Two years later...

Matthew Lawson sat slumped in a leather chair next to Lucien Blake in his study. It was past midnight, and they were well into their second bottle of whiskey. Matthew's eyes were bloodshot and even Lucien was starting to look a little unsteady. Lucien poured them another round.

"So you've decided?"

Matthew sighed. "I think so."

"Good for you."

"I don't know. She'd have to move in."

"That usually goes with marriage."

"She'll want to redecorate."


"Have you seen her apartment? It's lacy. And blue."

"That doesn't sound too bad."

"The bedroom is pink."

Lucien did a double take. Matthew shrugged and tried to look innocent. Lucien grinned like a school boy who was told a naughty joke.

Matthew looked down at his drink. "I suppose I'm a sentimental old fool for thinking about it."

"Matthew, how long have we know each other?"

"Five, six years maybe, not counting as kids."

"Five, six years. And I never saw you smile until you started spending time with Alice."

"That's because you're disagreeable."

They both started to laugh. Anything was funny at this late hour. Lucien topped off their glasses.

"Honestly Matthew, I think marriage is a great thing."

"You're a bit more domestic than I am."

"I think Jean would argue otherwise." He glanced down at his own gold wedding band and smiled. "Besides, Alice loves you."

"Does she now?"

"Do you remember when the fair came through town last year, and we all went?"


"The picture that Rose took of the two of you, it's on her desk in the back office of the morgue."

"Alice keeps a picture of me…in the morgue."

Lucien grinned and was clearly trying not to break into laughter. He took a gulp of whiskey instead.

"I'll tell you what. Invite me to the wedding and I'll buy you a shiny white walking stick just for the occasion."

Matthew glared. "I'll break out all your teeth with it. Just for that I might not invite you to be my best man."

Lucien pointed at him, though he was having trouble keeping his hand steady. "See? You haven't even asked her and you're planning the wedding already."

Lucien suddenly looked serious and leaned towards him. "Do you know when you are going to ask her?"

Matthew downed the rest of his drink and set it down. "Now." He started to get up, but Lucien jumped up first and put a hand on his shoulder.

"That's a bad idea. It's the middle of the night and we've both had a lot to drink. You can't propose to her if you're slurring your words."


"The only place you're going tonight is my couch. But first," Lucien picked up what was left of the second bottle. "Let's have another drink."