Between Heaven and Earth

By: Michele Paige Holmes
“And… now.” Cassandra Webb reached forward over layers of white chiffon to crank the volume on the car stereo.

The first notes of “We Built this City” blared from the speakers as Devon, her husband of exactly three hours, stepped on the gas pedal and the Audi gave a lurch of speed as they drove onto the Golden Gate Bridge. A passing car honked, and the passengers waved. Cassie peered through the decorated window to wave back enthusiastically.

“I really hope that paint washes off,” Devon said for at least the tenth time since they’d left the reception and discovered that his sister’s kids had taken car decorating to a new level.

“It will,” Cassie said, unconcerned either way. Would it be so terrible to drive around sporting Just Married on the back windshield for more than a day or two? All these friendly greetings from total strangers was kind of fun.

“Wait for it.” Devon held his hands poised over the steering wheel, then played a mock drum intro along with the ’80s band Starship as was tradition every time they visited the city. Our city. Someday, in the not too distant future, they would live here. Or a bit closer at least.

“Wait for it is right,” Cassie said. “Look at that traffic.” Her mouth turned down at the cars braking in front of them.

Devon shrugged as he slowed the car. “Rush hour. Told you we should have had a morning ceremony.”

“And risked cool temperatures and limp hair from the fog? No thank you.” Cassie leaned over the gearshift to give him a quick kiss on the cheek. “Besides. There’s no one I’d rather be stuck in city traffic with, Mr. Webb.”

“Well, now, Mrs. Webb, since you put it that way…” Devon’s hand left the wheel and found Cassie’s amidst the ruffles of her wedding gown. He brought her hand to his lips and let them linger there. “Anything in particular you wanted to do while we’re stuck in traffic?”

Cassie sighed dreamily as she leaned her head back and spied the sunroof. “Yes, actually.” She reached up to open it. “I’ve always wanted to do this.” She unfastened her seatbelt, then pulled her hand from Devon’s to bunch the layers of her gown.

“Cass, what’re you doing?” Devon pulled his eyes from the car in front of him to glance at her.

In answer, she climbed up on her seat and pulled herself up through the sunroof so she was standing with her torso outside the car. The driver on their right honked and waved.

“It’s beautiful out here,” she shouted as she waved back. The afternoon sun reflected off the bay, bathing San Francisco in golden light. The ocean breeze sent her hair streaming behind her, and she brought a hand to her head before remembering she’d taken her veil off already, and it lay safely in the back seat.

“Are you nuts, woman? Get down here.” Devon tugged on her dress. “I’d like to have a wife for more than one day.”

“I’m perfectly safe. We’re hardly moving,” Cassie shouted. Hardly moving, but it was enough that she felt so alive. The whole day had passed too quickly; everything had felt surreal. But this, this felt real. She ran her fingers over the diamond sparkling on her left hand. She’d really married Devon, and they were on their way to starting a wonderful life together.

“Cass,” Devon pled. “Do you want us to get a ticket on our honeymoon?”

She peered down at him. “No one’s going to give us a ticket. What cop would want to spoil a couple’s wedding day?”

“A few I can think of,” Devon muttered. “Just get back in your seat— please.”

“Oh, all right.” She dropped back down in a whoosh of fabric. “Couldn’t you flash your shiny new Sacramento PD badge at anyone who pulled us over?”

“No. I could not.” Devon beat away the layers of her dress covering the steering wheel. He looked over long enough that she caught his eye roll. “Seat belt?”

Cassie pulled it across her and snapped it into place. “Spoilsport,” she grumped good-naturedly. “Happy now?”

“With you at my side? Always.” Devon’s grin was back. He held up a finger, signaling silence, then jumped into the song. “Looking out over that Golden Gate Bridge on my gorgeous, sunny wedding day. I’m stuck in bumper to bumper traffic with the most beautiful woman in the world in a black Audi about two-thirds of the way across.”

Cassie laughed at his parody. “Don’t seem to remember those lyrics.”

“She’s with her favorite guy, in her favorite city. The city by the bay, the city we’re gonna rock, the city that never sleeps.” He winked. “Especially tonight.”

As if they’d heard and approved of his alteration to the song, the driver of the car inching past them blared the horn several times as the passengers waved.

Cassie stretched her arms high through the sunroof and waved back.

“Careful,” Devon advised. “That rock on your finger is worth a few grand. Wouldn’t want to lose it.”

“It’s not going anywhere,” Cassie assured him. “Just like me. I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me now.”

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