Meet Reza. You'll enjoy her. And see more of her.

XXX

I'm not really sure how this could've happened. Well, aside from the obvious. Okay, so I know exactly how this happened--But I'm not exactly jumping up and down with the need to share it with the world. Heaven forbid. Actually I'm kind of hoping that if I close my eyes and wish hard enough the earth would actually take pity on me, open up and swallow me whole. Hell, I can hear them out there. What could I have possibly done in the past eighteen years on this planet to anger karma and the gods so?

"Do you need help in there?"

"No...I'll be out in just a moment." Here I am, fighting, and just barely managing, to keep my voice from cracking like a pubescent male. Looking at the mirror and stealing myself for my fate--I didn't stop praying for anything to save me. But alas, no fiery comet was coming from above, I could hear no screams of the Huns invading, and I was still standing in the exact same spot. Shit. It's time to face the music, as much as I hate this song.

Forcing a bright smile I unlocked the door to the dressing room and stepped out. Only to be immediately hauled away by two frighteningly perfumed and powdered ladies. I was starting to feel a bit like a mannequin, and I was seriously starting to pity those things. The women continued to flutter around me, pocking, prodding and mumbling obscure measurements to themselves--Dear gods they just grabbed a box of pins. It was a struggle to not whimper in fear as I desperately tried to find my happy place.

It wasn't working. Oh god. I was going to die. It might've been better, or at least more assuring, if the women were actually looking at what they were doing and not rambling a mile a minute about how adorable I looked in the dress, and how the bride had been glowing, and how handsome the groom was. I was sure I was either going to die or kill something if this continued. It was a level of hell, I was absolutely positive. What made the whole thing worse was that I'd actually agreed to it. Maria hadn't twisted my arm at all. Of course, the other girl had previously had perfectly fine judgment, so how was I to know that it would have magically disappeared as soon as the girl saw a sparkly ring?

And while normally I wouldn't have faulted the girl for that--While standing in a cotton candy pink gown that weighed more then I did and made me look a bit like a pink pear, I was definitely faulting the other girl. And I'd had such a good feeling about the wedding too.

Wincing as a pin grazed my side and not the fabric, I again retreated to her happy place, where there was no pink monstrosity, no scary fluttery ladies, no incidents with bitchy bride maids, and perhaps someone waiting back at my flat that I could bitch to about the dress. Christ I needed to get a pet. I was getting pathetic. Yelping as I was actually jabbed, the thoughts I'd been entertaining quickly fled and I was again stuck dealing with my reality.

XXX

"Eliza looks amazingly adorable in her flower girl dress--I can't wait till you see it Dash."

"Ah, Maria looks absolutely amazing though--"

"But he can't see that yet!"

Good-natured laughter filled the room and I started to consider knocking myself out versus knocking everyone else out. It was kind of an ethics problem. Though I was still trying to figure the whole thing out when I glanced up and realized all four of my brothers, Dash's fiancé, and all the other bridesmaids were staring at me. Shit. Did I say any of that out loud? How was I going to get out of this? I couldn't exactly ask why they were looking at me--that would just be generally bad.

"Sorry. Lost in my thoughts, what was that?" There. That's nice and subtle. Though I could tell by the look my brothers are sending me that they knew better. But none of the girls really know me that well, and since they were looking at me they totally managed to miss the look anyways, and the innocent look of me smiling at my brothers is just that, completely innocent. Ha. I totally win. But celebrating that had to wait till later because Erika was trying to explain the section of conversation I'd missed--And trying to understand what the hell Erika is saying is always as hard as hell. Her hands do this energetic dance that always seemed to distract me, and she rarely actually managed to talk about the subject at hand anyways. Erika is absolutely nuts and pretty proud of it. And I totally didn't understand what the hell she was saying, so of course I did the logical thing and just turned to Athea and made her explain instead.

Apparently the girls had been waiting for my vote on what order I wanted the grooms men and bridesmaids to go down the aisle. Of course the Best Man and the Maid of Honor would be walking together. Kass was the Best Man and Athea was Maria's. I'd met five of the seven groomsmen, was related to two of them, friends with one of them, and had almost dated one of them. The one I'd met but didn't know was engaged to one of the other bridesmaids. So, in short, I didn't care who the hell I walked down the aisle with. Sure I'd have to dance once with whoever I was paired with, but I'd heard Erika say that the two I'd never met were at least attractive physically, so I really didn't care. Besides, in about five seconds what was happening would sink through to my brothers and they'd decide that one of them wanted to walk their baby sister down the aisle.

In five, four, three, two and...

"You know Mari, I really think Zev should take Reza down the aisle." So predictable, so boring. I guess I should be glad that walking with one of them I won't be walking with anyone I might 'want to get to know a little better'. Because wearing that dress would surely stop anything from developing. Psh. It wasn't like Zev would care if I looked like a giant pink pear, which was honestly a bit of a relief.

"Oh Dash, don't get all big brotherly on the poor girl! Go on now, we'll figure out the order, go watch the football game or something."

"It's called soccer on this side of the puddle Maria."

"I don't care--Out!"

