Author: Tinamarie Cox
Rosemary sat under the harsh light of a small vanity in a Vegas chapel touching up her makeup in an attempt to disguise all the decades she’d walked the Earth. A soft knock at the door was a welcomed distraction from her reflection.
“Ted!” She stepped back and put her body behind the door. “You’re violating wedding tradition.” Her lips curled as her cheeks warmed.
“I have to tell you something.” Ted swallowed and entered the tiny room without invitation.
“Can’t it wait?” She was cool again.
“It might change your mind about today.”
Rosemary closed the door, eyes wide on her future husband. Ted rubbed the back of his neck roughly. The air in the small room became heavy, the silence pressing, holding their breath in their bodies.
“Spit it out!” Rosemary flapped her hands.
Ted jumped back, bumping against the wall as he yelped.
“You’re married,” Rosemary’s voice seethed with heat.
“Oh, no.” Ted shook his head. “There’s only you.”
“I don’t understand,” she forced the statement past the thudding lump above her larynx.
“There’s something about me.” He wrang his hands together. “You might not like it.”
“Please,” Rosemary’s voice waned, “Tell me.” She saw Ted’s hands trembling and she moved forward to hold them. “I promise I’ll still love you. Is it debt? We can create a payment plan.”
Ted denied having debts. Rosemary closed her eyes briefly before asking her next question.
“Is it porn, Ted? We can find a counselor–”
“There’s only you.” Ted echoed Rosemary’s frown. “I’m an alien.”
“Well, our marriage will make you a legal immigrant then.” The lines of her face shifted with her smile. Her heart gently sank down to its rightful place.
“An extraterrestrial sort of alien. I’m not from Earth.”
Rosemary’s laugh rose from her belly and swirled around the room. Ted remained stonefaced. The room was swallowed by their silent stares once more.
Ted held out his left forearm, rolled the sleeve, and swiped his right thumb across his pale skin. Suddenly, he was entirely blue. His eyes turned orange, his ears narrowed and became antennae, and his nose shrank into a thin, harsh angle.
Rosemary’s jaw dropped to the floor.
“I’m a research scientist reporting my observations back to my homeworld,” Ted said. Rosemary stayed frozen. “Please, say something.”
“I’ll see you in an hour, Ted.” Rosemary nodded and returned to the vanity.
Words spilled from Ted’s lips like a bin of building blocks, a mess that formed no definite structure, only sounds.
Rosemary turned, leaned against the vanity, and then held up a palm.
Ted closed his mouth.
“I’m fifty-four years old, Ted. I can’t give anyone children and I can’t erase my… maturity.” She sighed. “At least you’re an honest man. After two despicable bastards, I can live with you being… different.”
“I’m very different, Rosemary.”
“That all works the same?” she circled a finger at Ted’s hips.
She shrugged. “Then, we’re good. I’ll meet you at the altar in an hour.” And she waved him off.