FATHER OF THE BRIDE
"Yo yo, Abba."
Tony turned away from the window he'd been staring out of as Tali walked into the room. He laughed at her as he looked at his watch. "Called it. I told you when you were 14 – you'll be late for your own wedding."
"Not my fault," she said with mock defensiveness. "I refused to let mom drive."
"That is always best," Tony said, with a playfully serious expression on his face.
She stepped back to look at him. "You look good. Nice tie."
"Yeah … some kid got it for me a hundred years ago." She stuck out her tongue at him.
"Very mature," he chided. Then it was his turn to look at the young woman standing before him.
"You look beautiful," he said. He was smiling, but there were definitely tears creeping into the sides of his eyes.
She turned once and looked in the mirror. It was going to be a simple wedding. Neither Tali nor Luke – her husband-to-be – had wanted anything big. Just close family and friends in a small ecumenical chapel near the botanical gardens. Her dress was ivory with embroidered pastel flowers, so pale you could barely see them. The look was magical. She looked as happy and fresh as the springtime.
"Where is Ziva?" Tony asked, looking around.
"She's out there", Tali said, her arm waving behind her towards the white tent set up outside the chapel. "Checking on food, straightening tablecloths …"
Then the two of them, in unison, "… threatening waiters." They laughed.
She looked at him seriously and took a breath. He returned the look and waited for her to speak.
"You're okay with this? You're sure?"
He smiled. "Of course." He chuckled. "Honey … I'm good. I'm about to see one of my most favorite people in the world marry the man she adores. How could I not be okay with that?"
Her face fell. "ONE of your most favorite people?" she said, with a pout. "You have others?"
"Brat," he said.
"Jock," she retorted.
Ziva walked into the small room. She was dressed in blue, a lovely flowing dress that reminded Tony of the sea. He smiled as she walked over to him. They kissed quickly and then looked again at each other.
"Ewwwwww," Tali said in make-believe disgust. "Kissing."
Ziva shook her head and looked at Tony. "This is your fault. You raised her," she teased.
Suddenly there was silence. Just a moment when the three of them were awkward and trying to figure out what to say next.
The moment was broken by John and Morgan McGee laughing their way into the space.
"What's so funny?" Tali asked suspiciously.
The two were suddenly closed-mouthed and innocent. "Nothing."
Tony looked out the window and caught a glimpse of the car Tali and her new husband would drive away in after the ceremony. The twins had been busy.
"I'll fix this," he said as he ushered the protesting teens out to the parking lot to make the car a little less gaudy and a little more drivable.
Ziva stood, looking at her daughter. "You look beautiful," she said, almost in a whisper.
Tali smiled. There was a moment of quiet between them as Tali scrutinized her appearance to be sure everything was perfect.
"Your father is very proud."
"We should go," Tali said. She could see Luke, waiting near the chapel door.
"Tali …" Ziva began.
"No, Ima," Tali said. "Not now. It's a lovely day and everyone is here and I'll get married and everything will be as it should be."
Tony walked back in, wiping shaving cream off his lapel with a paper towel. He grinned.
"You're talking about me, aren't you?"
"Always," said Tali. She hugged him and pushed him out the door.
"Go find your spot and behave yourself," she said.
He kissed her on the forehead, then looked at Ziva and kissed her on the cheek. As Tony turned to walk to the chapel, a dark-haired man in a black suit and flowered tie walked towards him.
The two men smiled and shook hands warmly.
"You have a beautiful daughter," Tony said.
"Yes," Adam replied. "Thanks to you." They stood for a moment.
"I never meant for her to deceive you," Adam said. "I didn't know she would go to you."
"She didn't, really," Tony said. They'd had this conversation a hundred times, it seemed. "Orli did."
"We just wanted her to be safe."
Tony glanced back to look at Tali, still in the bride's room. "She was," Tony said.
"I feel like I'm taking this away from you," Adam said.
Tony sighed. "We've talked about this. All of us. For many hours," he said, dramatically. "She should walk down the aisle with her father." Tony reached out and adjusted the flower in Adam's lapel. "I'll dance with her at the reception. We have a special song all picked out."
Adam looked at him suspiciously. "If you play ABBA, I swear …"
Tony laughed, the two men hugged, and Tony walked to the chapel to take his seat next to McGee, Delilah and the demon twins.
Moments later, they all stood, as Tali David Eschel walked with her parents, Adam and Ziva, down the aisle.
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