Crimes Past(102)

By: Lauren Carr

“Takes after his daddy,” Bogie said with laughter.

“Now here’s a piece of news that Tonya didn’t send out,” David said. “We have a surprise for you.”

“He’s engaged again,” Tonya said in a low voice.

“Wait for it,” Mac said.

“You’re not engaged?” Tonya asked.

“Yes and no,” David said.

“How can it be yes and no?”

“We’ve invited all of you here for a surprise wedding.” David slipped his arm around Hope’s shoulders.

“A wedding?” Tonya asked.

“That’s why she’s dressed in white,” Doc said.

“Why so fast?” Bogie’s eyebrows furrowed. “Is she pregnant?”

“Hope has to report back to duty on Tuesday morning. That means we need to get on the road tomorrow,” David explained.

“You’re not moving to Norfolk, are you, David?” Doc asked.

“No,” David said. “I’m taking a couple of weeks to go back with her and we’ll work out the details before I come back.”

“Most likely, I’ll commute back and forth on the weekends until I transfer over to the reserves. Gabriel will be living here with his father.” Hope smiled at David.

“As long as you aren’t taking David away from us,” Tonya said with tears in her eyes. “I’m okay with that.”

“Spencer is my home, Tonya.” David kissed her on the cheek. “We want to be a family. Gabriel is going to be my best man. Archie is the matron of honor.”

“What about Mac?” Bogie said. “You were the best man for his wedding.”

“Mac’s got a role,” David said.

Archie opened the door and Gnarly, dressed in K9 tuxedo galloped out onto the deck.

“According to the statute,” Mac said, “the mayor is certified to conduct weddings.”

Everyone stopped eating to regard the German shepherd sitting among them.

“All he asks for in payment is a chew toy.” Mac urged Gnarly to jump onto a bench under a rose trellis that they had set up to do the ceremony.

“What happens if any of us objects to the union  ?” Officer Fletcher asked.

“Object and you’ll find out,” Gabriel said with a wicked grin.

“A toast!” Mac held up a champagne flute.

Everyone followed suit.

Mac slipped his arm around Archie’s waist and pulled her close. “Here’s a toast to the future, a toast to the past.” He held out the glass to David, who was flanked by Gabriel and Hope. “And a toast to our friends, far and near.” He gestured to their friends. “The past is a bright dream.” He looked into Archie’s lovely emerald eyes. “May our friends remain faithful and clear.”

“That’s a beautiful toast,” Doc said. “Did you make it up for today?”

“It just came to me.”

Mac and Archie clinked their glasses and linked their arms to share the toast.

As the glasses were about to touch their lips, Gnarly jumped up to plant a paw on each of their shoulders. He glared at Mac.

“Okay, I confess,” Mac said. “I stole that toast from Gnarly. He wrote it in his book.”

“You did read Gnarly’s book!” Archie shouted.

“No!” Mac shook his head.

“Liar!” Archie pointed a finger, nail dipped in rosy red, at him. “How would you know Gnarly wrote that in his book without reading it?”

“Okay!” Mac said with a grimace at the broad smile across Archie’s face. “I read it! I read Gnarly’s book. I couldn’t put it down! Are you happy now?”

Gnarly’s howl drowned out the applause of the wedding guests. When he had finished, he licked his lips and winked at Mac.

The End