I got out of the little black K-car at the front entrance to the court house. Mike idled at the curb, staring straight ahead while I gathered the back end of my dress from the back seat and Ann Marie adjusted my veil. My mother and David were waiting just outside the entrance, mom smoking a Benson & Hedges 100 menthol, of course. David was shuffling his feet looking around with boredom. He was 12 and I’m sure would rather be anywhere other than at his sister’s wedding to a guy he didn’t approve of. David had never liked Kevin, saying he was a phony and a liar behind closed doors. Tara didn’t give a little boy’s opinion much weight though. David was a little frumpy like mom and her, not to mention short for his age and awkward. Kevin was tall, dark and handsome and charismatic. Everyone flocked to Kevin. David said it made the guy even more unlikable. Nobody true is that popular.
I put on my best smile for my family as I headed up the short, concrete stairs.Ann Marie had my flowers and was straightening out the small train on my cocktail length dress. I felt beautiful in my dress. The soft cream silk bodice with intricate pearls sewn into cabbage roses, soft flowing taffeta with peekaboo crinoline fell to just above my knees and swayed low in back with a small bustle at the rear. I pulled the veil over my face when I reached the top and let its gauziness hide any emotions that might betray how I was feeling. My lace granny boots that I had to have specially dyed to match the dress had a short heel that put me a couple of inches taller than my mom.
Dampness reflected in her eyes from the overhead lighting when she looked up at me.
“You sure you want to do this, right?” she asked. What a silly question. Of course I was sure and I said so. “Okay, then, let’s get this over with” she said.
I frowned as I turned toward the door Mike had come up and was holding open. I hadn’t even noticed him meet us. I pondered what my mother had said and wondered what it was supposed to mean.
‘I’m probably finding things to worry about again’ I thought to myself. We headed to the Justice of the Peace department, which was really just an office in front of the court cashier’s office. He lead us to a small chapel down the institutional beige hall. I noted how blah the place was, with occasional oversized flags in bases along the hall and pictures of the queen and prime ministers. I tried not to remember the décor lest it spoil my recollections of this otherwise perfect and happy day.
The chapel itself was a little nicer, at least. Two rows of pews would have allowed no more than 16 guests, had we chosen to invite more than the 6 we did. They were highly polished but the wan colour of brown they had stained washed them out. The beige walls had a few unique touches, like the crucifix over what must be the altar. The Justic stood in front of that though, so maybe it wasn’t an altar at all.
Kevin’s parents were already seated in a pew, staring straight and blankly ahead, not quite touching. His mother, at least had dressed up a bit for the occasion. They were tough people, the Blunt’s. Not quite respected, more feared and not very popular among the suburbanites in my world. Kevin never really said what they did, just that they owned their own business that he wasn’t really that into and didn’t know much about. He had no intention of getting into whatever it was. His job at Newton Transport as a driver made him plenty of money and no real responsibilities. He liked the freedom and the “perks”. I was fine with that and thought it was romantic that we worked together.
As I entered the chapel, I felt the temperature rise a couple of degrees. I could feel my face flush as I looked at Kevin and saw his liquid brown eyes light up when he saw me. My heart did a backflip as I stood frozen in place, butterflies flying a mad dance somewhere south of my pounding heart. The tremble in my knees propelled me forward finally as I had to stop myself from falling forward. The awkward stumble made Kevin smile and I felt my confidence rise as I took another, and another step quickly arriving beside him at the front of the pews. He took my hand and suddenly all my nerves went away. I returned the little squeeze he gave me and we faced the Justice who began to welcome our paltry 6 guests for the ceremony with the same enthusiasm you’d expect for a crowd of 250.
I hesitated for a split second when I had to repeat “obey” in my vows, but with a narrowing of Kevin’s eyes I quickly overcame the “are you sure?” little voice that had piped up in the back of my head. “I am” I said by mistake and quickly corrected myself. I was so embarrassed by the slip. The error caused a ripple of giggles from our small group and the Justice and I noticed the darkness in Kevin’s narrowed eyes lighten slightly. I knew I had turned red and looked at him apologetically and whispered, “sorry”, looking away before he might catch the shame in my eyes. I had let the little voice distract me on my wedding day. How could I have done that?
The ceremony finished without further incident and we all trampled outside into the cold. I hadn’t realized earlier how cold and horrid the day really was. Freezing rain earlier had created a fine crust over the snow piles, making everything treacherous. Fortunately, the good old unionized city workers had done their part at the court house and had already cleared, sanded and salted the sidewalks, so the going wasn’t too difficult.
Kevin grabbed my hand and started to pull me away from our guests toward the car.
“Just let me say goodbye” I said.
“We don’t have time. We have to leave now,” he said, “that little prick took too long with the fucking ceremony. I told him to keep it to 10 minutes! Shit! We have to go. Mikey will get Ann Marie and meet us at Finnigan’s. For shit sakes, girl, I wanna screw my new wife!”
