Opposite Ends of the Spectrum
Date: Saturday, August 11, 2001
sue hantak <hantaks@mtco.com>

(permission to archive)

One couldn't help but notice the stark contrast between a wedding in recent times compared to another one about 20 years and a million dollars apart...

Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

by Suejue

When she heard the familiar voices engaged in a familiar disagreement approaching, Mildred hurriedly shoved the magazine under some folders on the top of the reception desk.

Remington extracted the tabloid out from its hiding spot. "Another alien baby, Mildred or is it man eats own foot this time?"

"Everyone is entitled to a break now and again," Mildred defended.

She tried to snatch the paper back from Mr. Steele, but he stepped away and began reading the headline, "Price Tag of Fairy Tale Celebrity Wedding Rumored to be a Mil. Hmmmph, I could think of a lot better ways to spend a million dollars."

"Can I help it if I'm a hopeless romantic?" She once again reached up to retrieve it, but this time Laura grabbed it to take a closer look.

"Oh good Lord, what could possibly make a wedding cost a million dollars, renting the Taj Mahal?" Laura scoffed in disbelief.

"Your close, Miss Holt, it was castle in Ireland."

Laura opened to the directed page and began to read, "The groom pulled out all the stops for his lovely princess insisting on only the best of everything. His grand efforts were duly noted when his bride beamed, 'All of my dreams have come true and now I have my Prince Charming'. Guests too were in awe of the spectacle. One in attendance commented, 'This is like a dream, the romance most could only imagine."

Laura rolled her eyes and folded the paper back, "Makes you wonder if they are getting married or just staging a PR event to grab some headlines." Just before she handed it back to Mildred she assessed the photo on the cover, "Pretty dress, though." Laura commented with a hint of sadness.

Laura's mood quickly bounced back to a more cheerful tone and announced, "Well I have to call back Mr. Perkins. If you two will excuse me..."

Before Mr. Steele could slip into his own office, Mildred jumped up from her chair and placed her hand on his arm to stop him, "Did you see that?"

"See what Mildred?"

"That look....and the way she said 'pretty dress, though.'"

"Mildred what are you getting at?"

If she could, she would have grabbed his ear like a unruly child, but dragged him into his office by the sleeve of his coat instead. "I think you need to redo that fifty cent wedding you had and give Miss Holt the wedding she deserves."

Remington shook his arm loose and smoothed the fabric of his suitcoat. "I think I hear Laura calling." He dodged.

"Don't you want to make her happy?" She no longer had a grip on him, but had him trapped nonetheless.

"Perhaps Mr. Perkins needs my assistance," Remington tried to wiggle away a second time.

"Don't you love her?" Mildred persisted

Remington looked at her intently and in a stern, no-nonsense, lets-drop-it tone, he stated, "Mildred, it's not that simple."

Just then Laura came through the connecting door, sensing the awkward silence between the two of them. "Am I interrupting something?"

Just as Laura had done earlier, Remington put on a devil-may-care smile, "No, just our Miss Krebs gushing on about that outlandish wedding affair."

"If you could pull yourself away from the hoopla, Mr. Steele, Mr. Perkins requests the honor of our presence at his office."


Later that evening Laura pulled a stack of files from her portfolio with the intent of finishing some paperwork. A few removed from the top revealed Mildred's magazine wedged in between. An accident? Highly unlikely. A Krebs-like kick in the pants? Highly likely. With Remington out of sight for the moment, Laura began to once again thumb through the glossy pages. The steadfast cynic allowed herself to be momentarily swept into the idyllic fantasy displayed among the pages in front of her eyes. Unlike Mildred, she didn't hear him coming in time to shove the rag back into the pile. Remington placed a glass of wine on the table near her.

Startled, Laura weakly explained, "It...taah ummm, must've got mixed in with the files on her desk." She laughingly tossed it aside and straightened up grabbing a file from the stack.

Was Mildred right? He scoffed at the notion earlier in the day that earlier in the day that Laura wanted any of the trappings that this magazine was exclusively glamorizing. The agreement to let the chips fall apparently meant to never talk about it. In the few months since that fateful day, she never made any statements happy or otherwise. And it wasn't like Laura to hold in the 'otherwise'.

Remington picked it up and began to flip through it, making seemingly casual remarks to gauge Laura's reaction.

"Castle looks a bit like Ashford, don't you think?"

"Hmmm" Laura nodded without looking up.

"Nice family photo."

"You mean the one with the couple's children?"

Remington read the caption, "Jovial Groom with son, Dillon,

age four and newborn, Perry in his arms."

"Two kids already? I think they did something backwards."

Laura drolly remarked while jotting something down.

"Well at least we did that part right, eh?"

That comment got her attention, "What part?"

"You know, getting married... before being blessed with any wee ones."

Laura let some agitation slip into her response, "How comforting Mr. Steele. Just like you to put a positive spin on that disaster the INS narrowly determined a wedding. And just for the record, we are not really married, and there will be no wee ones either."

Given her flicker of temper, he judged just a few more, is all it would take. He read once again from the caption of another photo, "Matching platinum wedding bands with secret inscriptions only known to the happy couple were exchanged in the ceremony."

She closed the file in her hands with more force than necessary and seized the next one with vengeful purpose. He could swear her teeth were clenched.

He continued, "During the festive reception, they danced under the stars, in blissful harmony, intermittent with affectionate kisses."

Laura slapped the file on the table, "What are you doing?"

"What's that?" he feigned ignorance.

"You and this, this... wedding business. Are you having fun? Do you enjoy throwing this in my face? ... Reminding me that my own wedding was so...so unlike what a wedding is suppose to be? .... Reminding me that you never wanted to marry me in the first place? (she clapped) Well Bravo, Mr. Steele! You've succeeded admirably. Now that we are through with the entertainment portion of the evening, would you mind if I got back to work?"

Oh dear that wasn't what he had in mind. He thought at some point she would simply confess wanting to get married in a similar, but far less expensive, manner.

"Laura, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you. C'mere." He got up and extended a hand to her. She warily obliged.

He led her by the hand behind the sofa enroute to what Laura thought was the bedroom. "Mr. Steele, if you are just picking a fight with me in hopes to make up...."

He led her out to the balcony, "I thought we could dance under the stars, in blissful harmony, intermittent with affectionate kisses." His arms slipped around her waist and he began to sway even without any music.

"That won't solve the problem."

"Laura, I can't give you a million dollar wedding."

"I don't want the stars, blissful harmony, or a million dollar wedding." She pulled out of his embrace.

"What do you want?"

"I want to know that this isn't just a two year prison stretch for you. I want to know that you're not marking the days off on some calendar somewhere. I want you to say that you would have asked me."

"Ask you? I'm lost Laura, ask you what?"

"On the street that day, when you said 'would you have married me' and I said 'no', and then you said, 'and I wouldn't have asked'".

"Well how do you think that makes me feel? Don't you think I wanted you to say yes if I would've asked?"

They stared at each other in a rare moment of unabashed honesty. Both saying what they had held in for so long. Both not knowing what to say next.

Laura dipped her toe in first, "Now what do we do?"

"For starters, we throw away that ridiculous magazine..."

"And then..."

"Well I liked your idea about going into the bedroom and making up."

The End