Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Glad Tidings

Summary: Nadine’s Christmas show has a very special final act.

(direct follow-up to Joy to You, Baby)

“You know, there are sometimes when your dear Pixie is glad this isn’t a television show and you can’t see me doing silly things like playing air guitar in the booth. That was Trans-Siberian Orchestra doing a little number called ‘Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24.’ No, you’re not in a bizarre time warp and no, that song isn’t older than you thought. This is the last day for your Pixie to be live on the air before I go on vacation and I’m using it to play all Christmas music, all the time, regardless of age or artist. That’s right, I’m off the chain, unleashed, unsupervised, and I’m mad with power.” She hit a button that cued Neil Patrick Harris’ mad scientist laugh from Dr. Horrible. “So stick right here. We have a lot more of TSO, and a little David Bowie-Bing Crosby duet, not to mention all kinds of movie songs, so stick with the Pixie for your holiday fix. We’ll be right back.”

She tossed to commercial, took off her headset, and pushed her chair back. If her show was televised, her fans might have been surprised by her outfit. She wore a tweed suit with a small red bowtie and a white flower pinned to the lapel. Her hair was newly shorn, cut short on the sides and back with the bangs left just a little longer to brush the top of her glasses.

She stepped around the corner of her table and opened the door to the booth, stepping aside to let Billy pass. He set the card table under the window and brushed his hands.

“I’ll get the refreshments on the next break. Do you need anything else?”

“No, I think that’s it. Billy, thank you so much. Where’s Hoagie? He was supposed to be helping you.”

“Not here yet.”

Nadine sighed and rubbed his arm. “Well, thanks for being my helper and getting this all set up. You’re my hero.”

“Happy to do it. Really happy for you and Mrs. Powell. But I thought y’all took care of this business a couple of years back.”

“We became domestic partners. It was close to marriage, but it lacked a lot of the same rights married couples have. So now that same-sex marriage is legal in Washington state, she and I have decided we’re going to make honest women out of each other for real. We’re already wed, we’re just sealing the deal. Taking the final step.”

Billy sighed. “Well, I guess I’ll just try to get used to having two Mrs. Powells around the building. Your friends arrived just a few minutes ago.”

She checked the console to see how long she had before she had to be back on the air. “Tell them I’ll come out and say hi in a second. Right now I have to start a new song.” She closed the door behind Billy, sat down and slipped her headset back on just as the break ended.

“Welcome back, everyone. We’re just about half an hour away from that very special event I know you’re all waiting for. So before we go to that, I’m going to play something I’m sure I’ll get a little flack for. This song isn’t anti-Christmas or anti-Christianity. It’s not part of some obscure and fictional war on the holiday. It’s just a song for those people who might not be interested in the organized religion part of the day but still want to celebrate. It’s a good reminder that while this is a holy day – which is why we call it a holiday in the first place – it can also be about love, plain and simple. This is Tim Minchin singing ‘White Wine in the Sun.’ I hope you enjoy it. You’re listening to KELF 1220 AM.”

She started the song and stood up again. She left the booth and saw Kate, Amy, and Nicole were waiting at her desk. They had dressed up for the occasion, and Nadine whistled when she saw them in their finery. Kate and Amy were dressed in nearly identical suits, save that Kate wore a dress shirt and tie under her jacket while Amy had a scoop-necked blouse, but Nicole was the belle of the ball.

She saw Nadine appraising her outfit, pinched the hem of her dress and feigned a curtsey. “I don’t put on a skirt for just anybody. In the words of many dying soldiers in countless war films: Earn… this…”

Nadine laughed. “I’ll do my best. I’m so glad you were able to make it.” She hugged Amy and Nick, kissed Kate on the cheek, and smoothed down the front of her waistcoat. “What do you think of the outfit?”

“It’s amazing.” Kate adjusted the boutonniere. “It’s so you. I pictured a tuxedo, but it didn’t feel right. This… this is what Nadine Butler wears to get married.”

Amy nodded. “Oh, and before I forget, a couple of girls from the store are bringing over the cake. They’re bringing the punch, too.”

“Excellent. Thank you so much for catering.”

“Absolutely.” She looked toward the booth. “Do you have to get back on the air?”

Nadine checked her watch. “Yeah, probably should head that way. The song is pretty long, but I have to set up the one after it and… are you three okay with just hanging out here?”

“Yep. Go, do your job. We’ll keep ourselves entertained.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of.” Nadine winked and went back into the booth. She found the next song and, when ‘White Wine in the Sun’ ended, she sighed into the microphone. “See? Wasn’t that just beautiful? Just because you don’t fall into a certain religious category, you can still appreciate Christmas for what it is. It’s about being grateful for what we have and the people in our lives. That’s why I’m marrying the woman I love today. We’ll be getting the ceremony underway in just a couple of minutes, so sit tight everyone. We have a photographer coming in and the pictures are going to be up on the KELF website as soon as we figure out how to do that. I think magic is involved. Since you stuck with me through Mr. Minchin, we’re going back to traditional music for the next few minutes. We’ve got little drummer boys, angels being harkened, and bells that jingle. Jingle the telephone bells and let me know if you have something you want to hear, but do it quick because we’re running low on time for this Pixie’s Christmas edition. Keep on listening, folks!”

