Chapter 187: A Reception
They returned to DC for the reception. The Ruther’s Estate Country Club had the advantage of being located not too far away from everyone’s homes, having a small, intimate space they could eat in, and beautiful gardens (more blooming cherry trees) set with a dance floor.
Which was when it occurred to Tim that there is a downside of a small wedding. When you’re the best man and maid of honor in a wedding with twenty-four people, it’s pretty hard to just slip away for ten or so minutes.
Everyone can tell at a glance if someone is missing.
So you need a distraction.
He’d scouted the terrain two weeks ago when he and Tony showed up to pay the last deposit and make sure the arrangements were all set. The garden was more or less made for trysting. It had about six little alcoves, some even with benches, tucked away from the sight of pretty much everyone else.
He’d found an especially nice one: maybe ten by ten, high stone wall covered in ivy on two sides, hedge on the third and half of the fourth, two weeping willows bracketed a small stone koi pond, and a wrought iron bench sat right next to it. All he had to do was get them there.
Apparently Jimmy was having a similar issue. The girls were dancing with Schmiel and Gibbs, when Jimmy drifted over to him and asked, “How long is your speech?”
Tim thought it through. “Three minutes, maybe a little faster if I talk quickly.”
Jimmy thought about that. “Too fast. What if you talk slow and ad lib some.”
“No! I’m horrible at ad libbing. Talk slow I can maybe get it to five. Why?”
Jimmy smiled dryly. “The same reason you want me to do something to draw attention away from you and Abby.”
Tim laughed at that. “Properly celebrating the wedding?”
“Yeah.” Jimmy’s grinning. “This is so much easier when there’s fifty people around.”
“I’m noticing that.” He thought about something else for a second. “Did you slip off during my wedding?”
“Of course. No one’s looking at anyone other than the bride and groom during the cake part.”
“Schmiel tells me singing is traditionally part of celebrating a Jewish wedding.”
Tim nodded. “You could probably get him to sing something with you right after that.”
“I probably could. You could probably get Abby to come up with a quick, off the cuff toast to go with yours.”
“I probably could.”
They’ve both got wide smiles on their faces, satisfaction at having a plan in place.
So, five months pregnant means the traditional up against the wall quickie is out. (Which was why Tim was scouting the territory ahead of time. Every building on Earth has a chunk of wall in a somewhat-less-than-easily-accessible location, finding a place to sit or kneel is more of a challenge.)
But when the MC called everyone together for the cutting of the cake, he took Abby’s hand, whispered in her ear, “Jimmy bought us ten minutes,” and they edged away from everyone else, deeper into the garden.
And like the last two times, it’s fast, and naughty, and so wrong, and feels so good, and he’s just so incredibly in love with this woman.
He’s babbling a little, telling her how much he loves her, how good she feels. But he feels her breath on his thumb as he draws it across her lower lip, and that focuses him, makes him very aware of his own breath, and he remembers a promise he made to her silently at Jimmy and Breena’s wedding, and out loud the day after he almost froze to death, one he modified a little for his wedding vows.
“From this day to my last, I will be here and I will love you.” He kisses her, holding her face in his hands as she stills on him. “This breath to my last and all the ones in between are yours, Abby.”
She’s smiling brilliantly, then kisses him, slipping against him, spreading a flush of pleasure through him. “This life and the next, Tim, I will always love you.” Those words carried him over the edge, and a second later she joined him, shuddering in wet, joyful pulses.
Namaste. They’d been talking about it a few days ago. Abby had gotten a new yoga video. They’d both decided it was time to try some new moves. The video started and ended with that, and he’d been under the impression it was more or less Hindi for hello/goodbye. Abby thought it was a bit deeper than that. Thirty seconds of googling later and half an hour of reading showed they were both right. But, deeper meant something like the (insert good thing here, love, joy, intellect, whatever) in my soul recognizes yours. For the most part for Tim it’s just a word, but right now he feels it.
The love in his soul rejoicing at the love in hers, floating in Tony and Ziva’s, Jimmy and Breena’s, and reveling it. That’s probably as close to metaphysical as he’ll ever get, but that’s fine.
