So this is the last chapter guys! Thank you to everyone who has ever reviewed this story, back when it was just a oneshot or after the loooong rewrite. I don't know if I'll come back to Alex and Derek, I can't seem to get them out of my head. For now, I feel like this is an appropriate ending to the first part of their relationship.
Friday 10th July, 1:00pm, Asgard.
The morning air was crisp and the doors to the great hall were opened onto the vast gardens as Grace walked down the aisle, and everyone gasped. It truly was a fairytale wedding. Decorations adorned the high domed ceiling, I have no idea how they got up there but they did, and flowers covered the stone arches. The guests made up a sea of hats and it was a wonder people at the back could see anything at all. It was so much more... classy, than the ball, which was practically a mass of screaming girls. This was nothing like that. Thankfully there were no disturbances either, I suppose Callista finally took the hint.
Charming's face was taken over by a huge smile, and Grace looked timid but regal in her stunning white gown. It was hard to believe just a few weeks ago she was looking lost in the palace when I spoke to her. Honestly if anyone had told me then she would have been standing here I wouldn't have believed them. I noticed that not many of the princesses I had seen at the ball were present, although some may have been forced to come for political reasons.
Rosamunde sobbed into Alistair's shoulder and commented that she wanted her wedding to be exactly like this. I doubted that somehow but she can still dream. I think Alistair felt his wallet shrinking rapidly in his pocket. I swear I even saw Rupert in the congregation.
Once they were pronounced man and wife, everyone cheered. I wondered whether Derek's wedding would be just as ostentatious. Probably not. Then I wondered who he'd marry, as I spotted Penelope on the front row, in a blue satin dress that hugged her tall, slender figure. She seemed to shed a tear during the ceremony. Nobody could take their eyes off Charming and Grace.
"Let the partying commence!" Charming announced, and there was rapturous applause and agreement throughout the great hall. Even down in the town I heard that everyone was drinking heartily to the happiness of Prince Charming and their newly appointed Princess Grace. It was a title that rolled off the tongue effortlessly, as if she had been born to become a royal.
Friday 10th July, 5:00pm, Asgard.
Derek and I haven't had much chance to talk throughout the day due to the festivities. Paparazzi and gatecrashers keep trying to get into the palace, there has to be enough food to feed hundreds of people, and Grace's dress keeps being trodden on.
Penelope came up to me and congratulated me on the beautiful wedding, though I don't know why. All I was in charge of was Grace's veil and train, although it was hard work, the train weighed a ton. At least it'll keep me fit. I don't know how Grace's tiny frame manages to support such a huge, heavy dress, but I admire her for smiling through the pain.
"Oh it wasn't me, Derek was so good at organising everything," I said.
"I know, he's great isn't he?" she agreed. I didn't know what to say so I just nodded and pretended like I wasn't in love with him. I'm not sure how that worked out.
"How do you know him?" I asked.
"Oh we go way back," she said, vaguely. I didn't push it, for fear she'd announce she was his fiancée. "Didn't the bride look beautiful?"
"She did, but it was a nightmare getting the train to stay straight," I said. She laughed.
"I'm Penelope by the way," she said.
"Alex," I introduced myself, not letting on that I knew her name.
"I must be going," she said, "It was nice meeting you."
"You too," I smiled, then slumped back into my chair and downed my glass of champagne. I looked at my mother's wedding ring and hoped it would give me luck. Maybe Fenella had worn it out and used it all up. I never did understand how she kept Daddy in the palm of her hand, maybe this was the secret. Still, it didn't seem to be working for me.
Rosa and Alistair decided to join me and my pity party, where they made out in front of me (or rather, Rosa attacked Alistair's face) as I sat there trying not to vomit. Every so often she would announce to the surrounding people that they were engaged, and then continue to suck his face. I believe the romantic setting of the wedding has her going crazy. It's the only explanation.
Music started playing and the newlyweds had their first dance. Derek came over to where I was sitting alone, surrounded by plates of food I couldn't touch for fear of bursting out of my dress, and held his hand out to me. Rosa detached herself from Alistair and ogled Derek. She never ceases to amaze me.
