Hey! Sorry this took me so long to write but because it was the final chapter I wanted it to be really good. I can't believe we've made it to the end; it feels so good! Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read this story and review, it means so much!
Just a bit of shameless self-promotion but I haven't finished with Marley quite yet, as some of you may have seen I'm in the process of writing a mini- story about her reaction to the revelation that Aaron lied about Emily. I think I'm going to write a couple of these mini- stories by dipping in and out of events in the series such as the arrival of Beth and Reid's headaches. What can I say, I love the characters! I also think I'm going to write a proper sequel, the idea is already in my head but I'll post a link on the end of this story when the first chapter is up.
So final word, thank you so much for reading it and I hope you find the ending satisfying.
Epilogue: I do
4 years later
"You look beautiful." Aaron smiled as he watched me get ready from the doorway. He had tears in his eyes that made me feel my own eyes getting wet. Four years had passed since Jonathon's attack, four years that I didn't want to dwell on too much; they had been full of counselling sessions and drugs and baby steps. Sometimes it didn't feel as if I was ever going to recover, there were times when it felt like the four walls of Aaron's apartment would be all I was ever going to see for the rest of my life, but slowly I'd managed to take my first few steps outside. It had taken eight months before I could return to college and another three before I could spend a night in Spencer's apartment, but I'd done it. Well, we'd done it. It had been a collaborative effort between everyone in my life but Spencer had played the biggest part; he'd stayed true to his promise in the hospital to 'never leave' me. He'd even come with me when I made my pilgrimage to Jonathon's grave on the second anniversary of the abduction. He, and Aaron, had both thought it was a bad idea but I don't think they could really understand it unless they'd seen him the way I had. I'd wanted to make sense of everything, to understand how he could seem so childlike and so deadly all at the same time. Of course I hadn't got those answers from the dull concrete headstone but I'd got something else instead; a sense of closure. I guess when I finally saw that he was dead, that he couldn't hurt me, then I finally realised I was free. I guess I'd also said goodbye to the old me there too, and it was there that I began to realise that just because I was a different person it didn't mean I'd lost my life. As long as the people I loved were with me, then I'd be alright.
"Yeah like a Princess." Jack's declaration as he came bouncing into my room bought me out of my revere; I didn't want to think about Jonathon today. Today was the first day of the rest of my life. Jack looked up lovingly at me; he was still my little boy even if I couldn't lift him up anymore. Although he was only nine you could already tell he was going to have his Father's handsome features, everyone remarked on it; we were already worrying about the teenage years and all the girls who would be hounding our home. Well, it wasn't really my home anymore. I'd moved out a year ago to live with Spencer although I still looked after Jack every afternoon and stayed over when Aaron was working which meant that I still spent a ridiculous amount of time in the house.
"Princess, now that is a compliment." I grinned at him and quickly blinked away the tears. He looked so grown up in his suit; it reminded me of the one he wore at Halloween only this one fit him and I had to say he looked great. Aaron was wearing the self-same suit; all of the wedding party were wearing the same light grey suit with a burgundy tie.
"We're going to be late!" My Father anxiously called as I heard him bustling about outside in the corridor.
"I'm the bride; I'm allowed to be late." I grinned as I said the word, bride. I was getting married, in a few hours I'd be someone's wife. Spencer's wife. Excitement and love bubbled inside me until I could barely stand still; I was bouncing on my white satin heels. I wanted to be at the ceremony now, with the ring on my finger and Spencer's hand in mine.
"Well you don't want the poor boy thinking you've jilted him at the altar; you know what he's like." My Dad babbled as he entered the room only to stop dead when he saw me. "My God, you look beautiful."
"Like a princess." Jack repeated.
"Yes, my little princess." My Dad agreed as he wiped away tears before hugging me tightly. He held me out at arm's length to get a good look at me. My hair was pulled up with a few curls framing my face; as the years had gone on I'd slowly come to terms with the way I looked, and Spencer's reaction every time I left my hair natural had helped. I knew he'd get a kick out of it today of all days. My dress was strapless and flowing, appropriately white with embroidered flowers across the bodice and spreading like ivy down the front; it matched my engagement ring, a silver band with several smaller diamonds forming a flower. He'd proposed to me on the day we graduated, eighteen months ago, in Aaron's kitchen because it was where we'd first laid eyes on each other.
"Do you remember the day we first met?" Spencer asked as he wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed my exposed neck. Even after all these years I still felt a pleasurable tingle race down my spine at his touch.
"Of course, it was the best day of my life." I told him sincerely. "You didn't even want to shake my hand."
"No," He snorted. "How things have changed." As if to demonstrate his point further he laced his elegant fingers between mine.
"I love you." I promised his as he turned me round so that we were flush against each other.
"There's a reason I wanted us to celebrate here." He whispered, his hot breath sounding obscenely loud in my ear as his teeth grazed my cheek. "I wanted us to be stood right here, where we met, where we first fell in love."
