This is a piece from a longer story called "Fingerprints of God"...and, no, not a clue when it'll be done ;) But this snippet can stand alone... Was reviewing the archives and stumbled upon that wedding drabble and thought maybe I ought to post this. :) Feedback welcome, outright flames will be used to burn my Math for the Liberal Arts textbook and keep me warm.

This, Our Wedding Day
By Audrey Lynne

It was going to be a small, intimate affair; family and friends onlyand the friends attending were family. The setting was notably less than pretentious, as well; a small lake and stone bridge on the southwest side of Central Park provided the only backdrop to this wedding. The skyscrapers of Central Park West stood tall against the dimming sky to the other side; the participants knew they were fighting the approaching dusk.

Janine smoothed the skirt of the dress she wore; it was a simple cream dress, accented by the rose-printed crepe shawl she had draped over her shoulders to fight the slight chill in the air; it had been a warm day, but it seemed the evening would be much more like a typical October night in New York City. She'd never dreamed as a little girl her wedding would be like this, so simple, so private, but she hadn't dreamed of a lot of things that had come to her in adulthood. Now that the day had finally come, Janine's past dreams of a fairy-tale wedding had fallen by the wayside. She didn't mourn their passing. All Janine wanted right then was there with her in Central Park. After so many years, who'd have guessed it would turn out like this? Certainly not her. She couldn't have imagined this before, not even in her wildest dreams, but she'd changed over the years, in more ways than one. Her dreams had changed, too.

"You sure you're ready to do this, girlfriend?" Winston asked, putting a gentle hand on her shoulder. He was smiling, and Janine could tell he already knew the answer to that question.

Janine reached her hand up to clasp his wrist briefly, giving it a quick squeeze before releasing. "I've never been more ready in my life."

His smile widened as he hugged her, then wandered back over to where Peter and Ray were standing, asking the two of them something. Janine decided to take advantage of the opportunity to get Egon alone for a moment, before everything got started. She walked up to him. "Egon?"

Egon turned, looking her over. He'd seen her before they left the firehouse, all the time they
were here, but Janine sensed there was more to this particular assessment; it held some air of completion. Things had come full circle, and Janine saw this as his way of acknowledging it to himself. She knew him far better than he thought. "You look lovely, Janine."

"Thanks." Janine looked at the grass beneath their feet for a moment before looking up to meet his eyes. "I guess this is it, huh?"

He nodded. "It certainly seems to be."

"It seems sort of and surreal, you know?" she said, glancing around to see if everyone had arrived. Her sister wasn't there yet; they still had a few minutes. In a way, she was hoping Monica had come, so they could just get started and skip the rest of this conversation before she chickened out. But it had to be done. One couldn't move on to Chapter Two without first making sure Chapter One was complete. "Egon? Can I ask you something?" This was harder than she'd thought it would be.

"Of course." Egon reached a hand forward, as though to touch her arm, but then stopped himself, letting it fall back to his side. "What's on your mind?"

Two years of engagement simply couldn't be tossed aside, lumped into the category of "that was the past; we're moving on to the future." They'd had some pretty rough times together, but there had been a lot of good times, too. That couldn't be dismissed. Janine sighed deeply, looking down at the engagement ring on her finger, remembering the different ring she'd used to wear there, the one that now resided in a corner of her top dresser drawer. "Can you forgive me?"

Egon smiled, the beautiful smile he reserved for those closest to him. This time, he did take her hand. "There's nothing to forgive, Janine."

"Are you sure?" Janine asked, her eyes fixed on his face. Never let it be said she didn't know how to question a good thing. Cursing her insecurities, Janine persisted. "I mean, with everything"

Egon cut her off, shaking his head. "I've never purported to be any sort of expert on the female of our species, but it seems to me women have a much higher capacity for self-blame, especially when it comes to relationships. What we had was special, and I won't deny it, but you've moved on in the time since. I couldn't hold that against you, even if I were so inclined." He released her hand, tenderly. "I'll admit to a touch of envy when I first learned of your new relationship, but he's been good for youand, frankly, I'm glad you are marrying a friend of mine. I know he'll take care of you."

Janine felt herself begin to smile; she didn't have to ask who'd take care of Egon. He would take care of himself, as he always had, even when they were engaged. He'd settled comfortably back into the single life; Janine could telland he had his friends around to keep an eye on him when he needed it. They'd both be okay. She could tie off the loose strings and move on. She moved to hug him, grateful to find he accepted it easily. "Thank you." She looked up, meeting his eyes. "I'll always be your friend; you know that, right?"

"Of courseand I'll be yours." Egon hugged her again, then stepped back. "Now...I believe you have a wedding to attend."

Janine laughed. "Yeah, as soon as Monica getsthere she is!" She hurried over to her older sister. "Where have you been?"

"Sorry, sorry." Monica hugged her quickly, waving to their mother. "I took the subway, and you wouldn't believe the delay there was at the Broadway Junction stationbut I'll tell you all about it later; let's get you married first, sweetie." She glanced around, nodding in greeting to the others attending. "I see everyone's here, gathered for this joyous occasion and all that jazz...oh, he's cute. Who's that?"

"Don't get your hopes up too high." Janine shook her head as she walked over to let the others know they could begin, her sister following. "He's the interfaith minister that's marrying us."

"Oh." Monica shrugged. "Well, then. You shoulda had a bigger wedding; I could've picked up men."

"Yeah, like your getting married at City Hall was such a big affair?" Janine challenged playfully.

Monica inclined her head a little. "Point. The divorce was a bigger production. Take my advice, kid; you don't wanna go that route. You got a good thing going here. Keep him."

Janine smiled. "Oh, I certainly intend to." She turned as her fiancéewow, she'd have to start calling him her husband after tonightapproached, taking his arm. "Let's do this, huh?"

"You bet." Winston bent down to steal a quick kiss before they stepped over to join the rest of the group so they could start the ceremony. This area of the park was safe and well-lit, so there really wasn't any need to hurry; Janine rather thought the twilight glow gave everything an extra-romantic feel. She glanced around at their friends, and family, feeling more confident than ever in the steps she was taking on this new journey. No, this wasn't the way she had planned for her life to go at allbut she wouldn't have had it any other way.