AN: Sorry this took a while, I've been busy with college and work and college and work and yea that's basically my life, so when I do write fanfics, it's generally at 1AM(like right now.)
But yes, this fic is finally complete. I appreciate all of you guys, for reading this and continuously supporting me. I'm forever seriously so grateful. I'm working on another fic right now for CSI Las Vegas, so for those of you that watch the original... stay tuned.
Also, if you're curious about my "coming out" to my father he doesn't believe me because of my love for Adam Rodriguez(the guy that plays Eric.) Heh, the irony. Delko doesn't have me questioning my sexuality, just everyone else. Okay, now for the fic- peace.
If you'd've told Calleigh this time last year that'd she'd be standing in a covert yet totally romantic alcove of a beach near Homestead, wearing a beautiful, strapless white dress that hugged her curves and fell slim around her, barefoot while she anxiously wiggled her toes in the soft sand of the beach, she'd have told you that you were utterly insane, that the chemicals used in the lab weren't as safe as everyone insisted. She'd've laughed and fallen in a pool of what she viewed as realistic thinking.
Her, in a wedding dress, married? Yea, no way in hell. A year ago she'd been on and off and completely fed up and heartbroken with Jake, and frankly she'd made up her mind when he came back around last year that she wouldn't marry him. Fuck around with, okay sure. But she didn't want anything out of him, she didn't want to spend the rest of her life with him, she was just looking for someone to fill the void she'd been feeling, and with Jake- though Calleigh may have felt a little bad for it- she knew she wasn't going to catch feels, wasn't going to fall in love because that would be too much for her to process, but that didn't mean she wanted to spend sleepless nights alone.
Jake had been there to fill the void, to make her bed a little less lonely, to make her feel sexy and stunning and let her ride out whatever it was that was eating at her. She felt bad because Jake had tried to care, but it just... they weren't... it wasn't like she knew it could be with the right person. Jake knew it, felt it too, and towards their breaking point she couldn't make her eyes reach his without feeling an insane amount of guilt that was almost worse than the pain she was trying to numb by being with him, if you could really call it that. And she hated letting that thought run through her mind but they both knew that 'trying to numb the pain by being with him' was a nicer and more modest way of saying that she was 'trying to numb the pain by fucking him'. But Jake just... they weren't... that had been so long ago and then he'd shown back up and lurked around and Eric was still trying to figure things out and she had needs to fulfill. And okay, maybe she, for a split second while she squeezed her eyes shut and let her neck fall back on a sharp grunt of pleasure, let herself indulge in the idea that it was Eric beneath her, that it was his skin she felt, his length inside her, his hands that pawed at her, but Calleigh had to shoo away those thoughts, even though she couldn't help it, couldn't help them, couldn't stop the comfort she felt when imagining that it was Eric. Trying to not think about it meant she was already thinking about it, so it was always there with her for split second before she let the guilt wash over her and forced herself to rind up memories of her and Jake back when she loved him, really love him.
But it just wasn't the same, they were so different now, they both grew up and grew apart, and she'd thought about Eric, thought about the idea of him and her even before he got shot. His previous issues with women were irrelevant to her, but then she thought about herself, thought about losing him as a friend because they might end badly. And then, not too long after she realized Eric had been what she was missing, he got shot, he almost died, and it all hurt too much. It was just too much to cope with. But he'd been healing from both emotional and physical trauma of being shot, so starting a relationship, a real relationship with him, just felt ethically and morally out of place while he was in such a vulnerable state. But still, she had needs.
But the obstacles and fronts and past relationships and hookups didn't shield away Calleigh's feelings. She was hesitant, sure, but she'd fallen for him, and he just wasn't ready and she didn't like sleeping alone- and if she was honest with herself she knew she wasn't ready for the depth and pureness she wanted her relationship with Eric to be built on. But there was a spark inside her when she felt Jake's arms encircle her, and she realized how wrong it felt, how fake it felt. There was someone else out there, someone that would make her toes curl and her legs feel like jello and her heart skip a beat or two. Someone that respected when she needed her space, someone that understood how hard it was to be open and let her walls down, someone that knew how hard she had to work to be able to share her feelings, someone who wouldn't crush her in the vulnerable state that left her feeling raw once she stripped herself of the barrier of self protection she'd spent years building around her.
