Ke Kali Nei Au (The Wedding Song) - Landis McQuade

"Sandburg put your shirt on. That's gotta be some kind of health code violation."

"Who are you? OSHA? First off dude, I'm on break. Second, I'm not hanging out in the parts of the building that get inspected- I'm not even inside. Third, you're the biggest contributor to the backyard militia Kincaid runs in his spare time, so I'm speculating it might not be the wisest move on his part to write you up because I'm outside sensualizing in harmonic convergence with my main squeeze Ge."

"You're still on company property. You should at least try to look respectable."

"I don't? That hurts man. I feel it right here."

"That's sunburn, Sandburg. Need I remind you this is a place of business and not your personal nudie beach?"

"Nudie beach? Do I look naked to you?"

"You looked debauched. Those jams slide down any lower you're going to get hauled off for public indecency. I get enough heat as it is. I don't need those yabbos thinking I'm running a prostitution ring on the side."

"How could they think that? Your hobby agenda's pretty full as it is. Where would you find the time? And besides does it look like there's anyone around to solicit? Private beach remember?"

"Just put the shirt on already."

"I am spiritually aligning myself with the gravity of all that is electric and magnetic in the universe. Go away. My atoms are down with being static right now. I'm sensing the application of double standards in practice here."

"Get that from your crystal bracelet did you?"

"Nope, just the normal powers of observation. You're more naked than I am. Well you are. It's math. There's more of you to be naked."

"I at least have a legitimate reason for being half naked."

"Yeah. Same as me. It's hot. It's Hawaii."

"I was surfing."

"Oh the sports reason."

"It's valid."

"Sure it's not more of the 'just because I'm 40something doesn't mean I can't flex with the best of the twentysomethings reason?' No need to get self conscious. I'll give you leeway. Your body is a temple to Kanaloa, a vessel to show reverence and respect, a physical libation if you will. But that's not really a reason is it? Are you blushing?"

"I like the feel of the water against my skin."

"Uh,huh, you could wear a wetsuit."

"I like good old fashioned cotton, not some synthetic threads and fibers created by nuclear physicists to use as bomb insulation then sold generically to sports clothing conglomerates that put in the lowest bid when they run out of money to build the bomb."

"You know, cotton's much more revealing than those polyurethane skins. Sure there's no ulterior self-inflation motive you're not including in your valid reason?"

"I'm not having this conversation with you."

"But you are."

"I'm not. My property. My rules."

"Jim hate to break it to you but volume 54's full already and they don't carry those leather bound journals you favor locally. Could be three weeks before you're officially able to add a new rule and move over to the left, you're blocking the sun."

"Always room for one more."

"You know technically no one owns anything."

"My property deed says otherwise. And who said you could take a break?"

"Definitive verbal proof of the double standards. You've been surfing all morning while some of us have been working."

"You were watching cooking shows on TV."

"I need to keep current. See what the competition's up to."

"You're the one who eagerly suggested you cover Maggie's shifts while she's on vacation. If it interferes with your tanning schedule maybe you ought to buy a tanning package at Megan's Outback Alternatives. Eight minutes a day a few times a week. You can even make appointments so that they don't coincide with your work hours."

"Artificial rays? No way. Those bulbs are way harsh. I'm soaking up collective energy Jim, trying to understand the source of being."

"Last time I checked your job description didn't list the contemplation of cosmology as one of the requirements needed to insure you get regular paychecks."

"And you do write the checks so you should know."

"Hey, skin cancer's skin cancer no matter what you think about while you're setting yourself up to get it. Opting for a natural source of radiation is simply prolonging matters. One that's liable to get me, you, or both of us arrested in the process."

"Chill. I wear sunscreen. And it's not like you've never spent time in a jail cell. What's with the rent boy references? It's disturbing. You trying to tell me something Jim?"

"I'm trying to tell you that I make these rules for your own good and I don't much want to waste good waves driving you to the doctor every day when you get cancer. Now put your shirt back on and get back to work, Bronze Boy. This isn't some movie studio coconut shack with fake palm fronds, white girls painted brown to look like Polynesian dancers and some goofy witchdoctor scaring the shit out of the tourists. And you're not some big kahuna incarnated as a spaced out surf shaman. So make like the food guru you are. I have Rafe covering the bar tonight."

