MARTY AND NAVADA (Cont’d)
Ten months later…
Jen was working alone when Marty showed up. She opened the door as he walked up the sidewalk. “Hello, Marty. I’m sorry, but Molly isn’t here. She has a doctor’s appointment.”
Marty smiled. “I know. That’s why I came. I need to talk to you privately about something.” Marty followed Jen back to her office.
Jen offered Marty a cup of coffee, but he turned it down. Jen sat behind her desk, while Marty remained standing. Jen was starting to get concerned. “So, what’s up?” She asked.
Marty pulled a small black box out of his pocket. “Here, look at this,” he said as he opened the box.
Jen looked inside at a beautiful engagement ring. She placed her hands over her heart. “Oh my God,” she exclaimed. “For Molly?” Dumb question. Jen was relieved. For moment she thought perhaps Marty found out about her and Nevada.
Marty smiled. “I’m going to pop the question tonight. We have reservations at The Capital Grille Steakhouse.”
“It’s Molly’s favorite,” Jen exclaimed. “She’ll love the ring too.”
“I hope so. I’m hoping she’ll say yes too,” Marty half mumbled.
“Of course, she’ll say yes,” Jen shot back. “She’s head over heels in love with you. Congratulations.” She stood up and hugged Marty.
“Here’s the thing,” Marty started to explain. “The proposal is just between the two of us. I don’t want to put any more pressure on her or embarrass her, but somehow, I want to include our family and friends.” Marty put the ring back into his pocket. “I reserved a room at the VFW post where we first met. I’m inviting you, a few family members, and some close friends to meet us after I propose to help celebrate, assuming she says yes. My parents won’t be there because of the pandemic, of course, but Molly and I can facetime with them later. I also had to limit the number of people.”
“Oh my gosh. What can I do?”
“You can help keep it a surprise,” Marty answered. “I’ve taken care of hors d’ oeuvres
and an open bar. Social distancing will be a challenge.” Marty gave Jen all the details for the after-proposal party and then left. Jen was very excited and happy for Molly, but also envious and a little jealous.
The next weekend…
Marty and Molly arrived at The Capital Grille Steakhouse on time. There were very few people. Marty had reserved a table next to the dance floor. There was no combo band that night, just a DJ. They both ordered the special of the night which was prime rib. After dinner, as they waited for dessert, Marty nodded to the DJ who played the French tune "Le Réveil" which is the Army’s call to reveille.
Molly noticed immediately. “WTF?” she asked. Marty stood up and got down on one knee in front of Molly. Molly took one look and started to cry. “Oh, wow. Oh, wow.”
“Molly Lovelace, would you make my life complete by becoming Mrs. Marty Hennessey?”
Molly was now in a full cry. The few people in the restaurant were waiting to hear her answer. “Yes,”
he shouted. “Hell, yes.” Marty put the ring on Molly’s finger as the dinners applauded. Molly and Marty embraced and kissed to more cheers.
After dessert, Molly leaned forward and whispered, “What now? Do we stay and dance or go to your place and consummate our engagement?”
Marty smiled. “Actually, some of our buddies are waiting at the post. Would you mind if we go there to tell them? We can call my parents from there too.”
“No, I don’t mind. Sounds like fun.”
Marty texted Jen to let her know Molly said ‘yes’ and they were on their way there. Back at the VFW post everything was waiting for Molly and Marty. Two-person tall tables were set up ten feet apart with no chairs. Hand sanitizer stations were posted at the entrances. A volunteer was taking temperatures at the front door. Someone from the PTSD therapy group hung up a banner that said “Congratulations.” Satisfied everything was ready, Jen played lookout. As soon as she saw Marty’s car pull up, she rushed inside to the room Marty had reserved. She pushed everyone to the far end and turned off the lights.
The surprise was complete. As Molly and Marty walked in, Jen turned on the lights, and everyone shouted “Congratulations.” Molly started to cry again. Then everyone lined up to congratulate the couple. As things slowed down, Jen walked over to congratulate her best friend. They hugged and kissed. Molly was so excited she could hardly speak. She took a deep breath and managed to blurt out, “Jen, I want you to be my Maid of Honor.”
Marty walked over with his cellphone so he and Molly could facetime with his parents. Jen took the opportunity to refresh her drink at the open bar. While she was waiting for the bartender to take her order, someone walked over next to her and tapped her shoulder. Jen turned and recognized the man even with a facemask on. It was Navada Lucas. She would recognize him anywhere, mask or no mask, because he had those beautiful, piercing blue eyes and long eyelashes.
“I understand you’re the Maid of Honor.” Navada said.
Jen smiled. “Yes, as of a few moments ago.”
“Well, I’m the Best Man,” Navada said as he offered to shake hands. Jen refused his hand but extended her elbow. They bumped elbows and laughed. Jen hoped it was the last physical contact she would have with him. She dreaded going through the wedding with Nevada as Best Man.
To be continued.
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