Charlie gives Julia away
Annie Mott......Paige Turco
The Minister......Roger Aaron Brown
Charlie and Nina are in a bookstore; Charlie's looking for some help with his toast to the bride and groom at the wedding, and grousing about how he thinks it shouldn't have to be moving, heartfelt *and* original. Surely two out of three is enough. Nina suggest the letters of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh for romantic inspiration, while she goes off to check out travel books for sunny vacation spots, with the aim of putting some colour back in his cheeks -- "facial and posterior," she tells him with a sly grin. Charlie ends up finding a book on cancer therapies, and becomes engrossed in it.
Bailey and Annie are discussing Julia wedding; he feels his family doesn't know her well enough for him to invite her to the ceremony, although he really wants to. Annie understands that she might be a distraction, especially with Natalie there, since she couldn't come without her. Learning that Nat would also want to be there make Bailey feel worse, but Annie tells him it's okay.
Griffin tells Howie that one of Howie's underlings brought 5000 counterfeit CDs to be stored at Griffin's shop, and Griffin doesn't want to be part of Howie's business anymore. He offers to pay back part of what he owes Howie now and promises the rest later. Howie says that his loan is the kind that can't be paid back early without a penalty. He then tells Griffin they're going to do some work on Griffin's books.
Nina and Charlie and coming back from the bookstore; Nina is all excited about possible trips. Charlie tells her they can't go away next week. The scene cross-fades to Charlie's bedroom window, where Nina is looking out and contemplating placing a birdfeeder so that Charlie could see the birds from his bed. "Sort of a 'Get well soon' present?" says Charlie, not without bitterness. Nina tells him he's going to fight, and he's going to get through this. Charlie thanks her, and tells her she has no idea how much he needed to hear that.
Julia takes Griffin to the museum after closing. He's a bit surprised that they let her in after everyone is gone, but she tells him that she arranged it beforehand. She's sorry she hasn't told him lately how happy she is, and she tried to write it, but she decided to show him how she feels. She leads to one of the darkened galleries where a picnic is laid out on the floor. Candles light up the flood of gold from Gustav Klimt's _The Kiss_ [thank you to Jessica Small and Denise Mjelde, who identified this; I was pretty sure it was a Klimt, but it's nice to have confirmation. Hey, if the original is in the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum, who gets to tell Museum Boy (ptui!) that *his* fancy museum invested in a fake? -- S.] Julia tells Griffin this is how she feels: two people blending together to become almost one person. She closes the small distance separating them, reaches up to pull him close. "This is how I feel."
The next day is the day of the wedding. Griffin is heading to the shop, over Julia's objections that an hour before the wedding is no time to be concerned with the shop. He tells her that he just wants to make sure Reed closed the shop the night before. He says he'll back within half and hour.
Bai is waiting for Sarah to get ready for the wedding, but she's having trouble finding shoes that will line her up properly with Elliot for dancing -- the wrong heel height and she could spend the whole evening listening to him swallow. Bai is startled to learn Sarah invited Elliot, and tells her it's inappropriate for "an intimate affair." Sarah says she asked Julia and it was okay with her. Bailey stalks out.
Julia arrives at the house with her dress but without Griffin. In greeting her siblings and Ross, who comes in about the same time, she manages to avoid all questions about where Griffin is. She's heading upstairs to change when Bai comes in and introduces Annie and Natalie to his astounded and wordless family. "How old is she?" hisses Claud, when the two are out of earshot. "She's seven," says Bailey. "The *other* one," says Claudia, losing her patience. Bai says Annie's twenty-six. Julia continues upstairs, shaking her head at Bailey. Claudia goes with her. Charlie gives Bai a long, 'what were you thinking?' stare. Charlie gets a call from his doctor's office about the appointment for a scan to find the extent of his cancer, which he tells Nina about it. Nina tells him not to worry about it now.
Griffin is at shop with Howie, and tries to engage Howie's sympathy by declaring how much he loves his wife and how important it is that he not get into trouble. Not only is he married, "it's worse than that; I'm in love." Howie is impressed and won't hear of letting Griffin paying him off. When Griffin refuses to cooperate, Howie punches him in the face, knocking him flat. The scene cross- fade to the image of Julia before her mirror in her wedding dress, putting the final touches on her hair.
The family is still waiting for Griffin; Claudia's videotaping everything in sight, including cornering Annie to ask, "So, Bai tells me you're divorced. What's up with that?" Annie is later dispatched to phone the shop and the apartment looking for Griffin. Natalie comes to her mother with her face smeared with cake. Natalie says she only wanted a rose, but it appears she removed the rose from the wedding cake using her face. Julia does her best not to panic, Bai tries to make the best of the situation, Claudia is horrified, and Charlie offers to send out for a new cake. Annie apologizes profusely.
When Griffin finally arrives, there's blood under his nose and on his shirt and his left eye has already developed an enormous shiner. He tells everyone not to panic, and that it looks worse than it is. He goes up to change his clothes and Julia goes with him. Julia doesn't believe Griffin when he tells her that it was just a run-in with an irate customer. Claudia, looking for candid shots for her video masterpiece. She doesn't understand why they try so hard to get rid of her since she's only trying to preserve important memories. The sound of Natalie locked in the bathroom distracts her, promising something interesting.
