Kermie's Girl (ushy-gushy fanfic)

The Count

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Something else that worries me... The events from Ch 154 took place on a Thursday, wherein :wink: says that :smile: can finally go to see :mad: at Broadway next Wednesday.

Okay, I understand that sometimes things you need to get done today get pushed to tomorrow, I've done it myself at times. But Scooter, don't you think you should send Kermit off sooner rather than later? I mean, with a whole week before leaving, I'd hate to think that'll give the authoress of this novel an awful idea—a wickedly wonderful awful idea—as to what next might befall the frog. Magnetized tietack erasing already completed film, check. Window of opportunity to sneak in and have the frog conk his own head sealing him inside the freezer, check. Unwittingly hiring one of their own monsters to put out a hit on the gofer, check. And of course, anything else that should happen between and now will just drive a certain Muppetfan44 into a higher degree of anx further prolonging the time she's had to wait for the frog and pig to reunite in NYC. *Friendly little jive.

BTW: Nice reference when stating that Piggy knows the Grill's menu like the back of Gonzo's hand.
:shifty: Proove it.
:concern: Okay... There's a mole next to his left thumb….
:shifty: No no no, tell us about the menu!
:rolleyes: Today's specials are balony samiches okay.
:shifty: Again?
:hungry: Herdy-gerdah, nö chickies fer der zöp!
:shifty: So long as it ain't steering wheel spaghetti.
(All those of you who read the bit about the back of Gonzo's hand and instantly went to quote the beginning of MCC, raise your hands. :fanatic:)
 

Ruahnna

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Chapter 155: It's All in Who You Know

When someone really knows you, words are not necessary. Fleet watched the play of emotions on Piggy's beautiful face—confusion, relief, bafflement, anger and shame. She played with her ring, clearly flustered and uncertain about what to do next. She had hoped to make enough of a scene to get her over-eager, clearly tipsy date to let go, but she had not really wanted (another) tabloid-selling melodrama on what was supposed to be a friendly little supper. The evening had been light on supper and heavy on friendly, and then her arch-enemy had come charging to her rescue—unless of course Fleet was there to take more misery-inducing pictures. She stood there trying to figure out what to do or say next.
But it wasn't necessary.
Fleet's wide mouth quirked into a wry smile, and he stood there and looked at her, not asking for anything.
Piggy had gotten enough attention that people were stirring and staring, wondering why her “date” had gotten up and left in such a hurry, wondering if she was going to exact bodily harm on the fellow with the camera and wondering where on earth she got that fabulous dress! The murmur rose into a swell and Piggy's distress became both more acute, and more obtuse.
Fleet,” she muttered, half-entreaty and half-growl. She didn't know whether to swat him or hug him, and was likely to do either. Once again, when she had been in over her head, he had come running to play the hero. Piggy had played many roles in her acting career, but playing a damsel in distress had never been her strong suit. She had preferred to fight the dragons (or evil fast-food advertisers or media moguls) alongside her cast mates and her frog, and being rescued in so public a fashion by someone she had very recently wanted (and might still want) to maim was…unsettling. And mortifying. And thrilling, in its own way.
The stir had spread to all points in the restaurant—even to the back corner where Rory and Darcy et al had been banished by Alexi after a commanding look from Piggy. Wisely interpreting her glance for the warning it was, the experienced waiter had placed her cast mates as far away as it was possible to put them from Miss Piggy and her dinner companion. But the entire crowd had been put on alert by whatever had transpired—and was still transpiring—between the voluptuous stage diva and the photographer who had come sprinting across the floor to interrupt her date.
Now her friends came, well, not running, but hastening toward her, and at the sight of her, dateless and face-to-face with the journalist she had sworn she would rip limb from limb at the earliest opportunity, Rory's face flushed with anger and his hands balled into fists. He stalked toward them, a bull about to storm a china shop, with her other friends hot on his heels.
You don't get to be an ace reporter without knowing what is going on around you most of the time. Fleet put a foot back, ready to hoof it before they caught up to them, but Piggy was also pretty good at knowing what was going on around her. She reached out suddenly, grasped the lapels of his coat and hauled him close to her blazing eyes.
Caught off guard, Fleet blanched, scrabbling for a foothold, trying to steel himself for a swat or a hi-yah that would put him into a coma. He had known she would hurt him if he got within range, but he had made his choice when she called him, when she needed him. He tensed, waiting for the world to go black, but when he was inches away from her flushed face, she looked into his beady little eyes and said, “Thank you.”
Her voice was too soft for anyone else to hear, too soft for anything but a caress. Anyone looking would have seen her grab an upstart tabloid hack who had upset her date and threatened to take her picture without permission. Anyone looking would have thought him lucky to have walked away without needing crutches—or life support. Anyone looking would have seen just what Piggy wanted them to see—just what Fleet wanted them to see. But anyone looking would have been wrong.
She released him and shoved him back, her blue eyes dark with emotion, and it took all of her considerable acting skill to put a sneer of derision on her face.
“Get out while you still can,” she spat, her voice loud enough for a third of the restaurant patrons to hear. Fleet didn't have to act to put the right expression on his face. He touched two fingers to his brow in mock salute and backed away. At the last second, he grinned rakishly and raised his camera.
“You wouldn't dare!” Piggy threatened, just as he clicked the shutter.
Wouldn't I?” Fleet teased.By the time he hit the door, he was running.

