"I can't believe you've kept a secret from me for so long!" Nora complained. Casey looked guilty.
"I know. I'm sorry mom. We've talked about why I did it though. With the life I lead, every person I know is a potential leak to the media, and I'm sick to death of the paparazzi camping on my doorstep as it is. I sneezed as I got in my car to go to the studio yesterday and thirty people shouted 'Gesundheit Casey!'"
"You could have trusted me."
"I know. There just never seemed to be a good time to tell you. And my fiancé is…complicated."
"Why? Is he an axe-murderer or something?"
"Well he's something alright, but fortunately, I think he's avoided that particular life path. Can you help me with my garter please? I think it's slipped."
"I still would have liked to meet him before the day of the wedding." Nora lifted the skirt on Casey's dress. "This is beautiful lace. It's antique isn't it? It must have cost a fortune."
"Actually, it didn't. Lizzie sourced it for me. She's got a friend who's big on reclaimed fabrics. Lizzie said I should be green at my wedding. She's also got a friend who is an organic florist (!) – he and his partner Luther are doing the flowers, then there's the free range egg wedding cake which is made from locally sourced ingredients, even the wedding car is electric. Emily freaked when she heard we were only hiring the men's suits. She seemed to think I should be getting handmade tuxes from Milan."
"Lizzie's 'Seen To Be Green' company is doing well, I know. And the publicity from your wedding…Ed's planning on floating the company on the stock exchange next year. Their partnership seems to be working."
Casey smiled to herself, wondering what her mom would make of Ed and Lizzie's 'partnership' if she truly understood.
There was a knock at the door and Casey shouted, "Come in!" Edwin's head appeared around the door.
"Case. Kendra's here with her photographer. They want to know if they can get their 'candids' now.
Casey rolled her eyes at her mom. "I thought the intrusion would be reduced if I picked a gossip magazine where I knew the editor, but Kendra is a tough negotiator. Apparently, people want to see me put my garter on."
"I've already done that." Nora said.
Kendra walked in. "Well take it off again, girl!"
Nora and Casey sighed. The photographer moved into the room and started muttering to himself about poor lighting and lack of colour composition. Apparently there was too much white!
Kendra threw him an irritated look. "What the fuck do you expect? It's a wedding!" She turned to Casey and Nora with a lovely smile which held no trace of the tone she had just used with 'Dave'.
"So, Casey. I just wanted to say that I really appreciate you giving 'Hello' magazine this job. And without question, you should understand that we'll make this a double sized spread if you sign a commitment to let us handle your next two marriages."
"Kendra, there aren't going to be anymore weddings. This is it. I've found Mister Rig-" She paused. "Make that Mr Sure-when- he-can-be-bothered."
"And when are you going to announce who the groom is? That is such a good publicity stunt. Of course, what I'm really looking forward to," Kendra beamed. "Is the Derek prank. Any ideas when it will happen? We've got a whole four page spread of the magazine blocked out for it. I've got photographers staked out every where so that we are guaranteed a good photo of it."
Nora looked suddenly pale. "Oh god! Derek pranks. I'd forgotten about those. He's bound to isn't he?"
Casey shook her head. "There won't be any Derek pranks."
"How do you know?" Nora narrowed her eyes. "Come to think of it, I've seen Marti, Liz, Ed, Sam, Emily and all the usual subjects, but no Derek. Please tell me you invited Derek to your wedding, Casey."
"Derek?" Casey looked confused.
Kendra's face had a look of panic about it. "Casey. You DID invite Derek, didn't you?"
"I knew I'd forgotten something." Casey said, looking relieved.
"Casey!" Nora and Kendra chorused; both horrified for different reasons."
The bride smirked.
"Relax both of you. Derek's here. Do you seriously think I wouldn't invite my Manager to my wedding?"
"In view of the number of times he's pranked you in the past. Yeah. Definitely!"
"I see Casey has embraced the title of Super-diva with a vengeance, forcing us all to wear the same suit." Sam said to Ralph as they sipped champagne at the little welcome reception while they waited for the wedding to start.
