Barbara (htbthomas) wrote,

Best Wishes, 3/11

Title: Best Wishes, 3/11: Connections
Author: htbthomas
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Spider-Man movieverse, post Spider-Man 2
Pairing: Peter/MJ
Word Count: Ch. 3 - 1750 words
Summary: It is a month before Peter and Mary Jane’s wedding, and everything is seeming to go wrong. Unknown to the happy couple, help is about to come from an unexpected source.
Chapter Teaser: Mary Jane started to flip past the announcements page, but then noticed a picture of one of her screen idols of yesteryear. The photo came under the heading Deaths. With a touch of sadness, she read the brief obituary, and then scanned the rest of the page. Her eyes caught on the top section.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Chapter Links: 1 | 2 | 3

Chapter 3: Connections

Mary Jane dropped her keys on the table, balancing packages, mail and her purse in her arms. Peter would still be at the Bugle until dinnertime, at least, unless he had an assignment to get to. Or a disturbance, she laughed to herself. It had become their little private joke, since he had used that tired excuse a million times before she knew about his alter-ego.

She set everything down, glancing at the answering machine. Nothing there. She then looked again at the packages… There was something from Louise – interesting! An early wedding gift perhaps? Beside it lay a smaller box marked Wedding-Invitations Dot Com. Groaning, Mary Jane placed a tired hand on her forehead. The invitations! They would be all wrong, now that the reception was up in the air. Opening the box, she reread through the text they had selected: “Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson cordially invite you to celebrate the occasion of their marriage, May Sixth, at 5 o’clock in the evening, Cedar Hill, Central Park. Reception will follow at the Royal Park Hotel. ‘Love bears all things.’“

Mary Jane sighed. They were so beautiful, too – cream-colored with red script lettering and a watermark of a bouquet in the background. Yet another thing she and Peter were going to have to reorganize. She set them down on the table, and began to reach for the other package from Louise… but a magazine in the stack of mail caught her eye – the new issue of her favorite entertainment magazine. We should probably open the package from Louise together, just in case it’s a wedding gift. She took the magazine over to the sofa, propped her feet on the coffee table, and began to read.

This had become a Friday ritual for her, to read through the magazine cover to cover. Peter was almost never at home until much later, and he never found anything interesting in it, except maybe the book reviews. There were a couple of newsy articles at the beginning about the summer movie season and deals in development. She always read these things carefully just in case an audition came her way. She started to flip past the announcements page, but then noticed a picture of one of her screen idols of yesteryear. The photo came under the heading Deaths. With a touch of sadness, she read the brief obituary, and then scanned the rest of the page. Her eyes caught on the top section.

Engaged: Model/actress Mary Jane Watson, 22, to photographer Peter Parker. Wedding date is set for early May.” She blinked and read it again. Still there. No photo, but clearly correct. Oh, no. Peter will flip!

She bounced up from the sofa, dug hurriedly in her purse for her cell phone, and dialed her agent’s number. “Walters Talent Agency, how may I help you?” the receptionist stated in a nasal tone.

“Hi, Beth, is Chrissy there? This is Mary Jane Watson.”

“Just a minute, Miss Watson, I’ll get her on the line.”

After a pause and a click, an overly friendly voice came on, “Mary Jane! How are things? What can I do for you?”

Annoyed, MJ asked pointedly, “Chrissy, did you tell anyone about my engagement? After I explicitly asked you not to?”

The agent spluttered and rapidly tried to explain. “Only an agent friend of mine. She invited me to a party in the Hamptons. I had to tell her I was attending your wedding that same weekend.”

Mary Jane’s tone turned icy. “Well, her tongue must have been as loose as yours. You can call her back and let her know you’re coming after all.”

“What, I mean, am I not—?” Mary Jane snapped the phone shut. And the woman had the nerve to describe herself as ‘discreet.’

After taking a deep breath to steady her nerves, MJ speed-dialed Peter’s cell. It went straight to voice mail. “Tiger, I’ve got some bad news...”

- - - - -

Laurie Peters flipped through her magazine lazily, tucking a strand of wispy brown hair behind her ear. It was a slow afternoon. Her team had easily assembled the flower arrangements for the weekend and made most of the deliveries for the day. All of the weddings were going to be smallish affairs, and there were no funerals to do. Their Easter lily orders were all set to go.

The phone rang. She turned another page of the magazine, before picking up the receiver. “Classics in Flowers.”

“Hi,” the prospective customer greeted, voice hopeful. “I am planning a wedding for the middle of July. Do you have any openings?”

