Rebel Island - Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan - Tres Navarre #7 - Rebel Island

Rebel Island
Rick Riordan

1

We got married in a thunderstorm. That should’ve been my first warning.

The Southwest Craft Center courtyard was festooned with white crepe paper. The tables were laden with fresh tamales, chips and salsa. Cases of Shiner Bock sweated on ice in tin buckets. The margarita machine was humming. The San Antonio River flowed past the old limestone walls.

Maia looked beautiful in her cream bridal dress. Her black hair was curled in ringlets and her coppery skin glowed with health.

The guests had arrived: my mother, fresh from a tour of Guatemala; my brother, Garrett, not-so-fresh from our long bachelor party in Austin; and a hundred other relatives, cops, thugs, ex-cons, lawyers—all the people who had made my life so interesting the past few decades.

Then the clouds came. Lightning sparked off a mesquite tree. The sky opened up, and our outdoor wedding became a footrace to the chapel with the retired Baptist minister and the Buddhist monk leading the pack.

Larry Cho, the monk, had a commanding early lead, but Reverend Buckner Fanning held steady around the tamale table while Larry the Buddhist had to swerve to avoid a beer keg and got blocked out by a couple of bail bondsmen. Buckner was long retired, but he sure stayed fit. He won the race to the chapel and held the door for the others as we came pouring in.

I was last, helping Maia, since she couldn’t move very quickly. Partly that was because of the wedding dress. Mostly it was because she was eight and a half months pregnant. I held a plastic bag over our heads as we plodded through the rain.

“This was not in the forecast,” she protested.

“No,” I agreed. “I’m thinking God owes us a refund.”

Inside, the chapel was dark and smelled of musty limestone. The cedar floorboards creaked under our feet. The crowd milled around, watching out the windows as our party decorations were barraged into mush. Rain drummed off the grass so hard it made a layer of haze three feet high. The crepe paper melted and watery salsa overflowed off the edge of the tables.

“Well,” Buckner said, beaming as if God had made this glorious moment just for us. “We still have a holy matrimony to perform.”

Actually, I was raised Catholic, which is why the wedding was half-Buddhist, half-Baptist. Maia had not been a practicing Buddhist since she was a little girl in China, but she liked Larry the Buddhist, and the incense and beads made her feel nostalgic.

Buckner Fanning was the most respected Baptist minister in San Antonio. He also knew my mom from way back. When the Catholic priest had been reluctant to perform the ceremony (something about Maia being pregnant out of wedlock; go figure), my mom had recruited Buckner.

For his part, Buckner had talked to me in advance about doing the right thing by getting married, how he hoped we would raise our child to know God. I told him we hadn’t actually talked to God about the matter yet, but we were playing phone tag. Buckner, fortunately, had a sense of humor. He agreed to marry us.

We were a pretty bedraggled crew when we reassembled in the old chapel. Rain poured down the stained-glass windows and hammered on the roof. I glanced over at Ana DeLeon, our homicide detective friend, who was toweling off her daughter Lucia’s hair. Ana smiled at me. I gave her a wink, but it was painful to hold her eyes too long. It was hard not to think about her husband, who should have been standing at her side.

Larry