"I believe I still owe you a dance from the ball," he said. I took his hand and felt very self conscious, until more couples started to drift onto the dance floor.
"The ceremony was beautiful," I said.
"It was," he agreed, "I suppose you'll be planning your wedding."
"What?" I asked.
"You're engaged, aren't you?"
"No, who told you that?" I asked, making a mental note that if it was Grace, I would kill her tomorrow, after the happiest day of her life.
"Grace told me you had suitors..." he said hesitantly, "and I saw the ring on your finger."
"Oh, this?" I asked, cursing myself for forgetting I had it on all this time. "It was my mother's, that's all. An old family heirloom."
"I see, so you're not getting married?" Derek said, just to clarify. I was so embarrassed. I wondered if he was jealous of my non-existent imaginary fiancé, or just inquiring casually as to my marital status. It was probably the latter.
"No, who on earth would I get married to?" I laughed. "Yes I had suitors but one of them was like twelve and I injured the other two so they don't like me very much."
"Are you always so violent?" he teased.
"Only if you get on my bad side," I replied. "I don't think I'll be getting married anytime soon."
"Why the change of heart?"
"More a change of mind," I replied. "So I met Penelope. How do you know her exactly?"
"She's my cousin, and she's really nice," he said.
"Really?" I asked, trying to sound like I didn't care. "Yes she is nice," I added.
"Yes," he smiled. "Why, are you jealous?"
"No, are you?" I asked.
"Not at all," he replied.
"Good," I said.
The song was over, and I was whisked away by Grace to take her to change the stifling white snowstorm dress she was wearing for something more comfortable. In a flurry of white, we ascended the stairs and pushed through the doors into her room. She couldn't get out of the thing quick enough.
"Where shall we bury it?" I asked jokingly, staring at the dress that looked more like a dead polar bear on the floor.
"Don't say that Alex, it's beautiful," Grace said. "Besides you'll be next, and I'm sure you'll wear something similar." I didn't shatter her illusion. "Has Derek proposed to you yet?" she asked, so casually I thought she was being serious and knew something I didn't. He is her brother-in-law now, which I find quite odd.
"What? No," I said. "Why did he tell you something?"
"I just have a feeling that's all. Charming says he really likes you, and he's so observant," she said, and somehow I had a hard time believing her. She admired her new, less poufy outfit, a tight fitting cream dress that hugged her curves. "Do I look ok in this?"
"You're becoming more like a princess every day," I told her, still shocked and a little bit shaken by her almost psychic comment.
We went back to the party downstairs, but Derek was gone.
Friday 10th July, 10:00pm, Asgard.
I'm in the gardens outside the great hall, cooling off after hours of dancing and drinking and dancing and drinking and eating. It's like a sauna in there. I fanned myself with my hand but it didn't help. The air outside is warm too. I pulled my hair up off my neck, but it only gives the mosquitoes more flesh to bite at.
Many other guests clambered outside to escape the heat as well and commented on how nice I looked and how beautiful the wedding is in general. I am too tired to even be jealous, I just want to go to sleep.
Friday 10th July, 11:00pm, Asgard.
As most of the guests had retired sleepily to their chambers, I wanted to say goodnight to Grace before bed. Alistair had already carried Rosa upstairs (how, I do not know. He must be hiding muscles somewhere in that skinny frame) as if it were their wedding night. The idea disgusts me. I believe any doubts Grace had about getting married are now gone, as she and Charming were still swaying on the dance floor in each other's arms, so I watched quietly until they were finished.
"They look happy, don't they?" Derek said behind me, almost giving me a heart attack.
"Yes, I suppose they do," I said, once my heart was back inside my chest. An awkward silence then descended upon us.
"So you really don't want to get married?" Derek asked sceptically.
"I never said that," I protested.
"It's just that a while ago you were practically proposing to me," he teased. I cringed.
"I never proposed," I pointed out. "And I said I won't get married, not that I don't want to."
"Why is that?" he inquired.
