Title: Ad infinitum
Disclaimer: I do not own Lie to me*.
Summary: "I've been waiting for this day for years."
Series: William series story eight (chronologically). I posted a story yesterday, "How I Met My Mother", which is set after this one. Doesn't really matter if you read that one before or after this. However, this fic will make more sense if you have read the first seven stories in the series.
A/N: Parts of this fic were written before Cal even proposed! Other parts were written five years ago. I have added and tweaked it in the intervening years. I never forgot about William and this universe. It's just taken me so long to get back into the swing of writing. Many thanks for your patience. Many thanks for your encouragement. I hope this does not disappoint.
… … …
Gillian answered her phone with a wide smile on her face, rolling onto her side in bed as she listened to the returned greeting.
"How are you this morning, darling?"
"I'm good," she replied, languidly stretching and snuggling into the soft bed covers.
"I did. You?"
"Not as well as I do when you're beside me."
"Well at least you should sleep better tonight then."
"I bloody hope not!"
His exclamation actually surprised her, so much so that she choked on her breath. "Cal," she reprimanded him, laughing through her coughing.
"Not sorry one bit, love."
She smiled, widely.
"So what do you have planned for today? Anything exciting happening."
"I'm having my hair done this morning. And my nails."
"Then I'm going to a wedding later."
"Ooh, fancy. Bride or groom?"
"Bride, actually… What about you? Any plans?"
"Oh, nothing much. Thought I'd have a relaxing morning, then maybe go to a wedding this afternoon."
"I'll see how I feel."
Gillian smiled and ended the charade. "How's William?"
She grinned fondly. "Em too."
"Do you think we're awake too early?"
"Not at all."
"I just couldn't wait any longer to speak to you."
"Problem now is, I don't want to stop talking to you."
"We've got time… Our alarms are set for seven."
"Well in that case… What are you wearing?"
Chuckling, Gillian replied, "We are not doing that."
"That's me… So what did you boys do last night?"
Gillian settled against her pillows and listened to Cal's tales from the night before.
… … …
"Are you nervous?" Emily asked Gillian as they had their nails painted later that morning.
Gillian considered her answer, thought about the day ahead, the years ahead. She replied, confidently, "No."
A wide grin spread across Emily's lips. "You're really not."
"I'm really not."
"Not even a little bit?" Torres asked next.
"Not even a little bit… I thought that I would be. But… It just feels right."
"That's impressive," Ria remarked.
"I suppose we're old enough to know what we're doing."
… … …
"Nervous?" Loker asked Cal as the younger man fiddled with his tie that did not want to sit correctly.
"Terrified," his boss replied.
Loker stopped trying to adjust the item and turned away from the mirror to stare at Cal, wide-eyed. That had not been the response he had expected.
"Terrified I'm going to wake up to find I dreamt all this," Cal clarified.
"Ah," Loker relaxed, going back to his task. He had not prepared to have to deal with an anxious Lightman. "Well, I'm sure if you were dreaming, my tie would be giving me a lot less hassle."
"I wouldn't be so sure: I like watching you struggle."
Cal winked at William who giggled as he put on his own tie.
… … …
Cal actually pinched himself while he stood at the front of the room, waiting. He needed to be absolutely sure that this was really happening. The further it went, the more angry he was going to be if he woke up to find that he had imagined it.
William was standing beside him, proud to be wearing his little suit. At least once a minute he would pat his pocket, confirming that the rings were still in there. Cal smiled as he watched him: He was definitely the right choice to be his Best Man.
"Are you ready?" Cal asked the boy.
William nodded, enthusiastically. "I'm ready," he replied. "Are you ready?"
"I'm ready," Cal answered his question. "I've been waiting for this day for years."
William's eyes grew wide. "That's a long time!"
"Yeah, it is."
"Why did you have to wait so long?"
William was waiting for his reply with genuine intrigue. There was not really an explanation that the youngster would understand.
"Because I'm an idiot," Cal told him eventually.
William nodded, thoughtfully. "Yeah. That's what Loker said."
At the mention of his name, Loker turned his attention away from the guest he had been speaking to. Cal met his questioning gaze with a glare as he enquired of William, "Loker said I'm an idiot?"
Loker opened his mouth to speak but Cal raised a hand to stall him in favour of William's response.
"Yep." William was oblivious to the situation with the adults.
"Let's put it in context," Loker argued.
"Okay," Cal nodded. "Let's…" He directed his attention to William. "William, when did Loker say I'm an idiot?"
"Erm… After Torres said, 'It's about time too.'"
