by Kaite

It amuses her after the wedding to realize that now she is Truly Potts. Wife of Caractacus, famously eccentric inventor, but Potts all the same. At the end of the day, she supposes, it's no sillier than Scrumptious and an awful lot easier to spell.

At her father's house, everything was white and pristine. Ever since she met the Caractacus, Jemima and Jeremy she has been varying degrees of dirty -- mud, sand, oil when she learned how to fix one of Chitty's interminable engine problems. After Caractacus insisted on taking a look at the camera the wedding photographer used, her wedding dress was ruined. Ever since, her beautiful, frothy, floaty dresses have seemed slightly impractical. It isn't until she walks into his workshop in trousers and he doesn't bat an eyelid that she realizes how out of tune he is with the rest of the world. Marching to a different drum doesn't come into it; he has his own private orchestra. Her husband, the eccentric inventor who seems to be able to do anything with his hands, even if it wasn't quite what he intended in the first place. Her father makes sweets, her husband makes fantastical inventions, but all Truly was raised for was making babies; something she doesn't seem to be terribly good at. Caractacus doesn't mind, if he even notices. Sometimes she thinks they're a family of four children rather than two. It isn't too much of a stretch to imagine herself as just another motherless child he has to provide for.

The children aren't unruly as such, not the way she thought they would be. Now they go to school every day, and madcap adventures are reserved for weekends and holidays. It's just that she doesn't know what to do with a girl like Jemima. As they both get older, Truly starts to wonder what she would have been like growing up in a household like this -- noisy, messy, undisciplined and full of love. Truly learns to do everything they do, but in a corset, long skirt and high heels. One day, when no-one is looking, she climbs the tallest tree she can find and looks out across the rolling countryside until she spots the patch of white amongst the green, the palatial prison she passed twenty-odd years of her life inside. There is a nagging little voice at the back of her mind telling her that her all-powerful father can see her up here, from the factory that spoils the glorious rustic backdrop of her new life.

She always assumed he was looking for The One -- the brainstorm that would make him rich. It isn't that simple -- he's in love with what he does, married to his work long before he met her. When she mentions the best-selling musical sweets to him a few months after he perfects the recipe, he looks askance having completely forgotten the invention that enabled them to get married in the first place. He's still clattering around in his workshop, embarking on yet another far-fetched idea. Science for science's sake, she supposes. Really, he's ahead of his time. Inevitably, nothing he's invented since compares with That Car.

When Chitty's engine purrs into life under his fingers, she knows just how it feels. Occasionally she feels like another heap of junk he rescued and reassembled, turning her into something useful. He used to scoop her up in a fruitless attempt to prevent her dress from trailing in the mud, or water, or whatnot. Now he leaves grimy handprints all over her when he creeps into bed at some unearthly hour. To her great surprise, she really doesn't care. He never wakes her, she's always wide awake and waiting for him.

When he reaches a ticklish spot, she giggles and looks down.

"What are you doing?"

"Oh, just tinkering."

As her laugh turns into a gasp, Truly decides there are definite advantages in coming second-place to a motorcar.


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