And out the boys did trot, of course, not like they had much of a choice. Though even if they did I think they would've dashed. Hell, I kind of wanted to dash and gladly would've--If I'd had a choice. I didn't of course. But after quickly explaining that I really didn't care who I walked down the aisle with, they lost interest in me. Not that they let me go of course, no, I had to continue to sit there while they decided who would go with whom. Really it was kind of similar to an auction, each girl fighting for the guy she wanted.

The final results were this: Erika would be walking with Zev. (They'd dated a couple of years ago, and though there was nothing there anymore, Erika had yelled that she would damn well go with someone who could dance--And she knew he could dance.) Sabine would be going with Jay. (There hadn't even been any argument for that one because it had been clear as soon as they'd met that Sabine was crushing on him.) Molly would be going with Cameron. (Cameron was one of the two I didn't know--And actually only Erika and Maria knew him, apparently he was Maria's brother's wife's second cousin or something like that, but Maria had decided he needed someone nice in his life, and Molly was the ultimate sweetheart. So Maria was trying to hook them up--No, seriously. She wasn't even married and she was already trying to get everyone else hooked up.) Cindi would be walking with Ridley. (I couldn't help but feel kind of bad for my friend at this one, but he'd like her. She was blond and stacked. And she'd wanted to walk with him because of his rock star career.) Sophia would be walking with Damien. (Obvious choice, they're engaged.) Deborah would be with Aaron. (This one, hell, I don't even know how this one was decided--especially not after the cat fight that it actually took for it, but that's what it was.) And I'd be walking with Zerek. (He was another one of Maria's somehow distant relations and she wanted him to have a nice girl too--Which told me that she didn't know me very well, but she'd figure it out. I wasn't complaining, according to Erika he was hot stuff, and despite Erika's other questionable opinions, she was usually good about judgment of guys.)

As soon as that matter was decided, the other girls started telling Maria how much they loved the bridesmaids' dresses. I froze up for a moment, but then lied though my teeth and assured her that I loved the giant pink pear monstrosity. Only, you know, I didn't call it that.

Hell, this really wasn't turning out to be my month.

XXX

I've been to a few weddings over my lifetime, and though this was the first time I was actually part of the wedding party, I was still sure this was not right. We were having three rehearsals for the wedding. Yeah, you read that right. Three. Doesn't that seem a bit extreme? And catch this--I had to wear a different dress to every freaking one of them. According to the psychotic wedding coordinator the first one was to make sure that everyone was comfortable with each other. With those words I started kind of expecting dreadful trust exercises. The second was to do one run through with all the options. And the third one was the actual rehearsal. Yeah, I'm still not following the logic.

But really, I'm not complaining. Because, get this, Zerek -- You know, the one I have to walk with? -- He is completely and utterly smoking. Tall, dark, handsome and charismatic. He's vaguely got that whole 'bad boy' thing going for him, but he's actually really sweet. And--Yeah, yeah, I was crushing on him already. Shut up he was--Hell, I don't even know how to explain it.

So we'd slogged through half of the ceremony before the crazy wedding coordinator had decided something was 'not right'. Right now he was making all the groomsmen rearrange the entire set up. I was sipping on the Dr. Pepper I'd had the foresight to bring with me. A lot of the other girls were touching up their make up. Erika was smoking outside and I was fairly sure Sabine was trying to nap in the corner. Glancing around--And only letting myself ogle the boys for a moment, (come on, they were moving big stuff and a few had taken off their shirts.), I spotted Cindi coming at me with purpose. Me and her didn't really...Click. So I was a bit confused why she'd be smiling at me like I was her best friend.

"Reza! Oh! You brought a drink. That was smart of you, can I have some?"

"Uh, a-"

"Thanks! You're such a sweetheart!"

Okay. Can we replay what just happened? I'm sitting here, minding my own business and drinking the Dr. Pepper I brought, and Cindi comes bouncing up. And I do mean bouncing. She over enthusiastically asks me for a drink, I start to answer--in the negative actually, I think I might be getting sick, and she grabs the thing out of my hand, drinks quite a bit more then 'some' and finally hands it back to me. I suppose the world has to punish me somehow, and since I actually got a better escort then I could've wished for, it had to screw me up somehow. Typical.

Ew...She'd left a lipstick ring on the lip of my bottle. Oh shit, she was talking again, focus Reza.

"...Anyways, since he is your friend, and I just can't do this with him, I was wondering if you'd trade me? I mean, you said you didn't care who escorted you, and you're so nice anyways that I don't think there'd be a problem, but it's still right to ask, right?" Laughing she surveyed me, assured of my answer.

Wait, what? She wanted me to be escorted by Ridley as she took Zerek? That--Hell. She'd taken one look at Zerek and decided that just because Ridley was starting to achieve fame it wasn't worth it. And apparently I was going to agree to let go of the hottie because I was so nice. Well screw that! I opened my mouth to tell her exactly that when I realized something: The day of the wedding I'd be wearing the monster dress. That evil thing that somehow managed to look good on all the other bridesmaids but made me look like a pink pear. Remember those plays everyone had to do in primary? The ones where somehow someone would end up dressed as a giant food item? Well whenever I wore my dress when the others were too, I felt like I was the girl who had misunderstood that we weren't supposed to be pears but were just supposed to abstractly resemble them. Yeah, I was that girl. Did I really want to dance with Zerek when looking like a giant pink pear? No. Not really. And I mean, after that one dance we were allowed to go change and then I could dance with him. Yeah, that would work. And it wasn't like I cared if Ridley danced with me in that. Hell, he'd seen me in worse.