"You think she would have read my email telling her to go for the white with the gold lamé trim, though." Ralph muttered. And Sam realised talking to Ralph about clothes would be a big mistake. It was the whole 'pleather' pants issue over again. He spotted Derek across the room, and, relieved, he yanked Ralph's arm and moved to join his best friend.
Derek was drinking a cold bottle of beer – which Sam eyed enviously. He had asked for a beer instead of champagne and been told that the waiter had orders to only serve champagne.
"Where did you get that beer?" He greeted Derek. Derek laughed. "It's not who you know…"
"…but who you sleep with." Sam finished. "So come on. Rustle some up for your friends."
Derek reached over the bar and pulled two bottles from a cool box under the counter.
"So how did you get these?" Sam asked.
"It's part of Casey's plan to make sure that I don't prank her on her wedding day. Bribery."
"And how the hell did you manage to wangle a different suit to the rest of us?"
"I went to the fitting and hated the one she picked, so I picked another."
"Dude. Casey is going to fry your ass. You're going to stick out like a sore thumb in the wedding pictures." Ralph interjected. "You'll look like you're someone. She'll hate that."
Derek grinned. "I'll handle it. Sometimes, major rock princesses need taking down a peg or two."
"Jeez Derek. I wouldn't mess with Casey on her Wedding Day. Women get all precious about that sort of thing. And Casey is more precious that most."
"Chill, Sam. I got it covered."
"So. Is it true that no one has met the groom? Have you?"
"Is he the sort of guy you can have a beer with?"
"Totally. She's lucky to have him."
"Have you pranked him yet?"
Derek looked offended. "I don't prank everyone on the planet."
"No normally just Casey…and her boyfriends."
"I'm not going to prank her fiancé."
"You're going to be mature?"
"Ew! Stop it with the dirty words, Sam!"
"Derek Venturi!" A different voice cut across the laughter.
"Gotta run, that sounded like a teacher." Derek joked.
"It was Derek." Paul Greeby returned the smile and held out his hand to be shaken.
"Sir." Derek nodded, shaking hands.
"Oh come off it, Derek. It's 'Creepy' to you and always has been." They laughed.
"So…Casey's getting married." He continued.
"Yup. I'm thinking of slipping one of your business cards into her suitcase for her husband on their honeymoon. Do you do marriage guidance?"
"No but, sometimes my sessions with Casey felt like it."
Derek met his former teacher's eye and for a second, he felt out-smarted.
"So…I'm rather impressed that Casey remembered me – and to be invited too… Did you know there are TV crews on her lawn out there?"
"Yeah. That's what happens when a rock goddess who's worth millions announces she is getting married and then neglects to tell anyone who the unlucky guy is."
"Yeah the whole "Casey to Wed" headline was a real attention grabber." Sam said, sipping his beer. "Even the invitations just have her name, the time and the date on them."
"I rather liked that idea." Derek said proudly.
"I might have known that came from you."
"It's what a Manager is for, Sam. Product placement."
"So you must be free for a while as Casey will be on honeymoon."
Derek chuckled. "Nope. I'm going with her. She needs someone to handle the villa staff and the local press."
"Isn't that intruding?"
"Nah. Besides, just think, sun, sea, sand, …sex."
Paul rolled his eyes and perched on the edge of a sofa nearby.
"Don't get too comfortable. Casey's probably freaking out right now." Derek smirked at Paul. "Which means you had better go and say hello to the bride."
Paul shook his head. "She'll be busy. I'd be intruding.
"Come on. I'll show you the way." Derek took Paul by the arm and led him towards the grand staircase in the lobby.
"She'll be crawling up the walls by now." Derek said more seriously when they were alone. "She'll need you. That's why I invited you."
"You invited me!" Paul said, surprised.
"Yeah. It's in my best interests not to have to unravel the mess this wedding will become if she doesn't go through with it."
"The perils of being a manager?" Paul asked.
"Something like that. But more the perils of being her step-brother."
He paused at the stop of the stairs beside a burly security guard.
"I can't go any further than this. Her room is the one at the end of the hall. Go say hello. If she's freaking. Talk to her. Just make sure she goes through with this wedding." He turned to go back down the stairs, and then stopped. He turned back.
