"What. Am. I. Doing."
Paige's hands were trembling as she struggled to pin back a section of hair that had fallen into her face. She had assumed that such a thing would be impossible, given the amount of hairspray holding together her updo, but her out-of-control nerves were clearly making the impossible annoying possible.
"Let me help you." Megan swooped in with a handful of bobby pins and an extra spritz of hairspray, ignoring the fact that they were simultaneously destroying the environment and making Paige a walking fire hazard. Walter's sister made a sympathetic clicking noise with her tongue while she fixed the errant strands and smoothed Paige's bangs into place. "See? It's okay."
"It does not feel okay." The Scorpion liaison spun around on the bench and crossed her legs, pushing what felt like a million pounds of embroidered fabric away from her. "I am, like, unbearably hot. Is it hot in here? Do you think I have a fever? Happy, feel my forehead."
The mechanic glanced over from her spot next to the mirror, where she was touching up her purple eyeshadow. "No."
"No, I don't have a fever or no, you won't feel my forehead?" Paige asked anxiously.
Happy rolled her eyes, put down the makeup brush and leaned her weight against the vanity. "Paige, you're not sick. You're just freaking out, but I don't know why."
"Really, Miss Commitment Issues, you don't understand why I'm freaking out?" Paige was sure that she was sweating in every conceivable place and wondered what plan B would be if she ruined the exorbitantly-priced dress that the team insisted on surprising her with.
"Hey," Happy countered, picking up her brush and pointing it at Paige for emphasis, "I may not be marrying Toby, but we've been together for two years and I haven't even tried to stab him or clean out his bank account. For me, that's a lot of progress."
Paige's face contorted as she thought about the unceasingly strange details that Toby—despite her pleas—had shared about his relationship with Happy. Then again, her romance with Walter was hardly normal. Most couples would say they fell in love sometime after their second sushi date and before they adopted a dog together; Paige fell in love with the genius after driving under an airplane with him and before he nearly died on the edge of a cliff. It all led to the same result, but she would venture that their journey was a tad more interesting and a heck of a lot more dangerous.
"Paige?" Megan asked for the third time, finally snapping her out of her musings. "Do you want a glass of water?"
"Only if I can wash down some Valium with it," Paige muttered under her breath, but Megan heard and laughed in her typically upbeat manner.
"You're nervous. It's normal to be nervous," Megan assured her. "You're not having second thoughts, are you?"
"No, of course not," Paige interrupted quickly, fearing that Megan was getting the wrong idea. "No second thoughts. It's just…everything's going to change, right? It'll be all yard work and dinner parties and joint taxes. And I don't think I can handle it if we stop—."
Paige saw Megan's expression of discomfort and opted not to finish the sentence for her sake. From the back, she heard Happy say "Gross."
Megan laughed gently. "First of all, the garage doesn't have a yard, Walter is never in his life going to throw a dinner party, and filing taxes is sort of in your job description anyway. Plus," she scanned Paige's figure in her fitted white gown, "as long as you look like that, I don't think the other thing will be a problem."
Paige allowed a small smile to slip through before biting her lip. "I'm just being crazy, right? I mean, I know this is what we both want…it's just…" Megan and Happy looked at her expectantly, and Paige fought to find the right words to explain herself. "I don't think I ever saw this coming, you know? After Drew left, I thought it would be me and Ralph against the world. Always. I thought I would never have this, and now that I do, I almost feel like…like it can't be real."
Megan opened her mouth to respond, but to everyone's surprise, Happy spoke first. "Look, Paige, you and Walter have been dating for three years, and crazy about each other for way longer than that, right?" Paige wasn't sure how to reply, but Happy waved her hand impatiently. "Whatever. I'm right. Anyway, you two have been through every stressful situation known to man. You've been taken hostage, shot at, and nearly blown up. More than once. What are you afraid of, fighting over who's going to take out the trash?"
As it often happened, Happy was right. Yard work? Walter had saved her life a dozen times, and she'd had his back just as much. They were a team, and a team as strong as they were could probably figure out a chore schedule.
Megan propelled her wheelchair forward so that she was across from the bride-to-be and rested her hand on top of Paige's. "You've been happy, right?"
Paige let her mind wander for a second while she replayed memories from the past few years: the first time he told her he loved her, and the first time he told Ralph he loved him; the first night she spent with him in the garage; their first vacation, in Italy; the first time he approached the subject of maybe—one day, when they were ready—having children, together. Paige didn't have to think long before she choked out, "Yes."
Megan squeezed her hand tighter and sighed happily. "The world will change around you, you'll probably both change in some ways, but if you're willing to fight for it, you can hold on to that happiness. And if I know anything about you and Walter, it's that you both fight for what you want."
