When Mr. Mason pushed his hand up Cinnamon’s skirt and she gasped the same gasp my mama does sometimes when she is in the bedroom with my daddy, Indy almost yelped. We both knew we were watching something we shouldn’t be watching. So I slid my hand over her mouth and pressed my lips to her ear. “Stay quiet,” I whispered. “We don’t wanna get in trouble.” When Cinnamon undid Mr. Mason’s belt buckle, I began to feel a little weird and I got scared. They were talking real dirty to one another, touching each other and stuff. Indy squirmed next to me and I began to wonder what was going to happen. Thankfully, someone called out Cinnamon’s name and she quickly pulled away from Mr. Mason, straightened her short dress and tried to fix her messed-up hair.
When they left, both Indy and I let out a big sigh of relief.
“Adults are weird,” she said, dusting off her knees. “I ain’t ever growing up.”
“You can’t stop growing up, Indy. It happens to everyone.”
“Well, then I ain’t ever getting married,” she said stubbornly.
“You gotta get married, too,” I said. “It’s the law.”
She pouted and folded her arms. “I don’t want to get married.” She raised those big brown eyes to me. “Do you want to get married?”
I shrugged. “Maybe.”
“If I get to marry you.”
Her eyes widened. “You want to marry me, Cade Calley?”
“Of course, I want to marry you, Indy. You’re my girl.”
So, there I was, on my wedding day. Standing in the warm August sunshine wearing a tie, my favorite jeans and the cleanest t-shirt I owned.
“You nervous?” Bolt asked. He was Indy’s older brother. He was eleven. I liked Bolt. He had a big comic collection—way bigger than mine—and he let me read them whenever I liked. Today, he was wearing a bow tie and his hair was slicked back with some of his daddy’s hair gel, or something. And he was wearing cologne. A lot of it.
“Nah,” I said nervously.
Bolt was marrying us. He didn’t own a Bible, so he held a Spiderman comic, instead.
“Are you ready, Cade Calley?” Came the bossy hollering of my future wife from the treehouse above us. She was hiding up there, waiting for the ceremony to start.
“Ready when you are, Indigo Blue.”
I nodded to Bolt who pressed the start button on the old CD player we had borrowed from his daddy’s garage, and Lynryd Skynrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” filled the Parrish’s backyard.
Indy appeared at the railing of the treehouse dressed in a white summer dress that was a little too big for her, with rows and rows of pearls around her neck. Except the pearls weren’t white pearls, they were all different colors, like the ones my daddy brought back from a ride to New Orleans.
As she grabbed onto the rope ladder and slid down to the ground, I nervously loosened my tie. I wished Isaac and Abby weren’t visiting Aunt Peggy’s sister in Tennessee. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so damn nervous. I wasn’t sure why I was nervous. Indy was the best human I knew and I wanted her to be my wife. So, I figured it had less to do with me actually being nervous, and more about me having seen a lot of MC weddings and watching grown bikers turn green at the gills when they waited for their old lady to join them at the altar.
Indy did an awkward wedding march from the treehouse to where Bolt and I stood under the sycamore tree because her heeled shoes kept sinking into the soft ground. When she made it to where we stood, she and Bolt started to giggle, while I nervously adjusted my tie again.
“We are gathered here today . . .” Bolt began, his voice a much deeper, and louder version of his own. “To join these two kids in matrimony.”
I glanced over at Indy. She was already looking at me, smiling, her sweet face alive with happiness and her large brown eyes warm with child-like joy. She was holding a bouquet of wild bluebells and daisies she had stolen from Mrs. Wilton’s backyard. Mrs. Wilton lived across the road and was as mean as a goat. She was old and wrinkly, and this one time she had been yelling at us and her false teeth had fallen out of her mouth and broken on the ground. Mama said she was lonely and mean because Mr. Wilton had run away with Mrs. Wilton’s sister long before me and my brothers were born.
“Does anyone here have any good reason why these two shouldn’t be married?” Bolt asked.
The three of us looked around the empty backyard.
I had invited my mama, but she had taken Caleb to the doctor on account of his sore throat. They thought he might have laryngitis. Chance was at his friend’s house, and Daddy, well, Daddy didn’t do much of this stuff with us kids.