|Something Borrowed, Someone Blue
Author: windscryer PM
Nothing is going to ruin Elizabeth and Peter's wedding day. Nothing. ... Well, except maybe *that*. Pre-series. Peter/Elle.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Romance - Peter B. & Elizabeth B. - Words: 2,448 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 2 - Published: 06-19-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7098097
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Yeah, I might have a few stories that I've not gotten round to posting. None of you are complaining, right? xD
Written for and flailed over by Lu.
Disclaimer: I'd put a collar round Peter's neck too, given my druthers. Ah well. Lucky Elizabeth gets that privilege if she so chooses. ;P
It rained on their wedding day.
He wasn't sure why he was surprised given that it had rained on every other significant-to-their-relationship day there is.
First date? Rain. First Valentine's Day? Rain. It even rained on their first Christmas during a freak heat-wave that turned the piles of snow into rivers of slush.
Six-month anniversary, the day he proposed, the day of their engagement pictures, and their rehearsal dinner...
Some might have taken it as a bad sign, but Elizabeth didn't believe in bad signs. She said that if God didn't want her to marry Peter, He'd have to come right out and say it. She wasn't taking hints on this subject.
Which is why she planned an outdoor wedding, but arranged for an alternate indoor venue—and then told the caterers to set up at said alternate the day of the wedding, despite waking up to sunny skies.
Sure enough, by the time noon rolled around the sun had vanished behind a bank of stormy grey thunderheads and the wedding party decamped for the reception hall en masse.
That wasn't the only contingency she'd planned for. Being an event planner, she was well aware of the problems that cropped up on the most important of days and had a solution ready for every last one of them.
Well, almost every last one.
Which is why when Peter turned at the sound of opening doors and the first bars of the wedding march, his smile shifted into a frown. Not that Elizabeth's mother wasn't a lovely lady, but she was NOT the one he was standing up here waiting for.
The guests murmured and chatted as the organ player stopped and the mother of the bride strode down the aisle, her face set in determination.
She skipped up the steps to where Peter waited, grabbed his arm and turned right around, dragging him down, only an imperious, "You," for an explanation.
Peter smiled at the guests, shrugging at the questioning looks and sped up his pace until he was walking next to his soon-to-be mother-in-law instead of being dragged like an errant child.
"You need to fix this."
"Fix what?" Peter asked in bewilderment as he was led through the hallways to the bridal suite.
He got a glare and a sniff, but couldn't understand the muttered words that followed. Then they were there and he was being pulled through the door into a room full of mirrors and make up bags and hair-styling equipment.
It looked vaguely like a slumber party had exploded.
"OUT!" she barked and the silk-clad gaggle of bridesmaids scurried out of the room leaving only him and his future (he hoped) mother-in-law and... wait, where was Elle?
"Fix this," was all the direction or explanation he got and then she left too, closing the doors behind her. He could have sworn he heard the lock click, but he tried not to think too much about what that would mean.
Instead he swallowed and looked around again.
There was a sniffle and a rustling of cloth from behind a dressing screen. Then a soft, tremulous, "Peter?"
He swallowed again. Tears. Why did it have to be tears?
"Uh... Hey. Um..." He scrunched his face up and gave himself a mental kick in the ass. Cowboy up, Burke, he ordered himself. This isn't the last time this is going to happen and running is probably NEVER the appropriate response.
Of course, what exactly the appropriate response was, he had no idea. But he was about to say vows that included "sickness and health" and "happiness and sorrow" or something like that, so now was as good a time as any to work on fixing that particular deficiency of his.
First step was to figure out what was wrong, right? Second step was to fix it?
There was probably some way to do these things without being obvious about it, but he had never found out what that was, so he decided to just go for it. When she was rational again he could ask her for advice. She was exceptionally patient like that.
"Elle, what's wrong?"
She responded by sobbing loudly.
Oh shit. Ohshitohshitohshit.
He took a step forward, then stopped. He wasn't supposed to see her before the wedding, right? But was this one of those times where he could ignore that protocol or not? He ran a hand through his hair, stiffened his spine, and walked around the screen.
Of all the things he expected, it was not to find his blushing bride sitting on a velvet-covered stool in a silk teddy, ruffled garters, and stockings dotted with tiny embroidered butterflies against a lace garden background. The veil was on her head and her hair was perfectly done up and she looked absolutely gorgeous, smeared makeup notwithstanding.
But while he was anxious to get to the part of the day where he saw her like this post-ceremony—except for the makeup part—he was pretty sure that this was not how she intended to walk down the aisle.
"PETER!" she shrieked and threw a shoe at his head which he managed to duck. She'd kill him if he had a black eye in the wedding photos.
"Sorry!" he apologized and turned around, wincing when the mate of the first shoe hit him square on the back. "What can I do? How can I fix this?" he begged, not even knowing what the problems was but hoping it was within his means.
She just sobbed louder.
"YOU CAN'T FIX THIS!" she informed him between gulps of air and he cringed at the death sentence she issued.
"Well..." he said, but trailed off. He wanted to tell her she was wrong, that he'd do ANYTHING she asked, but he wasn't sure that was wise right now.
He felt helpless and like a failure of a husband before he even technically was one.
Wiping a hand over his face, he figured that whatever he did was probably going to get him in deeper trouble and so no route he chose could really be wrong, right?
Taking a deep breath, he turned around, marched the three feet to her side and grabbed her by the shoulders, pulling her to her feet. He looked her square in the eye and said, "Elizabeth O'Dell. I love you more than I can even express to you in words. I don't know what is wrong but I do know this: Nothing that happens today can possibly change how I feel for you." He meant to say more, but the sight of her wide, beautiful eyes staring at him completely blanked his mind. So he shifted his right hand to support her back, his left sliding down to her hip, and he dipped her until gravity forced her to surrender her weight to his hands.
