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CATverse A/N: The timeline is here: http/ www . freewebs . com / catverse--but if you're too lazy to look there, know that this tale occurs directly after Bright Nova's story 'Rock and a Hard Place' and is told from the perspective of the narrator of 'Chapel of Lurve'. (Yes, Captain, I KNOW I said you should write it, but...frankly, it grabbed me and wouldn't let go.)

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Dear Diary,

Well, here I am again, back in Las Vegas where I belong, after nearly a year of begging Daddy to close up shop in Atlantic City and move back to the desert. I told him it was because business was way too slow there--but I think he knew the underlying reason was the fact we kept getting so many weirdos, what with being so close to both Gotham and Metropolis…

I guess I thought we'd stop getting weirdos (or at least that we'd get fewer weirdos) but wouldn't you just know it? They actually followed me here.

No, seriously. Remember that woman who came in with her two friends and the spindly, unhappy groom with the dorky glasses? It seems the little union Daddy officiated didn't stand the test of time.

Yeah, I know. It surprised me too (insert mock disbelief here).

Anyways, back to the story at hand. Arlene Machiavelli (as if I was going to forget a name like that?) and a new guy popped into the chapel--this time without her little hangers on and both of them already in costume. They were sweating from the Nevada heat (or maybe something else, but I don't want to dwell on that too much) and looked nervous beyond belief.

Her groom of the year (and may I say he was a much more attractive guy than the last wreck she dragged to the altar) was wearing a white Elvis jumpsuit--you know, like the ones we've got stashed in the back for Daddy to wear when they couple wants the King to oversee the wedding--while she was poured into the most ridiculous Marilyn Monroe-ish outfit I've ever seen (and that's saying something, considering how many female impersonators around these parts style themselves as the divine Miss Monroe).

Daddy looked thrilled to have repeat customers with such a 'sense of matrimonial whimsy' (his words, not mine), and started bustling around to get himself ready for the ceremony, since the couple was apparently already ready and raring to go. The bride requested something 'Sintara-y' and Daddy was only happy to oblige. I think it's been too long since someone asked him to play at being the chairman of the board.

That left me to handle the paperwork.

And that's where the trouble started.

They had their license ready, but when I saw the names on it, I had to put on the breaks. For starters, Arlene Machiavelli had changed her name to Anna Graham; while her jittery husband to be was named Rid Dell.

I might look like an idiot with my vacant 'how may I help you today?' smile, but let me assure you, I'm not. The names were punny and kinda cute, but they still roused my suspicions enough that I felt the need to dig a little deeper before I let daddy marry these two. I don't know why; we've had shadier characters than them before, but alarm bells were ringing so loud I couldn't ignore them.

Under the guise of making conversation while I checked to make sure everything was in order, I mentioned in passing that I was sorry that Ms. Graham's last marriage to that 'distinguished looking fellow in the glasses' had apparently ended in such a short amount of time.

She played it off with an 'irreconcilable differences' and a wave of her hand, but Mister Dell turned somewhat pale and looked at his bride-to-be with confusion.

Apparently, he hadn't known she was married before and grabbed her by the arm, excusing himself before tugging her a few feet away to converse with her in whispers.

I only caught tiny snatches of the conversation, though I tried not to eavesdrop, but their whispers were more like hisses and they weren't that far away.

"You married Jonathan?" he asked, looking at her wide eyed.

She mumbled something in response and shrugged her shoulders, like it was no big deal.

"Yes it is!" Jumpsuit-boy exclaimed, gesturing with his hands.

The bride stared at him, obviously without comprehension--or at least, she thought he was kidding. I only caught the words 'my real name' there; but it didn't take much effort to fill in the blanks. She hadn't used her real name the first time around, so she thought it didn't count.

"Doesn't matter, you're still married," he said urgently.

Which were my thoughts exactly. See, there's some kind of loop-hole in the law or something somewhere…I never did really pay much attention to it, but it says that it's the people getting married, not the names; so as long as everything else on a marriage certificate is correct (birth dates, other stuff like that), the hitching is totally legit.

Obviously, though I couldn't hear much after that, the groom explained this very fact to her, because she turned the whitest shade of pale I've ever seen and then said, "I'm…married?"

He just nodded emphatically and then…

The bride fainted. Just wilted like a flower in the heat. It was the most spectacular thing I've ever seen. She wobbled and her eyes rolled back in her head and then she made the most fantastic THUMP when she hit the carpet.

The groom dropped to his knees immediately and started shaking her shoulders, calling her by that weird nickname 'Tex' again (I don't really want to know why someone with a Midwestern accent was named 'Tex'; the most innocuous thing I can come up with is that she's famous for her chili, or something), and I offered to call 911.

He said no and just asked me to get a glass of water--which I did--and rather than trying to tip its contents into his beloved's mouth (though that might be an abuse of the term), he simply dumped it in her face.

She darted awake, sputtering, and grabbed him by the lapels, shaking him back and forth and screeching something in Hebrew, I think it was. She was hysterical and really, I can't blame him for slapping her, but I winced with sympathy when she slugged him in response.

Then she inexplicably burst into tears and started apologizing, burying her head in his jumpsuit, still not speaking in complete English sentences and he dragged her--with quite a bit of effort--to her feet.

He muttered an apology, even as she was still sniffling and cursing (I think she was calling me nasty names, though I can't be sure), and ushered her out the door.

Daddy was disappointed that the first people in years to ask him to play Sinatra had backed out at the last minute; I was just glad they were gone and unlikely to be coming back anytime soon.

But…then again…if she's a serial bride…

Maybe I should just go to college.