Wednesday, January 2, 2013

38 Weeks: The Seventeenth Week

A/N: Burn Notice romantic fluff with a side of angst. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

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Monday evening, and Michael and Fi are out on Romantic Date Night: Part II.
After weeks of Fi not eating, Michael may be going a bit overboard on trying to feed her.  They've finished dinner, with dessert, over an hour ago, and he's trying to get her to have some frozen yogurt as they walk along South Beach.
"You do know I don't actually need four thousand calories a day," she says as she notices he's easing them in the direction of a frozen yogurt shop.
"Yes. But you do need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, and if you split one with me, you'll be at 1,200 for the day."
"You're keeping track of my calcium intake?" She looks horrified by that.
He smiles, looking slightly guilty. "Not usually. We ate all of our meals together today, so I noticed."
"Well, stop it. It's unnerving to know you're paying that close of attention to what I'm eating."
"Fine. No yogurt, then?"
"I didn't say that." Ten minutes later, they exit. He's got a small, plain tart yogurt with fresh blueberries. She's got a slightly larger chocolate with peanut butter sauce and Reese's Peanut Butter cup pieces.
They head for the sand. It's been almost a year since they've been to this beach, since the night after Nate died and Fi got free.
They sit there, watching the waves, feeling the sun on their backs as it creeps behind the Miami skyline. No sunset on this beach, but it's a good place for moonrise and watching the stars.
Michael realizes as he sits there, eating his yogurt, that he doesn't really remember that night. For example, he knows they had a blanket, but he can't remember where or how they got it. He knows they were on the beach but not why. He knows they talked, but he doesn't really remember what about.
He does remember the all-pervasive feeling of crushing loss, and the image of Nate dying below him. He remembers feeling happy, grateful Fi was there, and guilty for it.
He knows they spent a very long time staring at a black, star-free sky, her hand in his, and the sound of the waves and wind the only thing in his mind.
Fi brushes his cheek, bringing him back to now. "Where are you, Michael?"
"Remembering the last time we were here."
She gives him a small, half-sad smile. "I thought so. Do you want to leave?"
"No. If I avoid every place that makes me think of him, I'll never go anywhere."
"It's good to remember the ones we've lost. It helps—"
Michael never found out what that helped because Fi suddenly looked very startled and stopped speaking.
"I just—" She stopped, grabbed his hand, and pressed it low on her belly. "Can you feel it?"
He wanted to feel it. Willed himself to feel something, and maybe he did. Possibly there was a very faint, tiny, almost fluttering under his palm. Or he could have imagined it. Either way, Fi was grinning hugely at him.
"She's moving."
Michael put down his yogurt, and scooted so he was sitting a bit behind Fi, her between his legs, and both palms resting against her stomach.
"You think it's a she?"
Fi leaned against his chest, her head on his shoulder. "I do right now."
Then it happened again, and he knew he felt it. There was an almost sliding sensation under his hand, followed by a fast fluttering. He has no idea what their child might be doing in there, but it certainly feels fast.
"Maybe she likes yogurt."
"Or chocolate."
He holds Fi and their baby close and knows that he's lost too many people over the last year, lost too much of who he had been. He feels that fluttering under his hand again, and tries to summon the certainty he had the week before that giving the baby up is the right thing to do, the only thing to do, the sane, rational, right thing.
And he can't find that part of himself anymore.
Michael kisses Fi's ear, sits on the beach with her, and wonders how to tell her he's changed his mind, wonders if she'll go along with it, and wonders if there is something greater than them that's put them here for this moment.


On Saturday of the seventeenth week, at dinner, Fi asks the others, "What are you all doing five weeks from today?"
Jesse and Sam seem to think about it.
Maddie says, "Nothing."
"I'm free," Jesse answers.
"Can't think of anything," Sam replies.
"Good." She smiles. "The church is free that afternoon, and the back room at The Forge is free, too. Feel like coming to our wedding?"


With the right frame of mind, wedding planning is pretty easy.
First of all, be the groom. Wedding planning is a breeze if you're the groom. Even if you have the sort of bride who wants you to pay attention and have opinions, it's fairly easy to fake that. Look alert, ask questions, and even if you couldn't care less about whatever it is, be decisive. Michael is good at all of these things. Sure, he's never going to care if the napkins are hunter green or teal, but as long as he picks a color quickly and keeps up eye contact, no one will know.
Not that he'll have to do that, though. Because the real secret to easy wedding planning is having a bride who doesn't much care about this stuff either.
Fiona's got wedding planning down as easy as possible. Get a dozen or so of your nearest and dearest. (Okay, half a dozen.) Find a restaurant they all like. Grab the back room and flash around extra cash for bar service and them to move some of the tables out of the way so there's room to dance. VoilĂ , a location is set.
Then go find whichever church has a priest who isn't doing anything that afternoon. Once again, planning a wedding with a half-dozen people means that if, say, there's no room in the church, it's not too hard to suggest the pretty garden in the back, and when any priest with a pulse will do, it's not hard to find one.
Generous donations to whichever charity the church runs don't hurt. (This is also helpful in case the church in question wants you to attend pre-marital counseling, though being visibly pregnant is a pretty good way to get that waved, as well. While it's true that Catholic Churches wants to encourage people to make good decisions about which spouse to choose, they also want mom and dad to be married, to each other, before the baby shows up.)
For music, grab a laptop and get one of your buddies with sound equipment to make sure it's got good speakers. Set the play list up days before the wedding and have it ready to go.
Let the restaurant take care of the tables, centerpieces, chairs, and linens.
You're already in the beautiful garden at the back of the church, so no need to decorate that. After all, there is such a thing as overkill, and trying to improve on the natural beauty of a space kept for the contemplation of the divine certainly qualifies as overkill.
This leaves getting a dress, shoes, some flowers, and some sort of outfit for the guys.
Mike, being in charge of the guys, pretty quickly decided that since this was an outdoor wedding in Miami early summer, going casual seemed like a good plan. Nary a tie nor tux will be allowed anywhere near this wedding.
Which pleases Fi because she's not finding anything in the way of particularly attractive formal wedding dresses for a lady in her shape.
Though both she and Maddie were quite taken with the one they did find. It's white, with a mid-thigh to knee length hem, a deep v neckline, and three quarter length sleeves.
All in all, it took six days of fairly lackluster effort, but by the end of it, they had a wedding ready to go.
At which point Michael found out there was one other job he was supposed to be in charge of. Lucky for him, Jesse mentioned it because it wasn't something he was even aware of on his own. But apparently the groom is in charge of honeymoon planning.
One of the few good things that came out of the last year is that he can once again travel. And he does remember there is somewhere Fi's mentioned going to about four times in the last few years. The downside is that it's awfully difficult to set up a trip to the Riviera without a credit card.
For the first time in years, as he's handing Jesse a wad of cash to book him a trip online, he's thinking that maybe getting a credit card might be a good idea. He adds it to the list of things to talk to Barry about. Supposedly the shell corporation they're setting up is coming along, and maybe it'd be a good idea for that corporation to have a few corporate cards.

Ten minutes later it's all set, and while it's true the concept of being married has been very real for him since he bought the rings, this is the first time the concept of wedding has been solidly in his mind. He's mildly surprised to see that it's a good feeling, after all, it's not like parties are really his thing, but this party,  he's looking forward to.

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