"Yeah, alright." Shrugging I acted as if I hadn't almost refused her. Though considering the hug she gave me after I uttered that, one would think that she'd known how hesitant I was at first. Waving her off as quickly as I could she scampered off to inform the boys of the change. At the news Ridley immediately turned towards me, one eyebrow raised curiously. I saluted him with my soda bottle, my middle finger prominently displayed against the red. He laughed, then clutched his heart and tried to look hurt. And it was about that time I realized Zerek was watching the interaction between us. Well hell, way to give the wrong impression Reza. I knew it looked like me and Ridley were flirting, but we weren't, we were just...Being ourselves. Ridley and me weren't compatible and never would be. We'd made out, once. By some twist of fate both out significant others had dumped us on the same night. Mine had been cheating on me and he'd actually been ready to commit to when she'd broken it off. We were both a mess, and we got drunk together, and things progressed from there. But we haven't done anything since then and there really isn't anything there anyways. I mean, he's one of my best friends, but there is nothing romantic there.

Whatever, I really had to give up on this faint hope that something would go right. Nothing was and I had to come to terms with that. I mean, I should be realistic, Cindi is bustier then I am, blonder then I am, and better at being sexy then I am. I didn't have a chance as soon as I handed Zerek over to her. Hell, at least I could have fun with Ridley. Make fun of everyone else and just generally be badly behaved.

The rest of the night was pretty uneventful. I got to see Cindi simper over Zerek, and me and Ridley made fun of it the entire time. The wedding coordinator from hell made me and Ridley redo the dance several times because we couldn't remain properly 'somber' through it. That I really didn't understand. It was a wedding, a joyous occasion right? So why are we being somber? Eventually he lost his patience with us and we got to go home--Everyone else had left what felt like hours ago. So back to my flat I went, soaked in a bath and again reminded myself that I really needed a pet or something cuddly to come home to.

The next day and the next rehearsal went about the same way. Actually it went surprisingly the same way. Me and Ridley continued to be badly behaved, and about halfway though the ceremony the wedding coordinator called a momentary halt. I'm pretty sure it was because he needed to go and drink before having to deal with the two of us again. But in any case, it left everyone standing around again. The smokers went outside, the girls went to the powder room, and I made a beeline for the balcony with my purse. This time I'd brought a book and my Dr. Pepper so I was really set. Of course, actually being allowed to read would be too easy, so after about five minutes of being up there I heard someone climbing the stairs and looked up just in time to see a distraught Molly falling into a seat. As I've already said, Molly is one of the nicest people I know, so of course I rushed to her and quickly found out what had upset her. Apparently Cameron, the one who needed a sweet girl, was being a complete asshole to Molly and with him on top of the yelling wedding coordinator she really wasn't dealing well. I hated to see her that distraught, so I accepted my fate as having the worst possible experience with this wedding, and told her Ridley could escort her and I'd put up with the asshole. I know, I'm such a kind giving person.

In any case she was much relieved, and again I got hugged and she rushed off to inform Maria of the change. Shoving my book back in it's bag I wandered down the stairs after her and seated myself just in time for Maria to finish telling all the boys the change. And apparently she'd told Cameron to find me because he was headed my way, smelling faintly of smoke and swaggering. Joy.

As soon as he got to me he collapsed gracelessly in the seat next to me and opened his mouth to say something--theoretically introduce himself. I cut him off.

"Look, I don't care what your problem is, I don't have any driving need to make this harder then it already is, but I swear to anything that if you make my headache even slightly worse I will brain you with the heel of my shoe, okay?" Yeah. That was a good first impression. But seriously, if he'd upset Molly that much I really didn't want to deal with him, he was just my escort, nothing more, nothing less.

Turning to look at him I saw his eyebrow was arched and he was surveying me with a smirk. One of the most arrogant smirks I've ever seen. "You greet everyone like that?"

"No, you're just special." Sarcasm was coating my words so heavily a deaf kid could've caught it.

"Oh and I feel it." He really had that arrogant thing down. Seriously, when you can hear it, then it's a little excessive.

Rolling my eyes I didn't bother to respond. Hell Molly owed me after this. After a moment of silence he finally spoke again.

"You and the boyfriend on the outs?" Wow. Apparently in addition to being arrogant he was also completely crazy. Did he and Erika know each other?

"What?" Turning towards him I blinked and must've looked completely bewildered, because with a wave of his hand he tried to explain himself better.

