Disclaimer: Don't own any part of Gundam Wing or the characters, more's the pity. This is for fun...no profit involved.
Warnings: AU, yaoi, some OOC, angst, potential lemon(s), sickening sappy fluff
Pairings: to be announced, or it'd be too easy (but you know who I like)
A/N: This idea hit me while I was driving somewhere, and I needed to start it before the inspiration faded. But it will take second place to Boot Camp and the sequel to Boot Camp, so I can't promise regular or frequent updates. It's probably totally predictable FLUFF, so you have been warned. And I'm trying out the world of first-person here, with point of view shifting between Heero and Duo (maybe others…not sure yet).
THE WEDDING PLANNER
Chapter One: A Small Wedding
Heero's Point of View
I believed Relena when she said we'd keep our wedding small…intimate…within reason. Thus I was unprepared for her announcement over tea on the veranda that she wanted to hire a wedding planner.
"—a wedding planner?" I demanded, giving my fiancée one of my best Death Glares. "Why on Earth do you need someone to plan a small, intimate wedding?"
"But it has to be perfect!" Relena insisted, pouting in the way only she could. "It's the most important day of our lives, Heero."
I resisted the urge to sigh; I think I even managed to convey the impression that I was in agreement with that statement. But personally, I thought the fanfare and frills associated with a wedding were a waste of time and money. I'd have been content to have the ceremony in a chapel out in the woods somewhere, with one or two close friends along as witnesses.
"Allow her this small indulgence, Yuy," suggested my friend and business partner Wufei Chang. He and his wife Sally were sharing afternoon tea with us. They were also offering advice and guidance, having been married only a few months earlier. Honestly, I was grateful for their help, knowing that we'd benefit from what they had learned the hard way while planning their own nuptials. But I wished he'd backed me up on this one issue.
"Relena has planned huge dinner parties—formal balls—diplomatic functions—with no more help than her secretary and kitchen staff. Surely they can handle a simple wedding!" I protested.
"Shows how much you know," interjected Sally. "Weddings take loads of planning. It can be terribly complex." She patted Relena's shoulder encouragingly. "That's a job best left to professionals."
"But you and Wufei did your own planning!" I pointed out.
"And it was exhausting," Sally assured me. "We nearly called it off a dozen times when we had differences of opinion about the color scheme, the cake, the chapel, the limousine…" She shook her head. "Our wedding very nearly didn't happen, and we were only inviting fifty people."
I looked at Relena quizzically. "How many are we inviting?"
She gave me a rather timid smile, batting her eyes to try to throw me off balance. "Five hundred," she said in a small voice.
"Five hundred?!" I thundered. (Yes, thundered. I can be quite vocal when the occasion calls for it, and I'd say a five-hundred-guest wedding calls for it.) "Do we even know five hundred people?!"
"Of course," Relena pouted. "There's your friends from work, and the health club, our country club friends, my political colleagues, the royal families…"
"Royal families?" I asked, thoroughly aghast. "Politicians?" Summoning a completely scathing tone, I added, "Didn't you forget the yacht club?"
"Oh," she said, eyes widening. "As a matter of fact, I did." She quickly began scribbling on her note pad. "That will add at least a hundred more…"
She looked up in surprise, and saw my expression, and suddenly her eyes were swimming with tears and her lower lip was trembling.
I'm ashamed to admit that I was always a sucker for her tears, and today was no exception. "Relena—," I said in a softer tone.
"Heero?" came the tremulous reply.
"Whatever makes you happy," I sighed, wondering why making her happy always seemed to require a sacrifice on my part.
Her face lit up wonderfully, and she dabbed at her eyes with a napkin before throwing herself into my arms for a hug. "Thank you, Heero," she whispered in my ear, hugging me tightly. "This means so much to me."
"Me too," I said reassuringly. She seemed to need a lot of reassurance lately, and I had a feeling it would only get worse until the wedding was behind us.
Relena pulled back and glanced at our guests in embarrassment, before returning to her seat. "Sally, what was the name of that company you mentioned?"
Politely overlooking our little spat, Sally leaned over to place a business card on top of Relena's notebook. "It's called 'Winning Weddings.' I think it's owned by Winner Enterprises. Although a fairly new business, their references are impeccable. They did Lady Lucrezia's wedding to the Count."
Relena's eyes went wide with awe. "Ohhh…I heard it was fabulous."
"I'm surprised you weren't there."
Relena shot me a perfectly scathing glance, and I winced as I recalled her tantrum over missing that event. I'd been receiving an award for excellence from the head of the corporation where Wufei and I worked, and I'd flatly refused to miss it. I'd worked on a multi-million dollar account for years, and had earned that recognition, as well as the large bonus that went along with it. The bonus that would probably end up paying some suck-up lackey from Winning Weddings to plan our nuptials.