"So nice to know you care. It makes me feel really special. It's my turn to run the bar. Rafe hasn't mastered the art of liquid fire yet. Don't rain on my gig man."

"Well, Dr. Sandburg, hate to ruin the pro bono counseling session scam you're running from behind the counter but your culinary expertise is part of the job description..."

"Which includes mixology."

"...so you'll have to play Dr. Therapy another night."

"All right, boss man, but I'm not cooking that crap you put on the menu."

"Oh no, no, no. This is not an experimental new-age organic back to the earth health food restaurant."

"It's a hopped up juice bar slash quick grub slash beach bum hangout. I get you. You know Jim, I may not be the sparkliest diamond in the display case but I sure as hell wasn't hit over the head with the stupid stick the day brains were passed out."

"I don't know about that Chief. Five earrings, that seashell hemp necklace whatchamacallit you're always wearing, I'd say you're plenty sparkly."

"I trained at a top notch culinary school and I'm tired of making do with frozen meat patties, canned soups, and bagged eggs."

"Calm down there buddy. I'm not denying you're good at what you do. It's why I hired you. But the locals happen to like comfort food."

"Jim dude?"

"What?"

"Is it Thursday?"

"Do I look like a calendar?"

"Hmm, yeah, actually. Didn't you supplement your income when you were in college by posing for Buff Build Magazine?"

"You crack me up kid."

"We're like soft celery man."

"Excuse me?"

"Every Thursday like clockwork we have this argument. We need a new routine."

"Every Thursday we argue about you going topless on company property?"

"Oh the details change but the argument's the same."

"And what argument is that?"

"What argument is that? Did I ever diagnose you as being severely listening deficient?"

"So we'll put the celery in the processor and blend things up a bit. We'll fight on Fridays instead."

"You're missing the point."

"Well Socrates last time I checked celery analogies weren't the electron microscope of finding the point. So I'll tell you what, when I find it I'll let you know. In the meantime one of us has to do the books."

"Well I'd offer to do them for you but then you'd like owe billions in back taxes."

"Just go do some slicing, dicing, cubing, peeling, and whatever else it is you do back there. And no tv. I never authorized that digital TV setup you think I don't know about."

***

"What's got you down, Blair?"

"This."

"Shrimp?"

"The shrimp are a metaphor."

"For what?"

"For everything."

"You been drinkin' those grass juice things again?"

"Let me ask you something. I've been doing this for what? Seven years now?"

"Blair, watch where you're waving that knife."

"Oh, yeah, sorry, Brown. Seven years is a big investment..."

"That's some time for sure."

"...and where the hell is my return I wanna know? Does he think I enjoy risking the integrity of good skin just so he can continue to blither about in extreme denial and not notice the open invitation that's been extended from like day one when he threw me up against that freakin' house-sized tree trunk?"

"Blair I think that's enough seasoning."

"It's supposed to be spicy."

"Spice is houndin' for sure but subtle's the word, you know? How about I do that? You sit on that sack of flour and tell ole Henry your woes, okay? I be listenin'.

"What's he waiting for, man? We're practically married."

"Can't get more domesticated than you two, except for the shakin the...eh, conjugal liaison part."

"Absolutely. So why does he waste all that time with those skenky bitches who are only after his drugs, money, or both when he's got me? He's had me. Don't give me that look. You know what I mean. If he had me had me he wouldn't be lookin' for love in the female bodies of stacked felons who can't even give good sex."

"He shares the details?"

"The guy's perpetually grumpy. I'm working on an assumption."

"That true. Go on."

"So I ask you, what more could Jim Ellison possibly ask for in a woman that he doesn't already have in me? Who else is he going to find that he can trust not to steal from him or to turn him into the Feds?"

"Blair?"

"What?"

"You do steal from him."

"Yeah but that's different. It's not for me. It's a philanthropic endeavor undertaken by yours truly to share the wealth, spread the smiles, sink the blood money into a more worthy pothole."

"And you've turned him into the Feds on numerous occasions."

"I do what I have to. It's not like they have twelve step programs for drug lords who want to jump jungle."

"S'pose not."

"I made sacrifices you know? I was only havin' a little walkabout in the rainforest, a last good-bye to irresponsibility and complete freedom. I was thinkin' fun, good times, ancient fertility rites. Never had any intention of not heading off to Europe in the fall and becoming one of the world's greatest chefs or at the very least getting my own cable show."

