Sable and Elvis
Elvis has always been a big part of my life. My mom always told me that she had marked me to like him by listening to his music while she was pregnant with me. I probably own every song that he ever recorded. I love to sing also, and I’ve been asked to give people voice lessons – which I declined – and they asked me who gave me my training. I laughed and told them Elvis. I can remember hours and hours of standing in front of the mirror singing into the wrong end of a hair brush and learning how to hold my notes and roll the words – just like Elvis. To this day, if I hear one of his recordings, I can sing it word for word – note by note and nuance by nuance.
When I started dating Jason, he was amused by my devotion to a singer who has been dead since the late 70’s – but I went on a campaign to introduce him to the wonder of the Man from Memphis. I made him watch the movies with me and the live concerts – I took him to Graceland and walked him through the halls where Elvis once trod. I took him to Tupelo to the little place where the King was born and to other places where the life of Elvis made a difference. Little by little, I shared with Jason why I loved Elvis – his generous heart – Jason didn’t know that Elvis had been instruemental in the Pearl Harbor Memorial or that he supported hundreds of charities – even to this day – even though he’s been dead for years.
When we married – I surprised Jason by singing to him during the ceremony. I chose an Elvis song of course – Love Me Tender. He cried. Jason has indulged me in many ways. He left his urban home in Massachusetts and moved to Texas. He set aside his MBA and financial banking career to become a Texas cowboy. He takes me ghost hunting and cheers me on as I write erotic romances. I swear the man could star in an Elvis movie – or in a romance novel – he, along with Elvis, is my hero.
Here’s an excerpt from Scarlet Fever. Scarlet is a big Elvis fan and her sister asks her to sing for her wedding. What Scarlet doesn’t realize is – it is her and Alex’s wedding also.
Annalise and Ethan were radiant. The wedding party and close friends began to arrive. Not all of the decorations were up, but there was enough to make the setting enchanting. Bobby and Cecile were holding hands and making goo-goo eyes at each other. Literally. The little Lutheran preacher was a rotund man with a sliver of silver hair that rimmed his head. He addressed the group, and Scarlet thought he seemed extremely nervous. Weddings she knew. And this little man was acting like it was his first rodeo.
“Let’s go over the music first. Both songs. Get it out of the way.” Scarlet almost laughed. She had no ego involved, so getting her songs out of the way was no big deal. The piano that Alex had rented for her was a great instrument, and with just a few touches, she found her key. She began with Unchained Melody. It was for Annalise and Ethan.
A hush fell over the crowd as Scarlet began to sing. Singing and playing the piano was something that came easy for her. Her voice was strong and she lost herself in the words. She sang of love that had been lost, now found. She sang of hunger and desire and a lover’s prayer that God would bring them together once more.
Alex was floored, flabbergasted, awe-struck and amazed. He had not doubted that Scarlet could sing. But, he had no idea that her voice would be absolutely incredible. She could have easily been a star. Her voice was blue velvet; lush and smooth as silk. He had been standing, but he had to sit down. And when she began the next song, Elvis’s Love Me Tender, he knew without a doubt that she was singing right to him. Looking into his eyes, she asked him to love her tender, love her sweet. She asked Alex to never let her go. He wanted to walk to her, assure her that he would hold on to her for the rest of his life, with both hands. But he forced himself to be still. She told him that he had made her life complete and that she loved him more than words could tell. With tears flowing down her cheeks, she asked him to make all of her dreams come true. There would never be a dearer moment in his memory than when she sang just to him, promising that she would love him forever. He intended to hold her to it.
“Why didn’t you tell me you could sing like that?” Alex pulled her to one side and into his arms.
“It’s no big deal, I’ve sung like that for years.” She brushed aside his complement.
“You could have easily had a career in music,” he persisted.
She looked at him with sad eyes, “I didn’t want a career in music. I want . . .” She couldn’t bring herself to finish the sentence. “It’s time to line up; Pastor Ron is giving us the evil eye.”
“Let him wait. I want to hold you a minute before we begin the ceremony.” She leaned into him, resting against his shoulder.
“It’s just a rehearsal, no big deal.”
“It is a big deal, darlin’. A solemn ceremony. We’re going to be standing in front of a man of God and saying words of devotion and commitment. Before we do, I want to tell you how very much I love you.” Alex rubbed her forehead, easing a lock of hair off of her forehead, then kissed her once softly on the lips.
“I love you, too.”