"Yeah, so stop being weird about it," Happy chimed in, crossing her arms in front of her.
Paige broke into giggle and couldn't stop until she, Megan, and Happy were in hysterics. After what felt like an eternity, Paige took a deep breath and wiped the tears away from her eyes, smiling at the other two women. "I am really, really glad you're here."
"What am I doing?" Walter complained as he struggled to adjust his black bow tie. It was hardly his first time wearing one, but his mind seemed to be working independently of his body, and his fingers kept slipping and ruining his progress.
"I got ya, Walt." Toby appeared and grabbed the piece of fabric, tying it expertly while Walter's hands hung uselessly at his sides. "Are you okay? You look pale."
Walter ran his hands through his curly hair and took a deep breath, glancing at Toby briefly before looking away. "I'm fine. It's just really hot in here. Are you hot?"
"I—I'm going to let that one go, as a wedding present," the shrink replied, placing his hands on Walter's shoulders. "You should sit down, you're making me nervous."
"I'm fine, Toby," Walter insisted but sat down on a black rolling chair anyway. His legs were shaking so much he thought he might fall over, but Scorpion's resident pain in the ass didn't need to know that. "I haven't eaten in few hours, I'm sure my blood sugar is just dropping. Do you think they have vending machines here?"
"In this courthouse?" Toby raised his eyebrow and stared at Walter skeptically. "Well…yes, probably. But you're not hungry. You're nervous."
Walter looked offended by the suggestion. "I am not nervous," he said firmly. "I made a logical decision to ask Paige to marry me and every detail of today has already been planned. To be nervous would just be…"
"Illogical?" Toby interrupted, a smirk stretching over his face. "I've got news for you, buddy. You didn't ask Paige to marry you because it was logical. You did it because you love her. That's the most illogical thing in the world."
Walter opened his mouth to reply but shut it quickly. Toby had him painted into a corner; anything he said would either reek of denial or run the risk of insulting Paige. "You're a jerk, Toby."
"True as that may be," the psychologist replied, leaning back in his chair and tilting his hat to the side, "I'd much rather talk about what's making you freak out."
"I do not 'freak out,'" Walter protested, moving his fingers in air quotes. "I will concede that I might be experiencing an influx of certain…concerns and…emotions that are interfering with my ability to think and act at my normal capacity."
"So you're freaking out, then," Sylvester jumped in from the corner, where he had just finished sending a text message to Megan. Walter glowered at him. "Sorry."
"See?" Toby waved his hand in Sylvester's direction. "It's totally normal, Walter. I'm sure Sylvester was nervous when he married Megan. Right, Sly?"
"I threw up seven times," the human calculator informed them.
"That's…more than I needed to know, but thank you." Toby turned his attention back to Walter. "Sylvester understands you. And I feel nervous every time I'm with Happy. She really might kill me someday."
The genius narrowed his eyes and stared at Toby with a mixture of confusion and disgust. "To be fair, Sylvester is highly prone to anxiety."
"That's true," Sylvester confirmed.
"And you…" Walter trailed off and shrugged his shoulders. "I still don't actually understand you and Happy together. So that's not helpful."
Toby mulled it over for a minute and shook his head. "Okay, fair enough. Look, it's not about us. It's about you, and you love Paige, right?"
Walter lifted his eyebrow. The answer was obvious to everyone, and had been even before it was obvious to the genius himself. "Of course."
"And you're sure this is what you want? Paige wouldn't want you to do anything you're not ready for."
Walter felt a small tinge of relief at Toby's words. He knew they were true. If he ran out of the courthouse right then, he was sure Paige would be by his side, telling him that they were together and that was enough for her.
But she wouldn't need to. "I'm ready for this."
Toby grinned. "Good."
"Just one thing," Walter added, prompting visible concern from Toby and Sylvester. "I really need to talk to my fiancée."
"Paige?" She heard her name from the other side of the wooden door. "Can we talk?"
"What is he doing?" Megan hissed, frantically looking around the room as if Walter was the type of person to come barging in unannounced. "He's not supposed to see you!"
"Megan, it's fine." Paige patted the woman's knee before standing up and adjusting her bodice. "Walter, cover your eyes."
"We'll go meet the guys," Happy quickly interjected, grabbing the back of Megan's wheelchair and pushing her toward the door. Walter held the door open for them, his palm firmly pressed against his face.
"Looking good, little bro!" Megan said enthusiastically, giving Walter a onceover on her way out.
"Thanks," he muttered against his hand. Once they were in the hallway, he turned to where he assumed Paige was standing. "This is crazy. I still don't understand why I'm not allowed to see you."
