Chapter 185: An April Wedding
“You’re not up, yet!”
There are many ways that Tim likes to wake up. There are quite a few more that he tolerates. And some he actively loathes.
Tony looming over him less than six hours after he got home, jogging his shoulder, looking awfully worried about being late is closer to option C than A or B.
He’s still a little fuzzy as to why Tony stayed at their place last night. He caught something about ritual purity, something else about really celebrating the wedding, Breena said something about bad luck, and there was also something about them having a fully functional guest room that didn’t have DiNozzo Senior in it. But it was pretty late, and he was feeling awfully mellow (scotch, good news, and a wedding to celebrate made sure he was feeling pretty happy), so he hadn’t been paying all that much attention to what was going on, just that Tony was in the backseat of their car as they pulled away.
But now, as he focuses one eye on the clock on his bedside table, and saw 7:05 glowing away on the readout, he’s very temped to flip Tony the bird and tell him to go back to sleep.
What he instead did was sit up, rub his eyes, and say, quietly, (Abby’s still asleep.) “Tony, you aren’t getting married until 5:15. I am assuming you’ve got things you are going to want to do after that happens. I know for a fact you don’t want to be sleepy for them. So, go back to sleep!”
Tim sighed, very much wanting to go back to sleep himself. “Tony, go back to sleep. Otherwise you’ll crash right around dinnertime, which you don’t want to do. There’s scotch in the kitchen if you need something to take the edge off. If you can’t settle down, go run it off. But you need to go back to sleep. I don’t want to see you again until you’ve had at least three more hours.” Until I’ve had three more hours.
Tony glared at him, but headed out of his bedroom, and Tim went back to sleep.
“You’re not dressed!”
Tony is. He’s got the suit on, tie perfect, hair in pristine shape. The only thing that’s missing is the boutonniere, and that’s because they’re getting delivered to the wedding site. He’s ready to go, vibrating with purpose and excitement.
Tim feels like he just did this. Though he knows it’s been four hours.
Tim's in a button down and jeans. Jimmy's in jeans and t-shirts. They're both sitting on Tim’s sofa, looking very relaxed.
Jimmy flashes him a this is a job for the best man look. Tim takes a deep breath. “We don’t have to leave for another four hours.”
So, apparently for his wedding, Tim asked Tony something like ninety-seven times in three hours if he had the rings. Fixating on some little detail and going bonkers over it is apparently traditional groom behavior.
Tony’s groom-freak-out has been focused on being late.
They’re due at the park at 5:00. The wedding is set to begin at 5:15.
They are going to leave at 3:00 to get there with plenty of time to spare.
Tony checks his coat for his keys for the eleventh time, and Tim gets up and pours him a scotch.
He finds it vaguely amusing that he doesn’t remember this part of his wedding. Obviously at some point on November 1st 2014 he got out of bed, got a shower, brushed his teeth, probably ate some sort of breakfast, definitely had some coffee. At some slightly later point, Tony and Ducky showed up at his house. Eventually Gibbs came over. He knows he talked with Gibbs, wrote Abby a poem, but the rest of that chunk of time between waking up and getting dressed was pretty blank.
Tony stares at the proffered drink like he’s never seen one before. “I don’t want to.”
“Too bad. If you don’t relax you’re going to snap. So relax.”
“Can’t be late!”
Tim smiles. “Trust me; they aren’t going to start without you.”
“Can’t let her down.”
He puts his hand on Tony’s shoulder and squeezes gently, trying to get his friend back in touch with the real world. “We are not going to be late, and you are not going to let Ziva down. The only thing that can happen by going now is us showing up while they’re still setting up, and then Breena will yell at you for seeing Ziva before the ceremony. So, look, get out of your tux, put some jeans and a t-shirt on, and let's go see a movie.”
Jimmy’s just sitting on the sofa nodding. “If you don’t cool down, you’ll pop a blood vessel before the wedding, and that will make you late. As your doctor, I am prescribing you an ounce of forty proof ethyl alcohol. Drink.”
“When did you become my doctor?” Tony asks, and shoots back the liquor.
“Day before yesterday. Now, you need to relax, sooo…” Jimmy’s got his phone out and is googling what movies are showing and when. “Deadpool came out Friday.”
“Ooohhh…” Tim looks pretty excited at that.
Tony rolls his eyes. Tim and Jimmy geeking out seems to have helped focused him on something other than pre-wedding jitters. “You want to take me to a Marvel movie?”
“An NC-17 one that’s only showing in one theatre in the greater DC area,” Jimmy says looking at his phone. “Got a showing at 11:30. We can grab a fast lunch, watch it, and still have plenty of time to get dressed and to the park.”
