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Pray for the Preacher's Daughter

Chapter Text

Saturday 9th August 2014

“You look absolutely wretched,” Hayden said cheerily as Bonnie climbed into the back of Jake’s car, filling the last spot. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Happy birthday, Hayden,” Bonnie muttered, trying – and failing – to seem a little happier on the outside than she felt on the inside. Rusted through and hollow was the best way she could think to describe it and even that didn’t quite encompass the acidic sensation bubbling in her stomach.

“Thanks,” she replied brightly, evidently deciding to ignore Bonnie’s mood. It was a relief. “Are you staying with us all afternoon or do you have other plans?”

Clicking her buckle into place, Bonnibel gave her a confused look. “Why would I have other plans?”

Hayden shrugged. “Just thought maybe you might’ve had something else on. Curious is all.”

“Nope. You’re stuck with me all afternoon.”

Finn leaned forward to look at her from the other side of the backseat. “Nothing involving Marceline?” he asked.

Bonnie felt her shoulders slump and the melancholy creep across her face again. “No,” she told him softly, unable to muster more than that. She was still really confused. Her plethora of text messages had – as promised – gone unanswered. Not even Keila seemed to know what the problem was.

Pippa, riding shotgun, twisted in her chair to fix Bonnibel with a pointed stare. “What’s with that tone? What happened? Do I have to kill her?”

“Sheesh,” Bonnie huffed, rolling her eyes, attempting to look relaxed. “It’s not like we were best friends or anything. Take a chill pill.”

Penelope’s eyes narrowed. “Past tense?”

“It doesn’t matter,” she affirmed. “Let’s just enjoy Hayden’s birthday and you can grill me on nothing when the day doesn’t belong to someone else.”

“It’s not technically my day,” Hayden pointed out. “But thanks. Movies!”

“Are you sure this is really all you want for your birthday?” Jake asked, merging onto the highway. “We could do something a little more exciting if you wanted.”

She shook her head vehemently. “Nope. I’ve been waiting for this movie for two years. Not paying for it is just a bonus. Besides, dinner’s on you guys too right?”

Finn laughed. “Sure.”

It was rather harder than Bonnie had anticipated to maintain a smiling façade for her friends. Participating in their conversation drained her so she stared out the window, sitting in stolid silence the whole way.

Unlike Hayden and Finn – who both bounded enthusiastically from the car – Bonnie, upon arriving at the Blackwater mall, kept to a more sedate pace. Pippa, as always, noticed; her blonde friend lagged a little to fall into step beside her.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” Pippa enquired gently. “What happened?”

Bonnie shook her head. “Not today, Pip,” she said. “Not on Hayden’s birthday. I’m sure there’s a social etiquette thing or something that says it’s bad manners.”

“We will be having this conversation, Bonnibel,” she commented sternly. “Don’t delude yourself into thinking otherwise. And if she’s done something awful, I’ll break her.”

Bonnibel sighed. “There’s no need to be breaking anybody,” she muttered, picking up her feet to catch up to the others. Hopefully, she could evade the conversation until much later. She didn’t want to talk about it. Mostly because she was sure she’d get facts wrong… And that was mostly because she had no idea what the facts were.

Despite vociferous protestations against it, Finn was standing in the queue proclaiming that all their tickets were on him today. Jake was asking how he would pay for it since he didn’t have a job and Hayden was smiling fondly at both of them. Finn ignored them and bought the tickets. He would probably regret it later, but Bonnie could at least understand why he would do it. Grand gestures were pretty good when it came to girls.

Bonnie made sure to keep the rest of them between her and Pippa when they seated themselves. Knowing her friend, she’d be persistent enough on this one thing to bring it up during the movie. This was not alright and avoidance was the best policy. She would not jump to conclusions and she would not talk about this. It was silly.

The movie Hayden had been waiting for was not science fiction, much to Bonnie’s slight disgruntlement. On the bright side though, it wasn’t a romance either. Well, okay, there was a romantic side plot involving some love-triangle nonsense between the main character, his rather unrealistically attractive female side-kick and the anti-hero slash wannabe-villain plucky comic relief. It was a very, very odd story set against a somewhat medieval English backdrop with non-specific magic thrown in and a dash of mythology for good measure. And naturally they were saving the world. It wasn’t boring. Neither was it particularly exciting. It was firmly planted in that middle ground where most films go these days.

“Was it everything you hoped?” Bonnibel asked Hayden afterwards on their way back to Jake’s car.

She shrugged. “It’s entirely possible that I had my expectations set a little too high,” she conceded. “But it was good. Definitely worth buying when it comes out.”

