The Texas air is warm, and there is a faint odor of compost coming from the ranches nearby. One particular ranch in Texas, which normally has about thirty ranch hands, now has over two hundred people. Instead of casual clothes of T-shirts and Levis, they are all dressed in fine clothes, from simple coats over collared shirts and ties to a blouse and a black skirt with polished heels to formal, elaborate tuxedoes and dresses.
Cassie stands in an aisle formed by elaborate white chairs. She herself wears a white dress and a veil over her face. It is a very special day for her, for she will be married. She smiles at the guests who have come as far as over a thousand miles to see this special event.
This is a unique wedding. The most unique feature is that she would be joining a married couple.
She looks at Tom and Mary, whom she will be spending the rest of her life with. Tom and Mary are wealthy ranchers, well respected among their circle of friends. They own over three hundred cattle. Their cattle is shipped as far away as Chicago, Illinois.
The state of Texas will not recognize this wedding, of course. Polygamy is illegal in all fifty states. Of course, there is no practical way to keep someone from having an extra partner. Many people across the country have "live-in housekeepers", "live-in nannies", and "boarders" along with their wives.
But Cassie will not be content with being a "live-in housekeeper", "live-in nanny", or "boarder". She will be a wife, no matter what the state of Texas says about it. She will be family; she will watch over the kids while Tom and Mary attend to their ranch. She will travel with them.
And then of course, there is what happens behind closed doors.
Her heart skips as she prepares to take her vows. Everything seems to slow down as she hears the vows and she makes her vows before the black-clad minister.
And then the minister makes the pronouncement. She is married.
Everyone congratulates her, and she poses with Tom, Mary, and the kids. Everyone takes photographs using cameras ranging from Kodak disposable cameras to Sony digital cameras.
An hour later, the reception is held on a large outdoor patio with a wooden floor. Salad and hor'douerves are served first. The entrée is steak made from the cows bred in this ranch and lobsters caught off the shores of Maine. All the guests take their meal at cloth covered tables. After the meal, there is an obligatory first dance as a band dressed in white shirts, black bowties, and black slacks all play their instruments.
The wedding reception continues well into the night. But then it is time for everyone to head home. A few of the guests have had plenty to drink, and stagger out.
Cassie stands in the bedroom, still dressed in her dress. She is clearly nervous. She would be given herself to a person whom she loves very much. But there is always a bit of anxiety. It is a self-defense mechanism. Her heart seems to slow down even as it beats harder and harder, and sweat glistens her palms.
The door opens, and her heart skips a beat.
Mary enters the room and kisses her. The kiss erases the anxiety.