"If it helps. Give her this." He handed a sealed envelope to Paul. And then he was walking back down the steps.
Paul looked confused. But he pulled himself together and made the remaining steps to Casey's door.
He knocked and a frantic-looking Nora opened it.
"Oh. Paul! Wow! God really does move in mysterious ways."
"Casey's just started freaking out about the wedding."
"Derek sent me. He figured she would hit freak out about now."
He heard Casey's "WHAT?!" even in the corridor.
"So." He started.
"So." She agreed. They had thrown the growing crowd out of her room and it was just the two of them.
"Did Derek really invite you?"
She smiled. "Sorry Paul. I would have done anyway, but it was Derek who handled the invites. Apparently, it's a manager's job. Although I think it had more to do with him ensuring certain exes weren't present."
"I suppose I should be surprised that Derek knows enough about your life to be able to know who to invite – or that you would trust him with it, but I do occasionally pick up gossip magazines, when I'm at the dentist and so on." He coughed. "…so I do know how he's your manager."
Casey started to talk. Paul listened.
And at the end, he said nothing. He just handed her Derek's letter.
Derek caught Lizzie by the arm. "Is the catering all set up?"
"Yes. What about the ceremony?"
"Well apart from the blushing bride, yeah we're doing fine."
"Aren't we missing someone else?" Lizzie asked.
Derek chuckled. "He's here. In body at least. His mind's on a different planet. Have you seen Paul Greeby anywhere?"
"Not since you took him upstairs earlier. Why?"
"I don't think he's come back down yet."
"Oh…that's not good."
"No. It isn't."
"Do you think she's backing out?"
"She'd better not be." Derek muttered between gritted teeth.
Then as if summoned, Paul Greeby slipped quietly into the row of chairs and sat beside his wife. He caught Derek's eyes and gave him a thumbs up.
The music started to play. It was classical, it was beautiful, it was the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana, it was…
Sam elbowed Derek in the ribs
"Dude…isn't that the music from 'Raging Bull'? You know that De Niro boxing movie?"
"Casey is walking down the aisle to music from a boxing movie!!!" Sam hissed.
Derek grinned. "Yup!"
"Did you choose the music????"
"Der-ek!" Sam hissed. His friend grinned at him.
"Relax. My first choice was 'Eye of the Tiger'."
Casey appeared at the back of the room on the arm of Dennis and Derek's heart leapt into his mouth.
He felt sick.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of pink paper. Casey handwriting said quite clearly:
You are not going to be sick NOW Derek! It isn't a hockey match.
Sam elbowed Derek in the ribs. "Erm, Dude shouldn't you be sitting somewhere else? I mean these seats are for the Best Man, which we both know is me, and the Groom…where is the groom by the way?"
Derek's nerves disappeared.
"That would be me." He announced as he stood up, moved to the head of the aisle, and turned to greet his bride.
Casey looked nervously at him.
He smirked at her.
She smirked back.
There was a brief silence while the congregation caught on. And then in one loud chorus, one hundred friends, family –and one guidance counsellor (who wasn't as in the dark as he was making out) shouted…
"Rock Diva marries own Brother!" – The Sun (UK tabloid)
"Canadian rocker Casey marries step-sibling in quiet ceremony." – New York Times
"Exclusively in Hello: From Casey to Dasey in our full colour Wedding special. Plus: How the Diva hoodwinked us all. And: 20 things you didn't know about Derek Venturi. (By his ex-girlfriend.)" Hello magazine.
I, personally, walked down the aisle to Cavalleria Rusticana, like Casey. It amused the hell out of me that I was getting married to music from a boxing movie. – especially when the (unaware) priest said to me at the altar "What a perfect piece of music for a wedding!" I guess they just get sick of the Bridal March. Anyway, if you are looking for a piece of music for your own wedding, don't rule it out! Of course, your own tastes may run more to 'Eye of the Tiger'. Incidentally, Kudos to my friends whose first dance music at their own wedding was 'Tainted Love' by Soft Cell! They got all positioned as if for a slow dance and then the characteristic intro started, and the room just dissolved.