"Miscalculating your hike by forty miles and ending smack dab in the middle of Ellison's operation wasn't a part of your planned itinerary either if my memory's not fuzzy."

"And it was purely accidental that I misjudged the amount of firewood I needed to roast that wild boar."

"Or that the flowers you used for garnish weren't of the edible variety?"

"So cake decorating isn't my specialty. They made for excellent plating."

"In retrospect you did Ellison quite a favor."

"I did. I gave up everything for him."

"It's not like you had a whole lot of choice."

"The throw me to the snakes thing? Yeah, that was pretty piss in my pants scary. Pivotal moment in the decision making process."

"You regretting that decision Blair? That's what this is all about?"

"I gave up my hot line career to the top and agreed to work in some dilapidated beach shanty so that he could turn his back on a life of crime and go legit. What was I thinking?"

"He was threatening to kill you at the time. You weren't thinking. Besides, you were smitten."

"The adrenaline rush of my decade is no excuse for being so...so..."

"Hopeful?"

"Something like that."

"Sandburg, I don't be thinkin' that the manufacturer's purpose for the dough hook."

"El cheapo buys Simon a good mixer but I can't even fucking order premium liquor for my sauces."

"Be kind to the ears is a nice motto, wouldn't you agree? No? Damn, boy, Simon gonna be pissed when he sees that dent."

"Ha. Felt good. Shoulda done that sooner."

"Think you could shred veg without slicing off your finger?"

"Maybe it's time to think about a new career. College. Yeah, college, something like art history or archaeology, something like that."

"You give up the art? Nah."

"Nah. But I could take some classes."

"Blair, wear the glove. You'll be needin' those fingers when you get the man."

"It's filthy. When's the last time anyone put this in bleachy water? And aren't you a bit optimistic?"

"Blair, it's a kitchen, it's not supposed to be clean. Mama Brown didn't raise no stupid sons. I been around the man a lot longer than you and he was one bad motherfucker before you took a wrong turn and..."

"Burned his business to the ground? Killed all his employees?"

"Let me finish this. As I was sayin'...slammed that man into a far better reality and better personality. That's gotta mean something right?"

"Yep, translation- Naomi raised the stupid son."

"Blair? No seeds. Relinquish that zucchini. I'm done with this anyway. Uh, maybe zesting could wait for later."

"The hands, man, have to keep 'em busy."

"You just concentrate on keepin' that mind of yours churnin.' 'Cause what you need is a plan."

"What I need is a change of scenery."

"That's not the ways I sees it."

"Maybe you need glasses."

"You'd miss him."

"I'd get over it."

"Do you want to?"

"No."

"Good. Cause I like workin' for Mr. Ellison. He a good man underneath that hard exterior. And I like workin' for you too. This cookin' business a hell of a lot better than the janitorial duties he used to have me takin' care of, you know what I mean?"

"All too well."

"And you know that you be takin' off for parts unknown he be mowin' down whatever get in his path while he huntin' for you?"

"He is extremely territorial. Wouldn't want any dead bodies on my conscience."

"So's you need to be divorcin the man."

"Right, right. I get the restaurant in the settlement and he can have...what can he have? I don't think I own anything he wants."

"He can have your apartment. Of course it'll come fully furnished with you. That mansion of his be far too drafty for the two of you to be livin' when you get remarried."

"H. you are so getting a raise."

"Boy now you're talkin'. I'll buzz Rafe, tell him not to shake his bones this ways."

"I think I need to make a cake. It's been awhile since I exercised my expertise in the pastry arts. We're fully loaded? Pineapple? Coconut? Walnuts?"

"Daryl just brought over a delivery this a.m. I do believe I feel a headache comin' on."

"Nah, Jim'll just hand you a bottle of aspirin. Make it the stomach flu. Can't have you workin' with food when there's a likely chance you'll throw up all over it."

"Rumblin tummy, got ya. You kiss some sense into the boss man you hear? You know where the man keeps the ordnance? Just in case?"

"Who doesn't? I can clean this up. Get out of here. And H.?

"Yeah?"

"Thanks."

"Anytime homeboy. "

***

"Sandburg, turn that music down now."

"Oh come on, I cannot work without rhythm. Hey, don't turn that off."

