As wedding announcements go, it could have looked a lot worse. It had all the usual newspaper hype: hyphenated last names, picture of the bride and groom resplendent in newspaper-ink, when a color picture would have done so much more to show off the beauty of the wedding dress and the contrasting colors of the groom’s tan against dress-whites. Monochrome ribbons of medals too small to read brightened up the blinding white of a uniform jacket that newsprint just couldn’t display, but somehow still managed to rival the virginal purity of the bride’s gown.
No, what took this from the usual announcement of a legal contract in the local newspaper and made it a big enough deal to be noticed, was some society-page hack of a writer for a local rag had seen the potential for a human interest story, and lack of political scandals and disasters both natural and man-made caused the story to be picked up state wide.
It did cause a bit of a local stir to have an entire US Naval SEAL Team on leave at the same time, in the same town, all to attend a wedding. To be fair, they were not there just to attend a wedding, but to stand in attendance AT a wedding – the wedding of their commanding officer, Lt. Commander Christopher Larabee.
What could have been a surfer’s tan set off the blond hair and dress whites in All-American Hero style. At the groom’s side, the best man, who reportedly smiled almost more than the groom and flirted with all the bridesmaids PLUS the bride, towered over him by a scant two inches. He was heard to call the local dowagers “Darlin’”, and it was reported that many a female guest had set their cap for him – for themselves or their daughters. The newspaper article continued with reports on all of the members of the wedding party, but the men of the US Naval SEAL Team were granted the most space in the article.
She looked at the couple on the printed page again. A judicious application of her favorite pen vastly improved the picture of the bride. A blackened out tooth, a ring around one eye in the form of a bruise, and just the hint of a mustache made her feel much better about the picture, just before she took her scissors and cut the bride out of the picture completely.
She crumpled the paper in frustration. It wasn’t fair! He belonged to her, not some scrawny, waif of a woman who looked like a strong wind could blow her away. How did that mousey creature think she was going to take away her adventurous, free-spirited Christopher? Something would have to be done. She thought a moment. This would have to take careful planning. The article mentioned that the SEAL team was heading back over-seas after a brief leave, and it wouldn’t do to have her Christopher give into grief or despair in a place where she would be unable to console him. No, the timing would have to be just right…
Ella Gains smoothed out the newspaper she had crumpled and went over the article again, gleaning out whatever personal information she could on the happy couple and their friends. She had plans to make, and only as long as her Christopher was overseas to complete them.