The “Newlywed Couple”
A/n: please note to not ship ian and autumn together as a romantic couple. they are best friends. in this au, they will have to pretend to be a couple to fit in. the names of norm, agnes, and mr. and mrs. hart will stay the same
It was a bright morning and in the kitchen, Autumn wore her long dress and apron, washing, cleaning, and drying the dishes without touching them. As she uses her magic to put away a cup, she accidentally breaks a plate on Ian’s face, who was just walking in. She gasps, “Oh, sorry!”
Ian looks at her. “That’s okay.” He uses his staff to put the broken pieces back together and into a cabinet.
“And…that’s all for the dishes,” She sighs as she walks to the other side of the kitchen “Whew! I’m beat.”
“You know, I could help you around the kitchen,” Ian added as he stood next to her. “Looks like a lot of work.”
“No, it’s fine. I got it.”
“Are you sure? I mean, I have magic, too. You know, two heads are better than one.” Autumn gives him a soft smile and shrugs. Ian looks over to the wall calendar. A heart was marked on a Wednesday. “Hey, um, Autumn?”
“Isn’t something…special happening today?”
“What do you mean?”
“The heart on the calendar.” He points to the marking.
She looks over to the calendar as well. “Oh, the…heart. Did you forget about it?”
“What? Me? ‘Forget?’ No. I remember everything. That’s not an exaggeration.”
“So, can you tell me what’s so important about today's date?” She asked with her hands on her hips and raising an eyebrow.
Ian stood for a minute. “What was the question again?” Autumn sighs and bows her head down. “Maybe you forgot yourself.”
She immediately lifts her head back up. “Heavens, no! I’m really looking forward to it!”
“Well, me, too. We’re celebrating…something.”
She points a finger at him. “You bet we are. This is the first time we’ve… celebrated this occasion!”
“It’s a special day…”
“Perhaps an evening…”
“To us both!”
“Exactly,” Ian snaps his fingers. “Well, I gotta get going,” Ian heads to the back door and brushes off the dust on his shirt. “Wish me luck. These comics aren’t going to sell themselves.” He leaves the house.
Autumn giggles and walks to the living room to sit on the couch. Then, a knock came at the door. She sits up and walks towards the door and opens it.
“Oh! Hello, dear!” A woman said. She, an elf, held a bouquet of flowers in her hand. “I’m Agnes, your neighbor to the right. My right, not yours.”
“Thank you.” Autumn gladly receives the flowers.
“Sorry for not welcoming you to the block. My mother in law was in town, so I wasn’t.”
“Would you like to come in?”
“Yes, dear! Thank you,” Agnes walks into the house and Autumn closes the door. “So, what’s your name and where are you from?”
“I’m Autumn.” the red head said.
“Autumn. Charmed,” She shakes her hand. “Golly, you settled in pretty quickly! Did you use a moving company?”
Autumn sets them on the dinner table. “I sure did. Those boxes don’t move themselves, you know?”
Agnes notices something on her hand. “So, what’s a single gal doing here rattling around in this big house?”
She stammers, “W-Well, um…I’m not single.”
“Well, I don’t see a ring.” Agnes said.
Autumn looks at her empty left hand. “I assure you, I’m married and happy as we can be,” She places a fake smile. “He’ll be home later tonight for something special.”
“Maybe a birthday?” Agnes guessed.
“Not a birthday.”
“Today’s not a holiday, is it?”
“No, it’s not a holiday.”
“Ye..yes!” Autumn nodded quickly. “Yes! An…anniversary! It’s our anniversary!” Autumn awkwardly laughed and sat next to Agnes on the couch.
“Well, ain’t that such a treat!” Agnes exclaimed. “How many years?”
“Um, it feels like we’ve always been together.”
“Aren’t you lucky? The only way Ralph would remember our anniversary is if there was a beer named June Second.” Autumn chuckles in response. “So, do you have any plans?”
“What do you mean?” Autumn asked.
