At some point Annabelle grew up enough that she moved out, and that was okay, Ray could deal with that without shedding too many manly tears. She grew up enough to get a degree, and Ray could handle that too, the little Person-Hasser going on to be more than them. But this, this Ray can't deal with, the day before his little tiny baby goes out in white and stops being a little Person-Hasser (metaphorically. She better fucking keep that name).
Ray's at a rehearsal dinner, glaring at Jacob and figuring out how many items in the room could kill him, because when he went all crazy eyes he expected it to work, not for it to be eight years later and the kid to still be around, except, like, legally, now.
"Are you planning to kill him?" Brad asks from behind him. "Because if you don't, I can."
"Actually," Ray starts.
"If you kill him you're sleeping on the couch," Walt says without even looking at them. Ray looks at him, scandalised. "Forever," Walt adds.
"You too," Walt says to Brad.
"I don't even sleep with you," Brad says.
"Yeah," Walt says. "But Nate is a reasonable person." He says it like Brad and Ray aren't being reasonable. Which they are.
"I don't think we can kill him," Brad says reluctantly. That is totally not Brad's call. It's Ray's daughter, and he can totally murder her fiancée if he wants to. It's his parental right, he thinks.
"Are you putting getting laid in front of my daughter's well-being?" Ray asks, appalled.
"Yes?" Brad says, and scratches his neck, and Ray stomps away from the table and the shallow, shallow man sitting at it.
When Ray sees Momma Person he wanders over, because he needs permission from somewhere, and he thinks mommas trump husbands. "Can I kill the groom?" he asks, and from the way her mouth twitches he totally bets Walt is standing behind him, making faces.
He turns around. Walt smiles innocently at him.
"No, honey," she says. "No murder at weddings. I like weddings."
"But why not?" Ray whines
"It's not polite. Besides," Momma Person says. "I didn't kill Walt."
"That's because I'm delightful," Walt says.
"That is true," she says.
"Momma," Ray says. "You're supposed to take my side."
"Your side doesn't make sense," she says, then totally ignores him to draw Walt in and lay her love on him or whatever. Ray gives up. He goes to find Brad, but Brad has a Nate attached to him, so there'll be no more talk of murder. And he'd harass Jacob, but Annabelle's with him, and he doesn't think she'd take it well.
Betrayed by everyone, he goes home for the night and stares at the ceiling while Walt snores contentedly beside him. Sometime around four he manages to snatch a few hours, and then there's this big scramble, like his own wedding day but with actual matching ties and other ridiculously fancy stuff, and a church they have to go to, and a tiny little room in the church where Annabelle is in a white dress and all sorts of other nightmare images.
Ray tries to tell Annabelle with his eyes that she doesn't have to do this, but that doesn't work.
"You don't have to do this," he tells her.
"Daddy," she says.
"I will totally kill him if you want," Ray says.
She gives him a hug. He tries not to relax into it. "It's okay," she says. "You don't have to kill him."
"Yes I do," Ray mumbles, and hugs her back.
"Daddy," she says after a minute.
"Hmm?" Ray asks.
"You need to let me go," she says.
"No," Ray says, and just keeps on hugging.
"I will knee you in the balls," she threatens.
Ray pulls back. "I don't have balls," he says. "That's a myth. Who told you that? You should know nothing about male anatomy."
"I'll take him away if you want," Walt offers, then wraps an arm around him. Ray hugs him instead, because he needs hugs. Many hugs.
"It's okay," Walt says soothingly. "You're just having a nervous breakdown."
Ray bites Walt's jaw but doesn't argue. He might be.
Brad comes in with Nate about an hour before the ceremony, and Walt disappears with Nate, probably to complain about, like, all the killing that isn't going on. Ray hopes. But more likely they're bitching about Brad and Ray, who are fucking saints for not killing Jacob, he hopes they know that.
"You look so distinguished, uncle Brad," Annabelle says, and oh great, Brad's dress blues bring all the girls to the yard, fine, great, and Ray bets people call Brad's grey hair distinguished too.
"Did I tell you about how I was just as badass as Brad—" Ray starts.
"Yes, daddy," she says.
"Even more badass," Ray says. "The most badass of them all."
"I know," she says, and pats his arm in the exact same patronizing way Walt does.
"You're just like your dad," Ray mumbles. "Mean. And. Mean."
"I know," she says and pats him some more.
"You're not allowed to get married," Ray mutters.
"Dad gave me permission," she says, and just keeps patting. Ray reluctantly admits it's sort of soothing.
"He's a traitor," Ray mumbles. "I don't like him."
She snorts. "I'm not even going to pretend to believe that one," she says, at his betrayed look.
"I could divorce him," Ray says.
"And make me the child of a broken home?" she gasps.
God, she's a bigger drama queen than he is.
"Anna had a crush on you," Ray tattles to Brad. "For years."
"You're kicked out," Annabelle says, going red. "Out. And if you see Dad tell him he's allowed. But not you. Get out."
Ray gets kicked out. When he doesn't listen to her she pushes him bodily out, and Ray lets her so she can keep her delusions about her own strength. Or whatever. And then he's milling around until it's time and he has to congregate and hyperventilate all at the same time, which is really difficult.
The wedding is. It's a wedding. There's all this bullshit religious stuff, and rings and little kids with flowers and Ray and Walt both walking Annabelle down the aisle, and Ray doesn't even refuse to walk, so that's progress.
But then it's Annabelle crying and looking so happy it's like a physical pain, and Ray can't even object when the priest asks. He just can't.
"Are you crying?" Walt whispers.
"Only because all my hopes have been crushed," Ray whispers back, and sniffles.
"Mine too," Walt says, beaming, and squeezes his hand. Ray hadn't even realised he'd grabbed it, or Walt had grabbed his, or anything. Whatever, they're sappy hand-magnets. He should be used to it by now.
Jacob kisses Annabelle, and Ray doesn't even knee him in the balls Annabelle better not know he has, just sort of weeps for the fact he lost his daughter to a nice guy. She should have better sense.
And then Walt's herding him out and they're going somewhere else even though Ray really wants to go home and hide in his pillow, and then he has to shake Jacob's hand in some hotel dining room for the reception. Shake his hand.
"I will kill you if you hurt her," Ray mutters at Jacob when he shakes his hand, but Jacob doesn't even look scared, probably because this is about the millionth time Ray's told him. Or told him Brad would do it. Or the two of them have teamed up and loomed. Brad's so awesome at looming.
"I know, Ray," Jacob says. "I won't."
"I hate that you're a nice person," Ray hisses, then stomps off.
Ray gets completely trashed at the reception, because he went and paid for an open bar like the absolutely awesome dad he is, but he's pretty sure he didn't do anything too bad, because he wakes up alive. And beside Walt, so his morning isn't too bad in the end. Ray tucks his face against Walt's cheek.
"Hey," Walt says sleepily.
Ray hums back.
"I wonder how their honeymoon is going," Walt says, sounding more awake. Then he smirks. Ray can feel it.
"I hope you fucking die," Ray says, and kisses Walt's cheek.