Copyright 2017 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Mario V. Farina
My name is Daniel Ralston. I’m twenty-three. The title of this story is accurate. I actually did have two brides in one day. I didn’t get into trouble over it, but, I suppose, I could have. The picture on the cover is representative, but not accurate. The first bride was auburn-haired; the second, was brunette. However, the story, itself, is true.
Grace and I were in love and planning to be married. I was relieved when Grace said she wanted a simple wedding, church, flowers, gown, and all that, but only a dozen or so guests. This was fine for me since I didn’t care much for the hoopla and expense that goes with a highfalutin wedding.
We scheduled our wedding to be held at Waterloo Church in Granville on Saturday, June 11. The best man, Grace’s brother, Alex, insisted that a stag party be held in my honor. The party was to be held during the evening, previous to the wedding, beginning at nine.
On June 10, Alex drove his Toyota to my home and picked me up. He drove to the local grange hall where the party was already in progress. There were eight or ten men already celebrating. A few of them were slightly inebriated. Everyone cheered when Alex and I entered. I was seated at the head of a long table, covered with white paper, and several glasses and bottles were placed in front of me. Most of the bottles had liquid in them of various colors. I’m not much of a drinker, but I knew enough to recognize booze when I saw it. I began with a shot of amber stuff followed by a bubbly beverage. Regretfully, I began to get woozy too soon. I think one of the drinks may have had something illegal in it.
I suddenly found myself in the back seat of the Toyota. There were three of us. I was in the middle, my friend Nick Quinlan was on my left, and a pretty woman was on my right. Alex was at the wheel. My stomach was upset, and I felt half alive. The clock on the dash indicated it was a bit after midnight. The woman was wearing a perfume that I suspected must have been poured on her from a gallon jug.
“What’s going on?” I managed to stammer.
Nick said, “ Oh, you’re awake, Dan. We’re going to Crest Brook House in Roselawn. We’ve called ahead. A Justice of the Peace will marry you and Nancy, the young lady sitting next to you!”
“What?” I was able to raise my voice slightly. “I’m not interested in marrying Nancy. I have a wedding scheduled for tomorrow, remember?”
“Something happened at the party,” said Dan. “You made a fool of yourself, and Nancy became a victim of abuse. Your abuse!”
“What?” I exclaimed. “I don’t remember doing anything about that! What kind of a gag is this?”
“If you don’t remember, you’re probably in denial,” came a voice from the front seat. “You lost control of yourself and made this poor girl pregnant!”
“I didn’t do anything of the kind,” I hollered. “This is a joke!”
“It’s no joke!” Nancy spoke for the first time. I took a rabbit test in the girls room. I’m pregnant all right. And you gotta do what you gotta do! Otherwise, I sue!”
“That’s right Dan,” said Alex. “You’re in trouble. This is the only way you can avoid getting sued, and maybe even going to jail.”
“I can’t believe this,” I yelled. “What the hell is a rabbit test? What about Grace? Tomorrow, that is, today, is our wedding day. I’m being railroaded with something I didn’t do!”
“You did do it,” said Nick. “Everyone at the stag party knows it! You’ll have to solve this problem a step at a time,” he added. “After you’ve married Nancy, you may be able to get a divorce, an annulment, or whatever. But right now, your wedding day is as soon as we get to the Crest Brook House. The Justice of the Peace and his wife are waiting. They’ll get you off the hook for now, but you won’t be out of the woods right away!”
To say I was shocked would be like saying Mt. Everest is higher than a hill! I truly did not remember even having met Nancy before. Something in that drink! That’s all I could think might have caused this.
Alex seemed to know exactly where to go. We entered a small community, and stopped at a house. He and Nick helped me out of the car and held me upright as the three of us walked to the entrance. When Alex knocked, the door was opened by a kindly-looking man. “Welcome,” he said. The rest of the time I spent in the house was a hazy blur. I was probably able to say, “I do,” at the proper time. The next thing I remember, it was daylight, and I was in one of the two twin beds in a scantly furnished room. There was a woman in the other bed, just waking up and rubbing her eyes. “Good morning, darling, she said to me sweetly.”
“This is terrible!” I stammered. “Where are we? Are we alone? What time is it? I need to call Grace. I don’t know how I’m going to explain this. Did we do something during the night?”
“I’ll answer your question this way,” she said smiling. “You and I are a happily married couple. You referred to what happened as a quintessential night of bliss! Whatever that long word means! Alex dropped us off here, at a motel. Everything’s paid for until noon. It’s about nine now. “
“No, no,” I cried out. “I would never have wanted anything like this to happen. There must’ve been something in the drinks that I had last night. I was supposed to marry Grace this afternoon!”