“Food!” Finn cried plaintively. “Where are we going for food?”

“What about Ivy’s?” Pippa suggested. “It’s Trivia Night. That could be fun.”

“Oh I’m all in for that,” Jake agreed, cranking the car to life. “With Bonnie at our table we’ll win, no trouble.”

Hayden lifted an eyebrow, amused. “Are you just using her for her smarts?”

He shrugged. “If you’ve got it, use it, right?”

“Fair enough.”

Penelope glanced over at Bonnie. “You alright with Trivia Night?”

For a moment Bonnibel was at war with herself. On the one hand, she really wanted to go and on the other, she knew Marceline would be there. She sighed. “Sounds good to me.”

Idle chatter filled the cab on the way to Ivy’s, mostly in regards to the movie. Without Ellen (who was on a date with… someone), the conversation didn’t revolve around how amazing the male lead’s six pack was. Although that did come up at one point; it was probably obligatory.

That didn’t mean Bonnie wasn’t thoroughly relieved to be spared involvement in that conversation when they pulled into Ivy’s parking lot. As usual, Finn led the way in, although Jake wasn’t far behind him.

“Must be hungry,” Hayden chuckled.

“They’re boys,” Pippa reminded her. “They’re always hungry.”

It was quite crowded inside, packed mostly with students from the high school. Finn was chatting with Ivy while Jake sprawled across a booth. He looked like an idiot splayed out like that, but it was effective. Pippa joined Finn while Bonnie and Hayden helped Jake claim the booth, grabbing menus on their way.

“What’s good here?” Hayden asked over the babble.

“Oh,” Jake gasped, leaning across the table. “Right, you’ve never eaten here before, have you? Poor thing.”

Hayden levelled a glare at his laughing face. “Seriously though.”

“You could probably get anything you wanted,” Bonnie told her. “Ivy separates the menu based on content. So people with allergies don’t have to ask what’s in stuff.”

“Clever. Gluten free? I’ve never been to a restaurant with a gluten free section,” Hayden mumbled.

“Ivy prefers ‘café’ to ‘restaurant’,” Jake informed her. “She doesn’t like to feel restricted by the expectations placed on such ‘grand establishments’.”

“If you’re going to mock me, Mister Martins, you can leave.” Ivy flicked his ear for emphasis.

“Sorry. Please feed me,” he whined.

“Your usual orders have been placed,” she told him curtly. “Except for you, dear,” Ivy added, turning her gaze – soft now – on Hayden. “What would you like?”

Lips pursed, Hayden scanned the foods quickly and sighed. “It all sounds good. Can I be difficult and say surprise me?”

Ivy laughed. “Of course you may be difficult. I’ll be back in about fifteen.” The little old lady pottered off then, smiling to people as she passed.

“Happy birthday, Hayden!”

All three of them twisted to see Keila leaning across the back of their booth, grinning. She had a guy with her, probably a bit older. He seemed nice enough, with a shock of brown hair and crystal eyes. At least (from his face) he didn’t look like a homicidal maniac, although faces aren’t much to go by.

“Hello, Keila,” Hayden said politely. “Thanks. Are you here for the trivia?”

She bobbed her head. “Partly. And partly because Marceline is playing tonight and she begged me to be here.” Her eyes drifted to Bonnie. “Good to see you’re here. Maybe we can clear up her bad mood, huh?” Keila winked. “Oh, and this is Gary,” she pointed to the brunette guy. “My boyfriend. Gary, these are my friends.”

“I thought you didn’t have any friends,” he teased. Or… Bonnie hoped he was teasing.

“Course I do. I’ve got plenty of friends.”

“When does Marceline start?” Bonnie asked her softly, hoping it didn’t sound broken.

Keila looked at her watch. “Mmm… in about twenty. Why?”

“Just wondering.” Bonnibel figured she should probably not be in attendance when Marceline began. It might be weird after yesterday.

Finn and Pippa appeared then with glasses and jugs of water. One of Ivy’s extra-helpers followed with plates. It hadn’t been fifteen minutes yet, Bonnie realised, blinking. The kitchen must be on a roll.

“I shotgun leftovers,” Finn declared, one hand shooting up. “I’m so hungry I could eat an antelope.”

“We’re fresh out of antelope,” the waiter said with a boyish smile. “We don’t even have a zebra lying around. The only grub I can offer is this.”

Finn looked perplexed by that, but Hayden got the joke and shared a smile with Bonnie. Conversation faltered then as everyone was too busy eating to be bothered with such trivialities as talking. Once finished, however, it picked back up again (Finn didn’t get any leftovers) and the trivia competition was the main topic. They all seemed convinced that Bonnibel would know the answer to any question asked of them. She could only roll her eyes.