“For your special night! You don’t have to do much for a young thing like you, but it’s still fun to set something up. Hm, I do have a magazine article called ‘How to Treat Your Husband to Keep Your Husband’ and let me tell you what Ralph could really use is ‘How to Goose Your Wife So You Don’t Lose Your Wife.’ Hang on! I’ll get it!” Agnes sits up from the couch and heads to the door. “This’ll be a gas!” She leaves the room.
Autumn turned to look as she left. She looks back at the blank television and sighs in relief. She frowns and rolls her eyes, “Ay, yi, yi.”
As Ian was organizing a shelf, he looked at his wristwatch. It was only 10:34 am. He sighs and keeps searching through it and organizing books. “Hey, Ian?” A co-worker asked.
“What’s up, Norm?”
“Is the music bothering you? I was the one who chose it so…”
“No, it’s okay.” He tapped the tip of his shoe on the carpet and looked at the floor.
“Are you okay? Can I help?”
“Y-Yeah, I need help.”
“What is it?”
“Well, something special is happening today. Special to Autumn, she’s my…” he pauses and hesitates. “My wife. And I don't remember what it is.” Ian notices someone walking into the store. Quickly, he shoos Norm away and hurriedly continues to organize the comics.
“Morning, Ian,” an older man, a cyclops, said to him. “My wife and I are looking forward to this evening.”
Ian stares at him and realizes, “Oh my gods! Dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Hart! How could I be so stupid?”
“Hello? Ian?” Mr. Hart snapped in front of him.
“Did you forget what I said?”
“Nope! I didn’t.”
“Great. We’re looking forward to it!” He gives Ian a pat on the shoulder and walks away.
“And you don’t have any special songs that you played at your wedding?” Agnes asked.
“Mm, no. Nothing special.”
“I’ll loan you some records, then,” she looks back at the magazine. “So we have music, decor, wardrobe…Ooh! What about seduction techniques?”
Autumn’s eyes widened. “I…beg your pardon. S-Seduction techniques?”
“I…I do, yes, but out of curiosity, what does it say?”
“It says here to stumble in front of him when walking into a room so he can catch you,” Agnes sighs. “Ah, so romantic.”
“Any other tricks?”
“You can point out that the death rate of single men is twice that of married men.” She winked.
“Now, that’s romantic,” Autumn joked and they both shared a laugh. The phone rings and Autumn goes to answer it. “Yes! This is Autumn speaking?”
“Hey, Autumn.” Ian said on the other line.
“Oh! Ian, hey. What’s up?”
“Look, look. I just realized what’s happening tonight.”
“Don’t worry. I have everything under control.” She looks to Agnes for a thumbs up.
“That’s a relief. I’m just…nervous.”
“Nervous? For what?”
“It’s okay. I’ll plan it out perfectly.”
“If tonight doesn’t go well,” he winces. “This could be the end.”
“It’s only one night. No need to be dramatic.”
“Look, I think the best course of action is to impress the wife.”
“And I think the best course is to impress the…husband.” Autumn looks to Agnes again, who gives her a thumbs up.
“Well, great! Glad to know we’re both on the same page. I’ll see you tonight, okay?”
“Until tonight.” She places the phone down and claps her hands together.
That night, Ian opens the door to the couple. “Okay, here we are.”
“Ooh, how atmospheric!” Mrs. Hart said, bedazzled.
“What’s wrong here, Ian? Did a fuse blow?” Mr. Hart asked.
Ian looks around to see the house dimmed with candles lit at the table. “Um, I’ll be right back. I’ll get my…” he hesitated. “My…wife.” He runs off to the kitchen.
Then, Autumn walks over in a fancy white dress and robe. She placed her hands over Mr. Hart’s eyes. “Guess who?” She said playfully.
Ian then walks in, turning on the light. He gasps, “Autumn?!”
She looks over to see Ian standing at the door. “Ian?!” She lifts her hands up and sees a man and a woman standing together. “Oh…”
“What’s the meaning of this?” Mr. Hart asked, agitated.
Ian stammers, “What is the meaning of…what is the meaning of this— Oh! The meaning of it! You want to know the meaning of it and the meaning is that it’s a greeting…between the two of us!” He ushers Autumn over and places his hands over her eyes. “Guess who?”
