Stand with me, Mer she'd begged. Not to give her away, she didn't want that. She wasn't anyone's property.
He'd protested, of course. She could simply live with the man, he'd reasoned. There was no need to get married. He'd even played the 'parents' bad marriage' card. She'd pouted, her bottom lip trembling and then all he could see was the five-year old Jeannie, winsomely getting him to do whatever she wanted. He'd hemmed and hawed, feeling his resolve weakening. Some things never changed.
You're my brother. I want you and only you by my side. She'd punched his arm, and he'd agreed.
He'd tried blustering his way out of everything when she described the magnificent creation involving blue taffeta with a hoop skirt she'd chosen for her attendant. Dr Rodney McKay PhD, PhD was no bridesmaid. Jeannie could cry all she liked, but there were some things in life Rodney was not prepared to do. Eventually, he realized she was laughing at him. His blue suit would be fine, she assured him.
And so he stood beside his sister as she married her English major. It wasn't what he wanted for her -- she was capable of so much more. He's a distraction, Jeannie. He'll interfere with your work, he'd told her. She'd laughed, assuring him marriage would in no way decrease her intelligence. He wondered how much longer it would be until they cut the cake.
Rodney shouldn't have been surprised the cake was carrot; he'd hoped for chocolate, but at least they hadn't gone with one of the more trendy, unusual flavors, like beetroot. He debated whether anyone would notice if he took a third slice. A number of Jeannie's friends were calling out something, no doubt there was another stupid wedding tradition people were expected to endure.
For thirty seconds, Rodney puzzled over the number of reception traditions Jeannie and Kaleb had chosen to uphold considering their decidedly non-traditional wedding service. There had been the Grand Entrance that he'd wordlessly endured, walking into the hall with Kaleb's friend, who'd fumbled the rings during the service; Rodney was inordinately proud he hadn't dropped the bouquet when Jeannie passed it to him. Concerned about what he would say, Jeannie informed him she'd written his speech, but he'd extemporized a 'brother of the bride' speech, and Jeannie needn't think by hiding her face in her bouquet that she'd masked the tears that glistened at his words.
He wasn't expecting someone's hand grabbing his and dragging him to the center of the room.
Something was flying though the air, heading in his direction. Jostled on either side by screaming women, teetering in high heels and with their arms waving, he strove to maintain his balance. Instinctively his hands went up protect his face and he suddenly found himself clutching a bouquet of flowers.
Rodney heard Jeannie's cry over the surprised and not a few disgruntled exclamations from the crowd.
The women parted to let Jeannie join her brother. "Oh, Mer, you know what this means."
"It means you'll be married within the year!"
"Tradition says whoever catches the bride's bouquet will marry within twelve months."
"Tradition be damned. There's no way that's happening," said Rodney firmly. "Here, you take these." He shoved the flowers at the girl standing closest and pushed past the now laughing crowd. He'd break with another tradition and leave before the newlyweds. Before he could make his getaway, Kaleb joined them.
Kaleb slapped him on the back. "Great catch...brother!"
"Not happening...no way...no how," muttered Rodney as he turned and headed toward the door. Thankfully, he'd driven himself to the wedding. He wouldn't be married within a year, he reiterated as he opened his car door, and for a very good reason - he'd never met anyone he wanted to marry, or for that matter, who'd indicated they wanted to marry him. Problem solved, he nodded to his reflection in the rear vision mirror. A year wasn't long enough to meet someone new and get to know them well enough to decide on a future together, and he turned his mind to one of the unsolved physics problems that had recently been occupying his thoughts.