|The Speech, PG, Empire Records
||[Sep. 12th, 2007|02:40 am]
A Single Wedding From 5 Different Perspectives
Title: The Speech
Claim: Beach Wedding
Disclaimer: I don't own Empire Records or the characters from it
Warren picked at his food, poking it with his fork and moving it around the plate but not actually eating any of it. He thought he might actually be sick if he tried to eat. He had a knot in his stomach the size of his fist and he was seriously considering leaping out of his seat and running away, just heading for the beach and running and running until no one could find him.
He jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to look at Joe, pasting a smile on his face. “What's up, Joe?” he asked, trying to sound cheerful.
“That's what I was going to ask you,” Joe said, smiling at him. “You're always hungry, so why aren't you eating?”
“I am!” he insisted, hurriedly stuffing a forkful of coleslaw into his mouth and forcing himself to swallow. He turned slightly green as he did so. “See,” he croaked. “I'm eating.”
“You don't have to do this if you don't want to, you know?” Joe told him gently. “I won't be upset.”
“I don't know what you're talking about,” Warren denied, sighing when it became obvious Joe wasn't buying it. “I want to do it,” he insisted. “How many times do you get to make a speech at your father's wedding?” He saw that emotional expression that Joe always got when he called him his father and blushed. It felt nice to know that not only was Joe taking the role of his father, but he also wanted to be there and he was happy to hear Warren call him that.
“As long as you're sure,” Joe said. “I don't want you working yourself up over this. It's not that big a gathering, just our friends and family, and knowing that you want to do it is all that matters to me. I don't care what happens when you stand up and speak; it's important to me that you want to be part of this.”
Warren look down again and swallowed heavily. Trust Joe to get emotional and try and make him emotional as well. He smiled shakily. “I want to do it, Joe. I want to be able to stand up and say how happy I am for you, but I'm scared I'll mess it up somehow.”
“You can't mess it up,” Joe promised. “I'm proud of you for even being willing to try. Now take a couple of deep breaths and relax and eat some of the food. You don't want to miss this meal; it's really good and it's been ages since you ate. You'll waste right away if you don't put your own bodyweight in food away every couple of hours,” he added with a smile.
Warren nodded and he felt the knot relax slightly. “Thanks, Joe,” he said. “I'll make you proud, just wait and see.” He grinned up at him cheekily and Joe ruffled his hair, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and hugging him briefly.
“I'm already proud of you, kid,” he said in a choked voice.
Warren could feel himself blushing, his cheeks burning and the colour spreading up to his ears and down his throat. “Stop embarrassing me,” he whispered, turning back to his food and finding it suddenly looked a lot more appealing than it had earlier. He tucked in hungrily; breakfast seemed a very long time ago.
He grinned at Joe briefly before turning his attention back to his meal. He was still running through the words of his speech in his head but he wasn't worried about it now; instead he was eager for the time to come when he could deliver it and let Joe know how happy he was for both him and Lucas and how pleased he was that they were finally getting married.
After he'd finished lunch and dessert, well two desserts because Corey was on a diet and he'd eaten hers as well as his own, he leaned back and looked around. Everyone else had finished as well and it was time. He stood up and cleared his throat.
“You all know how Joe and I met,” he started. “And I bet back then none of you imagined that one day I'd be standing here as the best man and saying how happy I am that Lucas and my father are getting married.” Joe got that look again when he said the word father and Warren winked at him. “I don't know if Joe would say adopting me is the best decision he's ever made, but it's definitely the best thing that ever happened to me. If it hadn't been for him, I don't know where I'd be today, but I'm certain it wouldn't be anywhere as nice as a beach-front restaurant in Hawaii.
“This is generally the point where the best man is meant to tell stories about the less than stellar moments in the groom's life. I could do that about Lucas, but you all know those stories already and, unfortunately, I couldn't find anyone to tell me any about Joe so I can't pass them on. Instead I just want to say that I'm really happy Joe finally pulled his head out of his ass and proposed, because Lucas makes him happy, we all know that, and maybe I can get him to help me when Joe comes over all parental and stops me from doing stuff.” Everyone laughed and Lucas grinned at him until Joe kissed the cheeky expression off his face.
“Anyway, I promised Joe I wouldn't embarrass him or cause any trouble. I'm not even armed today,” he joked, grinning back at Joe and Lucas. "So – congratulations, 'Dad,' and I promise the store will still be standing when you get home." He raised his glass towards Joe and Lucas and smiled at the stunned expression on Joe's face. He'd acknowledged him as his father a long time ago but he'd been resistant to the idea of calling him dad or pop or anything but Joe. Today had seemed like the right time to say it for the first time and it had obviously had the intended effect on him.
He heard everyone else echoing the congratulations but he was watching his father and his stepfather kissing. When they finally came up for air he smiled at them both and sat back down again. Joe pulled him into a tight hug and kissed his hair, something he'd been telling Joe he was too old for pretty much since the adoption.
Leaning against him and hugging him back, he sighed happily. He would never have imagined being here, surrounded by these people, but he was really glad Joe had seen that he needed help so that he could be.
“Thanks, Dad,” he said so softly that only Joe could hear him. “I love you.”