Author's Note: The end. Yes... wow... long trip to get here and a lot of chapters from start to finish. Thanks for reading everyone; here's the last installment of "Like Lightning"
Enjoy - and Merry Christmas
Gabriella stopped at the end of the aisle amidst the murmur of their guests, her smile secretive as she met Troy's gaze. He waited close to the alter, re-splendid in the Tuxedo he'd had in reserve since the day he'd proposed. She knew, because he'd told her in the hopes she'd choose to marry him sooner.
Her lips curved further, the sparkle in her eyes having nothing to do with the day and everything to do with the man who stood waiting for her. As if reading her thoughts, Troy arched his eyebrows and twisted his wrist, activating the recording that would stand for their vows.
Music began to swell - music they'd been rehearsing with for the last week since it had arrived in the mail - and on cue, she took a step his way, extended her hand and began to sing.
"Take my hand."
He did as she asked, his smile reminiscent of the one they'd shared so many years ago when she'd taught him how to waltz. If there'd been music then, this song would surely have been playing - and maybe it had in their hearts, they just hadn't known the words. Kelsi, in her infinite wisdom, had found them.
"Take a breath."
Troy inhaled and exhaled, squeezing her fingers as he did so. Around them, the murmur of their witnesses died down but - if they'd looked - there was no mistaking the pride in their parent's faces.
"Pull me close, and take one step."
They matched words to song, Troy glancing down at his feet - it was rehearsed and not only gave her a reason to touch him, but led them into the dance that would be their first dance as husband and wife. Or was it their last dance as fiancée and fiancé? It didn't matter - the minister had agreed to let them write their own vows and those vows had turned to song.
"Keep your eyes, locked on mine... and let the music, be your guide."
"Now won't you promise me," Troy's lips curved as he came in on cue, sweeping her into a turn as the strains of the waltz echoed through the church. The flashes of cameras were ignored and barely registered as they moved together to the music.
"That you'll never forget."
"That we'll keep dancing, wherever we go next."
Sweeping her into an intricate twirl, their voices melded as they entered into the chorus and back up the center aisle . "It's like catching lightning, the chances of finding, someone like you. It's one in a million, the chances of feeling the way we do. And with every step together, we just keep on getting better."
"So can I have this dance?"
"Can I have this dance?"
"Can I have this dance?" Together, they echoed the question as they slid apart, Gabriella spinning in a slow circle as she finally placed one hand on the edge of a nearby pew. Silence was prevalent throughout the church, only the flashes from the cameras clicking as their friends and families bore witness to the moment.
Yet, Tory and Gabriella seemed oblivious to everyone but each other, completely caught up in the moment and the magic of the music. Their gazes locked and Troy smiled, launching into the next stanza as he extended his hand her way - "Take my hand, I'll take the lead." - and she took it gladly. He spun her slowly, the skirt of her dress flaring out to caress the the slacks of his tux. "And every turn, will be safe with me. Don't be afraid; afraid to fall. You know I'll catch you through it all. And you can't keep us apart,"
He spun her again before drawing her closer and leading her back up the aisle towards the alter once more.
"Even a thousand miles can't keep us apart,"
Their foreheads touched and Troy could see the tears sparkling on Gabriella's lashes as their voices blended, building to a crescendo that was filled with every ounce of their feelings for one another. So perfectly did it suit them - the subtle intent behind the words - that it was all the more powerful for it.
"'Cause my heart is wherever you are."
Troy spun her once more before drawing her close, the congregation having picked up on the lyrics of the chorus as he bent his head to brush his lips across hers. Tears slid down her cheeks, but there was no doubting they were tears of joy.
They'd stopped dancing and were simply standing now, holding one another as they swayed back and forth to the music and stared into one another's eyes. Underneath the melody, as it neared the end of the chorus and headed for the bridge, Troy placed his cheek against hers. "Every dance," he promised her softly, his breath feathering across her ear and making her shiver. "Every dance if yours."
She was given no chance to reply as he began to sing once more and she blended her voice to his before launching into the bridge that described them so perfectly. Troy, for his part, led her through a series of intricate dance steps that hadn't been planned - but she trusted him implicitly and followed where he went.
"Oh, no mountain's too high enough, Ocean's too wide. 'cause together or not, our dance won't stop. Let it rain, let it pour. What we have is worth fighting for. You know I believe, that we were meant to be."
The result was a beautiful and moving bit of dance that drew them closer than before as they practically flowed across the floor. Her skirts brushed his legs, an echo of the way his presence had touched her life. Fleeting at first before enveloping it completely. As he swung her back close, their breath mingled as his forehead touched hers and the dance left them clinging to one another at the end of the bridge.
The church swelled with sound as the congregation joined in, blending their voiced to Troy and Gabriella's as the chorus picked up once more.
"It's like catching lightning, the chances of finding, someone like you." Troy slid one arm around her waist, lifting her off her feet in a sudden burst of strength and pulled her into his arms. Her hands looped around his neck as he spun her around - one arm under her knees, the other having slid up to her shoulders. "It's one in a million, the chances of feeling the way we do. And with every step together, we just keep on getting better."
"So can I have this dance?"
Their foreheads touched once more as he spun in place. Their eyes locked as she echoed the question without realizing that hers was the only voice capable of being heard - or that his had been the only one to ask. The congregation - as if a practiced chorus - had cut out just moments before.
"Can I have this dance?"
Yes, his gaze told her, confirming his quiet vow from moments before. A million times, yes.
"Can I have this... dance?"
The strains of the song faded away, leaving complete and utter silence in its wake. It was almost reverent in its quality, the rustle of her dress the only sound as he released her legs and they slowly slid down his so she could regain her feet. She searched Troy's gaze and caressed the side of his face with her thumb.
He regarded her intently before his lips curved and a sparkle that belied mischief - despite the seriousness of the situation - made his eyes practically glow. Straightening, he looked down at her with a carefully schooled expression. Troy had become a consummate actor and some of those skills were employed now. Not that anyone watching would know how he trembled - not from fear, but anticipation and joy for the step they were finally taking... one that seemed inevitable since their meeting five years ago this past New Years.
A question she well remembered tumbled from his lips with all the solemn dignity she remembered and then some. "Is that a yes?"
The answering curve of her lips as she stared into his eyes would have left little doubt in anyone's mind... and she gave them none as she echoed her long ago answer.
"In every language. Si. Oui. Da. Yes!"
A distant, dull roar built following her answer as Troy's gaze dropped to her lips before zeroing in on her eyes again - and watched as they fluttered close, her head tilting towards his. This time there was nothing to stop them. Everything they'd been through. Every step on their journey together had brought them to this point and, as the song said, it really was like catching lightning.
Troy's lips claimed hers in a searing and heartfelt kiss that sealed their vows as surely as the song Kelsi had written. Her arms crossed around his neck as her finger delved into his hair, his hands splayed possessively across her back as she was lifted to her toes in his exuberant embrace.
It was a promise, both fulfilled and renewed; the end of their journey, but also the beginning of a new one. A dream of the future that they dared to believe would be just as exciting as their past; like lightning.