It was a hub of activity at the mansion. Carol working in the lab with Mark assisting and voraciously absorbing RNA DNA and XNA science that he found endlessly fascinating. Even Aakifah was helping out along with Zeta. The observatory was being completed further out on the property behind the guest house and lab, away from the light.
The wedding was set for the last Saturday in June at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Regular chapel hours were 9 am to 5 pm, but with a generous donation by Justus, Chief Hartley booked the chapel for 2 hours after closing time for the wedding ceremony. Justus filled out the marriage license application at the Sedona Courthouse and paid the $76 fee. Zeta and Aakifah arranged for a small reception with a cake and gourmet catering back at the mansion.
Three days before the wedding Zeta assisted Carol with the XNA injection into what she thought would be Justus’s balls. After discussing the procedure hypothetically with an anesthesiologist friend of hers, she realized Justus should at least be mildly sedated with something like Propofol along with a local anesthetic.
Carol told Justus what she needed. Chief Hartley contacted his spy gal, and in 2 days she had the drugs she required. Justus earlier had shaved his scrotum as instructed by Carol. Lying on a surgical table in the laboratory with his genitals covered with a towel, Carol sedated him with an injection of Propofol. Then she stepped away from the area. Zeta cleaned and sterilized his scrotum and covered his penis with a sterile towel. Carol returned and examined his scrotum and testes and told Zeta, “Well, he only has one testicle, a large oblong one, there’s just one.”
“He’s got just one nut, one ball, seriously?”
“Yes. Just one. Some males are born with just one testicle, and some are born with three which increases their odds of testicular cancer.”
“I learn something every day,” Zeta quipped.
“The rest of his equipment looks quite, well, ah, adequate,” Carol noted looking at his penis under the towel.
“Yes, I’d say it’s adequate, and it’s just lying there asleep right now,” Zeta commented. “Well, come to think of it, that makes perfect sense. One super sperm per ejaculation, from one large oblong ball.” Carol told Zeta she thought the XNA injection went very well.
Saturday arrived, and by the time the small wedding party started pulling into the parking lot of the chapel, the tourist visitors were all gone. Christian and his co-pilot, Chief Hartley, Aakifah, Carol, Mark, and Triton completed the private group. Zeta felt it was just too soon for her parents and decided not to tell them about the marriage until she felt they were ready. They’d already been through Briana’s death, Zeta’s ill-fated marriage to Benton, and Mark’s war injuries.
Everyone assembled at the front of the chapel enjoying the surreal view of the Sedona red rock country through the large glass windows. Chief Hartley had arranged for a Justice of the Peace to conduct a brief ceremony, solemnize the marriage, and sign the certificate. He brought his wife along, a short, frumpy lady, who was very cordial and seemed thrilled to be in attendance.
No one gave away the bride and Zeta walked down the aisle escorted by Triton who then sat attentively by her side while the vows were spoken. She looked stunning wearing her white short lace wedding dress with spaghetti straps and silver stiletto platform pumps. Her hair was up, fastidiously applied gloss made her lips glisten like ripe cherries, and she radiated a glow of complete happiness.
After the Justice of the Peace finished his ceremonial words, they exchanged rings, and Justus kissed the bride. Justus was supposed to lock the chapel door and then drop the key in a lockbox, but Zeta whispered to him, “Lock the door but keep the key a while, I’d like to come back here later.” They all went outside into the pristine natural beauty, then got into their cars to go to the reception.
Aakifah had volunteered to play her classical guitar, and she filled the house with the purity and integrity of her playing. Triton stayed close to Zeta knowing this was a very special day. “This is so different than my first wedding. What a mob that was,” Zeta whispered to Carol.
“Over three hundred people, counting the caterers and help,” Carol agreed. “You’re on number two, I’m looking for number one,” she kidded lamentedly.
“Maybe I can give my big brother a push.”
“I don’t think he’s ready for anything like that yet. He’s such a trooper and doesn’t complain but I think his physical wounds are healing faster than his emotional wounds. He has some real night terrors, and I suspect he has some PTSD.”
“I didn’t know that. He presents such a brave front. Does he talk much about the “war, and what happened?”
“Just says he saw his friends get blown to pieces, and he survived. He may have survivor guilt.”
“Maybe he needs some VA counseling or something.”
“I think he’ll come around ok if he can talk with some other PTSD Afghanistan or Iraq veterans. I also think I may have devised a protocol for trying to repair his retina and macula with new genetic XNA also delivered by a harmless streptococcus virus.”
“Oh that would be wonderful Carol!”
“We’re working on the methodology every day. Mark has a natural aptitude for the science and lab work, and he loves it.”
The guests enjoyed the food and champagne, and the Justice of the Peace became quite jovial after a two glasses of Burgundy wine. He kept trying to corner someone and tell tales of peculiar events that happened in his courtroom that he alone considered hilarious. His wife eventually tired of hearing his gusty solo laugh and went over and sobered him into silence with a few curt words. The reception died down, and the guests offered their congratulations again and went their way.
“All right husband, I want to go back to the chapel,” Zeta told Justus and led the slightly bewildered Justus out the door as she sang, “Goin’to, the chapel and we’re, gonna get married, Goin’to, the chapel and,” … “And he interrupted with, “But Zeta we already got married, didn’t we?”