Disclaimer: I own nothing and no-one from CSI:NY, I'm just borrowing them for a while. No infringement intended. Any new characters - well they're mine.
A/N: Well here we are at the final hurdle. I've had a great time writing this story and have learned so much so once again thank you all for allowing me to experiment and learn on you! Major fluff warning on this one – if you can't have fluff at a wedding then when can you? So for the last time – enjoy!
The day was bright and clear. Surprisingly, Ellie had slept well and hadn't woken up early as she thought she might. However, her excitement kicked in immediately. Today she was getting married. The last week had passed in a blur and she was so glad that she had taken all the advice she had been given in terms of better over that infection and the miscarriage. She was virtually back to normal now and generally felt great.
She took a moment to reflect on life since she had met Don that chilly Spring night when her front door had been smashed in. They'd been through so much, but this time she decided to reflect on the positive side of life – she'd had enough of the other stuff.
She smiled as she recalled their visit to Central Park Zoo with Lucy, walking through the Japanese Maples, their first kiss, the first time they'd made love, properly, here, at the boathouse. She thought about how much that man had given her – confidence, love, security, protection. She couldn't help the tears that formed and for once she didn't care. These were tears of joy and they'd been a long time coming. She'd only seen Don at the rehearsal dinner the night before, but already she couldn't wait to see him again.
The dinner had been such fun. Ellie had had to get over her issues about it as in the UK the there is no rehearsal dinner and the bride doesn't see the groom the day before the wedding, to do so being bad luck. But they were in the US now and once she'd gotten over the fact that it was all superstitious nonsense, she was so glad. The evening had totally been stolen by Don's friends, mainly Danny who seemed to have endless stories about her fiancé and told them very well. It was two others though that in particular stood out for Ellie. Stella's telling of Don's reaction to the fast food stalls, Don falling in the trash after chasing their suspect down and seeing the rats had everyone laughing. Ellie could only imagine the reaction of her clean freak man. But the best story of the evening was Lindsay talking about a latex doll called Melody and how she and Melody had embarrassed him in the street. The whole party had collapsed laughing and Don was a bright shade of red, trying to deny everything. Eventually, Nancy had herded them all off to bed, Don and Ellie getting only the briefest chance to say goodnight.
The weeks since they had met up at the club had whizzed by and she had noticed that something had changed with Don that night. He'd always been on the protective side as a boyfriend but it was like he had gone in to overdrive. She didn't mind at all – in fact she found it very sexy – but she was keen to know why. When asked, he just joked that he was desperate to get that wedding ring on her finger to stop other guys keep hitting on her. However, Ellie was sure that there was more than just an element of truth in that statement, not to mention that the guy he had rescued her from hadn't actually taken any notice of her engagement ring –maybe Don thought a wedding ring was more of a deterrent? Ellie smiled to herself. She wasn't complaining. An over protective, slightly jealous Don Flack was a sight to behold. He was doing everything he could, albeit subconsciously, to lay claim to her and as far as she could tell it was her reaping all the benefits!
A light rapping on her door broke her very pleasant thoughts and in came Nancy and Eva with a breakfast tray. Ellie looked at these two very different women who had played such important roles in her life. She was definitely like Nancy in more ways than she really cared to admit, but it was Eva's calm presence and unconditional love that had ironed out the flaws that were so clear in her mother.
Ellie knew that Nancy loved her and regretted leaving her. The older woman had worked very hard to build a relationship back with her young daughter, even through the teenage years when Ellie was sure she'd have given up. Ellie definitely found Nancy a challenge, but then so did most people and she was sure this would be no different even if her parents hadn't split up. However, it had been Eva who had sat through the school concerts, plays and sports days. It had been Eva who had taken her to endless dance and music lessons, who had sat up with her at night while she was ill, had been there when her heart had first broken and had always been there with her favourite Bourbon cream biscuits, a cup of tea and a listening ear.
Looking at these two strong women and listening to their excited chatter, Ellie realised how lucky she was to have them both. Getting out of bed, she went over to them both and drew each one into a huge hug. No words were spoken but two mothers shed a tear.
The second emotional moment of the day over, Ellie stepped into a lovely warm bath scented with Don's favourite perfume. This was going to be her last bit of peace for the day. As she lay there relaxing, her 'phone rang.
"Good morning, is that the almost Mrs Flack, I'm speaking to?" came a familiar voice.
"Don't you mean the 'still time to run' almost Mrs Flack?" she replied with a chuckle.
"If I were you babe, I'd certainly be thinking hard about it. If you turn up later, I'll be thinking myself the luckiest man in the world." Ellie couldn't miss the sincerity in his voice.
"So, how you feeling? Nervous?" she asked, not able to tease him anymore.
"A little. But not about marrying you," he added quickly. "Just all those people there, making a speech, that kind of thing. You?"
"Same. At least you haven't got to walk down an aisle watched by your closest family and friends in the middle of the afternoon in a long white dress, in full hair and make up!"
"Sweetheart, if I arrived in a long white dress and make-up your dad wouldn't let me marry you! But you know, I can't wait for that part. Apart from when the minister actually says we're man and wife, I already know my favourite part will be seeing you come down that aisle."
