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“4th and Market”

4th and Market

 

 

“Our house is a very, very fine house

With two cats in the yard

Life used to be so hard

Now everything is easy

'Cause of you”

 

“Our House”, Crosby Stills and Nash

 

San Francisco, 2348

 

They were going to get married, they were going to get married…

Beverly Howard shook the sand from her jacket, the wind playing merry Hell with her flaming red hair. In one hand she tightly clutched the book How to Advance Your Career by Marriage. Suspecting she had as much of the sand removed as she could find, Beverly smiled up at Jack Crusher. For a moment the only sound was the surf crashing on Baker Beach close to the Golden Gate Bridge. He took her in his arms; she could feel his heart thudding against his chest.

“I can’t wait to tell my grandmother.”

“My parents will be stoked,” Jack said stroking her hair then he turned letting her hooked an arm through his. “Let’s walk.”

“Where?”

“Anywhere. I’m not in a hurry to get you home.”

She laughed. He had been to her digs in Sausalito a few times, the digs she had moved into for her second year. “So where do we go?”

“I don’t know. Just walk.”

So they walked. San Francisco was a big city still even if a fair amount of it seemed to be swallowed by new buildings. New skyscrapers safe in the knowledge that earthquakes could not only be predicted but controlled. Yet enough of ‘old’ San Francisco remained to lend character to this City by the Bay. Beverly sighed, tasting salt in the breeze, or maybe she was still feeling the beach upon her. That unique proposal was still fresh in her mind. She had not quite expected it during the academy years.

“Mission District,” said Jack making Beverly realise that they had walked clean across the peninsula in a south-easterly direction from the bridge. The Mission, as many knew it still, was largely Spanish in heritage right down to the Mission Church itself, built some years before the USS Portsmouth arrived. “Maybe we can settle down in the city, what do you say?”

“I don’t know. I like San Francisco but…,” Beverly gave a shrug, “I’m kind of used to moving around. Tycho City, Arvada and Caldos…”

“Yes,” he said stopping her close to a street corner, “but I’m talking about us. We can make a future together.”

“You sound like one of those dire holonovels.” Beverly smiled. She turned as a clanging startled her. One of the old cable cars clattered past, revealing as it did so the tall spire of a church. She stared up at it then crossed the road towards the building.  Jack hurried after her, tripping on the grooves in the road. Beverly stood hands on hips staring up at the building. “Isn’t this impressive?”

The church had a pronounced front situated as it was on Mission Street. Across the road still was the vibrant green Yerba Buena Gardens yet the church remained surrounded by new, shiny skyscrapers on three sides as it had been for three centuries. It had a tier effect to the left and right of the extended front. Its red brick shape and colour provided comfort to Beverly.

“St. Patrick’s,” Jack read from a sign, “founded in 1851…Yep, sure is something. More so when you consider how religion is viewed today.”

“Religion’s neither here nor there,” Beverly said. The building had a gothic yet gentle feel to it. She knew it wasn’t the only church in San Francisco (or on Earth, of course) yet there was something about this one. She walked in, Jack again hurrying to catch her. They stood together at the head of the church looking down the aisle towards the altar. “This is beautiful.”

Jack nodded swallowing then glanced at her. “Beverly…what do you say to us getting married now?”

She looked up at him seeing the earnest look in his blue eyes. “What? Now?”

“As in straightaway, yes now.”

She looked back into the church then at Jack. “But, what about our families?”

“They can wait. We can’t though. I’m shipping out on the Stargazer soon and we might not get a chance this side of Christmas…”

“That’s five months, Jack. We don’t have to get married on Earth…”

“You know…let’s just get married now!” He said it with enthusiasm as if trying to banish the thought of not being with her for five months from his mind.

Beverly smiled, taking his hands. “If you like.” They kissed then he parted holding her by the shoulders. “I’m going to get my uniform. Then Walker…”

“Right, I’ll find…,” Beverly rubbed at her forehead suddenly confronted with the age old question of bridesmaids. “I’ll find someone.”

“That’s my girl. Meet me back here in an hour.”

They kissed again then they left.

 

**

 

“Sure this is a good idea, Beverly? I mean, you’re not ready.”

“This is the most romantic thing that’s happened today.”

“What about your proposal?”

“Okay, second most romantic,” Beverly said to Moira Hanson’s comments. On her left side as they walked down 4th Street from the 4th and Market Street Station Ariel Shandon sighed.

“Oh Beverly, this is quite something.”

“You two were available on short notice.”

“That makes me feel so wanted,” added Moira. The three wore their Starfleet uniforms. The near century old burgundy tunic with red collars (denoting their cadet officer status) and crisply tailored black trousers complete with red pinstripes. Beverly’s heart was going ten to the dozen making her feel even more anxious than she was when she went to find her friends. When they reached the church they stopped outside, for from within came loud throbbing sounds.

“What on Earth is that?” asked Ariel.

“Organ,” Moira said catching Ariel’s look. “Musical instrument you idiot. That’s the wedding march. Haven’t you done history?”

“I skipped a module,” Ariel said. She stared at Beverly who had gone a snowy shade of white. “Are you okay, Beverly? Want me to go inside and tell Jack it’s off?”

“You do and I’ll scream,” Beverly said. The three women started when the doors of the church opened revealing Walker Keel in uniform. He had been the one a couple of years ago that had introduced Jack to Beverly. He had a handsome smile that made the bridesmaids blush. He looked to Beverly. “Are you ready?”

“Is Jack in there?”

“And Diora,” he said referring to his own fiancée. “Jack’s as nervous as you are. Fortunately this is a church with a classic priest.”

“What?” asked Ariel dumbly.

“He’s Irish.” Walker grinned then held his right arm at a crooked angle. “Miss Howard.”

Beverly stared at the arm then slid her left arm through the crook standing beside Walker. “Girls,” said Walker, “assume a flanking position.”

As they walked into the church onto the aisle the music swelled. Beverly saw first the priest standing in simple black clothes at the head of the altar. He didn’t strike Beverly as overly religious. There was an Andorian playing the organ head bobbing as they went with the music. Then she saw Jack standing with his back to them and Diora to the left.

“I should be wearing a veil,” Beverly whispered to Walker.

“You look beautiful as it is.” Walker smiled giving her a reassuring squeeze on the arm. They eventually reached Jack and Moira as the music faded. Walker stepped to one side. Beverly took a breath and looked at Jack who tilted his head at her. This is really happening, she thought. She touched his hand then faced the vicar.

“We are gathered in the eyes of the Lord to unite these two young people in marriage. A tradition that has gone back through time immemorial. Before me Jack Crusher and Beverly Howard shall be united…”

As he spoke Beverly felt her hands tremble by her side. She wished she was holding something like a bouquet of flowers. Just something to occupy her nerves. Before she knew it she was being asked to repeat after the reverend.

“I…I Beverly Cheryl Howard do solemnly vow to…,” she managed to get through the words before grinding out, “I do.”

She heard Ariel whisper something to Moira.

She heard Jack say his words in answer to the vicar. Her ears were all abuzz and could not make out the words clearly. The sun was shining in through the stained glass windows creating a haze in the church that felt warm and comforting. Beverly liked to think that her parents were somehow watching this.

“I just want you to know,” Jack was saying bringing her back to the present gently, “that as long as we’re together I’ll do my utmost to protect you, to look after you and to be faithful.”

She swallowed hard, looking to her left seeing Moira, Ariel and Diora all misty eyed then past Jack at Walker who looked the most serious she had seen him in a while.

“Jack Crusher, I’ll love you, honour and respect you. You make my days something to look forward to, you…you make me who I am today and I’ll love you forever.”

Ordinarily she would find all this a little too much to stomach but it was happening to her and happening now. After Beverly said these words Jack kissed her and held her close whispering sweet nothings in her ear.

“Alright kids, let’s go celebrate,” Walker said with a grin. He glanced at the vicar. “That was a beautiful service, sir.”

“I’m glad,” the vicar said with a gentle smile looking at the newly married couple. “We don’t often do services nowadays. Not everyone comes to a church to get married.”

Beverly turned to the reverend taking his hands. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” She kissed him on the cheek. He blushed.

“Mrs Crusher.”

She blinked looking at Jack. “Mrs Crusher!”

“Yeah, kinda comes with the deal, Beverly.” He grinned and took her hand. “Come on, let’s celebrate.”

The party filed from the church with the plan of reaching a bar in Old San Francisco. As they left the reverend faced the Andorian.

“Play me a jingle, Borak.”

 

Space-dock orbiting Earth

Autumn, 2349

 

Beverly watched the Constellation-class USS Stargazer glide past the two Miranda-class starships docked near the observation lounge and dock itself to one side. She wiped her lips, still tasting the bile from the morning. She had opted for a shuttle up to space-dock, just not feeling well enough for transporting. She turned to walk down the observation lounge to Docking Port Alpha. From the aluminium foil covered interior of the umbilical cord a steady stream of crewmen and women filed off the recently arrived starship.

Jack was one of the last almost jogging to her before sweeping her in his arms. She gently pushed him away. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m feeling fragile,” she said then kissed him. “You…I…Well, I’m glad you’re back it’s been a very long mission.”

“Yeah, it’s only been a couple of months though,” he murmured brushing some rogue red locks of hair off her forehead. He looked down at her. “No idea how much I’ve missed you, lieutenant.”

