A long, fitted ivory gown; delicate white and pink flowers in her hair; and a small bouquet of tulips resting in her hands, she was, as always, beauty personified as she stepped up beside him.
The smile she was wearing all the way down the aisle widened as she looked into his eyes, and he felt his own do the same in response. The words of the service were but a distant sound, so lost as he was in the woman who was about to become his wife.
He had realised the moment he asked her to marry him that she was what had been missing from his life. She once compared being a CSI to fitting together all the pieces of a puzzle. Skilled as he was at investigative work, it had taken him almost half his lifetime to figure out that he would never be complete without her as more than a friend.
An apparent echo snapped his attention to the service. It was his turn to speak, and, evidently, he hadn’t responded the first time they had told him that.
Smiling sheepishly, and adoring the amused grin on Catherine’s face, he took hold of her hands – the flowers having been handed to Lindsey – and inhaled a slow breath before beginning his vows.
“I considered several ways to start these vows to you: ‘My dearest Catherine’, ‘my darling Catherine’, ‘my sweetheart’, ‘my true love’, ‘my soul mate’… But they all seemed too soppy – and I know how you hate that…” Catherine let out a small giggle when he winked at her, and he smirked as he continued, “I considered putting the words into song, but I think there’s been quite enough singing during our relationship…”
Catherine was not the only one to laugh at this statement, and Gil offered a smile to their guests, waiting until the laughter died down before resuming.
“… and, you always seem to cry when I sing, and I wouldn’t want your mascara to have run on all the photos.”
More laughter followed, and Catherine hit him playfully across the arm.
“So I finally decided to just keep it simple… Today, you make my life complete, and I cannot wait to continue this journey through life with you and Lindsey by my side…” He took a step closer to her, lowering his voice to a whisper, and his smile to an expression of pure sincerity. “I love you, Catherine… my true love, my soul mate,” his mischievous smile returned slowly “… my hero.”
Tears were formed in Catherine’s eyes, and one escaped as she shook her head, laughing again. He raised his hand and gently wiped the droplet away with his thumb, smiling into her sparkling eyes for as long as possible before she had to compose herself for her own vows.
She adjusted the connection of their hands so that she was holding his, and took a couple of steadying breaths.
“Well,” she began, “How do I follow that?”
The murmur of laughter around them rose and then faded into silence, and Catherine tightened her hold on his hands.
“Gil, you’ve been my boss, my best friend, and my rock for so many years; and as you agree to take the next step in our relationship, I want you to know that you have made it so easy to come through everything that has happened to me since the day we met. You’ve seen me through so much and brought me to this happiness… I have always known you would do anything for me - I never realised that included Barbie impersonations, but that was a pleasant surprise,” she grinned, and laughter filled the room once more. “… Throughout the years, it has been a fun, and occasionally infuriating, pastime to figure who your latest quote came from… So, in order to tell you, most eloquently, how much you, and this marriage, mean to me, I call upon the words of the wisest man I know – tweaked a little… ‘I’ll live each day to make your every dream come true; each smile, each burst of laughter and each tear, they will all have a place in here…” she placed their joined hands across her heart, “For all you are forms part of me; the meaning of my life are we.”
Gil’s smile widened in recognition of the words and he stepped forward and kissed her gently on the lips.
“We’re not quite at that part yet,” the Justice of the Peace commented with a smile.
They both took a step backwards, and the service continued; the words a blur once more until he heard the confirmation that they were husband and wife, and the invitation to kiss his bride.
He wrapped his arms around her waist, hers falling naturally over his shoulders, and he took her lips to his in a tender kiss, encapsulating everything they had said, and promised each other.
“I still say you should have let me give a speech,” Greg stated, that evening, as he danced with Catherine. “Jim’s was so boring… Yeah, so he’s known you both the longest, but he didn’t tell any amusing stories… Well, none that I haven’t already heard.”
“There are people here who had never heard them before, Greg… Jim was Best Man, the Best Man gives a speech – it’s tradition… And, besides, I wouldn’t want the stories you would come up with to be recounted in front of Lindsey,” she emphasised pointedly.
Greg feigned shock. “What are you insinuating?”
“You know exactly what I’m insinuating, Mr ‘embellishment is my middle name’,” Catherine grinned.