“Yes, I know Grace Wallace,” she said. “Nice lady. Obviously, you can’t marry her, if you’re already married to me.”
“I’ve have to call Grace.” I said. “I don’t know how I’m going to explain this!” She smiled. “Do your best,” she said.
In my confusion, it required two or three attempts before I was able to dial the right number. “Grace, dear,” I said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I can’t marry you today! Something happened at the stag party last night, and I got married to another person!”
There was a long silence on the other end. I thought she was going to explode.
Her voice was surprisingly calm and cheery. “Hurry up and get dressed, your clothes are in the closet. I brought them to you last night. You were out like a light! Alex will take you and Nancy to the wedding from there.”
I glanced at Nancy. She was laughing hard, having a difficult time keeping from being heard outside the motel. I stared at her, not understanding, until the truth dawned on me.
Grace was laughing too. “I’ve gotta get ready now,” she said. “Nancy will explain it all to you.”
She was still laughing, but composed enough to explain. “This was all cooked up,” she began. “It was Grace’s idea, but Alex went along with it. I didn’t want to do it, but she talked me into it. I told them this was mean but they were adamant. You’re right, they did give you something at the party that would make you real groggy. That was mean too. They also arranged a fake Justice of the Peace to be waiting for you at West Hook Street in Lawndale, Grace’s grandfather, I think. They were supposed to perform a fake ceremony pretending to marry us. We’re not really married. You can go ahead with your marriage to Grace. I’m her Maid of Honor.”
West Hook Street? I asked. “I think I heard somebody say that we were going to the Crest Brook House.”
“We double checked that I think,” said Nancy. “We used MapQuest. My brother followed the directions perfectly. We did find the Justice of the Peace at the address we went to.”
“Is it possible he made a mistake?” I asked. “The two places have similar sounding names.”
“No, I don’t think we made a mistake,” she said.
The phone rang. I picked up. It was Grace. “Darling,” she said, “I just got a call from my grandfather. He was wondering why the three of you never arrived. He and his wife waited until two in the morning, then they went to bed. Can you explain this to me. I’m worried!”
“I’m here with Nancy,” I said. “She assured me we’re not married. There’s no problem. I’ll see you soon!” We hung up.
“Are you sure about this?” I asked Nancy.
“Sort of,” she replied. “We can check this later. Right now we have to get ready for the wedding.”
“Shouldn’t we . . .,” I protested.
“No, I’m sure we didn’t make a mistake, but if you’re concerned about it, we can check it out later. Don’t worry about it!”
Nancy and I prudently dressed outside the vision of the other, Alex did pick us up and take us to the church. The ceremony went as planned. Grace and I became husband and wife. As circumspectly as possible, I cornered Nancy and asked, “is it possible Alex took us to the wrong place?”
“I was sure it was Crest Brook House in Roselawn,” she said. “Now, I’m not so sure. I’ll call to check. I’ll look it up in my cell phone and give them a call.”
I was not in earshot when she placed her call, so I needed to wait until she had finished before learning what she had found out. In a quiet moment, she said, “Dan you and I are married!”
“Please don’t say that!” I said alarmed. “We can’t be married. I just married Grace. I can’t have two brides in one day. It just isn’t done!”
“We did go to the wrong place,” she said. “The man we saw early this morning was a real Justice of the Peace. He did marry us, and his wife was a witness.”
“This is horrible!” I exclaimed. Nancy appeared stunned.
“What are you two whispering to each other in such a huddle?” Grace asked, as she approached us. “One would almost think you two are the real bride and groom!”
“Grace, “I began, “you are more right than you think. Alex took us to the wrong place. We went to a genuine Justice of the Peace by mistake.. Nancy and I are married just as much as you and I are!”
Grace seemed ready to drop to the to the floor in a faint. “What do we do now?” She asked with a surprise burst of anger. “Did you have anything to do with this? She asked glancing in my direction.”
“How could I,” I said in a loud voice. “Nancy told me that you and Alex cooked up the whole idiotic idea.”
“You two seem too cozy about all this,” she charged. “Well, you can’t have two wives,” she shouted. “You need to choose. Do you want the bride behind Door Number 1 or the bride behind Door Number 2?”
I had not thought of it that way. But suddenly, I felt that fate had created a life-changing event for me, and I should heed it. I turned to Nancy and asked, “Will you be my bride behind Door Number 1?”
“I will,” she responded.