The line for marriage licenses was mercifully short. Four mounted police hovered around the area, keeping order and sorting those who were too drunk to make good decisions into taxis back to their hotels.
The people in line were almost outnumbered by the chapel rats hawking the glories of the various wedding mills in the area. Nadia waved several over and asked, “Who’s got the best Elvis working tonight?” Three rats started heaping the praises on their guys; the fourth rat pulled out his phone and played Nadia a video of his guy singing Love Me Tender and Can’t Help Falling in Love.
Just like that, we had a winner.
Nadia called the place to make sure they had a slot open and the right Elvis on duty. They did and he was, so Nadia signed her order form and waved down the next taxi. Nadia waited until we were halfway to the chapel to call Aerin with the details, but the entire family still beat us there. Even a Vegas taxi driver can’t outrun a teleport spell.
Nadia’s twin sister Natasha scooped her out of the taxi and into a changing room loaded with dresses, some of which she’d bought that morning in Monaco. Geneva slipped in to referee and pulled the door shut behind her.
Angus handed Eric a designer tuxedo and said, “Bathroom is over here. Make it fit.” He and Nadia’s brothers blocked access to the door to give Eric a few moments of privacy. Alexander appeared to be a few years older than Matthew, with a dark, Mediterranean look normally found on romance novel covers. He had two girls from Gilead with him, one on either arm. They looked amazed and a little scared; I got the feeling they had never been outside of Gilead in their lives.
Angus had to give Eric a hand with the suit, since Eric had never seen one before. The sizing was dead on and Eric looked quite striking when he emerged. Then Nadia came out of her dressing room, and everyone forgot about Eric.
Her dress was a one-off original Gothic gown by a major-name designer. Natasha had snagged it off the runway during Fashion Week in Milan. It looked like black velvet, but when the light hit just right, sheens of amethyst and midnight blue cascaded through the fabric. The underdress and sleeve lining were scarlet silk, with gold roses blooming on a Celtic knotwork of gold vines. Her shamrock-green mane was tamed and recolored to a golden rose, held in place by a gold and ruby headdress. As eager as Nadia had been for this, she looked about to faint. Angus patted her hand and kept her steady.
The chapel’s sound guy started an orchestral version of Beethoven’s 9th, the Ode to Joy, as the wedding march. Natasha slipped in front of our Elvis and launched into the choral with a gorgeous opera-trained soprano. She had the same waifish build Nadia did, leaving me wondering where she was pulling that monster of a voice from.
As Nadia passed us, I saw her fighting back tears and losing. I guess she didn’t know her sister as well as she thought she did.
With everyone in place, Reverend Elvis took the stage with a “Y’all be seated now.” He nodded to Natasha and added, “I dunno where you hid those pipes, miss, but that was sum’em else. Thank you, miss, thank you verra much. Ladies and genamen, it’s so good to see all of you here for this joyous occasion, especially on such short notice. Eric and Nadia met yesterday, folks. Yesterday, and that time was enough to tell them they were meant to be together. People often say they and their beloved are from two different worlds, but for Eric and Nadia, it’s just the simple truth. Sometimes two people are just meant to be together, despite what…wise men say….”
And off he went into Can’t Help Falling in Love With You. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the time he finished.
Just as Nadia had asked, the ceremony was pure, undiluted, hunka-hunka burning Vegas cheese. They promised to set their blue suede shoes by the door, to rockin’ all the time without being a hound dog, to love each other tender and so all their dreams fulfill.
In the end, they kissed, waved to the crowd, and Eric carried Nadia down a red carpet while Reverend Elvis sang Viva Las Vegas. Out in the parking lot, Rose and everyone with a trace of magical talent started throwing fireworks spells into the air. Young Elvis was waiting behind the wheel of an early ‘50s Chevy convertible with the top down. The lovebirds waved to us as Young Elvis swept them out of the parking lot and into the Vegas night.