Momma always got what she wanted.
As the plane descended over Vegas, she leaned close and whispered in my ear.
"Thank you for coming, Bruce... I know it's not easy."
"Anything for you, Momma. You know that."
She patted my hand gently then went back to looking out the window. When we taxied to a stop at the terminal, she was the first one out of her seat, acting like a woman half her age. She was giddy at the prospect of the festivities she had planned for her 48th birthday, and I smiled and let myself be swept away with her enthusiasm. She pushed past people on her way off the plane, and I had to hustle to keep up with her as we made our way to the baggage rack.
Like Momma had arranged, there was a white limo waiting when we exited the airport. The chauffeur bowed to us and opened the door. We climbed in and Momma whipped out a road map, tracing the route she had laid out with one finger. I leaned back against the tinted glass and just watched her, smiling. She was talking a mile a minute. She had laid out the whole trip, from beginning to end, and everything was going to be exactly how she wanted it. That was Momma's way, after all.
We pulled to a stop in front of a nice-looking hotel on the outskirts of town. Like most buildings in the city, there was a wedding chapel adjoining it, and we watched as a happy couple emerged amidst a hail of birdseed. The chaplain, dressed as Doc Brown, of Back to the Future fame, followed with a huge grin on his face. I watched as Mom observed the whole ritual, her face lit up with excitement until the couple passed from our view.
"Come on, Bruce. The appointment's for six, and we have to be ready."
"Anything for you, Momma. You go on ahead. I'll get the bags."
I pushed into the lobby, a small suitcase under each arm, and Momma was waiting impatiently, the keys dangling from her finger. She saw me enter and immediately made for the elevators. I followed along, and she held the door while I got arranged. As it ascended, I turned to Momma.
"You're sure you want to do this, Momma? I mean... now that we're here, are you sure you want to go through with it?"
"I have to, Brucie... can you understand that? I need you to be here for me..."
"Anything for you, Momma, you know that. Just so long as you're sure, I'm here for you."
Momma always got what she wanted, but this was extreme even for her. We got to our room, and she immediately grabbed her bag and made her way to the bathroom. I checked the desk clock and saw that it was a quarter to six. Right on time, there was a rap on the door. I opened it to see a breathtakingly handsome young man, his black hair slicked back over his ears, and a timeless sneer on his lips. I grinned despite myself and stuck out my hand.
"Mister Presley, I presume?"