TITLE : Caroline and the Wedding of her Dreams
AUTHOR : Karen Gomes (pyrie@hotmail.com)
TYPE : R/C Romance
SPOILERS : Um a little bit of everything : Caroline and the Big Move as well as Caroline and the Wayward Husband
DISCLAIMERS : Each character belongs to their respective owners. So there.
AUTHOR'S NOTES : Well, this is my intake on how the series SHOULD have finished. Lousy no-good NBC. As usual, criticism is
more than welcome, just don't be harsh - I'm only semi-human after all.


A chapel somewhere in Wisconsin

Caroline stood silently in the aisle, wondering what to do next. She had once asked before; whether it was possible to love two people at the same time. "Where's that crazy marriage councilor now?" She asked herself quietly. She looked at Richard and then at Randy. She felt a duty to marry him. But was it an obligation? Should it be? No...she loved him. Richard…Richard was in the past--she had to look to her future. A future with or without Richard--but one with Randy.
Richard looked down from the balcony. He had seen something in Caroline's eyes once. A certain twinkle in her eyes, when her gaze was directed at him. He saw it again…but this time, her eyes were focused on Randy. Richard closed his eyes sadly.
Caroline saw the pained look that slapped Richard so brutally. When their eyes met…she knew she had to tell him. Caroline took a deep breath, and mouthed "sorry" to Richard and turned her back on him. It pained her to do so, but he was no longer part of her life.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife." The priest said. "You may now kiss the bride."
Caroline and Randy kissed, as the people cheered and Richard's baby cried. Richard looked at them. His heart was breaking so much that he couldn't even find the strength to cry. "…the end?" Was all he could mutter, as he turned and walked out of the chapel--without ever looking back.

Caroline's Bedroom

Caroline woke up sweating. It was all too real. Was that her future? Could she change it? She heaved a sigh and looked around her room. "….Richard." She said softly, out of breath. She leaned over the foot of her bed and peered down. Richard's covers were there, but no Richard. Caroline's brow furrowed and she ventured downstairs.

Caroline's Loft

Richard was kissing Julia's neck. It had been so long and he was glad to see her. But there was something wrong. It didn't feel right. It seemed to him as if he was betraying Caroline in a way. But they weren't even involved let alone married.
"Richard?" Caroline's voice rang in his ears. "What are you doing?"
"Caroline..." Richard felt as if he was caught red-handed.
Caroline walked up to him and slapped him across the cheek. "Kissing her?" Caroline asked as a stunned Richard put his hand to ease the sting on his cheek. "How could you!?"
He didn't know what to say. What could he? *Well, since we were only pretending to be married and you and I will never have a chance…I decided to go with her!* Richard thought. Richard hesitated. "Look at her!" Was all he could muster out. He had never seen Caroline like this before. *Maybe it's that time of month.* He thought.
Caroline couldn't even think. Julia muttered a few words in Italian, and ran out the door. All she could do was watch Richard trying to convince her; his "sincere amore" to stay. Caroline cringed at the thought of her. She was quickly pulled back to reality when Richard turned around and questioned her.
"Why did you slap me?" He asked, in a calm tone, that frankly, made her feel quite uneasy.
"Well you were cheating on me." She said, trying to control her emotions.
"We're not really married."
"Well, not anymore, we're not." She said, catching on his every word.
"Fine, you'll hear from my imaginary lawyers in the morning." Richard replied sarcastically.
"Richard, don't joke about this. You just made a fool of me in my own home." Caroline exclaimed, trying to fight back the tears.
"It's not like I planned all of this!"
Caroline started to say something then stopped. He was right…she knew it. "Look, I'm sorry I hit you. It's just…I came downstairs and I saw you two and I…" Caroline forced a laugh.
Richard took a step forward. "You what?"
Caroline looked at Richard and searched his eyes. "I just thought that, that's how a wife would act if we were married."
Richard nodded sadly to himself. He looked at Caroline. "You know what…maybe I should just go. It's getting late…" Richard said as he headed towards the door.
Caroline thought for a moment. *No…this is exactly like my dream…* She bit her lower lip, contemplating what to do. "Richard. Richard wait." But it was too late. Richard had already left.

Outside Caroline's Apartment

Richard closed the door behind him. He should go back, he was aware of the fact that Caroline had called him. But first, he had to deal with another problem. He looked back at Caroline's door, then turned around. "Julia…" He said softly. "…I'll be out in a minute. I just have to…uh…check on someone."
Julia nodded and cupped his face in her hands. "Mi amore." She said, and kissed him lightly on the lips. "I shall wait for you here."
Richard looked at her, then turned and entered Caroline's loft.