And she knew who it was, knew who she wanted to walk down the aisle to, who she wanted to share the rest of her life with, but that was something she'd tried to push from her mind. She told herself it was unrealistic or wouldn't work out or just wasn't smart, to decide to make him her long-haul guy. But boy did she want to, and that scared her, she'd never felt so... in love with anyone before, so infatuated and filled with need and want and lust. It scared her, but at the same time... it all made sense. If she trusted anyone with her heart, to never crush it, to keep it safe and protected, and to keep her safe and protected, it was him.
And now here she was, warm sand between her toes while the sun began to set and the evening began to cool, a bouquet of flowers in her hands while her father hooked his arm with hers. There was no stereotypical music, nothing but the peaceful sound of the tide while it splashed in waves on the beach. Eric's mom and dad(not the bastard that didn't come prove his citizenship, but his actual father, the one that raised him) and his sisters and their kids standing quietly to the left side of the aisle, on the right their coworkers, Nat and Valera and Travers and Walter and Ryan and Alexx and Horatio, and even though Calleigh wasn't religious she could feel Speedle and Marisol's presence as well.
And then she started walking, her father wearing a smile of approval(when Siris heard there was concern of how her father would act, she took the liberty of "accidently" bumping into him, and hinting that if he were to do anything to mess up this wedding she'd come after him and make his life significantly more difficult with what little power that she had as a county clerk), Eric's mother, the emotional and proud mother that she was, was already tearing up at the site of Calleigh. Horatio smiled just like he had when they'd gotten married in the detention center. Ryan smirked at Eric while standing next to Walter, Travers standing beside them, his arms crossed with a satisfied smile. Natalia and Valera snickered about the way Eric looked at Calleigh, like she was the only thing in the entire world that had any sort of meaning. Alexx was beyond happy, her babies finally falling into each other's arms, something she'd been waiting for since day one. Speedle and Marisol, their presence warmed the entire scene, and with a sneaking glance at Horatio, Calleigh knew she wasn't the only one that felt the two there with them.
Siris stood beside Eric, a few yards away from where Calleigh was walking with her father towards them. Granted, her father may have listened to Siris and decided to be happy for Eric and Calleigh, but that doesn't mean he didn't question why the hell they both agreed to have a flaming lesbian with black dreadlocks and ghostly pale skin, and an accent and grammar that Duke only associated with those he classified as "hoodlums."
But they figured what the hell, she married them the first time and challenged all of their coworkers that were joking about the wedding, so they thought it'd be fitting to have her reread the vowels, she'd stood by them through this adventurous journey after all. When Calleigh met Eric and joined their hands, Duke left to awkwardly stand beside Eric's family while Siris smiled at them.
"See, this is what I meant about yall doing the whole nine yards."
Eric glanced to Siris with a smile and then back to Calleigh, while Siris cleared her throat to start the ceremony.
"Alright yall," she began, "we're here today," she paused and glanced up to the evening sky that was slowly falling over them, "or well... tonight," she watched as Calleigh held back a chuckle and glanced to see Duke glaring at her with disapproval, but Eric told her they wanted it to be like the first one, and Siris was more than happy to oblige.
"Well, we're here tonight to share this important, and from what I've heard from some of yall, long overdue moment with Eric Delko and Calleigh now Delko in a more romantic setting than a detention center. They met like 8 or 9 odd years ago when Eric was still driving a tow truck and bumping into crime scenes left and right. They been through hell and back with each other, yall have seen that, and their love has blossomed and grown and what not into what it is today. And now they decided to live out the rest of their lives as one, and it aint just to keep Eric in the country, though that little mishap is just what pushed them to do what needed to be done," she paused and smiled, "if any of yall got any issue with this, yall best not say nothing"
She paused to smile at the two, whose hands were joined just like Siris had directed them to do in the detention center a few months ago, "So do you, Eric, take Calleigh Delko used to be Duquesne, to be your already lawfully wedded wife? To keep having and holding from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do yall part?"