“Oh, is that my host behind me?” Autumn asked in a cheery tone.
She turns around and shakes Ian’s hand. “Lovely to meet your acquaintance!”
“You see, we…used to be childhood friends. A little thing we have.”
“Aw, how sweet,” Mrs. Hart dismissed with a hand. “And your dress, darling!”
Ian nods, “Yep! Pretty, isn’t it?”
“Can I see you in the kitchen for a moment, Ian?” Autumn asked as she snatched a scarf off of a lamp.
“Sure thing!” Ian was taken by the hand and hustled into the kitchen.
Autumn turns around. “Who are those people?”
“What are you wearing?”
“Why are they here?”
“No, what are you wearing?!” He asked, frantically.
“It’s our anniversary!”
“What? Anniversary? For what?”
“Well, if you don’t know, then, I’m not going to tell you!” She throws her scarf on the counter and walks to the sink.
Ian walks around the counter. “That man over there is Mr. Hart with his wife! The heart on the calendar was an abbreviation!”
“Ian,” she walks up to him. “We both can make pens float through the air. Who needs abbreviation?”
“Autumn, listen, it’s very relaxing with the candles, music, and your dress, even though we’re not actually married,” he muttered to her. “But, right now…”
“Your boss and his wife are expecting a home-cooked meal.”
Autumn looks at the table. “Any chance they’d settle for a single chocolate-covered strawberry split three ways?” She looks back at Ian who was chewing on his nail. “Hm, I might have a better idea,” She walks over to her magic staff and uses it to change into a cocktail dress. “Much better.”
Ian noticed Autumn then pointing her staff at her hand. He looked at his hand as well and noticed a ring on his left hand. “What? What are you doing? I told you, we’re not married.”
“Well,” she walks up to him and takes his hands into hers. “We’re going to have to keep this act up until they leave, okay? Oh, and the anniversary thing is fake. You don’t have to panic.”
“Okay,” He nods and smiles. “So, even though it’s not a large party, I can help you here with the cooking.”
“No, no, it’s okay. I got it covered.”
“I assure you, Autumn, we can do this together. Remember what I said this morning?”
“Two heads are better than one?” Ian nods. “But, your boss must be expecting you right now. Don’t worry. I got it.” She pushes Ian towards the door and out.
“What took you so long, Ian?” Mr. Hart asked.
“Ah, it’s nothing,” He responded. “Everything’s fine.”
Mr. Hair nods with a scowl on his face. “Uh-huh…”
Back in the kitchen, Autumn and Agnes were in the kitchen with Agnes having bags of food. “Ah, Agnes, you’re a lifesaver!”
“Well, what kind of a housewife would I be if I didn’t have a gourmet meal for four just lying about the place? Ralph only wants to eat baked beans, which explains about his personal appeal, mind you,” She drops a tray, which causes a loud bang. She exclaims, “Oh my!”
“Do you think Autumn needs help in the kitchen?” Mrs. Hart asked in the living room. She stands up and walks towards the kitchen. “We haven’t had any tidbits or tartlets out here, nary a boar in a blanket.”
Ian panics and jumps up from the couch. “U-Um, that is very nice of you, Mrs. Hart,” he turns to their kitchen door. “But I’m sure she’s absolutely fine in there!”
“Well, Agnes, I think I got it covered from here.” Autumn starts to push Agnes to the back door.
“Are you sure, my dear? Many hands make light work and many mouths make good gossip.”
Autumn gasps, “So naughty.”
“Would you like for me to preheat the oven?”
“That won’t be necessary.”
“Well, I know you’re in a pinch, so this menu will be done in a snap,” Agnes snaps her fingers and turns back. “Lobster Thermidor with mini mincemeat turnovers to start, Griffin a La King with twice-cooked potatoes for your second course,” she is pushed back to the door by Autumn. “And Steak Diane and mint jellies for your main.” She turns to Autumn. “Do you set your own jellies, dear?”
“Yes?” She answered.
“Good girl!” Autumn opens the door and Agnes exits. “Recipe cards are on the counter, by the way! Bon appetit!”
