#FanficThursday: The Only One (Camille and Moose) – Step Up – Chapter 35

Chapter 35 – Wedding (Las Vegas)

Camille & Moose, Step Up 3, screenshot collage

One year after The Vortex’s final

The lights are dimmed. The spectators who occupy the chairs arranged in two rows along the room hold their breath. Chris Brown’s ‘Crawl’ notes begin to play and from the back of the room, a couple slowly approaches. As the lyrics begin, the boy lifts the girl while two other couples approach from the opposite end of the room. The six arrive almost at the beginning of the chorus to the corridors created between the seatsand then the music changes to Diplo’s ‘Revolution’, and while several groups of dancers appear on stage from the boxes closest to the floor, the guests, more and more incredulous, no longer know where to look. Except, of course, for those chosen few who know what it’s all about.

Our MSA teammates lead a team with Andie at the helm―Cable, Monster, Smiles, Kido, and Fly advance by mixing synchronized and canon steps, while The Mob, with Sean as director again, return the ball to them. The Pirates, led by Luke and Natalie, are the third to take to the track. Tyler and Nora, on the other hand, have retired, but only to come back and make room slowly as they walk alongside the two people behind the whole mess. 

My future brother-in-law, and best man, walks beside me with apparent carefreeness, like me, but it’s just a pose. As the warring groups retreat with simulated reverence, the music changes to a remixed version of Fred Astair’s ‘I won’t dance’, so we both begin our steps in unison. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was a moment I’d dreamed of since I joined the MSA, or before.

On the other side of the platform, two female figures imitate our movements and although I know that we have rehearsed this, I force myself to make a sovereign effort when I see my future wife. 

She’s…She’s…

Anyway, that’s it. I can’t get the words out. For one absurd second, I wonder if it wasn’t a bad idea to think about this dance if it goes ahead in that dress, but my mind goes blank when we both, knowing the choreography by heart, get on the platform and execute the final movement. I take her in one hand, turn it towards me and we end up hugging and looking into each other’s eyes, unable to avoid laughing in pure nervousness when we hear the whole room applaud. We knew it would be worth it.

But our adrenaline shoots up when a few seconds later the reverend of the Caesar’s Palace hotel in Las Vegas climbs up to the platform from another side. Camille and I look at each other and squeeze our hands together. We’ve been waiting a year for this. And neither of us wants to believe that it’s finally here.

***

My whole body is shaking and I don’t know if it’s from nerves or from finishing the intro dance. Since I woke up this morning in Nora and Tyler’s room it’s like nothing is real and at the same time, I don’t want to wake up from this wonderful dream. My sister-in-law has been doing my hair with Gauge, Hair’s hairdresser, and his partner for the last few months. 

The truth is that I don’t know how he can do the wonders he does with hair, and even less so when I have looked in the mirror and contemplated my wavy bangs, the hair gathered into a chignon, and the ornament that he has taken care of braiding from the ear to the chignon all over the right side of my head. I didn’t recognize myself, but I laughed unwittingly at the thought of the look on Moose’s face when he saw me. The one he made.

The reverend begins with the usual phrases to start the ceremony, and when the vows come in and I get the first one, I turn to Moose. I’ve prepared it, I know what I want to tell him… but it’s so much that even when I wrote it I had to shorten it. However, I don’t need to memorize something that is dictated to me by my heartbeat.

“Moose”

Although the reverend calls him by his first name, Robert, I only feel able to vocalize those six letters when I’m angry with him. Almost since we’ve known each other, it’s always been Moose to me. In fact, who do you think suggested the nickname to him, smart-asses? 

“Since we were kids, you’ve been the person who knows me the most besides my immediate family. You’ve always been there for me when I needed anything, and even though it took us a while to realize how we felt about each other,” ―he smiles slightly and I smile back― “I can only say thank you. For everything. And even though you know it, I assure you that it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to conceive of my life away from you.”

I notice how his hands are shaking and, unintentionally, two tears of emotion fall down my cheeks as he takes a deep breath to pronounce his vows.

“Camille Anne Gage,” he says solemnly, twisting his lips into a sly little smile. 

When Moose wants to tease me, he calls me ‘Camillian’, picking up my first and second names. But now I know that he says my names serenely, from the bottom of his soul. But I melt when he adds:

“I’m sorry that I realized so late that there was only one woman in my life and my heart.”

