Interlude 3: Strange Charm

My dear Andrea,

Thank you for the kindness and thoughtfulness you extend to me with the invitation to your wedding. While I would like nothing better than to join your families and friends in wishing you and Pablo every happiness this world can give, I am — as you might guess — hesitant to accept the invitation. My affliction is not quite as socially acceptable as our friend Charles', nor is it as easily hidden as those of many of our acquaintances.

I am afraid, therefore, that I must send my regrets. However, know that I will be thinking of you and Pablo on your day of celebration.

Heartfelt wishes for a day and a life of joy,
Hank McCoy

# # #

Dear Hank,

You must know by now that I refuse to accept your absence at our wedding reception. Surely my Sister has mentioned that I am every bit as stubborn as she is. My family knows exactly who and what I am. I have three cousins who are also Cursed. I'm sure the youngest of these has already been in touch with Charles regarding a visit to the School early in the new year.

You are a well-known scientist, or so I've been told. I know you are not just an exceptional doctor, you are a generous and considerate human being. Given your remarkable good looks, however, I will say that I do understand your concern.

It is your very skills as an expert in genetics that will give you credibility where you think you might lack a welcome. True, I can't speak for all of Pablo's family and friends, but I can speak for mine.

You are the genius — or so the tale will be spun — who solved the puzzle of my apparent infertility. If anyone should wonder about your relationship to the happy couple, the wind will whisper this story and anyone who hears it will quietly thank Great Spirit for bringing you into the lives of the happy young couple. Until recently, it was impossible for me to get pregnant. The fact that Pablo and I worked out that small problem on our own is something that need not be spread any further than the Pentad... and those few we trust the most. I know my Sister holds both you and Charles in high esteem. Because of your help with the children of both Commerce City and Idaho Springs, and because of the compassion you so clearly displayed then and continue to display each time I press you for an update on the children still in your care, I hold you in no less respect than does Madeline.

Of course, there will be remarks about your appearance, Hank. As long as you endeavor not to outshine the bride on her day, I think I will be able to overlook how devilishly handsome you are. In seriousness, though... please don't feel that anyone in our combined family or our dearest friends who have been invited to share our happiness with us will think poorly of you. Yes, they will wonder how the bride happens to know a "mutant." And upon hearing the tale whispered in the wind, they will only care that you have made it possible for the bride and groom to have a family of their own.

You'll garner attention, yes. And everyone who knows my story will find a way to quietly thank you for everything you've done for me. They needn't know that it was Ninja who met you and to whom you offered your assistance. They need only know that you do — for reasons other than they are led to believe — have my eternal gratitude and affection.

I look forward to seeing you on the twenty-seventh.

With love,

# # #

Dearest Andrea,

I can see any further protests will go unheeded, and that I will stand no better chance of changing your mind than I would Madeline's. Therefore, it would be my honor to attend the celebration of your wedding to Pablo.

Warmest regards,

P.S. As I know you would want to be informed immediately, Clarise reports that she has made some progress with young Heather. She is quick to caution that it's still too soon to predict whether or not the child's mind will return, but she is more hopeful than she was yesterday.

# # #

I smile at Hank's email... and can imagine the smile on that delightful blue face of his as he wrote it. I'm glad it didn't take more than a bit of logic and the notion of a whispered story to convince him to come out to Denver for the reception. Maybe I should ask Perry to suggest a hotel... or a bed and breakfast... where Hank would feel most comfortable and be most accepted. It's apparently in the Super Heroes Manual — that I still don't have — that traveling Supers should check in with the local Supers when they pass through a town. Right? And Peregrine is a big deal out here, being Sponsored and all that. Of course, that might give just a little too much attention to the ordinary wedding reception of a couple of humdrum civil servants.

Hmm... well, I have some time to think about it...

And I know Clarise well enough to take her caution to heart, but any sign of improvement — however small it might be — is something for which to be grateful.

© Kelly Naylor