“I will kill that little cretin,” Rory muttered.
“I'll stand by and cheer,” said Kristen.
“I'll sell refreshments,” Darcy said, then grinned at Piggy. “You okay, Piggy? What happened to your date?”
If Piggy had had eyebrows, they'd have risen. So they hadn't seen what happened with Mr. Strathers! She wondered idly how many of the restaurant patrons actually knew what had happened.
“He—Mr. Strathers got…upset. Fleet was threatening to take a picture.” That wasn't technically untrue, was it? Piggy thought guiltily.
“If I get my hands on that miserable little hack—“ Harrison began.
“See? I told you he wouldn't be able to protect you if someone bothered you,” Rory snapped, but at least he kept his voice low.
“He—it happened so fast,” Piggy said, trying to think how to spin this. For reasons she did not want to examine too closely, she couldn't quite manage to tell them what had actually happened, not when Rory and Kristen and Harrison and, well, even Darcy had been right about Seymour and she had been wrong. Pride is a funny thing. It can be a dangerous thing, as well. “But everything is fine now. I'm…Moi is ready to go,” she said, and turned her big blue eyes not on Rory, but on Harrison, who melted at once into a puddle of mush. An unsuspicious puddle of mush.
“Of course, Miss Piggy,” Harrison said, offering his arm. Rory looked at his cast mate's proffered arm, dissatisfied, and cast a suspicious look at Piggy's face. But Piggy was all girlish helplessness, and his eyes narrowed. Something was up. He didn't know what, but something was up, and Piggy was covering it up—whatever it was. He scowled after them, but startled when he felt Kristen take his left elbow and Darcy his right.
“Better put on your poker face,” Kristen murmured without moving her lips. “You look like a jealous boyfriend and people are staring….” She moved in and kissed him lightly on the lips.
Rory returned the quick smooch, patted her arm as though he were smitten, and smiled his Broadway smile at her, but his gray eyes were blazing.
“I'll just bet they are!” he said with mock cheerfulness, then more quietly, leaning in, as though whispering an endearment. “Do you know what just happened?”
“Well, that nervy reporter almost got the stuffing knocked out of him. It looked like—“
The words caught on the edge of Rory's attention. Kristen was right. That was what it had looked like—but was that what it had been like? And where was that imbecile Strathers, who was supposed to be her date, her escort? He wondered where the man had disappeared to, wondered if he had turned tail and run at the first sign of unpleasant publicity. Why wasn't he here to champion her and keep that blasted tabloid reporter from snapping pictures of…wait. What had Scribbler been about to take a picture of? Rory wished he had seen more of what happened. He had been annoyed but resigned when Alexi had seated them far away from Piggy, knowing Piggy had probably dictated it, and could probably have had them thrown out if she'd chosen to pitch the right kind of fit. The waiter appeared at his elbow, his expression worried.
“Sir,” he said breathlessly. “We—these were found on the stairs near Miss Piggy's table,” he said, and held out Piggy's phone and a ring of keys on a key chain shaped like the Eiffel Tower. Rory just stared, dumbfounded, but Kristen took them smoothly and whisked them out of sight.
“Close your mouth,” she hissed to Rory, lips still not moving. “You're gaping like a fish.” She tugged him firmly toward the door, following in Harrison and Piggy's wake with the others trailing behind.
There was a flurry at the door as they retrieved Miss Piggy's wrap, Piggy chatting all the while.
She only chats like that when she's nervous, Rory thought darkly, and was relieved when Darcy leaned in and whispered in his ear.
“What the deuce is up with Piggy,” Darcy said. “She's acting awfully weird.”
“Was that Piggy's phone?” Stacey asked, leaning in to whisper as well.
Looked like it—“
Yes,” Rory said through clenched teeth. “And just how do you think her phone and keys ended up on the floor?”
“I guess they fell off her lap?” Darcy said. “She stood up awful fast when that fellow threatened to take their picture.”
Rory blinked. An innocent explanation had not occurred to him. He said nothing, however, but felt Kristen's eyes on him. He turned and saw that she was, if anything, more skeptical than he was.
“Do you suppose—?“
“Not here,” said Rory, moving to Piggy's side but talking back toward Kristen. “I want to talk about all of this, but not here. Let's take this home.”

There is an art to fighting fair. Being a female of the species, Sara was quite familiar with the concept. However, being female, she did not feel compelled to be a slave to that particular art. When she heard Scooter brushing his teeth, she wandered into the bathroom and brushed her hair in the long mirror on the back of the door. The water in the sink ran for a long time, with no sounds of brushing, and when she turned around, Scooter was staring at her with longing.
“Wow,” he murmured. “That's…wow, Sara. I don't…have you worn that before?”
Sara looked down and her brow furrowed in consternation. “This old thing?” she asked. “I don't remember exactly when I got it….” It was either Monday or Tuesday, she thought defensively. I can't remember every time I shop at the lingerie store. She smiled at him and struck a pose. “You like?”
Scooter almost choked. “I…yes. I like,” he managed. He reached for her and she let him pull her into his arms, but before he could kiss her, she had a finger across his lips.
“You want me to be quiet?” he asked, confused. “I didn't think kissing was all that noisy—“
“Then I have a question.”
Scooter almost groaned. A pop quiz. He sighed and tried to smile. “Ask away?”
“Is Kermit really going to see Piggy next Wednesday?”
Scooter nodded. Thank goodness he knew this answer. “Yes,” he said definitively. “I have already bought his plane ticket.”
“And the movie is not behind, busting the budget or demagnetized?”
“Nope,” said Scooter with certainty. He was micromanaging this thing out the wazoo.
“Good. And when the little green bossman goes out of town to see his pig, is there any possibility that you are going to work like you are the only person in the world who can do anything besides Kermit?”
Scooter frowned. “Well,” he said, “I am the only other person besides Kermit who knows—“
Sara made a buzzer sound. “Wrong answer,” she said. “Would you like to try for double…or nothing?” Her mouth was soft, but her eyes were hard.
Scooter gulped and reassessed, then chose his next words carefully. “When Kermit goes out of town, I will definitely try—“
The buzzer sounded, louder this time.
“I mean, I will definitely be taking some down time to spend with my lovely fiancée.”
“Good save,” said Sara, and kissed him. It was a good kiss, fully worthy of the effort that went into it. She started to pull away, intending to move this discussion down the hall, but Scooter caught her hand.
“My turn,” he said, and smiled a smug smile that said he had it all sewn up and in the bag. Sara's heart began to beat a little faster.
“Okay….”
“And when I am taking some down time, is there any possibility that you are going to go jet-setting after a story about dolphins with lasers on their heads—“
“That was an important story, Scooter. I couldn't just say—“
“Or go chasing after rats with secret photographs that might or might not absolve a certain amphibian—“
“You can't blame me for wanting to meet him, especially since—“
“Or decide that, instead of spending the evening with me, you need to whip up an instant party for 40+ people….”
“You were at that party!” she protested, “and besides—
This argument—if you could call it that—could have gone on a long time, but it was brought to a halt by the application of a time-honored principle and two pairs of lips. It was always better to fight for something, than about it.