Eric squeezed Calleigh's hands, running his thumb over her knuckles. Calleigh's face was no longer the light scarlet it'd been all evening, she was full on blushing, blushing at the way Eric was looking at her, like she was the most beautiful thing in the world. Granted, that is how he was looking at her, though.
"I do," he murmured with a smile, squeezing her hand.
Siris just smirked with that knowing grin she always wore around this kind of romantic shit; despite the questionable demeanor that painted her personality, she totally ate this kind of shit up.
"Bet, Do you, Calleigh Delko used to be Duquesne take Eric to be your lawfully wedded husband? To keep having and holding from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do yall part?"
Calleigh was hoping the few tears she couldn't keep inside would go unnoticed, and when Eric swiped them with his thumb, she was hopning that at least no one else notice. But she just... couldn't help it, she damn near started crying when they got married in a deportation jail with him in that god awful jumpsuit, and now they were here in the cool evening dawn on the beach hand in hand, doing this again, doing it for real this time.
"I do," she smiled.
It was quiet while they let the moment sit, basking in the intimacy, together. But there was something, something very important missing, which happened to be inside of Ryan's pocket.
Siris glared at him, until he realized she was silently urging him to get his ass up there, and with a glance to Walter he ventured towards them, reaching into his pocket and grasping a small black box and handing it to her. She snatched it from him playfully and looked to Calleigh, "I know Eric got like this womanizing reputation or whatever, but his whole 'I needa impress her with big stereotypical things so she know how much I love her' mentality was kinda blocking his judgement, but we ran into him and offered some help for free. Point of the story is I found him like glued to that jewelry counter at Dolphin Mall tryna find the perfect ring for you with a rock as big as his heart, but no worries, it's so much more special than that, and won't get in the way of firing a gun or whatever."
She handed the box to Eric who smirked at her then turned to Calleigh, opening it and smiling at her, "you know, it's a good thing we keep our fingerprints on file, or else I'd have to go around dusting the lab," he lifted the two rings from the box, both were simple silver bands, matching on the outside, but on the inner part of the ring, they were both unique.
He hadn't even gotten to telling her the most important part but already her cheeks were far more flushed than before, in love and embarrassed about everyone being there to see, to see how well Eric treated her- no one had ever treated her that way before. She was a sucker for those Nicholas Sparks books and 80's chick flicks, having a guy show up outside of her house on a lawnmower blasting music from a stereo or, as childish as it was to think about while she was well into her 30's, being asked to prom in some ridiculously creative way.
Granted, everything about their marriage was unique. Sure, many people get married to avoid deportation, but how many people could say that they were probably gonna end up getting married anyways, but this was just a fast track way to it?
He lifted her hand and smiled, "I figured you'd like practical, well no, Siris figured you'd like practical, but still," he tilted the ring for her to see the inside of the band, "mine has your fingerprint and yours has mine." Calleigh was beyond shocked and impressed, at both the articulate carving of their fingerprints, and at how creative and sentimental this was. Yea, no way in hell she could resist letting a few tears fall when she saw, in small cursive writing on the other side of the band "I can't imagine living my life without you" engraved in lettering just as articulate and unique as their fingerprints.
She wanted to speak, wanted to say something, but she knew that if she did she wouldn't have been able to stop the flow of tears that would follow. But she didn't have to speak, her eyes were enough for Eric, enough to show how real this was, how much she loved and cared for him. And despite everything they've been through, despite the months and the paperwork and the fear for both of their lives, despite all of that, her eyes were enough for him to know. So he just smiled, and without hesitation, slid the ring onto her left hand, and seeing that, feeling his hand with hers, feeling his fingerprint embedded on her finger and the sweet words he'd spoken to her in the hospital, forever engraved, she couldn't help the flow of tears. They were embarrassing and she hated it, especially when in front of others, but she couldn't help it, so she buried her head against his chest, trying to prevent the one suit he owned from getting covered in tears. Not tears of sadness, but tears of joy and delight and she just felt her heart flop over and she realized she couldn't be anymore in love with this man.
