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The Night after Book 4 Ends

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Mary skipped up the steps of St Pancras Church in a most un-Mary-like manner, dragging an astounded James behind her.

"Mary! What about witnesses?" James panted as they reached the top of the steps.
Mary eyed him and replied "There's always some old widows in churches James, it shall be easy to find a couple in a big church like this!"

"Well then, what about nice clothes?"

"James Easton. Do you want to marry me or not? I was under the impression you did, however perhaps that was a trifle too presumptuous of me" Mary swiftly turned to face him.

"Of course I do, Mary. I just tho-, never mind. Come on, let's go in" James said before moving to take her arm, and continue into the grand, imposing Church.
Mary looked at him suspiciously "You thought what, James? What did you think?"

"I suppose I thought you might have liked Lang or perhaps Miss Treleaven and Mrs Frame or someone at your wedding. Myself, I would have rather liked George to be here, but I know I never would be able to marry you if he was here" James said, studying the ground rather intensively.

"I might have, if our marriage was planned. But I am also quite deliriously happy with just the two of us, as long as you are as well?"

James nodded and they continued into the church.

Inside, they found the minister who frowned at them when he found out they had no witnesses or guests.
"With all due respect sir, I cannot possibly marry you without witnesses, and preferably proof of parental approval for the lady"

"She has no legal guardian, being of an age where she is entitled to make decisions by herself" James drew himself up and used every ounce of authority he had.

The minister quivered and apologised "My sincerest apologies, sir" He turned to Mary and continued "Miss, I must congratulate you on your beauty. I would have mistaken you for seventeen at last birthday, if your fiancè had not corrected me"

"My fiancè and soon to be husband. We do have an engagement" Mary paused to chuckle "this afternoon, so if you wouldn't mind hurrying along, and gathering two of your pew-bearers as witnesses, it would be much appreciated" Mary paused for though and added "And a ring. We need a ring."

James stopped her and said softly "No, we don't. I, er, went and obtained a ring a few days ago"

Mary's face turns to surprise and she says to the minister "Well, just the two witnesses we need then"

 

10 minutes later...

"James Easton, do you take Mary Quinn to be your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to honour her, protect her and forgo all others?"

Staring steadily into Mary's eyes, as he slips a ring onto her finger, James replies to the minister "I do."

"And do you, Mary Quinn, take James Easton to be your lawfully wedded husband? Do you promise to honour him, and forgo all others in favour of him?"

Gazing back at James, Mary replied "I do."

"I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride!" The minister declared and James leaned forward and attached his lips to Mary's. She breathed in and returned the kiss.

They stood, and walked to the marriage register, where Mary made sure to add an extra flourish to her signature. The witnesses and minister signed the register, and James brought out his pocketbook to pay them. He pushed a five-pound note into the hand of each witness, before settling the score with the minister. At last, they were free to go.

They skipped down the steps, hand-in-hand, beaming from the joy of it all. Once they had reached the bottom of the steps, they maintained a more appropriate, a more demure pace suited for a couple.