“Good grief,” Johnny grumbled, throwing Sal a towel. “Next time you're confused, just ask me, for goodness sake.”
“Sorry Johnny,” mumbled Sal, wiping out his ears with the corner of the towel. “I really thought I had it right that time.”
Johnny sighed. “How many times I got to tell you, Sal—peanut-butter might stick to the roof of your mouth, but it is not what you use to hang a spoon off your nose.”
“Yeah…I sort of figured that out for myself after the first dozen spoons.”
“Well thank goodness for that,” Johnny said sarcastically. “And don't think you're putting those in the dishwasher, either.”
“No, Johnny,” said Sal. He peeked up at his roommate and friend meekly. “I'll clean 'em up and mop the floor as soon as I'm showered.”
“Don't worry about mopping the floor,” Johnny said. “I took care of it.”
Sal goggled, then a big, silly grin spread across his face. Johnny had cleaned up after him! It was practically a miracle.
“Thanks, buddy,” said Sal. “That was really swell of you.”
“No problem,” said Johnny. “I called Ma while you were in the shower—she came right over and took care of it. But you still have to do the spoons.”
Sal's mood might have dimmed a little, but his smile did not. “Sure thing, Johnny,” he said. “I'll get right on it.”

Piggy felt cross and bothered as she put her things away. The apartment looked amazing. Mrs. Lee had left everything in wonderful shape, as promised, and she had not yet tackled the mountain of clothes in Piggy's room. Piggy took off the dress, her hand running over the Thoreau label fondly before hanging it in the closet. She would take it to the cleaners in the next day or two. Despite everything that had happened, a couple of things had gone right this evening.
The dress, for one thing. She had looked fabulous. And when Fleet's picture showed up—in the papers and on the website—she would be immortalized in another one of her friend's creations. Fleet…well, he had been another of the things that had gone right. Admitting that, even to herself, made her cringe with guilt, but what was she…how was she supposed to stay mad at him when he had come to her rescue for a second time? True, she hadn't been in any real danger tonight, but she had been distressed, and she was not in the mood to fight another public relations war. Kermit would understand that, wouldn't he? If she ever told him….
Rory had not understood it, but then, he had been laboring under a couple of misapprehensions. First, that Fleet had somehow annoyed Seymour and made him abandon Piggy on her date and second, that he somehow meant her harm. It was obvious from the way he had come to her rescue, the way he had put her protectively behind him, that he did not wish her harm.
No, her brain prompted testily. He doesn't mean you harm—he means Kermit harm. Piggy admitted it to herself even though it made her flinch. So…Fleet wanted to champion her, but he would do what he could to discredit her beloved. She ought to be mad at him. She wanted to be mad at him. But how could she be mad at him when he had put himself in harm's way for her sake. Tonight, of course, had been nothing—not really—but what if that madman with the chloroform had shown up while Seymour had been mooning uselessly? What would she have done then?
Still, there was no reason for Rory to fuss at her. It had been an unpleasant showdown, with him breathing out threats against the tabloid journalist without ever knowing the truth of what had happened. And poor Fleet—Fleet who had stood up for her twice—had no one at all to stand up for him.
In that, she would have been wrong, but she had been wrong about a lot of things lately. Her ignorance in this case was exceeded by her bliss, but only barely.
Fleet had been the hero of the hour—and the hero of the house—finding in Harve and Gladys a captive and captivated audience for his tale of heroism. They had congratulated him, praised him, worried over him, and Gladys had actually made him a pie. A pie the size of a biscuit, it was true, but a pie nonetheless.
“Gladys…I don't know what to say. This looks…wonderful.”
But what really looked wonderful to Fleet was the expression on her face, the way she was beaming at him with pride and affection. He remembered the way his boss had praised him, had patted his back and there was nothing—nothing at all—similar. His boss's delight had been…possessive. The pride on his rats' faces had been…communal.
“Oh, Fleet, Honey, you were so brave,” Gladys said, leaning forward to dab the corner of his mouth with a napkin.
“Maybe a little.” He took another bite of the tiny pie. “Wow, blueberry.”
Harve grinned and nudged the plate with his toe. “I know a guy what works down at the docks. Fresh fruit's always coming in from somewhere….” He put his hands in his pockets and rocked a little, pleased as punch. “Tell me again what she said when she grabbed you,” he demanded.
Fleet chewed, swallowed and blushed. “Well,” he said, “she grabbed me by my lapels and—“