"Use your walkman. I'm trying to make phone calls."

"Your office is soundproof."

"Not entirely. I thought I told you that bandanna was not an appropriate hair net."

"And that baseball cap you want me to wear offers better coverage?"

"When I got the hair nets from the apron distributor you made it quite clear they were only to be used as a costume gimmick for playing Hispanic gang member working part time at the lunch counter. I thought I'd save myself continued harassment and offer another option."

"You ever gonna take that antidote for that repression virus overriding your system?"

"I have one customer complaint of hair in their food and you're permanently off bar duty."

"This isn't for the customers."

"Figures. What is it and why aren't you working on dinner prep?"

"Felt like doing a little baking."

"We have a baker."

"Simon doesn't work on Thursdays."

"Apparently no one does."

"Huh? Can you hand me a piece of parchment paper?"

"A pan liner?"

"Right. Thanks. You do dinner prep. I'm busy, as you can see."

"Rafe called in sick. You wouldn't know anything about that would you?"

"I know you're acting as the food and beverage manager but I think as the executive chef I have the right to have goddamn vanilla beans in stock if I want."

"They're a luxury. Vanilla's vanilla. Who'll know the difference?"

"I apprenticed in the gourmet ghetto, man, believe me, there's a difference. Anyone with functioning tastebuds would notice."

"Rafe? Know anything?"

"Do not put your fingers in that. We can afford some vanilla beans. Is it because you can smuggle moonshine in the vanilla jugs? I'm on to you. Next shipment man we're getting beans. Well Rhonda can't cover the bar and the tables and I refuse to work the back of the house by myself so I guess we'll just have to close then."

"I'll work the bar."

"Hello? I just told you I'm not doing pantry and line myself."

"Then I'll do it."

"And what? Have me hosting, serving, bussing, and bartending? I'll pass. Slice up that pineapple would you? No, no, not like that. Dice it. Oh never mind, here, open up the coconut and shred it. I'm not letting you anywhere near the pantry. Last time you helped you sent out all the Caesar's with pear vinaigrette dressing, mozzarella cheese and no croutons. Not acceptable. It took weeks of nightly specials to repair the damage to my rep. I'll share an insider secret with you Jim, when the food critic of the Cascade Falls Weekly writes up a review stating the chef at The Jaguar's Juice would better serve the public by patenting his sauces as a floor scrubbing agent it's not exactly the kind of advertisement that'll draw crowds."

"It wasn't that bad."

"Brackett, and I quote, said that I wouldn't know the difference between a banana and a plantain if they were shoved up my ass."

"Oh there's an attractive picture. It was a joke. He's quite fond of you."

"That's why he publicly reams my cooking skills every chance he gets. What are we still in the fourth grade? That's how he expresses affection?"

"No need to worry Chief. I got it covered. He knows if he tries anything I'll break his arm. Maybe both."

"Why not just shoot him?"

"What would be the fun in that?"

"As much as you're overdeveloped macho reptilian brain would like to believe that I'm a part of the property assets it'd be good to remind you Blair Sandburg, king of the spatula wielders, cannot be noted as anyone's credit in an accounting ledger."

"Ow, what did you do that for?"

"That was your physical clue to shoo. Now get out of my kitchen and go call Rhonda and give her the night off. No, on second thought give her the whole weekend off."

"You weren't smoking any of what Brown's growing in your herb garden were you?"

"Jim? Stop with the paranoia. The place isn't bugged, oh, okay so we have roaches on occasion, it's known to happen in humid climates, but all the hush hush crap is becoming droll. Brown's growing that crop of weed because you told him to."

"Crop? It's a lousy five by ten plot. Not much of a crop is it?"

"I am not discussing your inability to refrain from engaging in illegal activities right now. That's a whole philosophical and psychological argument that's best saved for a day when a hurricane's blowin' through town. And bring me a Mai Tai would you? I'm thirsty."

"You're not allowed to drink on duty. There's a tap. Get some water."

***

"Yoo hoo, Sandy"

"Megan what brings you to my backdoor?"

"What usually brings me here?"

"We're closed."

"What do you mean you're closed? I called in my order half hour ago. You didn't make it?"

"Kinda busy here Megan."

"That smells delish. Give me a piece and I won't be mad at you for spoiling my afternoon."

"Have some shrimp."