I’m having a hard time keeping my tears at bay already… 

“You have made me who I want to be, with your love and support, and that is why I want to dedicate the rest of my life to doing the same for you”

While a collective aaaawwww sounds and reverberates up to the chandeliers on the ceiling, I vocalize an ‘I love you’ without sound and he returns it to me with a smile. But the reverend brings us back to reality immediately as he plays the ring swap. Tyler hands them to me with a wink, and both Moose and I feel the pulse racing as we conclude the protocol of the ceremony. 

Then, the familiar ‘by the power vested in me by the state of Nevada… I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.’ And I’d be lying through my teeth if I said we were having trouble keeping that concession. While the guests applaud and the room where we won The Vortex exactly one year ago thunders over our heads, I throw my arms around the love of my life’s neck as he circles my back with his hands. I wish this moment could stop in time…

A few minutes later and after leaving the hall to the area where we were allowed to make the reception, we both found ourselves receiving congratulations from the relatives who had come to our wedding. The truth is that our boss was delighted to have such a wedding in the hotel and did not put any hitch in our plans. They are happy with our work, and that’s always comforting.

First, my mother, my big brother, and Moose’s grandparents come over. Behind them are the parents of the aforementioned, who look self-conscious. For a second, as the conversations surge around us, silence takes over our group as if a soundproofing bubble had been installed over our heads. My ‘father-in-law’ walks crestfallen behind my mother-in-law, who does come over with a smile to hug her son. He returns the gesture with sincere affection, but the tension is still there. When Robert Alexander II approaches my husband, I unwittingly take him by the arm, worried. But a quick smile of encouragement from him slightly reassures me. When his gaze returns to his father, however, he has become cold. Father and son observe each other for a few seconds until the first one decides to break the ice.

“Well, Robert, I know it’s not news that this has never felt right to me “ ―I see Moose’s lips tightening and I feel mine doing the same― “but I want to apologize for everything I said to you a few months ago. If you’re happy, I shouldn’t care what you do in life,” he shrugged. “I just wanted you to know that. Congratulations, my son.”

At that moment he turns to leave and I want to go back to Moose to comfort his more than likely broken heart over the open wounds again, but then my husband does something I don’t expect. He calls his father, and before he can react, he hugs him. Moose’s mother sobs and when father and son separate, smiling at each other, I’m the first one who doesn’t believe it. When the father approaches to politely congratulate me, I feel the cardboard lips, but I force myself to smile as best I can. However, seeing Moose suddenly relaxed makes my anger towards his father subside a bit. Frankly, it’s better that way. Although it’ll be a lot harder for me to forgive him for everything he did to his son.

When the family retires, friends come to relieve them. Moose and I exchange a knowing glance before they arrive, with a silent two-way message:

“I love you.”

***

The music thunders inside the room and the silhouettes of the dancers can be seen through the crystals I leave behind. It’s already dark and the party doesn’t seem to stop until late, but I don’t care. Breathing in the fresh air by the hotel pool, I feel like a new man. I’ve married the woman of my life, I’ve made up with my father, I work at what I like…What more can I ask from life?

“Thinking of eloping?” Asks a wry little voice behind my back.

I just smile as I take her hand and go down the two steps that separate us. She’s beautifully dressed in white.

“Only if it’s with you,” I answer after pretending to meditate for a moment. “Otherwise, where’d be the fun?”

She laughs and we both walk around holding hands until we sit on the edge of a deck chair. For a second, the party is behind us and only the silence of a quiet and perfect night surrounds us.

“What time does the flight leave?” Asks Camille then, resting her head on my shoulder.

“We should be at the airport by 5:00 a.m.” I answer with a sarcastic grin. “So I figure we’ll end up sleeping on the plane.”

I notice how she smiles and I put my arm around her waist. Initially, the idea of a honeymoon had been at odds with the beaches of Hawaii or the charm of European capitals. The first was my idea, the second was Camille’s. But I recognize that even though she has won her choice, I am increasingly delighted with the idea. In the end, between Tyler, Nora, my grandparents, Camille’s mother, and my parents, they have organized a tour I could never dream of―twenty days to visit Madrid, Paris, London, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Rome, and Istanbul. I still don’t know where they got the money from and they don’t want to tell me, but I know it’s a feeling that will always haunt me. They’ve done so much for both of us, all of them, that I think I should compensate them and I tell Camille.

“We will,” she assures me, raising her head to look directly at me. “One way or another, they will know that we are eternally grateful for everything you have given us in our lives.”

And we’ll do it together. As husband and wife.

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