If Piggy had spared a worry about Fleet's lack of a cheering section, she wasn't exactly enjoying her own fan base at the moment. She couldn't know that while Scribbler was being petted and pampered, she was getting a full-scale lecture on the dangers of strange men. They were all of them ridiculous, she thought heatedly, but her guilt assuaged her anger. Rory had been mad, and Kristen had been insistent. Even Darcy, with her talent for blurting out unfortunate truths, had sided against her.
“Nothing happened,” Piggy insisted. “Moi is perfectly fine.”
“You were abandoned in a restaurant by your date—has that ever happened to you before?” Rory had asked.
Piggy opened her mouth to protest and shut it. She had abandoned dates in restaurants (and a certain amphibian would never let her live it down), but she herself had never been stood up. “He was…Mr. Strathers left when Fleet came up and tried to take our picture. He was probably going for the maître d' for, um, help or something.” Piggy could really sell a lie, but she wasn't managing it this time.
“Help with what?” Darcy asked. “How hard can it be to get rid of one stupid reporter?”
Surprisingly difficult, Piggy thought to herself. “Moi did not need help.” That lie she sold with panache, secure in the knowledge that her text to Rory had gone amiss.
“Not buying that. It took a fleet of us to get you out of there,” Rory said. Piggy managed not to flinch at the word “fleet”.
“Moishe would have taken me home even if—“
“I'm not talking about even ifs,” Rory snapped. He was beyond irritated, and more than once Piggy had seen him giving her the evil eye, but he had kept her counsel, kept her secret. And whatever he suspected about Fleet, he had not made public, not even to their friends. She tried to go gently, but he was not only mad, but worried, and more than a little hurt that she wasn't making more of the sudden appearance of her nemesis and the sudden disappearance of her date.
“Moi is fine,” she said, pulling off her gloves. She'd been worrying BK all evening, and it was making a worn place on her glove. Piggy put them on the end table, then pushed her hair out of her face. “I assure you, I have been eating in restaurants for a long time—“
“Well, none of this would have happened if loverboy had gotten himself up here like he was supposed to,” Harrison said. Piggy turned on him, fire in her eyes.
“He is working,” she said, but—oh! How it hurt to defend him from something that she'd been thinking herself!
“What could be so important—wait, what could be more important than—“
Stop,” Piggy's voice was low, choked with angry tears, and she bit her lower lip to stop its trembling. “Don't,” she said. “I—Moi can't stand it.”
Immediately contrite, Rory reached to embrace her. He thought she needed protection, but what she obviously needed now was comfort. But when he went to put his arms around her, she put her small, un-gloved hand on his chest and held him back. The sight of it, small and naked, against his shirtfront made him feel like a heel.
“Please go home. Lock me in and triple lock the door so no one steals me away in the night if it makes you feel better, but Moi is not going to waste one more minute, not one more second worrying about Seymour Strathers or Fleet Scribbler. I am going to go to bed, and call my frog and tomorrow, one of us is going to have to apologize.”
“Piggy—“
“And maybe it will be me, but right now, tonight, I want to crawl between the covers, call my frog and go to sleep.” Her face worked for a moment. “Please.”
She looked at her friends—her true friends—for a long moment, then she reached out and took Rory's hand and kissed his cheek. “Moi will see you tomorrow.”
“Today,” Darcy said automatically.
“Today,” Rory murmured. “Piggy, I'm…don't be mad at me.”
“How can I be mad? Vous are wonderful, but I am too tired to argue. Go home, and we'll argue some more tomorrow, okay?”
Rory's expression was wry. “Okay,” he said, and kissed her cheek. In moments, everyone was shooed out the door and they had, in fact, triple-locked it for good measure. Piggy heaved a sigh of relief, left a trail of clothes to her bedroom, slid beneath the sheets and called Kermit.
Even long-distance, he would make everything all better.
 

The Count

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So glad another chapter's been posted.

So a couple of plotbunnies got wrangled down I see... Piggy's castmates herded to the far back area of the restaurant, her phone and keys left behind, good. Nice touch her having a keychain of la Touer d'Eiffel.

Couple of things made me laugh throughout this installment.
"Piggy's distress was both acute and obtuse."
Hee, making her worry look unique, from every angle.

Sara's line about what she's wearing.
"This old thing?"
It's a trap! A man-catching trap!
"Dolphins with lasers on their head."
Is that so fricking much to ask for?
:concern: I thought they were supposed to be sharks.
:shifty: We had a coupla budget cuts, plus they wouldn't let us put the sharks in any kinda danger.

Also liked your word play about the art of femenine fair play (or lack there of as the case may be).

:skeptical: Sal, you been hanging out with da weirdo again?
Sal: What makes ya say that Johnny?
*Sal has a spoon hanging from his nose.
:skeptical: *to Cambot, ya see what I gots ta put up with here?

"Fleet was the hero of the hour and the hero of the house."
Lovely sentiment.

Looking forward to whatever comes next for both troops in Cali and NYC or elsewheres out and about the USA, it's always a treat to find something new from you.
 

Muppetfan44

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a lot of great emotion here, but I don't feel comfy about Strathers dropping the keys and the phone, I have a feeling that knowing him there is more than meets the eye there.

I'm glad that Piggy feels better about Fleet, but she still needs to keep her guard to protect her man.

I hope Kermit surprises her when he comes next week- and I hope that we can read that part of the story soon!!!

Keep it coming- so refreshing to read some quality fan fiction on here
 

Java

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As I have been looking to get back into writing I have spent many hours catching up on all that I have missed.

Ru, I can only say that I would like to be half as good as you in writing and expression one day. Thank you for continuing to share this with us.
 

newsmanfan

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Holy cow. I can see I've missed a lot! Have copied the last SEVERAL chapters to my laptop while on a friend's wifi, to take home and peruse over the next few days!

Glad the saga continues. :smile:

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Ruahnna

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Chapter 156: What the Heart Wants