And then he kissed her.
When lack of oxygen forced him to pull back he did so, carefully straightening up lest they both go down in a heap.
She continued to blink at him in complete shock for a moment and he licked his lips and prayed her next move didn't involve the impressive right hook he'd discovered on their sixth date when he'd agreed to show her some self-defense moves and got his ass handed to him.
Her mouth closed and she swallowed, tears welling up again and he braced himself as panic flooded his system.
"Oh Peter!" she said and launched herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck and burying her face against his shoulder.
He gingerly held on, completely unsure if this was a good thing or a bad thing.
She hadn't hit him yet so he took a chance on it being good and rubbed a hand up and down her back, valiantly ignoring the way his fingers caught on the lace of her teddy, and murmured soothing nonsense.
Eventually she pulled back and wiped at her eyes and then she smiled at him and he felt his muscles relax.
"I'm sorry. I'm being a basketcase and I promised I wouldn't but..."
"You are about as far from being a basketcase as I have ever seen," he assured her.
She smiled again. "You're sweet, honey, but I'm not going to hit you. It's okay."
He smiled back and brushed another kiss on her lips. "I'm sorry for whatever's wrong—"
She cut him off with a finger on his lips. "It's not your fault." She sighed. "It's mine." A quick flash of a wan smile. "Too many caterer samples, I guess."
He frowned and leaned back to look at her. "What? But... you look fantastic." She started to protest and he shook his head. "No, I mean it, Elle. You really look fabulous. In fact, I thought you'd lost a few pounds," he said. His eyes widened a moment later. "Not that I thought you've needed to lose any weight! I mean— I'm going to shut up now," he said and clamped down on his traitorous lips.
She laughed and hugged him again. "Oh, Peter." She pushed back and beamed. "Thank you. Really. I do appreciate it. But whatever you—and I—thought, we can't argue with the evidence, right?"
She turned and picked up her dress and wrapped it around her body, turning so he could see that there was a good inch-wide gap between the two sides of the zipper.
He frowned and stepped closer, taking the sides of the dress in his own hands and tugging them closer. She was right, though, there was no way this dress was going to close.
"Could the... whoever have sewn it wrong? Written down a wrong number or something?"
Elle shook her head. "No. I saw the ticket the day she wrote it down. It had the right size. I just..." She shrugged, then sniffed. "I just didn't pay enough attention between then and now."
Peter considered, then shook his head. "I don't believe that. Please don't hit me, Elle, but part of my job as an FBI agent is to be able to estimate the weight of a suspect and... there is no way you've put on that much weight. Let me call..." he said and reached past her to snag the ticket from the garment bag hanging up on the screen.
He held up a finger. "I can fix this, El."
She sighed, but must have seen he wasn't going to be deterred and just replaced the dress on the hangar and sat back on the stool.
He found that sight to be entirely too distracting and refocused his eyes on the paper before him as he listened to the ringing on his phone.
"Yes, this is Peter Burke calling about— Oh. Oh you have? ... I see. Oh. No, we had to move because of the rain and—" He almost sighed with relief. "You can? Thank you. Yes. Oh, right. Uh..." He closed his eyes to think, then rattled off the address of their current location.
"Yes. Thank you. No— Okay. I'll let her know." His eyes flicked to Elle, seeing hers were hopeful but still red from crying. "No, probably not a good idea right— Yes. I'll do that. Okay. Thank you. Goodbye."
He lowered the phone and smiled at her. "I have good news and better news. Your wedding dress will be here in about half an hour, they're refunding you the cost of the alterations, and you have most definitely not gained weight."
She shot to her feet. "I haven't? Wait... It will? They are?" She looked at the dress over her shoulder. "But..."
He pulled her in for another kiss—and maybe one more chance to get his hands on her in that teddy to tide him over until they were in the hotel room tonight—and said with a smile, "They gave you the wrong dress."
"But I checked! The name on the ticket—"
"Is yours, yes. They put the wrong dress in your bag."
"But it looks just like mine. I mean, I picked one out of their catalog so that's not entirely impossible but... what are the odds?"
He laughed and hugged her close. "I have no idea."
She returned it and then pulled back. He felt a frisson of fear when he saw the tears were returning, but she just smiled and kissed his cheek. "Thank you, Peter. And I really am sorry about all of this."
"I'm just sorry that your perfectly planned wedding day was ruined by a stupid mistake."
She shook her head. "No, you're right. Whatever happens today doesn't change how we feel and that's the important thing."
She wiped at her eyes one last time, then pushed him back. "Okay. Now go. Send in my mom again, please. We need to fix my makeup before the dress arrives. Apologize to the guests and let them know we're almost ready."
He nodded. "Right. Okay. I love you, honey," he said, claiming one more kiss for the road, then slipped around the screen and hurried to the door. He tried the handle and smirked when he found he was right: it had been locked.
It clicked and opened an inch. "Well?" the O'Dell matriarch asked.
"I fixed what I could. Now it's your turn."
She eyed him for another moment, then opened the door with a nod.
He managed to slide past as the bridesmaids re-entered in a whispering rush, then took a moment to lean against the wall when he was alone again.
He took a deep breath and wiped a hand over his face, then laughed.
Who knew that his training in witness handling and hostage negotiation would serve him outside of his job? he wondered as he returned to the hall to wait for his bride.
Love any comments you guys have, if you would be so kind as to share! :)