Title: Til' Death do us Part
Chapter 1 – With this Ring…
Summary: Follows Sink or Swim. What if Eric's only option was to marry Calleigh? Not the way he pictured starting his future with her. With a hit on him and a shaky past, Eric has a lot to contend with besides his new married life. Will they last? (E/C)
Disclaimer: This is a piece of fan fiction. It is written for pleasure and not for profit. The characters of CSI Miami and any other regular cast and supporting cast members all belong to CBS, Paramount & Jerry Bruckheimer and Anthony Zuiker. All other characters are my own. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.
"Eric Delko, do you take Calleigh Duquesne…"
Eric looked at Calleigh with a slight frown. He took a deep breath and spoke…
A FEW HOURS EARLIER
"You're kidding right?" Eric asked as he slowly paced the small holding cell. "So in the end…when I need him most, my real father won't even help?" Eric managed. "He just can walk away and not care? Ruin my life like that?"
"Sorry Eric," Horatio said slowly. "We tried everything but he won't roll over. I really thought we could find something…anything…"
"H…" Eric started in a desperate tone. "There has to be some way…I mean I can't just go back…man this is my home!"
"Eric, we will find a way but…"
"But I'm going back right? To Cuba? And that's it? I give my life for this country and when I need it to help me it just laughs and leaves me in the cold?" Eric half shouted.
"I can understand…"
"Are you going home tonight? Like always? I'm going in a ship with a bunch of…" Eric's voice trailed off.
"Calleigh is here and…"
"H I can't see her like this," Eric sighed. "Earlier was bad enough but now…"
"She wants to see you and you need to…"
"I can't!" Eric hissed.
"I'll be back. I'm going to talk to the judge."
"Fine," Eric huffed as he watched Horatio leave and Calleigh appear in his view.
He only offered a frown and then pulled himself away from her piercing gaze. But she hurried up to him and forced his eyes back to hers.
"Eric?" She asked softly.
"H, tell you?"
"Yeah," she said her eyes slightly watering. "I…I can't believe this."
"Calleigh I'm so sorry…" her whispered.
"Eric, we are past that," she said sadly. "This…"
"Damn it!" He cursed. "After all we have been through…we have come so close to what we both want and now…now to lose it like this," he said turning away from her. "I'm sorry."
"Eric, you keep saying that," Calleigh said touching his shoulder. When he didn't turn around she continued despite the growing tension and panic.
"Well it's true…maybe if I had told you everything sooner, everything would be okay right now," he said looking back at her with a strained expression. "I just hate to say goodbye like this."
He pulled her close and held on; thinking it would probably be the last time he ever did again.
"I'll write…" he started; his voice finally breaking.
"Eric, don't say that," she said sadly.
"Calleigh…I can't believe this."
"Me either, Eric," she said softly. "But there has to be another way…"
"There is none…the only way was for my father to do the right thing…yeah I guess we can see how he really feels about me," Eric spat.
"Eric he just met you…he doesn't know you," Calleigh huffed as she slowly stood up and started to pace.
"He knows me enough to want to kill me!" He spat in anger.
"Well he won't get the chance. We'll survive that and beat this."
Eric watched her with a frown; knowing that she always paced when she was formulating a plan.
"What are you thinking?" Eric asked quickly.
Calleigh's eyes finally fixed on a woman outside. She looked at the court document in her hands and then took a few steps toward her.
"Calleigh?" Eric started.
"Hold on a sec," she said as she stood in the doorway and listened.
"We are getting married today. Here is the license. Then he can stay right?"
Calleigh listened to the Immigration Judge explain that the male could stay; his green card would be issued and then he would have to apply for his citizenship status. However, he would be under watch from Immigration and there would have to be meetings and such. The woman agreed and then they were escorted out.
Calleigh turned back to Eric with a smile. "I have an idea…be right back," she said turning and leaving the room.
"What? Where are you going?" Eric asked, rushing after her. He got to the door only to be stopped by the guard, who placed a hand on his chest; immediately stopping him.
"Calleigh!" Eric called.
She only offered him a small wave; leaving him no other choice but to head back to the holding cell and slump down in defeat.
"What did you say to piss her off?" One of them asked.
"Don't know," Eric sighed.
"Horatio," Calleigh said over the phone. "Meet me at the courthouse; I have an idea on how to save Eric."
Under and hour later, Horatio met up with Calleigh outside the courthouse.
"Are you sure about this?" Horatio asked her.
"Well I'm nervous and a bit scared," she admitted with a sheepish grin. "But…I don't want to lose him…" her voice trailed off in a whisper.
