Okay, first off, I hate this websites obvious hatred towards saving line breaks in documents. Hence the new '-/\-' bullshit instead.
Also, I'd like to say some things about the format of this chapter. I've been trying to write the wedding since I posted the last chapter and no matter what I wrote it just didn't feel right. So, I decided to go with a format that allows the reader to imagine the wedding however they want. It might be a little weird but honestly I can't get it out any other way.
So here you go:
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here on this beautiful day to witness the union of Eleanor Howlett and Steven Rogers in holy matrimony. This is a day of great celebration and reverence, on which we come together before God to recognize and commemorate the sacred love and dedication shared between these two people. It is wonderful to have family and friends here to join us today. The bride and groom would like to thank their guests for being here, and would like you to know that each of you were invited here on this day because you have played an integral part in their intertwining lives. In the time that Eleanor and Steven have spent together, they've built the sturdy foundation for a lifelong relationship. After a great deal of thoughtful consideration, they have decided to bind themselves to one another for the rest of their lives. May you all remember and cherish this sacred ceremony, for on this day, with love, we will forever bind Eleanor and Steven tighter."
"What?" I found myself asking like an idiot.
He let out a frustrated sigh. "God, I didn't do it right, did I?" he asked, shaking his head as he lowered himself to one knee. "My ma's rolling over in her grave," he muttered, reaching into his pocket to pull out a velvet box. He cleared his throat, popped open the box and held it up. "Eleanor Lizbeth Howlett, will you marry me?"
I took a small step forward and peered down at the silver Claddagh ring nestled in the velvet. "Steve…."
"My parents had Claddaghs," he explained. "Bucky kept telling me to get you something with a diamond but that felt impersonal. I wanted something with meaning," he said, his smile twitching slightly. "If-if you do want a diamond then I'll get you one but I'd still like you to have this."
I let out the breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding and shook my head. "No, no, Steve, I don't want a diamond," I told him, closing the space between us to cup his face. "The Claddaghs perfect."
He beamed up at me. "So you'll marry me?"
"Mon Cher, that was never a question," I assured him, rubbing my thumbs across his cheeks, "but I thought you were going to wait till after the war?"
He nodded his head to the side. "I was, but I'm tired of letting it control our lives," he stated. "War or not, Ellie, I want to be your husband."
I let out a laugh that sounded more like a sob. "Only if I get to be your wife."
"Is that a yes?"
I nodded frantically. "Yes."
He had me in his arms in an instant, infectious laughter leaving him as he spun us around, much like he had when I said I'd be his girl.
I giggled as I clutched at him, marveled at how excited he was over something as simple as a 'yes'.
"If there is anyone in attendance who has cause to believe that this couple should not be joined in marriage, you may speak now or forever hold your peace."
He spun us to a stop and set me back on my feet, his arms still wound tight around me. "Are you sure you don't want a diamond?"
I shook my head. "I'm sure," I answered, letting him go so he could step back.
Steve pulled the ring from the box. "Do you know what Claddaghs mean?" he asked.
I shook my head as I offered him my hand. "What do they mean?"
"Well," he started, "the heart means love, the hands mean friendship, and the crown means loyalty," he explained as he slid it up my finger. "When you're engaged you wear it with the heart pointing towards your fingertips, and when you're married you wear it with the heart pointed towards your wrist; towards your heart."
"That's beautiful," I said, threading our fingers together and moving back to him. "You have one too, right?"
"Not till the wedding."
I frowned at that. "Why are woman the only ones who get an engagement ring?" I asked. "It doesn't really seem all that fair. It kind of feels like I'm being bribed."
He barked out a laugh. "Am I? Am I bribing you?"
"You certainly don't have to," I stated, staring down at our hands, the absence of a ring on his finger bothering me. "You physically have one though, right? A Claddagh?"
Steve nodded. "Yeah, Buck's holding onto it for me."
My frown deepened. "Damn."
"What?" he asked, tugging my hand slightly in curiosity.
