Neil spends an uneasy night. He hears someone clumping about on the deck during the night, but doesn’t go down to confront them. His rationale was that if it was strong enough to get through the wards, it wasn’t something he wanted to face alone. Whoever it was, built what looks like a gibbet on the back deck with the outdoor furniture.
“Oh, Neil!” she rushed to his side. “Why here? Why us?”
“I guess by the reckoning of whoever did that, we’re the weak link. We’re new and we aren’t married. Much as I don’t wanna rush things, babe, I think we need to get married immediately.”
“Well, darling, it looks like we’re getting married today.” He kissed her, holding her close.
“Surprise!” she sighed somewhat sadly. “I wanted a big fuss.”
“I know. I did, too. When this—whatever it is—is over, we’ll have our fancy wedding.”
“Absolutely.” He kissed her again, holding her close.
“Yeah,” he replied in a dreamy voice, nuzzling her neck.
“We need to make some plans.”
“Um…yeah. Shit.” He reluctantly released her.
“You call your family. I’ll call mine, then I need to call Jackie to do the ceremony…. So many plans!” She rushed off to get her phone.
Chuckling, Neil pulled out his phone and called Heath. His friend answered somewhat blearily.
“It’s eight o’clock on a Friday, Neil. I don’t work on Friday. This better be important.”
“How would you like to be my best man?”
“Do I have your full attention now?”
“Yeah. What’s brought this on? Is Cynthia pregnant?”
Neil laughed. “I love that you think the only reason I’d marry her was because of that. No. It’s actually far more serious.” He snapped a picture of the structure and sent it to his friend.
Heath cursed loudly. “Jesus. Who would set up a thing like that?”
“You recognize it?”
“Yes. The award for the most disturbing use of lawn furniture goes to that guy. What time we thinking?”
“Whenever we can get down to city hall. Oh, Cynthia wants Jackie to perform the ceremony.”
“You got it! We’ll get up and get moving. We’ll head over there when we’re ready.”
“Congratulations, my brother.” Heath hung up.
Neil called his mother next, knowing the entire household would be up already.
Lucy answered. “Braxton-Finley residence. Who’s calling, please?”
“This is Uncle Neil, can I speak to Nana?”
“Okay! Nana, it’s Unka Neil!”
The phone changed hands. “Neil? Is something wrong?”
“I’m getting married.”
“I know dear, but….”
“What?” she screeched.
Once he calmed her down, he explained and thought it would surely have been a better idea to tell Dora or his father first. He hung up with them and Heath called.
“You got a suit?”
“No. I never needed one.”
“We’re the same size. I’ll bring one. Jackie says that sunny yellow is an auspicious color for you to wear today. Don’t question, I’ll bring the yellow shirt as well.”
“All I have are the boxers and T-shirt to go under it.”
“I’d anticipated that.”
Cynthia came downstairs, damp and flustered. “I can’t reach Jackie.”
“Already done. I talked to Heath about being my best man.”
“Maid of Honor!”
“Oh, obviously!” She dialed her phone and talked to her sister-in-law. Hanging up, she grinned. “She’s loaning me her wedding dress and silk bouquet. I’m set.”
“Super. Let me get a shower and I’ll be ready to dress. Oh, paperwork.” He trotted off to his duffle bag and secured his necessary documents, packed at the very bottom.
Cynthia was pawing through a file cabinet when he returned from his shower. Once they had all their papers, they had a cup of coffee and waited for friends and family to arrive. In a flurry of activity, they got dressed and ready to go to city hall. They applied for their license, waited about twenty minutes and had it in hand. They didn’t want to marry in city hall, but there was a pretty park across the street. All their friends and family members were there, with Jackie waiting under a sheltering oak tree. As an ordained minister in a non-denominational church, she was able to perform their ceremony.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes