Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday Briefs: Moving Forward #68 (16.4)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Marshall and Lee take a huge step in this week's episode of Moving Forward. Join them in their celebration. Then don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to. Their links follow my tale!

Moving Forward #68 (16.4)

“We’ve come a long way in recent years,” Roy continued, “great changes have been made in this country with respect to the law and people’s rights. And one of these changes means that you can marry the partner of your choice, whoever he or she is, and your union will be recognized. Marriage is for everyone, which is how it should always have been. But better late than never, right?”

Roy’s words were greeted by nods and murmurs of assent. Rye and Slim gave Lee and Marshall two thumbs up.

The rest of the ceremony passed as if in a dream, as first Marshall and then Lee agreed to the vows which Roy recited for them. Marshall had heard the words before, when watching marriages that took place in television shows, but they’d never held such meaning as they did at this moment, when he was face to face with Lee and promising to love, honor, and cherish. And then they exchanged the rings which were handed to them by their best men, placing them on one another’s finger.

“I now pronounce you husband and husband,” Roy said. “You may now kiss the groom.”

Marshall tingled at the words, knowing in his heart that they were true, at least in the eyes of the people who mattered, even if not recognized by the law.  He and Lee moved toward each other, and their lips came together softly, then more firmly, as everyone cheered. When they drew back, Lee was smiling, and Marshall could swear he saw a tear in his eye. Probably the match to his own.

They stood there for a long moment, simply gazing into one another’s eyes. Marshall had no words for what he was feeling. He’d never thought to see this day, and he was overwhelmed by how much it affected him. Judging by the look in Lee’s eyes, he was having much the same reaction. The sound of Roy clearing his throat brought him back to the present.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said in a solemn voice, “I’d like to introduce to you Mr. and Mr. Clinton.”

Marshall and Lee turned toward their friends who instantly rose and surrounded them, shaking hands, offering their congratulations. Milly hugged each of them in turn, before announcing, “Food’s waiting at the diner, ladies and gentlemen. I closed it for the reception, and Roy here provided the drinks.”
More cheering as everyone headed to their cars.

“See you there, boys.” Milly winked at them. “Try not to be late, if you can help it.” She laughed, taking Mayor Callendar’s arm. “Care to escort me, Mister Mayor?”

“I would be delighted,” he assured her with a chuckle.

Marshall and Lee and Roy were the last ones left.

“Come on. You don’t intend to be late to your own reception, do you?” Roy arched a brow.

“Since the diner’s only a few minutes away, I don’t think that’s a problem. But first I want to say thank you.  I never expected… never dreamed…” He seemed at a momentary loss for words that matched Marshall’s own.

“You don’t have to say anything, Lee, it’s my pleasure.” Roy fidgeted slightly, as if he was unsure of what he wanted to say. “You and Marshall… you’re more than friends, you’re family to me. And I hope you know I’d do anything for either one of you. Anything, any time.”

“I know that, Roy.” Lee’s voice was thick with emotion. “And I appreciate it.” He reached out and hugged Roy, then Marshall did the same. “You’ve already done so much for us, I can never repay you. I feel privileged to call you my friend. More than a friend, you’re like the brother I never had, and you’ve been there for us every step of the way.”

Roy’s face turned pink, but he was smiling nonetheless.

“Does that mean I can call you Uncle Roy?” Marshall teased, which produced a laugh from the other two men.

“Don’t be a punk, Roy will do just fine,” Roy said. “Now let’s go before they eat all the food.”

“How’d you do everything so fast?” Lee asked as they headed out the door. “I mean, on such short notice?”

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Roy replied. “I learned that from you, Lee.”

“From me?”

“Yes sir. You never gave up hope, not even when things looked darkest, or when our leads panned out into dead ends. You said we’d find Marshall no matter what, and we did.”

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Marshall hugged the marshal again.

“Let’s go,” Roy said gruffly. “I hate to see a grown man cry.”

Lee slid his arm around Marshall’s waist, as they followed Roy to his car.

to be continued

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