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Pray for the Preacher's Daughter

Chapter Text

Saturday 30th May 2015

It took a moment, but the frown pulling Pippa’s brows together finally made sense. Bonnie spared Marceline a glance (watching Penelope quizzically, almost as if they’d never seen each other before), but then she just smiled, hoping to distract her friend from whatever was happening in her head.

“Hey,” she sang. “Where are the others?”

At length, Penelope looked at her. “They’re already inside, looking at dresses. I figured I’d wait out here for you.” Her head bobbed towards Marceline. “Didn’t think she was coming.”

Marceline shrugged a shoulder, her funny little half-smile-half-smirk canting her lips. It took all Bonnie’s self-control not to pay it any attention. That smile did strange things to her insides. “I was invited,” Marceline pointed out. “Plus what the hell else am I going to do with my Saturday?”

Pippa rolled her eyes and Bonnie assumed that meant the crisis was averted. “Whatever you say,” she said lightly. “To be honest, I’m surprised you’re here too, Bonnie.”

“Why?”

“You said last time that you’ve already got a dress,” she replied with a shrug.

Bonnibel cast another look at Marceline, she had her face all scrunched up as she inspected a dress. “Yeah well… You guys need all the opinions you can get, right?”

Penelope snorted. “Just the peanut gallery, huh?”

“Sure.”

“And Marceline?”

Her gaze (as it always seemed to do), landed once more on Marceline. “Maybe she wants to mock you.”

Her friend mumbled something then and Bonnie was almost one hundred percent certain she didn’t want to know what it was. Before she could actually indulge her masochism, however, Pippa asked, “So are you going to try dresses on or just give us your two cents?”

“The latter.”

The rack rattled as Pippa removed a hangar. “Well then let me go try one on.”

She vanished into the change rooms after that and Bonnie found herself gravitating back to Marceline. As usual.

“See anything you like?” Marceline asked, leaning on one of the racks.

“Not really. Although I was just thinking that it would be mean of me to pick any old dress to try on,” she muttered. “I could pick something awful. Why don’t you pick one for me?”

“Just one?”

“One. You have all day to pick one dress. And you can’t see one and say we’ll come back if you don’t find anything better.”

Marceline blinked. “It has to be spur of the moment?”

“Yes.”

“Wow, that’s rough, Bon. But alright, I can do that.” Her brow furrowed thoughtfully as her eyes scanned the shop. “And you have to try it on no matter what I pick?”

“Correct.” Marceline’s eyes flashed and for a moment Bonnibel wondered if she was in over her head here. So she added, “I’m going to pick one thing for you to try on as well. I promise it won’t be a dress,” she laughed at Marceline’s scandalised expression. “But everything else is fair game.”

“Oh… kay… I guess. Please be kind.”

“Same to you.”

Marceline’s slow smile paired with the twinkle in her eyes should’ve probably made Bonnie worry. But it didn’t. Just made her tingle. Made her heart lurch and her throat catch and made her want to ignore the caution signs in her brain and just spit out the words pinging around in her ribs. Good thing she had excellent self-control.

“Hey, guys.”

Bonnie’s head whipped around at the greeting. Hayden stood in the entrance to the change rooms wearing a lavender dress. She waved when their attention was on her.

“Didn’t think you were going to show. What do you think?” She twirled, the pleated skirt flaring out around her knees.

Marceline shook her head. “You can’t wear purple.”

“Wow,” Bonnie breathed; eyes going wide as she stared at Marceline incredulously. “Tell us how you really feel.”

Her girlfriend went red and she waved a hand at Hayden. “No. I mean… Just…” She sighed. “It’s nice; Hayden, but you can’t wear purple. Eleanor wears purple. If someone goes to the formal in a dress even close to the same colour as hers she’ll flip her lid. It’s just not worth the hassle.”

“Wise,” Hayden laughed, bobbing her head. “I wondered why Ellen was looking at me like I’d stolen the last slice of cake. Give me a minute, there’s another one.”

