Disclaimer: Don't own. Any of it. Never will.

"The Wedding"

Part 1: I'll Try and Suck It Up

Don't ask me why I'm stuck at the table with the ice sculpture, standing next to Tori as she gives me an insufferably long rant about some dress. I don't quite know why, myself. My skin was itching to get out of there, run through the forest adjacent to the hotel, but I promised, at least, to stay for the ceremony. If I made it through that, I was given full permission to skip the reception. Go wild, let loose, and—what was it Simon told me? Ah, yes. Raise the woof. Haha. He's such the comedian.

Unlike Tori. Bad enough Simon and I were being forced to sit right in front of where she'd be standing in the bridal party, but she couldn't spare me the half hour before the wedding? I'd had enough of her as a teen, and at twenty eight, I still couldn't tolerate being within the same vicinity as our resident moody witch for long stretches of time. Instead of chatting it up in a one-sided conversation with me, shouldn't she be off doing maid of honor-ly duties, like...I had no idea what the hell a maid of honor actually does. If I did, I would have already taken the opportunity to tell her to go do it. And probably not in as so many nice words as those.

"I just can't believe she wore the same thing. What a skank."

"Who are you talking about, again?"

Tori rolled her eyes, and after knowing each other for ten-plus years, I was still stupefied. Did she not realize how much I actually did not listen to her? "The groom's sister. She's such a ho. Wearing my dress."

I might be slow when it comes to these social things, but I'm pretty sure all bridesmaids wear the same dresses. I told her this because I honestly thought she might not have known.

"Obviously, someone hasn't been listening to a word I've been saying." Um. Duh. "Last night, at the bachlorette party, she had the nerve to wear the exact same dress as me. She knew I was going to wear it then because she'd heard me tell Chloe every last detail at breakfast yesterday morning. I have half a mind to fireball the crap out of her right now."

"Cool it." I raised the glass of wine or champagne or whatever the hell they serve at these things to my mouth, letting a small sip run down my throat. "Chloe said no supernatural shit on her wedding day."

"She did not say that." Yeah, she said it in a nicer way. But when it all came down to it, that's basically what she meant. I was putting it into blunt words so Tori would understand. She never seemed to listen to Chloe. Or me, for that matter. Doesn't stop us from trying to put restrictions on her.

"Is this thing going to start soon or what?" My legs moved from side to side, shifting my weight and making me look probably as impatient as I felt. Not like I cared, though. The sooner this was over, the sooner I was out of here. Second the 'I do's' were over and I'd be running through that forest in a blur of teeth and fur. Maybe I'd run to Canada. That sounded like an appealing prospect. Yay, freaking Canada. Home of wilderness galore and moose, or something.

I'd like the punch a moose right now. It'd be better than taking the burning feeling in my stomach out on Tori, and there'd be no black eyes to mar the wedding photos.

"You can't rush a wedding," Tori looked about as happy to be talking with me as I was with her. Which made me wonder why she was still standing there. Surely, there were other people for her to talk to, or god forbid, a single man she could ensnare. Simon was making his advances with the ladies over by the fountain. Why wasn't Tori also trying to get some?

I'd seen a couple of women giving me the elevator eyes, but I'd turned away before they could catch my gaze. Long gone were the signs of puberty that had plagued me all those years ago during, well, puberty. Since those days in Lyle House and my first Change, I'd grown into my body, leaving behind the constant BO smell and pockmarks. Now I wore clothes that fit my body, instead of trying to hide my muscular form beneath sail-sized t-shirts and baggy pants. Suffice to say, I looked like a man. And women noticed. Oh, they noticed. Sure, there might have been a couple of flings here and there, but nothing came of those relationships. Nothing could. I'd given up on serious the day Chloe and I broke up.

She said plenty of women would be at this thing. Lots of singles, filled with that hopeful disparity weddings seemed to inspire in the gentler sex. All mine for the taking, she said. Chloe did. Said I could pretty much hit up some chick at her wedding and have a grand old time with her. That was wonderful. Knowing my ex cared so much about getting me a new girl. If I had any reservations about her marrying this Hank-Harold-Whatshisname, they were gone now. No lingering feelings for Derek, none at all.

It was as much as I expected. We'd been pretty thick as teens, stuck in that mindset like all young lovers that we were going to be together forever. Except we weren't. Graduating from college a couple years early, due to all my credits in high school, I decided to move a bit closer to my girlfriend as she wrapped up her sophomore year at UCLA, studying, of course, film. She lived in a big city. I didn't like big cities. Being close was never close enough for me. There were so many people, so many distractions and noises, I never calmed down. Always on my toes, waiting for disaster to strike, something horrible to happen in which I had to guard her. There had been a lot of fights back then. We'd made it through her junior year. But not the next.

