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Caleb Holmes
Rushed Teachings
Fri Jul 1, 2005 18:18

Why did Catholics have to complicate everything? Especially Roman Catholics! But we’re not even going to broach the topic of Italian Roman Catholics.

Caleb shook his head, pulling another long draw off the cigarette between his shaking fingers. Oh, Lucy would probably smack him silly for smoking, but he needed something to calm his jangled nerves. Twice already Moira had offered him a little blue pill that was most definitely not used for male enhancement, and twice he had declined with great reluctance. He needed to be of clear mind now! The guest list worried him greatly, especially those invited upon Matteo’s behalf; but, hell, there probably was no safer place in the world right now. Mafia protection, at his own wedding!

Oh God, he was going straight to Hell.

Leaning against the windowsill, he saw practically nothing before his eyes, preferring to gaze inward for guidance. He remembered the day he met Lucy at the Playhouse. Hi, Gino. I'm Lucy, your victim. How she had giggled, thinking it all a game! Caleb had deceived her from day one, only coming clean with her in an effort to patch a broken relationship, borne from the bowels of treachery. But something had happened while out west, something had changed in them. He would have never imagined engaging in a relationship with the young woman, but obviously God had other plans for them.

Oh my God… Caleb remembered the horror in her voice when Rob had revealed his station, the fear dancing through her darkened gaze. Somehow he had built a friendship with the budding ingénue, an actual relationship where he cared for her wellbeing. Things had gone terribly awry, but he would not change one bit of it. All of the pain they had suffered, every hardship endured, they had done it together, as a couple. Every liaison he had held with a woman prior to Lucy had felt empty, lacking in something he could not identify. Was it an innocent that he needed, or even desired, to be complete? God above, he had been as innocent as she, in a manner of speaking.

But Lucy had no true emotional baggage prior to their meeting; no secrets to hide. Everything had been in the open with her. Then why could he not divulge his worst fears to the woman he was marrying? It frightened him, worrying over her safety. I want your word that you personally will look after her. Not your government. You. Caleb had done as Bernardo wished, never knowing that he had been set up from the beginning. Just like all the other times! First the Bonds, and now the Avellinos. Could he never gain respite from this blasted organization?!

He was retired. Retired! Yet still in an office, or had been just yesterday. Caleb wasn’t cut out for suit work, he knew this. He had always wanted to be in the thick of things, in the middle of battle, not on the sidelines as a spectator where he could do nothing! And now, he sat on the bench, forever ignorant to the machinations of his employers. He had lost the inside track, and that rankled. But still, he had many sources within, and would not be blind. If he could use it to protect Lucy…

“You look nervous as hell.”

“Jesus Christ, John! Don’t sneak up on me like that!” Biting his tongue to refrain from letting loose with a string of curses upon holy ground, Caleb swallowed it all and took the last drag off of his cigarette, tossing the burning refuse into a plastic cup of water.

“The guests are seated,” the giant made as an offhanded comment. But judging by the smile threatening to break through, he had found a great deal of amusement while greeting guests and handing out sweetened breads in the traditional fashion. These were things Caleb was learning as he went, and it was a trifle difficult when he was nervous as hell! “Right.” Seemed he wasn’t the only uncomfortable one here. “How many Catholic weddings have you been to?”

“Huh? None. A few. Hell, I don’t know! Why?” There he went, fumbling with the lighter again.

“That’s fine. It really isn’t difficult, just one big production for the guests,” John confessed, taking a seat so Caleb wouldn’t crane his neck. “Stick the vows at the end of the mass, and you’re fine, though this may be the shortened version. But I doubt it. Since you’re not Catholic, you won’t be taking commun—”

“Actually, the other night, Matteo…” Sheepishly clearing his throat, he chanced a glance toward the giant, somehow feeling as if he were searching for acceptance. Did Moira slip him a mickey?! “I… uhm… was baptized. Catholic.” John stared hard at Caleb, and he somehow felt like he did a bad thing, instead of the right thing for Lucy. Shit!

“… All right.” This came only after an immense pause, the giant weighing the options available. “Well, that complicates things a little. You have to understand Caleb, that you are with the Church now, and will be expected to behave and perform accordingly. So you’re going to have to speak Italian in…” Eyeing his wristwatch, John gave a slight shrug. “The next half hour or so. Not fluently, but if you mess this up…” Oh, he didn’t like those implications at all. “Don’t worry, you’ve done fine the last few nights, you’ll do fine today. All you have to do is memorize this line. la I, Caleb Holmes, vi prende Lucianna Avellino di Medici, per la mia moglie, per avere una d da tenere, da questo giorno di andata, per migliore, per più difettoso, per più ricco, per più povero, nella malattia e nella salute, fino a che la morte non li faccia parte.

“Holy shit, that’s a mouthful!” Caleb gawked, and then promptly clamped a hand over his mouth due to the swearing. But he wasn’t going to allow something as silly as a single line to get in his way of marrying Lucy, or shaming the Medici family. Caleb was determined as Hell to prove to Matteo that he was not the horrid man the Italian believed him to be! Since the lines only had to be memorized, they made quick work of it; the groom muttering words beneath his breath in hopes of not forgetting it while his nerves went spastic.

