A/N: I always forget disclaimers. So here goes: I own nothing. Especially not the songs I mention. Now that that's over with…I hope you guys like this one-shot. It's taken me awhile to write, mainly because I've been really busy this week. I haven't even started the next chapter of Vocabulary Lessons (although I do have the word picked out!), so don't expect it soon. I'm sorry. :( I hope you enjoy this in the meantime, though! Thank you. :D
Five Weddings and a Wedding
It's an odd wedding, to say the least. The bride and groom are both middle-aged, past the prime of their lives, the prominent wrinkles in their faces on display as they smile at each other. His "best man" is his teary mother. And the sixteen - yes, sixteen, because she couldn't bear to exclude any of them - bridesmaids are all mewling cats. But they're happy together, and that's all that matters in Sonny's eyes.
"Aren't they wonderful together?" she sighs contentedly to no one in particular, watching the newlyweds dance together for the first time. Marshall doesn't seem to be doing much, while Ms. Bitterman - that is, the new Mrs. Pike - is taking the lead, waltzing him about the floor to "To Love Somebody" by the Bee Gees, some group that Sonny can't honestly say she knows.
"Not really," Chad replies honestly, leaning back in the chair next to Sonny, his hands clasped behind his head for support. "Kinda old and ugly, to tell you the truth. Plus, they don't know how to dance correctly."
"You're terrible, Chad," Sonny accuses, taking her eyes off of the couple and turning to the heartthrob next to her. It's been only three years since they infamously set up the lovebirds on Lookout Mountain in an attempt to destroy their relationship, and his smile still makes the hearts of girls around the world beat just a little faster, his eyes still wink at the camera with that knowing smirk, and his cockiness hasn't faded with the slight bit of maturity he's acquired.
"I know. But you love me for it." Sonny shakes her head ruefully at that, because he's deluding himself and they both know it, but it's ever so reassuring all the same.
"Don't you just love weddings?" she asks out of the blue, a dreamy smile on her face as she pictures all the components. The guests. The dress. The rings. The kiss. The toasts. The cake. The dancing. The bouquet. The farewell. The disappearing into the sunset with the promise of a new life together.
Chad's about to scoff at her question, about to brush it off as nonsense like he always does, like he doesn't care. But he catches sight of her wistful face and the mask falls and he smiles a true smile, a hint of longing in the corners.
"Yes. I suppose I do. Want to dance?"
It's a wedding that no one really expected. The bride always seemed to hate the groom (not that anyone remembers the time before, when she didn't), and he had been forgotten over time, simply a memory of chicken fingers and skeeball and bouquets of flowers and cheating, lying jerks. Until he suddenly came back, more flowers than before and words even more compelling until they are suddenly here, standing at the altar. His best man is Chad. And her maid of honor is Sonny. And unfortunately, neither the best man nor the maid of honor is optimistic about this marriage.
"What do you think?" Sonny poses the question to Chad as they're performing the required best man-maid of honor dance, slowly moving across the floor alongside James and Tawni Conroy to "The Other Side of the Door" by Taylor Swift. The choice of song had been questioned by Sonny prior to the ceremony, but Tawni had assured her that it was the perfect song to express "Jawni's" relationship. And that worries Sonny slightly, along with everything else.
"I predict they'll be divorced in exactly one year and one month. He'll forget their anniversary, she'll be upset, then she'll realize it was because he was with some other girl. And it'll take the remaining time to sort out the paperwork," Chad says matter-of-factly, not even bothering to feign belief that it will last.
"You're terrible, Chad," Sonny sighs, watching the "happy" couple dance. It's been five years since Marshall was married, and both So Random! and Mackenzie Falls have ended their reign as the top tween TV shows. Time and Hollywood have been kind, however, and Chad and Sonny are both still in the industry. But time has passed, and it is evident. Her smile is a little bit softer now, not as overwhelmingly huge, and his quick insults have become witty comments that manage to be intelligent without offending anyone.
"I know. But you love me for it." Sonny grins, taking her gaze off of Tawni and looking up at Chad with laughing eyes.
"Of course I do," she seconds, rewarded with the arrogant smirk of his, the expression that comes so naturally to him.
"I knew it," Chad says, without the slightest hint of hesitation. The two of them stare at one another for a moment before bursting into laughter, hers an infectious guffaw and his a more reserved, but no less heartfelt chuckle. But then Sonny, her head thrown back with giggles, catches the glares of Mr. and Mrs. Conroy, both upset that their spotlight has temporarily been stolen. Sonny quietly admits to herself that Chad is right; a year and a month will be more than sufficient. This is Hollywood, after all, where marriages are successful if they last ten years. But for now, she revels in the simple pleasure of a wedding, in dancing in Chad's arms. It's a lovely day.