"That doesn't really -"
Cal shook his head to cut Loker off this time, permitting his smile to surface now he was done winding him up. "Relax," he grinned, "I was an idiot."
"For what it's worth, I'm glad you got over that."
"Let's not get soppy."
William giggled between them. "Soppy," he echoed.
Just as Loker was turning back to continue his previous conversation, the first bars of Gillian's chosen entrance music filtered into the room.
"Here we go," Loker remarked.
"Got the rings?" Cal asked William, despite already knowing the answer. He wanted to make sure that William felt a part of this.
"Yep," he grinned.
"Good boy. This is it."
"This is it…" William smiled up at him, then he drew his lower lip between his teeth, nervously, before adding, "Dad."
It was tentative, as if he wasn't sure how Cal would react. He need not have worried. Absolute joy swept through Cal, surfacing as a wide grin across his face. He put his hand on William's shoulder and hugged him to his leg.
Gillian was smiling – mostly with happiness and excitement, but partly with suspicion – when she stepped up beside Cal. His eyes travelled slowly down the length of her ivory dress. She watched him take in the detail of the lace; the delicate pattern of flowers. Then she watched his eyes reverse their journey and return to hers. The entire time he had looked incredibly pleased with himself. She would have attributed it to the figure hugging design of her attire, but for the fact that he had already been grinning like that when she entered the room. She quirked a questioning eyebrow at him, but he just smiled, innocently, back at her.
When it came to their vows, however, all became clear.
"I had planned what I was going to say," Cal began, holding her hands securely, "I'd memorised it and everything."
Gillian continued to smile, but wondered where that was going.
"And it was good: Romantic, but not too soppy; a few jokes thrown in there… But then, while we were standing here, waiting for you, William called me 'Dad' for the first time…"
Tears sprang to Gillian's eyes and she glanced at William who was grinning proudly. There was a collective 'aww' from their guests.
She had been determined not to cry during the ceremony and she fought the inclination when she returned her gaze to Cal when he continued.
"… And everything else just kind of fell out of my head. Because," he stepped closer to her, a reverence slipping into his tone, "jokes aside, and soppy or not, that's all that matters. I am so excited to marry you, darling, and to become William's dad. I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to make up for all those years that I wasted being a complete idiot. I promise that these are going to be the best years of our partnership. I love you; I love William and this is going to be amazing."
Gillian ducked her head, blushing at the look on his face, at the sentiment in his words. He gently stroked his thumbs across her hands and encouraged her to move closer to him.
Then it was her turn to speak.
She wasn't sure that she could get words past the lump in her throat.
"I -…" She cleared her throat and tried again, but she couldn't remember what she had been intending to say. William had often talked about Cal being his new dad since they had got engaged – and before! - but seeing Cal so deliriously happy about being addressed that way had filled her with an unparalleled warmth. "Well… I… You've made everything that I wanted to say fall out of my head," she deliberately echoed his words and their guests laughed, giving her some time to regroup.
Cal's grin just widened, smugly.
She took a deep breath and hoped that whatever words came out would make some sense.
"I almost didn't allow myself to believe that this could happen. I've been in love with you for years, but I'd persuaded myself that you didn't feel the same way. Thank goodness my livelihood isn't based on me being able to read people…" That gained her another laugh, and from Cal as well. More seriously, she continued, "I'm glad I was wrong. I'm glad you knew what I was doing and refused to let me. This is right, Cal. You, me, Emily and William. This is right where we should be. You didn't waste those years. Different choices might not have led us here. It's our past, and I'll cherish it… Now, I'm looking forward to our future."
While their guests muttered approving words and sounds, Cal leaned towards her, "That was rather soppy, darling."
They stole a kiss, and spent the rest of the ceremony grinning deliriously.
… … …
Cal watched as Gillian moved from guest to guest, accepting hugs and kisses, smiling radiantly. His own smile had never left his lips, not for even a second. He had been happy yesterday, last week, last month, but nothing compared to this. He didn't think he would ever stop smiling.
"She looks beautiful, doesn't she?" Emily remarked, stepping up beside her father.
"Breathtaking," he replied, his eyes never leaving Gillian.
"I'm surprised you're over here and not glued to her side."
Cal laughed. "It's tempting, love."
Emily put her arm round her dad's waist and nestled close to him. "I'm really happy for you, Dad."
He moved his arm and draped it across her shoulders, placing a kiss on the top of her head. "Thanks, darling. So am I."
"I can tell… The goofy smile will wear off eventually, right? Could be a bit embarrassing in day to day life."
"I don't know, love. I think it might be permanent."
"You won't mind if we're not seen together in public, then? I mean, it's fine when we're with Gillian. But when we're not, it's just weird."