Two hours later, they’re back in the light, Tony is blinking a little, and saying, “That’s the sort of stuff in those comic books? No wonder you’re constantly reading them.”
“Deadpool’s something of a special case, Tony. He’s not exactly Batman or Superman or Wolverine or Professor X,” Tim says.
“By which Tim means this is the only character who constantly breaks the fourth wall, let alone starts the movie by slaughtering everyone involved in making the last movie he was in.”
“Gotta admit that Hugh Jackman-Deadpool fight was awfully cool,” Tim replies. The guys who made this thing really got Deadpool, it was a massive, meta-breaking, self-referential, no-holds-barred fan-fest. He’s fairly sure no one expected to make a cent on it and they did it for the fun of the characters. He does know that he was reacting in a manner that was rather inappropriate for a thirty-seven-year-old man, and that Abby would have probably referred to what he was doing as ‘mad fangirl squeezing.’
“Yeah. So are those movies usually that violent?” Tony asks.
Tim laughs. “Nothing says contemplating binding my love to yours for the rest of my life like 220 corpses in the first ninety seconds of the film.”
“Yeah, it wasn’t exactly just-about-to-get-married material.”
“Got your mind off of it, didn’t it?” Jimmy says, sliding behind the wheel of his car.
“Talking about movies,” Tim says, bucking his seat belt. “Did Gibbs get the book to Ziva?”
“Assuming everything’s going right with the girls, yeah. I gave it to him last night.”
Ziva woke to the sound of knocking at her door. It took her a second to figure out where she was, but then it clicked. She, Gibbs, Ducky and Penny, and Schmiel had stayed at the B&B. Heading all the way back into DC when you didn’t want to go home (because home had the empty bed in it) didn’t make much sense.
So they stayed.
And at exactly ten o’clock, way after her usual wake up, Gibbs was doing exactly what he told her he’d do, give her a wake up knock.
He poked his head in tentatively. “Can I come in?”
“Got some things for you.” Things appeared to be a steaming hot mug of coffee and a small rectangle wrapped in white and silver paper.
He sat on the side of the bed, next to her, handed her the coffee, kissed her cheek, and then laid the package in front of her.
He nodded. “From Tony.”
That got a smile out of Ziva. “What is it?”
The expression on his face said, open it and find out. So she did. It was a book. A journal really, a nice one, hard bound, black leather, white satin ribbon between the pages. She opened to the marked page and saw the page was covered in Tony’s handwriting. She flipped through the pages seeing all of them, every single page of the entire book, was covered in his handwriting.
She returned to the marked page, figuring he had marked it for a reason and read: “Have you never met a woman who inspires you to love? Until your every sense is filled with her? You inhale her. You taste her. You see your unborn children in her eyes and know that your heart has found a home. Your life begins with her, and surely without her it must end.” –Don Juan DeMarco.
At first she felt the rush of those words. An almost hot thrill through her body, knowing that he had found them and written them for her, for a second she floated on it, eyes lingering over the curve of his letters, the image of him writing it down, filling her mind’s eye.
Then there was curiosity. “Who is Don Juan DeMarco?”
Gibbs shrugged. “I think it’s a what.”
“A what?” Ziva looked taken aback. Don Juan DeMarco did not sound like the name of a what.
“Tim and Tony were talking about this. Movie quotes. All the ones that make sense to him now you’re in his life.” He’d been there when the two of them got talking about if they had to be quotes from movies Tony had actually seen. He’d found some he really liked that were in movies he would never voluntarily watch, and they were debating over if it was enough that he just really liked them or if he actually had to have a connection to them. They’d gotten to the crime scene before they finished that conversation, so Gibbs never heard how it ended.
Ziva inhaled quickly, felt the sting of tears in her in her eyes, and exhaled slowly. “Oh.”
“Yeah.” Gibbs smiled. “Abby and Breena should be here in an hour. Thought you might like some time to read.”
Ziva wiped her eyes, nodding, and flipped to the first page. “I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night…I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” –When Harry Met Sally
Gibbs kissed her one more time and got up to leave her with her present.
As he prepares for his third wedding in two and a half years, Tim’s come to a few conclusion.
A: It is much easier to be the best man than the groom, and easier to be a guest than the best man. This is not to say that he didn’t love his own wedding, but he can feel that he was much more ‘present’ at Jimmy’s wedding, and he can feel that’s going to be true for Tony’s as well. That outside of himself feeling that was with him all through his wedding isn’t here today, and he appreciates it, because he can really be in the moment now and enjoy this.
B: He doesn’t love public speaking. Which is why guest is superior to Best Man. Though he does think his speech is pretty good.
