Despite Jupiter’s promise, none of us had any intention of staying in the area. A few days after the confrontation, Laura vacated her La Jolla condominium. She settled on a ranch in Billings, Montana, which provided plenty of space for my dog, Jack Russell, who would stay with his new friend until it was time to collect him. I was sure he didn’t mind. Spall also found a place near Laura but spent most of his evenings enjoying her dinners and keeping his customary watchful eye over her.
As for Cassiopeia and me, we joined Laura in Billings but only for our wedding in the local courthouse and a few weeks afterward. We planned on embracing the nomadic lifestyle with my severance pay from The Jupiter Alliance before deciding on where we would settle down, likely close to Laura.
Speaking of The Jupiter Alliance: Hannah Jupiter, along with the Board of Directors, forced Zachary Jupiter out of the company as the CEO and removed anyone on the senior staff with loyalties to him. His whereabouts were known: in their home, eternally watched and monitored. I also learned, unsurprisingly, that most of the 28th floor had been removed from the company. The last piece of information I learned, one that would stay with me for a long time, was that Hannah Jupiter had created a victims’ fund for everyone adversely impacted by the anti-fraternization policy. Its name: the Ballard and Marnie Keene Trust.
On our wedding day, she wore a crown of wildflowers. The train of her flowing white gown (“Grecian style,” my new mother-in-law had informed me with a smile) was also covered in flowers as Spall walked her down the aisle. As our eyes met, as she advanced toward me, my heart was seconds from bursting. Moments after Spall handed her to me and before the court official began the vows, Cassiopeia leaned over. “I love you,” she whispered in my ear. I repeated the words back to her, stopping myself from saying them more than once. We had a lifetime for me to utter those words and I intended on taking that long to utter them.
Our vows finished, the bride kissed, I reached out to caress her cheek, slightly in awe that we were now husband and wife. Unlike my recurring dream, however, my fingers met no stars on her skin. And yet, when Cassiopeia pulled me toward her in a long, beautiful embrace, I maintain, I profess, that I saw galaxies.
Thanks for hanging in with Cassiopeia and Elliott and the rest for this story. I enjoyed writing it, as I mentioned in the beginning, if only for the chance to throw in some Greek myth-inspired allegory and a bit of suspense along the way. Did you catch the references?
It was a pleasure to share with you. Onwards…to the next tale I choose to share.