"You and your boyfriend, first some other guy was escorting you, and now me. He the reason you're in such a shitty mood?" It took me a chunk of time to figure out what the hell he was talking about, and when I realized that he was another of those people who apparently thought me and Ridley were dating, well, my reaction wasn't the most graceful. In short I cracked up and laughed at him for a minute before explaining that me and Ridley would never date--And I was just playing musical escort. I'm sure he would've asked something after that if the wedding coordinator from hell hadn't rounded us up at that point and run us through the whole thing again. And during that talking was strictly prohibited--Yes, even the dance. Trust me, me and Ridley had had enough chalk thrown at us to prove that if nothing else. This time though I didn't have to stay after at least. Cameron was a pretty good dancer--even if he was short. And no, I'm not saying that height effects dancing, but I was wearing a pair of my lowest heels and despite that I was a touch taller then him. I was almost certain we'd be the same height--which means he was probably glad that the shoes that went with the pink pear were flats.

Grabbing my bag from where I left it, I started to head towards my car, only to pull up short when I saw my escort leaning against the outside of the building, fiddling with an unlit cigarette. This time he interrupted me before I managed to say what I was thinking, "Let me guess, you're going to threaten to knock me out with your bag if I even think of getting the smell of this on your precious bridesmaids dress."

Gee. He was a cheery one. Arching an eyebrow and readjusting the strap of my bag, I was the one who got to smirk this time, "Actually I was going to ask if you needed a ride home or something, and trust me, I don't care what the hell happens to that monstrosity. I very well may end up burning it after next weekend anyways."

I could tell he was a little surprised. And I couldn't really blame him. I had threatened to brain him with a shoe if he pissed me off that same day. And that had been the first time we'd spoken. Shifting slightly again and sighing I held out a hand, "Look, we got off on the wrong, er, foot. My day hasn't been the greatest. And I won't try to kill you until after the wedding because otherwise the numbers wouldn't work." He seemed to get my joke at least as he transfered the unlit cigarette from one hand to the other, and took my hand to shake with a smirk.

"I'll keep that in mind." That smirk must've been his default setting or something, though really, I'm not sure it's completely normal. Shifting slightly he waved off towards the parking lot, "And I've got a car, so don't worry about it."

Nodding, I dug in my bag with one hand for a moment before locating my keys, "I'll see you tomorrow then." Turning I saw him wave soundlessly before I actually started to make my way across the parking lot. Erika was right, he was attractive, but he was also an asshole. He hadn't actually been too bad to me that day, but I could tell, he had that whole arrogant, I'm smarter, more attractive and just generally better then you are attitude. Trust me, I know the type. I'd had a bit of a thing for assholes in High school. I'd had that whole 'I just know that if you meet the right girl you'll stop being an asshole' thing going. And while I still maintained that that was true, I was now sure I was not one of those girls. I'd come to that decision then ignored it after the one cheated on me and wasn't remorseful at all--But I'd decided that it was really completely true after I ended up getting in a fist fight with my boyfriend at the time. Don't get horrified now--I started it. And I won too. Hey, I may not be the most threatening of people, but I have four older brothers. At seven I started martial arts training and started sparring with my brothers. There were some years there where it looked like I was getting abused simply because of the number of bruises I always had, but it's worth it for being able to hold my own against most people. And I keep mace in my purse just in case that doesn't work.

I think I had a point in there somewhere, other then the fact that females should always carry something to protect themselves, but I'm not really sure what it was...Oh, right. Just the fact that I'm not blind so I know Cameron's attractive, but I'm so not planning to even entertain those thoughts. Shit. I really just needed to get a pet, who needs boys anyways?

Walking into my apartment I dropped my keys on the table and called out, "I'm home." to the empty apartment. Depressing right? I really needed to get a puppy or something. After the wedding was over I'd do that. Maybe go to the pound and find a little mutt. Aw, puppies were adorable, I really needed to get one.

XXX

Yay. Here I am. Back in the building I was starting to hate, staring down the wedding coordinator I continued to hate. And who, apparently, wasn't exactly fond of me.

"You want us to what?!" I was getting shrill and a little murderous really. But with such news...Who could blame me? I really wish someone would've called me and told me the time had been knocked half an hour later, because then maybe I wouldn't have to be the one dealing with this.

"Oh darling! Don't cause such a fuss! It's a perfectly delightful idea. One of the other girls came up with it even, you wouldn't want to be the one to object and ruin it for everyone now would you?"

"Ruin? Ha! There is no way in hell all of the other girl's want to do this--Three of them have boyfriends other then their escorts. This is a terrible idea and I refuse to do it."

The little worm sniffed as if I'd been insulting--Trust me, I could get a hell of a lot more insulting then that. "Simply because you're a prude--"

"Prude?! I'm going to---You know what, no. I am the sister of the groom, and I swear on whatever false idol you care for, that if you try--Even mention this to the other's, I will make your little insignificant life miserable. You have no idea how hellish my past week has been, and if you make it even worse then all that--I will do something you will regret. Do you understand me?"

Apparently I'd finally gotten through, if the looks I was receiving were any key, I had just turned myself into the wedding coordinator's big bad wolf. And I couldn't say I wasn't please about it. As the little creep rushed away, I allowed myself a smirk and leaned against the wall to revel in my victory. I heard his voice before I even realized there was someone else in the room with me.

"Wow. Threatening. And here I thought the two of you were really hitting it off." He was smirking of course.