Once Hayden had vanished back into the change rooms, Bonnie turned to face Marceline. “Is Ellen seriously that possessive?”

Marceline shrugged. “I’m not entirely sure since we don’t talk much. But one time at a function in Blackwater a girl was wearing a dress maybe two shades darker than Eleanor’s and her face went bright red she was that furious. It was intense.”

“You get invited to fancy functions?” Bonnie asked; one eyebrow up.

“Eh,” she grouched, hunching her shoulders up around her ears. “I’m the preacher’s daughter. I get dragged with him sometimes. Whether I dress nicely… or even show up, really, is mostly dependant on the guest list. When I realised Eleanor was at that one I stayed until the drama happened, then bailed.”

“Classy.”

“I try.”

“But ‘dress nicely’ for Marceline is relative.” They both turned slightly to look at Ellen as she spoke. As Marceline had predicted, she was in a flowery purple dress. “She doesn’t actually own nice clothes.” At that, Ellen gestured at her current attire.

“That’s not true, Ellen,” Bonnie disagreed. “I’ve seen her wear dressier stuff. You look wonderful, by the way.” Casually direct Eleanor’s attention away from Marceline. Yes, good plan.

Ellen snorted. “I’ll believe that when I see it.” She swung her hips so the light material swirled around her. “Do you like this?”

Out of the corner of her eye she noted Marceline’s calculated eye roll. “It’s pretty, yes,” Bonnibel told her. “Do you like it, though?”

She twirled again. “I’m not sure. Maybe. I think I’ll sleep on it.”

“There are always other dresses,” Bonnie muttered diplomatically.

“And other stores yet to check,” Ellen added, brightening a little bit. “You’re right. I don’t have to buy the first one. Onwards!”

With that, she swirled back into the change rooms in a cloud of purple fabric. Marceline sighed.

“Do you regret coming with yet?” Bonnie asked her sweetly.

“No,” she said, blinking owlishly – obviously confused. “Why would you think that?”

“Thought it might be too much Ellen for you.”

She waved a hand in the universal ‘so-so’ gesture but couldn’t stop from smiling. “She’s still irritating, but I’ll survive.”

“Good to know.”

Neither Hayden nor Pippa got to try on any more dresses because Ellen forcibly dragged them outside. They headed down the mall, Marceline and Bonnibel trailing slightly behind them. And even though it seemed as though Ellen picked the next shop completely at random, Bonnie knew better. Eleanor always had a plan.

Store two had a smaller selection of dresses, but her friends (yes, even Marceline) wended between the racks to inspect them anyway. Bonnie’s eyes remained fixed on Marceline pretty much the whole time. Now and then her girlfriend would look up and smile that canted grin causing her heart to stutter and her stomach to writhe… not unpleasantly, but it made her shift in the seat she’d taken by the change rooms all the same. The flaring warmth was completely uncalled for but she couldn’t make it go away. Not when Marceline looked at her like that.

Pippa ducked out of the stalls and Bonnibel fixed her with all the attention she could muster, hoping it would distract her from the suddenly burning need to grab Marceline by the lapels and kiss her as hard as she could. The idea didn’t quite leave, but she was perfectly capable of telling Penelope that no, that green just didn’t look right. Thankfully, Hayden and Ellen flounced in to get changed too so maybe she could keep her mind occupied for a little while longer.

She just had to make it to lunch.

“You’re not even looking for dresses,” Marceline accused her softly. Bonnie tried not to stare, but that’s always a challenge for her.

She frowned. “Why would I be?”

“You said you’d pick something for me to wear.” And then Marceline leaned against the post and the little smile appeared and god damn. “How can you find me a thing to try on if you’re not looking?”

At that, Bonnie beamed. “Oh, I know exactly what you’ll be trying on, Abadeer, don’t you worry about that.” Yeah, if the picture in her head was even half right, it would be so worth it.

“Should I be worried?”

“Nope. You go back to looking now.”

“There’s nothing here,” she huffed, shrugging away from the pole to flop into the seat beside Bonnie. “Nothing I’d like to see you in anyway.”