"It's raw."

"Japanese call that sushi."

"Not like that they don't."

"Back away. Eh, eh, eh, didn't your mom ever tell you eating cake batter would give you worms?"

"No."

"Well, it does. And this is my wedding cake, so back off before I'm forced to stab you with this cake tester."

"You're getting married?"

"I'm sharing the circle all right."

"When?"

"Tonight."

"Tonight?"

"If everything works out accordingly, yeah, tonight."

"What do you mean if it works out accordingly? What does Jim think about all this?"

"He doesn't know. Yet."

"I think you better tell him, Sandy. You'd sure hate to wake up to your new bride's corpse."

"That's not going to happen."

"How can you be so sure?"

"Because I don't think Jim has any intention of killing himself. Megan if you don't breathe soon you're going to turn blue."

"It's about damn time. Who's performing the ceremony? Why didn't I see this coming? I mean I realized that you and Jim were already a couple but it's not like you were *together* together you know? Like other couples I mean. His head hit a rock on a wipeout?"

"Nope, I finally realized I had a few choices in determining my fate. I could either tender my resignation...

"Which he'd never accept."

"...which he'd never accept."

"Or I could kill him..."

"Which you could never do."

"...which I've thought about a million, no trillion times, but I couldn't actually do it."

"Or you could take it out of your pants and..."

"Let's not go there okay? I was thinking I could stop the subtle approach that hasn't worked once in the seven years I've been trying it and go full out for a direct, front-line assault."

"Thatta boy. That's the way to think."

"Oof, Megan you're going to break a rib."

"Sorry. I'm just so happy for you Sandy. What time's the ceremony? What am I going to get as a gift? What am I going to wear? Most people give their friends a little warning you know?"

"Tonight's just us. Not official. I promise that if he doesn't dismember me we'll have Vince preside over the real deal and we'll have a big barbecue afterwards."

"Looking forward to it. I want all the details. All of them. Why, Sandy I do believe you're blushing. Where is Jimbo anyway?"

"In his office doing laundry."

"He has a washing machine in his office?"

"Not that kind of laundry."

"Oh. You owe me lunch mister. And save me a piece of cake, okay? Unless you added some secret ingredient I'm better off not knowing about."

"No secret ingredients. Everything's all natural."

"If natural doesn't work I have some new aromatherapy candles I've been working on that might help you out."

"I'll keep it in mind."

"See you later, Sandy."

***

"Table for two? Right this way please."

"What's that noise?"

"Here are your menus. Look them over and I'll be back in a few minutes with your water."

"Dear, are you sure this is the place Mr. Oliver recommended? It's fairly empty. That's never a good sign."

"We're here. We're staying. I'm not driving all over the island while you choose a suitable restaurant. You tell me where else within a 3000 mile radius we're going to find chilled white asparagus with chanterelles in tarragon vinaigrette?"

"Fine, but if you get food poisoning you'll have to call the ambulance yourself."

***

"That's my best sautoir."

"I told you what would happen next time you started banging on the pots and pans."

"You told me to turn down the tunes so I thought I'd create my own. Get some practice in. Back away man, before I beat you over the head with this."

"The kitchen accouterments are not your personal drum set, Sandburg."

"Back in the days of the ancestors they practiced multi-purpose usage of practically everything they owned."

"So go dry out a buffalo bladder and make yourself a set of skins. Until then refrain from any antics that may scare away the customers."

"Customers? What are you talking about it? We're closed."

"In fact we are open. I suggest you wash your hands and get ready for your orders. What's the special? Where are you going? Get your ass back in here."

***

"Oh, hello, are you our server?"

"No. I'm the guy who's going to politely suggest you eat elsewhere this evening."

"I've got a hankering for the halibut with saffron and verte sauce served with carrots and zucchini."

"We're closed for a private party tonight."

"We certainly are not. We'll be back with your drinks and appetizers."

"We didn't order anything yet."

"Cosmopolitan."

"I'll take a White Russian dear."

***

"You're fired."

"I quit."

"You can't quit after I fire you."

"Whoa. That's kickin. I just did."

"I will not accept your resignation. You're under the influence."

"Not yet I'm not. Sounds like a plan though. Here, have a shot. Fastest way to improve that surly disposition guaranteed."

"That wasn't a shot."

