Gary may think that Henge has learned a little subtlety from her father, but when it comes to getting what she wants… maybe not. In the fallout of the wedding of their friend Susie, Henge unearths a problem and wants it fixed. Now. By an expert. So here’s installment seven that, along with eight, has a special guest!
“And there was this one, too, when Jeff’s uncle had too much to drink and was getting sick over the front porch railing.” Henge handed Gary the four by six photo of an older man puking. He made a moue and tossed it into the air. As with the others he didn’t like, it vanished.
On the metallic blue platform, they were pressed against one another in a huge yellow beanbag chair. The rattle and crashes of the three cylinders echoed faintly in their ears.
“This one was good of Susie; it was better of the guests once they began to realize who I was.”
Gary took it and looked closely. Susie had her nice white dress on – only the rich could afford a so-called ‘wedding dress’ – and was looking right at the laptop’s webcam while making ‘peace’ signs with her fingers on either side of her face. The older men and women in the back looked…
“Expand, please.” He asked, pausing to lean to his left and peck a kiss onto her hair.
The picture grew into a one by two foot sheet. Gary used his fingers to expand certain details. Some surprise. Some consternation.
“Once she’d explained that I was a part of Ai’s family, most recalled from ten years ago, even if they didn’t recognize my new, older, form.”
She rested her head onto his left shoulder.
“Tohsaka. Somi.” She said softly. “And, in this decade, Arpeggio and, later, Mendrovovitch. But still…”
She turned her face into his shirt.
“You humans treat us like circus freaks.” She muttered.
“We do not – !” Gary bridled at her accusation.
“Not you; not our families,” she backtracked a bit. “But, sometimes…”
Henge raised her head to stare at him.
“Before the Breakup, you people spent millions trying to find life that was not you. And when you found, well, made it…”
Gary set the larger image down next to him, onto the pile he wanted to keep. It shrank as he did.
“If our human races cannot tolerate one another, did you and your family really think it would be so easy to walk into our world?”
Henge put her left hand onto his shirt, pulling a fraction. He leaned over and enjoyed kissing her for some time.
“I love you, Gary, but sometimes the Fourth Law…” Her head rested onto his chest. “Is a burden!”
For all of his familiarity with them and their world, he was bereft of a response. He turned a bit and gently closed his arms about her and waited.
Time passed differently in their home. After what seemed hours but might have only been a moment she sat back and held up another picture.
“This was the heretic minister that presided over their vows,” Henge announced.
“Was it a real marriage?” He did not know Canon Law.
“They are both baptized and desired it, so it is valid,” she replied, quickly recovering from just a moment before, “but without an ordained priest or deacon present, it is not sacramental, and thus wide open to attack from our Enemy.”
Gary regarded the picture: Susie and Jeff looked at one another, obviously happy, with an older man in a dark suit holding a Bible just beyond.
“It’s a shame we cannot help.” He said.
“We can, as I said at the time, but several of the guests called me a ‘papist.’”
Gary was confused and looked her a question.
“Rural Texas, with very few exceptions, has a dim view of us Catholics.”
“Oh,” he said. “And you suggested that a proper clergyman…”
“I can see why that would have upset them.”
He set the picture down next to him. He’d liked Susie’s smile.
Will you smile like that when we get married, he thought?
She must have caught part of his surface thought as she snuggled in closer to him. Another picture.
“Who’s this?” He asked. Some man, about Father’s age, but in a white cassock. He looked a little familiar…
“I thought he could solemnize Susie’s wedding vows,” Henge muttered, obviously enjoying burrowing in next to him.
“He’s a priest?”
“Does he, ah,” after a decade, Gary was older at being circumlocutious, “have acquaintance with your family?”
“I’ve spoken with him once… ah! He’s not busy right now.”
Just before the both of them, on the metal disc, stood the man in the photo in Gary’s hand. He seemed puzzled, irritated, and bemused all at the same time.
Gary staggered to his feet from the beanbag. He gave a formal bow that Pavel had taught him.
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience, Father – ” He began.
Henge was next to and past him. She knelt and kissed the ring of their visitor.
“Thank you for joining us, Holy Father.”
What?! Gary thought.