Marah ran her hands down the flared skirt of her dress, it didn’t look wrinkled but she didn’t want to take any chances, “Does my dress look okay?”
Tony paused in fastening his pants. He looked her over once then twice before grinning. “Are you sure we have to rejoin the party? They can celebrate without us right?”
She laughed, “As it is we’ve been up here for almost an hour. People are going to be suspicious.”
Ignoring her protests Tony pulled her into his arms, “Oh come on we’re engaged, it’s to be expected. In fact, they’re lucky we showed up on time considering how you look in that dress!” When Marah still looked worried Tony kissed her sweetly, “It’ll be fine. Doubt anyone will even realize we were gone.”
Together they held hands as they went to rejoin the festivities.
“Okay I knew they might be up there for a while but at this rate they won’t come down till the party is over!”
Reva placed a reassuring hand on Michelle’s shoulder, “They’ll be down and this night will be just as amazing as we planned.” She caught movement out of the corner of her eye and smiled, “Look, here they come now.”
Sure enough the door to Tony’s office had opened and the couple emerged, only to stop when they saw all the guest sitting below. Tony was first to speak,”Um what’s going on here?”
Michelle stepped forward, “This isn’t just Infierno’s grand opening. Reva and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give you the wedding you both deserved.”
Marah look startled for a moment, “Wait. A wedding? Forgive me but I am a little lost.”
“I will never forget the gift you both gave Danny and I that summer. This was my opportunity to give you back all that you’ve given to me.”
Once again Reva placed a reassuring hand on Michelle’s shoulder, “Marah, honey, you know I love you but when Michelle came to me and said you were planning to get married in front of the justice of the peace I had to join her in planning this event. You deserve all the bells and whistles when you marry your true love.”
Marah felt tears threatening to escape. Her best friend and her own mother had conspired together in order to give her and Tony a night to remember. She looked towards the love of her life, “What do you think?”
He just grinned, “I’d marry you any day, any time. But I can’t get married without…”
“Without me brother?” Ray stepped forward in full priest mode, “You think I would miss my own brother’s wedding?”
Tony laughed, “No, but since this wedding was a surprise I’m not exactly privy to the details.”
Ray held up a piece of paper, “All you two have to do is sign this piece of paper and we can get started.”
Tony looked at the absolute joy on Marah’s face. She was only woman he had ever loved, his light in the darkness, and cursed his stupid idea of a quickie wedding. He’d just wanted to make it official as quickly as possible, to start the family they had always planned on having. But glancing at all those who had gathered to witness their wedding he had to admit that this was indeed better than some impersonal ceremony performed at City Hall. “Anybody got a pen?”
Tony stood nervously next to Ray, his best man Danny by his side. “So you do have Marah’s ring right?”
“Just wait, Michelle and Reva have this thing planned down to the minute detail.”
Tony was not convinced, “You know, I may have to kick your ass for hiding this from me.”
Danny just slapped him on the back, “Kind of like when you sprang that surprise wedding on Michelle and me?”
The cousins looked at each other and grinned, “Best secret I ever kept.”
As Tony watched Robbie and Sarah make their way up the “aisle” he had to admit that Michelle and Reva had gone all out for this wedding. This was no informal affair in a judge’s chambers, this was…perfect. Next came Collin who was concentrating hard on not dropping the small pillow that held their rings in his hand.
Danny leaned over and whispered, “Told you they had it all planned.”
But Tony was no longer paying attention. His sole focus was on the woman standing behind Michelle and Hope who were currently making their way towards the front. He probably shouldn’t have been mesmerized by how beautiful she looked considering he had already seen the dress. But seeing it in the context of a wedding gown struck him stupid. “Wow.”
Beside him Danny covered up his burst of laughter with a cough, but Tony didn’t care. She was the most beautiful bride he’d ever seen and he was honored that she had agreed to be his.
Marah held the bouquet of roses Michelle had bestowed on her earlier tight before looking up at her father with a reassuring smile, “More than ready.”
As Marah and Josh made their way to the front the whole room seemed to disappear as soon as Marah locked eyes with Tony. She felt like a princess out of a fairytale. And Tony made one handsome prince if she did say so herself. Who would have imagined that they’d ever get to this place in their lives? Not long ago Marah thought Tony was lost to her forever and now here they were, about ready to begin the next chapter in their lives. It almost felt like a dream.
Before she knew it Josh was handing her over to Tony with a brief kiss on her cheek. Her hand was held gently in his as Ray began to officiate but Marah and Tony were too wrapped up in each other to hear a word.
Tony was snapped out of his trance when Danny gave him a slight nudge indicating it was time to recite vows. He picked up the ring, “I, Tony Santos, take you, Marah Lewis, to be my lawfully wedded wife, my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”
Marah had tears in her eyes as she recited the vows back to him while sliding the warm medal ring on his finger. It was solid and Tony enjoyed the feeling of completeness.
Ray cleared his throat, “It seems I have been waiting forever to say this. I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride!”
Like Tony needed permission. As the crowd cheered he already had Marah in his arms and was kissing her soundly before whispering the words he told her long ago on her prom night, “I love you Mi Corazón, Mi vida, Mi esposa.”