He answered on the first ring. “Hey,” he said.
“Hey, yourself, swamp boy,” she said, and suddenly she was crying, unable to do anything much but sob into the phone.
Kermit was aghast, helpless in the face of her unhappiness. He stopped where he was and dropped into the armchair in their bedroom, the phone clenched so tightly in his little froggy fingers that they turned almost white.
“Piggy, Honey…Sweetheart? Can you…can you tell me what's wrong? Did something happen? Was somebody mean to you?”
“Y-y-yes,” Piggy sobbed, unhelpfully. Kermit realized he was going to need to slow down.
“Okay,” said Kermit. “Okay. Was—was the show okay tonight?”
“Moi was wonderful,” she boo-hooed. “Standing ovation and the crowd went crazy when I came out.”
“Of course they did,” Kermit soothed. “Why wouldn't they? Um, did you have a fuss with Mr. Lowry?” Piggy had said something about Mr. Lowry falling in line after Marty's little power play after the whole Eileen Mansfield debacle—maybe he had resented being shooed back in line and was taking it out on Piggy.
“N-no,” she wailed. “He's been very n-nice to Moi.”
“Okay, okay,” Kermit said. He wished he was there and could put his arms around her, tell her everything was going to be fine. Guiltily, he realized that it was possible that everything was fine—more or less—at least as far as she knew. More than once, when she'd been frustrated to the point of tears about something or other, it had turned out to be nothing much, nothing that hugs and kisses wouldn't cure. “Um, did you—oh! Did you get to go out to dinner with Mr. Strathers?”
Piggy noticed that Kermit didn't call it a “date”. Of course he didn't. Even with one of their friends, Kermit wouldn't use the word “date”, and any time she had inadvertently used it, Kermit had bristled. Piggy adored that look—that Me-Kermit-You-My-Pig look and, remembering it, she began to smile even through her tears.
“Y-yes,” she managed. “We went to The Grill.”
“That's the, um, place you like to go with your friends from work,” Kermit said. He had tried to pay attention, tried to put together a picture of what her life was like up there without him. The fact that he didn't like the fact that she had a life without him made it harder and easier at the same time.
“Yes,” she said. He remembered where she'd told him she was going.
“Well, I guess that was nice,” Kermit said. He was grasping at straws, babbling he was sure, but she had stopped sobbing, at least.
“Dinner was nice,” Piggy said, looking down. If Kermit could have seen her in that moment, eyes averted, shoulders hunched, he would have known—he would have known that something was wrong and demanded she let him help, let him champion her, but the phone connection was just a miracle of technology and science, not a real miracle, and he could not know the dichotomy between her words and her feelings when he was this far away.
“Good.” A hint, Sweetie—give me a hint so I don't bumble around and say the wrong thing.
“Moi was having a nice dinner and….”
She hesitated, and Kermit's heart clenched. What else could go wrong? Hadn't they had their share of public relations disasters this month?
“—and Seymour got a little tipsy and started saying he knew I was upset about the stories in the paper and that I could be honest with him about my feelings.” Kermit could tell from her tone that she was trying to make light of it, but also that she was disappointed.
“Well, Honey, he's probably just going by what he reads,” Kermit said wearily. He tried a smile, mostly to hide his own moroseness. “I guess he wanted you to know he was there for you if you wanted to talk.”
He heard the quick intake of breath, then Piggy's voice, halting and uncertain. “I…I—yes, that must have been it,” she said, and there was something, something in her voice that sounded off or strained, but he didn't know what to make of it. Poor Piggy—he guessed she did want to talk to someone about all the hatefulness, now that Howard and Thoreau had come back to L.A. Kermit smiled a fleeting smile. Howard had dropped by to tell him all about their visit, the clothes, Piggy's acclimation to New York, her reception on Broadway. “You have to get up there,” Howard had gushed. Kermit had snapped at him, then apologized.
“Sorry,” he had said. “Sorry, Howard. I know she's doing fantastic.” Without me.
But Howard had seemed to suddenly hear what he had not actually said.
“Don't fool yourself,” he'd said dryly, and thumped Kermit soundly on the back. “She may be doing splendidly, but she's very frog-sick without you.” As rotten as that had made him feel, it had also made him feel better.
“Thanks, Howard,” he had said, really meaning it, and tried to smile. Remembering that conversation now, with Piggy on the other end of the phone, Kermit tried to infuse his voice with cheeriness.
“Um, I miss you a whole bunch,” he said. Piggy's whole body softened at his tone. From Kermit, this admission was pretty huge, and sounded absolutely sincere.
“Oh, I miss vous too, Mon Capitan,” she cooed, trying not to sound tearful. “When we talked about the show in Vegas, Moi remembered how hard you and Scooter worked to extend our stay. That was so wonderful of you, so wonderful to have that time with….” She trailed off, hoping he could not tell that she was scrubbing furiously at her eyes. Oh! How she missed him!
“Well, I miss you more,” said Kermit determinedly. “I have to go to this stupid party tomorrow night. I'm terrible at those things without you.”
“Vous are not terrible at them,” Piggy said. “You're just miserable at them without Moi.”
Caught off guard, Kermit laughed. “Yes,” he admitted. “I am. But Scooter is going to go along to keep me out of trouble.”
Just Scooter?” Piggy asked.
Kermit made a grumpy noise and Piggy's heart ached. She loved his grumpy face. She adored kissing his frowning mouth! Piggy thought about the picture, thought about the paper it would appear in, and all the other papers that would pick it up. He would find out whether she told him or not, so—
“When I was having supper with Mr. Strathers….”
“Yes?”
Piggy was silent for a moment, then took the plunge. “Fleet Scribbler showed up.” Later, Piggy would wonder why she said it, would wonder why she said it like that, would wonder why she was so quick to throw Fleet under the bus.
What?” Kermit exploded. “Scribbler showed up and—are you okay? What did he do? What happened?”
“I—nothing,” Piggy said, aware that she had uncapped the volcano.
“Piggy—what happened?” Kermit said, fear and anger coursing through him. If that miserable little fiend had harmed one perfect hair on her perfect head— If he was the reason Piggy was crying—!
“Nothing happened,” Piggy said, “except he…took my picture.”
“Took your picture?” Kermit said, mostly thinking out loud. Of course he took Piggy's picture—that's what the little scumbag did. “With Mr. Strathers?”
“Um…no. Mr. Strathers had gone by then.”
“What do you mean—had gone by then? Where did he go? Where were you?”
“What do you mean, where was I? Moi was at the restaurant with Mr. Strathers and…and when Fleet showed up he left.”
Fleet? Something about the way she said it made Kermit stop and look at the phone.