Outside the bathroom, Bailey and Annie try to help Nat unlock the door. The little girl is too upset to reason with, so Ross decides to sing to keep her calm, getting the growing crowd outside the bathroom to sing along. Natalie doesn't know Ross's choice of material ("High Hopes") [did it have to be show-tunes? Ecch. -- S.] and this causes her panic to spiral higher.
Nina comes in to Charlie's bedroom to see how he's doing, since he nearly collapsed again when he went to phone in the new cake order. Charlie wonders why her unfailingly positive attitude seems like his cancer is not even registering with her. To hear her say once that he's going to be all right is comforting; if it's all she ever says it seems like she's in denial.
Meanwhile Julia and Griffin are talking about his problems with the shop. He admits that he borrowed money from Howie to keep up the business in the face of the competition from the chain. She asks how long it's been going on and is horrified to hear that it has been several months. Griffin becomes angry: he accuses her of assuming she could step in and fix everything. Julia says he should have trusted her, but he says that this confirms everything she thought was wrong with him: that he can't make good decisions. She expected him to screw up, he says. Julia tells him that if he's in trouble, she's in trouble -- it's their life together. Worse, this means that her happiness of the past months doesn't count when he has been unhappy. How can they go downstairs and make all those promises again about love and trust, when they didn't mean anything the first time. "Don't say that," says Griffin, looking wrung.
Charlie is trying to get Nina to admit that she doesn't love him enough to stick by him when his illness and treatments get really bad. "There are things you do for people you love, and not for people that you like," he says. Nina thinks it would be better to take things as they come, but Charlie says he can't afford to wait, Nina tries to tell him that she can't be the only one for him to depend on, but he won't tell his family. When he tells to let him know now if she's going to be there for him, she says she can't predict the future, but she breaks down under his scrutiny. "I'm sorry," she says. She feels awful that her boyfriend's sick, and she can't handle it.
Downstairs, the new (flat) cake is delivered, and upstairs firemen are taking the bathroom door off its hinges, Ross singing away doggedly, by this time having moved on to "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" for inspirational value. Charlie emerges from his room in time to see Natalie escape the bathroom, and Annie turns to him, her eyes full of mortification, and apologizes yet again. "Don't worry about it," says Charlie simply, as if one disaster more or less can make no difference.
The wedding is finally proceeding and in the garden Charlie is about to walk the bride down the aisle. "I hope it's everything you wanted, Jul," he says, without noticeable irony. "It is, Charlie," Julia replies. He kisses her tenderly on the forehead, and marches her down the aisle. Reaching Griffin, Charlie joins his sister's hand to her husband's and says "She's yours," quietly, to Griffin. The minister begins the service and tells the congregation that Julia and Griffin have written there own vows, but at Julia look of panic, Griffin suggests they go with the regular stuff. The minister adjusts pretty smoothly. When he gets to the part about "in sickness and in health" Charlie can't help catching Nina's eye. She looks away, blinking back tears. By the time Julia says her "I do," she is avoiding Griffin's eyes. Griffin, for his part, never takes his eyes off her.
The scene cross-fades to the kitchen, after the clean-up from the party, where Julia is sitting at the counter. Bailey comes in and wonders what happened to their vows. He says it was a nice ceremony anyway, and then apologizes on Annie's behalf for all the disasters brought on by Natalie. Julia tells him it would have been better to at least give his siblings some clue about Annie before springing her on them. Bailey tells her he really likes Annie, and Julia says she can tell. Bai says that he never expected to fall for a woman six years older, divorced and with a kid. "But you don't get to choose," he says; "you just fall. And you end with this weird person, who's all wrong and all right at the same time." He says that he never would have believed it was possible for him to love Annie, if not for Julia and Griffin: they also don't appear to be perfect for each other, but they are. Julia looks at him, "Yeah, I guess so," she says softly.
Charlie is saying goodbye to Nina on the steps outside the front door. She wants him to let her know how he's doing, and offers to come through with the birdfeeder. Charlie says that would be nice. "So this isn't really goodbye," Nina says hopefully. "Not technically," allows Charlie, sadly. Charlie then asks her about something that puzzles him: how can she be so good at caring for injured birds, bringing them back to health when they come to her half-dead, and not -- She stops him. "They're just birds, Charlie."
Julia and Griffin are in the garden. Griffin tells her that things are going to change; they'll have to give up the apartment. He doesn't want to say it, Julia knows she'll have to get a job. "We might not make it," Griffin whispers, and a tear slides down his swollen cheek. She turns and looks at him, her eyes full of darkness. "What? Don't say that." She tells him that things are bad right now, that she's upset and scared, but she loves him. Griffin says that he loves her too. But clearly he's pinned by doubts: What makes them any different all the other couples who got married too young or too fast? "Because we are," says Julia. "Because we're not just going to be a statistic." Staying together is a choice, she tells him. They can decide to give up, that it's too hard, or they can choose to see their present difficulties as temporary, with better times just around the corner. They can choose to make it. Don't you want that?" she asks. "Yes," Griffin replies, "God, yes!" She tells him "So do I. More than anything." They're standing under the arbour, trailed with vines and dotted with tiny lights. He reaches out to take her hands. "So," he asks, "you really love me?"
"I do," Julia says.
Fade to credits.