She looked to her right shoulder then up at Jack. “Junior Grade.”

“Still, you only graduated last year.”

“Apparently I’m showing great promise.”

“On that note,” he licked his lips carefully. “Uh, I was speaking to my parents…and…well…”

“Spit it out Jack,” she said smiling coyly.

Jack looked as if he did not want to. “I said to them about us getting properly married in Seattle.”

Beverly took a step back. “You did what? We are properly married!”

“You know what I mean. A proper ceremony for the families. Mom’s still not quite happy that we got married without her.”

“That was on the whim of romance.” Beverly put her hands on her hips. “Jack, this is a bit much…”

“Not really. It won’t be that much of a hassle…”

Beverly had only met the Crushers once and that had been pleasant enough but it had also been before the impromptu nuptials in San Francisco. Since the marriage Beverly had been either shipboard on the Adelphi or Earthbound working at Starfleet Medical. A ‘proper’ marriage was not something she had been thinking of. She brought a hand up from her hip touching her forehead gingerly.

“Alright. We’ll do it.”

“Great,” he beamed.

“Oh, mister,” she looked at him, “you’ve no idea.”

 

**

 

Seattle, a week later

 

She caught the dress in her hands and let it drop, watching it billow around her like a sheet. “This makes me look like a decoration. Also, I feel suffocated at my waist.”

“It does wonders for your figure,” said Ariel Shandon as she knelt by Beverly making last minute alterations. Against the window of the small room rain hammered relentlessly. Beverly gave it a wistful look.

“At least Seattle’s living up to its side.”

“You never complained this much before,” Moira said standing to one side glass in hand. Both bridesmaids were wearing a burgundy shade of red. Diora was on deep space assignment with the Appalachia otherwise she would have been standing here shaking her head as much as the others.

“I’m getting married. Again.”

There was a knock on the door. “Beverly?”

“Come in nana.”

Felissa Howard opened the door a fraction to squeeze in and beam at her granddaughter. “Oh, you look so beautiful. If only your parents were here.”

That softened Beverly’s demeanour a fraction. Not many days went by without her revisiting that day on Arvada when her parents were killed by a virus that still had not been traced. She held a hand out which Felissa took. “Thanks nana.”

Ariel stood her face flushed. “There, I think we’ve got the alterations done.”

Beverly turned to face the mirror and sighed. “Gosh…”

Her mother’s dress that had been amongst the many effects Beverly had gone through before leaving for the academy.

“There’s a glow about you,” Felissa said making Beverly snap around.

“What makes you say that?”

“I don’t think…”

Felissa was cut off by Moira sneezing. A short hiss of sound that sounded funny and thus Beverly gave a short but gleeful laugh. Beverly smoothed her dress down.

“I think we’re good to go.”

“You do look beautiful,” Ariel said and hugged her friend carefully.

The wedding was taking place in a community building within the Seattle neighbourhood of Magnolia close to the Elliot Bay. A quaint very modern type of building, the kind that had sprung up just after the Third World War in what was left of America. Beverly had seen similar when a young child on the Moon but then the Moon was different.

“It’s time,” Felissa said with a solemnity quite out of place here. Far too solemn for a wedding.

Beverly sighed and realised she was trembling. More so did she tremble when her grandmother pulled the veil over her face. How silly that they would maintain the pretence of this being a ‘real’ wedding. To Beverly she was already married, already one with Jack and in more ways than one. Yet…yet, it was necessary. She owed it to Jack’s parents and in a way, her own. She took a step towards the door as the music started outside. It was not traditional the music, some Vulcan tune that lacked real punch yet was rhythmic and soothing. As they left the little room the bridesmaids assumed formation behind the bride. Felissa went to take a seat whilst Walker Keel emerged in Starfleet dress uniform to take her arm.

“Fancy meeting you here,” he whispered with a wink.

“Mind if I hold tight?” she whispered back as she stared down the aisle at the groups of people in the seats and at the front where Jack stood.

“Not too tight, this uniform is freshly tailored.”

Beverly managed a smile as they started the slow walk down. Some things remained the same in ceremonies and this was no different. Somehow this was worse than that impromptu wedding on 4th and Market. Her heart hammered like a warp core at maximum revolutions. People turned to stare at her as she made the way down like a sailboat in the Golden Gate.

God, God, God…her thoughts ran away from her.

She was only faintly aware of Jim and Sandy Crusher in the front right row look at her with smiles and tears for the latter.

Sorry, I hope you don’t mind me marrying your son.

Again.

Beverly was suddenly detached from Walker and beside Jack in his uniform. He looked at her leaning in with a smile. “You look beautiful.”

“I feel like a cake topping.”

“You still look beautiful.”

