Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Eight to Twelve

Summary: Patricia and Jill take care of a little business after hours at City Hall.

Patricia had worked in City Hall for years, but there was something unique about being able to wander the darkened corridors after hours when she was the mayor. She still had a hard time, a month after the election, believing that she had gotten the job. She had started wandering the corridors after five o’clock just to get a feel for the place, so she would be able to picture it in her mind if necessary. She wanted to be the best mayor possible, and she thought that somehow knowing that the Parks and Recreation offices were on the first floor just beyond the East Conference Room would help her. But tonight she had a more important reason for staying late.

She reached the lobby just as Jill arrived. She had come straight from school, but her outfit was draped over her shoulder. Patricia waved through the glass as she unlocked the door and let her in. Jill stopped at the threshold to brush the snow off her boots and gave Patricia a quick kiss before she came inside.

“Ooh, it’s warm in here. Everything set?”

“Yeah. The judge is waiting in his chambers, and Michael just texted to let me know he was on the way. Are you ready?”

Jill slipped her arm around Patricia’s. “I’ve been ready for five years, Trish.”

Patricia smiled and escorted Jill through the center of the lobby. The ground floor of City Hall was a squared circle, with bill payment offices to the right and glass-fronted offices to the left. The lights were on in a few of the offices, but Jill ignored the people who were still at work. She had her mind on other things at the moment.

In the center of the circle was a reception area that was currently empty, so they walked through it to the corridor that led to the stairs. Red and silver bunting hung from every available surface, along with tinsel and garland. A large real Christmas tree stood in the far corner, but it was decorated with both Christmas and Hanukkah decorations.

“You can change in my office.”

“Okay. You look gorgeous, by the way.”

“When I know I’m going to be photographed next to you, I have to take my fashion up a notch so I won’t look like a slouch.”

Jill scoffed and bumped Patricia’s hip with hers. Patricia had changed in her office as soon as work hours ended. A scoop-necked sleeveless blouse under a white jacket, both cream-colored, with a blue and green scarf loosely tied around her neck. She escorted Jill upstairs to the office and switched on the light, and Jill paused to take in the sight of the island’s highest office. She’d seen it before, but now it was decorated in her wife’s style, and the photos on the wall were of her and Michael.

“Mrs. Mayor.”

Patricia smiled bashfully and stroked Jill’s arm. “Okay. Judge Wallace’s chambers are on the third floor. Just take the stairs up and you can’t miss it. I’ll go down and let Michael in.” She kissed Jill’s cheek. “Love you.”

“I love you, too. See you soon.”

Patricia nodded, certain that she looked a bit manic but unable to help herself. She left Jill in her office and went back downstairs. She only had to wait a few minutes before Michael arrived in Callie’s station wagon. They both got out and Michael sheepishly approached the door as his mother held it open for them.

“Hey, Mom. Uh, you can say no, but I told Callie what was happening and she asked if she could be there.”

Patricia smiled. “Of course she can.” She waved for Callie to come in. The girl smiled happily and stopped the car, unfastening her seatbelt to join them.

“Thanks. I mean, I know you said this time would just be family…”

“She’s your girlfriend, Michael. She counts.” When Callie joined them Patricia ushered her inside. “Jill needs a bridesmaid. You mind filling in?”

Callie beamed. “Not at all. Thank you, Mrs. Hood-Colby.”

“Of course. Come on in.”

“I’m not really dressed for it…”

“It’s okay. It’s not that kind of wedding.” She locked the door again and escorted them to the stairs. “Jill and I got married four years ago. As far as we’re concerned we’re already wed. But now that same-sex marriage is legal, we just wanted to get it down on paper. Plus it’s a nice way to reaffirm that we still feel the same way we did back then.”

Jill was waiting at the top of the stairs. “That’s not accurate,” she said.

Patricia looked up, momentarily stunned by Jill’s baby-blue dress. The color faded near the shoulders, becoming a pale white around the V-neck of the dress.

“Oh?” Patricia said.

“Yeah. I think I love you more than I did that day.”

Patricia blushed and took Jill’s hand. “Well, of course. I’m the mayor now. You’re just blinded by my power.”

Jill grinned and looked at the teenagers. “Callie!”

Patricia said, “I told her she could be a guest.”

“Of course she can! I’m kicking myself for not officially inviting her. I’m sorry, Callie.”

“She’ll be your bridesmaid.”

