Manny pulled up to the side of the house again, right next to the door of his suite. He checked that his living room was empty, then Aloise snuck into the bedroom. Before risking his parents walking in, he strode over to the door leading to the hallway and locked it.
As soon as he had unloaded all the groceries, he maneuvered to the back of his truck, lowered the gate, and unloaded his hunting equipment.
Most of the items they bought belonged in the bedroom and bathroom, so he quickly refrigerated the beverages and carried the rest of the bags into his bedroom, locking the bedroom door also.
When he turned around, he startled to see Aloise had already changed into the negligée they'd bought and was laying on his bed, propped up on one elbow. The sound that escaped from his throat was almost a whimper.
Both his ex-girlfriend and his wife had been correct when facing off at the grocery counter. He hadn’t been ready for this a few months ago, and meeting the right girl made all the difference. Although he’d never done this before, Manny got the impression his body would know instinctively what to do with his bride.
“I’m really glad we got married,” Manny said, climbing onto the bed and lying next to her.
“I wouldn’t be in bed with you if we hadn’t,” Aloise answered with a resigned expression.
“I’m really glad you weren’t ready a few months ago with what’s-her-name,” she whispered.
“I’m really glad I ran out of gas in the middle of a forest in this beautiful state that I can’t remember the name.”
“Michigan,” Manny said.
“Michigan is beautiful,” Aloise said.
“You’re beautiful,” Manny whispered.
“Can we make out now?” she asked.
“I have a legally binding document that says we can.”
Aloise leaned forward and Manny met her halfway, pulling her closer so their bodies were flush, and he could feel every inch of her body.
When their lips finally met, they didn’t part for a very long time.
Manny awoke the next morning to his wife’s insistent whisper.
“Manny, someone’s knocking at your door,” Aloise said. “Wake up. They’ve knocked a bunch of times. I think it’s your mother because she’s texted a bunch of times too.”
He groaned and accepted the cell phone she handed him. Among several other texts, one was written in all caps. I KNOW YOU’RE IN THERE. COME OPEN THIS DOOR.
The text he sent back was two letters. OK.
Manny kissed Aloise on the forehead then reluctantly rolled out of bed and rummaged in his drawer for a pair of sweats, not bothering with a shirt. He pulled the door to their bedroom closed and padded in bare feet over to the main door, opening it halfway. He stood with one hand on the door and the other on the door frame.
“Is it true you got married yesterday?” his mom demanded.
“Would you really rather have had me join the Navy?”
“I would have liked to have known what you were doing.”
“I’m pretty sure, having been married for twenty-two years, you know what I was doing last night.”
She shuddered. “You know what I meant.” Her voice cracked. “Don’t you think your mother would have liked to attend your wedding?”
“We needed to do things our way,” Manny said. “Because father forbade me to see Aloise ever again, and that wasn’t an option.”
“He didn’t tell you?”
“No, what was he supposed to tell me?”
“Her last name is Ashish, well, was Ashish.”
“As in… David and Shira Ashish?”
“Her parents.” Manny nodded. “They are not happy about this either.”
“Can I meet her?” Mom’s voice cracked again.
“When I left her lying in our bed a moment ago, she was without apparel. I would really prefer we have this conversation later today… or tomorrow even.”
The bedroom door behind him creaked open and the most beautiful woman in the world stepped into the living room wearing her brand-new silky pajamas, her long brown hair draping over her shoulders in soft snarls and her dark eyes apprehensive. Manny fought the urge to take her in his arms and carry her back to their bed, kicking the door closed in his mother’s face.
“Good morning, Mrs. Cohen,” Aloise said, tucking herself under Manny’s arm and wrapping herself around his waist.
“I guess I could say the same to you… Mrs. Cohen.”
“Mom, this is my wife, Aloise.” Manny looked down at her with a smile and in a near whisper said. “This is my mother, Maryam Cohen.”