Horatio offered a hug and then a frown. "I know you two are drawing closer but…but this is a big step."
"I know," she replied. "But Horatio…there is no other way. This will keep Eric in the country and at least buy him time to get the truth from his father or get his citizenship status."
"Calleigh I have to take police protection away…if you two are together…"
"My life will also be in danger," she finished. "I know."
They both stood in silence for a bit longer. "I want this…I want to help him. Horatio, you know that you would do the same for Marisol and if the situation was in the reverse that Eric would do it for me. We do what we have to for each other right?"
"You're right," Horatio smiled. "Let's do this then."
"What do I tell the team?" Calleigh suddenly asked.
"The truth. They all know where Eric is right now and why. A sudden marriage might seem…well suspicious. So just tell them the truth and deal with the heat. Trust me they'll forget about it sooner than you might think."
"Right," she said with a flat smile. "What about IAB? I mean will we still be allowed to work together? Are we even allowed…"
"Let me deal with Rick," Horatio told her. "You have a wedding to get ready for."
"Thanks," she smiled. "I knew I could count on you."
"And you always will be able to…both of you."
Eric nervously paced the small holing cell; glancing at the entranceway every few minutes. A few hours had already passed and Calleigh still hadn't returned.
What if she's not coming back? What if she's too ashamed to see me leave some common criminal? Maybe she knows there's no future for us? Eric's mind raced with a million questions and for another hour he worked himself into a useless panic trying to figure out if Calleigh would be coming back at all.
Finally she appeared. She had changed into a modest but pretty dress.
Is she doing this to torment me? He asked mental anguish. Wants to give me good memories before I leave for good? Eric watched her head to the judge and hand him a piece of paper.
Maybe my father did the right thing, he said inside. Maybe Horatio did get something. Please let that be it and this day can finally be over.
Eric watched Calleigh walk toward him with a smile. Why do I all of a sudden feel nervous? He asked himself.
"Calleigh?" He asked quickly.
"Hey," she said with a nervous grin.
"You got dressed up to see me off or…" he started in a panic. "What's going on?"
He watched the guard walking toward him with a bag of his things.
"I guess this is it…" he said quickly.
"Not exactly," she smiled. "But you do need to get changed."
"Calleigh I…" he started as he took a step closer to her. "I don't care what I wear when I leave here," Eric told her.
"Do you care what you wear to your wedding?" She smiled.
"I don't…what?" He asked quickly.
"Who am I…"
"Surprise," she stated.
"Gee thanks," she huffed.
"No it's not that…." Eric looked at her in shock. "Calleigh I…I can't let you do this," he said quickly. "I mean…"
"Eric, this is the only way to save you," she explained.
"Calleigh I didn't want you to…well I didn't want us to…you can't," he stammered.
"Eric, it's either this or you and I never together again."
"I mean…" he said moving in closer. "Calleigh you can't do this out of pity," he said in anguish. "Marry me because you have to."
"Eric," she said gently touching his face. "I want to help you…I care for you a lot more than you probably realize right now and I don't want to lose you. I know you'd do the same for me."
"I would but…Calleigh I do want you in my future. I won't lie about that. I have thought about asking you to marry me but…Calleigh it was me…asking you…not you being forced to marry me by the system because the system can't save me," Eric tried.
"Eric this is our last chance," she said as her eyes slightly watered. "I don't want to lose you. And if I don't do this, I will lose you. Maybe for good."
"Please don't cry," Eric said softly, brushing away a stray tear. "I just…"
"We don't have much time. This license expires tonight."
"But what about work and the team and…gosh Calleigh…"
"Horatio is going to take care of that. We just need to get you changed and over to…"
Eric looked at her with a frown.
"You tell me to leave and I will," she told him. "No questions asked. But if I leave you will also and we'll never see each other again. You know I can't go to Cuba."
Eric looked at her in torment. He loved her…inside he was so sure of that. He wanted and needed her in his future but he didn't picture it like this. He had wanted be the one to pick the ring…the moment and then ask. Now that would never come.
"Calleigh my whole life has been a lie and…"
"Then we can start fresh…this," she said looking at the paper in her hands. "This is not a lie. This is us…you and me…trying to make a future and help each other. Through thick and thin right?"
Eric offered a weak smile and knew she was right. "Okay," he finally said softly.
"Okay?" She asked.
"Calleigh I want to be with you. I want you in my life. I did picture a future with us together but…well I guess it came sooner than expected," he told her. He took his hand and softly kissed it. "I will make this up to you…when the time is right…I will give you the moment I hope you have always waited for."
"Deal," she smiled.