It's an interesting wedding, and that is the one point that everyone can agree on. The bride and groom met at Condor Studios, one on So Random! and one on Mackenzie Falls, but they aren't the pair that you would expect. His best man is Nico. And her maid of honor is Marta. And they're so alike that they'll either be perfect together or they'll drive one another crazy, though everyone knows that with their personalities, it's sure to be the former.
"Were you surprised?" Sonny asks after the ceremony, still seated at the dining table when practically everyone has left to stand at the edge of the room and wait to dance. Grady and Chastity Mitchell are currently making their way around the dance floor to "1, 2, 3, 4" by the Plain White T's, and everyone's impressed that her head hasn't fallen off yet and he hasn't twirled her harder than he ought to.
"Me? Surprised? Not at all," Chad boasts, the only person aside from Sonny still seated. They're seated across from each other, the table between them littered everywhere with silver cutlery and china plates. "I saw it coming from a mile away. But I see everything, you know, Sonny. Didn't I predict James and Tawni's divorce practically to the day?"
"You're terrible, Chad," Sonny grins, shaking her head slightly and sipping her wine slowly. She's become immune to the impropriety of his calculating divorces over time, simply because everyone in Hollywood seems to be divorced sooner or later. It's been two years since Tawni, still Sonny's best friend, was married to Hollywood's bad boy, a title that now belongs to James instead of the man across from her. It's also been a year or so since Tawni was divorced, and Chad never fails to mention it to Sonny whenever his intelligence is called into question. Which it inevitably is, whenever he's with Sonny.
"I know. But you love me for it." Sonny smiles even wider at the use of his usual line, the familiarity of it all somehow as reassuring as the knowledge that Chad wears his Mackenzie Falls tie without fail to every wedding they both attend. And she always makes sure that she wears the same charm bracelet, the one that he gave her when she turned twenty-one and they decided to become friends, setting aside the old rivalry. The pattern of Sonny's life is a steady one, and she wouldn't want it any other way.
"Forever and always, Chad," she teases, her jesting laughter pealing immediately after. Chad grins back, a twinkle in his eyes that never seems to fade. As if on cue, the newlyweds' song ends, and "Forever and for Always" by Shania Twain starts up. This sets off another round of laughter, the two of them sharing a moment as others stare, confused.
"Well, it would appear that it is destiny, my lady. Would you care to dance?" Chad stands up and holds out his hand to Sonny like a true gentleman, which they both know he's anything but. Yet she accepts anyways, and the two of them sway to the music, perfectly content.
It's a beautiful wedding, the loveliest one so far. The bride and groom are gorgeous, and everything is picture perfect. His best man is one of his current costars, someone he doesn't really know all that well but who happens to look almost as good as he does. And her maid of honor is Miss California, who has apparently come as a personal favor. But the entire spectacle is a facade.
"Congratulations," Sonny says brightly, but there's something in her tone and her smile that keeps it from being completely genuine. "Shouldn't you be dancing with your bride?" Chad's seated at the head of the long table, with Sonny a few seats down on his right. All others at the table have vacated their seats, including the new Mrs. Cooper.
"I don't know where she went," Chad admits. "Probably off to go powder her nose or something. How should I know?" Leaning back in his chair, he lands on all four legs with a thump. "It's not like I need to watch out for her. She married me for fame and money. I married her for looks and because it's that time when everyone's supposed to be getting married. It worked out. But that doesn't mean I have to look out for her." Sonny, glancing up at him, has the impression that he's somehow trying to defend his actions.
"You're terrible, Chad," she reiterates as she always does, though this may be the first time she means it. Chad can hear the extra sting in her voice, and he runs a hand across his hair somewhat nervously. It's ever so endearing, try as Sonny does to ignore it; a year or so has passed since Grady was married to Chastity, and Chad's hair has grown out again, sweeping into his eyes. But he's not wearing his Mackenzie Falls tie as he always does at weddings – it's a light blue tie that matches his eyes and looks lovely, but it's not the right tie.
"I know," he admits sincerely, almost regretfully. "But you love me anyways," he adds out of habit, clearly more anxious and uncertain as he says it than usual. Sonny gives a half-smile, and for a moment, he thinks that he is forgiven. But then someone walking up behind Chad catches Sonny's eye, and her face hardens.
"I think you must be talking to your lovely wife, because I certainly don't love you," Sonny pronounces determinedly, gesturing to the flawless woman approaching. Chad turns his head, closing his eyes and wincing slightly when he sees who it is.
