Courthouse Wedding

wedding rings

Gray waited for Julie in front of the county courthouse. He carried the wedding band in his right suit pocket and he fingered it nervously. He looked at his watch for the 100th time. She wasn’t late, but she wasn’t early either. Where was she?

Two men leaned against the wall behind him. They were on their smoke break and Gray listened to their cheerful banter absently. They were talking about women, co-workers from what he could tell, discussing first one lady’s attributes and then another’s.

“And would you take a look at that!” exclaimed one young man. His colleague turned his head to see what was so impressive. Gray followed suit.

Climbing the marble stairs in a sheath of form-fitting pink organza was Julie. The dress scooped beautifully in front and she wore a necklace that caught the light, refracting it into a prism of rainbow colors that danced about her as she walked up the stairs. The soft hemline blew open on the wind to reveal a long and shapely length of leg. She turned her face into the wind, to keep her curls at bay.

“Sugar and spice,” said one man.

“And everything nice,” said the other, his voice deep and husky. “I wonder what lucky bastard is putting a ring on that lovely creature of God.”

Gray smiled. “That would be me, gentlemen,” he said.

The two turned to look at him, their faces disbelieving. Even in a suit, Gray looked dangerously mean and ferociously tough.

“Yeah, right,” said one.

“Don’t you wish,” said the other.

Gray’s grin got wider.

Julie had seen him and was now climbing towards him, her face beaming. “Hello, Husband-To-Be,” she said, as her foot crested the landing. She walked toward him and kissed him softly on the lips.  He pulled her to him and kissed her soundly, his hands sliding to her open back.

“Mmmmm,” he hummed, as he contacted warm skin.

Her eyes opened to look at him. “I thought you would like this dress,” she said, her lips still touching his.

“I love it,” he said, pulling back to admire her. “I also love what’s in it.” He took a deep breath. “Are you ready?” She nodded eagerly. “Cole and Rose are waiting inside,” he said, wrapping his arm around her waist to guide her to the door. He looked over at the two smokers and winked. Their jaws were slack in shock. “Have a nice day, gentlemen.”

“You too,” they mumbled.

“You can count on that,” said Gray with an ear-to-ear grin.

Cole and Rose kissed her in greeting, their smiles wide and radiant. County officials passed them by and gave knowing nods. Rose positioned the couple by the state flag and snapped a picture. Julie moved the two of them to a nearby indoor plant and let Rose snap another. Cole suggested that they pose by the state seal; they did this too.

Rose handed her camera to Cole and took a box from him in exchange. She looked up at the big Indian and beckoned him to step up close.

“Come right here, Mr. Walker,” she ordered.

Gray moved to stand before her and watched as she pinned a boutonniere onto his lapel. He fidgeted awkwardly as she did so. It was a single pink rose-bud and Gray frowned at it in consternation. It looked fragile and out of place on his huge chest.

“Now, don’t you frown, Gray,” said Rose. “It’s a symbolic thing. It’s as tender and fragile as the other flower you hold close to your heart.”

Gray’s eyes widened and he looked down at his boutonniere as if it were now something altogether different. He nodded in understanding.

Cole handed Julie a long-stemmed pink rose as they made their way to the Justice of the Peace, their footfall echoing loudly along the administrative corridors.

The room that held the ceremony was small with white unadorned walls and red carpet. The gentleman that greeted them wore a dark blue suit. He was up in years, well-seasoned, very polished and very official. He set out a single piece of paper on a side table and set a pen atop it, then clasped hands and waited patiently while Rose snapped a few more photos. He was definitely the most relaxed person in the room.

“You’ve done this before?” said Julie, knowingly.

“A few thousand times,” replied her Justice of the Peace.

Cole and Rose officially declared themselves witnesses. Gray and Julie officially pledged themselves to each other. The vows were short and simple and lovely.

Gray slipped the wedding band on her finger and kissed her hand with heartfelt devotion. Julie placed a band of gold on his ring finger as well, sliding the metal slowly and deliberately and with great care. His big body shook while she did so, and Julie looked up at him, her face full of concern.  A single tear slid down his cheek.  She reached up and brushed it away. It was replaced by another.

“Oh, Husband!” she said, her voice breaking.

“Wife,” he whispered hoarsely and pulled her to him, hugging her fiercely as he cried.

The Justice of the Peace cleared his throat. “You both kind of beat me to the punch line,” he said.

Cole laughed; Rose cried. Gray released Julie from his embrace and roughly wiped his cheeks.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” said the Justice of the Peace, in a voice that made all heads swivel in his direction. “Would you like to kiss your bride, Mr. Walker?”

Gray took Julie’s hand in his and squeezed. He bent down and rubbed her nose with his, then touched his lips to hers. The kiss was exquisitely tender. When he released her, she bobbed back up to rub his nose again with hers in another Eskimo kiss, then hugged him fiercely.

“We have just a little bit of paperwork to do,” said the Justice, ushering them over to a small table. Gray signed the marriage certificate first, then handed Julie the pen. She looked at the pen for a moment then looked back up at her husband.

“We haven’t discussed this,” she said quietly.

“Discussed what?” asked Gray.

“What to do about my name,” said Julie.

Gray frowned. “I’m hoping that you’ll take my name, Julie.”

She nodded. Of course he’d want that. She stared down at the document. Could she fit inside the idea of being Julie Walker for the rest of her life? She touched pen to paper, then looked back up at Gray. His dark eyes were puppy-dog soft.

This she could do. Yes, this she could do

3 Responses to “Courthouse Wedding”

  1. Sageturtle says:

    I LOVE this! Made my eyes slightly dewy! WHAT a fabulous scene! Why did it not make the book? (I especially enjoyed Gray understanding the boutonniere! How sweet!)

  2. Kathleen says:

    This was a beautiful story, full of romance and suspense and healing – I wish this was in the book because as I read the story I felt something was missing when all of a sudden they were married … Thank you for sharing this.

    • Lisa Airey says:

      There were actually two wedding scenes…this one at the courthouse and another traditional Sioux wedding on the reservation. I ended up cutting both scenes in order to make my publisher’s maximum word count. Many have said that this edit/delete was sorely missed. :(

Leave a Reply