C: Small weddings are better than big ones. They had thirty-eight people at theirs, and part of the whole Groom thing was working the crowd, seeing everyone, talking to them, spending some time with them, and honestly, it was exhausting. Which is, once again, not to say he wasn’t happy to see everyone, but still, it was tiring. If he and Abby ever renew their vows, it’ll be their family and that’s it. Tony and Ziva got the guest list down to twenty-two, and Tim’s thinking that’s a pretty good number of people for a party.
D: He is deeply, profoundly grateful that the people he loves have found their own loves.
In all honestly, McGee and Palmer laughing at him about the whole being nervous about not being on time thing aside (because it’s 4:30, the wedding doesn’t start for 45 minutes, and now they’ve just got to sit there and wait), Tony’s a whole lot less freaked out right now than he expected to be.
Really, he was fairly certain he’d be on the verge of throwing up right now.
But he’s not.
He’s sitting in a fairly small tent with McGee, Palmer, Ducky, and Senior, and feeling, honestly, pretty cool. It’s like now that he’s here he can’t mess it up. He owns it, and it’s time to get going.
He’s ready for this.
He’s playing with Ziva’s ring. As per the tradition it’s a plain, gold band. White gold so it’ll go with her engagement ring. It’s his, because the gift must be something belonging to the groom. On the inside of it, he had inscribed at lo levad/you are not alone. He’d wanted the symbol of the promise in both languages. Wanted a somewhat nebulous idea that started the day she left for Israel to bury her father and was coming to fruition today, to rest against her skin for the rest of her life.
And in a little over half an hour, it will.
“Can I get a minute with Junior?” Senior asked the others. That surprised Tony, yes, they have been getting along better this last year but one on one heart to hearts are still really rare.
Okay, non-existent. Of course, getting married is not--well, for him at least, Senior’s a different story, he thinks his dad was married five times by the time he was his age--an everyday sort of thing.
“Dad?” Tony asked after the other guys had filed out.
“She’s a beautiful girl, Junior. She’s strong and capable and doesn’t take any of your bullshit and loves you dearly and I am so happy you found a woman like that. She looks at you the way your mother used to look at me. So take some advice from a man who had the love of his life and screwed it up: you will be vastly better off if you put her first. There are things you’re going to want, things that will bring a quick flush of pleasure or make you happy for a few days, there are things she is going to want that will scare the living hell out of you, and avoiding those things might make you feel good, make you feel safe.
“But that’s happiness. And happiness is shallow and easy. But for you, Ziva’s the path to joy. You stay with her, you put her first, you be the man I know you can be, and you will find joy and peace and a home and family worth having.
“I screwed things up with your mom. I screwed them up with you. And I spent fifty years chasing happy, because it was easy, and avoiding joy because it was hard and scary. Don’t make my mistakes. It looks like you’ve figured that out, but, I wanted to say it to you. Wanted you to hear it.”
“You’re a better man than I am, keep it up, and you’ll build a marriage and life that when you’re my age, you’ll look back at and cherish.”
“I intend to.”
His father is smiling, a genuine, warm and loving smile. “Good. Everyone talks about the vows, the promises you make her, and they matter, matter more than almost anything, but you also need to make some promises to yourself, promises to support your vows to her. Promise yourself to avoid temptation. Promise yourself that you will commit to lasting joy and not transitory pleasure. And promise yourself to remember that she is what makes your life worth living.”
“I will, Dad.”
“Good. Okay, enough seriousness.” Senior checked his watch. “Ten more minutes to go.”
“Almost ready?” Jimmy asks. Having been booted out of the guys' tent he wandered over to see how Team Bride was doing.
From the looks of it the correct answer was, almost done. Abby and Breena are dressed. Gibbs has everything but his tie done. Ziva’s almost ready to go, probably just finished her makeup and needs to get into her dress and let her hair down.
They look like they’re within five minutes of being ready for show time.
Breena kisses him, twirls a little, flaring the skirt of her dress. “Almost ready. Just a few finishing touches. How are things on your side?”
“All ready to go. Granted, Tony’s been ready to go since 5:15 this morning if what Tim tells me is true.”
“Should have had him here then. Could have gotten the site finished and let us sleep longer,” Schmiel adds.
“And what are they doing now?” Ziva asks as she drapes Gibbs’ bow tie around his neck.
“Senior wanted a moment alone with Junior, so off we went. Tim and Ducky are checking in with the Rabbi making sure everything is set on that side.”
“Good.” Abby says.
“I should probably head back to the guys. Let them know things are all set over here.” Jimmy kisses Breena one more time, then heads to Ziva, kissing her cheek, and to Abby for one last smooch. He smiles at Gibbs, wraps his arm around his shoulder and says, “You know, it’s a very fine thing to spend your life surrounded by beautiful women!”