“Uh huh. Well that’s okay. There are a few more shops to hit. We’ll be done by lunch though, so don’t wait too long.”

Marceline’s eyes shot wide open. “What do you mean lunch? I thought I had all day.”

“Eh, that means lunch. Then we’ll either go see a movie or just head home,” Bonnie mused. “Unless you really want to spend all day on your feet? You might have to buy a new pair of shoes while we’re out.”

Marceline rolled her eyes. “Sure. I’ll find something.”

“Your loss if you don’t.”

Then all three other girls stepped out of their stalls and they ended up discussing the pros and cons of lace versus silk ruffles versus embroidery. Colour was Ellen’s big thing though. She was just irritated that there were only two purple dresses in the shop and one of them didn’t even come in her size. How inconsiderate.

The third shop was quite a bit larger than the first two. It did tuxedoes for boys as well and even had little formal stuff for kids. Bonnie honestly thought that was just the cutest thing. Marceline laughed at the way she trailed her fingers over a tiny ruffled dress. She didn’t care.

They lost Ellen and Pippa in the maze of racks within five seconds of setting foot in the store. Given that Bonnie had recently discovered an ability to focus on Marceline and do other things at the same time, however, she managed to stick with her. Hayden looped through the store off to one side for a little while but then vanished to try on a dress.

She emerged not long later and skipped over to them, beaming. She spun in a circle and very nearly crashed into a rack of pants. “Ah, oops,” she laughed. “What do you guys think?”

Bonnie rolled her lip under and cast a glance at Marceline who was also trying not to laugh with her. “Honestly?” Hayden rolled her eyes so Bonnie went on, “As your platonic gay friend, I’m telling you blue is your colour.”

Marceline’s eyebrows both flashed into her hairline. The smirk on her face only just hid the ‘are you serious, right now’ expression. Bonnie laughed at her.

Hayden simply grinned and bopped Bonnie’s shoulder. “I knew there was a reason girls are always so keen for a gay friend.”

“Pretty sure it’s a gay male friend, Hayden,” Marceline told her dryly.

“Whatever.” She returned her gaze to Bonnie. “You like this one?”

“I think you look gorgeous, absolutely,” Bonnibel agreed, nodding. “I think maybe the straps look wrong though. Is there a strapless one here?”

Hayden shook her head, face falling. “Nope. Just this one.”

“Lameness. Next store?”

“I’m done,” Hayden confirmed. “Pippa I think is too. Ellen’s just…”

“Hard to please,” Marceline finished. “She won’t pick a dress until the last minute. It’s how she is.”

“Seems silly to me,” Hayden called as she dashed off to get changed.

It actually took them a while to get Ellen out of shop three. She seemed intent on trying on every purple dress in the store. Pippa wouldn’t hear of it.

“You can come back another time, Eleanor,” Penelope sighed. “Let’s go.”

“Fine.”

Ellen just about stormed out after that, the rest of them giggling softly about it as they followed her. Pippa tried to mollify Eleanor quietly while they walked which only made Marceline grin a little bit harder. Bonnie tried not to find it amusing too (honestly, why Ellen was suddenly so worked up was anyone’s guess), but not smiling turned out to be rather difficult.

“There.”

Marceline’s arm whipped up to point in the window of a store. Bonnie followed where she was indicating, Hayden paused too but the others kept walking. She blinked. Then noticed the dress Marceline was obviously pointing out.

“That one?” Bonnie asked, eyes flicking up to the sign outside and she beamed. “Alright.”

“That one what?” Hayden enquired, eyeing the shop. “We went in there last time.”

“Yeah, I know,” Bonnibel told her. “But I promised Marceline she could pick something for me to try on. Since… we’re dress shopping and all. Go with the others, we’ll wait here.”

“Lunch when we’re done?”

“Sounds good.”

Hayden flashed a quick smile and trotted after Pippa and Ellen. Marceline tugged on her sleeve so Bonnie let herself be pulled inside the shop. After all, this was exactly where she wanted to be. What are the odds?