She manned the phone lines for a few minutes, gathering requests and setting them up to play, then went back to the door. She didn’t leave the booth, but she poked her head out to see the new arrivals. Her mother and father had arrived, and they both hugged her and congratulated her. She blinked away her tears and kissed her father on the cheek, grateful he had decided to show up. Her mother smoothed down her hair and adjusted her bow tie.

Nadine was about to duck back into her booth when she spotted someone at the top of the stairs. She was confused at first but then familiarity cut through the completely unexpected veneer and she gasped. “Hoagie?!”

He stopped touching his slicked-back hair and dropped his hands to his sides. He was dressed in the nicest suit she’d ever seen him in, obviously tailored to fit his frame. His eternal stubble had been shaven away leaving his face completely exposed for the first time since Nadine had known him. He looked like a bulked-up Daniel Craig from the James Bond movies, and he shifted nervously as he realized all the women in the room were staring at him.

“This is what I was afraid of, Butler. You see me like this, and suddenly you forget all about the whole ‘being gay’ thing and fall all over me. Well, forget about it. I could never do that to the boss.”

“I’ll try to restrain myself.” Nadine stood on her toes to wrap her arms around him. “I can’t believe you got dressed up for me. Thank you, Joe.”

“Just don’t let it get out.”

She smoothed her hands over the lapels of his jacket. “Why? Afraid women might actually be attracted to you?” She winked and stepped away from him. “Okay. I have about ten seconds to get back into my booth. Stay here. Don’t rumple your suit or rip it or anything.”

He rolled his eyes as Nadine trotted back to her booth. She put on her headset just as the song faded out.

“He-hey, everyone out there. I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get everything ready for the big event. We’re going to play another batch of Christmas music from your requests, and then we’ll–” She glanced toward the window that looked out on the bullpen and her words died in her throat. “We’ll…” She stood up, turning so that the cord cut across her chest. She blinked and then realized she was on the air. “Oh. We’ll, uh, get to the ceremony after these requests. This is KELF. 1220.”

She started the music and dropped her headset as she stood up. She walked to the door and threw it open, eyes wide as she took in the sight before her.

Miranda’s hair had been curled and pinned back, exposing her neck and the simple pearl necklace she wore. Her dress was off-white and left her arms bare. She was sure the comparison wasn’t intentional, but all she could think of was how much she looked like a statue of Athena. She turned as Nadine approached, and her smile nearly made Nadine cry.

“There’s my girl.”

Nadine grinned and kissed her cheek. They decided to avoid kissing on the lips for that day to give the kiss during the ceremony more gravitas.

“You’re gorgeous.”

“You’re not so bad yourself, Dean.”

“Where’s the judge?”

“Downstairs, on her way up. The kids from Coffee Table Books needed a hand, so she’s unloading their car for them. You ready?”

Nadine nodded and squeezed Miranda’s hands. “The gang is all here.”

“Yeah, I can see that.” She reached up and teased Nadine’s bangs, then touched her cheek. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“I don’t know. Being with me? Staying with me so long?” She laughed quietly. “I just have felt the urge to say it all day, so…”

“Well, whichever it was, you made it easy. C’mon.”

The judge came upstairs with the refreshments and Amy began supervising the set-up. Nadine went into the booth and put on her headset, standing in front of the console instead of sitting.

“Hello, you lovely listeners. Those of you who have stuck around this long, wait no longer. I’m joined in the booth by my lovely partner of… five years.” Her voice broke and she shook her head. “Damn it, I’m not going to cry on the air. Uh, my partner and my boss, two titles that she has never let blend together in any way. Miranda Powell. And we’re also joined by Judge Amanda Thatcher. Judge, say hello to the people.”

Judge Thatcher was an older woman with short hair, blonde turning to silver, and bright blue eyes. Her robe was unzipped at the top to reveal a peach blouse with mother-of-pearl buttons. She leaned toward the microphone, but Nadine held up a hand and indicated she should keep a distance of at least six inches.

“Hello, Squire’s Isle.”

“Miranda…?”

“Um, hi.”

Nadine smiled and pressed a button. The Wedding March was cued, and Nadine saw the witnesses gathering in front of the window so they could see. Nadine gave the judge a headset, then helped Miranda put hers on without mussing her hair. They stood at an angle near the console, positioned so everyone could see and so Nadine could reach the controls if something needed adjusting.

“Judge? It’s all yours.”