"I can't make any promises, but I'll try to control it when Gill's not with us."
At that moment, Gillian's eyes met Cal's from across the room and she offered him a reprimanding look for watching her. Of course, the smile that accompanied it dampened the effect, and the longer he looked back at her, the wider it became.
Cal realised he had tuned out what Emily was saying when she unwrapped herself from his embrace and nudged him in the side with her elbow.
"Go on," she encouraged.
Cal tore his eyes away from Gillian long enough to kiss Emily's forehead. "Love you."
"Love you too. Now go, before you fall apart or something."
Cal didn't see Emily's triumphant smile as he flitted between the tables and swept his bride out into the hallway.
"Cal!" Gillian laughed when he pulled her into a secluded alcove just along the corridor from the ballroom.
"I just need you to myself for a minute… Nothing inappropriate, love. It's just been too long since I kissed you."
And, as if to prove that was his reasoning, his hand cupped her cheek and he kissed her tenderly.
She kissed him back for a second, wrapping her hand around his wrist, but when he pushed to deepen the kiss, she giggled and gently pushed him away.
"Cal, we have guests to mingle with."
"Emily and William have got that covered," he argued.
He got away with stealing another kiss because that thought stalled Gillian's objections. He made a good point: Emily and William did seem to be making a point of speaking to everyone individually. Suspicion was just starting to niggle at the back of her mind when Cal's lips brushed against her ear as he whispered, "Darling, you cannot show up looking this gorgeous and expect me to keep my hands to myself all night."
He kissed her neck then and she shivered at his touch. "Cal…"
"Your fault," he murmured, his lips still on her skin.
She moved from his hold but cupped his cheek in her hand when he pouted at her. "A few more hours, Cal. You can do this."
"I think you should stay by my side all night."
"I just promised to stay by your side for the rest of our lives."
"Literally, love. I meant literally."
"I know you did. Come on. Dinner will be served soon and I'm sitting next to you for all three courses."
She took hold of his hand and led him back towards the ballroom.
… … …
As promised, dinner was served shortly after they re-entered the reception. And Gillian was by his side the entire time. She even allowed him to lean in and kiss her from time to time. And once, or twice, she instigated it.
He caught Emily rolling her eyes at them, but the smile on his daughter's lips betrayed her true feelings.
The eye rolling became more frequent during his speech. Of course he did the customary things of thanking and complimenting the bridesmaids, but then his praise of his bride was very much along a similar theme as his vows and he was powerless to stop it coming out somewhat gushing. He didn't care. That amazing woman had married him. Against all odds and despite his myriad of character flaws. There would never be enough words to convey how thankful he was.
Given William's young age, there was no best man speech but Emily had offered to support William to make a toast when the meal was over. William climbed up on to his chair so he could better be seen and Emily moved to stand beside him.
"My brother"-she grinned at William who beamed at her-"and I are delighted that we are finally here to celebrate the marriage of his mother and my father. For years it has not taken a body-language or micro-expression expert to see that the two of them were ridiculously in love. I'm sure everyone in this room knew it…"
A murmur of agreement swept the room.
"… Although, we do acknowledge that many of you are such experts… But you get the point. I mean, William was five years old when he first pointed it out to Gillian!
"While they didn't do a great job of hiding it from everybody else, they did a fantastic job of not admitting it to each other. While I tried my best to nudge – or shove – Dad in that direction, I do think that the addition of William to his social circle helped. Watching Gillian love William can only have shown him what he was missing.
"But, however they got here, we're just happy that they did. They are wonderful parents; they are such a lovely couple – honestly, ridiculously soppy at times – worse than Dad's speech! … We look forward to being there as they build a future together; we look forward to being part of it.
"If you would all join us in raising your glasses, William will make the toast."
While the guests all picked up their glasses in preparation, William looked at Cal and Gillian and grinned with excitement.
Then he turned to face the guests, his features settling into a look of concentration as he focused on remembering his words. "Ladies and Gentleman," he said confidently, "Please join me in a toast to my mom and dad; the bride and groom…" William lifted his glass of water. "To Gillian and Cal Lightyear…"
Cal chuckled at his use of that surname, hearing Gillian do the same beside him. He smiled at William and was just turning to share his amusement with his wife when the response from their guests stopped them. Eyes widening; full blown laughter bursting forth, they both looked back to an absolutely ecstatic little boy. Emily was grinning victoriously beside him and suddenly the close attention their children had paid to each guest made perfect sense.
They had needed to spread the word.
For, rather than echo William's words as was usual for a toast, everyone present had instead intoned, "To infinity and beyond!"