David: How do I love you? Let me count the days until August 15 when we will be wed.
Mary smiled. She could count on David to bring up her spirits. They had been chatting about their day when David burst out with his declaration.
Mary: You are incorrigible:).
David: What can I say? I’m impatient for that date to come. How are the wedding plans?
Mary: I’ve hired a Justice of the Peace to marry us.
David: I thought your pastor was going to do the honors.
Mary: He won’t without in-person premarital counseling.
David: I’m sorry I can’t come sooner for that. Are you OK with not having a church wedding?
Mary paused before answering. She always thought she would get married by her minister. Of course, those were the dreams of a little girl, not a grown woman fast approaching middle age. Now was the time to be practical and focus on the fact that she was getting married at all, a possibility she had begun to think would never happen. For now, being married legally in a civil service would have to do.
Mary: As long as we get married, that’s all that really matters. We can have a church wedding later if we want.
David: Whew. I was hoping you’d say that.
Mary: Amy and your sister will be our witnesses. I have my wedding dress. A local caterer will deliver a buffet brunch right after the ceremony. It will be small and private.
David: No Jared?
Mary: Not sure if he wants to come. He’s against our getting married.
Mary: Because we haven’t met in person.
David: That’s the way people got married for hundreds of years.
Mary: I told him that.
David: He’s probably jealous.
Mary: We are old friends, nothing more.
Mary stared at the words on the screen, wishing she believed them. Her hand moved to her lips, where the memory of last night’s kiss lingered. The way Jared had looked before kissing her had been tender. And he persisted in wanting her to postpone the wedding. She shoved aside the thought that what Jared felt for her was more than friendship, but that didn’t matter because she was in love with David.
Mary: Let’s not talk about him anymore.
David: Good idea or I might start to get jealous myself. J
Mary: You brought him up, not me.
David: Point taken. How’s the auction prep? I’m so grateful you’re willing to sell your family heirloom.
Mary: It’s for our future. I’m not sure I’ll be much help on the mission field, but I can assist in this way.
David: That’s what I love about you. But on to practical things. What do you think about opening a joint bank account for the painting funds?
David: I blush to mention I wanted to use some of the money to fund our, ahem, honeymoon. I want to start our married life off right.
Mary: Now I’m the one who’s blushing. I hadn’t thought of that.
David: All of my ready cash has gone to Peru preparations, or I’d use my own money, of course. This is downright embarrassing, asking you to pay for the honeymoon. I swear I’ll make it up to you.
Mary: I promise not to hold it against you. In fact, I think it’s rather sweet. I’ll ask my attorney about the details.
David: You don’t need a lawyer to open a joint account. The bank will walk you through how to open the account with both of our names. We should pick a national bank with branches in Iowa and Virginia.
Mary: I already have an account at a local bank. Maybe it would be easier if I wire you some money for the honeymoon. Will that work?
David: I’m squirming even having this conversation with you. I should be the one to take care of the finances.
Mary: You have a lot on your plate and have to front a lot of the expenses for our move to Peru. I’m happy to contribute to our new life together.
David: Now I’m grinning from ear to ear at how lucky I am to have youJ.
Mary: How much do you need?
David: I’m not sure. Can I get back to you on that? I need to check on a few more things first, flights and hotels, and such. I’ve done some preliminary research, but want to double check before booking.
Mary: Just let me know what to pack.
David: You won’t have to pack much….
Mary: Now I’m blushing. Again.
David: Wish I was there to see that. I was hoping to take care of the bank stuff before we’re married. I was planning on honeymooning—location top secret, so don’t even try to worm it out of me—and then going directly to Peru. That’s why I suggested we have a joint bank account, so we don’t have to waste precious time taking care of such mundane details.
Mary: Ah, that makes sense. Okay, I’ll start the paperwork tomorrow.
David: Sounds good. Now tell me about your wedding dress—it’ll give me something to dream about tonight.
# # #
David grinned as he signed off from their chat. Payday was coming soon and he couldn’t wait. He buzzed Sylvia on the intercom.
“Who do we know at Wells Fargo?”
“Just a second.”
David rolled his neck as Sylvia’s fingers clicked on the keyboard. Hunching over the keyboard on these chats was killing his shoulders.
“Okay, it’s Payton Ramsey.”
Sylvia snorted. “He’d better be, with what Wildcat pays him. Which one is being landed?”
“Mary. She’s setting up a joint account at her local branch tomorrow. I’ll need to have David Kline’s verification papers sent from the Mason City, Iowa, branch to her bank.” David cracked his knuckles and glanced at the screen. Lonelygirl’s icon blinked, indicating she was waiting for their chat. Always early, that one. He looked at the computer clock. Five minutes until chat time with her. She could wait.
“I’ll let Payton know. When’s the auction and wedding dates again?”
“Auction is August 10 and the wedding is August 15.”
“That’s five weeks, plenty of time to put phase two into action.”
“I’ll leave those details to you, my dear. You’re much better at them than I am.” Let Sylvia handle the minutia of the scheme. He would rather troll the Internet looking for new victims than deal with the nitty-gritty stuff.
“True, but you are the bait that reels them in.”
David smiled as lonleygirl launched the chat, two minutes ahead of schedule. “Speaking of which, another fish is on the line. I gotta go.”
“Land another big one, and the boss will be very generous. And good job with Mary. I underestimated your commitment to our goal.”
“Apology accepted.” David punched off the intercom and took a deep breath. Time to think happy thoughts about lonelygirl and her emeralds. At least Mary presented a challenge, despite her naïveté. Lonelygirl was as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Phantom Love is copyrighted and cannot be used in any form without permission from Sarah Hamaker.0