“I’m hurt!” Greg exclaimed, clutching at his heart.
Catherine was laughing at him when she suddenly found herself snatched out of his arms and into the familiar hold of someone else.
“I hope you don’t mind me interrupting,” Gil said, in a husky whisper.
Catherine grinned, “Of course not… And I don’t think Greg’s even noticed.”
“Are you enjoying your day, Mrs Grissom?” he asked her as he twirled her around the dance floor.
“Our day, Mr Grissom… And I’m loving every minute! I can’t believe it’s finally here.”
“Yeah! Measles can’t keep us apart,” he smirked.
Catherine laughed. “Love will always prevail?”
He pulled her closer and pressed his lips into the soft, tender skin of hers, tasting, once again, strawberry in her lipstick, and champagne in her mouth. Their dancing stopped as they lost themselves in the embrace, and they were only interrupted by the sound of Greg ‘testing’ a microphone.
Their eyes shot open and they stared at each other - both a little panicked. Realising neither of them knew what he was up to, they stepped apart, and turned towards the stage, where the lab tech was standing; the smartest they’d ever seen him, in his suit.
He was grinning from ear to ear, and winked at Catherine as she stared at him, mouth slightly ajar in intrigue.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” he began, and the chatter amongst the guests died down as everyone turned to face him. “For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Greg Sanders, I work with Grissom and Catherine… I was very disappointed that I didn’t get to make a speech this afternoon…”
Catherine’s eyes widened further in fear that he might tell some of his exaggerated stories now.
“… But, when I found out there was going to be a wedding, I was even more disappointed to find out that there wouldn’t be any karaoke…”
There was a mixture of giggles and groans from the guests and Greg grinned mischievously before he continued.
“… As singing has played such an important role in bringing the two of you together – yes, we’ve heard all about your cousin’s wedding,” he added, looking pointedly at Gil, “I thought that it should also have an important place in your big day… And so, in honour of this special occasion, I have a little song I like to call ‘Gil and Catherine’…” He turned to the pianist in the corner, declaring “Maestro!” There was a short moment during which he seemed to be inwardly concentrating and then he began to sing:
“Gil and Catherine, Gil and Catherine,
“Go together like Diet Coke and saccharin,” he sang, impressed laughter coming from his audience as they recognised the tune as that of ‘Love and Marriage’ by Frank Sinatra.
“We’ve said it for years now,
“And finally we’re all gathered here now.
“Cath and Grissom, Cath and Grissom,
“From them we can all learn a lesson,
“Once you find your soul mate
“Leave it a while before you celebrate!”
Catherine and Gil turned to face each other, laughing at the sarcasm oozing from those words.
“Try, try, try to separate them,
“Only if you’re foolish.
“Cath – knows - how to hide a body good,
“And she will do this!”
While the whole room seemed to find this hilarious, Catherine narrowed her eyes at Greg, but her lips were still curved in an amused smile.
“Gil and Catherine, Gil and Catherine,
“Perfect love we can all see between ’em
“Raise your glass please everyone…”
Both he and the music paused now while everyone did this; all the guests standing and facing the happy couple as they lifted their glasses.
With everyone in place, Greg concluded his song, “…And toast to Mr and Mrs Grissom.”
“Mr and Mrs Grissom,” the guests echoed, glasses clinking and some people adding wolf-whistling for effect.
Catherine shook her head slowly, laughing and smiling at Greg, and Gil mouthed ‘thank you’ to the younger man.
Greg raised his glass to them with a nod, then made his way off the stage.
Catherine turned to Gil and wrapped her arms around his waist. “We’re very lucky to have such crazy friends and family,” she said, her face still glowing with laughter.
Gil returned her embrace and the two of them looked around the room as dancing music recommenced.
Greg was heading over to where Sara and Mick were sitting, and it was good to see him sit down beside them and fall into conversation, without any awkwardness. Warrick and Nick were at the bar, chatting to – likely chatting up – two of Gil’s cousins, Lindsey was dancing, standing on Jim’s feet, and on the edge of the dancefloor, Gil’s mom was having a sign conversation with his dad and Karen.
Gil smiled at the sight.
Looking down at the woman who had made that possible; the same woman who had made him the happiest man in the world, he smiled – full of love and admiration and agreed, “Yes we are.”