She looked ahead at the pastor. The pastor here in Magnolia was Jack’s old principal from the high school in Elliot Bay that Jack went to many years ago. Religion hath no dominion here.

The words they had said and agreed to before but the feeling was the same. More so the vows that this time round were done with more thought than San Francisco. During the vows Jack’s mother sobbed loudly. Moira let loose three volcanic sneezes that served to make one of the children from the community cry loudly. The pastor concluded with his voice rose loudly. He was barely audible when he said that the bride could be kissed.

Jack kissed her softly on the lips and smiled again.

“Mrs Crusher.”

“The second.” She grinned and turned to face the crowd now on their feet. As she passed Moira she laughed. “Oh my friend.”

“You try containing sneezes,” Moira’s face was puffy and red.

“Get behind and hold the dress.”

“Yes, boss.”

It was not quite done though. Outside in the rare sunshine the ‘newly marrieds’ posed for various photos with various people and also just by themselves. The love they had for each other was quite evident and more than one person remarked on how Beverly seemed to be glowing. Perhaps, as Jim Crusher said, it was the flaming red hair that helped.

It was growing dark when the two were taken by hovercar south to the inter-country maglev station at Tacoma. A great sprawling complex not far from the water. Here the Crusher parents hugged Beverly in turn and wished the two good luck for the life ahead (even though they would of course see them again).

As the maglev train pulled out of Tacoma Station Beverly went to get changed in the somewhat spacious bathroom cubicle. Even in the 24th Century cross-country trains took time to cross from coast to coast. Admittedly in 2349 it was a shorter time than before, in this case (allowing for a stop in Chicago) it would take around five hours.

Beverly returned dressed in jeans and a loose fitting top sitting by Jack who had some food before him. “Thought you might be hungry Mrs Crusher.”

“Ravenous.” And promptly did Beverly go through her sandwich and salad. Jack arched a fair eyebrow.

“That hungry, hmm?”

“Yep.”

“One beauty of this ‘second marriage’ is that we get a honeymoon.”

“That’s true.” Beverly looked out the window at the slightly blurred landscape. They could have beamed across America yet both had wanted to preserve some romanticism. Technology on these trains was such that the view could never be blurred by the speed. In effect it was like watching a movie with the camera panning along. Just at speed.

“Cousin Marsha said you were nervous as hell.”

“There were more people than 4th and Market.” Beverly reached for her soda knowing as a doctor that it would play merry hell with her stomach. “Weren’t you nervous?”

“Yeah,” Jack admitted grinning. “Hate dress uniforms.”

She laughed and then shrieked as he tickled her. Pulling apart she smoothed her top down. “You’re incorrigible.”

“I’m…,” he stopped as a steward walked past.

It was now early morning, still dark, when the sleek nosed maglev train glided into Providence, Rhode Island. Wearily they climbed from the train carrying their Starfleet bags. A few minutes later they took a hovercab out onto Cape Cod itself, specifically the town of Barnstable. Centuries ago this was home to the famous Kennedy clan at Hyannis Port. Descendants lived here but the legend of Camelot was no more.

Cape Cod’s famous beauty and vistas were largely invisible to the Crushers as they were deposited at a Colonial style home on Barnstable’s north shore facing the Sandy Neck public reserve and the cove between the two. As the cab hummed out of view Beverly was suddenly scooped in Jack’s arms.

“Put me down!”

“This is tradition,” he grunted as he adjusted his grip. Kicking the door open he walked through and into the home. Deftly he put Beverly down admiring the home. “Mom and Dad really went to town when they promised a honeymoon worth every credit.”

“Yeah,” Beverly said breathlessly. As the door closed behind her Jack went to kiss her with his arms around her. She pulled back. “You know, I do love you very much Jack.”

“I know. I love you too.”

She pulled back again as he went in again. “Very much.”

Jack frowned a little. “I know.”

Now pressed against the door she put her hands on his face.

“Jack…I’m pregnant.”

She felt his skin go cold under her palms. His eyes widened a fraction.

“W-w-what…you…what?”

“I’m pregnant.”

He looked down at her then up, smiled awkwardly and promptly fainted.

Beverly Crusher stood there hands still extended in front looking down at her husband.

“And there it is,” she said with a smile shaking her head.

 

END.

 

The church on 4th and Market in San Francisco does exist, has its own website to boot. There are advantages to Google Street Map when you live almost 5000 (give or take) miles away from the city.

Like many Star Trek characters it seems Beverly has adopted the city as her home.

Likewise, Magnolia in Seattle (Tacoma, of course), Providence RI and Barnstable all exist.

Conjecture and theory was used for the maglev cross-country. That and an everlasting influence from LA Graf’s “Traitor Winds”.



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