say?"
The chef smiled. "Oh, don't get me wrong, I am not a villain myself, but many of my companions tell me about the lack of friendships, especially for young villains such as yourselves."
Ron's jaw dropped. Kim was more composed than her boyfriend, but only slightly. "Wait, wait, wait," she said. "You think we're... villains?"
Chef Canaglia looked confused. "It's why you're here, no?"
Ron regained his voice. "What would make you think we played on that side of the evil fence?"
The chef smiled. "Well, I don't mean to brag, but Chez Mauvais has been voted the most romantic restaurant catering to villains and villain sympathizers three years in a row. That reputation is what brings in most of our patrons."
"Not us!" Kim cried with a bit of disgust. "We came here because we saw your ad!"
Antonio's smile grew. "Aaaah, you mean our ad in Modern Villainy?"
"I don't subscribe to Modern Villainy," Kim protested.
"What about Affably Evil Monthly? Wonderful publication."
"I don't subscribe to-" Kim's words died in her throat when she realized that she was subscribed to Affably Evil Monthly.
Ron leaned towards his girlfriend, his voice barely above a whisper. "KP, why do you subscribe to Affably Evil Monthly?"
Kim was barely able to respond, her cheeks red with embarrassment. "I have to keep tabs on the world of evil."
"But beyond that," the chef continued, "I've tried to create enough hints to prevent this sort of confusion. Like our name, for instance. Mauvais is the French word for wicked. Did you know that?"
"Of course I do..." insisted Ron. "...now."
Antonio nodded. "So you see, while you're more then welcome to stay here, you might not-OOF!" His offer was cut off when Ron bumped into him. He was headed to the center of the dining area for some reason. Both Antonio and Kim were confused by what they were seeing, but Ron soon made his intentions clear.
"EXCUSE ME!" he cried in the middle of the dining area. Every single diner turned their attention to the young man who seemed to be coming unhinged. "I'm sorry for interrupting all of you fine... villains?" He shook his head. "Anyways, my name is Ron Stoppable and this is-" He motioned for Kim to join him. Hesitantly, she obliged. "This is beautiful, talented, amazing, and did I mention beautiful, Kim Possible." Kim blushed at the introduction.
Ron continued his plea. "Now, I've recently been made aware that all of you are villains. And that's cool. You know, you do your thing, we do ours, the world keeps on turning. But the thing is, I'm trying to propose to this amazing woman, and we've kept running into the bad guys we've beaten. I don't know about you, but when I'm asking the girl of my dreams to be my wife, I don't want someone I sent to jail mean-muggin' me, am I right?" Ron laughed at his joke. He stopped when he realized he was the only one doing so. He cleared his throat and continued. "Aaaanyways, what I'm wondering is, is there anyone out there – who we could sit next to – who we haven't beat or stopped or thwarted in any way? Show of hands!"
Ron scanned the room looking for a raised hand. He found none. "Don't be shy. Anyone we haven't stopped." He looked around again. "Anyone?" Still no hands. "Anyone!"
He saw a man who he didn't recognize and ran up to him. "You, sir! We haven't stopped you, have we?"
A larger man with a blonde mullet pointed at himself. "Me? Seriously?"
Ron shook his head. "No, not you, the guy behind you!" He moved past Motor Ed to find the man he was looking for. "Sir, did we thwart any of your evil plans?"
The man turned towards Ron and gave him a look of pure hatred. "I kidnapped an artist's dog and was gonna be rich off the ransom." He pointed a finger at Ron. "But you and that girlfriend of yours took that mangy mutt back before I could cash in!"
Ron slowly backed away from the table. "Ooh-kaaaay..." He saw a woman a few tables down who didn't seem familiar. "How about you? We didn't-"
"Save it," she snapped. "If it weren't for you, I'd still be on top of the evil jingle-writing industry! You think "Lather Rinse and Obey" wrote itself?"
"There's an... evil jingle-writing industry?" Ron asked. He then shook his head to refocus. "Nevermind that." He searched for one more person he didn't recognize and found him a few more tables away. "Sir!" he cried. "Have we ever done anything to you?"
The man gave Ron a good hard look. He turned to Kim and gave her a hard look as well. "Why yes," he began pleasantly. "You saved my neighbor's cat."
For the first time in what seemed like hours, Ron was able to smile. "Finally. Would it be possible to-"
He was cut off when the stranger grabbed him by the collar and pulled him nose-to-nose. "I hated that cat," the man growled before releasing Ron.
Before Ron could do anything, he was hugged from behind by Kim. He turned around but couldn't bring himself to look her in the eyes. "KP, I'm sorry. I just wanted everything to be perfect and-"
A finger to his lips silenced him. He finally looked at her face and saw that she was... smiling. "Ron, it's not the place that makes it perfect. It's you."
Ron started to blush. "Really?"
Kim nodded eagerly. "Besides, lover boy, we already have a perfect place."
Ron thought for a minute before he realized what she was saying. "Wait, you mean..."
With a huge smile on her face, she reached into her purse, pulled out her Kimmunicator, and handed it to Ron. When he took it, he saw that the number was already on screen; all he had to do was press 'Send.'
"Kim... are you sure?"
Her smile got even bigger as she grabbed Ron's arm. "I've never been more sure of anything in my life."
Ron couldn't help but smile. He placed a gentle kiss on her forehead as they made their way out of Chez Mauvais. With his free hand, he pressed the 'Send' button on the Kimmunicator and brought it to his ear.
"Ned?... Yep. Plan B."