Marco joined Venice at the table, their hands resting on top of their 14-page document. With the help of Garfield Moody, the two of them had drafted what they thought would not only save their marriage, but revolutionize the institution itself, changing the way that couples view and govern matrimonial unions. “Divorce could become extinct.” Those gripping words from Dr. Garfield Moody gave them hope.
The door to Judge Haskins’ chambers flung open; the door knob slammed against the walnut colored wall with a loud thud. The Honorable Judge Calhoun Haskins marched into the room with rigid authority, heading straight for the widely opened window. He inspected it, rubbing his index finger along the seal. For a moment, Marco thought that the old judge just may jump out of the window right in front of them. Indeed the entire scene was surreal.
Judge Haskins turned from the window and took a seat at the head of the conference table, slamming a file folder on the table when he did. He flipped the folder open, slammed his boney fist down on top of the official copy of the contract and said, “Explain this!”
Marco jumped right in.
“You see, your honor, my wife and I were having marital issues. Serious marital issues—”
“So we attended a marriage seminar hosted by the great Dr. Garfield Moody,” Venice interrupted. “He gave us the idea to start fresh—”
Marco jumped in and said, “Yes. You see, we would like to renew our vows today, even though we’ve only been married a short time. Long story short, Judge Haskins, we may have moved too fast in the beginning, acted prematurely. But now we are married and we—”
Venice looked at Marco with a raised brow and interjected.
“We don’t want to make two mistakes. You see Judge; we don’t love each other—”
Marco winced when he heard her say that. She continued.
“—but we’re hopeful that we can start things fresh with the help of some written guidelines for how to be married.”
Judge Haskins leaned back in his chair, eyeing the couple with great disdain. Then he pointed his skinny finger at Benjamin and Kim and asked, “And who are you two?”
“Kim Davies, your honor. Close friend of the bride. I had nothing to do with that contract, sir.”
Haskins peered in Benjamin’s direction.
“Benjamin Goldsmith. Brother of the—”
“Fine then,” the judge interrupted. “Let’s get this farce on the road. I have reviewed this contract at length and I’m going to assume that the both of you are in agreement with its terms. However, there are a few terms that—well—I feel we must review together before I sign off on this thing.”
Judge Haskins thumbed through the document to a page that he had bookmarked.
“This Article 15, Chill Therapy?” he quizzed hoping to get some clarity on the article as well as assurance that both Marco and Venice were in agreement with it. He looked deep into Marco’s eyes with raised brows and waited for his response.
“Yes your honor,” Marco replied. “I’ve been known to be a hot head.”
Venice shrugged her shoulders in agreement while Benjamin rubbed at his shoulder and chest.
“Article 15, the Chill Therapy, that’s for me.”
“Okay then,” Judge Haskins said as he quickly flipped to another page.
“What about article 27, Dr. Goldsmith,” Judge Haskins smirked as he removed his reading glasses. “Ah yes. The Quota. Are you okay with this?”
Venice took a deep breath and replied, “Yes your honor. I am.”
Judge Haskins stared at her for five seconds without blinking his eyes. Venice thought that he might have zoned out on them for a moment. “Humph,” he finally mumbled. And then he placed his reading glasses back on the bridge of his nose, leaned over to Marco and whispered, “Well played, Mr. Goldsmith. Well played.”
Then the judge leaned back in his chair and said, “Well then. I think that pretty much does it for me—Hold on a second. There was one other thing. Yes. Article 35. No Children.”
He looked at Marco and Venice sternly. “Are you both in agreement with that particular item?” he asked them.
Venice gulped and replied, “Yes your honor. We are.”
Kim then lunged to her side, grabbed her sleeve and whispered, “But you’re always going on and on about kids. You want kids! This is the time to negotiate that.”
Venice gently placed her hand on Kim’s. “It’ll have to be,” she said.
“It’s like my wife said, your honor,” Marco added as he looked into Venice’s eyes, “we don’t want to make two mistakes.”
The room fell silent. Venice closed her eyes for a moment. She desperately wanted to have children. She thought about it very often. However, she also wanted to stay married. And even though she held out hope that someday Marco would change his mind, she knew that he would not budge on that issue at the present. So she shelved those thoughts, opened her eyes and tried hard not to cry.
“Very well then,” Judge Haskins said as he stood. “Let’s proceed with this ceremony.”
Marco and Venice stood hand in hand before Judge Haskins with Kim and Benjamin at either side. They exchanged vows hand in hand, eyes mutually fixed. Judge Haskins pronounced them man and wife. Then they kissed each other. Their first kiss was nothing more than a peck, their lips only touching for a millisecond. Their second kiss was a bit more exciting as Marco took a second to suck the gloss from Venice’s bottom lip. But their third kiss was special. It was long and passionate and it involved slow head movements as their mouths melded together and their tongues wrestled each other. Marco and Venice moaned mutually as the soft muscles inside of their mouths engaged in a grudge match and just before Judge Haskins had to clear his throat and restore order, a chilly wind grazed their faces and freed them from the kiss that held them captive
Hand in hand, they left Judge Haskins’ office, Kim and Benjamin following close behind. After they were gone and Judge Haskins and Miss Agnes were alone, the old judge turned to his assistant, shook his head and said, “Mark my words. They will petition for divorce before the year is out.”