"Dance with me," Mrs. Chad Dylan Cooper demands of her husband, placing a possessive hand on his shoulder. "The first song is about to start." Chad nods, shooting an apologetic glance at Sonny, who refuses to show any trace of emotion. It's only after the newlyweds leave that she deflates, her shoulders slumping and a defeated expression on her face.
"You're beautiful," James Blunt croons to the crowd from atop a pristine white stage. The bride and groom dance beautifully together, just as they do everything else. Sonny can't help but notice that it's the first wedding where Chad hasn't danced with her before anyone else, where she's not his first choice. "You're beautiful, it's true. I saw your face...in a crowded place...and I don't know what to do. Cuz I'll never be with you." Sonny shuts her eyes and lets one lone tear escape, sliding down her cheek. Why this song is used at weddings, she doesn't know. The words speak of a tragedy. One that Sonny knows all too well.
It's a lovely wedding, one that's truly beautiful. The bride and groom are obviously in love, and it doesn't hurt that they're both good-looking. His best man is Grady. And her maid of honor is Sonny. It's the bride's second marriage, but everyone's sure that this will be her last.
"They're so happy," Sonny sighs to herself wistfully, watching Nico and Tawni spin around the floor to "Two Is Better Than One" by Boys Like Girls and Taylor Swift. She's close to thirty now, much as she'd like to deny it, and she's not getting any younger. Almost everyone her age is married, or has been married at one time or another. But Sonny's never even had a boyfriend who lasted longer than half a year. "Something must be wrong with me."
"Not at all, Sonny." The familiar voice startles her, the words murmured into her ear from behind. Sonny whirls around quickly, but she already knows who it is. Chad Dylan Cooper himself. She hasn't seen him since his wedding two years ago to some woman who looked like a supermodel, even though she heard of their divorce eight months ago at least. He had tried to call her from day one of his marriage, to contact her many times over the long and lonely months, but Sonny had avoided all contact after her sudden realization at his wedding. "Aren't you going to greet an old friend better than just staring?" Chad asks pointedly, his arms held wide open.
"Chad?" is all she can manage at first, words failing her.
"In the flesh," he smirks, that same smirk that he had when Sonny was sixteen. Why did she ignore his calls again? How dare she deprive herself of those gorgeous eyes, the eyes now sparkling at her with mischief and delight?
"Chad!" she repeats, this time happily and with a quick hug in welcome, or so she tells herself. "I've missed you. I was sorry to hear about your divorce."
"Not so sorry you couldn't pick up the phone and tell me so, though," Chad muttered to himself somewhat bitterly before restoring his camera-ready movie star smile. "It's good to see you, sunshine. Even if it's at one of these confounded weddings."
"You're terrible, Chad." Sonny laughs as she speaks, the teasing words rolling off her tongue as though they were meant to be there.
"I know. But you love me anyways," Chad reminds her, all traces of the uncertainty of last time removed.
And Sonny doesn't deny it, though she's sure Chad doesn't believe it all the same. They're just words to him, a joke. A joke whose hilarity has worn off for her once it started to ring true. She simply smiles enigmatically, glancing at Mr. and Mrs. Harris on the floor, their song coming to an end.
"Want to dance?" Chad's voice cuts through her musings, and Sonny notices that he's somehow stood up and is holding his hand out to her without her noticing. She looks around anxiously, as though someone is going to care (which they will, of course, because they always do), and she takes Chad's hand anyways.
"Let's show them how it's done," he whispers into her ear, pulling her close before bringing her to the center of the dance floor, all eyes on them. Sonny nods, because she knows what he means (because they've somehow ended up dancing together so many times over the years, it's strange how it always happens), and she places one hand on his shoulder, the other safe in his left while his right settles onto her waist.
The music starts (and Sonny doesn't recognize the song, yet it's so familiar somehow), and suddenly no one else is there anymore, it's just her and Chad together, him leading as he ought to, and her twirling like a princess under the fairy lights, her dress flaring just a little as she spins. It's all falling into place, the dance and the song and the partner, and Sonny feels like she's gliding across the floor with only Chad's steady arms to guide her. They move together perfectly, whirling about as the song plays on.
"You make me crazier, crazier," Sonny whispers to herself, realizing that the song sounds so familiar because she's said the words to herself many times before, at night when she can't sleep and a certain pair of sparkling eyes are haunting her.
"What was that?" Chad murmurs as he twirls her once more, the pink in his Mackenzie Falls tie the exact shade of her dress as they brush against each other, making them even more perfectly matched than the feeling of her hand in his and the way everyone's staring and somehow no one can look away.
"Nothing," Sonny breathes out, because what in the world can she say? And Chad looks at her with those eyes that can read her soul with a single glance, and she knows he knows she's lying.
