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Hemlock and Hemlines

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“There,” Morticia said as she gently patted the hem of Wednesday’s black dress into place against her ankle. “Everything lies even as it should. I removed most of the pins from your dress, as I have other sewing projects to finish, but a few have been left in place to catch you off guard.”

“Thank you, Mother,” Wednesday said, though she never let anything take her by surprise. Morticia languidly rose to her full height, which was still slightly taller than Wednesday—though she imagined that would eventually change.

“I am so proud of you, my darling,” Morticia said, stroking Wednesday’s cheek. “Do you have everything you need for your first dance?”

“I have hemlock and an adjusted hemline, what more could a girl need?” Wednesday asked.

“Tish, you’ve worked wonders on that dress. Why it looks just as good on Wednesday as it did on you,” Gomez said as he grasped onto Morticia’s hand and began kissing her arm.

“Not now, bubbeleh,” Morticia said, gently shaking her husband off. “We need to focus on Wednesday.”

“Right Tish, right,” Gomez agreed as he wiped his lips on his sleeve. He clapped his hands together. “Wednesday my girl, when is the lucky fellow coming to pick you up? Or have you decided to go stag to your first dance like your old man? In either case I want photos of my little girl!”

“Lurch is picking my date up,” Wednesday said. “They should be arriving soon.”

As if on cue the front door creaked open and Lurch walked in carrying a much smaller person over one shoulder. All three Addamses turned to watch. As he approached Wednesday could hear her date talking to the butler.

“I’m tell you, Lurch, Wednesday didn’t mean for you to literally carry me to and from the car—I can walk—but to simply chauffeur me here.”

However, the words fell on deaf ears and Lurch only deposited his burden once he reached Wednesday.

“Oh my,” Morticia said.

“That’s a little unexpected,” Gomez chuckled.

“Mother, Father, this is my date, Lydia Deetz,” Wednesday said as she reached out to steady Lydia, who was slightly wobbling on her heels after Lurch set her down. Lydia brushed her hands down the front of her red dress as she straightened it, shot a smile at Wednesday, and then looked to Gomez and Morticia.

“Mr. and Mrs. Addams, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” Lydia said, tossing her head to get her bangs out of her eyes. She offered them a hand in greeting.

“Likewise,” Morticia said, briefly touching her hand before Gomez grabbed it and nearly jerked off her arm.

“Great to meet you, Lydia,” Gomez said as he continued vigorously shaking her hand. “This is quite a surprise to be sure, but I’m delighted to see our little girl inherited her mother’s impeccable taste. Wednesday is getting a little old to limit her tormenting strictly to her brothers.”

“Oh, she never torments me,” Lydia said. She shuffled to Wednesday’s side once Gomez finally released her. “In fact, she’s kept the bullies away from me, like way far away.”

“Lydia makes excellent bait and I don’t like bullies,” Wednesday explained. Lydia beamed and squeezed Wednesday’s arm, which earned her a nod. “Nor is she squeamish during dissections. There is no one at school I would rather have as a partner.”

“High praise indeed,” Morticia said as one elegant eyebrow arched upward.

“May we go now?” Wednesday asked.

“Not until we get photos,” Gomez declared. He yanked the nearby bell pull and a gong rang throughout the house.

“You rang?” Lurch answered as he loomed over Gomez.

“Photos Lurch! We have memories to record!”

So Lurch went and fetched the camera. Lydia got excited when she saw the Addamses’ camera and insisted on assisting Lurch set it up. Wednesday watched them work with rapt attention. Once preparations complete Lydia resumed her position next to Wednesday. She smiled when Wednesday firmly grasped her hand.

With much fanfare Lurch snapped an entire roll of photos. Gomez shouted out different positions he wanted them to pose in, but Wednesday simply ignored him. She loved her father, he was generally well meaning, but she was not about to bend to his will and make herself look foolish. Especially in front of Lydia.

Eventually Morticia called a halt to the photography, which allowed Wednesday and Lydia to slip into the back of the family hearse. With an audible sigh the girls settled into the plush leather seats as Lurch pulled away from the curb. When Wednesday turned to look at Lydia she found her smiling slightly.

“I apologize for my family’s over enthusiasm,” Wednesday said. “They tend not to be this embarrassing.”

“Your family and home are deadly-vu,” Lydia declared. She grabbed Wednesday’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “Seriously, I don’t know why you didn’t bring me home sooner because I love everything about your life. Were you worried I’d freak?”

“Yes.”

“Well you shouldn’t have,” Lydia huffed. She squeezed Wednesday’s hand again and this time Wednesday squeezed back. “You know I like your brother.”

“And I consider that your only flaw.”

Lydia laughed and Wednesday leaned into her side. She let go of her hand, which Wednesday didn’t like, but only to wrap her arm around her. That was forgivable, encouraged even, as Lydia started absentmindedly running her fingers over Wednesday’s braids.

“There are certainly worse flaws to have,” Lydia chuckled.

They lapsed into a comfortable silence after that. When the school came into view both girls sat up and straightened their dresses before exiting the hearse. From the looks of things the dance was already in full swing. Her classmates behaving like animals didn’t intimidate Wednesday—it was hardly a notable difference from their usual state—but she nonetheless accepted Lydia’s offered hand.

“Word of advice,” Lydia whispered in her ear as they entered the gym, “don’t drink the punch. Someone always spikes it.”

“Oh I know,” Wednesday replied. She patted the packet of hemlock in her dress pocket. This time she intended it to be her.