The press gets the Christmas pageant story—of course they do—bolstered by hundreds of photos and videos taken by bewildered, delighted parents.
The door-to-door not-quite-carolling works its way in as well, and the whole thing winds up sounding far more romantic than it had felt at the time, squeezed into the back of a car and separated by a papier-mâché octopus.
But it’s a hit, bemused and slightly wary party staffers assure him. Sure, there’s a bit of whinging on the right, and some Tory backbencher calls it a “shameful display of indecency”, but the public eats it up. It’s humanizing, apparently, a phrase which leaves him wondering what people thought they voted into office in the first place: a robot, or maybe an alien.
He says as much to Natalie and she smiles smugly. “You’re welcome.”
They don’t get married because there’s an election on the horizon. That would be ridiculous.
But it doesn’t hurt.
The whole event balloons very quickly, between political obligations, media interest, and Natalie’s never-ending list of family members. It’s quite a lot to juggle in the already-limited free time he has, and on more than one occasion he jokes to Natalie that they should consider eloping. Get it done somewhere quick and easy. Make a diplomatic visit to Las Vegas.
“Are you mad?” she says once, relaxed in the back seat with him, flipping through an endless stack of bridal magazines, unbothered by the motorcade now. “You need this wedding. I don’t wanna be married to the leader of the opposition.”
“The polls say this one’s ours to lose,” he points out. “Presumably people like my policy.”
Natalie looks up from her magazine, her dark eyes sparkling. “Nah. They like me. I make you seem real.” And then, “You’re welcome.”
The wedding turns out to be every bit as complicated as he anticipated, between security concerns, bickering family members, a questionable florist and the swarm of paparazzi. For a brief moment he thinks wistfully of Las Vegas, but then Natalie catches her veil on the car door, mutters “Fuck,” and he decides it was worth it.
Waiting for election results, he recalls, feels like holding your breath for quite a long time, and round two is no different. In one corner of the room someone furiously revises a victory speech, while in the opposite corner, the final humble touches are added to a concession speech.
Natalie is the calmest person in the room.
“He’s a knob,” she says of the other bloke.
“Historically speaking, I’m not sure being a knob has ever prevented someone from becoming prime minister,” David says, and Natalie nudges him with her foot under the table, gives him a pointed look.
The polls, it turns out, are accurate. They maintain a healthy majority, even pick up a few seats in battleground constituencies. He brings Natalie on stage with him at the end of his speech, and as they smile and wave together she doesn’t even need to say it.
Four months into a second term and two hours into an incredibly frustrating cabinet meeting, Natalie sends him a text.
Do you think it’s very hard to babyproof No. 10? xxx