Sixty minutes to departure.
"Where is it exactly?" David Levinson panted as he hurried after his ex-wife through the rather mundane aboveground corridors of the Area 51 installation. They were late, he knew it. And right now, especially now, time was precious. They couldn't afford to waste any.
"Down this hall, I think…" Constance Spano turned a corner and immediately sighted the double doors of the base chapel. David trotted ahead of her and threw open one of the doors before she could reach them. "We got hung up," she apologized to the occupants of the chapel as they entered.
"Sorry," David murmured, slowing to a walk.
The chaplain nodded. In front of him stood Captain Hiller, Jasmine, and Jasmine's son Dylan. The wedding was rather hasty, more spur-of-the-moment really, but as Hiller had said: "I should have done this a long time ago." And what better time than now, Connie thought wryly, than an hour before both he and David were due to fly an alien spacecraft into the heart of the mothership? Theoretically fly was more like it. She didn't quite believe Hiller could pull it off. She had every confidence in David, but at least what David was proposing to do had been done before. In a fashion. But fly an alien spacecraft? Not quite. At any rate, Hiller had automatically asked Jasmine if she'd like to marry him as soon as possible, and she'd agreed.
This impromptu wedding displayed more optimism than perhaps they felt, deep down inside.
Jasmine had asked Connie and David to act as witnesses. They had both agreed, but when the appointed time came it had been all Connie could do to drag David away from his laptop computer. He was like that, when he got his mind set on something: stubborn, forgetful of the world around him, focusing only on his work. But now they were all here, Jasmine looking radiant and content in her borrowed dress, Hiller in a loaned uniform. The clock was ticking.
"Well, let's get this show on the road," the chaplain said, as Connie and David took up seats on opposite sides of the aisle from each other. Hiller and Jasmine turned back to face the chaplain; Dylan removed his hat.
"Dearly beloved," the chaplain began, "we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony."
Connie watched, feeling strangely detached. She could remember a time, not so long ago, when those words had been spoken to her. Her, and David. Exactly how long ago was it now? Six years. Married for three, separated for three. They had been married three short years before divorcing. Her idea. David had begged and pleaded with her, promising that he would learn to loosen up, not be so damn jealous of every man that so much as glanced at her on the street. He couldn't help the jealousy, when he was so lucky to have found and won her in the first place. He was always so afraid of losing her to other men, better-looking men, more prestigious men… someone better than a cable repairman, as his father would have put it. And wasn't politics fraught with affairs anyway? David had argued once. Connie tried to convince him to trust her, to show that she wasn't interested in other men, only him, but at the end of the day it had been no use. He became too jealous, too possessive; his punching out Whitmore during the presidential campaign tour had been the last straw. Whitmore had already asked her to join his staff if he won the election, and it came down to a choice of perpetually enduring David's paranoia or realizing her childhood dream. She loved David, but he was becoming less and less a part of the world she wanted to live in, the life she hoped to build for herself and others.
When Whitmore won the election she filed for divorce. Her decision. Not his. The move had only reinforced David's conviction that Connie was having an affair with the new president, even though it wasn't true. She told herself she was doing the right thing, the best thing, even as David pleaded and his father fretted; she managed to pick up and move to Washington without looking back.
That didn't mean, however, that her eyes didn't occasionally flicker towards the side.
She missed David. She would deny it, of course, but it was hard to when she was face-to-face with him. When he was safely hundreds of miles away in New York City it was easy to act sarcastic, to put up a front, to pretend she didn't care. But now that he was here… it brought back memories.
"Any person who can show good course why these two should not wed, please speak now or forever hold your peace."
David still loved her just as much as he did on their wedding day, she knew. Otherwise he wouldn't have forced his father to drive him all the way to Washington, D.C. so he could pull his hat trick with her cell phone and risk being thrown out of the White House just to prove his theory true. And it had been true. His theory had saved all of them.
All he could think of was getting to you.
Strange how those words almost made her breath catch in her throat. She had thought herself past all that.
Connie glanced across the aisle at David, started to turn back, but found her gaze arrested by his hand, resting palm down on his leg. The glint of a ring. She stared. He still wore the ring on his wedding finger. Of course… She knew that deep down he still considered himself married to her, but she hadn't known…
He caught her staring, and held her gaze.
"Steve, will you take this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together with her in a holy state of matrimony…"
He continued to hold her gaze, very simply, and this time she didn't look away. She knew what he was thinking.
Haven't you ever wanted to be part of something special?
I was part of something special.
Well, if it makes any difference I never stopped loving you.
But that wasn't enough, was it?
"… Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health…"
She could remember the sound of those words being spoken quite clearly now, the light glinting off David's glasses, and the quirky little smile he'd tossed her as he said 'I do'. The memory of that smile, the way David was steadily watching her now, brought it all back. The two of them had been such an odd match, definitely not one made in heaven, but it had somehow managed to work, to feel right. Though she would never admit it, she had been very intimidated by him upon first meeting. But once she got to know him better—and he had made sure that she did, he'd been instantly enamored of her—she realized that he was really nothing more than a six-foot-four teddy bear, wanting to be loved. An exceptionally smart teddy bear. That was what drew her to him, what made her fall in love with him. It was the intelligence, the quirky humor and wry smile, his undisguised passion for chess second only to his undisguised passion for attempting to make the planet—or at least the portion he inhabited—a better place to live.
You know how I'm always trying to save the world? Well, here's my chance.
As well as his passion for her. David had never been one to lie or conceal his emotions; he had never bothered at all to conceal his feelings for her. She could still quite plainly recall their first date, which he had spent the entirety of staring at her in unabashed enchantment.
Connie sighed inwardly, listening to the chaplain recite the familiar words, and relaxed in her seat, looking away from David. There really was no point in pretending anymore, was there? Though this was hardly the appropriate time or place to be admitting it, she truly did still love him. Perhaps she could make it enough, if—no, when—David returned from his journey into space. He would return successful, and she would be there to be returned to. She had to keep telling herself that.
"… And forsaking all others, keep yourself only for her, as long as you both shall live."
Hesitantly, Connie reached out and took David's hand, running her thumb across the wedding band on his fourth finger. He watched her knowingly, a trace of what might have been a smile touching his lips, and carefully adjusted his hand so that it lightly held hers.
"I will," Hiller said solemnly, and after a beat looked at Jasmine. He let out the breath he'd been holding, and the three of them—Hiller, Jasmine, and Dylan—laughed.
Connie was looking at David again, and they continued to hold each other's gaze, their eyes saying what they couldn't quite say aloud.
I'll make it enough. Just come back to me and I'll make it enough.
Both tightened their grip on the other's hand.
Fifty-five minutes to departure.