"Really? I suppose the small town you two are from is waiting with open arms to accept the floozy girl willing to screw two brothers, aren't they?" Mary asked.
"It's nobody's business what we do," Paul said, though the real reasons behind her protests became more clear as she explained.
"It's everybody's business. Think about it, Paul. If a rancher came home with a young woman and they were living together, how would that woman be treated? Multiply that by two—by ten."
"So marry us," Thomas said.
The off-the-cuff solution sounded fair enough to Paul, but sweat popped up on the back of his neck. He didn't know if he was ready for that step, and honestly didn't know how he wanted Mary to respond.
"Don't say stuff like that, Thomas," Mary said, though she sounded more sad than angry. "You don't mean it. Besides, look at Paul. The second you said marriage he turned pale."
"That's because he's a wimp." Thomas shifted and leaned over the front bench seat to look her in the eyes. "You're not. So marry us."
Paul wished he could pull over and add his two cents, but he was grateful for Thomas. His brother took the lead, something he did well, when push came to shove.
"Marry us?" Mary demanded. "Do you hear yourself? That's illegal."
"I'm a lawyer, I know," Thomas snapped, finally showing a little irritation. "I mean marry one of us legally and the other symbolically. You'd have the legal and emotional assurance you need. I can't guarantee people will accept you if they find out how close the three of us are. But I can promise you Paul and I will love you and be your best friends for the rest of your life. Duane too."
"Big promises," she said, the edge of disbelief sharp and pointed.
"Yeah, well, we aren't doing this for shits and giggles. You said the permanency is holding you back. We're willing to make it permanent," Thomas said.
Mary poked Paul on the shoulder. "And you? Do you agree with all of this?"
"You can bet your sweet ass I do, darlin'."
"Then take a right at the end of the driveway. We're going to Vegas."
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