He ran his fingers through her hair until she felt that she could speak without crying, without her voice coming out hoarse and shaky. She smiled at him and mumbled a quiet thank you, and he smirked, and then Siris spoke, "I pronounce yall... husband and wife... again," she stopped and smirked while she watched them standing so close, looking at each other, basking in that feeling of it just being the two of them here, and frankly everyone found the scene a bit too beautiful to break. They looked so peaceful, for once. It was natural, like Travers had pointed out a few months before, they weren't hiding their intimacy, Eric didn't hesitate when he reached his hand out and let his fingers run down her cheek- they weren't hesitant or worried about people seeing, people knowing. They weren't worried about anything, they were relaxed and at peace, for once. And everyone figured they'd needed that for a few moments, after all the time they've spent hiding. But they were so entranced by one another they didn't realize that the few moments were rapidly ticking into more than a few minutes, that is until Siris spoke.
"Yall can kiss now," she smirked, and Calleigh glanced at her, blushing, embarrassed at being caught. But Eric wasn't worried about it, right now Eric wasn't worried about a damn thing, except cupping the nape of her neck with his hand and pulling her to him, finally. Though despite them no longer having to hide their intimacy, Calleigh still felt nerves crawling along her spine knowing that everyone was watching her, watching them. So before Eric could deepen the kiss like Calleigh knew far too well that he would, she pulled away, tipped her forehead against his, and smiled, a smile that she hadn't wore in a long time. A smile that had faded with the death of Speedle, and kept on fading after Eric's shooting, and virtually disappeared after the shit with Jake and her kidnapping. But it was back now, it met her eyes completely, for the first time in so, so, so many years. And she kicked herself for ignoring it, for ignoring what she knew would bring it back, what everyone knew would bring it back. But fuck it, they were here now, together, for good, forever. Nothing and no one, not fear nor continuous questions nor IAB and racist immigration laws. There was nothing between them, and they'd officially sealed it with a kiss. And Calleigh finally felt like she could breathe.
The moment couldn't last forever, not here anyways, so Valera catcalled and Natalia yelled that she needed to toss up the bouquet to see who was next on the CSI wedding adventure chronicles. With a smile she reached down to where she ended up dropping the flowers without notice, taking a few steps from Eric and tossing it up, up, up into the darkening night sky.
With a tiny gust of wind brought on from the smooth current of the ocean, the flowers took a rather unexpected turn and fell into the hands of someone that sure as hell didn't know what to do with them. With wide eyes and furrowed eyebrows, Siris glanced at the flowers in her hands, then to everyone around her, all eyes on her, which made her rather confused and uncomfortable. Her eyes, though, remained wide with discomfort while she gently reached the flowers back to Calleigh, "here," she said with a smirk, "yall might wanna try these on someone that can actually get married."
With a simple shake of her head and a smile, she took the flowers back and tossed them back up into the night, another gust of wind dropping them right back into Siris's hands.
"Oh hell no," she said, "you know what, no I get it. It's cuz I marry folks", she stood on her tippy toes to glance to their friends and family that had dutifully gathered there with them, "I guess imma just marry the next one of yall that get married," with a bit of force she tossed the flowers away from her, hard enough to fight through any tiny gust of wind that might bounce them back to her. And then they flopped right into Natalia's hands, and she wore the same deer in the headlights look Siris had on a few moments ago, "I would like to second that 'hell no'."
Eric and Calleigh just smiled, despite Natalia and Siris treating getting married as if it were like contracting the plague, their wedding brought them together in so many different ways. It was evidence of the depth that their friendship, their relationship, their feelings for one another. Evidence that they'd do anything for one another, that they'd always be there for one another, that it may have taken a little while for them to put together the pieces, but they'd finally come to realize that this was it. Both of them, they were finally happy. They weren't going to fight it, they weren't going to make up excuses about why it wouldn't work, they weren't going to keep lying to each other, weren't going to keep pretending. they were going to stay together forever, and in the words of Siris, 'till death do yall part.