A Little White Chapel was a small white building just outside the Strip on Las Vegas boulevard. It was built to resemble a church with a fake grass front yard delimited by a white iron fence, a covered arched named “The tunnel of love” took to the main entrance of double wooden doors. Its heart-shaped details, the red hearts glowing on the entrance sign and the giant Elvis neon figurine shining on the side, made it the perfect, kitsch location and a Vegas favourite.
Lucy and James walked holding hands into the chapel and to the reception desk where a woman in a golden vest and white shirt greeted them with a bright smile.
“Welcome to the Little White Chapel, you lovebirds.”
“Good night,” beamed Lucy. “A wedding, please!”
She turned to James and they both grinned, way more than they would have grinned had they been sober.
The woman reciprocated their enthusiasm with a loving chuckle.
“We are quite busy tonight, but we do have a gap in forty-five minutes if you want to wait.”
“Of course,” said James, locking Lucy’s elbow around his. “We’re not in a rush!”
The woman smiled again.
“Awesome! We can get the formalities sorted in the meantime. Can I have your IDs and your marriage licence?”
The grin died on the couple’s faces.
“The what?” Asked Lucy, her eyebrow raised.
The woman nodded, used to this mistake.
“You need a marriage license to get married,” she explained patiently. “Like everything else here in Vegas, it’s very easy to get, takes about fifteen minutes at the Marriage Licence Bureau downtown.”
James looked at Lucy.
“Well we have forty-five minutes to kill, let’s go get one!”
Lucy nodded in agreement.
“Not so fast Romeo, the bureau closes at midnight...”
The couple looked at the heart-shaped clock hanging on the wall behind the receptions desk. 11.55.
Disappointment took the place of excitement as they both frowned.
“This is so sad...” said Lucy, with a childish pout.
James stroke her cheek with his thumb and looked at the woman behind the desk.
“Can we bring that tomorrow...Jill?” He asked, checking the woman’s name on the golden badge.
Jill’s face folded in a sorry frown.
“I’m sorry guys, we still have laws...despite what people think”. She cheered up a bit.
“How long are you in Vegas for?”
“Another night,” said Lucy hopeful.
The woman checked the computer in front of her.
“I have a space for tomorrow evening at seven-thirty if you want...”
James and Lucy looked at each other: they both wanted the same thing.
“We take it!” Said James and Lucy threw her arms around his neck with a happy giggle.
"...I just wanted to remind you about the ceremony this evening at seven-thirty. Remember identification and most importantly the marriage licence. You can get it at the Marriage Licence Bureau near Fremont. Enjoy your last day as singles!”
James and Lucy exchanged a very confused and scared look.
What had they done?
James was still standing near the bed his brain frantically trying to fish memories from the previous night; Lucy was also silent, her mouth slightly parted for the shock, her mind failing to staple together the few flashes of a steamy taxi ride and a white church.
James was the first to speak.
“What...when...” he sat on the bed and gathered his thoughts. “Do you remember anything at all?”
Lucy kneeled next to James, covering herself with a white sheet.
“I remember a taxi ride, we were kissing...” she looked on her right, striving to remember the sequence of her images. “I do remember a white church...”
James’ eyes shot up.
“Fuck, I remember that too! That’s what I thought was a dream!”
They were silent again, the sound of their brains working frantically was almost audible.
“Maybe they had the wrong person?” Offered Lucy.
“She called you Miss Hamilton!” Pointed out James and his voice came out more desperate than he wanted.
Lucy grabbed her phone anyway.
“Maybe there is another Miss Hamilton!” She said calling back the number.
James gave her a bemused look, refraining from stating the obvious.
“Hey good morning, afternoon I mean. I’m Miss Hamilton, Lucy. I’m calling for today’s ceremony...”
She looked at James, a pleading look in her eyes.
“Yep, The Hamilton-Blackwood wedding”.
The palm of her hand went to her face.
“Yes, silver rings sounds great. Yep. See you later...”
She hung up and threw her phone on the pillow.
“Fuck...” said James out of amazement.
“I’d say fuck again, but this could go on forever.”
“I can’t believe I can’t remember anything...” she added.
Then a flash of memory hit James.
Those hazel eyes were burning inside his soul, they trapped his deepest feeling like a magnet and freed them from his heart.
He blinked then swallowed.
He had proposed...
Lucy was still working on her own memories.
She had obviously agreed to marry him. He smiled quickly, to himself.
Did he still want to marry her? Did she still want to marry him?
“What do we do?” He asked.
“I don’t know. This is crazy...we obviously thought it was a great idea yesterday”.
“We were so hammered...” commented James.
They looked at each other and were both crossed by a déjà vu.
Happiness. Pure joy.
“What do you want to do?” Asked James.
His tone was no longer panicked.
Lucy’s eyes lingered on his.
“I love you...” she said.
James took her hands.
“Are you going to marry me today?” He found himself holding his breath.
“Yes...” Lucy whispered.
Lucy stared at the dress laid out on the bed and puffed out a deep breath. She was getting married.
After the shocking awakening, she and James had managed to sober up and come to a lucid decision.
They were getting married.
No matter how they tried to look at the situation, they both knew they wanted it deep down; it had started as drunken folly but now it was like the jar of possibility had been opened and all they could think about was how much they desired it.
After requesting the marriage licence, they had decided to spend the rest of the afternoon separate for a chance to clear their minds. She had gone for a wander at the mall to buy new lingerie but when she saw that little Vivienne Westwood number she knew she had to get married in it.
I’m here, baby. Can’t wait to see you...