He pulled away from me and kissed me, before dropping down in front of me onto one knee. I stared down at him, praying that he hadn't gotten cramp. Luckily he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a red velvet box, much like the one he'd given me the necklace in. I felt tears well up as I stared down at the love of my life on his knees, this was perfect. He opened the box to reveal a simple gold band with tiny diamonds forming a flower. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen and I could imagine Spencer spending hours in a jewellery store pondering over which one would seal the deal.
"Marley Elizabeth Prince, you are the most beautiful, kind, amazing woman that I have ever met and I thank God every day that I met you. Will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?"
"Yes!" I shrieked and pulled him up from the floor before placing a bruising kiss on his lips as he crushed me against his body in ecstasy.
"I love you." We promised each other as he slipped the perfect ring onto my finger, where it would stay for the rest of my life.
I fiddled with the ring now and I smiled as I thought of Spencer. He was perfect; how anyone could find a fault with him I wasn't sure. I couldn't wait to spend the rest of my life with him, the two of us against the world that was what we always said. My Dad kissed my head before quickly swiping at his glassy eyes to try and prevent the unshed tears flowing over. Garcia, who had been stood abnormally quietly in the corner just watching us, suddenly appeared at my side and squeezed my arm to silently communicate that we really needed to leave. She looked beautiful, in the same burgundy dress as the other bridesmaids; it was a floor-length gown with thin spaghetti straps and light pink embroidered flowers across the bodice that matched the white ones on mine. The other bridesmaids were all making the final arrangements to their bouquets of flowers. There were five of them; Emily, JJ, Rebecca my oldest school friend who was also my maid of honour and Kate who was my best friend from college, she'd been assigned to help me catch up on all the work I'd missed and we'd slowly become great friends. Rebecca turned and handed me my bouquet of red and white roses before bending down to check that my dress fell down correctly, what could I say, she was taking her maid of honour duty extremely seriously.
"Can you give us a minute, don't worry I'll have her downstairs in two minutes." Aaron added quickly when Garcia and Rebecca gave him a death glare, but they agreed to his demand and all left the room to wait in the living room area of our hotel room. The beautiful suite had been Dave's wedding present to us; we wanted Diana to be at the wedding so we were holding it in Las Vegas and Dave had insisted on getting us the best suite he could in the hotel where we were getting married.
"What's up Aaron?" I asked as he fiddled in his pocket for something. "You proposing to me too?"
"I've just got you out of my house, I don't want you back!" He laughed, although to be honest he probably saw just as much of me now as he did when I actually lived with him. "I just… I have something to complete your tradition, you know, something old, something borrowed? It was my Mother's, she wore it on her wedding day and Haley wore it on ours… and I guess Jack's wife can wear it on their wedding day. One of the stones fell out so I had to get a new one, so it all fits. I just thought… if you want, you could wear it."
He blushed as he babbled all the while holding a blue velvet box in his hands, on the interior lining a beautiful silver bracelet with three small sapphire hexagons embedded in the silver band had been loving laid out. It was beautiful and I felt honoured that he wanted me to carry on his family's tradition.
"I'd love to wear it." I kissed his cheek before holding out my wrist so he could do up the clasp.
"We better get you outside before they send in a search party. I'm proud of you." He fingered the old healed scar on my wrist and I followed his progress with my eyes, feeling ridiculously vulnerable as he pinpointed my weakest spot but I knew that Aaron would look after me. He squeezed my hand before leading me out to the waiting crowd who were laughing excitedly.
"Ready kid?" My Dad asked as he held out his arm for me to take.
"Ready." I grinned.
My heart was beating like a hummingbird in my chest as I waited for my cue to enter the room with my Dad by my side. He was gripping my hand tightly, trying to stop me from jumping around too much; what could I say, I was so excited to marry the man of my dreams. My Dad laughed before pulling me close as we heard the music change, he kissed my cheek as we proceeded forward. Everyone was stood up watching me but I only had eyes for Spencer. He was stood at the front by Derek and smiling at me like I was the most wonderful thing he'd ever laid eyes on. I blushed under the intensity of his gaze but couldn't tear my eyes away from him. I love you, he mouthed at me and I smiled before mouthing the same back.
When we reached him my Father kissed my cheek before, reluctantly, releasing my hand and giving it to Spencer. His grip was warm and I could feel small tremors in his fingers as he nervously twitched in front of the crowd.
"You look beautiful." He whispered as the ceremony started.
"You don't look too bad yourself, handsome." He blushed at the comment before turning back to the front. The reverend began his sermon but I wasn't listening. All I could focus on was the feeling of our interlocking hands. Every few seconds, as if we'd timed it, we would share sidelong glances at one another; every time he turned his entire face was lit up with happiness. We turned back to the reverend who was still continuing his monologue about the importance of love. I didn't need him to tell me how important Spencer's love was. It was everything to me. We both grinned like lunatics as the reverend instructed us to make our vows, very soon we'd be married.