Flipping him off I didn't bother to respond, which I thought made it fairly clear I wanted to be left alone, but he took it to mean I wanted company. Either that or he'd just found out he was early--Though he was late at being early if that makes sense. He was ten minutes late to the hour it had originally been scheduled at but since it had been bumped down half an hour he was still twenty minutes early...Yeah, you get it. In any case he came up and leaned against the wall next to me, he was fiddling with a paperback in his hands but focusing on me.

"So you're threatening other people now? Should I be jealous?"

I really didn't mean to, but the seriousness with which he managed to deliver that made me laugh. Covering my mouth I tipped my head back, closed by eyes and just let myself laugh for a moment. Turning my head towards him, I couldn't manage to stop grinning. "Thanks." I'm not sure he'd pick up on the fact that I was thanking him for making me laugh--which might be a bit odd, but he'd figure it out. And I think he did. If the amused smirk he shot me before turning to his book was any indication.

The beginning kind of set the tone for the entire practice run, for me at least. Maria and Dash were in their own sickeningly lovey-dovey world, as were Damien and Sophia. Cindi was hanging all over Zerek and doing her best to be sickeningly charming, Zev was trying to keep Erika from making the numerous inappropriate comments you just knew she was dying to crack, Kass and Athea were talking about something, heaven knows what, Sabine was flirting with Jay and he was remaining painfully oblivious, Ridley was making sure Molly was relaxed and smiling, and Deborah was drooling at Aaron. Oh, did I miss someone? Oh right, me. I was being slowly driven insane by the wedding coordinator who had made it his personal mission to drive me around the bend, and Cameron was the only thing keeping me from actually killing someone. Mainly because we were always near each other due to being paired, and he was always ready to, well, actually he was mostly encouraging me to off the guy, but somehow that was keeping me sane. I don't know, I wasn't really questioning it.

Somehow I survived the torture once again. Though this time I was the first one out of the doors and to my car--which shouldn't be a problem. But I couldn't help but vaguely regret not having a few words with him again before I left. And the fact that I regretted that bothered me. I'd given up assholes--And besides, I'd already vowed, or I'd thought about it, or rather I really needed to and--Screw it. I couldn't remember if I'd said it before but if I hadn't I was saying it now, I refuse to get tangled up with any of the boys involved in this wedding. There, I said it. That would keep everything so much simpler. Though really, there wasn't that much time left, just had to last through the wedding and the reception and I'd probably never see most of them again. Oh well, I'd survive.

XXX

I remembered vaguely thinking I would survive this whole thing--I was completely and utterly wrong. I wasn't going to survive this. There was no way in hell I was going to survive this. Or at least, someone wasn't going to survive this--if it was me or the people standing in front of me, someone was going to pay.

"Look you two, you are going to ship up, shape up, and behave until the ceremony is over--After that I don't care what the hell you do. This is Maria's and Dash's day and you are damn well going to respect that!"

"Jesus Reza, it's not like we were doing anything wrong!"

I was seriously going to strangle her. Her voice was grating on my nerves and I was coming to really, really hate Cindi. Wasn't too happy with Zerek at the moment either. Athea was busy taking care of Maria, and I was running around making sure that everyone else was where they were supposed to be and doing what needed to get done. Molly had been helping me but when I'd stumbled across Zerek and Cindi, I'd sent Molly on her way to deal with other things as I chewed them out.

"Not doing anything wrong? Please! I don't even--Zerek, you're wearing Cindi's make up, and you both should be doing what you're fucking supposed to be doing--Not each other!"

"You're just jealous because he's with me!"

"Excuse me? Do I look like I'm jealous? No! Because I'm not! I'm angry as hell!"

"Oh please, you know what, you look like a--"

It was about at that point that I lost it. I'd been treading on the edge of this for a while now, but I finally crossed over. Which was probably why I lunged at her. To be fair it looked like she wanted to get in a cat fight as well--but Zerek, who up until now had remained quiet, caught her. I wasn't expecting any trouble, or anything, in lunging to get her. Which is probably why the arms around my waist that held me back were certainly surprising. As was being held there--So I struggled. Though I did still at the laugh, and then the following comment right next to my ear, "...You know you're pretty sexy when you're angry."

I could feel my eye twitching. So, I'd identified who it was at least. Cameron of course. And I was about to give him a pice of my mind, when he spoke again. And this time not to me.

"You--I don't know who the fuck you are, just leave and do whatever the hell you're supposed to be doing--and you, Vanti, go take the makeup off. I could scrape my name in it. Then do whatever the hell you're supposed to be doing. Or I'll let go of Reza and you'll both be fucked."

What the hell? He was actually helping me? Okay, Cameron was my new favorite person. And I really meant that as I watched Zerek and Cindi actually turn and walk off, not together, to theoretically do what they were supposed to be doing.

Letting out a breath and leaning against him, I freed one hand to rub at my temple lightly, "Thank you."

"Don't worry about it." Damn, and I could still hear the smirk in his words.

I probably needed to stop leaning against him now. Wouldn't want to give the wrong impression. Taking a step forward he let his arms drop from where they'd been around my waist, holding me back. "Really, thank you, I mean it." And I did. I didn't know what I would've done if--Okay. I totally knew. I would've scratched Cindi's perfect face off. And that wouldn't have been good. So I was glad he was there.