"Marriage is a sacred ceremony. Today we observe the union of these two people with the respect the occasion warrants. What we honor with reverence, however, we also celebrate with great joy! For married life- a shared life- is a tremendous blessing. Now, as Eleanor and Steven embark on this journey together, they will be able to nurture a love that makes each of them better versions of themselves. Marriage is, indeed, the perfect garden from which to sow and harvest personal growth. Eleanor and Steven, learn to work together, to laugh together, and to love together. Don't get caught up in worldly things that will draw you apart. Instead, focus on your shared devotion and turn inward. As your relationship strengthens you will find that you come to share a remarkable love; a love that is both abundantly given and freely accepted. The joy you'll find as you pursue your shared lives with fuel you to face head-on the challenges you'll encounter on this Earth. On your journeys together, keep your spouse in the space of highest priority in your heart. The love you share must be guarded and cherished, it is your most valuable treasure."
I let out a soft sigh and looked back up to him. "Well, I was going to suggest that we get married tonight so that you can have yours but…." I trailed off with a shrug. "We'll have to wait."
Steve was looking at me like I had grown three heads. "You would-" he cut off to clear his throat, "you would get married tonight?"
I nodded my head to the side with a smirk. "If we're not waiting till after the war anymore then why not?" I suggested. "I don't want anything big or flashy, and my entire family is in the Commandos so there isn't much issue with that. Honestly, as long as someone pronounces us husband and wife I don't really care how it happens."
A goofy look was spread across his face. "You're serious."
"I am," I agreed.
"Jesus Christ," he muttered with a chuckle, an amused look on his face.
"What? Do you want a big wedding?" I asked, honestly surprised by that. Sure, Steve was prone towards being dramatic but it was usually spontaneous outbursts that he would later be embarrassed by, but something like a big wedding wasn't something she thought he'd be into.
"No, no, it's not that," he assured me, leaning forward to kiss my forehead before continuing to chuckle. "Both Jimmy and Vic said that you wouldn't want to wait. They told me that I should have the whole wedding set up before I even ask you."
My eyebrows shot up in surprise. "They really said that?"
"Huh," I mused, pondering on how my brothers knew me better than I did. "Did you?"
"Under the eyes of God, I solemnly consecrate these matrimonial proceedings and the sacred covenant you shall both enter into on this day. Marriage is an ancient rite. As you enter into this union, you are choosing to take part in a historical human establishment and are pledging your commitment before the witnesses present here today to enter into that tradition with honor."
"Not exactly. Honestly, Ellie, I wasn't even sure you'd say yes," he admitted, an apologetic smile on his face. "But a call to your brothers will have the whole thing ready to go in two days."
My eyebrows shot up and I held onto him a little tighter. "You're serious?"
He nodded. "I am. Though, if you really want to do it tonight we can," he offered, honestly looking like it wouldn't have bothered him at all.
I found myself shaking my head. "No, no, I want our family there," I assured him. "They've been with us since the beginning, the least we can do is invite them to the wedding."
Steve nodded his head to the side. "The least we can do," he agreed with a chuckle. "Besides, if Buck doesn't get to be my best man I'm pretty sure he'd kill me."
I let out a laugh before a realization hit me. "Howard's going to be my Maid of Honor."
"Somehow I think he'll be okay with that," he said with a laugh of his own.
"I think so too," I mused. "Maybe I should tell him to bring Maria."
" I thought you weren't allowed to meet her?"
I rolled my eyes. "It's our wedding, he can't say no to me."
His smile widened and he pulled me closer to him, leaning down to press his forehead against mine. "Our wedding."
The softness in his voice caught me and I felt my chest tighten. "Our wedding."
"I love you."
"I love you too."
"Eleanor and Steven please face one another and join hands. Under the eyes of God, Eleanor, do you take Steven to be your lawfully wedded husband? By making this commintment, you are joining in the sacred covenant of marriage. Do you promise to honor him in love, to be sensitive to his needs, to comfort him in difficulty, and to put your full and complete trust in him, so long as you both shall live?"
"Under the eyes of God, Steven, do you take Eleanor to be your lawfully wedded wife? By making this commitment, you are joining in the covenant of marriage. Do you promise to honor her in love, to be sensitive to her needs, to comfort her in difficulty, and to put your full and complete trust in her, so long as you shall live?"
Howard let out a sound of anguish as he looked over my dress uniform. "You're seriously not going to wear a dress?"
I let out a frustrated sigh and looked at him in the vanity mirror. "Yes, Howard, seriously."
He pulled a face of disgust. "Why?"
"If the fellas have to wear theirs, why shouldn't I?" I challenged. "Besides, it'd be a little hypocritical of me to wear white, don't you think? I haven't been a virgin since the late 1800's."