They’re here, together, celebrating the love that makes life rich, vibrant, and glorious.
“Not bad at all, Duck, not bad at all.” He’s got a soft smile on his face as he watches Tony and Ziva dance with each other.
“I’d imagine it is satisfying to have all your dear ones settled.”
“Not all of them.”
Ducky sends Gibbs a questioning look.
Gibbs’ gaze lands on Penny, who’s dancing with Tim and Abby. “Might be nice to be the best man at one of these things.”
Ducky smiles at that, then shook his head a little. “I’m afraid best man duty will be confined to Fornell’s wedding.”
Gibbs’ eyebrows shot up. He had thought Ducky and Penny were getting on very well. Ducky sees the alarm in his expression and says, “Nothing like that Jethro. We are old. Our estates and wills are set, and a marriage would only complicate things. Her semester at the University of Pennsylvania will be ending in May, and after that, Penny will be buying half of my home, and we will vest full rights of survivorship upon each other.”
Gibbs nods. That makes sense to him.
“Beyond that, we have comfortable retirements set up. She does not need my money, nor I hers. However, if you were to feel like hosting an intimate family celebration in our honor come May, I can assure you that would be welcome. If you like, you can even give a speech.” There’s a slightly teasing tone in Ducky’s voice as he says that.
“Perhaps you’d set the record for the shortest best man’s toast?”
“Maybe.” Gibbs grins.
Ducky watches as Jimmy cuts in, whirling Penny away from Tim and Abby, Breena joining them. He looks away from them to Jethro’s hand, where his wedding band is still on his fourth finger.
“I find it somewhat amusing to think that this late in my life, I’ve found, for all practical purposes a wife, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I find it more amusing to see how intensely happy it makes me, and how stupid I feel for not having sought it out sooner.”
Gibbs nods, looking away from the dance floor to Ducky.
“Jethro, do not wait until you’re my age to go after it. You’re so close to having what you want out of life. Don’t keep waiting until your days are numbered in years and not decades.”
“I’m getting there, Duck.”
One of the upsides of a twentyish person wedding is that it’s pretty easy to get everyone’s attention when it’s time for the Best Man toast. Likewise, Tim knows everyone in this group, it’s family and close friends, hell, the only person here he doesn’t know is Daphine, so it’s not like this is nerve wracking.
Which is good, because he really doesn’t love public speaking.
But it’s time. The DJ gives him the microphone, which seems a little weird, there’s not a lot of people and they’re in a fairly small room, but messing with it buys Jimmy and Breena, who vanished ten seconds ago, another forty seconds.
Tony and Ziva are watching him, Ziva sitting in Tony’s lap, Tony’s arms wrapped around her, her head resting against his shoulder.
Tim smiles at them and begins. “Sometimes you can look at two people and know. They just fit. Where the one zigs the other zags and you can line them up like the edges of the jigsaw puzzle.” He puts the mic down and twines his fingers together, demonstrating the idea. That being exactly as far as he’s willing to go when it comes to ad libbing. If he goes any further off script, this’ll become a rambling disaster.
“And then there’s Tony and Ziva, who did everything they possibly could for as long as humanly possible to deny it.” Tim had been addressing the room, but he turned to face them. “I’d like to take this moment to say something to both of you, something I’ve been waiting almost a decade to say…
“I told you so!”
Tim was very pleased to see that get a laugh. He’d been fairly nervous that line would fall flat or they’d take it wrong, but fortunately, like Abby said it would, it went over well.
“Ten years ago my first book came out. And in that book ‘Tommy’ and ‘Lisa’ took one look at each other and fell madly in lust. Two books later it had grown into love. Meanwhile these two were doing everything in their power to pretend that’s just so not happening. To the point where this one,” he pointed to Ziva, “actually called me up, made me come to her home, and hit me upside the back of the head with the book when they first said, ‘I love you.’ Hard!”
He paused again, letting the laughter run down, and heard Tony say quietly, “Hello, Pot, it’s Kettle, you’re black.”
He smiled at Tony and nodded, acknowledging that technically, he and Abby had taken even longer, then continued, “And the only reason he didn’t do exactly the same thing was because he didn’t read that book until after they had hooked up.”
