“Travis!” I said, pulling on his arm.

He turned, snapping out of his hypnotic state. “Yeah?”

“Can you go over to the concierge and get the wedding scheduled?”

“Yeah? I mean yeah. I can do that. Which one?”

I laughed once. “Close. Open all night. Classy.”

“Got it,” he said. He pecked my cheek before pulling the carry-on to the concierge desk.

“We’re under Maddox,” I said, pulling out a piece of paper. “This is our confirmation number.”

“Ah, yes. I have a honeymoon suite available if you’d like to upgrade?”

I shook my head. “We’re good.” Travis was across the room, talking with a man behind the desk. They were looking at a brochure together, and he had a huge smile on his face while the man pointed out the different venues.

“Please let this work,” I said under my breath.

“What was that, ma’am?”

“Oh. Nothing,” I said as he returned to clicking away on his computer.


Abby leaned in with a smile when I kissed her cheek, and then continued with check-in while I popped over to the concierge to nail down a chapel. I glanced over at my soon-to-be wife, her long legs propped up by those wedge heel shoes that make a nice pair of legs look even nicer. Her flow-y, thin shirt was just see-through enough that I felt disappointed to see a tank top under it. Her favorite sunglasses were perched on the front of her favorite fedora, and just a few long locks of her caramel hair, a little wavy from drying naturally after her shower, were cascading out from under the hat. My God, that woman was fucking sexy. She didn’t even have to try, and all I wanted was to be all up in her business. Now that we were engaged that didn’t sound like such a bastard thing to think.

“Sir?” the concierge said.

“Oh, yeah. Hey,” I said, taking a last glance at Abby before giving the guy my full attention. “I need a chapel. Open all night. Classy.”

He smiled. “Of course, sir. We have several for you right here at the Bellagio. They are absolutely beautiful and—”

“You don’t happen to have Elvis at a chapel here, do you? I figure if we’re going to get married in Vegas, we should either get married by Elvis, or at least invite him, ya know?”

“No, sir, I apologize, the Bellagio chapels do not offer an Elvis impersonator. However, I can find a few numbers for you to call and request that one appear at your wedding. There is also, of course, the world famous Graceland Chapel, if you prefer. They have packages that include an Elvis impersonator.”


“I’m sure you’ll be very pleased.”

“Okay, that one. As quickly as possible.”

The concierge smiled. “In a hurry, are we?”

I started to grin, but I realized I was already smiling, and probably had been, like an idiot, since I arrived at his desk. “Do you see that girl over there?”

He glanced at her. Quickly. Respectfully. I liked him. “Yes, sir. You’re a lucky man.”

“I sure as shit am. Schedule the wedding for two . . . maybe three hours from now? She’ll need time to pick up a few things and get ready.”

“Very thoughtful of you, sir.” He clicked a few buttons on his keyboard and then grabbed the mouse, moving it around and clicking it a few times. His smile faded as he concentrated, and then it lit up his face again when he finished. The printer buzzed, and then he handed me a piece of paper. “There you are, sir. Congratulations.” He held up his fist, and I bumped it, feeling like he’d just handed me a winning lottery ticket.


Three Hours


Abby held my hand, pulling me along as we walked through the casino to the elevators. I was dragging my feet, trying to take a look around before we went upstairs. It had only been a few months since the last time we’d been in Vegas, but this time was less stressful. We were here for a much better reason. Regardless, Abby was still all-business, refusing to pause long enough for me to get too comfortable around the tables. She hated Las Vegas and with good reason, which made me question even more why she chose to come here, but as long as she was on a mission to be my wife, I wasn’t going to argue.

“Trav,” she said, huffing. “The elevators are right . . . there . . .” She tugged on me a few times toward her final destination.

“We’re on vacation, Pidge. Cool your jets.”

“No, we’re getting married, and we have less than twenty-four hours to get it done.”

I pressed the button, pulling us both into an open space to the side of the crowd. It shouldn’t have been surprising that there were so many people just ending their night this close to sunrise, but even a buck wild frat boy like myself could be impressed here.

“I still can’t believe it,” I said. I brought her fingers to my mouth and kissed them.

Abby was still looking above the elevator doors, watching the numbers descend. “You’ve mentioned that.” She looked over to me and one corner of her mouth turned up. “Believe it, baby. We’re here.”

My chest rose while my lungs filled with air, preparing to let out a long sigh. In recent memory, or maybe ever, my bones and muscles had never been so relaxed. My mind was at ease. It felt strange to feel all of those things, knowing what we’d just left behind back on campus, and at the same time feeling so responsible. It was disorienting, and unsettling, this feeling happy one minute, and like a criminal the next.