I giggled and let him lead me away, waving and calling out goodbyes to the people we were leaving behind. I would see them again at Finnigan’s, he was right. He dodged a car going through the turnaround driveway and flipped him the bird, cursing the poor man driving. Today I didn’t care. I was too happy to be Mrs. Kevin Blunt. Signing the marriage certificate with my maiden ‘Willows” for hopefully the last time had made the reality come crashing in on me. The dream state dissolved and I had walked out of the chapel with my head held high, knowing I didn’t answer to anyone but me anymore.
Well, and Kevin, of course. A wife would have to answer to her husband, obviously, that’s what partnership is all about he always said.
We jumped in the front seat of the K-car and he revved the engine for effect, throwing me a wicked grin as he peeled out of the parking lot. I laughed with delight at his savagery, he was already scraping his fingertips against the inside of my thigh possessively making his reach higher with each stroke. I leaned over and kissed the side of his neck and he groaned and grabbed me around the waist. I squealed.
“Just you wait till I get you in that apartment” He growled. I couldn’t wait either. This was going to be the best sex of our lives. I had seen a foreign commercial once on a TV show for the world’s funniest that had been about two people getting rough and sexy in a poorly lit room. The sexy voice over of a man says:
“If someone had told me the best sex I’d ever have in my life would be with my wife, I’d have said they were crazy.” Then a woman’s voice says: “Welcome to your Miller years”.
That’s what it all felt like. I couldn’t wait to tear his dress shirt open and expose his tones chest underneath and I got the feeling he couldn’t wait to rip my dress off. Hopefully we’d have enough sense not to ruin the dress.
When we arrived at Finnigan’s Kevin and I couldn’t hide the wide smiles. Mom shook her head, looking disgusted, Mike clapped Kevin on the back loudly and congratulated him on his nuptials with a wink that said, and on getting laid. My brother didn’t look away from the television screen in the corner showing some sports thing. Ann Marie was ordering a drink from the gorgeous, petite blond with the big boobs as I sat down.
“Coke or Coffee?” She asked me.
“Oh, just water, please. And could I have a piece of lemon, please?” I said. Ann Marie gave me an odd look, but didn’t say anything. The waitress said “sure thing” and then sashayed over to Kevin and Mike who were still standing at the end of the table laughing and clapping backs. They stopped when blondie showed up. Both of them puffed up their already impressive chests and pushed back their wide shoulders to show her they were the big protector type. I rolled my eyes and turned back to Ann Marie while they postured for her and flirted.
“Doesn’t that bother you?” Ann Marie asked me.
“No, why should it?” I asked, “I’m the one he just married and the one who’ll be in his bed tonight.” She looked at me.
“It’s not tonight you should be worrying about” she muttered. It was so quiet I don’t think I was supposed to actually hear it, but I did. I felt a little wounded, but decided not to let it affect my mood.
Dinner was uneventful but full of light conversation and fun. We drank too much, ate too much and told embarrassing stories about each other until almost 9 at night when the restaurant became a night club. Then we drank some more and danced until they kicked us out after last call.
Mom, David and Kevin’s parents left earlier, when Finnigan’s had turned into a dance hall. Mom hugged me so tight before she left, I gasped a little for air. She ran her hand softly along the side of my face as I beamed happily, if not drunkenly, at her. She seemed a little sad as she said goodbye but I kissed her on the cheek and sent her on her way with my solemn little brother and returned to celebrate with my husband.
“My husband,” I slurred aloud as the four of us staggered our way through the parking lot to the street.
“Wife!” Kevin barked, “get over here and kiss me!” he demanded.
We all laughed as I fake trotted like a good puppy over and wrapped my arms around him and gave him a big sloppy kiss on the lips. He pushed me off, a little roughly in his drunken state, wiping his mouth in disgust.
“I said kiss me, not slobber on me. Shit, I guess you’re just a bitch after all” He and Mike laughed at his joke, shoving each other playfully. Ann Marie gave me a sideways look.
I tried to hide my hurt feelings. I suddenly wasn’t enjoying being so drunk anymore. I could feel my eyes prickling as the tears threatened to overwhelm me. Fortunately, I’d gotten good at hiding my tears over the years. Tears were weakness and I wouldn’t show weakness in front of Ann Marie. But that comment had cut me and I went quiet for the rest of the walk home. Mike and Kevin cursed and whooped all the way, surely disturbing the quiet little homes that lined the side street we were using. We’d been stopped on the main road by the cops last time the boys were acting like this. They threatened to take them in for public drunkenness, but Ann Marie and I assured the officers we’d get them home and sober them up.
I looked at the main road off in the distance as we travelled through an intersection. The holiday decorations in their gaudy golds and reds mocking me with their false cheer as I fell further into my own misery of hurt feelings.
When we finally got into to apartment, Kevin went into the bedroom and fell across the bed, promptly passing out and snoring so loudly, I pulled a pillow and blanket out to the living room and passed out on the couch. I could hear Ann Marie and Mike grunting and grappling in the second bedroom.
At least someone was getting it on my wedding night, I thought, as I drifted off into a restless half-sleep.