She paused before the dress Marceline had indicated, her fingers ran along the sleeve. Of course this one. Slowly, she slid one with her size tag off the little stand behind the display. Marceline watched her carefully, face impassive, not giving away her thoughts in the slightest. Although Bonnie suspected the gentle crease around her eyes indicated some kind of uncertainty.

“You’re going to try it on?” Marceline asked softly.

“A promise is a promise. But first…” And she grabbed the hem of Marceline’s shirt, dragging her over to a different section of the shop. “You get to try this on.”

Marceline heaved a deep breath. “You had this in mind all along, didn’t you?” Her tone was almost accusing but Bonnie didn’t even care. It was true. “A conspiracy. I don’t know how to tie those.”

“I’ll show you. But you have to wear it.”

“Fine,” she sighed, drawing out the vowel. Marceline flicked through the hangars until she found the right size and then headed for the change rooms, shaking her head. She turned, backpedalling the last few metres. “Knock when you’re done. I’ll need your help with the tie.”

“Naturally.” With that she swooshed into her chosen stall and set about changing.

It shouldn’t have surprised her that Marceline would pick a little black dress. In fact, it was kind of fitting. Unfortunately, the zip on the back was in just the wrong spot for her to reach. It did feel quite nice to wear though. Swishy.

Bonnie gave up on trying to get the zip done and slipped out of her stall to tap softly on the one Marceline had gone into. “Are you done?” she asked.

“Yeah.”

She pushed the door in and shuffled through the space before taking much time to notice anything. Honestly she was a little more interested in getting out of a public area when she was really only half in the dress. Modesty and all.

So when she looked up she probably shouldn’t have been surprised to find Marceline’s face bright red, hands frozen in the act of doing up a button. Admittedly, Bonnie’s face warmed up quite significantly when she realised when Marceline had said she was done, she’d meant ‘got a few buttons left to do up but yes I’m wearing pants’. Bonnie blinked, trying desperately to look only at Marceline’s face, but the way the sleeves were all scrunched at her elbows and the vest was on crooked and the tie hung around her neck and… yeah… the rather large empty space where the buttons hadn’t been done up… They weren’t making that endeavour easy on her.

“Sorry,” Bonnie rasped, spinning to face the door.

There was a beat of quiet. “I can see more skin now than I could before,” Marceline mumbled.

“Oh… do me up?”

Another extended silence fell over the (suddenly very tiny) space. Then Marceline’s fingers found the zipper on her dress and – shakily – pulled it up; a tremulous line of sizzling fire shivering along her spine in tandem. Although part of that could’ve been because Marceline was standing oh so close behind her and her diaphragm fluttered and her nerve endings fizzled and this was not good.

Very, very slowly – the kind of slow used by a handler in a tiger enclosure – Bonnie turned around. Marceline had missed a button, obviously doing them up too fast to pay proper attention and her vest was still crooked, but otherwise… Not so bad.

So Bonnibel smiled at her. “You look really nice. Do you want me to tie your tie?”

“Please?” Marceline sighed.

Almost, Bonnie thought her fingers had forgotten how to do the knot, but then it was done and she found herself fixing Marceline’s buttons and straightening her vest and… And now she was just looking for any excuse to keep touching her. Her intestines collapsed into a viscous gooey substance when she finally tore her hands away and stepped back far enough to really look at Marceline.

In dark pants and a crisp white shirt with the sleeves pushed back to her elbows and a black satin vest and wow. Mental blank sequence: initiate.

“You look really nice,” Bonnie breathed.

“You said that already, dorkus,” Marceline laughed. “And I should’ve known you’d rock a little black dress. Not fair.”

Bonnibel grinned at her. “You like it?”

She rolled her eyes, taking Bonnie’s hand gently and spinning her around. “Duh.” Bonnie’s hands landed on Marceline’s waist as she was twirled back in. “You look gorgeous,” Marceline whispered.

