When Jacob had seen his dad wear a tie before, he had thought it looked a little funny. Now that he had to wear one, he thought it looked funny and kinda uncomfortable, too. As soon as his dad was done doing the knot, Jacob pulled on it.
“It’s too tight!” he complained.
“It’s supposed to be,” his dad said, with a little smile right at the corner of his mouth. He tightened the knot again, but not quite as snug this time. “There. Don’t touch it again. I promise you can take it off after the ceremony. Do you remember what you have to do?”
Jacob sighed a big, big sigh. Sometimes, his dad acted like Jacob was still a baby, but he was almost seven!
“I have to walk slow,” he recited, “and hold the pillow really straight in front of me, and stand next to you and Uncle Craig until he needs the rings.”
Jacob’s dad had pulled a comb from his pocket and now he was trying to comb the bit of hair on Jacob’s forehead that never wanted to lay flat. Jacob did his best to remain still but he was tired of getting ready, he wanted to go to the wedding already.
But since they had a little time, maybe he could ask the question he had meant to ask for a little while. His dad was sitting on the edge of the bed, and over his shoulder Jacob could see the picture of his mom on the wall. He hadn’t dared ask until now because sometimes talking about his mom made his dad sad. But he was happy for Julie and Craig, he had said so, so maybe he wouldn’t be sad now.
“Were you and my mommy married?”
Jacob’s dad looked at him with big, round eyes for just a second. Then he started combing Jacob’s hair some more, looking really closely at what he was doing.
“No, we were not,” he said quietly. “Vampires can’t get married.”
Jacob frowned. “Why not?”
His dad shrugged and put the comb away. “That’s just the way it is. The law says vampires can’t do some things, like getting married.”
Jacob frowned a little harder. Sometimes, the law wasn’t fair – like when it said vampires couldn’t have children and that was why he couldn’t tell anyone about his dads.
“What if the law said you can?” he asked. “Would you marry my mom, then?”
Jacob’s dad smiled, but he still looked a little sad. “I would have liked that very much, yes,” he said softly. “And I think it would have made her happy, too.”
Jacob nodded, and held his arm out for the jacket his dad had picked up from the bed. He let his dad slip one sleeve on, then the next, then he asked his other question.
“What about Nicholas?”
“What about him?”
“Don’t you want to marry him?”
“Vampires can’t get married, remember?”
“But what if you can?”
Jacob’s dad looked toward the door, and when Jacob looked too he could see that Nicholas was there, wearing a tie and suit like them – except his tie didn’t look tight at all. He had a funny smile on his face, and his eyebrows were really high.
“Aren’t you going to answer the tyke’s question?” he said.
Jacob’s dad sighed. “I don’t think Nicholas cares very much about weddings,” he said at last. He stood and put on his jacket. It looked just like Jacob’s and Nicholas’.
“That’s not an answer,” Nicholas said, smiling even bigger now.
Jacob’s dad went to the door. He tugged on Nicholas’ tie and made it tighter. “Keep asking for an answer,” he said in his rumbly voice, “and you just might get a question instead.”
He walked out of the bedroom, leaving Jacob and Nicholas alone.
“He still didn’t answer,” Jacob said, pouting. He pulled on his tie again because it was still too tight.
Nicholas came to him and crouched down so he could make his tie snug again – but not too snug. He was still smiling, but his smile was very different now, happy rather than amused.
“He did,” Nicholas said softly.
Jacob was very confused.