"Shot, half a pint, what's the dif? It'll all get you where you want to be."

"You want to talk about this?"

"Not really. I have some business to take care of first."

"You're starting to worry me."

***

"That doesn't look like a White Russian."

"That's because it's Midori. You'll like it. It's sweet. Here take the bottle. Give your husband the gin. I forgot something."

"This is highly unusual."

"So's this."

"Dear, that's a gun. Do something."

"Like what?"

"I'm not gonna shoot you. I just find it's a more effective way to get you to leave. Like I said this establishment is currently closed for a private party."

"Sandburg, have you lost your mind? Drop the weapon now."

"Hey? You I'll shoot."

"No need for violence. We'll leave. Here's my business card, dear. I'm a psychologist. You give me a call and we'll set up an appointment."

"Son, I wouldn't recommend that. Can I at least get some take out?"

"Jim grab the man some mints and crackers would you? And then kindly show them the way out. I have a cake to ice."

"I'm so sorry. Please accept this gift certificate with my sincerest apologies."

"That's some apology."

"I do couples counseling too. You boys stop by the office anytime. And cut the cutie some slack. He's just really frustrated. A little make-up sex he'll be good as new."

"You folks have a nice evening."

"Now you've done it, you've embarrassed him. We'll never be able to come here again. It is the best restaurant on the island."

"It's a beach shack, dear, and I was simply sharing my obervations. It's about time that man boarded the clue bus, don't you agree?"

"I think you shouldn't meddle in other people's affairs."

"I was merely trying to encourage one."

***

"Joel?"

"Ellison we're going to have to make this quick. My kid's got a game tonight."

"What are you doing here?"

"Blair called. Said you needed some documents drawn up."

"That's right. He does. Hi Joel. How are you?"

"Oh for fuck's sake now what? Joel go home. Send me a bill okay? Blair apparently overmedicated today."

"Joel, sit down."

"Yeah okay. I can do that. Jim?"

"Sandburg, where did you get that?"

"In your toy box. I do intend to remodel but I'd prefer that I didn't have to rebuild, so take a pen and this pin will stay nice and secure. You have a deed to sign. Joel tie Jim to his desk chair and make sure the knots are tight and then we can get started."

"First thing when I break free I'm taking you to the loony bin Sandburg. Ouch, not so tight. My blood still needs to circulate."

"Joel, I'm impressed. Where'd you learn to do that?"

"That's none of your business. Like I said my kid's got a game. Can we hurry this up?"

"Sure thing. Jim's going to turn the title of this place over to me."

"I most certainly am not."

"Don't make me give Joel the duct tape. Joel, push him out of the way and you can use the computer."

"Gentle there. I said gentle. That's going to bruise."

"Stop whining. I'll kiss it better later."

"You'll what?"

"Ah, Joel, done already? Jim, start cooperating. I can forge this if I have to. Oh, good enough I guess. It's sort of legible. Thanks Joel. I'll make you some Emu chili. Have fun at the game."

"See you around Blair. Jim, I wouldn't move around like that if I were you."

"Joel, untie me."

"I'm going to be late."

"Easy, big guy, you're not going anywhere...except the floor. Joel did warn you."

"Come back here."

"Meditate for a couple of minutes."

"Sandburg."

***

"Hungry?"

"Diet pill companies have it all wrong. Grenades are the far more superior appetite suppressant."

"I wouldn't make a French dip for just anyone you know."

"How generous of you."

"You're welcome."

"I laid here for twenty minutes like some overturned turtle and..."

"You had an epiphany? All right, man, dive right in. Finally seein' the big picture? Took you long enough."

"You know if I didn't lo..loyalty...if I didn't possess some damn strange inexplicable loyalty to protecting that trouble finding ass of yours I'd pull H. out of retirement."

"No you wouldn't."

"Believe me when I say at times I am sorely tempted."

"But that would be futile because you'd just kill yourself and we'd be back in the same worn groove on the same broken record, only this time we'd be spinning in the afterlife."

"You know what's truly frightening, Chief? That I'm fluent in Sandburg speak."

"Perfect. Can we skip to the good part now? I'm not really in the mood to talk. Being last minute and all I couldn't get a ring or anything but I found this in the box of Lucky Charms you have stashed in that overstocked cleaning supply cabinet of yours. Careful there. That au jus is going to stain. What the heck? You don't need that shirt anyway."