Tim paused again, let the laughing die down, and finished up, “So, I’ll admit, standing here at your wedding, having spent more than a decade watching you two finally own up to the fact that you fit, perfectly, to feeling, well, a little vindicated and a whole lot smug.” Tim grinned, laid his hand on Tony’s shoulder, and kissed Ziva’s cheek, his voice shifting to something less humorous, more sincere. “And I’m also feeling deeply, profoundly grateful that you two did figure it out, and that I am here to see you celebrate your love and your commitment to spending the rest of your lives together, because if there ever were two people who deserved the joy of finding the one who fits, it’s you two.”
Tim lifted his glass. “To Tony and Ziva and the love and life they’ll share.”
They’d all drunk, and he was getting ready to hand the microphone to Abby to stretch it out a little longer when he saw Jimmy and Breena sneak back in. He raised his eyebrow, and Jimmy nodded. Tim smirked, that was, at most, four and a half minutes. He doesn’t know if he should be jealous of Jimmy or pity him.
“Four and a quarter, had to get there and back.”
Which made Tim realize that fifteen seconds of getting there and back meant they were literally right outside the dining room, probably about two feet away from the sliding glass door that separated it from the garden, and in full view of anyone who might have walked outside.
“How do you even do that?”
Jimmy grinned, wide, happy, no filters in place, vast wodges of TMI about to come sloshing out, and Tim quickly held up a hand saying, “In general, don’t need specifics.”
Jimmy’s grin didn’t waver. “Practice.”
Tim laughed. “Time to grab Tony and give him his present?”
Jimmy checked his watch: 10:35. They’d probably want to wrap things up sooner rather than later. “Yeah, I think so.”
“I’ll get him. You get it. Meet at my car?”
Tony was dancing with Ziva, and Tim decided to wait for the song to end before wandering over. “Can I borrow your husband, Mrs. DiNozzo?”
Tony’s looking at him curiously, wondering what’s going on. Ziva’s smiling. “And will you return him promptly?”
“Won’t take more than fifteen minutes.”
Now he’s really got Tony’s attention.
“Then you may have him.”
“Good. Come on.” He’s smiling brightly, really enjoying the wary look on Tony’s face as he follows Tim into the parking lot.
“Okay, why are you dragging me out here?” He sees Jimmy leaning against Tim’s car. “Okay, why are both of you dragging me out here?”
“He’s dragging, I’m lying in wait,” Jimmy says.
Tony notices the bag sitting next to Jimmy on the hood of Tim’s car.
“What is that?”
Tim slaps him on the shoulder, and Jimmy laughs, both of them really enjoying this.
Tim starts: “We know you wanted something a lot sexier for your bachelor party, and well, neither of us may be big on strip clubs and lap dances from strangers, but we’re also firmly in favor of you having a hell of a good time with your wife. So…”
Jimmy hands him the bag. It’s a plain, brown paper, Whole Food’s bag, and it’s heavy. “Honeymoon fun pack.”
“Oh God, what the hell is in there?” Tony’s looking halfway between really disturbed and ready to burst out laughing as he looks into it.
“Fun stuff,” Jimmy says, “Lube—“
“Good stuff, lasts forever, won’t dry out,” Tim adds.
“Why do I want condoms? What am I, fifteen?”
Tim rolls his eyes, and Jimmy gives him a really, you need us to spell it out look. Tony stares at them and then seems to get what they’re talking about and a very dirty smile spreads across his face as he says, “Oh.”
“More lube that actually tastes good,” Jimmy’s talking, but Tim’s shaking his head no. Of course, he doesn’t like any of the flavored ones just as a matter of principle, but Breena liked the variety pack they got, and Abby said it was good, too. And, well, yeah, he didn’t mind the ‘homework’ that Abby did on multiple brands to see what the good ones were. And he’s assuming Jimmy likewise approved of Breena’s test of lube flavor. Jimmy’s still talking and Tim think’s he missed a few sentences there, but caught back up with, “…Tim added some satin ropes. Cock ring, since you’ve mentioned the can’t-get-it-up-six-times-a-day thing, that’ll help with that. Fourteen little blue pills, too, don’t take more than one of them a day, okay?”