Autumn chuckles and waves goodbye. She turns to the bags of food and uses her staff to open the cabinets and drawers. Pots, pans, and silverware floated in the air. “Oh, dear…”
Loud banging came from the kitchen. “You men stay put,” Mrs. Hart said as she sat up from the couch. “I sense a domestic emergency.”
Ian says in an urgent tone, “Mrs. Hart, please. You don’t have to…” As the female cyclops was about to open the blinds, Ian blurted out, “I’ll check on her!” He sprang up from the couch and burst through the door. Mrs. Hart sighs, shrugs, and sits back down.
“What are you doing here, Ian?” Autumn exclaimed. “You should be in the living room!”
“I want to help you! It looks busy here!”
“No, no! I’m fine! Please leave!” She uses her magic to push Ian out of the kitchen.
“I—“ the door closes.
On the counter was a plate of griffin. She uses her staff to cook it, but turns black, burning it to a crisp. “Oh no! Too much!” She makes a small circle and the griffin turns into a shopping basket full of eggs. “Oh no! Not enough!”
Ian grumbled. He changes his mood and turns around. “Anyone up for Parcheesi?” He sees Mr. Hart scowling at Ian.
“Oh, what am I supposed to do next?” She looks at the floating recipe cards. “What was the main course? Steak, steak, steak…Diane!”
Her voice could be heard from the living room. “Yes?” Ian piped up.
“Diane?” Mr. Hart asked.
“Um, y-yes. It’s a nickname for me back when we were friends. Silly, ain’t it? Please, excuse me,” Ian sits up from the couch and back into the kitchen. “Coming…Fred.”
“Such an unusual couple.” Mrs. Hart sighs while fanning herself with her hand.
Autumn sees Ian walk inside. “Ah! Oh no!” She panics and sends a lobster out the open window.
“Do you need help this time?” Ian asked with his hands on his hips.
“Actually, yes.” Autumn nodded.
“How can I help?” Ian takes his staff from the back door.
“Well, the griffin is no longer a griffin and the lobster just flew through the coop, so the steak is the last man standing,” she picks up a recipe card. “It says here I can cut down the prep time with a meat tenderizer.”
“Okay, great plan. Question: where is it?”
Autumn points at the mallet on the table. “Right here. Ditch the staff.” Ian throws his staff aside.
“Hoo hoo in there!” Mrs. Hart exclaimed cheerily as she opened the blinds.
“Hoo hoo back to you!” Autumn quickly closes the blinds. She turns back to Ian. “Okay, just finish the meat,” she says as she unties her apron. “Find the lobsters. I’ll be right back!” She walks through the door to the living room to join the Harts. “I hope you guys are hungry! You’re in for a treat!”
“Well, starving is more like it.” Mr. Hart muttered.
“Starting to feel a bit woozy, but I can manage.” Mrs. Hart said. She jumps in surprise as a loud thump was heard from the kitchen.
Autumn panics. “Were either of you aware that married men are killing single men at an alarming rate?”
“What are you talking about?” Mr. Hart asked.
“Great job, me. Way to mess that up.” Autumn thought. She resorts to her second plan and pretends to trip. She falls into Mr. Hart’s arms. Another thump.
“Okay, what is going on?”
A knock came at the front door. Autumn is pushed up from Mr. Hart. “Oh! Who could that be?”
Ian bursts through the door. “Coming!”
The door opens and Agnes was at the door with a pineapple in her hand. “You didn’t answer the door. For your upside down cake!” Autumn takes the pineapple and smiles. “Oh!” Agnes waves to the Harts. “Hello, I—” the door slams.
Mr. Hart asks, “Who was that?”
“A salesman!” Autumn exclaimed.
“A telegram!” Ian exclaimed at the same time. “Um, a man selling telegrams.”
“Wouldn’t you know it, good news is more expensive.” The two chuckle awkwardly.
Ian muttered to Autumn, “I can’t find the lobsters and did you want the meat tendered or pulverized? I forgot.”
Autumn sighs, “Oh, dear.” She rushes back into the kitchen.
