In the amount of time they took digging up the required paperwork, the lunch hour had come and gone. But the same clerk was at the counter. She pursed her lips and looked pointedly down her nose. “You again.”
Aloise and Manny both laid their birth certificates on the counter along with their driver’s licenses and Aloise’s passport.
“Are you trying to get a green card?” the clerk asked. “Is that what this is about?”
“Ma’am,” Manny said with as much respect as he could muster. “There is a very specific reason why we need to get married today and I’m really not at liberty to say what that reason is. Please could you just process our paperwork?”
“There’s a three-day waiting period to get your license back.” She folded her arms across her chest.
“There’s no way to expedite the process?”
“Not unless you want to pay an extra $50 in addition to the licensing fee of $20.”
Manny pulled a twenty and a fifty from his wallet and slapped them on the counter.
“It’s $45 if you want us to perform the ceremony,” she said.
Manny calmly pulled another two twenties and a five from his wallet and placed them on his growing pile of cash.
“You need two witnesses.” She still hadn’t unfolded her arms.
“Hmm…” Manny glanced around the empty office then pulled his cell phone from his pocket. Scrolling through names on his contact list, he found the number for his best friend, Evan. He picked up on the second ring. “Hey man, are you at home? Can you and your brother come help me with something real quick?”
“I guess,” Evan said. “What do you need?”
“I need two witnesses for a document I’m signing at the county clerk’s office.”
“What, are you getting married?” Evan laughed.
“Yeah,” Manny said, wondering if Evan would believe him.
“Very funny,” Evan said. “No seriously, what are you signing?”
“Just get over here to the county clerk’s office, please. As soon as possible.”
“We’re leaving right now, man. Chill.”
Manny could hear Evan’s keys in his hands. “See ya in five.” He touched the screen of his phone to end the call and smiled at the clerk. He gently pushed the completed application, essential documents, and stack of cash across the counter. “They’re on their way.”
By the time the clerk processed the paperwork, Evan and his older brother strolled into the clerk’s office and stopped short.
“Dude, seriously?” Evan raised his eyebrows, staring at Manny and Aloise’s joined hands.
“I tried to tell you.” Manny turned and placed his hand on Aloise’s lower back, presenting his bride to his best friend. “Aloise, I’d like you to meet my friend Evan and his older brother…” Manny hesitated, blanking on his brother’s name.
“Warren”—he reached forward to shake Aloise’s hand— “Do you by any chance have an older sister?”
“Yes, I do, actually,” Aloise answered. “Why?”
“Because you are quite possibly the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life and I would very much like to be introduced to your sister.”
“The largest sailing yacht at the marina.” Aloise pointed toward the lake. “Her name is Alondra. Por favor, take her off my hands.”
The guys both chuckled and Manny didn’t doubt for a second that the next place Evan and Warren would be heading was to the yacht club at the end of the pier.
Shaking his head and grinning, Manny turned back to the clerk. “Our witnesses have arrived.”