"I told you to go ahead without me," I reminded her.
She sniffed disdainfully. "Go to the wedding of the century without an escort—? I'd have been laughed at."
So instead, she'd stayed at home, watching some of the televised highlights and eating bon-bons.
I had to forcefully pull my mind away from that unpleasant recollection before it spoiled the whole afternoon for me. "Wufei—why don't you and I take a walk around the grounds?" I suggested.
Always a consummate tactician, Wufei smiled and stood up. "Good idea, Yuy," he said smoothly, noting the glare Relena was directing towards me. "We'll leave the women to discuss the best company to handle your wedding plans."
Sally grinned at him. "You just want to avoid a subject you find about as exciting as watching grass grow."
"Grass is actually quite interesting," he answered with a completely straight face. "I find a walk in the garden to be very calming."
"That reminds me," I spoke up, still avoiding Relena's gaze. "The gardener is working on a Japanese water garden out back. There might even be room for a meditation area for your visits."
Wufei's eyes positively lit up at that. His favorite pastimes when he and Sally came to the estate were using my exercise room, which was suited to all types of martial arts as well as containing body-building equipment, and walking in the gardens, which were extensive. A meditation garden would be just his style, and I could almost guarantee he and Sally would become regular visitors, as if they weren't already.
I leaned to kiss Relena's cheek before we left, and some of the venom left her eyes, though she didn't respond to the gesture. "I'm sorry," I said quietly, not exactly sure what I was apologizing for.
She sighed dramatically. "Go have fun in the gardens, you two." I knew I was at least partially forgiven.
I also suspected that when I wrote the sizeable check for the retainer for the wedding planner, I'd be completely forgiven.
Wufei and I had known each other since college, where we'd been roommates. Our first year together was not a pleasant one. Both of us had very strong personalities and opinions, and neither of us was good at compromise. We didn't become friends until we ended up on the debate team together, at which point we learned to appreciate each other's strong will.
After graduation, we both went to work for Lowe Industries, a corporation specializing in the development of cutting edge technology. With my aptitude for computers, and Wufei's powers of observation, we made a formidable team. Landing the Kushrenada account had put me at the top of my department, and although Relena didn't know it, had inadvertently resulted in my proposing to her. Between feeling guilty for making her miss the much-publicized wedding and having a few too many congratulatory drinks with my friends after the awards ceremony, I took what seemed the appropriate action at the time. I went to her place and begged forgiveness and her hand in marriage.
Not that I regretted it; not at all. I mean, we'd been dating for over a year. We both were financially secure. We'd discussed moving in together, but I didn't want to give up my penthouse just yet, so we settled for my staying part-time at the estate, while keeping my place for times that I worked late and didn't feel like driving so far out of town late at night.
Marriage seemed to be the next logical step in our relationship. Relena was smart, pretty, wealthy (having inherited an estate that was nothing short of vast when her diplomat parents died in a plane crash), and very determined. I liked to think we were well-matched, as I'm intelligent, financially secure, and more stubborn than a mule, or so I'd been told on countless occasions. We'd make the perfect couple, according to everyone who'd ever expressed an opinion on the subject.
Which brought me to my next thought…Wufei, for all his opinionated notions, had never once commented on my relationship with Relena. Aside from assuring me that we were well-matched in temperament, when I'd asked, he'd never really told me what he thought about us as a couple.
"Relena is still a bit perturbed about missing the Count's wedding," I told him as we walked down the sloping lawn towards the gardens.
"Obviously," came the dry response.
"Should I have missed the awards dinner?" I asked, scowling.
"No!" Wufei said firmly, his tone almost sharp. "That was an important milestone in your career, Yuy. It would have been the basest of insults to our employers if you didn't attend."
I knew he was right. I'd known it at the time. Convincing Relena had been the hard part. Make that the 'impossible' part.
"You've apologized a dozen times," Wufei reminded me. "You proposed to her. I don't know what else you could do."
"Nothing," I answered. "She truly could have found an escort if she'd half-tried."
"So forget about it, and don't let her use it as a guilt trip," suggested my friend. "She'll settle down once she's busy planning the wedding."
"You mean paying someone to plan it," I replied sourly, still annoyed at the notion that some silly woman with a clipboard and no greater organizational skills than my fiancée would charge an outrageous price to do something I was convinced Relena could handle herself.
"If you'd seen some of the fights Sally and I had over the arrangements, you'd be happy to turn the big decisions over to someone else. We fought over the color of the napkins for two days." Wufei smiled wryly. "This way, Relena and her planner can do all the hemming and hawing over color schemes and what kind of flowers to have in the bridesmaids' bouquets. You can simply smile, nod, and say 'that looks fine, dear.' Trust me, it's better this way."
"Hn." I wasn't convinced…and when, a few days later, I met our wedding planner, I was even less convinced.