Call Her Puckerman
A tiara had not adorned her head since she was 5 years old.
Now, sitting in front of the vanity, Lauren realized there was a reason for that: only toddlers looked good in tiaras.
"I look ridiculous," she scowled, making a grab for the tiny, crystal crown pinned securely (and painfully) to her flowing hair.
Quinn swiped at her best friend's hands, almost as if Lauren was her fussy child. "Stop! You look stunning, so don't go messing with a good thing." She looked to Mercedes, who was sitting across the room, putting her shoe on.
"She's right, girl. All eyes are gonna be on you today because you're gorgeous," she chimed in. "So stop playin' like you don't know you're hot."
Lauren's reflection glared at both of them, and she huffed, "You can both go now," in frustration.
The girls exchanged a glance. "Are you sur…." Quinn began, but all it took was another sharp look from Lauren to send them practically flying out of the room.
Once they were gone, Lauren stood up and looked at herself again in the full-length mirror next to the window. Even swimming in ivory – it had taken every ounce of strength Lauren had to maintain her composure when the words "white dress" had come out of Mrs. Puckerman's mouth when they'd gone dress shopping – her friends had a point. She looked amazing. But she wasn't about to give her maids of honor the satisfaction of knowing that. If she wanted to be a little dramatic, and a little over the top, then she could be since it was her wedding. Even if the whole thing had been Puck's idea.
She'd always known he was a bit of a sap when it came to love, though he always argued, "It's not just love, babe. It's you." Normally, she gave him a 'yeah right' look when he said it, but she never told him to stop since she secretly loved hearing the words, "it's you."
Okay, maybe she was a bit of a sap when it came to him too. She had said yes, after all. She'd even cried a little when he proposed using a box of the same kind of chocolates he'd given her on their first Valentine's Day, with a ring replacing one of the candies, and a note that says, "Since they all don't suck this time, marry me?"
The initial reaction from their parents when they'd told them was, "Lauren's not pregnant, is she?" Or some variation of it. To some degree, she'd understood, since neither she nor Puck had ever really talked about marriage to anyone. But Lauren found the question itself a little ridiculous, because…she was 26 years old. Why would she need to marry him just to have a baby? Besides, they'd been solidly together for more than four years.
The first few years after high school had been on and off. They'd always loved each other, but it was easier not to slap a label on it while she was pre-med at Ohio State, and he was in the Marines. They'd agreed that it was their time to do what they wanted, see what and whom life had to offer.
In all that time though, Puck was always the person that Lauren called after long, stressful days. And Lauren was the person Puck had asked to write him when he'd been overseas, and she was the only one he'd ever been able to talk to about stuff that'd happened over there. Stuff that he would have rather forgotten.
Bottom line? Puck was the only Lauren wanted to be with, and he felt the same about her. That's why he'd asked her to marry him. And why she'd yes.
"But will it be enough?" she said, mostly to herself.
"Will what be enough?" came a familiar voice.
"OH MY GOD PUCKERMAN! What are you doing here? It's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding!" she screeched angrily, as she looked over her shoulder.
Puck's face twisted into one of his infamous Cheshire grins. He found the fact that she still called him by his last name sometimes, like when she was annoyed, or nervous, kind of adorable. Especially since it was going to be her last name too. It had taken a little work on his part – and by "work" he meant having a good time using her own body against her – but he'd gotten her to agree to take his name.
He raised a finger to point to what looked like a lilac colored sleeping mask covering his eyes. "Kurt's way ahead of you on that one. Trust me, he's not going to let me ruin this day for him."
"You look as ridiculous as I do with that thing on." Lauren kept her voice flat, but she was trying desperately to suppress a giggle.
Puck pulled the makeshift blindfold over his head, which made her gasp, but his eyelids remained firmly pressed together as he felt his way across the room. Arm outstretched, the tips of his fingers landed on her upper arm. "The girls were right. You are talking crazy."
"Traitors," she mumbled, reaching again for the tiara then pulling her hand back.
"Nah," he said, sliding his hand down to her arm, forcing her to turn and face him. "They just figured maybe I could work my magic, calm you down."
She shivered at his touch. "I'm perfectly calm," she lied as she tried to break away from him.
"Right." He pulled her closer and wrapped his arms around her. "Tell me what's going on, because the Lauren I know knows she's looking fine as hell right now."
"You can't even see me," Lauren pointed out, her voice growing small, a sure sign that she knew Puck was onto her. He was always onto her.
"Don't need to. I've seen you looking beautiful before. Both in and out of clothes. How is now any different?" He touched his forehead to hers. "Now tell me what's really wrong here?"
She sighed. "It's just…well, forever is pretty permanent. What if I get sick of you?"
Puck cocked his eyebrow. "You haven't gotten sick of me yet. And I've done a ton of dumb stuff for you to get sick of."
He's right about that, Lauren thought. Just the week before, he'd gotten so drunk at his bachelor party that he showed up at her parent's house – where she'd been staying while in Lima – and ended up tromping all over her mom's flowerbeds and peeing in the birdbath. If her father didn't love her, and Puck – he'd never admit any such thing but Lauren knew that Puck was like a son to him, marriage or no – Puck would have ended up in a holding cell.
"And even though I know you weren't wondering, I'm not going to get sick of you either. Even if you spend the next 70 years nagging me to death about…well, whatever it is you nag me about."
Lauren wanted to smack him for all but admitting that he didn't listen sometimes, but she couldn't. He'd just said exactly what she'd wanted to hear without sounding like he was just saying it. She believed he meant it.
"What about the other stuff?" she asked, referring to the financial situation they were facing.
She knew that were lucky enough not to have the kind of crippling debt a lot of people their age had. Lauren had gotten a partial scholarship to college, then a full scholarship to medical school, and only had a handful of payments left on her car. Puck, much to the surprise of everyone, had saved most of the extra money he had made in the military instead of blowing it on beer, jet skis, and new rims for his Jeep, so they had some starting out money. But it was expensive to live in California, especially around LA, and she as much as she wanted to support Puck while he made a play for his music dreams, she didn't know if she could take care of them.
"I'll tell you what I always do when we fight about this. We'll figure all that stuff out as it goes, baby. Like all married people do."
"Not all married people," Lauren said, all the divorce statistics she'd ever read of flooding into her mind.
"Fine. Forget them. We'll get through it like you and me. I got your back, and you got mine."
Lauren's mouth betrayed her, revealing a small smile. "I hope those aren't your vows," she teased.
Puck patted his jacket pocket, and smiled coyly at her. "That's all taken care of. I told you, we've got this." He inhaled the sweet smell of her skin as he lightly grazed her shoulder with his teeth. His hands slid over the expanse of her hips. "I can't wait to get you out of this dress later," he said, his voice sounding huskier than usual.
"If seeing the bride is bad luck, I'm pretty sure trying to get her all hot and bothered is like…the worst luck ever." But, again, she wasn't stopping him. She never could when he was like this. The feel of his hands, of his mouth, on her always made her feel…so many things. Weak in the knees, adored. Safe.
Like she wanted to be his forever.
"Guess we're doomed then, aren't we?" he breathed, as he kissed his way up her neck.
All Lauren could manage was, "Mmmm."
Reluctantly, Puck broke his body from her, but let his hands linger a bit. "So, can we get married now?"
"One condition," Lauren said.
"Hang onto that blindfold. I'm kind of into it."
He gave her a closed eyed wink. "Done," he said as he backed away, slowly, and made his way to the door.
"See you at the altar, Puckeman," Lauren called as Puck reached to pull the door closed behind him.
"I'll be the one with the sexy wife…Puckerman."