"Oh well I've had my fair share of suitors but nobody has taken my fancy," I said. "What about you? Is the life of a bachelor so good now that your wingman is married?"
"Are you kidding me? Now he's taken I'm the only single brother, that's got to be good," he teased.
"I thought you didn't like spoilt princesses?"
"I don't, except for one," he smiled.
"Hey I'm not spoilt," I protested, before I realised he was saying he liked me. Derek's uncle then arrived in all his drunken splendour.
"Ah, do we have another wedding in the near future, Derek?" he asked suggestively. I pretended I wasn't listening but by the way I was blushing I think he could see past it.
"Not unless you get married again, Uncle," Derek laughed.
"You know what they say," he hiccupped, "fifth time lucky!"
Grace and Charming were finally finished dancing and came over to us, both grinning.
"Oh Alex! Thank you, today was the best day of my life!" she said, and I didn't doubt it. She hardly looked tired at all, probably due to the excitement.
"No problem," I said, and Charming whispered something in her ear which made her blush.
"Well, we better be going," he said, "we have a long night ahead of us..."
"Ah Charming m'boy, give that girl a good-" Derek's Uncle started, but was interrupted.
"Who wants some cake?" Derek said. I appreciated the interjection.
He and I avoided each other's gaze as the happy couple left for their wedding night, with Grace hugging me one last time. Talk about awkward. Then their uncle collapsed on the table, and after checking his pulse, Derek took him to his chambers, and I haven't seen him since.
I can't sleep despite being terribly tired. I can't stop thinking about Derek and how he thought I was engaged, how we danced, and how he kept looking at my lips like he was going to kiss me...
Saturday 11th July, 5:00pm, outside Asgard.
Grace and Charming left for their honeymoon in the late afternoon, and most of the guests departed for their homes. Thankfully that included Rosa and Alistair. As we said our goodbyes, I promised to be home soon, but I really am not looking forward to it. I know another flood of inappropriate suitors will be awaiting me. Daddy has such bad taste in women and men.
The King and Queen thanked me profusely, although I have no idea what I did to deserve such praise. Still, I accepted their thanks graciously. Soon it was just Derek and I left. Awkwardness reigned supreme. I took one last look in the main hall. It was like the wedding never happened, everything was as it was before.
I went back to my room to pack my bags, reluctantly. I did so slowly, hoping Derek would come and stop me from leaving.
Just as I had finished packing, at the slowest pace possible, I heard a knock on the door.
"Hi," Derek said. I held my breath for fear that this was just another dream.
"Hi," I echoed. "I'm leaving now," I pointed out.
"I don't want you to go," he said, looking incredible as ever. I resisted the urge to swoon.
"Why?" I asked.
"I think I'm in love with you," Derek confessed. My heart did a back-flip in my chest. His smile was intoxicating, and all I wanted to do at that moment was kiss the lips off him. But we needed to use our lips for talking. "I panicked before, and to be honest you were crazy. But I missed you when you were gone, and when I thought you were engaged... I didn't feel good."
"What does this mean?" I asked, hoping not to screw this up again.
"Well, we could get married," he said, shrugging.
"Oh how romantic, can't you do better than that?" I joked. As he got down on one knee I stopped him.
"What is it? I thought this is what you wanted?"
"It was, but I don't want to get married, not yet anyway," I smiled. "Can't we just... take it slow?" That concept was obviously lost on Charming and Grace but somehow it worked for them.
"But I don't want you to leave," he said, wrapping his arms around me.
"I have to go back home, but you can come and visit."
"What about all those suitors?" he smirked, his lips nearing mine.
"I can handle them," I said. And then he kissed me, and we continued to do so for the five minutes before I had to leave.
He is such an amazing kisser... it was hard leaving, but I should be able to go back there soon. Maybe when Grace gets pregnant. The King and Queen were none the wiser as I bid them goodbye and got into my coach. We will probably tell them soon. I think my mother's ring worked in bringing me luck; I should thank Fenella for giving it to me.
Who knew in my quest to find Prince Charming I would end up falling in love with his brother.