A slit formed between the elevator doors, and then they slowly slid away from each other, allowing the passengers to bleed out into the hallway. Abby and I stepped on together with our small roller duffle bag. One woman had a large purse, a large carry-on that was the size of two of ours, and a four-wheeled, vertical suitcase that could fit at least two small children.

“Moving here?” I asked. “That’s cool.” Abby jammed her elbow into my ribs.

She took a long look at me, and then Abby, and then spoke in a French accent. “No.” She looked away, clearly unhappy I’d spoken to her.

Abby and I traded glances, and then she widened her eyes, silently saying Wow, what a bitch. I tried not to laugh. Damn, I loved that woman, and I loved that I knew what she was thinking without her saying a word.

The French woman nodded. “Press floor thirty-five, please.” Almost the Penthouse. Of course.

When the doors opened on the twenty-fourth floor, Abby and I stepped out onto the ornate carpet, a bit lost, doing the search-walk that people always do when looking for their hotel room. Finally, at the end of the hall, Abby inserted her keycard and pulled it out quickly.

The door clicked. The light turned green. We were in.

Abby flipped on the light and pulled her purse over her head, tossing it on to the king-size bed. She smiled at me. “This is nice.”

I let go of the bag handle, letting it topple over, and then took Abby into my arms. “That’s it. We’re here. When we sleep in that bed later, we’re going to be husband and wife.”

Abby looked into my eyes, deep and thoughtful, and then cupped one side of my face. A corner of her mouth turned up. “We sure will.”

I couldn’t begin to imagine what thoughts were swirling behind her beautiful gray eyes, because almost immediately that thoughtful look disappeared.

She rose up on the balls of her feet and pecked me on the mouth. “What time is the wedding?”


“Three hours?” I kept my muscles relaxed even though my entire body wanted to tense up. We were wasting too much time, and I had no way to explain to Travis why I needed to get it over with.

Get it over with? Is that how I really felt about it? Maybe it wasn’t just that Travis needed a plausible alibi. Maybe I was afraid I would chicken out if there was too much time to think about what we were doing.

“Yeah,” Travis said. “I figured you’d need time to get a dress and your hair done and all that girly shit. Was that . . . was I wrong?”

“No. No, it’s fine. I guess I was just thinking we’d get here and just go. But, you’re right.”

“We’re not going to the Red, Pidge. We’re gettin’ married. I know it’s not in a church, but I figured we’d . . .”

“Yeah.” I shook my head and closed my eyes for a second, and then looked at him. “Yes, you’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll go downstairs, find something white, and then I’ll come back here and get ready. If I can’t find something here, I’ll go to Crystals. There are more shops there.”

Travis walked toward me, stopping just a few inches away. He watched me for several moments, long enough to make me squirm.

“Tell me,” he said softly. No matter how I tried to explain it away, he knew me well enough to know—poker face or not—that I was hiding something from him.

“I think what you’re reading is exhaustion. I haven’t slept in almost twenty-four hours.”

He sighed, kissed my forehead, and then went to the mini fridge. He bent over, and then turned, holding up two small cans of Red Bull. “Problem solved.”

“My fiancé is a genius.”

He handed me a can, and then took me into his arms. “I like that.”

“That I think you’re a genius?”

“Being your fiancé.”

“Yeah? Don’t get used to it. I’ll be calling you something different in three hours.”

“I’ll like the new name even better.”

I smiled, watching Travis open the bathroom door.

“While you find a dress, I’m going to take another shower, shave, and then try to find something to wear.”

“So you won’t be here when I get back?”

“Do you want me to be? It’s at the Graceland Chapel, right? I thought we’d just meet there.”

“It’ll be kind of cool to see each other at the chapel, just before, dressed and ready to walk down the aisle.”

“You’re going to walk around Vegas by yourself for three hours?”

“I grew up here, remember?”

Travis thought for a moment. “Isn’t Jesse still working as a pit boss?”

I lifted an eyebrow. “I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him. But even if he was, the only casino I’ll be anywhere near is the Bellagio’s, and that’s just long enough for me to walk through to our room.”

Travis seemed satisfied with that, and then nodded. “Meet you there.” He winked at me, and then shut the bathroom door.

I grabbed my purse off the bed and the room keycard, and, after glancing at the bathroom door, picked up Travis’s cell phone off the nightstand.

Opening his contacts, I pressed on the name I needed, sent the contact information to my phone via text, and then deleted the text message the second it went through. When I set his phone down, the bathroom door opened, and Travis appeared in just a towel.

“Marriage license?” he asked.

“The chapel will take care of it for an extra fee.”

Travis nodded, seeming relieved, and then shut the door again.