Most of the characters and situations in this story belong to Alliance Atlantis, CBS, Anthony Zuicker and other entities, and I do not have permission to borrow them; any others are mine, and if you want to play with them, you have to ask me first. No infringement is intended in any way, and this story is not for profit. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any.

This is in response to an improv challenge at the Unbound forums; again, the first and last lines were givens.

Spoilers: none. Heh, heh, heh.


Bunching up her wedding dress, Sara climbed out the window. She shook out the skirts carefully, leaned back inside the car to grab her shoes, and took a deep breath. "Are you out of your mind?!"

The tuxedoed man in the driver's seat blinked at her owlishly. "Sorry, Sara!"

She snarled as she put on the shoes, hoping that her stockings were still intact. "First you're late, then you run out of gas, then the door jams--just what did you guys get into after the rehearsal dinner?"

He fumbled with the seatbelt, finally getting himself loose. His eyes were distinctly bloodshot. "I really am sorry."

"You said you'd get us there on time," she went on, straightening. "I knew I should have--" Sara cut herself off and took a deep breath, looking around. Fortunately for her temper--and the health of her companion--the car had stalled out just a few hundred yards from the wedding site. Sara reached back inside one more time for her small, useless purse, and made it serve by waving it furiously over her head at the figure standing at the edge of the Botanical Gardens' parking lot. Catherine waved back and started down the road towards them.

"It's not like they can start without us," her driver pointed out, opening his own door and getting out. "And you could have climbed out on my side."

Sara eyed the center console with disdain, then glanced down at her dress. "I'd probably have torn this thing wide open." She shook her head and rounded the car to take his arm. "C'mon, let's go."

The two of them started down the road at as fast a pace as her dress shoes and his hangover permitted. Catherine, resplendent in green satin that set off her hair, met them halfway, smirking. "I thought you two were never going to get here."

"Blame it on Mr. 'I'm in charge' here." Sara shot her companion a look of mingled disgust and affection, her irritation beginning to give way. "He had it all planned out...he said. Serves him right if he gets a parking ticket." He blushed, but didn't respond.

Catherine laughed. "Well, don't worry; these things never start on time." She matched them as the pair kept heading towards the gardens. "Besides, your mother hasn't panicked yet."

"Only because I keep calling her." Sara waved her handbag again. "That's about all I could fit in this thing anyway."

Catherine rolled her eyes. "You know, most brides would have tissues, lipstick, that kind of thing. Only Sara Sidle would carry her cellphone."

"Not much longer." The two women turned to look at him, and he gestured at Sara. "Not Sidle for much longer."

"You never know," Sara grumbled, ignoring his shocked glance. "I might just decide to keep it."

Catherine laughed again. "Just remember to shut your phone off before the ceremony starts. Bad form to have it go off in the middle!"

Sara laughed at last, her bad mood breaking up into excitement. Tradition had never been a part of her dreams, and her mother's enthusiastic plans had derailed her own hopes for a simple ceremony, but in the end this was a day Sara had been looking forward to for some time.

Drawing her arm from his, she gave her companion a push. "You go on ahead. I still have a couple of things to do."

"Are you sure?" he asked, watching her with concern.

"Yeah, I'll be fine. See you in a few minutes."

He nodded, leaned forward to kiss her cheek, and then hurried ahead of them to the low building at the entrance to the gardens.

"Will he be okay?" Catherine asked as he got out of earshot.

"He'll be fine as soon as we get started," Sara assured her. "It's just anticipation."

"I thought brides were supposed to be the nervous ones. I sure was."

Sara chuckled. "I think I had all my nervousness yesterday."

"So how did Greg end up being your chauffeur anyway?" Catherine grabbed Sara's arm as the taller woman's shoes slid on the parking lot's gravel.

"I don't really know. It's not exactly traditional." Sara picked up her skirts again so she could watch her feet. "I do know that whatever the guys did after dinner last night sure left a mark."

It was Catherine's turn to laugh. "Don't worry. I'm sure your groom will be fine tonight."

Sara shot her a look and smacked her lightly on the arm. "Cath!" But her grin was knowing.

Sara's mother appeared at the door of the building. "Hurry up, sweetie!" she called.

The two women climbed the steps and followed the excited Mrs. Sidle inside. Before her mother swept her into the bridal room, Sara caught a glimpse of a gaggle of men in tuxedos, herded by a rather harried-looking minister. Her groom was among them, and a smile curved her lips at the sight. He sure does clean up nice. Hangover notwithstanding.

Mrs. Sidle settled her daughter onto a stool and began fussing with her hair. "I can do my makeup myself, Mom," Sara reminded her, but let the older woman fix the flowers into her curls. Her fiancé had asked her specially to let it curl today.

Catherine pulled up her own stool and handed Sara a tube of lipstick. "I can understand you two not being traditional, but why here?" she asked.

"Isn't it obvious?" Sara grinned at their reflections in the mirror before her, noting the delight in her mother's face, the pleasure in Catherine's...and the joy in her own. "The Cedar Room?"

"Yes, but..."

A warm delight was growing in her. It would just be a few minutes more; then Greg would come to escort her the last little way, her chosen attendant. "They should be letting the butterflies in now. It's simple, Cath--Grissom loves butterflies. I love trees."