Looking back at him and meeting his gaze, I was shocked to see a very faint actual smile on his lips. "You're welcome." And it was gone again, a smirk in it's place, "Wouldn't want anything to happen to that dress after all."

And now he was laughing at me. Not that I could blame him. Pink pear, remember? Making a face the best I could do was a muttered, "Shut up." before turning on my heel and heading to finish the things that needed to get done. The photographer would be arriving soon and he wanted to get individual pictures of the bride and the groom, and he needed someone to escort him around until he found a place he'd want to do the actual photographs. Apparently it was way old fashioned to actually get photos in the same place the actual ceremony happened--who knew?

I suppose I shouldn't have been, but I was still a little surprised when Cameron caught up with me and started walking beside me without saying anything. I must've imagined the whispered comment from earlier. There was no way he would say something that nice to anyone--Well, it had been kind of annoying at the time, but still.

"You know, I thought you were kidding about how hideous the dress was, but I see now you weren't."

Rolling my eyes I bit back my first response before going with a slightly less caustic one, "How ever could you doubt me." So it was just bone dry sarcasm. Better then being nasty though right? Yeah. That's what I thought.

Again I could hear the smirk in his words, "You look like less of a tramp in it then whoever that other chick was, did though. Take solace in that."

"Gee. That was almost a compliment. Don't I feel special."

I saw him shrug out of the corner of my eye, "I mean it. It's fucking ugly, other then the dress, you look fine though."

Wow. That actually was a compliment. I didn't honestly know quite what to do with that. So I took the refuge of the weak and didn't respond. Though the warmth in my cheeks said I was responding, kind of. Well, I wasn't responding audibly and that's what I meant anyways.

He seemed surprisingly chatty--maybe the stress was getting to him as well. Because he spoke again, and I could see him looking me over again. "So, who actually picked those dresses out?"

The answer was a bit obvious. Hello! Bridesmaids dresses are always, always, chosen by the bride. But, I was good, and I answered. "Maria."

Glancing at him I got the pleasure of seeing a completely incredulous look cover his face, "Maria?" He sounded utterly horrified, "Has she gone blind?"

Laughing, I chose not to answer. I was actually enjoying just walking with him. It was nice. And I didn't feel like I had to say anything, which was really nice.

Of course, as all nice things over the last couple of days, this one didn't last long as someone recognized me and rushed over with a problem. Cameron was nice enough to go ahead and deal with the photographer as I sorted out the other mess. And then another mess came up, and so on. I didn't end up seeing him again until we were convening out in the lobby to walk in together, and then we barely had time to greet each other before we were pushed out the door with the explicit instruction of "Look pretty!" Both of us. Though really, given what I was wearing, that would be harder for me then him.

The wedding ceremony went smoothly. As well it should've considering the multiple times we had to go through it. Maria looked amazing and my brother was completely speechless, and it was just beautiful. Okay, I admit it, I cried a little. Not like sobs or anything but my eyes were definitely teary. I blame it on the stress of everything and the fact that watching it meant it was almost over--So damn close to being over. And the fact that they were so in love might have had an tiny part to do with it--but not much.

Now, the chunk of time after that I could've done with out. There were pictures. Lots of pictures. And more pictures. The man had to be related to the wedding choreographer in some way, there was no way there were too strains of those genes running around, at least I really, really hoped not. I didn't snap until we'd been separated into pairs however. I was with Cameron of course, which wasn't a problem--The problem was the damn photographer wanted me to basically hang all over him and look like a damsel in distress. We're the same height, hell, I'm scarier then he is--My dress could eat men whole. I do not have the patience to be a damsel in distress. But I tried. Damnit. I did. Because I was trying to cooperate and be good. But apparently I just wasn't distressed enough, and it was the moment when the photographer suggested I look like I was about to faint that I lost it--And again, I lunged. And again, Cameron caught me about the waist.

This time he was laughing though. Of course, he'd been trying not to laugh since this ridiculousness started, but he was doing a scrappy job at this point. "Hey, come on. Wait until later, at least. Don't want to get blood all over this monstrosity you're wearing, I can see Maria finding that a bit unsettling. Especially since we still have photos to take."

He really wasn't helping, which I'm sure he understood as I just started struggling again and trying to wrap my hands around the 'gentleman's' throat, from where I was.

"Hey, calm down. Wait until later and take him by surprise, it'll be more fun that way. And by then you might have thought of something more creative."

I'm really not sure why my genuine anger wasn't getting through. So I decided to help it along and started explaining to Cameron just what I wanted to do to the bastard. Trust me. It was plenty creative. And it caused Cameron to laugh harder, and the photographer to pale significantly before just deciding he had enough pictures of us and high tailing it out of there.

Then Cameron made the mistake of letting me go when the creep was still in sight--and I lunged after him, it took a moment for Cameron to catch me again, and this time he didn't let me go until the little coward was far away and after asking me multiple times what I would do if let go--And he waited until the answer stopped being some variant of "Hunt him down and rip his--".

