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A Marriage of No Convenience

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Pelham and Firestone dress down to go to Five Points. A black man and a white woman wearing trousers, walking arm in arm down Worth Street are not invisible, but a fine suit makes a fine target, and they're in no hurry to be fight muggers.

They find the preacher in one of the new houses, behind a stage with a rolled-up flag. His rooms are clean and nearly empty; he tells them he had "visitors" a few nights ago, and that he was fortunate that his family wasn't home at the time. Burglary is routine in this part of the city, but so is rape and murder.

He marries them in that same bare room, his wife and daughter as their witnesses. Firestone gives Pelham her father's ring; Pelham makes a present of a simple one with a single orange stone. They thank the preacher and walk out, back through hell, a man and wife - at least as far as they're concerned. The preacher has lost his licence, but there are no others who would marry them before God.

Pelham is captured by the the softness in her eye, the angle of her smile. Firestone clasps the warmth of his hand.