"Meredith!" my mother shouted. "I can't find the ring! Oh my God, I think I lost the ring!"
I rolled my eyes. "Don't worry, Mom. I have it," I said as I held up the thin, white gold band to calm her down.
She slumped back in relief. "Oh my God…" she muttered, her eyes wide in shock. "What am I doing? I'm marrying him!"
I rushed towards my mother and placed my hands firmly on her shoulders. "No, Mom," I declared clearly. "You are not chickening out on me. Not today. You love him, right?"
Her eyes softened in the way only thoughts of Richard could make them. "Yes."
"You want to be with him, right?"
"Then stop freaking out. You are getting married today and you're going to be damn happy about it."
Tears started to well in the bottoms of her eyelids. "Thank you, Meredith," she whispered as she pulled me into a tight hug. I squeezed her back, trying not to show that I was just as nervous as she was.
"Okay," I said as I pulled away and handed her a tissue. "You need to wipe those tears away and put it together. The beauticians are coming in ten minutes and I'm going to get your veil. You stay here and think happy thoughts, okay?" She nodded and I strolled out of the room to find Cristina and Izzie standing next to the door.
"How's she doing?" they asked eagerly.
"She was freaking out for a little while, but she's calmer now," I told them. "I need to find her dress and mine, and then you two need to go to the gas station, Wal-Mart or whatever and get as many tissues as you can. I have a feeling we're going to need them."
They nodded and ran off to find the tissues. I, in turn, ran out to the car and started pulling out random garment bags, looking for my mother's veil.
When I finally found it, I pulled it out of the backseat and started running back into the church. As I rounded the corner to the room where my mother was getting ready, I felt a hand shoot out of nowhere and drag me into a darkened closet. Before I knew it, a pair of lips smashed against mine in a needy force that took me by surprise.
"Derek," I whispered against his lips. I could feel him smirk.
"Yes?" he asked, as he moved his lips over mine in a way that he knew would drive me insane.
"I have…to give…this veil to…my mother," I stammered in between gasps. Three years later, he still knew how to take my breath away. Literally.
"Can't she wait?" he whined, running his nose from my ear to the tip of my chin in one smooth, sensual motion. His breath tickled my neck and it was taking everything I had to remember to breathe. "I haven't seen you since Christmas."
"Well she's in full freaking bridal mode," I told him, gently pulling away. "I really have to go. I'll see you later, okay?"
He sighed and opened the closet door to let the light flood through. His expression was forlorn, but his eyes were dancing. "Alright. But I'm holding you to that."
I kissed him on the cheek. "Of course," I said before bounding out of the closet.
"Do you, Richard Webber, take Ellis Grey to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love and to cherish, to have and to hold, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?"
My soon-to-be stepfather smiled softly at my mother that made my heart race for her. Tears began to spring to my eyes, but I held them at bay. I refused to be one of those sniveling maids-of-honor. "I do," he said. I saw him squeeze my mother's hands tighter.
"And do you, Ellis Grey, take Richard Webber to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love and to cherish, to have and to hold, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?"
My mother's bright blue eyes were swimming in tears. I had been right to ask Izzie and Cristina to get those tissues…even if Izzie had used up half of them already. "I do," she said in a voice quivering with emotion.
I looked up and my eyes met with a pair of ocean blue ones that were dancing in happiness and excitement. My heart lurched as I smiled back.
At that point, my mother turned to me and I offered her the ring. She turned back to Richard and they exchanged rings. "I now pronounce you husband and wife," the priest announced. Then he turned to Richard with a smile. "You may now kiss the bride."
With twinkling eyes, he took my mother in his arms and kissed her for God and the whole world to see. The tears were now freely flowing down my face as I saw the two of them kiss. It was so good to see my mother finally happy, finally in love with someone who loved her back.
After the ceremony and loads of pictures, we made it to the plaza for the reception. I helped my mother change out of her cumbersome wedding gown and pulled her carefully placed veil out of her honey colored hair.
"Mom, you look so happy right now," I told her, my eyes swimming in tears.
"You know what?" she said brightly. "I feel amazing."
