“What!?” He bolted upright.
“No, no, no,” she quickly reassured him. “I don’t mean it like that. I mean, let’s just get up and go down to City Hall right now and do it.”
“I heard what you said. You serious?”
“I look serious?”
She looked so serious, Keith thought his life might be on the line if he said the wrong thing. “Ms. Hall, you ‘bout to change your last name.” He paused, “Uh, unless, of course, you gon’ keep your name.”
“I like the sound of Lesli Mari Hall-Jackson,” she said, listening to herself pronounce it. “That work for you?”
“Works fine. Let’s get dressed before you change your mind.”
Going to slap him upside the head, she swung and missed. “You do believe in pushing your luck.”
She got up, called work, said she was taking a vacation day and, it being Friday, would be in on Monday. The weekend would have to do for a honeymoon.
They dressed quickly without bothering to put on the dog. Shirt, jeans, shoes, light jackets. Hopped in a cab. Downtown, they stepped out of the taxi and, on the way to the courthouse, stopped at the closest jeweler to buy the first pair of matching rings the store had that fit their fingers.
Went, got it done, and just like that, finally were Mr. and Mrs.
When they came back outside, Keith and Lesli caught another cab. To the recently restored Hotel Chelsea. Booked a suite that, once they popped the news of nuptials to the manager, came with a complimentary magnum of pretty nice champagne. And dinner in the room.
Which they didn’t even touch. Until some odd hour in the morning when they roused from bed famished. They sat in the living room, wearing robes, sharing a warm glow.
He wheeled the cart over, lifted the lid on the tray, and room service hadn’t done too badly. It was cold by now, but the pheasant still looked tasty.
She snooped through the fixings and decided, “It’s missing something. There’s lemon, this gravy sauce looks good. So does whatever that is. But something’s missing. To sprinkle over the rice and veggies.”
“Hot sauce! Hot sauce!” Keith called room service but no one answered at this hour. He called the front desk, but they had no hot sauce. “I can’t believe there’s no hot sauce to be had in this place!”
“Baby, baby,” Lesli said, “put down that phone. Come on over here. I’ve got all the hot sauce you’re ever gonna need right here.” And cracked up.
If Lesli hadn’t actually been pregnant, if there’d been a misdiagnosis, she sure would be by the time Monday rolled around.
At the living room window, Keith and Lesli sipped coffee and sighed in unison — there was nothing like that first cup of the day to a couple of caffeine junkies. Then they set the cups on the ledge. And contentedly stood, her back against him, his arms around her, hands on her stomach.
They were dressed, but she had no intention of going in to work. Explained to her assistant the special occasion. Hung up before she could object.
It had been, indeed, a bumpy ride, taking them both through some serious changes. But they’d got to the end of it together. There was no indecision left. There’d be no half-stepping. There might not be any such actual thing as living happily ever after. But they were going to get as close to it as they could.
This week’s episode concludes the series.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.