Between the squirming warmth in her stomach and the way Marceline was looking at her, Bonnie couldn’t stop from winding her fingers into the hem of the vest and pulling her girlfriend that little bit closer to kiss her. Slowly to begin with – still with the tentativeness born of concern for boundaries – but Marceline never wasted any time in banishing that worry. Not anymore. Then – just like that – Marceline’s back was to the wall and her fingers were fiddling rather dangerously with the zipper of Bonnie’s dress. A smile curving her lips letting Bonnie know she was okay.

“A little trashy, don’t you think?” Marceline wondered into her throat. “Making out in the change rooms?”

“Maybe,” she agreed, pressing her lips to Marceline’s jaw, delighting in the way her girlfriend trembled. “But then again, what part of our acquaintanceship hasn’t been kind of cliché and trashy in a ‘teen drama on television’ type way?”

Marceline blinked, letting her head flop back against the cold wall so she could look Bonnibel in the eyes. “How do you mean?”

“Seriously?” she asked flatly. “We officially met in chemistry. If that isn’t some kind of lame joke, I don’t know what is. And I’m not even going to discuss the whole ‘forced into a tutor-student relationship’ thing, because that’s a trope so overused it’s awful.”

It obviously took a moment for that to sink in, but when it did a smile bloomed on Marceline’s face that made Bonnie’s heart stop. “Wow. That’s really terrible, isn’t it? Think of all the puns I’ve missed.” Then in all seriousness she said, “Bon, we have chemistry together. Oh my god.”

Yes, it was the worst joke ever, but Bonnie still laughed, wrapping her arms around Marceline and resting her head on her girlfriend’s shoulder. “Yes we do.”

“Oh man, do not let my brother catch onto this. He will have a field day.”

“I was right, you know.” Change the topic before Marceline can come up with more bad jokes.

“About what?”

“You look damn fine in a vest,” Bonnie exhaled, running her fingers over the soft finish on the back of the article in question. “I mean… wow.”

Marceline’s head fell to one side, the hair in her ponytail slipping free (probably thanks to Bonnie) and she smiled that really quiet smile reserved just for Bonnibel. “Thanks.” Then she was being kissed again. Totally fine with her.

“Hey, Bonnie; are you in here?”

So that didn’t last as long as she might’ve liked. She twisted to look at the door but didn’t even loosen her hold on Marceline. “Yeah, Pip. What’s up?”

“We’re waiting on you guys for lunch.”

“I’ll be out in a bit.”

There was a pause in which Marceline left ghostly kisses along her jawline. It didn’t last long either. “Where’s Marceline?” Pippa called.

Oh yeah, she’s in here with me, she thought wryly. She could feel Marceline grinning too. “Probably lost in the shop somewhere. I’ll see if I can find her on my way out.”

“Uh huh.” Penelope’s tone implied she wasn’t believed.

“She knows you like me,” Marceline whispered before Pippa’s footsteps had finished fading.

Bonnie offered a watery glare. “I told her I thought you were attractive. That does not mean I like you as anything other than a friend. We’ve discussed pleasing aesthetics before, yes?”

“You compared Cameron to a light fixture,” Marceline chuckled. “I remember.” Her mouth found Bonnie’s then and for at least a little while she was happy not to think too hard about anything. “But that wasn’t a question,” Marceline added a tad breathily when she pulled away. “I was telling you, that she knows.”

“How do you know?”

She laughed then, a bright sound that Bonnie would’ve been happy to hear for the rest of her life. (Which explained the little ‘oh god’ going off in the back of her head.) “Because you’re in a change room where – more than likely – you’ll end up wearing very little clothing at some point. And she wanted to know where I am.” She smiled, pressing another gentle kiss to Bonnie’s lips. “She knows something, at least.”

“Oh.” Because that did make sense. “Maybe we shouldn’t keep her waiting then. She might get some funny idea about barging in here.”

“Good call. Will you help me with the tie?”

“Only if you unzip me.”

Marceline’s smile voiced her thoughts better than words ever could have. And maybe it did take them just a little too long to get outside.

It was worth it though.