Still friends, though. You don't escape from wacko scientists and cabals and then not grow close to the people who suffered through it with you. I couldn't escape those people even if I wanted. Simon was my brother. Chloe was friends with Simon. Tori was friends with Chloe. Run away from them, I could do, but they'd still be there when I returned home for Thanksgiving. Because I didn't miss feasts.

So, friends it was. Grudgingly, at first, on my part. After the initial shock of the dump, I got over it. About five years we lasted. I hadn't even imagined one. So, I counted my blessings, cherished all the good memories—I could contently say there had been more of those than the bad ones—and moved on with my life. Got my own house hidden in the woods in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Published some award-winning essays. Now I made my living giving speeches at colleges, teaching a few seminars while I was at it. But not for too long. I stayed out of society as much as I was able. This wedding was the largest non-academic-related social gathering I'd been to in, oh, years.

And I didn't even want to be here.

"If I have to wait here so long, can't there at least be a buffet set up? They're serving drinks." I ignored the look Tori was throwing me, and she ignored that I even asked. Luckily for the both of us and the lull in our conversation, a cell phone rang. Tori's, in fact.

I grimaced as she pulled the device from her cleavage, tempted to revert back to my sixteen-year-old self and give a convincing 'Gross.' Yet, I settled for a yakking sound which had her flipping me the bird.

It was Chloe, checking in to see where Tori was, I heard. Her voice was shaky, but not sounding incredibly like she was on the verge of a breakdown. Which was a good thing, I guess, that she wasn't about to freak out on her wedding day, but made the sensation in my gut feel even more like upchucking. It was such a mundane exchange, all about how the flowers looked and how many guests were being seated, that I almost missed when Chloe asked, "I-is Derek there?"

Now, I was listening. And Tori knew it. But she didn't angle the phone away from me or push me to go away, like she had done when we were younger. Just shook her head at me and replied, "In the flesh, right next to me. He's not going anywhere yet."

Oh. So Tori had been sent outside on guard duty. Making sure I wasn't about to run off and break my promise to stay. Chloe's voice was hesitant, maybe not wanting to know if I had run away. A whoosh of air told me she let out a sigh, and concluded maybe I didn't mind waiting that long, if it was evident she was relieved I was still there. Like she needed me to be there. Like this wedding couldn't possibly carry on if I wasn't there to support her. Like maybe this wedding didn't have to happen if I was there.

Except I might have been the only one to think that because then Chloe was asking Tori to come to the bridal suite. Something about only just now putting on her dress, which caused Tori to smack her forehead in exasperation. She hung up the phone, stuck it back down the front of her dress, and chugged down the liquid in the glass she was holding.

"There are nine good reasons to call off a wedding."

"What?" Maybe the Edison Group modified my hearing to suddenly give out after almost thirty years because I'm certain I didn't hear Tori right.

She repeated herself. "There are nine good reasons to call off a wedding. It was some article I read in one of Chloe's wedding magazines a couple weeks ago. The page had been marked, so I was bored and read it. Listed the nine things that would make it excusable to call off a wedding. Pretty interesting stuff."

My snort answered her. Excusable to call off a wedding? Not when I'd been waiting all morning to get it over with.

"No, really. I won't go too into details, but the writer of the article made some compelling arguments."

"Such as?"

The witch adjusted the lone strap on her peacock-colored dress, then smoothed down the wide ruffle thing on the short skirt. "Oh, I said I wouldn't go into details. I barely remember any of it, anyway. Although there was one that stuck out the most at me."

I grunted, beginning to tune out of the conversation again and watch as Simon flirted up a storm with a redhead over yonder. My brother, of course, was definitely taking up Chloe's offer of women on a platter. Unlike me, he's had more relationships than I could keep track of over the years. But with Simon, that was expected.

"Wolf Boy, you listening?"

Turning my glare on Tori, I shooed her snapping fingers out of my face, then checked to see if anyone had heard her. Just because no one else was standing near us, didn't mean she hadn't been overheard. Typical of Tori, she spoke in a voice that just begged people to listen to it, and I wasn't taking any chances that someone heard that stupid nickname she oh-so-originally thought up years ago. "Yeah, sure, whatever. Just get on with it. Wedding's gotta be starting soon."

Rolling her eyes for the last time in my presence, she began walking away towards the hotel, most likely to catch up with Chloe and the rest of the bridesmaids. Over her shoulder, she gave her parting words of wisdom. "The number one reason to call off a wedding is because the bride or groom is in love with someone else."

Authoress's Notes: I've been working on this for almost a month now, so I felt it was about time to finally post it here. It'll be a three-shot, and part two will be posted next week, then part three the week after. I got the idea for this late one night as I was looking up writing prompts and came across one that said "List 9 reasons to call off a wedding". Instant inspiration for a DP fic! I stayed up until 4 in the morning that night typing most of it up. I felt so productive.

The lyrics used for the titles belong to the song "All to Myself" by Marianas Trench. It's a fabulous song, check it out!

Hope you enjoyed! Thanks for reading/reviewing!