Gibbs grins and gently shoves Jimmy toward the entryway.
Tim would say this for Tony and Ziva’s wedding, it is, without a doubt, the most beautiful and elegant wedding he’s ever seen.
April in DC can mean everything green and pink with cherry blossoms, or it can mean gray and cold.
They got green and soft pink and warm spring breezes.
The chuppah is in a grove of Cherry trees. It’s covered in gauzy white fabric and daisy chains of baby pink, cream, and white roses, ivy, and more cherry blossoms.
Team Bride (The girl part of it at least. Abby told him Gibbs and Schmiel are in black.) is in white. Abby and Breena are in cream, strapless, empire waist gowns, each with a light pink band of beading under the breasts, and both of them with more cherry blossoms in their hair.
Team Groom is in black, broken only by white dress shirts and cream rose boutonnieres.
And the festivities are about to begin.
Traditionally, the grandparents would go first. But there are no grandparents, so the procession is beginning with the Rabbi.
He takes his place under the chuppah and is followed by Tim and Jimmy. Usually the groom would be escorted by his parents, or his father and the father of the bride. But this group is short on parents, too. So Ducky and Senior walk Tony to the chuppah and stop a few steps away. Both of them hug him before going to their seats in the front row, next to their ladies. Tony steps beneath the chuppah on his own, showing that he is entering this marriage of his own free will.
In his left hand, Tim’s holding a glass in a white velvet bag. For his wedding Tony held the rings. For Tony’s he’s holding a glass. The objects change, but the job is the same: be the guy holding the thing that says, ‘we’re married.’
The girls come next. Breena and Abby, and Tim lights up to see his wife, beautiful in white and pink, light breeze fluttering her skirt and the tendrils of her hair. He smiles at her, and she smiles back at him. And he knows they’re here for Tony and Ziva, but like with Jimmy’s wedding he knows that today he’ll make, remake the promises that bind them together.
Thoughts of that are sidetracked by Ziva, escorted by Gibbs and Schmiel.
And it is true that to Tim, Abby is the most beautiful woman on Earth. Heart, mind, soul, and body: she is his definition of beauty.
It is also true that Tim is not blind, and appreciates feminine beauty in its many forms.
And Ziva, in a long, flowing spill of… he’s not even sure what color it is, ivory or cream with little silver threads maybe, hair long and loose, decorated with a few cherry blossoms, a translucent veil of shimmering silk skimming over her face and shoulders, is gorgeous.
He hears Tony see her. There’s a fast, sharp, almost whistling intake of breath. And he’s behind Tony so he can’t see the expression on his face, but he sees his shoulders go tight, and his posture straighten up a little further.
The three of them pause a about ten feet before the chuppah. Both Gibbs and Schmiel kiss her cheek, then they too go to sit in the front row, Ziva takes three steps on her own, showing that she too comes to this marriage of her own free will. Then Tony joins her, takes her hand, and leads her into the chuppah, a space designed to represent the home they will share for the rest of their days.
He lifts the veil from her face and the ceremony begins.
Once again the Ketubah is read, and this time wine is drunk to go with it, celebrating the union.
Unlike the Christian tradition the rings are not blessed, and the vows are only one line, but as Tony takes Ziva’s hand in his, and repeats the Rabbi’s words, "Haray ata mekudash lee beh-taba'at zo keh-dat Moshe veh-Israel,*” he’s smiling brilliantly, crying a little, and more deeply, sincerely happy than Tim’s ever seen him.
The gesture repeats, Ziva placing the ring on Tony’s finger, repeating the words, glowing with love and joy, and Tim catches Abby’s eye, and tries to send all of the love, all of the joy, all of the contentment and peace and euphoria that life with her has given him in a look, and maybe he didn’t quite get it all across, because how could anything get all of that across, but he sees the answering love in her look, and the gentle slide of her fingers across her tummy, and he’s not even sure it’s possible to accurately sum that feeling up.
What he does know is that if he doesn’t stop exchanging googoo eyes with Abby he’s going to be late with the glass, and since he’s only got one job during the ceremony, he can’t mess it up. After all, he doesn’t want Tony wishing he’d picked Jimmy for best man. Of course, Jimmy’s probably giving Breena the exact same look and is probably paying even less attention to the proceedings that Tim is, because he doesn’t actually have to do anything other than stand there.
So Tim flashes her a quick smile, starts paying attention to the ceremony again, watching the two of them kiss with both tenderness and passion, and made sure the glass was where it needed to be so Tony could smash it.