Fandom: Spider-Man movieverse, post Spider-Man 2
Word Count: Ch. 5 - 1500 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: Laurie jolted in her seat, words tumbling out. “Oh, wait a minute – I think I was looking at June sixth.” It wasn’t true, but how could she pass this up? “We do have an opening for May sixth.”
Chapter 5: Curiosity
Peter flipped through the pages of The Daily Bugle, sitting idly at his desk. Jameson was paying him full-time as a photographer - why couldn’t he get any decent photo credits that weren’t of Spider-Man? Once again, a photo he had taken of a different subject was buried in the back amid the advertisements. With a small sigh, he began to close the paper… but then he noticed a small ad, the smallest size they sold, of a flower shop. Classics in Flowers. Peter didn’t recognize the name – had they called this place yet? Well, it was worth a try, anyway. Placing the phone under his ear, he gave them a call.
“Classics in Flowers, how may I help you?”
A tired, but hopeful-sounding voice replied, “I hope you can help me. Our wedding is in almost three weeks – and our florist has had to cancel on us. Do you have anything available May sixth?”
Immediately, Laurie answered, “I’m sorry, we are booked that day. Would you like me to take your name and number if there is a cancellation?”
The voice sighed. “Sure, I was kind of expecting that answer, but I thought I’d try anyway. My name is Peter Parker, telephone number—”
Laurie jolted in her seat, words tumbling out. “Oh, wait a minute – I think I was looking at June sixth.” It wasn’t true, but how could she pass this up? “We do have an opening for May sixth.”
“Oh, thank goodness. My fiancée, Mary Jane, and I had been joking that the grocery store would be our florist. You don’t know how happy I am that at least something is working out with this wedding.”
“Really, what other troubles have you had?” She tried to sound as if she were just making small talk.
“To begin with, a car accident ruined the shop of our original florist, we lost our reception site, and our invitations are now incorrect.” He seemed glad to be getting his problems off his chest. “And there are other things I can’t even go into. To be honest, I would not be surprised if my bad luck ran true and we had to get married by a passerby on a median.” He laughed.
He sounded so... normal! That a man like this, correction, an amazing man, could talk as if his greatest problems were his wedding arrangements! She shook her head in wonder. Well, she may not have been gifted as he was, but she did have some power to help. “You know, we offer an ‘express wedding special.’ We can arrange for your catering, reception, invitations, photographer, a chapel and a minister. As well as anything else you might need.” She was making this up on the fly, but heck, this was Spider-Man!
“Wow. How much would it cost? We don’t really have a large budget.”
Of course. He did what he did with no recompense. No wonder he had to work as a photographer for that rag. “I can offer you a 10 percent discount over what you would pay for separate services.”
“Well, let’s see. We have a minister and ceremony location reserved already, and a photographer friend of mine is handling the pictures. But can we just order flowers, catering, reception and invitations?”
“Sure, Mr... was it Parker?” she asked oh-so-casually.
“Yes, Peter Parker.”
“When can you and your fiancée come in for a design meeting?” Laurie took down all of Peter’s information, smiling broadly. After he hung up, she couldn’t quite believe her luck – she would be an integral part of the wedding festivities.
But she couldn’t do it all by herself. Overflowing with excitement, she pulled out ‘The List.’
By the time Peter arrived at the site of the fire, it had spread to a whole city block. He had been nearly across town when his spider-sense demanded that he go home. Now. He had been wracked with fear that something was happening to Mary Jane or Aunt May. But at this moment, swinging toward the blazing mess, he knew this was what he was being warned about.
The fire was a mere three blocks away from their apartment. Fire poured out the windows of a row of shops. Several patrons of the corner diner were gathered together, talking worriedly. He landed nearby, asking, “Did everyone get out?” The fire department hadn’t yet arrived.
A man wearing a T-shirt and greasy apron called over, “Everyone’s outta our place. These other places’ve been closed for a couple hours.”
“Thanks, I’ll go check.”
As he leaped into action, he heard the guy comment, “It happened so fast...”
Peter landed on the rooftop. Going from building to building he ‘felt’ for anyone in danger. Thankfully, everyone seemed to have gotten out in time. The fact that it had happened after hours had made a difference. A steady flashing of light in his peripheral vision made him aware that the first fire trucks were beginning to arrive on the scene. Now that the fire would be kept under control, and all the people were safe, there was nothing more to do.
So, why had his spider-sense gone off? Would the fire spread to the next block? He was still feeling a vague sense of unease – but not the kind that signaled a human life in danger. Curiosity getting the best of him, he swung out of sight and changed to his street clothes.
Peter walked up behind the crowd of onlookers and caught the eye of one of the men at the back of the crowd. “Hey, what’s going on?” he asked, gawking at the sight.
“Whole block is on fire, but the fire department just arrived. Spider-Man also came through looking for people trapped inside.” The man started to turn away.
“Were you in any of the buildings?” Peter continued.
He turned back, distracted. “Yeah, the corner diner. We all got out before the fire spread to that building.”
“So it must not have started there,” Peter surmised.
A woman who had been listening in on their conversation jumped in. “No, I don’t think it did, but it sure moved quickly to the other buildings. One moment, I was eating my supper, the next, boom! Almost like an explosion.”
Someone else added, “It was weird. A bunch of us near the doorway looked out and saw flames shooting out of the windows of the place two or three doors down. Then it started some sort of chain reaction.”
“Whoa,” Peter said. “That must have been scary.”
“You’re telling me!” the last speaker said, and they all turned as one back to the action, the terrifying glory of the blazing fire making them silent once more.
Peter strolled away, dropping out of sight. For some reason, what seemed like a simple fire was nagging at him. He hung around, literally, until the fire was only ashes and the crowd had dispersed. Swinging down in costume, he alighted next to the fire inspector, who was digging through the rubble, flashlight in hand.
The inspector looked up, unsurprised at his sudden appearance. “Oh, Spider-Man, I heard you were here before. Did you see this happen?” he asked without a trace of suspicion.
It was nice to be treated like a public servant instead of a suspected criminal. “Arrived after it was already going strong. No one got hurt, as far as I could tell.”
“Yeah, that was lucky. But there’s something strange about it that I can’t put my finger on...” His hazel eyes narrowed, and he continued to step carefully through the wreckage.
“I’ll see what I can sense, if you don’t mind,” Peter offered.
“Sure, I could use the extra set of eyes.”
Peter used his intuition, like a psychic Geiger counter… it was leading him toward one area in particular. He lifted beams and concrete carefully out of the way, trying to find the source of his feeling. Near the back of the building, under a pile of charred brick, he found a tiny scrap of metal. As soon as he touched it, his spider-sense flared.
“What do you make of this?” Peter called out to the inspector, holding it aloft.
The inspector took it in a latex-covered hand and turned it under the beam of the flashlight. “I can’t tell what it was. Do you think it had something to do with the fire?”
“I do. I can’t tell you why, though.” He shrugged.
“Well,” he said, taking a plastic evidence bag out of a pocket and placing it inside, “I can have the lab check it out, just in case.”
Peter sensed that that little bit of metal had everything to do with this strange fire, but how? As curious as he was, he had neither the time or training for that sort of work – so he decided to let the professionals at the lab figure that out. Bidding the inspector goodbye, Peter headed for home. On the way, he thought, was I imagining it, or did that piece of metal seem to be slightly... orange?
Next: Chapter 6: Threads
25 days until Spider-Man 3!!