You and Larry were always best friends. Ever since college, when you two would stay up all night long watching bad movies together. Or when you’d run to each other for a shoulder to cry on after a bad breakup, or a sympathetic ear after a terrible date.
After college you moved in together and spent a couple years living as roommates, but you were such close friends you might as well have been an old married couple. Each of you felt like it might be impossible to find someone you enjoyed being with as much as each other, and so one night many years ago you made a vow.
“If neither of us finds someone before we’re 35, we’ll marry each other,” Larry said. He even got down on one knee when he said it.
“35?” you said. “Okay, that’s about when I’ll have given up the search. Deal!”
You consummated the vow by microwaving some popcorn and sitting down together to watch a DVD of Lost Season 2.
For a while there, it seemed like you two might end up honoring that vow you made, until three years ago when you met Stephen, who was an usher at your sister’s wedding.
You fell for Stephen almost instantly, and you knew you’d fallen for him based on the one true test of whether you love someone or not: you couldn’t wait to introduce him to Larry.
It wasn’t long before you moved out of your apartment with Larry and into one with Stephen, and after a couple more whirlwind years Stephen got down on one knee and asked you to join him in a for-real marriage vow. The date was set for this weekend, when you will be exactly 34 years and four months old.
“Just under the wire,” you told Larry. “Guess you won’t have to marry me after all!”
“Guess not,” Larry said. “Looks like Stephen’s going to beat me to it.”
It did look like that. Until yesterday, when Stephen’s body was found floating in the river. His head had been bludgeoned, his wallet gone. Appeared to be a mugging gone too far.
You ran to the only person you’d ever run to for comfort at such a horrible time.
“How! How could this happen?” you cried into Larry’s lapel. “Just days before we were to get married!”
That’s when Larry chose to provide you with some words of comfort that proved to be rather strange.
“Well I promise to keep up my end of our marriage vow, even if Stephen couldn’t keep up his.”
You were a bit thrown, but you managed to ignore that he said it. People say odd things to someone in grief, and better just to move past it. But when you left his apartment that night, his words kept repeating in your head, and they chilled you a little more every single time you recalled them. You ended up telling your cab driver to change routes to take you to the police station.
“There’s our motive,” the lead detective says. “People have gone to way more extremes to make sure they got married. The only question is, will he do it again?”
The sting is on. You’re going to go away on what you’ll tell Larry is a vacation to get your head about you, but really you’ll just be hidden away in a safehouse. When you come back they’ll pair you up with Detective Donald Lawrence, a handsome undercover cop who you’ll pretend to have met in Playa Del Carmen and you were both so swept off your feet that you decided to get married.
“Then we wait,” the lead detective says.
This sting operation will hopefully uncover nothing at all. But deep in your heart you know that Larry really wants to get married, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you remain unwed for just a few months longer, just long enough to guarantee that you have to honor your vow to marry him. God be with anyone who wins your heart before you turn 35, because they’ll be saying their prayers for a quick, painless death at Larry’s bloody hands before they ever get the chance to say, “I do.”
Happy Wedding Vow Day!