Jill nodded. “Excellent.” She put an arm around Callie’s shoulders and guided her toward the judge’s chambers. A middle-aged man with curly black hair was standing behind the desk, and he smiled as the group entered. Jill nodded at Patricia. “Found her.”

“I can see that. Mrs. Mayor.”

“Hi, Keith. Thank you so much for sticking around.”

He smiled. “Of course. I’ve been waiting a long time for this, so who better to be the first same-sex couple I marry than my boss?” He looked at Michael and Callie. “Are we all here?”

Patricia nodded. “We are.”

“Then there’s no time like the present.” He came around the side of his desk and positioned them: Jill and Callie to his right, with Michael and Patricia to the left. Patricia took Jill’s hands between hers and squeezed.

Judge Wallace smiled. “Four years, four months, and four days ago, Jill Marie Colby and Patricia Lynn Hood made a vow to one another. They swore to stand together through the hard times and the good, and they have seen that promise through. Now, on the twelfth day of the twelfth month, 2012, they have made the choice to reaffirm that promise to each other. They came together and created a family, a family that will continue to grow. And today, they are reaffirming their domestic partnership as a full and legal marriage.”

Patricia heard him speaking but didn’t pay attention to the words. She was focused on her wife, her partner, her best friend, the soon-to-be mother of her child. They didn’t exchange rings or vows; they had done all that in their ceremony four years ago. This was so much pomp and circumstance, a necessary evil to put the final stamp on their lives together.

They signed the paper, and an extremely nervous Callie signed as witness. Judge Wallace signed it as well and smiled.

“Congratulations, Jill and Patricia Hood-Colby. You are now legally married in the state of Washington. Kiss your bride.”

Michael and Callie clapped as they kissed, and then Patricia shook the judge’s hand. She thanked him again and he wished them well.

When they left the office, Patricia took Jill’s hand. “Callie, do you want to join us for dinner? We’re going to Gail’s.”

“I’ll have to call my parents, but yeah. I think they’ll be okay with it.” She held Michael’s hand as they went downstairs. “So do you guys get another honeymoon?”

“Nothing extravagant,” Jill said. “When school gets out, we’re going to spend the day in Seattle. Christmas shopping.”

“That sucks. You have two weddings, you should get two honeymoons.”

Patricia said, “Actually this is my third wedding. Michael’s dad, and now my second one to Jill.” She kissed the back of Jill’s hand. “The wedding we had four years ago was the official, real one. This one was mainly for legal reasons. And for one other thing.”

They had reached the foot of the stairs and entered the lobby. She stepped in front of Jill, stopping her from moving forward.

“Michael and I were talking about our name. He was born Michael Costa, and he changed it to my maiden name after the divorce. And now he’s Hood-Colby. Any baby that we have in a few years’ time is going to be Hood-Colby. Unless we decide to use this opportunity to change it. You and I will still be Hood-Colby, but for our kids I was thinking… we could break the hyphen and give Michael your last name.”

Jill’s eyes filled with tears. When she spoke again, it was barely a whisper. “But what about your name?”

“It would become his middle name. Michael Christopher Hood Colby. And our second child would also have Hood as a middle name, but she’d be a Colby.” She squeezed Jill’s hands. “I know you’ve never really had a family history, since you grew up in foster homes until you got adopted. So our family will be the start of your history.”

Jill embraced her and let the tears fall free. She looked at Michael and sniffled, brushing the tears on Patricia’s jacket. “You’re okay with this?”

He shrugged. “I’ve had about a hundred names. I figure this is going to be the last chance I get to change it, so why not?”

Jill laughed. “Darn right it’s the last time.” She kissed Patricia’s cheek. “I love you.”

“Love you, too.” She kissed both of Jill’s cheeks and gestured. “The office is over here.”

As they headed over, Patricia heard Callie ask Michael, “So what’s your last name today?” and he chuckled in response. She realized that if they ended up getting married she would be saddled with the unfortunate moniker Callie Colby. Of course that was totally hypothetical and very, very far in the future, but she couldn’t help feel a little sorry for her. Maybe she would be a modern woman and keep her own last name.

When she divorced Nicholas and dropped the name Costa, Patricia had sworn that she would keep Hood for the rest of her life. But now she loved having Jill’s name attached to hers. Maybe Callie would put up with the inconvenience to honor her husband. Jill glanced back and caught her expression.

“What are you smiling at?”

Patricia shook her head. “Too much to list.” She stroked Jill’s arm. “I’ll give you the top ten later. Right now we have a kid to re-brand.”

Jill chuckled and pulled Patricia into the records office.

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