Marie stood in the center of the room, wearing a gorgeous white dress—very classic-looking, with a sweetheart neckline, a narrow waist to show off her figure, and a sweeping gown. Her brown hair was pinned up, cascading down in a riot of curls, and she wore flowers woven through it. No veil.
I guess she’d gotten her fill of white tulle during the limo ride.
“I love you!” she yelled when she saw me, although I wasn’t sure she even noticed who I was. Nope, she zoned in on the beer, grabbing one and popping the top off using her engagement ring as a church key. She chugged almost the entire bottle, then set it down and turned to face her mother defiantly.
“My daughter is not wearing black leather for her wedding,” Lacey proclaimed, waving the offending item in her hand—Marie’s vest with her “Property of Horse” patch.
“Horse wants me to wear it,” Marie snapped. “It’s important to him.”
“It doesn’t go with your dress,” Lacey snapped back. “It’s ridiculous. This is your day—you should look like a princess!”
“If it’s my day, why can’t I decide what I wear?” Marie asked, her voice rising. Lacey’s eyes narrowed.
“Because I’m your mother and I know what you really want!” she yelled. “Fuck, I need a smoke.”
“I don’t want my dress to smell like smoke,” Marie shouted back. “And I want my day to be about me! Give me my f**king property patch!”
“No!” Lacey hissed. She looked around frantically, then spotted a pair of florist’s scissors on the counter. Snatching them up, she held them to the vest menacingly. “Stay back, or the patch gets it!”
We all froze.
“What if you take the patch off the vest and put it on the dress?” I suggested suddenly, inspired by the scissors. “That way you can still wear it, but the vest won’t ruin the lines of the dress for the pictures.”
“You can’t pull off the patch,” Cookie declared. “That’d be like divorcing Horse. But we could make a copy of it and pin that on her.”
Silence fell across the room as Marie and her mother fought a silent battle with their eyes.
Lacey’s nostrils flared.
“I could live with that,” Marie said slowly. We all swiveled toward Lacey. She nodded slowly.
“I’m willing to accept it.”
They glared at each other a moment longer. Lacey held out the vest slowly and Marie snatched it back. Dancer grabbed the vest and took off downstairs, presumably in search of the copier.
“I’m gonna go smoke and do some of my peace affirmations,” Lacey said slowly, spearing us with her eyes, one by one. “When I come back, the patch will be on the dress in such a way that it’s not visible from the front, for the pictures. If I see it from the front, we’ll have a problem and no peace affirmation on Earth will be enough to save your asses. We have an understanding?”
She swept out of the room and Marie growled.
“I need another beer.”
I handed her one quickly, then grabbed one for myself. Holy shit, and I’d thought her mom was crazy last night …
Marie pounded her drink as Dancer reappeared, panting. She held a color copy of the patch up triumphantly.
“Where do you want it?” she asked Marie. “We’ll have to tape it on the dress right before you head down the aisle.”
“I want it on my butt,” Marie said, just as I’d taken a drink. “So my mother has to look at it the whole damned ceremony.”
I couldn’t help myself. I started giggling, which I tried to cover with a cough, forgetting I had a mouth full of beer. I ended up snorting it out my nose, and then everyone lost it. Dancer was actually crying when she finally stopped, and we all took a moment to poke at our eyes with tissues, trying to fix our makeup. Then she turned to Marie.
“I like the idea of it back there,” she said, biting back another laugh. “I know it’ll piss off your mom, and that’s great. But it’ll also send a nice message to Horse …”
Marie’s eyes widened.
“Oh, you’re right,” she whispered. “Let’s do it.”
And that’s how Marie ended up getting married to Horse with a property patch on her ass.
We all walked Marie downstairs, and then Dancer and Em bustled her off to wherever she planned to hide until things got started. I collected Noah and we wandered around back to the meadow, which had been transformed since the night before.
There were twice as many tents now, probably more than a hundred. They’d set up a little wooden pulpit at the front, and chairs had been laid out in neat rows on either side of the aisle, just like any outdoor wedding.
But this wasn’t just any wedding. It was a Reaper wedding, and apparently they liked to add their own twist to the ceremony. All the guys had parked their bikes in two neat, diagonal rows on either side of the center, forming a path of shining chrome for Marie to walk through.
I had to admit, it looked cool.
As Ruger’s … whatever … I had a place reserved for me up front, right next to Maggs, Cookie, and Darcy. We sat for about ten minutes, Noah squirming, while we waited for things to get started. Then the sound system crackled to life and the minister asked everyone to find their seats.
Horse and Ruger stepped out from the trees, coming around front to stand and wait. Both wore black jeans and bright white button-up shirts. They also wore their colors. The minister wore a vest, too, although he wasn’t a Reaper.
“Chaplain from Spokane,” Maggs whispered to me. “He’s done stuff for the club before. Good guy.”
I nodded, then we all turned to watch as Pachelbel’s Canon started wafting through the meadow. The first to come down the aisle was a very little girl I didn’t recognize, carrying a basket of flower petals that she scattered as she walked. Dancer’s two boys followed as ring bearers. Marie’s mom and stepdad were next, and then I heard the roar of a motorcycle across the meadow.
I craned my neck to see Picnic riding slowly toward the group with Marie on the back of his bike. My eyes widened, delighted. Maggs giggled and leaned over.
“We didn’t tell her mom about that part …”
I glanced quickly to the front to see Lacey’s eyes narrowed and suspicious. John wrapped an arm around her shoulders and whispered something in her ear. She glared at him, then shrugged and rolled her eyes. Apparently she knew when she’d been beaten.