"And I won't bother explaining it again because you don't care," she responded, holding up the edge of her skirt so she could walk. She wasn't wearing her silver high heels yet, and the dress dragged under her bare feet. Walter was still standing in the entranceway, so Paige stepped over to the other side of the door, just out of his eye line. "Stay where you are, but you can look now."
"Finally, I—." Walter looked around in confusion. "Where are you?"
"I'm right here. Talk to me through the door."
Walter responded with a sigh loud enough that Paige was sure she could have heard it across the courtroom. "This is insane," he argued, but he didn't move out of fear of Paige's wrath. "You know that, right?"
"Walter, nothing about us is traditional," she said in the pleading voice that always seemed to make him cave. "Let me have this one little bit of tradition, please?"
Another sigh, more out of resignation than annoyance. "Fine."
"Thank you." Paige smiled and smoothed back her bangs, satisfied. "Now, are you okay?"
Walter didn't reply for a minute. The time he took to gather his thoughts made her nervous and frantic at the beginning of their relationship, but now she had come to expect it. "Yes," he said slowly. "I just have a million thoughts, and…I'm experiencing a lot of emotions…and when I get like this, you're the one who talks me through it."
Paige felt relief course through her body. She trusted that he was ready to take this step—she would never have agreed if she didn't believe he was—but there was a small part of her that had prepared for the worst.
"Toby tried to help, but he's…Toby," Walter continued, leaning his weight against the door. Paige pressed her back against the door to stop it from swinging toward her, tilting her head up to rest on the wood. "I needed to talk to you."
Paige contemplating breaking her own rules and allowing Walter to see her. It was frustrating not to face him; when her fiancé opened up, she used physical contact—grazing her hand over his arm or through his hair, usually—to show that she would listen to and accept whatever he told her.
But she was sure Walter was already confused and anxious enough without her changing her mind twenty times, so she settled for snaking her hand around the edge of the door and smiled when his fingers tangled with hers. "What do you want to talk about?"
He took a deep breath that she could feel through the movement of the door. "All of this…you…surprised me," he explained, drifting his thumb over her knuckles. "I had a clear picture of my life before you and Ralph joined Scorpion. I was convinced that love, marriage, children—those things weren't meant for people like me. I'm happy I was wrong."
"Me too," Paige whispered, gripping his hand tighter.
It was almost eerily quiet until Walter broke the silence again. "I am happy, Paige," he reassured her, as if he could sense her uncertainty. "There's no other path I could have taken in my life that would make me as happy as I am now. But…every decision I made when I was alone affected me, and maybe Megan…but with you and Ralph…it's another set of variables that affect my decisions, and there's a chance that I could make the wrong ones. Do you understand what I'm saying?"
"Of course I do, Walter," Paige responded quickly, biting back a smile. She didn't want to make light of his fears, but he often failed to realize that he worried about the same things as nearly every 'normal' in the world. "And I know it might seem like this will change everything, but in the five years that Ralph and I have been a part of Scorpion, you've done nothing but protect us and put us first. We're already a family, Walter, and we'll be the same people we've always been. This just…makes it official to the rest of the world. Makes it permanent."
"Permanent, huh?" Walter let out a soft laugh, but Paige could tell he was nervous. "Are you sure you'll be able to put up with me for the rest of our lives?"
"I can guarantee you that's the only life that Ralph and I want."
Even though she couldn't see his face, she knew Walter was smiling. "Me too," he replied so quietly she barely heard it.
Paige knew the ceremony would start soon, but she wasn't ready for them to move from their spot yet. She wanted one more moment, just the two of them, before they stood in front of their family and friends and started a whole new life.
"Do you remember what I said after the first time you kissed me?" she said, angling herself sideways so she could wrap her other hand around Walter's.
She knew he did. He remembered everything, and neither of them could forget a single detail of what had been one of the best days of their lives. "You told me that you were in," he answered without hesitation. "That nothing would scare you away."
"We've been through everything and we're still here. You worried that you would push me away, and I worried that someday you might get bored with me—."
"Paige, no, never," he interrupted. "You know I…need you."
"And I need you," she said, resisting the urge to grab him and kiss him senseless. There would be plenty of time for that. "No one's ever cared about me the way you do."
"And no one's ever understood me the way you do."
They stood in a moment of comfortable silence before Toby's voice interrupted them. "Where the heck are you guys?"
Walter looked out into the hallway to see the shrink blindly opening and slamming doors, clearly unafraid of what he might stumble across. "We should go before Toby gets himself in trouble."
"Probably," Paige giggled before squeezing Walter's palm one last time. "We're going to have a great life, you know that, right? I promise you that we will."
"I promise too," Walter replied, his voice steadier now. And they both knew what the words meant—that they were ready, or at least as ready as they would ever be. "Let's get married."