“Thank you, Nadine. I must say I’m quite honored to take the reins of the show from you. I’ll try to give it back to you in the same shape I found it. Weddings generally occur in sacred places, in buildings that are held as holy for centuries. But I think it’s fitting that these two women have chosen to commit their lives to each other here, where that union began. In Nadine’s moment of extreme duress and need, Miranda put aside everything she held dear to lend her support. And in doing so, Nadine discovered the person she had been longing for. They have elected to recite their own vows. Nadine?”

Nadine blinked behind her glasses and looked down at their hands, focusing on Miranda’s fingers. The third finger of her left hand, which had worn Nadine’s ring for two years, was now bare. She brushed it with her thumb.

“I don’t know how to say this any more eloquent or lyrical, or anything fancy. All I can say is that you are everything I need all the time. You support me at work and at home in different ways. You are tough when I need someone to lay down the law, and you are gentle when I just need someone to hold my hand. If I didn’t know you, I’d have to have five different people just to make up for it. You gave me a place to lay my head at night. Literally, you bought me a bed.” She chuckled and blinked away a tear. “Thank you for letting me marry you.”

Miranda laughed. Judge Thatcher motioned for her to speak.

“Oh, uh. My turn, I guess. First of all, no thanks necessary, the pleasure is all mine. Second of all, I left a whole life in New York. My job was a career, and my life was built around that framework. People told me coming to this island was giving up. But I gave up my career for a job, an occupation that supported a real life. And when I started living a real life, I met the person I wanted to spend that life with. The person who was the last piece of the puzzle. I don’t want to do it all over again because I’m afraid I would miss a step, and I’d end up anywhere other than right here, right now, going through a… formality of declaring I’m going to spend the rest of my life with you. It’s a foregone conclusion. I love you, Nadine.”

“I love you, too,” Nadine whispered, too quietly for the microphone to pick up more than a hiss of sound.

“May we have the rings?” Judge Thatcher said.

Nadine’s mother came into the room and presented them with the rings. She offered Nadine’s to Miranda, and vice versa, and Nadine laughed and whispered that it was okay. Tamara Butler kissed Nadine on the cheek, then stretched onto her toes to do the same to Miranda. She brushed her lipstick from Miranda’s cheek with her thumb and said, “You’re my daughter now, as much as she is.”

“Thank you,” Miranda managed, obviously choked up. “Thank you.”

Tamara retreated, and Judge Thatcher smiled.

“Nadine… repeat after me. With this ring, I thee wed.”

Nadine took a moment to compose herself. “With this ring… I thee wed…”

They exchanged rings, managing to do it without crying. Finally, the recitations were finished and there was only one thing left to say. “You may now kiss and be kissed.”

Miranda cupped Nadine’s face and kissed her passionately, rocking her back on her heels to the delight of the witnesses. Nadine blushed and clutched at Miranda’s bare shoulders, struggling to keep upright until the kiss ended. Miranda chuckled and pressed her cheek to the side of Nadine’s head, swaying with her before they

Judge Thatcher touched their shoulders to turn them toward the glass. “Ladies and gentlemen… and the listening community of KELF Radio… I present to you Nadine and Miranda Powell.”

The group cheered, and Nicole took another photo for the website. Nadine managed to pull away long enough to lean toward the microphone.

“That’s it, folks. I’ll always be your Pixie, and I’ll stay Nadine Butler on the air, but outside of this booth I’m Nadine Powell. We’re having a private reception here at the station, but everyone is welcome to come down to Gail’s Seafood Shack tonight at eight to celebrate with us. Be good to each other and merry Christmas.” She turned. “Say merry Christmas, honey.”

“Merry Christmas,” Miranda said.

“Say merry Christmas, Judge Thatcher.”

“Merry Christmas!”

Nadine smiled. “Stay tuned for an incredibly dapper Joe ‘Hoagie’ Hogan. I wish his show was televised just so you single straight ladies could get an eyeful of what he looks like. He really pulled out all the stops. For now, thanks for listening and I’ll see you all in 2013. And to all a good night.”

She stepped back, kissed Miranda once more, and hugged the judge. When they left the booth the witnesses descended on them. Hoagie playfully pinched Nadine’s cheek for her intro, and Miranda kissed away the spreading pink blush as they made their way over to the refreshment table. Nadine saw Miranda step to the side and hug her mother, taking a moment to thank her for giving away her daughter. She blinked away tears and let Amy pour her a glass of punch.

“So, Nadine Powell. That’s going to take some getting used to.”

“For you, maybe,” Nadine said. Miranda came up behind her, arms around her waist, and she reached up to touch Miranda’s curls. She turned her head, kissed Miranda’s cheek, and smiled. “I think it’s going to be a pretty easy transition. Now, on to the important stuff… let’s get everyone served while Hoagie is distracted.” She found the knife and stepped forward to the small cake she and Miranda had ordered the day they got their wedding license. It was beautiful, white with blue accents, and two brides decorated a small platform in the center. Nadine smiled at the tiny women; somehow seeing them made the entire thing seem real.

She positioned the knife to make the first cut.

“Okay… who wants cake? Let me see some hands…”

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