Ellie smiled once again left speechless by this incredible man.
"So what you doing now?"
"Sitting in the bath having a few quiet moments to myself before the hairdresser, and bridesmaids arrive."
"So right now you're in the bath tub?"
Ellie knew that tone of voice and giggled. "Stop right there, Don Flack. None of that. I'm sure you have something to do – like go blow up a latex doll maybe."
"Ha ha, you're funny. I can't believe Lindsay told that story. I still need to get her for that – and now doubly." He sounded like a five year old. "Ok, I got to go. Hawkes and Mac are making breakfast and Danny's just arrived so we need to get Adam out of bed. I will see you later. Don't be late. I love you."
"It's the bride's perogative to be late – make the groom sweat a bit! Love you too."
The next hours flew by. Ellie had been joined by her bridesmaids and a bottle of champagne and they had all had a great time as hairdressers and make up artists arrived. As Ellie sat to have her hair done a knock came at her door and a package arrived addressed to her. Ellie would know that handwriting anywhere. Carefully undoing the wrapping, watched by her friends, she pulled out a velvet covered box. Opening it up Ellie gasped softly at its contents. Inside was a beautiful antique style hair comb finished in marquisite and pearl. It was exquisite and would go with her dress perfectly. In fact it wouldn't have mattered even if it hadn't – nothing was going to stop her wearing Don's gift today of all days.
Ellie watched excitedly as one by one Connie, Donna, Lindsay and then little Lucy changed into their dresses. Then it was her turn. Helped by the designer and her assistant Ellie looked at herself in the mirror. She loved the dress more and more at every fitting but now, with her hair and make up done, on the day itself, she couldn't get over just how beautiful it was.
Essentially strapless, the neckline was cut straight across and decorated in fine crystals with a very fitted bodice that swept down and collected the skirt as it gathered on her waist in an asymmetric design. It was pearl white in colour, its shape 4mphasizing Ellie's curves and yet still remained what Ellie termed as 'decent' for what was a religious ceremony. The skirt panel that was exposed by the sweeping design was filled with the most beautiful lace, the same lace that had been used in the little crystal detailed bolero jacket that would go over the top. Her hair was swept elegantly up at the sides and the rest curled and loosely pinned up leaving some length at the back. Sitting proudly on one side was the comb Don had given her. It matched perfectly the little rose buds, pearls and crystals that were dotted through her hair.
Walking into her bedroom, Ellie was met with loud gasps immediately followed by sobs as her bridesmaids and both sets of parents saw her in her full regalia for the first time. Even her father and Ed were misty eyed and she could feel the warmth and love radiating in their hugs and kisses.
Eventually, all that was left were Ellie, her father and Ed, Nancy and Eva taking their places in the congregation and the bridesmaids having some last minute pictures and getting ready to line up for their entrance cue.
Just before leaving the room Charles and Ed turned to Ellie.
"Elinor, I know this may sound inappropriate, but we would just like you to know that even though we're about to go down to get you married, you don't have to do this. In fact, Ellie if you have any doubts, please don't do this. The guests, the event, the cost, nothing matters more than you being happy."
Ellie looked at her father taking a moment to really understand what he was saying. It was Ed who clarified it.
"We're not saying don't marry Don or that we don't like him. On the contrary, we would both be proud to call him our son-in-law. However, it's you that are marrying him Ellie and we just want you to know that even this late in the day, you don't have to."
Ellie smiled and kissed them both on the cheek. "Thank you, that means a lot to me. But I've never been surer of anything in my life. There are no doubts, not one, not even a little bit, I promise."
Charles smiled softly at his little girl. "Well then, let's go and give you away."
Don had had a great morning. He, Hawkes, Mac and Adam had been staying at the Boathouse and Danny had been in an annexe with his girls. Since they had met up that morning breakfast had been full of laughter and teasing, talk of using the local PD as a getaway car and the science boys saying they could make the place look like Don had never been there! After that Don's Dad and Sam had paid a visit, Don swallowing his emotions as his father had told him not only how proud he was of him but how proud his mother would have been and how much she would have loved Ellie.
Eventually the time had come to get dressed and Don was glad. He wanted to do this so badly it almost hurt. His love for Elinor still scared him a little such was its intensity.
It seemed like an age coming but finally he found himself at the top of the aisle, his family and friends all around him. He thought he'd be really nervous but this felt so right and those around him so supportive that he just found himself – happy. The place looked incredible as well. Nancy had really pulled the stops out but in such a classy, tasteful way that it just couldn't be faulted. And he could see Elinor's influence everywhere which made him feel good; the colours, the flowers, the arbor, the music, all held Ellie's tastes.
Finally, the moment came. The music changed. Everyone stood up. And Don froze. He wanted to enjoy every minute but didn't really know where to look. Danny, standing next to him had no such worries and Don saw a grin a mile wide cross his friend's face, his eyes clearly following someone. Turning slightly, Don saw Lucy coming down the aisle all on her own looking adorable in a little pale blue dress, concentration on her pretty face as she remembered that she had to look for Stella who was waiting at the top of the aisle to make sure she got there. Behind her was Connie and then Lindsay and Donna all wearing smiles more beautiful than their dresses.