“Scribbler showed up and…Strathers just left you there?”
“Moi wasn't—he left and, then Fleet took a picture, and then Kristen and Rory and Darcy came.”
“They came and got you? From the theater?” Piggy had been abandoned at the restaurant? Had Strathers done something to Scribbler that caused him to be hauled off? Kermit was pretty certain that if he'd been there, he'd have done something to Scribbler that would have caused him to be hauled off in handcuffs. If he got his hands on that miserable, that execrable excuse for a writer, he'd—
“They were already there,” Piggy said. She was sorry, now, that she had tried to tell Kermit about it, only she hadn't really tried to tell him about it—she was just lonely and miserable and sad and wanted her frog.
Kermit stared at the phone again. “Piggy, you're not making sense—“ he began.
“Well, who says Moi has to make sense!” Piggy said, beginning to cry again. “Why are you fussing at Moi?”
What? Was he fussing at her? Kermit looked down—at his clenched fists, felt the rigidity of his posture, heard the anger in his voice. He was fussing at her—at least, he was fussing near her, and she was already upset, poor thing, and he was…he was a terrible amphibian, a terrible frog.
“Honey—I'm sorry,” Kermit began gently, but if he had hoped to stem the tide of her tears, this had the opposite effect. Piggy sobbed even louder.
“It's not your fault,” she cried. Only it was—sort of. She wanted him. She wanted him to be here already. She wanted to go home.
“Sweetie—Sweetheart, c’mon, just…just listen a minute, okay. I’m not mad, and I’m not fussing. I’m just…I’m sorry, sorry I can’t be there when you’re unhappy.”
Piggy sniffled, but she was listening. “I’m not really unhappy,” Piggy said, trying to make it true. She wasn’t—she wasn’t unhappy. “I’m just…I miss you and when I was out to dinner tonight with Mr. Strathers it just made me realize how much Moi wanted you here, how much Moi wanted to be where you are.”
Kermit’s throat felt tight, and he had a hard time swallowing. Sometimes, Piggy could say exactly the right thing, exactly the thing that he needed to hear.
“I want to be where you are,” Kermit said softly. “I want to be where you are for the rest of my life. So, um, there,” he said firmly, pleased to have expressed everything just so. He could hear Piggy sniffling, but smiling through her sniffles. “I’m trying really hard to be grown up and responsible about this, but when I think about you, I don’t want to be grown up and responsible.”
“You always want to be grown up and responsible,” Piggy said gently.
“Huh uh,” Kermit said. “You make me want to act crazy, run through a field of flowers, hang from the handlebars, jump off the bridge, act crazy.”
“Don’t jump off a bridge,” Piggy said. “Jump on an airplane.”
He didn’t know how to answer that. “Speaking of crazy…how's Bobo working out? Is he making you feel safe or annoying you?”
“Yes,” Piggy said, evading the question. She wondered if “staying out of trouble” included having your picture taken at close range by Fleet Scribbler—or being pawed by your one-time boss who had probably just been struggling to keep his inner fanboy under wraps. “He seems to be enjoying New York. I understand he's found an apartment with one of the stage hands.”
“Good. Glad you aren't mad at, um, Marty for sending him up there.”
Piggy smiled and put her lips close to the phone. “Moi is not mad at…Marty for sending Bobo up here. I am very touched that you both, um, ahem, that he wanted me to feel safe.”
Despite last night, the thought that she needed a body guard seemed rather melodramatic. She had friends and protectors. She remembered the lecture, the tongue-lashing she'd received from Rory, Darcy's worry, Kristen's cool concern that made it seem not-at-all histrionic to be unnerved by Mr. Strathers's odd behavior. “I promise to wait until vous are up here to get into trouble.”
Kermit laughed and felt a delicious blush sweep over his body. “Good to know.” He started to tell her he was coming next week, but something—worry about something unexpected coming up, fear of disappointing her yet again—made him hold back. He sat down on the couch and leaned back, eyes closed, the phone warm in his hand. “Sweetie….” He did not know what else to say, and Piggy heard the helplessness in his voice and had pity on him and swooped in to reassure him.
“Tell me about the party,” she said, hoping to distract him from what he could not help.
“It’s just a party,” Kermit said, shrugging.
“Who’s coming?” Piggy asked, wanting details, wanting him.
“I told you—Scooter’s coming with me,” Kermit said.
“Not what Moi meant, silly. I meant, who is going to come to the party?”
“Who is…oh. Well, there are some financial folks, of course.”
“Of course,” Piggy murmured.
“A lot of producers, directors.”
Piggy felt an actual physical ache that they would be denied her presence. “Oh, tons of them, I’m sure,” she said faintly.
“And a lot of talent,” Kermit said. He assumed Piggy would know the sorts of people who came to these sorts of things and didn’t elaborate.
“Do you think Scooter can protect you from strange women who hurl themselves into your path?” she teased, but there was a definite possessive edge to her words.
“No strange women,” Kermit said firmly.
“No familiar women,” Piggy returned, and Kermit smiled.
“The only strange woman I’m interested in is you,” Kermit teased, and Piggy gave a snort and shook her head. He heard her curls brush raspy-like against the phone and longed to run his hands through her hair, letting the silky strands slip through his fingers. He was quiet for a moment. “Are you…is everything okay, Piggy? You…I’m worried. If Fleet bothers you again—”
“Moi is fine. Moi is a trooper,” Piggy said with conviction, but Kermit could hear the false cheeriness that infused her words.
“You are a trooper. I, um, love you. And miss you.”
“Miss you, too, Mon Capitan,” Piggy said. “Do you…are you awfully mad that Fleet took a picture of me for the paper?” she asked.
“I’m not awfully mad,” said Kermit. I will punch his lights out if he comes near you again.
“Call me tomorrow and let me know how the party goes.”
“I will.” He held the phone close to his aural organ. “Miss you. Love you.”
“Moi, too.”
“Good night.”
“It is now.”
It’s good I didn’t tell her, Kermit thought firmly as he put the little phone away. No sense getting her hopes up too early. He’d get there as soon as he could.
It’s good I didn’t tell him what really happened. He’s already worried and he would worry about this too. Piggy stared at the little phone for a long while. Come soon, she thought. Come very soon.
Piggy put the phone away, wondering again why she didn't remember having her phone and her keys in her lap while she was sitting at the table tonight. Of course, she had been thinking of leaving—had been wanting to go home and get away. She thought about the keys—she was usually so careful about keys—and she couldn't remember the last time she'd had her keys out. Had she really taken them out of her purse?
Piggy shook herself. Of course she had. What other explanation was there? But she got out of bed to check the deadbolts before crawling back in bed and falling instantly to sleep.

