“Finally! Your back at work, I’ve missed you, Anna,” Renee said as she poked her head in the office door.
Anna looked up from the paperwork she’d been working to get caught up on all morning long. “Hello to you too.”
Renee laughed as she stepped in. “So, how are you feeling?”
“I’m good, fantastic even,” Anna answered with a smirk.
“Oh, are you now? I’m guessing a certain someone has brought this on.”
“You would be right,” Anna answered as she held out her left hand.
Renee gasped as she stepped closer to stare at the diamond solitaire, surrounded by rubies, ring. “Oh, Anna, it’s beautiful.”
“Eric gave it to me yesterday. He took me to brunch and then he proposed to me. Oh, Renee, you should have seen him. He was so nervous, his cheeks pink, and he was almost stuttering, but it was the sweetest thing ever.”
“Eric? Pink cheeked and stuttering? Are we thinking of the same guy? Tall, broad, construction worker rugged?” Renee asked, widening her eyes theatrically.
The two women laughed together.
“I know, right. He did though and I’m so happy I could burst. I called my family, and they want to meet him soon.”
“That’s understandable. So, when is the wedding?”
Anna looked down as she twisted her ring around her finger. Eric had told her that in the wolf community once marked she was basically married to him. He’d also told her that a lot of wolves didn’t marry, but that with her being human, he thought she might want to.
She figured her family would expect it and that swayed her a bit toward it. Though she and Eric had given words of promise, almost like vows, before he’d marked her. Did she want a big wedding though?
“Anna, the smile just left your face. What’s wrong?” Renee asked in a concerned tone.
“I had a big wedding with Gary and…” Anna began.
“You don’t want that with Eric, understandable,” Renee finished when Anna stopped.
“Yeah,” Anna nodded. “I don’t want a big production because I don’t see the necessity of it. With Gary, he insisted, I think more because he had that ‘look at me and what I’ve done’ attitude. There were probably three hundred people at our wedding, and I knew very few of them,” Anna explained with a huff. Then with her smile coming back, she added, “Eric doesn’t have that attitude thankfully. We agree that the wedding isn’t what makes us one, our love is. In our hearts, we’ve already claimed each other and it’s enough.”
“So, no wedding at all?” Renee questioned.
Anna laughed. “There will be an exchange of vows, with us, our friends, and a judge at the courthouse. Well, after I talk to Eric about it anyway.”
“Okay. I know he’ll agree to anything you want because that man is besotted with you.”
Anna laughed again before questioning, “Besotted?”
Renee just laughed as she headed for the door. “Yes, besotted. Let me know when the vows will be exchanged.”
Anna shook her head at her friend’s silliness, besotted, who talks like that anymore? Picking up her pen, she quickly finished her paperwork.
That evening, when work was over, she made her way home and cooked supper for herself and Eric. Then after they’d eaten, and the kitchen was clean, she and Eric sat snuggling on the couch with the TV quietly playing some sitcom that neither were paying attention to.
“So, I was thinking Eric. I’ve had one big wedding and don’t particularly care for another.” She started.
“Alright, so what would you like because it’s all up to you. As far as I’m concerned, I married you the day I marked you. Just so you know though, I’ve already gotten a license, I did that today.”
“That sure of me, were you?” She teasingly asked.
He shrugged. “No. I just figured since you have a lot of human friends and family, you’d want to be legally married in their eyes, not just shacking up with me.”
“What about your parents and sisters, will they want to be here?” Eric asked.
She sighed. “My younger sister might come, but my older sister just had another baby a few days ago, so she won’t want to travel. How about we just have our friends and your family. We can go visit mine soon.”
“It’s fine with me. I just don’t want anyone to be upset about not being here.”
“They won’t be.”
“Okay. I’ll call the courthouse tomorrow and find out when we can get in to see the judge,” he said. Then he pulled her over onto his lap, rubbed his face in her neck, and breathed deeply. “I suppose we should get started on calling those we want to be there.”
“I suppose we should,” she breathlessly agreed.
Then, giving him one last kiss, she went to grab her phone.
After talking to everyone they wanted to be there, it was decided they would be married on the following Friday.
Friday dawned bright and clear, the perfect day for a wedding.
Renee and Minnie came early to help the bride get ready.