"Eric Delko!" The guard called loudly.
"Be right back," he said quickly. He headed for the guard, took the bag and hurried for the small changing room.
This is nuts, he said inside. What is she doing? What am I doing? What are we doing? What are others gong to say? I got married to save my ass? Yeah good going Delko, he huffed inside as he tried to get dressed. He fumbled his shirt buttons and cursed under his breath. I'll never be able to live this down. She'll always owe me; yeah great future I picked here. Damn my heritage!
How can I let her do this? How can I not? But she's marrying me out of pity! I hate that…I hate myself for that, he yelled inside his mind. He looked at himself in the mirror and frowned.
"Am I really getting married today?" He asked his reflection.
"What are you afraid of?" His reflection asked back.
"Of her coming to resent me later," he sighed in misery.
He finished dressing and hurried outside to see her. Two court appointed guards were to escort them to the court house to ensure this wasn't a scam and that he wasn't trying to run and hide.
"Nice escort," Eric mumbled in sarcasm as they both got into the back of the dark truck. Eric held Calleigh's hand and tried to put on a brave face; but inside he was scared. Not of being with her…but of letting her down. She had taken such a bit risk to keep him in the country. What if I let her down, he asked in sorrow? Will I ever live it down? And what of those around us? Will they all say 'I told you so'?
Calleigh looked at her Eric and knew he was just as nervous as her. Is he mad? What will being married be like? Will he feel guilty all the time now? Will this put a strain on our relationship? Will I let him down in any way? I love him and don't want to lose him; can he see that?
They reached the court house in silence; each pondering the huge step they were about to take. They both headed inside, Eric taking Calleigh's hand once again as they did.
Eric pulled the door open to see Horatio standing and waiting for them.
"H…" Eric said quickly.
"Eric…" Horatio smiled. "I'm glad you're staying."
"Is this…I mean Rick is going to…"
"I have a meeting with him later…trust me Eric he will see things my way. Just enjoy today."
"Horatio, this isn't exactly how I pictured my wedding," he said softly, not wanting to hurt Calleigh's feelings.
"When the time I right…I promise you will be able to redo all of this…the proper way…whatever way you want. But this buys you and us time."
"What about the team?" Eric asked in a panic.
"I'll deal with them. You two will take the day tomorrow to get settled and I'll tell the team. Just enjoy today."
"I wish Marisol was here," Eric stated.
"So do I," Horatio replied.
Eric found himself back at the original question.
"Do you Eric Delko…" the court appointed minister's voice trailed off.
Eric looked at Calleigh and couldn't help but smile. "I do…" he said warmly.
"Do you Calleigh Duquesne take Eric Delko…"
Calleigh looked up at Eric and returned the warm smile. "I do…" she answered.
The court appointed minister finished the vows; let them put on the simple gold bands that Calleigh had purchased and then finished the legal stuff.
As this was different than two US citizens getting married; more paperwork than usual was required. There would have to be green card appointments; check in's and such.
Eric watched Calleigh and Horatio filling out paperwork and felt guilt starting to consume him. Damn I don't deserve this, he lamented inside.
Damn, I didn't even tell her how beautiful she looked. She's sacrificed her life for me and I can't even remember the simple things. Yeah this is going to be good marriage!
The paperwork was finally finished and then the minister announced them husband and wife. Eric leaned in and gave Calleigh a small but warm kiss and then pulled away.
"You look beautiful," he whispered as they parted; cursing himself for having only his street clothes to wear. He knew there wasn't time before to buy a tux or such and he couldn't fault her for that. She had just saved his life…could he ever repay it?
"Thank you," she smiled in return.
Horatio shook Eric's hand and then gave Calleigh a warm hug.
"See you two in a few days," Horatio smiled as he turned to leave.
"Well Mrs. Delko," Eric said in a nervous tone. "Shall we?" He said offering his arm.
"Alright Mr. Delko," she smiled in return; looping her arm in his.
They headed for the doors to go outside and as Eric pushed them open he knew the road ahead of them wasn't going to be easy. There would be so many things to contend with. There was still a hit on him; police protection was now taken away. Whose place would they live in? What little things would they each have to learn and discover and put up with for the other? What would it be like to do all things together as a couple? What would work be like now? Was this going to work? What toll would it take if any? What would their families and friends think? Did they do the right thing? Was there any other option?
So many questions raced through each of their minds as they pushed their way into the Miami sunset. Their future together just started – what would be in store for them?
But the biggest question on each of their minds was – is this going to last?
Dear readers:…so do you like the story so far? Do you want more? Please review if you do. Thanks!