Once I had calmed down, or mostly at least, Cameron had another question for me. Mainly, was I always this rabid? I couldn't exactly blame him for asking--after all, I'd lunged at two people that he knew of, in the past day. That was a little crazy. Of course I told him that it wasn't normal--Though when I got stressed wasn't completely abnormal either. Wouldn't want to give the wrong impression.

It was, hopefully, time to go to the wedding reception by then. We go to the area--And I'd made us detour to grab my stuff--Just in time to see Dash and Maria get into the carriage they were sharing with Kass, Athea and Eliza. The rest of us would be riding there in two limbo's--Either seven in each or eight and six. I saw Jay, Zev, Zerek and Cindi had all chosen the first limo--so I promptly made a beeline for the second and was the first person in. I wasn't surprised when Ridley and Molly followed me, or really when Erika chose to sit with us instead of her date. Aaron also joined out little party--Looking a little manhandled really. He didn't seem to be enjoying Deborah's attentions. Cameron was the last one into the limo as he slipped into the seat on my other side.

Ridley, friend that he was, took one look at my slightly harried face and burst into laughter. And Erika just demanded the story. So I told her--By the end she was cracking up too, Cameron was trying not to laugh, Molly was politely covering her laughter, and Aaron was looking more relaxed then I'd seen him all week.

You always know who you're true friends are by how they're willing to laugh at you.

"Thanks for the support guys."

At least someone was enjoying themselves I guess.

They'd all just barely managed to contain themselves by the time we got there. I was the first one out of the limo. But come on, as soon as the dance was done I could stop looking like a giant pink fruit. And they were all laughing at me anyways.

Everything happened in a flurry after that. The wedding coordinator showed up again and lectured us before the dance--And I almost lost it again, but the grins the others were shooting me helped me restrain myself, just barely though. The dance was pretty standard stuff. Cameron actually wasn't smirking through most of it, though I swear there was a smile there for a bit of it. And as soon as it was over I took off to change into something I wouldn't actually mind being seen in. Of course, all the bridesmaids but Erika did the same thing. She just took some scissors to it...And honestly, it looked damn hot when she finished.

Grabbing a drink, I just relished the fact that my part in this who fiasco was over. Then Ridley grabbed me and forced me into a dance, which I have to admit was fun, and somehow I ended up at the same table as Cameron, relaxing. Though when I walked over to said table, he made a show of looking me over, before saying in what was either sarcastic or a genuinely approving tone, "Much better. That, unsurprisingly, is a lot more flattering then the pink thing."

I threw my napkin at him, which seemed to amuse him. But then we actually got into a fairly normal conversation. Or I thought it was a normal conversation. At least until Erika pranced up to us, listened for a moment then loudly announced, "Holy hell, you two are fucking hot for each other, just skip out with each other already!" Needless to say I was speechless. Erika always had that effect on me though. But I recovered quickly, rolled my eyes and ignored her. I would've said something else, but it was at that point that the announcement for the garter and bouquet to be thrown were announced.

All the guys were harried over to one side of the room as Dash made a big show of removing Maria's garter. The single males seemed to be conferring about something and I swear I saw money switch hands. And even though I didn't know him very well, I was more then a little shocked to see Cameron catch the garter. Now I was sure that someone must have paid him--And probably not told him how the Baine's did this tradition. See, the standard one was that the guys would catch the garter, and whoever did was next to get married, and the girls would catch the bouquet, and they'd be the next to get married. But our tradition was just a bit different. Mainly that whoever caught the garter would have to put it on whoever caught the bouquet. Unless it was a really young boy or girl, but usually that wasn't the case.

I wondered if anyone would explain that to him before it actually happened. No, probably not.

Theoretically it was time for the bouquet to be thrown--but as it was discovered they'd left it back at the church, someone had to go back to get it and the crowd dispersed a little. Returning to the table, I saw that Cameron had beaten me there. The garter was in front of him and he was ignoring it. "You know, no guy ever wants to do this. Not because of some curse, but cos it's embarrassing and it ends up making the guy's girlfriend get all excited and shit. So I took a hit for the team." Reaching into his pocket he pulled out a pile of singles, "And got twenty-five bucks out of it."

He totally didn't know. This is hilarious. Smirking I pointed at the small group of girls that hadn't bothered to sit down yet. "Well, you'll want to tell your girlfriend to catch the bouquet then."

Looking up from counting his bills he frowned at me, "I don't have a girlfriend."

Laughing I shrugged, "Then you're screwed."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

And then I explained the tradition to him and got the pleasure of watching him pale slightly--Then pale more when he saw some of the girls who seemed to be jockeying for position to catch the bouquet. See, the Baine family is big, and I do mean big. So just from Dash's side there were about twenty single aunts, ranging from forty to seven. And a lot of them were scary as hell. Of course, so were a few of the friend's--Like Cindi.

Laughing at him, I left him to contemplate his fate as I went to get some more punch. Poor, poor boy. I could already see some of the girl's sizing him up and licking their figurative chops.

It was fifteen minutes later when the bouquet finally arrived and Erika dragged me into the mass of females. Even though she dragged me to the heart of it all, I quickly made my way back to the fringes. I had no intention of being involved in that madness.

