Good things come to those that wait. Grandmother Paddington was known for saying that and she used to say it to him when he was boy, especially when he was being impatient. Tony wondered what his grandmother would think of him now… having waited so long for the right woman.
He adjusted his ivory silk tie before slipping into an ivory vest. Gingerly he buttoned the vest up, smoothing the fabric down over his chest when he was done. Next, he pulled his tuxedo coat from the garment bag and glided into it. A couple of buttons later he was done, ready to perhaps take the biggest leap of faith he had ever done in his life—get married.
Tony thought he was going to be nervous, anxious, especially after what happened the last time with Wendy leaving him the night before—but he wasn't. He was calm, peaceful. And he just wanted to see his beautiful bride. From what he heard—from Abby of course that had come to make sure he had not run away—was that she was going to take his breath away. She did that on a daily basis…even just wearing an over-sized tee-shirt around their apartment… because he couldn't believe that this lovely, smart, woman had fallen in love with him. Two years ago if someone had told him he was going to get married he might have laughed in his or her face. He was in his forties—he thought that his time had passed even when people like Stan Burley were telling him to give it a try.
Adjusting the tux once more time before stepping away from the mirror he was looking into, Tony smiled. He'd have to tell Stan the next time he saw him that he was right—it was worth the try. And mostly because he was going to love seeing the shocked look on Stan's face when Tony flashed his wedding band.
"Need a drink?" Gibbs voice said from somewhere behind him.
"No… I'm good, boss," Tony said, turning to smile at him. "Actually… quite calm right now."
Gibbs offered him a wry grin and then poured himself a glass of Scotch that Senior had left in Tony's room. He sat down on the edge of the bed, listening to the waves crashing below them. "Historic day."
Tony chuckled. "Do you mean Columbus discovering America or my getting married?"
"Both," the former marine quipped sipping his drink.
"Yeah… guess they are," the senior field said with a grin. "Funny… how life can change in a year, huh boss?"
Gibbs finished his drink and stood, pulling down on his own tux jacket. "I'm glad that yours has changed for the better, Tony." He reached out and grasp his second in command's shoulder, this man that he regarded as a son, "I know that you keep saying that you're lucky you found Leah… but she's lucky to have found you too, Tony."
Tony thought back to that rainy day in the coffee shop, the one that Gibbs had pushed him to change to begin finding himself again. He smiled, gently. "I don't think I saved her as much as she saved me, boss."
"I think you saved her more than you know," Gibbs replied, patting the younger man on the shoulder.
"OK," Tim said, interrupting them when he came back into the room. "I think I finally convinced Abby that you aren't going anywhere."
"Who's more nervous? Abby or Leah?" Tony cracked, grinning.
"Actually, I was expecting you to be the most nervous one," Tim answered, honestly. "You're not nervous… at all?"
Tony shook his head. "No. Because this… feels right… this whole getting married thing to her."
Tim frowned. "Someday you're going to tell me where you've been hiding the real Tony DiNozzo for the last year… right?"
"Sure," Tony laughed, "Sure, Tim." But this is the real Tony DiNozzo… and I don't think the old one is ever going to come out of hiding again.
It was probably a hilarious sight to see all these women, crammed into a small bedroom, getting ready, with their gowns taking up every corner. Abby and her sister Lauren had put their dresses on right away that morning, even daring to get their hair and make-up done in them. The others were a bit more cautious, or they were just downright balking at all the fuss like Norah.
Either way, Leah was the last one to get into her dress. She'd spent the morning getting ready wearing a pair of yoga pants and a zip-up hoodie that was embellished with the word bride on the back in gemstones. She hadn't taken it off when they did her hair in a side twist, long curls tumbling down with a few lilies tucked in the top. And she didn't take it off when they did her make-up, simple, elegant because Tony always told her that she was beautiful enough without it. And all that time, while she was getting ready people buzzed around her, chatting and snapping photographs. But the moment she put it on, the room completely stopped what they were doing to gush over her.
Now that the dress was on it became intensely real. She was getting married today, to a man that loved her more than anything in the world, and she was excited and anxious all at the same time. "Do I look all right?" she asked, shyly with a smile.
Lauren instantly became emotional, gently folding her baby sister into a hug. She stepped back and grasped Leah's hand. "You look amazing!" she said, smiling through happy tears. "I think you might just give Tony a heart attack when he sees you."
"One thing's for sure… he definitely isn't going to be as calm as he claims to be," Abby said with a laugh.
"Ladies…" John said coming into the room, grinning at his daughter. "It's almost time, darling. Are you ready?"
Squeals erupted in the room and Katherine began to get everyone into place. Leah took a deep breath and smoothed her hands over the fabric of her dress. This was it. This was the moment that she knew was coming since Tony had first said I love you. All her worries, all her fears washed away in that thought. She was marrying the man she loved more than anything—her Prince Phillip.
Flashes of red fabric moved around her as her bridesmaids gathered up their flowers, Lauren carefully handing the basket of rose petals to the flower girl, and as they filed out, chattering wildly. Leah smiled, gently at her father, who held his arm out to her, now that they were the only ones left in the room. "Yes. I'm ready, Daddy."
John paused for a second and looked at her, at how happy she was. He kissed her forehead. "Always knew this moment was going to be hard," he said, choking up a little, "my baby getting married. But... he's a good man, Leah... and I know he'll take care of you... that you'll be happy. And that's all any father really wants when he has to give his daughter away to another man."
"Daddy... please don't make me cry..." Leah whimpered, biting down on her lip. "I don't know if the mascara is waterproof or not."
"Leah Maire, I am pretty sure that your mother had waterproof mascara put on you," John teased, rubbing his thumb across her cheek. "Especially after your water works performance at Lauren's wedding."
"You're right, she probably did," Leah said, laughing.
Someone called up the stairs asking if they were ready to begin. John looked at his youngest child, searching her eyes. She was beautiful, had been since the moment she had been wrapped up in a pretty, pink blanket and handed to him at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Now... she was wrapped up in a beautiful ivory gown, and he would be handing her off to the man that would take over his responsibility to protect her. "Are you ready to go get married?"
Leah answered him with a beaming smile and John guided her out of the bedroom down the stairs. Her fingers brushed the locket that hung around her neck, now empty as it waited for a picture of her real life prince and she felt her heart flutter. Grammy had always told that the man who took that spot in the locket could not be just any man. He had to treat her right, he had to love her, and cherish her. Leah smiled knowing that she had found the man to do just that.