"Sandburg!"

"Stop protesting. I'll keep you warm."

"Get off me."

"Shut up. I'm going to kiss you now."

"B-bla-mmph-mm."

"I think I could easily get addicted to this."

"Blair stop."

"You don't like that?"

"I like it. I like it. But I think we need to talk about this."

"The showing was always the best part of show and tell."

"I'm serious."

"So talk. I'm listening."

"I can't think clearly when you're doing that."

"Then I'm accomplishing my objective."

"Why?"

"Why? Because I love you, you asshole, and I'm tired of waiting for you to stop denying us this. You think I can't read subtext? Pounding me into that tree trunk was more than a demonstration of your male prowess. You were sporting some major feathers there man. So stop repressing and freaking out and let go. I've got you. I don't want to hear a thousand reasons why this is wrong."

"Sandburg, you talk too much."

"Jim?"

"That's a reason this is right."

"That's a good reason. But we have to stop."

"Huh, what?"

"I want some tradition. No sex until after we're married. And you haven't told me you love me yet."

"Blair, I love you."

"Oh that's convincing."

"I know 83 fatal methods to eradicate any immediate threat. I let you stand there holding a grenade, what's that tell you?"

"That danger excites you. Say it with meaning this time."

"I'll retire. Split the holdings between Kincaid and Brackett. I don't think they like the food industry any more than me. I'll open up a surf shop or something."

"I'm going to hold you to that."

"I do love you Chief."

"Like a brother or like you want to lick me all over?"

"That answer your question?"

"Hell yeah. I'd be seriously concerned if you ever did something like that to Stephen."

"That's disgusting."

"Totally. Let's get the cake and go home. I refuse to get married in your office."

"I'll lock up and meet you out front."

***

"Don't we need a preacher or justice of the peace for this?"

"For the legal version with guests. This is our ceremony. All we have to say is I do, eat the wedding cake and physically consummate the union of our souls. Voila. We're married. The public party comes later. You down with this?"

"I do."

"Do what?"

"Agree to marry you."

"Be specific man. The I do part comes after we make vows."

"Oh, okay. I vow to never cheat on you."

"What happened to honor, cherish, obey?"

"That's corny. And they took the obey part out a long time ago. I promise to put up with your bullshit. Better?"

"Somehow I don't think the point of vows is to insult your partner. I'll go first. I vow all that sickness, health, better or worse stuff."

"Oh this is stupid. I vow I'll be the best husband I can be. How's that? Can we have some cake now?"

"Say I, James Joseph Ellison take Blair Jacob Sandburg as my husband now and forever."

"Been reading romance novels have you?"

"Say it."

"I, James Joseph Ellison take you, Blair Jacob Sandburg as my husband now and forever."

"And I, Blair Jacob Sandburg take you, James Joseph Ellison as my husband now and forever. Kiss me James."

"Is that it? Blmmmthnthbg. That's pretty good cake. What kind is it?"

"What kind is it? It's the best fucking Hawaiian wedding cake you'll ever eat. That's what kind it is. Now get those clothes off and get in that bed before I get really mad. No, no, no. That's my side. Scoot over."

"Sandburg you're going to break..."

"No, man, this baby's sturdy."

"These mattresses seen a lot of action? Goddamnit Sandburg, I told you not to do that. I think I have a concussion."

"You do not."

"I do. I cracked my head against the headboard on the way down."

"The couch folds out."

"No. I've been tortured enough for one day. I'm not moving. Ever. So let's just take this nice and slow. Think you can handle that, Mr. Hyperactive? Mmh, yeah, that's lovin'."

"Jim we're going to have to go buy another bed tomorrow."

"Maybe on Saturday. Your schedule's full tomorrow."

"And rings. We'll need to get rings."

"What about that mini vivarium you pulled out of the Lucky Charms? What was that for?"

"That was a 'you want to be mine?' trinket. You've got plenty of liquid George W's waiting to go solid. I'm thinking platinum. Maybe we should pick up some more sheets too."

"Sandburg, we've moved on to the physical consummation of the vows part. Stop talking."

"But....oh, sweet Jesus, James, do that again."

The End

Back to Story List

Acknowledgements:Thanks to Patt for asking me to participate, Jai for the beta, and everyone at My Mongoose for answering all my questions.