"Crazier...crazier...crazier...crazier...crazier..." She hasn't said anything this time, it's the song ending far too quickly, and Sonny feels like crying because it's over. Chad brings them to a slow stop, and he tucks her hair behind her ear gently and leans in and ohmygod she can't breathe and then his lips are at her ear and not at her lips and she's disappointed in some strange way even though she expected it and -
"I've missed you so much. Talking to you. Teasing you. Laughing with you. Dancing with you," Chad breathes softly, the corner of his mouth brushing against her cheek in a way that tickles her deliciously. When he pulls back, one of his hands still holding hers, Sonny smiles the brightest she ever has, it's almost blinding in its ecstasy. Who cares about the gaping people with their dropped jaws and shocked expressions? It's a wedding, after all. Isn't she allowed to be happy?
It's a perfect wedding, the kind that little girls dream of. The bride and groom have loved each other for over ten years, though they took their time realizing it, not to mention admitting it to each other. His best man is Nico, whom he has grown close to since the wedding three years ago. And her maid of honor is Tawni, which is just as everyone expected. But on this day, the couple can only see each other.
"I love you," Sonny declares in front of all the guests, standing at the head of the table and holding a crystal glass of wine aloft. "I think I can safely say that I always have, though I didn't want to admit it to myself or anyone for the longest time." Many of the guests laugh, Tawni's infectious giggle one of the loudest. "But I can hopefully admit it now. I love you, Chad Dylan Cooper. And I certainly hope that after all this, you love me too." Chad rises, having already made his toast, and lifts his glass.
"To Sonny!" he pronounces loudly, everyone echoing him. As they gulp from their glasses, Chad whispers jestingly in response, "Of course I don't. Why else would I have just married you?"
"You're terrible, Chad," Sonny nudges him with her elbow as they sit down, unable to keep herself from beaming.
"I know. But you love me anyways." Sonny laughs, her cheeks flushed with happiness. Chad has never seen her look quite so lovely, as radiant now as she was at sixteen.
"I suppose I shouldn't have admitted it only a few moments before, should I? Now I can't deny it," Sonny frowns, feigning disappointment.
"What a shame," agrees Chad, smirking. "But we'll have to suffer through it as we always do." He studies Sonny's face slowly, from the gauze veil at the top of her head concealing her wavy brown hair to the dimpled chin that he loves so well. "Aren't you going to eat anything?" he asks once he realizes that her perfectly kissable mouth is devoid of any crumbs.
"I'm not really hungry." Chad lifts his left eyebrow.
"Really? Well, I'm not either. Would you care to dance, Mrs. Chad Dylan Cooper?" He stands up and holds out his hand, pushing back his chair, and everyone along the table ceases their chatter and looks up at him expectantly.
"Would I care? What an interesting question," Sonny responds coyly, pretending to ponder her answer, a finger on the side of her chin in contemplation.
"Oh, come on, you know you do. Let's go!" Abandoning all pretenses of formality, Chad grabs Sonny's hand and drags her away from the table and onto the adjacent dance floor, all eyes on them.
"Chad!" Sonny exclaims, giggling as she does so. "We can't just abandon our guests like that!"
"We're not abandoning them, they're sitting right there, staring at us," Chad points out. "Besides, the music is starting." Right on cue, the song begins - "Love Story," by Taylor Swift. We were both young when I first saw you, I close my eyes and the flashback starts, I'm standing there... Sonny closes her eyes as the narrator of the song does, letting Chad and the music guide her. It's the day she's always wanted. All the little details are perfect, but most importantly, so is the groom.
"You'll be the prince, and I'll be the princess," Sonny sings along softly, swaying. Chad smiles at her affectionately.
"You know, this is the sixth wedding we've attended together?" he asks her, reminiscing. Her eyelids open, fluttering a few times to restore her vision to its usual quality.
"Mhm. But it's only the fifth one where we've danced together," Sonny adds, her eyebrows furrowing.
"True. Unfortunately," Chad concedes. "So only five that count."
"Five weddings and a wedding," Sonny quips, grinning. "Wasn't that some kind of lame movie ages ago?"
"Something like that," Chad agrees, rolling his eyes. "But the reality is much better." And Sonny has to agree, though she says it with her eyes rather than her mouth. They dance in silence for a while before Chad speaks up.
"It's taken awhile to get here, hasn't it? But I wouldn't have it any other way."
"Nor would I," Sonny whispers. "Nor would I." And then he bends his head down and kisses her, and nothing else matters.
I love you, and that's all I really know. I talked to your dad, go pick out a white dress. It's a love story, baby, just say yes.
A/N: As you can see, I'm a Taylor Swift fan. :D Please review!