"I, Marley Elizabeth Prince, take you, Spencer William Reid, to be my lawfully wedded husband,
secure in the knowledge that you will be my constant friend, my faithful partner in life, and my one true love. On this special day, I give to you in the presence of God and all those in attendance my pledge to stay by your side as your faithful wife in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, as well as through the good times and the bad. I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you, and cherish you for as long as we both shall live." Tears glimmered in both our eyes and most of the congregations as we made our solemn promises to love one another forever. Derek bought forward two silver bands which the reverend proceeded to bless before handing the larger one to me. I slid it onto his finger, with promises of love and he did the same. The weight felt unfamiliar but it was a symbol of our love and I never wanted to take it off.
"I now pronounce you man and wife; you may now kiss the bride." The congregation began clapping and cheering as we leaned forward. One of Spencer's hands found its way to my neck to pull me forward, not that I needed much encouragement, and I met those familiar moist lips that made my world a better place. It was chaste and light but held the promise of more to come later.
"I love you, Mrs Reid." He laughed, looking joyous as pulled me into his arms.
"I love you too!" I kissed him again, deeper this time as utter bliss settled over me. Surely it wasn't right that one person could cause me this much happiness. I pulled away from him and risked a glance at the congregation, who were all on their feet clapping. Jack was jumping up and down, whooping and laughing in the front row.
Spencer followed my gaze and laughed too when he saw how happy the other man in my life was for us.
As the first chords of our first dance played out I was happily encircled in Spencer's arms as he swayed us gently on the dance floor. One of my hands rested over his chest so I could feel his beating heart beneath my fingers. His head rested close to mine so his breath tickled my cheek as I turned my head so I could kiss him.
"I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you… well, until Derek finally realises that I'm the girl for him." I joked and Spencer rolled his eyes but kissed me back.
"Why you? What if I decide to run off with Kate?"
"We could always opt for an open relationship?" I laughed before snaking my arms around his neck so I could pull him just that little bit closer, my subconscious obviously hating the conversation, even if we were joking.
"We probably should have worked this out before our wedding." He laughed before motioning towards another couple who had joined the dance floor after our first dance. I snorted when I saw who it was; somehow Jesse had convinced Emily to dance with him and they were swaying together on the dance floor.
"I'm surprised it's not Dave." I giggled; Jesse's 'crush' on Dave had become a running joke between all of us. Both my twin brothers were currently studying at college; Nick was studying linguistics at Caltech (It was best not to dwell on how he'd got the illusive scholarship) and Jesse was studying criminal law in DC, after what had happened to me he'd decided that he wanted to go into the FBI. Spencer, who had treated him as a brother since they'd first met always beamed with pride whenever Jesse was in the BAU building and happily introduced him to all of his peers. Although Jesse's favourite member of the team was, without a doubt, David Rossi. They seemed an unlikely combination, and Morgan still hadn't stopped teasing Rossi for the infatuated teenager that followed him around the office asking him questions but it seemed a mutually beneficial relationship; Jesse got to hear about profiling from the founder and I think Rossi enjoyed the attention of a trainee who worshipped the ground he walked on.
Jack danced over and grabbed my hand before tugging on it, obviously wanting to dance with me. I think he was just thrilled that after I got back from my honeymoon the two of us got to spend the entire summer together before I went back to college; I had decided that I wanted to become a teacher. My career revelation had occurred halfway through my last year when I was in the process of having a complete meltdown as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I could feel my Dad was itching to say 'I told you so' but had managed to hold his tongue. Of course I had the money I got from looking after Jack but I wanted a proper job, but one that would still allow me to look after him. Then I'd been sat with Aaron in one of Jack's parent teacher conferences and it suddenly hit me; I wanted to teach. Aaron had laughed when I'd told him before revealing that everyone at the BAU had been taking bets on when I would admit that I wanted to teach; I'd just had to role my eyes and insisted that they were all psychic.
We partied on till the early hours of the morning; Derek took his best man duties very seriously and ended up disappearing with Rebecca, Jesse got drunk and tried to kiss JJ only to find a very angry Will waiting for him and Emily was caught on the balcony in a compromising position with Jeff, one of Spencer's old school friends. So all in all it was a normal family wedding. Spencer and I retired to our honeymoon suite as the first rays of dawn broke across the Mojave Desert, we would catch a few hours' sleep before we left for the airport for our honeymoon; we were going travelling across Europe for three weeks to London, Paris and Venice.
After we found our room and Spencer had rifled through his pockets for the key he'd had to wrestle from an intoxicated Morgan, Spence wrapped one strong arm around my shoulders and the other under my knees so that he could pull me up into his arms. I yelped in shock before quickly wrapping my arms around his neck to keep my balance.
"We're starting married life properly." He joked as I looked at him as if he had lost his mind, but then I found that I quite liked the feeling of safety that bloomed inside of me as he cradled me in his arms.
That was how I started the next phase of my life; feeling safe and loved in my husband's arms.