Daring Brides

By: Ava Miles

He’d given her cotton underwear with MW stitched into them as part of his marriage proposal. It might have been unconventional, but the time had come for her to let go of Divorcee Woman, the superwoman alter ego who had helped her regain confidence after her divorce.

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

She took a few steps toward the door to their reception hall, which was down the corridor, and then gave him a sexy look over her shoulder. “What do you think?”

There was no question. He was going to die a happy man tonight.

He followed her into the party and watched with a smile as she rushed straight into her grandfather’s arms.

The reception area was the perfect place for two ink-blooded journalists to celebrate their marriage. Black-and-white photos of Arthur Hale and other award-winning journalists and world leaders graced the wood-paneled hall, as was appropriate since it was called The Arthur Hale Conference Center. The large windows provided sweeping vistas of the valley and the surrounding snow-covered mountains. But one of the most impressive features of the room, in Tanner’s humble view, was the award case holding one of Arthur’s Pulitzer Prizes at the back of the room. The others were in his office, which is where Tanner had decided to display his. Maybe when he won another one, he would give it to the journalism school for display.

Today the hall was filled with round tables decorated with amaryllis flowers and lit with tiny candles Tanner knew wouldn’t last the evening. There was a dance floor area set up between the main tables and the head table. The open bar was at the back, and people were already helping themselves to drinks. Even though he’d seen the hall last night, the whole scene felt different today. It was everything he and Meredith had hoped for: warm and romantic.

Somehow, being surrounded by the journalistic integrity and excellence he loved so much, which his new family also lived and breathed, seemed to forge an even stronger connection between him and Meredith on the first day of their married life.

“I love it here,” Asher said as Tanner moved further into the room. “I might have to teach here as an adjunct one day—like you did. This is like coming to journalistic heaven. Did you see that photo of your new grandfather-in-law, if there’s such a word, with Anwar Sadat and Jimmy Carter in the 1970s?”

“I did. Arthur is truly one of the most incredible men you will ever meet. You seem to have lost your admirers,” he said with a playful nudge to his friend’s ribs.

“I said I had to go to the loo. It’s degrading. Those women are animals,” Asher joked. “Especially your new sister-in-law. I feel like some English boy toy. Fortunately she only has eyes for one man, and he came and stole her away.” He nodded toward his left.

Tanner looked over to where Jill and Brian were talking while sipping what looked to be beer. The two were renewing their friendship at the moment, and she’d asked him to be her date to the wedding. It was a start.

“She’s been in love with him since she was a little girl,” he told Asher. “He’s been…a bit more obtuse about the whole thing.”

“Punch him if he breaks her heart,” Asher said, unbuttoning his tailored Savile Row suit.

“I will,” he said easily. “He knows he needs to handle her with care.”

“She’s a spunky one,” Asher said, picking up a glass of champagne from one of the trays the servers were walking through the room. “Now, tell me what it’s like to work with Arthur day in and day out.”

They started talking shop, something Tanner had missed doing. He loved working at The Western Independent, but he was still adjusting to not covering the news in the field. By the time the conversation had turned to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, Meredith came over.

“It’s time for us to find our seats so the waiters can start serving everybody,” she said, taking his hand.

Sure enough, everyone had begun to find their tables. It felt wonderful to see all these people who were special to him and Meredith melded together in one place.

Dinner was much better than he’d expected, and when he told Meredith, she laughed and said never to underestimate a Hale. Her cousin, Natalie, had done a great job with the beef tenderloin. Meredith had pretty much ploughed through the entire salmon on her plate.

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