Ernie Jourdain and Felipe Vargas have established themselves as two of the most trusted and respected businessmen in Keyhole Bay, and they have done it while maintaining their own personal relationship. In a state where the phrase “marriage equality” was still fighting words, they held on to both their dignity and friendliness, a tall order for anyone.
Recently, however, things have changed in the State of Florida, and it could mean profound consequences for two of Glory’s closest friends.
But let them tell you in their own words:
We’re seated on a small patio outside the couple’s home. Like the interior, the patio is decorated like an upper-middle-class home from the middle of the last century, complete with lovingly restored high-back metal lawn chairs and a pierced brick wall. “Our lives are just like anyone else’s,” Ernie says. He leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees, his expression earnest. “We get up in the morning, take our showers, drink our coffee, and go to work. We come home and have dinner. The most unusual thing about our evenings is that because we work together we don’t have to ask how each other’s day went.”
“It’s true. A typical day around here is really pretty boring. Unless Glory turns up a dead body,” Felipe chuckles. He sits close to his partner on the pale green loveseat, and the two exchange an affectionate glance. Felipe continues, “Otherwise we’re like the poster children for old married people.”
“Except that we aren’t married.” Ernie’s tone is wistful, but there’s an undertone of anger and a scowl momentarily clouds his elegant features.
“It isn’t that we don’t want to get married,” he continues. The moment of anger has passed and his expression turns thoughtful. “But we don’t want to have to run away to do it, like it’s something shameful.”
“For the longest time we didn’t talk about it,” Felipe says. “We both knew it wasn’t possible, so there was no point in even thinking about it. Even when things first began to change—when we could have gotten married in Massachusetts—it seemed out of reach.”
“We’ve been a couple for nearly twenty years,” Ernie says, wrapping one long arm around his partner’s shoulders. “And we never thought we’d live to see this day.” He smiles, and it’s like the sun coming out from behind a cloud.
Felipe meets his partner’s smile with one of his own, them quickly turns serious. “I think what put the idea back in our minds was hearing about what Sly went through. When he told us his story, back…” his voice rises with a question and he looks at Ernie, “last year?”
“Longer than that, I think. Might have been a couple years.” Ernie nods, as though answering an unasked question. “Yes, we have been talking about it that long.”
Felipe shakes his head. Not denial so much as amazement it has been that long. “Time flies,” he shrugs and goes back to his story. “Anyway, when we heard Sly’s story, and realized how much it had cost him, we started to talk about maybe getting married somewhere else. Still wouldn’t matter to the state of Florida, though.”
“And then with Karen and Riley getting married—again—well, it just kind of felt like the universe was sending us a message, telling us it was time to get serious about it.”
“We could have gone anywhere in New England at that point,” Ernie says. “But that would have meant not having our friends and family with us. We wanted them to share that day with us. Especially after sharing in Karen and Riley’s wedding; it really made it plain how much that meant to both of us.”
A grin split Felipe’s face, wider and sunnier than before. “Amazing what a single day can do,” he says. Joy fills his words. “One day. January sixth, two thousand fifteen.
“The day out dream of being able to get married at home came true.”
Ernie is smiling too. “We haven’t set a date, or told anyone yet. We want to let Karen and Riley get settled down, and then have the chance to tell them all at once, you know?”
Felipe cut in. “You’ll keep out secret, won’t you? Just until we can tell our friends?
You can read more about Ernie and Felipe in Murder Ties The Knot, the fourth book in the “Haunted Souvenir Shop” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The other books in the series are Murder Buys A T-Shirt, Murder Hooks A Mermaid, and Murder Sends A Postcard.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on March 31 for the chance to win a print copy of Murder Ties The Knot. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.
About the author
Chris has never met a genre she doesn’t like, and has published mystery (Christy Fifield and Christy Evans), romance, adventure, fantasy and science fiction (Christina F. York).
Mystery has always been her favorite though, since her great uncle introduced her to the “Perry Mason” books when she was a child. She read each new book as her uncle finished them and passed them along. The die was cast, she either had to become a lawyer, or a mystery writer. As fate would have it, mystery writer won. Chris lives on Oregon’s Pacific shore with her writer-husband J. Steven York under strict feline supervision.