Guitar strings whined and Bonnie went stiff. She knew that sound.

So much for my happy ending,” Marceline sang quietly. “Hello, everyone. Ivy has kindly given me the floor before Trivia Night starts. My apologies, but all complaints must be directed at her.” She cleared her throat.

And she sang.

Let’s talk this over,

It’s not like we’re dead.

Was it something I did?

Was it something you said?

Don’t leave me hanging

In a city so dead.

Held up so high

On such a breakable thread.”

Nope. Bonnie was not going to sit through this. She stood – glad to be sitting on the end of the seat – and headed straight for the door.

You were all the things I thought I knew,

And I thought we could be.

You were everything, everything that I wanted.

We were meant to be, supposed to be, but we lost it.

All of the memories, so close to me, just fade away.

All this time you were pretending.

So much for my happy ending.”

There was a hitch in the music then, played so flawlessly up to that point, and it was out of place. Bonnie knew – she knew – that Marceline didn’t make mistakes when it came to music. So she turned. And Marceline’s incredible blue eyes were fixed on her, full of ice and loathing.

You’ve got your dumb friends,

I know what they say.

They tell you I’m difficult,

But so are they.

But they don’t know me.

Do they even know you?

All the things you hide from me,

All the shit that you do.”

Her gaze was so cold, so accusing, so terrifyingly angry that Bonnie shivered. The chill ran across her shoulders and sank to the depths of her soul. There would be no forgiveness here. Not tonight.

You were all the things I thought I knew,

And I thought we could be.

You were everything, everything that I wanted.

We were meant to be, supposed to be, but we lost it.

And all of the memories, so close to me, just fade away.

All this time you were pretending.

So much for my happy ending.”

She couldn’t possibly think there wouldn’t ever be forgiveness. Bonnibel was an optimist at heart and she had to believe that she could do something to fix… whatever had gone wrong. She backed towards the door again. Not tonight.

It’s nice to know that you were there.

Thanks for acting like you cared,

And making me feel like I was the only one.

It’s nice to know we had it all.

Thanks for watching as I fall,

And letting me know we were done.”

Cold air slammed into her. It was equally as frigid as Marceline’s gaze, but at least it wasn’t trying to kill her. Bonnie rounded the corner, arms hugging her chest against the brisk evening. She could still hear the sound of Marceline’s voice, feel the thrumming of the guitar in her ribs, but was no longer pinned by her eyes. And escaping their cerulean captivity was the hard part.

She slumped against the side of the building, sliding down the bricks until she hit the pavement. Then, bringing her knees up to her chin, stuffing her hands into the opposite sleeves, she tried very hard not to cry. Exhausted didn’t even begin to describe it. She hadn’t slept last night because her brain wouldn’t stop trying to figure out why Marceline had done a complete one-eighty on her and now she just wanted to sleep. To break down and then sleep.

“Hey.”

Bonnie glanced up to see Pippa rounding the side of the building. “Hey.”

“You okay?”

She nodded as she said, “I don’t think so.”

Penelope sank down beside her. “She looked mad at you. What happened?” It was asked gently, but Bonnie knew she expected an answer this time.

“I… I don’t even know, Pip,” she breathed. “One minute everything was fine, then her dad came to pick her up and she just…” She scrunched her eyes shut, feeling all the tiredness trying to escape as tears. “She won’t speak to me, won’t even look at me except to glare. I don’t know what happened.”

“Did her dad say something? Did you?”

She shook her head this time. “We were just talking about how my job’s been going and how…” Marceline had asked her not to tell people that her grades had picked up. Even if she hated Bonnie now, she could still keep that promise.

“How what?” Pippa wheedled.

“I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone.”

“I’m sworn to secrecy. This conversation never happened.”

Bonnibel wanted so desperately to trust Pippa, to share this one thing. It tore her in half. “She did really well on her assessment in first semester. Really well.”

Pippa frowned. “I don’t understand how any of this is relevant to her hating your guts.”

“Me neither! I don’t get it. I wish I understood her.” Bonnie rested her head back against the wall, staring at the stars. “Hansen seemed pleased she did well. I’m so proud of her and the look on her face when she saw the numbers…” She sighed again.

Penelope moved closer, it was nice to be near someone warm. “Give her some space,” Pippa murmured. “You got through to her once.”

“I don’t know how.”

“Nobody does, Bonnie,” Pippa chuckled. “You’re just magic when it comes to Marceline.”

“Space, huh?”

Pippa nodded.

Looks like she was back to square one.