Laurie looked again at her calendar, but she already knew the answer. “I’m sorry, ma’am,” she answered, shaking her head. “We are booked solid all the way through August. Would you like me to take your name and number just in case we have a cancellation?” Laurie took down the name and number, wrote down the wedding date, and filed it in her Rolodex. The shop got five to ten calls a week like that during peak wedding season. She felt sorry for them, but at least business was always booming.

Chewing on a nail distractedly, she turned to the next page. Laurie had always made it a point to check the announcements page of the entertainment pages in any magazine or newspaper. Her shop wasn’t a high volume business, but they did quality work. It always interested her to see who got the call when a famous person needed flowers.

Mary Jane Watson. That was ringing a bell somewhere in her mind. Where do I know that name? Curious, since she really had little else to do that afternoon, she did a web search for it on the desk computer. The name popped up in theater reviews, photo shoots, the Emma Rose Parfumerie home page, and near the bottom of the page of search results… the Daily Tattler web site.

She clicked the link, and found an article, “Spider-Man Photo Hoax.” Ding-ding-ding. This was where she had heard it – she had been keenly interested in the story back when it hit the news.

Suddenly, from deep inside, an overwhelming sense of gratitude filled her, bringing tears to her eyes. She looked again, as she did a million times a day, at the photo of her family displayed proudly on the edge of the counter. Her little tousle-haired boy, her husband with smiling eyes, arm around her ample frame… She thanked God every day for them – she would not be here today to love them… if not for Spider-Man.

She had been in that train car that had nearly plummeted from its elevated track. She had witnessed the battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus, and had been one of the lucky few to see the young hero without his mask. They had sworn a vow of secrecy that day – many of them still kept in contact. She herself had a list of names, a ready-made support group.

She grabbed a tissue and dabbed her eyes. It didn’t take much to set off the waterworks this last year. She had felt lucky to be alive. She looked at the name beside Mary Jane Watson. Well, he’s probably some famous photographer if a beautiful model like that is marrying him. So she performed a similar search on that name. Every result was the same: The Daily Bugle. Curious, she clicked a few links. With growing wonder, she discovered that nearly every photo ever published of Spider-Man was taken by Parker.

She had a sudden thought, and decided to act on it. Grabbing one of her business cards, she called to the back room, “I’m heading out for an hour or so. Can you mind the store?”

Megan came from the back, pencil sticking out of her loosely-bound hair. “Yeah, sure. Where are you going?”

“I’m going to The Daily Bugle to drop off some advertising.” She left without allowing Megan a chance to respond.

- - - - -

Laurie stepped out of the elevators, heart pounding, slightly out of breath. She had purposely skipped the advertising department – if anyone asked, she would just pretend she was lost. The newsroom before her was abuzz with activity. People answered phones, tapped at computers, called out to each other. A gruff voice shouted something from the corner office. Wandering toward the secretary’s desk, she tried to look like she belonged there. Fortunately, the amount of activity made her nearly invisible.

Without being too obvious, she studied every person with a camera around his neck. All seemed too old, or not quite right to be Watson’s fiancé. Maybe he was sitting at a desk. She walked nonchalantly around the room, glancing at name plates. Finally, she saw the one she was looking for. Peter Parker. The seat was empty, no coat across the back, no half-finished coffee, computer shut down. He must be out on an assignment.

She felt a tap on her shoulder. “Excuse me, ma’am. Can I help you?” A pretty young woman with a short black bob stood there.

Playing dumb, she replied, “I must be lost. I would like to turn in an ad for my flower shop.”

The young woman smiled kindly and gestured toward the elevators. “You have the wrong floor. Advertising is one floor below this.”

“Oh, thank you.” She tried to sound grateful, but was secretly disappointed. She had hoped that this Peter Parker might be able to help her thank Spider-Man properly. He might be able to give the superhero a message or a gift – something that would repay her gratitude in some small way. When she was only twenty feet from the mirrored glass of the elevators, they opened. A young white man and a tall, older African-American man were talking as they exited. Laurie hastily stifled a gasp.

“Robbie, let me just pull some photos from my files, and I’ll be right over to your desk,” the younger of the two said.

“Sure, Peter, take your time,” nodded the older man.

She watched the two of them pass her. Stepping back to lean a hand against a supporting pillar, she kept watching as the younger man sat at Peter Parker’s desk and dug in the file cabinet beside it.

She would never forget that face, and now she had a name to go with it. Spider-Man was getting married. Taking a deep breath, she quietly left the newsroom and headed for the advertising department.

Next: Chapter 4: Agendas

29 days until Spider-Man 3!!
Tags: fanfiction, spider-man

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