Tony’s stunned by that. “Wait, what?”
“You forgot Jimmy can write prescriptions, didn’t you?” Tim says, while Jimmy just keeps grinning.
Stunned has turned to horrified as Tony stammers, “I don’t need—“
Jimmy cut in, “Neither of us think you do. Just, assuming you, or more importantly Ziva, doesn’t want to leave your hotel room, you’ve got back up now.” Jimmy’s having way too good a time with this, his smile is so big his face looks in danger of cracking.
Tony’s staring at him curiously. “Is that what you meant by ‘day before yesterday’?”
Tim takes over on the inventory. “Let’s see, three different vibrators, batteries for them, that’s part of why it’s heavy. There’s an adaptor for the one that plugs in.”
Tony’s staring into the bag. “How many batteries are in there?”
“A lot. You won’t run out. Mini Kama Sutra. Mini Joy of Sex. 1001 Sex Positions—“
“You guys know I’ve had sex before? A whole lot of sex.”
“Sure. Hence this stuff, you’re going to have to go deep to find new stuff, and we’ve made sure you’ve got everything you need to whip something new out on Ziva,” Jimmy says.
“LED candles for mood lighting.” Tim picked up a small, nicely-wrapped rectangle. It’s even got a bow on it. “What’s this?”
“No idea. Breena stuck it in there.” Jimmy sorted through a bit and came up with another, larger, also wrapped square. Tim recognized the wrapping paper on this one. “Abby added one, too.”
“Huh. We don’t know what the girls thought you’d need, but it’s in there.”
“What is this?” Tony’s holding something that looks like a collection of small to larger spheres on a flexible plastic rod.
“Anal beads,” Tim says matter-of-factly.
“Tim’s idea.” Jimmy adds, clearly signaling wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole let alone buy them for you.
Tim catches that and says, “What? They’re fun.”
Tony drops them back into the bag. “If I’ve already got condoms for that, why do I want those?”
Tim looks really cocky, and Tony’s wondering exactly how much he’s had to drink. “Who says they’re for her? I mean, I guess you could use them on her, but she doesn’t have a prostate, so…”
Tony closes his eyes and winces a little. “Okay, that’s way more than I needed to know about you.”
Tim took one last thing out of the bag. “And, this took a little hacking and is not the most strictly legal thing ever, but pack your stuff, put one of these stickers on it, and TSA and whatever they’ve got in South Africa’ll leave them alone.”
“You got me diplomatic clearance for my sex toys?” Tony’s holding the stickers, staring at them, and then burst into hysterical laughter.
“Hey, there’s a reason we didn’t honeymoon anywhere we had to fly to. You don’t want them messing in your stuff,” Tim says when Tony stops laughing.
“Yeah, some of our toys, the expensive ones, got stolen when we went on our honeymoon. I mean, who steals sex toys? I’d assume that’s not the sort of thing you want used,” Jimmy adds.
“Ullg.” Tim replies, shuddering.
“Yeah.” Then Jimmy hugs Tony. “Congratulations. Go have fun.”
Tim joins the hug. “So happy for you. Really.”
She didn’t look like she was following him with that. “Dana?”
Abby thinks about that for a minute, seeming to hear it in her mind, then something else hit. “How about we don’t name our daughter after a woman you fantasize about having sex with?”
Tim laughs at that request. “You asked me for strong, kick-ass, female characters I love. Guess what? I fantasize about all of them.”
“All of them?”
He’s nodding. “Strong, kick-ass women I love, why wouldn’t I?”
She thinks about that and smiles. “Good point.”
“Kelly Abigail? Name her after the strong, kick-ass woman I love the most?” He kissed her as he finished that sentence.
She’s smiling, pleased by the idea, but it’s not something she wants. “No. One Abby’s enough.”
“It means father’s joy, and that’s certainly true. Sounds good, too.”
“Your right on both of them, and I’m still using my veto on it.”
Breena came over a second later. “They’re getting ready to go, so time to get the bubbles out.”
“I’ll get them,” Tim says, they’re in the trunk of his car.