She looked amazing as she danced the night away with her new husband. I sat at the wedding party table, watching her laugh, twist and twirl in Richard's arms and couldn't help but sigh in satisfaction. In the far, darkened corner of the dance floor, Addison was swaying with Mark, George was dancing with the girl he brought (Callie something), Cristina and Burke were arguing about something new while dancing, and Izzie was talking spiritedly with Alex Karev.
Everyone found their happy ending.
"Now what's a pretty girl like you doing all by yourself?" I heard a voice next to me ask. I looked up and smiled, already knowing who it is.
"Well, my boyfriend doesn't like dancing," I admitted. "Which isn't hard to see why because every time he's on the dance floor, I feel like hiding in embarrassment."
"Hey!" he cried indignantly. "I can slow dance!"
"Slow dancing does not count as dancing," I scoffed. "It's groping and swaying to music. There's a difference."
"Come on," he tugged on my hand as he rolled his eyes.
When we hit the dance floor, he wrapped his arms around my waist and I reached up behind his neck to twirl my fingers in his glossy, silken black locks. "I really missed you," he admitted to me as we swayed.
"I know," I said patiently, despite the grin tugging at the corners of my lips. "You've told me that every day when you called me."
"I know you know," he replied. "And it's a pretty big deal that I miss you so much, considering how many pretty girls there are at NYU."
My eyes narrowed while his grinned widened. "Kidding, kidding," he reassured me as his grip on my waist tightened. "Mark would kill me if I did."
"Good," I declared firmly. "At least he's keeping you in line when I'm not there."
He rolled his eyes. "You know, exes aren't usually so friendly."
I shrugged. "We're happy exes."
He sighed happily as he gazed into my eyes. "You just get more and more beautiful every time I see you, Mer."
It amazed me that after three years, he could still make me blush. "Thank you."
"So," he began playfully, "that earns brownie points, right? That has to earn brownie points."
"Well," I said as I brought my lips tantalizingly close to his. They were a hair's width from touching. "It depends."
"On what?" he breathed.
"How well you take the news I have to tell you," I replied. I moved my lips to his cheek and gently ran them over the stubble on his cheek. I felt, with great satisfaction, the shiver that coursed through his body.
"And what exactly is this news?" he asked, his voice shaky.
"Oh, nothing," I said flippantly. "Just that I got accepted into NYU's medical program."
If it was possible, his grin widened until it threatened to crack his face. "That's great!" he cried jubilantly. He tightened his grip around my waist, lifted me a few inches off the ground and twirled me around as I laughed exuberantly. Everyone turned and gave us strange looks, but we didn't care.
When he put me down, he looked me in the eye and tried to give me his most severe look. "You're going right?"
I shrugged. "I don't know. I'm just weighing my—of course I'm going! Geez, Derek! Seriously!"
Before I could say another word, he crushed his lips against mine in a passion fueled daze. "I love you."
I clung to him, holding onto him for dear life, my face expressing the true happiness I felt. "I know." And I pressed my lips against his, content with knowing that wherever my life led me, Derek would always be at my side, and I would always be at his.
IMPORTANT A/N PLEASE READ!
A/N - Yay! The end. It's been a pretty amazing journey and I just want to thank all of my reviewers. I was really nervous about my very first Grey's Anatomy fanfic and you were just about the awesomest group of readers ever. This is my longest story ever to date, so thank you for sharing this milestone with me.
Now, a couple of things about a very tentative sequel:
One, I don't even know if I'm doing a sequel. If I'm doing a sequel, the updating won't be as frequent as this was and it will have to take a backseat to This Heart and some of the other story ideas I'm tossing around. But, if I get enough requests, I will very seriously consider writing one.
Two, if I do a sequel, it won't necessarily be a sequel per se. More like the storyline of SGPHS in Derek's point of view (with a different ending), because I absolutely refuse writing about these characters in the future because A: I don't know anything about college yet becasue I haven't been and B: I'm not at all familiar with hospitals in general, much less working in one. All I know is what I've actually learned in hospital dramas and Discovery channel. But I think that it would be really interesting to see what Derek's been thinking through this entire story.
So now that you know what the MAYBE plans are, go ahead and review and tell me whether you want a sequel or not.