“First question, Anne,” this from the NBC-TV anchor. “What do we call you? Mizz Amwell, Mrs. Amwell, Madam Chief Councilor?”
Anne smiled. “What’ve you always called me, George?”
“Umm – Anne?”
“There you go.”
Through her stiff smile, Richard perceived an exhausted wilt. He stood up. “Look, I – I’m very sorry but it’s been a long, tiring, stressful and—and exciting day for us. And for everybody. You already have a lot of footage. So I . . . I have to ask, no, no, beg, that we put this off for—overnight. We’ve been thrown hard questions throughout the day, put up with—well, you saw, you heard. Tomorrow morning, nine—no, ten, and we’ll be rested and fresh and—“
“Say no more, Richard,” shouted George, and he turned around. “Whadaya say guys we give these newlyweds a honeymoon?”
Some of them sighed, the veterans grumbled—we’ve been waiting all day, etc., but when the TV crews began down-loading, they all shrugged and followed suit.
“No, no,” called Richard. “Leave your gear here, inside the dome, it’ll be safe. And be our guests at the Hilton!” That lifted spirits some and the big equipment was hefted up to and through the big doors. Ten minutes later their vans were gone.
Anne sighed gratefully as Richard took her in his arms.
“What’s all that?” She turned to see a large crowd inside the dome. And atop a chair precariously stood the crimson-clad cardinal. They saw laughing and applauding like a silent film. The pair hurried through the sound-proof, airlock doors and into a raucous din as the Cardinal yipped and fell into the arms of the members. Making their way through the crowd, Anne and Richard came upon a newly wedded couple. Penny was just tossing a handful of flowers over her head and she howled—as did the soldier catching them. They were soaking wet—the flowers having recently graced the buffet table.
“He talked me into it, seeing as how I could now live with him legally, meaning the old warrior has got himself an unpaid maid, cook, house-keeper, bottle-washer—“ she couldn’t finish as Clark swept her up and planted his mouth over hers, to more applause.
A half hour passed chatting with the members before the second newlyweds could break away to party with the troops, and the first couple exhaustedly to begin the climb to their cabin, arm in arm with a smile at the giant orange sun.
Near the porch Anne paused. “What’s that smell?”
At a side window they gasped with delight. Their candlelit table displayed colorful tasty bits and poured Champagne. Behind the door hid a young chef and two grinning teenagers eager to scamper down the hill.