He did sleep a little, or at least his thoughts drifted into quiet blankness for a while. He came back to himself when the car’s front doors closed, leaving only him and Beau inside. Roland opened his eyes to find Beau’s face closer than he expected.
Close enough to kiss.
His breath caught, and he felt that dangerous little thrill of anticipation, when he should have known better, should have been far past wanting anything like that ever again.
Beau just smiled. “Ready for our wedding day?”
Roland looked toward the window, and beyond it, the uninformative front of the refuge. “They didn’t… plan something, did they? It’s not gonna be, like…”
A tumble of images played through his head, mostly human weddings he’d seen on TV and in movies, elaborate and protracted events that always involved someone being terribly humiliated or disappointed or otherwise reduced to tears.
“I think they know you well enough to know you won’t want anything huge and exhausting,” Beau said quietly. “I suspect there’s going to be cake, though. You think you might be able to eat a little cake?”
Roland bit his lip, and his stomach squirmed uneasily. “Do you have any more of those ginger candies?”
Beau smiled and brought one out of his pocket, unwrapping it before holding the candy to Roland’s lips. He closed his eyes and opened his mouth for it, and the first sharp bite of the ginger made his mouth water alarmingly and his eyes sting. Beau stayed steady at his side, keeping one arm around him all the time, and after another moment Roland said, “I guess we have to get out of the car eventually.”
“Not really where I’d pictured us living for the next few years,” Beau agreed, but he didn’t make any move to get Roland out of the car until Roland picked his head up and twisted toward the door.
When they got inside there was cake, and Susan and Ms. Dawson and Dr. Hanek who ran the refuge and was, as it turned out, both a registered officiant for weddings and a notary public. He had Beau and Roland sign the pre-nup first, getting it notarized and witnessed across several copies.
Which meant Roland had to write his name when he couldn’t read it.
“It’s okay, take your time,” Beau murmured, and laid his finger down on the page. “Right along there. Right above my finger. When you’re ready.”
Roland took a few breaths, trying to make his fingers fit comfortably around the pen, to remember the motions of signing his name. He couldn’t remember when he’d ever done it that meant anything, but it couldn’t be that hard. He’d learned cursive in school. He knew how to write his own name, and that was all it was, really. His own name, in cursive, saying that he agreed to be married to Beau with all these conditions.
He squinted at it when he was done; it looked a little crooked and wobbly, but that seemed to be his name. Roland Lea. He’d done it.
And then he had to do it three more times.
“I’ll put one of these on file here,” Dr. Hanek explained, “and send one to the state Omega Rights Initiative. They hold a lot of these types of documents, just to be on the safe side.”
“Of course,” Beau said easily. “And Roland will have his own copy to keep as well.”
One was duly put into an envelope for him, and Roland held it, along with his birth certificate, while they did the rest of the wedding formalities. It was all so calm and matter of fact, just sitting on a loveseat beside Beau in one of the refuge sitting rooms, with Susan and Ms. Dawson and Dr. Hanek gathered around on other chairs. Roland barely realized the questions he was answering were his wedding vows, even when he automatically responded, “I do.”
But then there was a tiny round of applause, and Roland turned to meet Beau’s eyes.
Beau raised his eyebrows, asking some silent question, and Roland nodded a little, and then—oh, oh—Beau dipped his head and touched his lips to Roland’s, soft and chaste. A kiss. Their first kiss.
They were married.
There was another paper to sign for that, but Beau let Roland sign along his finger again, and his hand didn’t shake any worse than the first four times.
“Excellent. We’ll put the appropriate date on this and send it in tomorrow to be filed, but you are now officially married. Congratulations, both of you.”
“Thanks,” Roland murmured, and then looked up at Beau, who squeezed him a little closer.
“We’ll eat some cake first,” Beau said. “Then we’ll figure out everything else.”