Reaching behind his back, Alex handed her a beautiful white rose. “Carry this for me sweet heart and don’t forget, Scarlet – we love each other. Now, it’s time. Let’s take our places.”
The music began and Alex, Ethan and Bobby walked from the right side of the rose bed to the front of the arbor. Alex was playing the part of the groom, a role that would be reversed the following day. As the music continued, Cecile stepped out to walk slowly down the aisle. She and Bobby only had eyes for each other. Annalise came next and she blushed like a school girl as Ethan winked at her. After she and Cecile were in their places, the music swelled and Alex looked up to see his angel standing in a golden ray of the evening sun. He had never seen anything or anyone more beautiful. Slowly, she walked toward him. He knew that she thought this was just a rehearsal, but he knew her well enough to know that she was imagining that this was real. That it was their wedding day.
When she drew close enough, he held out his hand to help her up on the dais.
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here tonight to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony.” Alex picked up Scarlet’s right hand in his and brought it to his lips. The preacher continued.
“A marriage ceremony like this is for one purpose only and that is to make one flesh from two people that love and cherish one another above all things. At this time, Alex and Scarlet wish to take this step. They have chosen one another out of all others in this life and now they stand before us ready to repeat their vows. Alex.”
Scarlet’s eyes were darting around nervously; she had been to enough wedding rehearsals to know that this one was not proceeding as normal. Still, she did not bolt and run. Alex held on to her hand, looked into her eyes and began.
“I, Phillip Alexander Stewart, take you, Scarlet Rose Evans, to be my lawful wedded wife. I promise to love, honor and cherish you,” he paused almost unable to go on. “Till death do us part. I promise to be true and faithful to you for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live.” Scarlet’s eyes were big and focused on every syllable that was coming from his lips. “All of my worldly goods to thee I endow and with my body I will worship yours. I love you, Scarlet. To marry you is my greatest desire.” Alex became aware that Scarlet’s hand was shaking in his.
“Scarlet.” The pastor indicated that it was her turn.
Scarlet looked over at her sister, who had tears in her eyes. Then, she turned back to her beloved, who had the most sincere look of love on his face that she could ever have imagined.
She only hesitated for a moment, but it was a lifetime for Alex. It felt as if his heart was about to escape from his chest. By now, she must realize that this was more than just a rehearsal for Ethan and Annalise. By now, she had to know.
Scarlet’s mind and emotions was topsy-turvy. Could this really be happening, or were her heart-felt fantasies making more of this than it actually was? With a soft touch, Alex caressed the hand he held. Scarlet took that as a gentle urging for her to say her part. Holding Alex’s gaze, she began to speak. “I, Scarlet Rose Evans, take you, Phillip Alexander Stewart, as my lawfully wedded husband. I promise to love, honor, and cherish you, till death do us part.” Her voice cracked just a bit, and Alex’s hold on her hand tightened, as if giving her courage to continue. “I promise to be true and faithful to you. For better, for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live.”
Scarlet paused again, her eyes big question marks, and Alex nodded his head, as if telling her that she was doing great. “All my worldly goods to you I give, and with my body I will worship yours. Alex, I adore you, and marrying you would make all my dreams come true.”
Alex noted the futuristic wording of her last sentence.
“Is there a ring?”
“Yes, there is.” Alex reached into the pocket of his coat. He brought out a glimmering eternity band and slipped it on her finger. “Scarlet, with this ring, I thee wed. With this ring, I offer you my heart, my life, my trust and my eternal devotion.”
“I don’t have a ring for you,” she whispered.
In answer, he just kissed the ring on her finger.
“You may kiss the bride.”
Slowly, Alex drew her to him. It was a tender kiss, a slow meeting of the lips, a cherished moment of utter devotion. Pulling back, Alex gave her the sweetest smile that she could have ever envisioned.
“By the power invested me by the great state of Texas, I now pronounce you man and wife.” Turning them to face the crowd, he announced. “It is my pleasure to be the first to you introduce you to Mr. & Mrs. Alex Stewart.” A crescendo of music followed and Alex swept Scarlet down the central passageway, past prying eyes and countless questions.
He picked her up and held her close. “Oh, my darling. I love you so.” He kissed her then, like he had wanted to up at the front. Boldly. Voraciously. She kissed him back, and then laid her forehead against his chest to get her breath.
“That seemed very real, Alex.” She didn’t know exactly what to say, but she was holding on to him with both hands, just as tight as she could.
“It was real, baby. Very real.” They stood still; he braced himself for her reaction, not knowing what to expect.
Thanks for reading.