Donna had given Don a cheeky wink as she passed him and he had turned to acknowledge Danny's reaction when he saw his face change.
"Wow!' was all he could say. At the same time Don felt a hand on his shoulder and Mac's voice whispered into his ear.
"You aren't going to want to miss this."
Turning around Don's breath caught in his chest as he saw Ellie coming towards him. He watched transfixed as Ed led her halfway down the aisle, stopped, kissed her and then handed her over to Charles to bring her the rest of the way. Don himself only moved when Danny nudged him in the back, bringing him to his senses.
The ceremony itself was beautifully simple, Don and Ellie deciding to not have a complicated set of vows – they had already been through more than most couples ever would and had certainly lived the 'better or worse, in sickness and in health' and almost the 'til death us do part' parts. As 'for richer, for poorer' events had made Don decide not to go to Ellie with a formal pre nup. Instead he had made a gentleman's agreement with Ed and Charles, which had been acceptable to all. That left 'to love and cherish and forsaking all others'. They wouldn't be a problem.
Don was already moving in for his first kiss as a married man as the minister was pronouncing them 'man and wife' much to the amusement of everyone present.
The rest of the day went past in a blur. The food was wonderful, with a salmon starter, main of a choice of roast meats and an array of accompanying vegetables and salads and an odd thing which he knew to be a Yorkshire pudding, but flummoxed his American family and friends slightly. This was followed by a choice of desserts which included a sublime chocolate torte cheescake and tiramisu, Elinor's favourites. The wine that was served complimented each course perfectly and the meal was finished with cheese and crackers, fruit and coffee and mints.
After the speeches, some moving, some extremely funny, the cake was cut and the evening party began. A live band appeared from nowhere and so did more food. Don and Ellie made sure they got round to see everyone before heading back into the house for Ellie to change.
Their precious time alone was cut short when Nancy had come to find them to say that they were needed for more toasts to be made. Ellie had changed into a dress of a lighter silk, the same lovely pearl colour as her wedding dress and still full length but this time in a simple bias cut. It was no doubt a very sexy dress and Don could barely prevent himself from touching the soft material and the even softer curves of his new wife.
The most nerve wracking part of the day for Don had been the thought of the first dance with Ellie but happily for him they had only been on the floor for a minute when first Charles, then Ed, then Danny, then Mac and just about every man there had cut in and wanted to dance with her. Now though, with the traditional bits over, he held Ellie close looking at the shiny ring on his finger, not quite believing they had finally made it this far.
On a terrace overlooking the dance floor Richard and Evelyn Connor sat surveying the scene.
"Do you remember the last time we were here?" Richard asked his wife.
She smiled warmly. "Of course I do."
"And do you remember what you said?"
"I do. It took some time but they still look like movie stars and even more in love than they did before. I think they're going to be very happy."
It was much later than he would have liked when they got back to the cottage that was theirs for the next two nights. Tomorrow would be brunch with everyone who was still there and then Monday would see Mr and Mrs Don Flack fly off to Hawaii for a ten day honeymoon. They had originally planned to go to Europe but Don had vetoed the trip citing Ellie's health as a reason. He hadn't wanted the deal with the jet lag and the round of relatives and friends they would need to see. Truth also was that he wanted Ellie to himself and they both needed the vacation. The trip to Europe could wait until next year.
"What a day," mused Ellie as she carefully started to take the decorations out of her hair.
Don slid his arms around her waist and kissed her neck. "Yep, just incredible. You took my breath away, you know that? You looked stunning coming down that aisle." He kissed her again. "Here let me help."
"You didn't look so bad yourself in that dark blue suit. I think a couple of my aunts thought so too judging by the way they looked at you." she joked, giggling at Don's grimace.
Ellie brushed out her hair, the curls falling across her shoulders. Don turned her around and kissed her gently.
"I love you, you know that right Mrs Flack?"
Ellie giggled. "I do, and I love you too, but you need to get out of this suit. I'll see you in bed…"
Don let her go, changed, had a quick shower and cleaned his teeth. Going into the bedroom he saw Ellie had changed in to a delicate silk and lace nightgown and was laying on the large bed – fast asleep. He took a moment to look at her, his gorgeous wife. She had put him through hell at times and yet today had made him the happiest man on earth. Don lay down beside her and pulled the sheet over them before gathering her in his arms, a smile forming as she snuggled into him. He lay there a while listening to the ocean in the background, a warm breeze coming billowing the curtain softly. This wasn't the way he'd planned on spending his wedding night, but he'd take it. They had their whole lives in front of them, pasts had been put behind them where they belonged and ghosts had been laid to rest. Now it really was just him and Elinor in their new life, starting over.
Well, that's all folks! I just want to thank all who have alerted, added to favourites and of course reviewed. I've never asked for reviews but please, everyone know that they are so lovely to get. And I know from the stats that there are also those of you who have just read, lurking in the background, so thank you too.
Special mentions to Rangersbabe and ipohgirl for your faithful reviews – you've really been an encouragement.
And to my very own Donna – well, you know how much I value your support and friendship. Thank you.