by My Sox Rox
|Angela enjoyed the stroll through research and development to Ralph and Dennis’s office. Dennis had summoned her discretely. She assumed it had to do with what they had discussed. She was dressed in a nice outfit and hoped she was ready to perform as an officiant. She knocked at the door labeled R&D.|
After a long moment, Ralph opened it. He was dressed in work pants and a tank top, with a leather apron over over it. She could easily tell she was overdressed. “Hey, Ralph.”
“Hey, Angela, Dennis had to step out. I know he wanted to talk to you...”
“It’s okay. So how are you doing on beefing up the infection protection for Sanctuary?”
Ralph scratched his head, “To be honest I haven’t been working on that, but I do have a partial solution. Remember back when I initially set up the shields?”
“Well, I created a stronger form of shielding back then but...” Ralph paused.
“Corrine and Spider...” Ralph stared at the floor.
Corrine, Angela’s half-sister, was symbiotically linked to an intelligent spider-like symbiont. Together they had been one of the founding factors. Corrine was a big part of establishing Sanctuary. She had been a very competent field factor. When Ralph deployed the shield to keep out illnesses and dark allied individuals, it had put a strain on Corrine and her symbiont. Ultimately Corrine had chosen to leave them. That was a loss that still hurt. Corrine was all Angela had for blood family when they started Sanctuary.
“You okay?” Ralph asked.
Angela blinked off the slightest bit of moisture from her eyes. “I’m okay Ralph, thanks for asking.”
“Do you want me to deploy the shield?”
Angela considered the situation, “She isn’t coming back. Deploy the shield.”
“It will actively repel infections and dark operatives. Small infections will get sieved out of people, but major stuff will keep people out too,” Ralph warned.
“I will make sure everyone has a communicator to inform us if they are repelled. I will also probably make it standard procedure that if you are repelled you are to go to the isolation complex to get checked out,” Angela decided aloud.
“Okay, I will quietly deploy it tomorrow morning,” Ralph stated. He went to his workbench and began fiddling with something, “Do you know what Dennis is up to? He has been sneaking around a lot. He’s had ‘personal’ projects all week. He doesn’t do personal projects! He makes my work better, more compact, more accurate, more beautiful. He doesn’t start things. He tells me his ideas and I rough them up.”
Angela stayed silent. She was fairly certain she knew the personal project that Dennis was working on. It had to be difficult for Dennis to prepare his plans. Ralph and Dennis lived across a hall from one another in the area behind their workshop. They literally rarely left the doorway marked R&D.
“Is he seeing someone else?”
“Not romantically,” Angela stated with certainty.
“Professionally? I would rather lose him as a significant other than a business partner! He literally completes my work!” Ralph seemed so uncharacteristically vulnerable.
“Ralph, I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” Angela smiled and patted him on the shoulder.
Just then Dennis arrived. He only opened the door a crack to peek in. “Hey, great, you’re here. Can you come outside a minute Angela?”
Angela nodded and gave Ralph one last encouraging pat. She ducked out the door. Outside she found Dennis with a large arrangement of sunflowers. He was dressed in a suit and wore a nervous smile. “I am going to pop the question.”
“Why did you need me here?”
“I figure we can just wrap this all up today!” Dennis grinned.
Angela smiled back. “Then let’s get on with it. I do have other things I have to do...”
Dennis nodded and threw open the door. “Ralph I want to talk to you.” Dennis led with the flowers. Angela followed him in and closed the door behind them.
Ralph stared at the flowers with wide eyes. He seemed speechless. Dennis manually placed the vase of flowers in Ralph’s arms. Ralph stood there with a confused look on his face.
Arms empty, Dennis assumed a kneeling position, “Ralph Emerson Jackman, will you be my partner in life as well as business?” He held up an open ring box with an impressively large yet delicate gold band.
Ralph’s eyes opened wide and he blinked several times slowly, “Are you for real?”
Dennis hesitated nervously, “Yes.”
“Angela has agreed to officiate and be our witness,” Dennis stated.
“So we can keep this private? How considerate!” Ralph smiled, “When do we begin?”
“Well, I did spring this on you, if you want to change...” Dennis offered.
“No, this is perfect!”
“Dearly beloved, we three are gathered here to formally recognize the close relationship and bond between these two men. You have asked me to say a few words, but I believe your own vows would have more meaning,” Angela began.
“Ralph, you have been what I wake up for since the day we met. I love your creative intelligence and don’t think I could have a life or a career without you. I want you to be mine forever...”
Ralph swallowed hard, “Dennis, you complete me and my work. Without you, so much of my life would be only half-finished. Thank you and I want you to be mine beyond forever.”
Angela waited a moment for any more spontaneous remarks and then she continued, “Ralph, Dennis since I know no one here has anything to say against your union, I pronounce you lawfully and spiritually wed. Congratulations and you may exchange your kiss and rings.”
“Wait, I don’t have a ring for you,” Ralph blurted with worry. He ran to his workbench and rapidly produced a thin circlet of gold. He ran back to Dennis blowing on the ring. Dennis held out his finger. Ralph’s creation fit perfectly, it wasn’t as polished or perfect as the ring that Dennis slipped on Ralph’s finger, but Ralph wasn’t as polished a man.
The two of them stared into each other's eyes with devotion and intensity they rarely showed in public. Angela felt like she was intruding on a private moment. “I should get going.”
Both men broke eye contact and smiled at her with the slightest bit of embarrassment. “Thank you, Angela,” Ralph smiled broadly, “I’ll have that shield up in the morning.”
“Good, I had better go draft the new procedures,” Angela left them. She wondered what their private celebration would entail. If they wanted to share that information they would. It wasn’t her place to pry. She headed back to her office with a surprising sense of satisfaction with her position. Perhaps she should consider doing more weddings.