Caroline's Loft

Caroline sat on her couch, her head buried in her hands. When she heard the door open, she turned her head. "Richard." She said, wiping the tears from her eyes. "You came back?"
Richard looked at Caroline. "Yeah." He said softly. Richard paused for a moment. "Look, can you make this fast, because…" Richard pointed to the door.
"Yeah…it'll take a minute." Caroline said, as she gestured Richard to sit on the couch. As Richard sat down, Caroline sat on the table facing the couch, right in front of Richard.
"So…what's this all about, Caroline?" Richard asked, with his eyebrow raised.
"Um…" Caroline paused, thinking of what to say next. "You know, when two people work together, they tend to get closer--develop a certain bond of some sort, a good friendship. And later on, that friendship could blossom into something more--
"--Can you just get to the point?" Richard asked, a bit harshly.
"Well I'm sorry if you have to wait for your *precious* Julia, but I'm trying to say something here!"
"No, no you're not. You're just babbling incessantly." Richard said.
"Babbling? Is that all my words mean to you?" Caroline asked, aghast.
"Most of them! Now would just say whatever you wanted to tell me, so I can go home?!" Richard dropped his head out of exasperation.
"Arg! I'm in love with you!! There, are you happy now?!" Caroline exclaimed. Caroline's eyes grew wide, and she put her hands to her mouth.
Richard's head shot up. "What?" He asked, his eyes never leaving Caroline.
Caroline looked down at the floor. "What I mean is…these past couple of years, I guess I've…" Caroline paused and looked at Richard. "…fallen in love with you."
Richard didn't say anything. He just sat on the couch, looking at Caroline.
Caroline started to get nervous. "Look, I know that this is kind of weird, and I know that you are probably waiting to go home with Julia now, but I just thought that you should know how I feel about…you." Caroline paused again, her eyes fell to the floor once more. "I just hope that, we can still remain--
Richard leaned forward and lightly brushed his lips against Caroline's.
"--friends." Caroline finished her sentence. Caroline and Richard sat there, for a moment, looking into each other's eyes. Their concentration was then broken by the door flying open.
"Reechard! I have been waiting outside for almost seven minutes now!" Julia burst in, almost yelling. She stopped when she saw Caroline and Richard sitting face to face. "Ah, you have feelings for her too?" Julia asked, glaring at Caroline.
"Well…I…" Richard started saying.
"Reechard…you have to chose. I don't think that Carolina wants to share a man either." Julia said, as she crossed her arms over her chest.
Richard looked at Julia. *Julia…my sincere amore at one part of my life. But I was so young then and not even sure what love was. But…part of me will always love her. Julia; gorgeous, wild, passionate, mysterious. Is that what I want?* Richard thought to himself as he turned and looked at Caroline. *Caroline…sweet, beautiful, kind and caring. Always looks on the bright side of things. She gave me a job and listened to all my problems. She meddled in my life…but I never hated it. It's nice to know that someone cares.* Richard thought.
"Reechard. We are waiting." Julia said, impatiently.
"Richard?" Caroline grabbed hold of Richard's hand. "Richard…whoever you chose, just remember that we will always remain friends." She said, with a small smile.
Richard looked at Julia, then looked at Caroline's hand entwined with his. He looked at Caroline. "I'm…I'm sorry." He said, and gave her hand a light squeeze.
Caroline dropped her hand from Richard's and took a step back. "Yeah…I understand." She said, in a saddened tone.
Richard walked up to Julia, who put her arms around Richard's neck. Richard and Julia then started to leave.
Caroline held back the tears. She didn't want Richard to see her cry again. She turned her back to the door and leaned against the counter. As soon as she heard the door close, she closed her eyes and felt the warm tears stroll down her cheek. Suddenly, she felt a pair of strong arms slide around her waist. At first, she didn't move, then gradually turned around in them. "…Richard? I thought…"
Richard shrugged. "You thought what?" He asked, a small grin appearing across his face.
Caroline playfully hit him on the shoulder. "You know very well what I thought! That was a dirty trick, Karinsky."
"Not my fault you don't trust me, Duffy." Richard replied. "You know, a marriage is mostly based on trust."
"And love…" Caroline looked Richard in the eyes.
Richard bent down, and kissed Caroline on the lips. While he kissed away the heartbreaks in his life, kissed away the meaningless relationships, kissed away Julia; Caroline kissed away her dream…not the wedding of her dreams…but the wedding in her dream.