Howard let out a snort of laughter. "Do you really think that every woman who's worn a white dress has been a virgin? Please. The point is the look."
I rolled my eyes. "The point, Howard, is that Steve and I are getting married," I reminded him. "Why is this such a big deal to you anyways? I know you like putting me in dresses but this is a little much, don't you think?"
"It's a big deal because I got the perfect dress for you."
Shock ran through me and I twisted around on the stool to stare at him. "You did?" I asked, my voice a little softer than I had liked. "When did you….?"
He seemed more than pleased with my reaction. "Remember when I took Maria to Paris for breakfast?"
"No, but it doesn't surprise me."
He pulled another face. "Well I did," he said, waving it off. "Anyway, we walked past this bridal shop and I saw the dress and-" he cut off with a shrug. "Maria almost had a heart attack when I dragged her in but after I explained everything she was gung-ho for it. She even helped me pick out the veil."
That was surprisingly heartwarming. "She did?"
I shifted slightly, suddenly second guessing my dress uniform decision. "Do you- do you have it?"
His face lit up. "You bet your ass I do. Hang on," he told me before all but running out of the room.
"To commemorate this union, you may now exchange rings. The circle formed by each ring symbolizes your eternal love and commitment to one another. Let these rings remind you always of that love, and of the promises you have made here on this day. Will each of you please repeat after me as you place the ring on your loved ones hand?"
"I, Eleanor, give you Steven this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment. With this ring, I thee wed."
"I, Steve, give you Eleanor this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment. With this ring, I thee wed."
I watched anxiously as Howard brought the garment bag into the room. "How long have you had it?" I asked, slipping off the stool and stepping towards him.
"A month," he answered, hooking the hanger onto bathroom doorframe.
He snickered as he began unzipping it. "How long do you think Steve's been planning on asking you?"
I didn't press it when I realized that I had never actually asked Steve. "I guess he's better at being sneaky than I thought he was," I muttered.
"I was surprised too honestly," he said, fussing with the cover for a moment before turning back to me. "Okay, are you ready?"
I pulled in a steadying breath and nodded. "Yes."
"By the power vested in me, by the church and by the state of New York, I pronounce you, Eleanor and Steven as wife and husband, lawfully wedded before God."
"Are you crying?" Howard asked with pure astonishment.
"Shut up!" I gasped out as I struggled to wipe the tears away, my breath hitching every time I tried to control it.
He stepped away from the dress to pull me into a hug. "You like it that much?" he asked, rocking us back and forth.
I sniffed as I wound my arms around him. "It's beautiful, Howie," I praised, my voice breaking. "I can't believe you got it for me."
"Only the best for my El," he mused, pressing a kiss to my head. "So you'll wear it?"
"Of course I will," I stated, staring at it over his shoulder. "I'm not gonna take it off."
He chuckled and kissed my head once more before pulling away. "I even got you kitten heels so you don't trip and break your face."
A watery laugh left me and I wiped at my face again. "Thanks, Howard."
He shot me a wink. "Come on, let's get you put together."
"Steven, you may now kiss the bride, forever sealing your union."
"Holy shit," I said, all but pressing my face to the window as the car pulled up in front of a beautifully stained glassed building. "How in the hell did you get us a church?" I demanded, twisting around to look at the grinning man.
"Do you forget who I am?"
I pulled a face. "No, but don't you have to go to marriage classes in order to have your wedding in a church?" I asked, pulling up the vague knowledge I had of the catholic religion.
He nodded his head to the side. "There are, but a case of whiskey will get you out of just about anything."
"You bribed a priest with a case of whiskey?"
He held his hands up in defense. "I offered to pay for a new roof or some bibles but he very heavily implied that I get him whiskey so that's what I got him!"
A snort of laughter left me. "Guess he's our kind of people," I mused, looking back to the church, my smile widening when I spotted Victor and Jimmy making their way down the front steps. "Show time, Howie, you ready?" I asked, the jittery feeling returning to the pit of my stomach.
"As ready as I'll ever be. How about you?" he asked.
I pulled in a deep breath and nodded. "It's Steve," I said before popping open the door and stepping out of the car.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Steven and Eleanor Rogers!"
I am so happy this chapter is done with, you guys have no idea!
Let me know what you thought about it.