“Ah,” Ian sighs. “Isn’t this going swimmingly?”
“Okay,” Autumn takes a whisk and the basket of eggs. “Time to improvise.”
“Now my head’s spinning.” Mrs. Hart stumbled. Ian caringly helps her cool down.
“Great,” Mr. Hart sighed. “Now her head’s spinning. Generally speaking, I don’t like her doing that. And I’m starting to think you’re not the organized person you say you are, Ian.”
“P-pardon?” Ian asked, worryingly.
“I mean, look at this chaos in your household! I had high hopes for you, but you can barely keep it together! Now, when are we going to eat?”
“Dinner is served!” Autumn calls. She is standing next to the dinner table with four plates of scrambled eggs, toast and fruit with two glasses filled with wine and two cups filled with water, as well as a pitcher filled with the clear liquid.
“Huh, breakfast for dinner?” Mr. Hart questioned.
“Mhmm,” Autumn nods. “Ian and I did this when we were children.”
“Memories.” Ian smiled. Everyone walks to the table and raises their glasses. “Well, cheers to my talented…wife.”
“And to our esteemed guests,” Everyone clinks their glasses together and drinks. “Well, please eat, before it gets cold.”
Everyone sits down and eats. Mrs. Hart asks, “So, where did you two move from, when did you get married, and are you planning to have children?”
Autumn opens her mouth to respond, but nothing comes out. She looks at Ian. He chuckles, “Well, what she means to say is that we moved from…”
“Yes, yes, we moved from…”
“And we got married…”
“Yes,” she repeated. “We got married…”
“Moved from where? Married when?” Mr. Hart asked.
“Hush, Arthur,” Mrs. Hart told her husband. “Please be patient. Let them set up their story.”
“We…our story…” Autumn smiled.
“What is your story?!” Mr. Hart exclaimed.
Mrs. Hart says, “Oh, leave the poor kids alone!”
“It’s a simple question, honey. Why did you two come here?” No answer from Autumn nor Ian. They jump as Mr. Hart slammed his hand on the table. “Dammit, why? Why did you—?” He starts to choke.
“Oh, Arthur, stop it.” Mrs. Hart waved a hand. He didn’t respond. He was struggling, holding his hand to his throat. “Honey, stop it.” She looks to Autumn. “Stop it…” then to Ian. “Stop it…” Mr. Hart then falls to the ground. “Please, stop it.”
Autumn and Ian stare at each other. She nudges her head to the floor. “Go. Help him.” Autumn says and Ian jumps up and uses a spell to grab the piece of strawberry out of his throat.
Ian helps Mr. Hart up and they balanced themselves. “Oh, well, would you look at the time?” Mr. Hart suddenly said.
“Yes! We best be getting home.” Mrs. Hart wipes her mouth with the napkin then sets it next to her plate.
“A-Are you both okay?” Autumn asked.
“Just fine, dear. We had such a lovely time,” she places her hands over Autumn’s eyes. “Your guests are leaving your home.”
Autumn chuckles, “Thank you for coming.” She shakes the cyclops’s hand.
“Hm, you impressed me tonight, Ian,” Mr. Hart said to the young elf. “I apologize for what I said earlier. I’ll let you off the hook.”
“Thank you, Mr. Hart.” Ian thanked him.
As Mrs. Hart opens the door, her husband leaves. She sees a lobster stuck on the door. “Oh, what a charming door knocker,” She taps the creature on the door before leaving. “Have a lovely night!”
Autumn waves goodbye and closes the door. The two sigh in relief. “Thank the gods.” Ian says.
“Aren’t we an ‘unusual couple’?” Autumn said, gesturing quotation marks. The two sit down on the couch.
Ian looks at his ring on his left hand. “You know, a ring wouldn’t be that bad, but only on the other hand.”
Autumn laughs, “Pardon me.” She sits up and fetches her staff from the kitchen with Ian’s as well. She uses a spell to make the rings disappear from their hands. “Much better.” She sits back down and takes the remote to turn on the television. They smile at each other and look back as a show on the screen plays.