Her phone illuminated with a message from James.
It was seven pm, she had thirty minutes to get to the Chapel.
She quickly put on her dress and checked herself in the mirror one last time. The white silk bias cut dress followed her body down to her knees. The front was simple with a soft neckline falling in soft folds which continued over her shoulders and down the sides of her back, framing the fabric that was held together by a long line of pearl buttons running from her shoulder blades, down to her tail bone. A pair of red stilettos at her feet, red lipstick and the winged eyeliner gave her a forties pin-up look.
She took a deep breath and passed her hand through her loose hair.
Here we go.
When Lucy arrived at the Little White Chapel, James was waiting for her outside; he had never looked so handsome, smoking under the neon lights in the peach sunset sky. His long legs were in a pair of fitted black trousers with white converse, a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up reflected the red of the neon hearts. He was holding a black jacket slung over his shoulder and his free hand busied itself with the cigarette, he exhaled the smoke as he squinted his eyes against the setting sun.
I’m going to marry him.
A rush of adrenaline crossed Lucy’s body and she started to walk towards her fiance.
James heard the sound of heels on the concrete and looked up, he wasn’t prepared for the vision that was Lucy confidently strolling towards him in her wedding gown.
It was like the first time he had seen her, all the hair escaped his lungs and the world stopped.
Her white dress, her red lips, her waves gracefully bouncing with every step. But mostly her smile, the brightest light in the whole city.
He flicked his cigarette on the floor and extinguished it with his foot.
“I can’t wait to marry you...” was all he could say, brushing his fingers through her hair.
“For you,” he produced a red rose from the inner pocket of his jacket.
Lucy smelled the freshly cut flower.
James smiled sweetly.
“Let’s go get married...”
They walked into the Chapel hand in hand and follow the receptionist who guided them into the room where an officiant was waiting for them behind a small white stand.
The room was small but highly decorated with pink-purple hombre wallpaper, two golden chandelier and big golden vases with freshly cut pink roses. They walked along the aisle past the four rows of small white benches and stopped in front of the officiant. Two members of the staff stood either side of them as witnesses.
James took Lucy’s hands and their eyes locked, never to leave one another’s for the whole ceremony.
“We’re here today to celebrate the union between Lucy Ann Hamilton and James William Blackwood,” the officiant started. “With this ritual, you will be united in the lawful bond of matrimony.”
Green into hazel, their love for each other poured through their eyes and filled the room.
“And do you take this woman to be your wife?” The officiant asked James.
“And do you take this man to be your husband?” The officiant asked Lucy.
Lucy’s grinned matched James’, both of them struggling to contain their joy.
The two women from the staff cheered and clapped.
“You can now exchange rings. Do you have your vows prepared?” Asked the officiant.
James and Lucy looked at her, a little embarrassed.
“We never really thought this far!” Admitted Lucy.
The witnesses laughed, sweetly.
“It’s ok,” the officiant said, calmly. “We’re going to use the standard ones.”
She handed Lucy a silver ring and read out the vow to her.
“I Lucy, take you James to be my wedded husband,” she slid the wedding ring on James’ ring finger.
The officiant repeated the ritual with James who said after her:
“I James, take you Lucy to be my wedded wife,” and he slid the ring on Lucy slim ring finger.
The officiant nodded satisfied.
“By the legal authority vested in me by the state of Nevada, I now pronounce you husband and wife. Congratulations, you may kiss the bride.”
The witnesses exploded in cheers as James leaned forward and, pulling Lucy closer with one arm around her waist he held her head and kissed her, letting her slide slightly backwards like in the best romantic movies.
Later that night they sat on the balcony of their hotel suite looking at the glimmering view.
They were still in their wedding attire, sitting on the same lilo wrapped in one another, drinking celebratory red wine.
“I thought about my vows,” said James out of the blue.
Lucy turned around to look at him.
“Oh go on,” she sat on the edge of the chair to have a better look.
“I vow to put you at the centre of my world, to value your precious worth every day and to strive to never put a frown on your face.”
Lucy took his hand caressing the palm with her fingers.
“I vow...to be at your side always but to keep you grounded, I vow to help you fight your demons and to pick up the pieces when you can’t do it for yourself, I vow to always be honest...”
She stood up.
“And to give you excellent sex...” she chuckled softly and started to slowly lift her dress up her tights.
James watched her gradually reveal her naked body, inch by inch as his desire grew stronger.
He placed his glass of wine on the floor and stood in front of her, her dress a white pool at her side.
Placing a hand behind her neck he kissed her slowly, his finger caressing her taut nipple. A sigh escaped her lips.
James turned her around, pulling her body against his, one hand on her neck and the other travelling down between her legs.
Lucy looked down and watched his fingers part her thighs, his silver wedding ring shining in the light.
He’s mine she thought with an overwhelming wave of pleasure.
She moaned as James’ fingers entered her.
“You’re mine Lucy...” he said hoarsely in her ear as if he’d read her mind. “Fuck, you’re my wife...” the idea filling him with greater desire as he held her in his arms, her body reacting to his hands and his voice.
“Take off your clothes,” Lucy ordered.
James let go fo her and their hands worked quickly to get him out of his shirt and trousers.
They reunited in a steamy kiss as James walked the two of them inside the bedroom, he pushed her on the bad and moved on top of her.
They looked into each other’s eyes as James slowly thrust inside her, he pressed tightly against her to unite their bodies as one, their fingers locked together before starting to move faster until they both were on the verge of the abyss.
“I love you, Lucy.”
“I love you, James.”