***

“So…how many in the can?” Clifford asked.
But Tricia was not fooled. “Six. You know it’s six in the can—four more to go.”
Clifford smiled. “More than halfway,” he said.
Tricia was looking at him, looking at him and liking everything she saw. Knowing she was walking away from it—and soon—made every little feature dear to her. “I’m…more than halfway ready for a midnight snack,” she said. It was late, later than late, and Mabel had trundled off to bed.
“Food sounds good,” Clifford said, but they made no move to get up. He was looking at her, liking the way her hair fell over one eye sometimes, and he heard strings and trumpets and a deep, thumping bass that seemed to echo in his limbs, in his core. “I’m more than halfway in love with you,” he said, and the words surprised him, but not as much as he thought they would.
“You can be all the way in love with me if you want,” Tricia whispered. “I don’t mind.”
“I’m working on it,” said Clifford. “Trying to make that leap.” He swallowed, looking into her eyes. “First time jitters, you know?”
Tricia leaned up and twisted her fingers in his hair, pulling him down to her. “Leap,” she murmured, her mouth close to his. “I may be little, but I’m tough. I’ll catch you.”
“Catch me, then,” said Clifford, and fell into her arms.

****

“You’ve landed, then,” he said into the phone. Her voice in his ear gave the illusion that she was still close, still near enough to hold.
“I did,” Autumn said. “I miss you already.”
“I decided to miss the rush and got a jump start. I’ve been missing you since you abandoned me at the airport.”
“I did not abandon you at the airport,” Autumn laughed, feigning outrage. “I put you in a taxi and kissed you goodbye.”
“Best $10 I ever put on a taxicab meter,” Ed said dryly, remembering their less-than-hasty goodbye. “But I am home now. Back to my books and models and work and…where did you say you were now?”
“I didn’t,” Autumn murmured. “You know I can’t. It’s….” She looked around her, taking in the view. “It’s warm. And lonely.”
“But not for long, I’m sure. I suppose you’re up to your pretty neck in intrigue?”
“Not quite.”
Ed snorted. “I’m sure you’ll make up for lost time.” He sighed, knowing he needed to hang up but reluctant to cede her attention, her focus. “When do you think you might, um, drop in again?”
“You never can tell.”
Ed groaned. “You don’t have to tell me.”
“Does it help that I miss you?”
No.” But his grumpiness only amused her.
“Well, I do. So there. Be a good fellow and stay safe until I see you again.”
Ed sighed, then smiled. She liked the sound of his smile through the phone. “I will try not to take up skydiving—how’s that?”
“It will do,” Autumn said.
“It will have to. You…Autumn…be careful. Be safe.”
“I’ll be careful,” she said. It was all she could promise, and he took what he could get.
There was just time for a few murmured endearments, then Autumn ended the phone call and put her sunglasses back on. She patted her hair—Ed would hardly have recognized her as a raven-haired beauty—and made a show of putting on her lipstick. In the little compact mirror, she saw a man watching her, pretending to read the newspaper. Although her expression did not change, her lips wanted to curve into a smile.
Good, she thought briskly. Saves me the trouble of tracking him down. She stood up and smoothed down her dress, adjusted her shrug over her shoulders, looking like nothing more than another tourist on a sunny strip, ready for a little beach time. Autumn grabbed her straw tote, her hand slipping into the side pocket and closing on the little weapon tucked under the fold. She didn’t need it—didn’t plan to use it—but it was nice to know it was there all the same. She drifted into the pedestrian traffic, moving down the boardwalk, aware of the man moving stealthily behind her. Finally, she allowed herself a small smile, the smile of a woman on a mission. Wouldn’t he be surprised when he made his move?

***

Keyboards weren’t really his thing, but Jonesy was typing away, putting the story together like a pro. He might be working for a trashy tabloid, but that didn’t mean he wrote garbage. In fact—
“I hope you’re planning on making the deadline,” said a voice near his wing. Jonesy shouted and threw his wings over his head protectively, but there was no accompanying blow, no muscle-numbing grip—this time.
“Oh, jeez-louise,” he panted. “You’re gonna give me…ah…for the love of fish, could you, you know, give a guy some warning?” He tried to make light of it, but there was an edge of panic to his voice that undercut the annoyance and bravado.
“I am giving you warning,” said his boss, and Jonesy flinched.
“I’m almost done,” he said, then swallowed nervously. “I—I just gotta tie up my red string.”
His boss looked at an expensive watch. “Better hurry. You know what happens if you’re late….” Funny, how something said so off-hand could chill you right down to your down.
Jonesy nodded. “Right,” he said, swallowing convulsively. “Right.” He could feel the boss’s eyes fixed on him and began to sweat—figuratively, at least. “Um, have you, uh, heard from Fleet lately?” he asked. “I thought he was gonna have something for us this time, too.”
Fleet had been the boss’s punching boy for a long time, but Fleet wasn’t here. Jonesy hoped he wouldn’t be trying to deflect the boss’s unwanted attention away from him and onto Fleet if the scrappy reporter were actually here, but he couldn’t be sure anymore. Fear does a funny thing to you—it’s easy to get lost and forget yourself.
“Mmm…yes. He does have an article in this time. And a picture.”
“Like the…like the last picture?”
“Oh…no. I think we aren’t going to get another shot like that one. At least, not anytime soon.”
“Sure did sell some papers,” said Jonesy, lulled into a false (and hopeful) sense of security by the smile on his boss’s face.
“It certainly did. Speaking of selling papers…chop, chop, Jonesy. The deadline is looming….”
Jonesy turned back to his typing, feathers flying over the keys, and tried to quell the shivers that were running up his spine. He thought guiltily of Fleet, remembering the way the fellow had held his dignity together despite everything. Not a bad sort, really, and he’d been decent about the desk. Jonesy typed, relieved to see the article coming together nicely. The boss was getting harder and harder to please, and that didn’t bode well for any of them.