Maria was yelling something to the front line of bouquet catchers that I couldn't hear, but that was making those who could laugh. Covering a yawn I didn't realize the flowers had been thrown until the mass of femininity surged forward. I stayed where I was and blinked in shock, or at least I did until a hard shove from behind sent me stumbling forward. I would've given whoever it a piece of my mind--If a mass of perfumed flowers hadn't smashed into my face at that instant.

Oh hell no.

Turning around I saw Erika standing behind me grinning widely. Oh yeah, she was going to die.

I was about to just toss the mass back into the fighting group who seemed to think someone in there had it, when, of course, Maria turned around and loudly exclaimed that I'd caught them.

God this really wasn't my week.

Cameron was feeling arrogant again--I could tell. It was seeping from every pore, the smirk and the way he walked--Now that he was assured that he wouldn't be dealing with feeling up some creepy old lady. In fact, he was spinning the garter on a finger as he approached me, still smirking. "Huh. Looks like you caught the bouquet. Imagine that. Looks like you're getting married soon. You will send me an invitation won't you?"

God he was just--And--Gah!

I could feel my eye twitching again. And if the interruption had been anything else I would've been glad for it, but I was seriously just considering bolting as I was led, by Erika of course, to the same seat on which Maria had lost the garter. This was such a stupid tradition.

As soon as he kneeled in front of me there were catcalls. God I really hated this tradition. And I was blushing, I knew I was, but I tried to fight it. I could, I just had to be tart and sarcastic and I could get through this alright. As he slipped the thing around my ankle I forced myself to talk, though my voice was low so only he could hear it. "You're already trying to put your hands up my skirt. Shouldn't you buy me dinner first?"

He, of course, smirked. "I'm just a forward kind of guy, what can I say."

Considering we were both talking softly and there was a circle of silence around us, I should've considered that it might've looked bad. Especially since he was just a touch louder then I was and I suddenly realized, mainly by the stormy look on my brothers' faces, that they'd heard some of what he'd said. Now I was actually a bit concerned. "You can run fast, right?"

He paused in what he was doing and eyed me, a bit confused, "I'm pretty quick, yeah."

Nodding slightly I tried to shoot a reassuring smile at my brothers. I don't think it helped. And my voice was a little weak when I spoke. "Oh good. Because my brother's are going to try to kill you."

Now, you have to understand, in the past, people who have been told that have then tried to show that they weren't doing anything improper. Instead of doing the smart thing, he left one hand up just past my knee, and pulled the other one out to wave at them. Shit. "I can't wait."

Tilting my head back slightly I let myself give a little whimpering sob--Which, upon second thought, I really shouldn't have done. We both knew what it was, but what it looked like was another matter entirely. Fuck. "Just get the damn thing on already."

Looking back at him, mainly because he'd stopped doing anything whatsoever, I could see he was grinning at me. "But I'm enjoying taking my time."

God he had a death wish. And I could feel myself blushing more and--He was going to die. "Hurry the hell up." At least I had a little force behind my words this time.

He continued to grin at me, but he snapped the garter and pulled his hands back, "Fine, if you insist."

Out of the corner of my eye I could see my brothers resisting the urge to charge. Well, fine. Leaning forward--as if I was about to kiss him, and I could hear the hush fall over the people--before the catcalls started up again, I mummered, "Run." then leaned back quickly, just in time for him to dart up and take off and my brothers to follow, hot on his heels.

Sighing I reached under my skirt and slipped the garter off before standing up. I so didn't like giving shows to people. If he was going to have his hands under my skirt I would much prefer people weren't watching--Wait, I don't mean--Damnit. Whatever.

Walking through the crowd, I could see Ridley grinning at me. Taking the garter like a rubber band I shot it at him and hit him smack dab in the middle of the forehead. I vaguely saw him wiggling his eyebrows at Molly, who proceeded to hit his arm, as I made my way to get something stiff to drink.

It was probably about an hour later that I saw Cameron again. I was buzzed enough to not get pissed at him, and besides, he was looking a little rumpled. Collapsing into a seat, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that he followed me and sat next to me.

"So, what do I actually have to do to get you to go out with me?" Blinking I turned my head, yup, that was definitely Cameron. Was he drunk? Only one way to find out.

"Are you drunk?"

He frowned and glanced at me, "Why would you ask that?"

"Because either you are or I'm worse off then I thought because I could've sworn you just asked me out."

"I did."

"Oh."

Cue awkward silence where I eyed him in shock, and he just eyed me. I was sure he was one of those guys who didn't date. Had a fling here or there, but didn't date. Besides, he was an asshole. Hadn't I sworn off assholes? Yeah. I had. But he'd also kept me mostly sane through the past few days, and I didn't actually mind spending time with him.

"Well, actually phrasing it like a question would probably be your best bet." I could tell that confused him a little, but I could see the wheels turn until he figured out just what I was referring back to.

Smirking again--I was kind of getting used to it--he tilted his head to the side, "Can I take you out this Saturday?"

"Yeah."

Huh. Maybe the wedding hadn't been so bad after all.

"Will you wear the pink dress?"

"Don't push your luck."

The End