Anna had found a royal blue sheath dress that came to just above her knees and had worn a matching pair of stilettos with it. It clung to her every curve but showed just a small amount of cleavage. She knew Eric would love it.
Renee had helped her pull most of her shoulder-length hair up in a braided bun, leaving a few hairs hanging down in ringlets. Minnie had fixed her make-up and given her a beautiful bouquet of blue roses and baby’s breath.
Anna took a deep whiff of the flowers. “Oh, these flowers smell so good.”
“I found them at the farmer’s market and thought they were so pretty. I knew they would match your dress,” Minnie informed her.
“Alright girls let’s get ourselves to the courthouse,” Renee said enthusiastically.
Ryan and Tony had gone to make sure the groom didn’t get cold feet.
“Are you nervous yet?” Ryan teased.
Eric, who was putting on his tie, rolled his eyes as Tony chuckled. “No, for the fifth time, I’m not nervous. I’ve waited for this day for a long time.”
“My wedding isn’t for another couple of weeks and I’m nervous,” Ryan said as he tugged at the neck of his tie.
Eric turned to look at him. “Why? You love her, you want to be with her, and it’s just a formality.”
Ryan shrugged. “I know, but all those people staring at me. I’m not good in crowds.”
Tony snorted. “Me either! Crowds make me want to hide under a table or something. But I think if you just forget what is behind you and focus solely on Renee, you’ll do fine.”
“Yeah, I sure hope so. Do you know how embarrassing it would be if I fainted in front of those people?”
“Extremely,” Both Eric and Tony said.
They all laughed as Eric put on his suit jacket and they headed for the door.
Five minutes later, two cars rolled up in front of the courthouse where an impatient Alpha Pete waited, glancing at his wristwatch.
Anna looked out of the car window and noticed a crowd of people. Eric’s parents and brother Thomas. Alpha Pete and Maura. A few of Eric’s co-workers and hers, plus a few others like Eric’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even a couple of cousins.
“It’s about time you people showed up. You only have five minutes until you need to be in the judge’s chambers,” Alpha Pete shouted as they stepped out of the vehicles.
Eric and Anna quickly met with a hug and a kiss.
“Chill big guy! Even on a slow day, I can walk fast in heels!” Anna teased.
“Big guy?” Alpha Pete asked as he looked at his wife Maura.
Maura laughed. “I’ll tell you later, honey. Now, come on, let’s not keep the judge waiting.”
Eric’s brother Thomas came up, waiving a video camera in his hand. “I’m going to film it for you so your family can see it if they like, Anna.”
Anna reached out and hugged Thomas. “Thank you so much, Thomas, I appreciate that.”
Thomas turned a bit pink and Eric patted his back, saying, “Get used to it bro, she’s a hugger.”
Then, turning, everyone walked up the courthouse stairs.
Thirty minutes later Eric ran down the steps with Anna laughing in his arms.
“You better not drop me!” She yelled.
“I don’t plan to!”
Everyone else came out at a much slower pace, watching as the new groom placed his bride inside the limo that waited for them.
“Have fun you two,” Alpha Pete boomed.
“We plan to!” Eric shouted back. Then with a salute, he crawled into the car and they were off to the airport.
“Anna, Anna love, wake up. The plane has landed,” Eric said softly as he gently shook his new bride.
“Mm… kay…” Anna murmured as she sleepily blinked her eyes open.
“Come on, we’re the only ones left on the plane.”
Anna sat up and rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she stood. “I’m going.”
Eric chuckled as he followed her off. “Are your parents going to meet us here?”
“No, I thought it might be better if we got a motel for tonight and go to their house in the morning. They live outside of town a fair bit, and it’s beautiful country, I think you will enjoy seeing,” she told him as they moved swiftly through the airport.
“I bet I’d enjoy running through it even more,” Eric murmured close to her ear.
She giggled. “Yep, probably and if you’re lucky… well, no better not. As far as I know, there are no wolves here, and if someone was to suddenly see one.”
“I suppose that wouldn’t be a good thing. So, guess it’s a good thing I went for a run not long before we came. Wolf doesn’t like being shut in for too long.”
She turned to look at him. “We’ll only be here for a week but if you need to…”
“No, love, I’ll be alright for that long,” he told her. He then pointed to the left. “There’s the rental place. Let’s pick up our car and find a motel.”
So that’s what they did.