“All right. Very simply put, you’ll be waiting at the altar for Luciana, with a bouquet of flowers that you’ll offer her once she reaches you. Then the priest will ask you the question, and you’ll answer appropriately. He’ll do the same with Lucy, then bless the rings. You’ll repeat after him with what I’ve told you, so will Lucy, and it’ll be normal after that.” Pausing, John patted his jacket pocket, feeling the rings nestled within. “But… claddaugh rings?”

“Lucy hates diamonds,” Caleb muttered, trying not to twitch. “Moira told me yesterday.” So he had had to fix the problem with the rings to what Lucy wanted. He didn’t mind that one bit, and it had given him something to do instead of stalking about the office.

“Well, its time.”

Was he really going through with this? Wait, of course he was! Caleb felt like he was bouncing up and down on his toes, and tried so desperately to maintain the cool façade he had managed for so many years. Right up until this moment. A glance over the guests on the groom’s side revealed most of his family members, Rob snickering quietly at his unease, and a handful of men he had worked with over the years. Ones that were desperately trying not to shoot subvert glances toward the bride’s guests. Dignified men and women assembled, many giving off airs of the Old Country, a few trying not to stare at the agents. Even he recognized some of the men! Obviously they had come at Matteo’s request, or order, and definitely not for… this.

Well, there likely wasn’t any safer place in the world to be.

Quickly stifling a giggle that threatened to make the poorly wrought façade to crack, it took only one look at John to quell any outburst. Sometimes Caleb felt as if he had known the man for far too many years, for far too long. Yet he had never seen the giant look as serious as he did on this day. The rush of butterflies assaulted his stomach once more as his gaze settled upon his father. James looked uneasy, but as proud as a peacock at the same time. It was an interesting expression, to say the least. Everyone was here, even Devon sat there sedately! But then it came…

A music processional announced what was about to come to pass. Interested, Caleb observed the bridesmaids, sweeping in clad in gowns that would outdo most women in the tri-city area. At first, he could only see Sean offering his hand, and Lucy accepting it. But the gauzy veil did not allow him to see her face clearly from this distance, and it was driving him insane! Why did they have to walk so damned slow anyhow? It was one big tease. The women appropriately fawned and gazed jealously upon Lucy’s gown, a few turning their eyes toward Sean instead. Hmph. But then they had arrived, and after a moment’s pause, Luciana was offered to him freely, and he couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. It didn’t last long, though.

“Caleb Holmes , prenderete Luciana Avellino di Medici qui presente, per la vostra moglie legale secondo il rite della nostra madre santa, la chiesa cattolica?” There it was, the damned question! John seemed even more apprehensive than he was, a certain lethargic calm settling into the pit of his stomach at this point. Caleb had been with Lucy for so long that this was obviously the most logical step. But it was such a huge one!

“la I, Caleb Holmes, vi prende Lucianna Avellino di Medici, per la mia moglie, per avere una d da tenere, da questo giorno di andata, per migliore, per più difettoso, per più ricco, per più povero, nella malattia e nella salute, fino a che la morte non li faccia parte.” He felt like such an idiot, feeling proud that he had managed that much Italian without screwing it up. Caleb could see John’s smile widen in his peripheral vision, which only expounded his ego. By now, he had no doubts that Lucy would answer.

“Lucianna Avellino di Medici, volontà prendete il presente di Caleb Holmes qui, per il vostro marito legale secondo il rite della nostra madre santa, la chiesa cattolica?”

Come on Lucifer!

“la I, Lucianna Avellino de Medici, vi prende Caleb Holmes, per il mio marito, per avere e tenere, da questo giorno di andata, per migliore, per più difettoso, per più ricco, per più povero, nella malattia e nella salute, fino a che la morte non li faccia parte.” Whew. Only one more part to go, and Matteo would have to come to terms that he had a federal agent for a relative! Hah!

“Con questo thee dell'anello I wed e thee di impegno il mio troth…” John had offered up both rings at the priest’s request, those oddly calming words flowing over his mind, realizing that this truly was the end. Or the beginning.

“Con questo thee dell'anello I wed e thee di impegno il mio troth…” Caleb repeated, sliding the claddaugh ring onto Lucy’s finger, knowing it was what she wanted. Now he understood her grandfather’s reasoning here. She was a princess, his princess now, and he would give her anything to make this day absolutely perfect.

“You may kiss your bride.” English? The priest knew English?! The cheer came as an unexpected surprise, for he had thought the Medici to be a reserved people. Apparently not! But the veil was a complicated manner, as the dress obviously was also. In his haste, the lace tore, but it produced only another cheer, and a wide smile from Lucy. Well, at least that was a good sign.

God, he had waited for that kiss for far too long! It was chaste enough for this affair, though he hadn’t felt such passion in… He was sinking quick. Was the applause ever going to die down?

“Ladies and Gentleman. May I present Mister and Misses Caleb Holmes.” Jesus Christ, he was going to go deaf by the time they got out of the Church! But with Lucy glued to his side, it would be worth it.

“You win. Next time we get married, we elope.”

“Next time?” Caleb managed to query with a quirked brow. “No way am I going through the family thing again!” With one last kiss, the duo was heading at a stately pace out the door.

Now, if they could remain intact through the celebrations to follow…

  • Wedding BellsLucy Holmes, Fri Jul 1 15:58
    Somewhere during the journey, he let the song die away, frivolous pursuits fading away to be replaced by the enormity of what was going to happen. John was still choked up about being best man, and... more
    • Rushed Teachings — Caleb Holmes, Fri Jul 1 18:18
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