***

“Fleet? Honey? Are you asleep?”
Fleet stirred but didn’t waken, and Gladys scampered across the bed with more nimbleness than she would have believed possible a week ago. That doctor had known was he was about, and she didn’t think she’d even be limping come the warm weather. She made it to the head of the bed and looked down at Fleet’s sleeping form, at his features softened in sleep and his wild silver hair all in disarray. He’d kicked the covers off, one bony ankle protruding, and she picked her way delicately down the bed and pulled until one of the top blankets tucked over it.
Fleet had done a good thing, he had, Gladys thought. Despite the fact that the pig he adored was happily married to another, he had come to her rescue without a thought for his own safety. So far, Fleet had stood up to his boss (and thugs), a crazy pignapper and a jealous fanboy, all on account of one glamorous pig who appeared to intend to go on being happily married to her frog. She worried about the heartbreak that had to be result of his infatuation, but she was also proud. When he could have shirked, could have turned away and left her to her fate, he’d stepped to the plate and swung for all he was worth. Gladys wondered if the frog had done the same—would do the same if their positions were reversed.
Well, the frog wasn’t her concern, but Fleet was. He seemed mostly safe and warm and dry and…happy. Yes. Tonight he had been happy, had been at peace, which was not something he had been when he first moved in. Maybe, strange as it seemed, being stuck in Miss Piggy’s orbit was all right with Fleet, was all right for Fleet. Maybe he was born to be her champion, no matter the cost.
Gladys smiled, and went to dust a kiss across his puckered brow. She watched it smooth out in sleep, saw his face relax in slumber.
“Plenty of dragons for another day,” Gladys said, and went to snuggle in with Harve.
 

The Count

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Hi, I've been reading on my copy of KG from the beginning again... And here's a new chapter! Will read through it and clean it tomorrow as I'm almost done for the night.
BTW: Aunt Ru, I sent an update to my own story for your reviewal as well, hope you got it, thanks for your help as always.
 

The Count

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Okay, it's reviewing time.

1 Kermit couldn't see Piggy's face and movements and emotions during the conversation on the phone, because it's just a miracle of modern technology.

That's why one of the things I always thought were the coolest things in action-oriented animated series like MASK and Centurions were the wristwatch telecommunicators.
Yeah, look both of those up, that should tell you "kiddies" how old some of us here are. :attitude:

2 This chapter, at least the first three sections are enough to make anyone melt. Is just what the month demanded and is just what we adore from Ru's writing.

3 *Delightedly thinking of ma belle in dark tresses. Though she's a blonde, midnight locks compliment her nature wonderfully.

4 From the beginning up to now, I've been happily pleased with the hinted vaguery of Autumn's employment. But this? Weapon clutched in her straw tote? Pursued by some other baddie? Consider me the one in intrigue.

5 Since I mentioned it earlier, if you go back to Chapter 14 where Scribbler's boss makes his first "appearance" all the way to now, he's had a rather pronounced evilution. From hands-off letting Scribbler develop the bare bones of an outline, to hiring hitmen, to spreading fear to all employees through direct and implicit threats by means of his choice in "take-out" if you know what I mean.

6 Nice to see that Gladys has that motherly worry for Fleet, he needs it. In reading this little excerpt I can't help but think Ru's created a rather reminiscent triangle: Kermit and Piggy as the fairytale king and queen; with Fleet as the queen's "champion" still carrying an unrequitted torch for his lady that can never be.

Thanks for posting, have a fun time getting ready for MMW next month.
 

newsmanfan

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---------
:news:NEWS FLASH! The reader has READ and is ALL CAUGHT UP!

Wow. Well, there's far too much here for me to be uber-detailed, but some specific things stand out to me.

Fleet is back as Piggy's champion, making up (at least in our view) for his opportunistic photo nabbing earlier...and perhaps he's also redeemed himself somewhat to Piggy. Though I really don't think he could prevail against a very determined, increasingly psychopathic Seymour (and the prior chapter was WONDERFUL in that regard, with the producer in full-on Crazy Stalker Mode), good on him for standing up and being noble!

This don't-ask-don't-tell nonsense between pig and frog is driving me crazy. I assume when they DO finally reunite there are going to be revelations and fireworks aplenty.

:concern: Cool! I'll bring the barbeque!
:shifty: You do dat. I'll be sittin' near da water in case of burning fur.

At least, with this latest installment, the frog has a SUSPICION something is amiss, instead of being too preoccupied with not saying his own truths. These two need to figure out that trying to keep the other from worrying is extremely worrisome!

The ongoing, developing relationships between Clifford and Tricia, and Howard and Thoreau, are wonderful, realistic, and hopeful...both for the characters' sakes and for inspiring me. (Stuff going on right now that I'm trying to stay hopeful concerning.) I like, I like!

I still have no clue who is behind all the sabotage and nasty press. Why does he hate the Muppets so danged much?? I wonder if Fleet will end up filling Kermit in on any of it? I wonder if Kermit will unsteam his angry frog self long enough to listen...

Overall, I'm thrilled with the way this tale is unfolding. Bring on the confrontations! I want action! I want frog fists a-flyin'! I want Fleet redeemed and Seymour jailed and the Big Uggy Boss down in flames --

:crazy: Did somebody say--

No. No, nobody did.
 

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