Futurama

Fan Fiction

Married With Children, part 4
By Ramon_51

Apartment 1I, 100 East 123rd Street, June 30, 3004, 0600 (6 a.m.)

Leela paced up and down the empty living room. She was fully dressed, waiting for Brad, XT, and CosmicF to come and move the last bits of furniture out of her apartment and into Fry and her new apartment. She glanced at her Wristamajigy, confirming that it was only fifteen seconds since she last looked at it. “Ooh!” she thought, “Why does time move so slowly when you’re in a hurry?”

The buzzer rang, startling her for a second. She called out, “I’m coming!” and opened the door. Sure enough Brad, XT, and CosmicF were there. What she hadn’t expected to see was Amy, Inez, and Chenxi. She blinked in surprise, “Come on in!”

Inez was first through the door. She was muttering to herself and appeared to be looking for something. Leela gave Amy a “what gives” look. Amy just shrugged her shoulders.

As Inez continued through the house, Leela turned to Brad, XT and CosmicF. She smiled, “Thanks for coming on time guys. This is going to be a crazy day.”

“Not half as crazy as Inez,” CosmicF quipped.

Amy and Chenxi both put their hands over their mouths to muffle their giggles.

Brad turned to XT and CosmicF, “Come on lads. We need to get this lot moved. We’ve all got other things to do before the wedding.”

As he passed on the way to the bedroom to help with the last bits of furniture XT paused and smiled, “Leela, I wish you all the happiness in the world. May Allah bless your marriage and your offspring to the thousandth generation.”

Touched, Leela smiled her warmest smile, “Thank you XT.” She patted him affectionately on the shoulder.

Before he moved off he said, “You are like my sister…my family. Though life and unto death, we are family.”

Leela felt a tear well up in her eye. As she watched him walk into the bedroom, she realized what a good friend he had become. He was steady, reliable, and resourceful. As she was wiping away a tear, Inez wandered back into the room, still muttering in Cantonese.

Inez announced, “The Feng Shui here is perfect!”

“The what?” Leela asked.

““The Feng Shui, it mean wind and water in Mandarin. It how spirits flow through a building. This place is the perfect apartment for my little Amy if she gonna ever get that crazy green man to marry her.”

“Mom! It’s not Kiffie’s fault!”

Inez said something else in rapid fire Cantonese, then resumed in English, “Your green squishy man gonna propose soon. You need to accept. I not getting any younger, you know.”

“Mom, I’m not ready for kids.”

“Maybe you live near some normal people like Fry and Leela, you change mind.”

Amy’s face turned red. Before she could say anything, Leela burst into laughter, “That’s the first time I’ve ever heard Fry and I called normal.” All four women laughed together.

Chenxi spoke up, “Maybe I can move into Amy’s old place. It’s rent controlled, isn’t it?”

Amy nodded her head in reply, afraid that if she spoke it would be the start of another argument with her well-intentioned but highly opinionated mother.

Brad’s voice shouting, “Heave!” caused the women to look toward the bedroom. There Brad and XT were moving the bed, which they had turned on it’s side.

CosmicF was already struggling toward the front door with an end table. Quick as a flash, Chenxi went to the door and opened it. She smiled at CosmicF as he passed into the hallway, following him out.

Brad and XT carried the bed out next. As he passed Brad said, “Only the frame and a few odds and ends to go.”

Leela nodded, “Thanks!”

Amy had recovered her composure and looked at her Wristamajigy, “Look at the time. I’ve got a gazillion things to do before the wedding. Come on mom!”

Inez smiled, “Okay daughter, we can go now. You move in here on 2 July, right after Freedom Day!”

Amy nearly shoved her mom out the door, “Fine mom, fine. Let’s just get Chenxi and get going.”

Inez responded in Cantonese in a tone which said, “Don’t try pushing me around, young lady.”

Leela said, “Thanks for coming!” Then she looked at her Wristamajigy. “Goodness,” she thought, “Amy was right, there’s a lot to do today!”

Mutant Village, the Turanga Residence, June 30, 0730 (7:30 a.m.).

The living room was quiet and dark when Leela entered. She looked around, pausing a moment to listen. A smile flickered across her lips at the sound of her mother softly singing in the kitchen.

Softly closing the door, she padded softly to the kitchen doorway. Once there, she stood gazing at her mother for a moment. Leela was a bit surprised when her mother said without looking around, “Make yourself useful, Morris instead of standing there gazing moonstruck at my beauty.”

Leela gave a short laugh, “Okay mom, I’ll help. I don’t know where dad is right now.”

Munda spun around, with an affectionate smile lighting up her face, “You’re early sweetie. I was just preparing some snacks for us. Kind of a light breakfast.”

“Thanks mom, I’m really hungry. I just couldn’t stay in that empty apartment any more.”

“Well, don’t eat too much. You don’t want to get bloated.”

“Mom!” Leela exclaimed with a giggle.

“You should have heard your father on our wedding night. He sounded like the New-New York Philharmonic wind section. He was nervous and he ate too much.” Then Munda pantomimed someone blown up with gas.

Peals of laughter from both women rang through the kitchen for a few minutes before they regained their composure.

“Mom,” Leela said with a smile as she shook her head, “you shouldn’t tell those kind of stories on dad.”

“What kind of stories?” came Morris’ voice from the top of the stairs.

“Morris, come downstairs and greet your daughter!” Munda called out, “She needs to eat some breakfast before the wedding.”

“I’m coming! I just need to put my shoes on.”

Moments later, Morris was giving Leela a big hug. He held her at arms length, “Look at you. You look positively radiant.” He kissed her gently on the forehead, “Fry is one lucky man.”

“I think I’m pretty lucky too, dad.”

Munda asked, “Morris, could you help me take this into the living room? We can eat off of trays.”

“Sure.” Morris gave Leela a smile, then went to help Munda with one of the trays heaped with food.

“Can I help?” Leela asked.

“Yes,” Munda replied, “by eating your breakfast and enjoying your wedding day.”

“Thanks mom.”

They went into the living room. Morris and Munda sat next to each other on their threadbare couch while Leela sat in the armchair. With trays perched on their knees, they ate in silence.

When they were all finished, Leela said, “Mom that was really great. Thanks. It’s helped calm my jitters.”

“Uh oh,” Morris said, “sounds like girl stuff coming up.” He stood and began to collect the trays, “You ladies sit here and talk. I’ll do the dishes.”

“Thank you, Morris. Don’t forget to rinse them well,” Munda said gently.

“Right,” Morris said as he vanished into the kitchen.

Munda and Leela sat in silence until the sound of running water and clinking dishes emanated from the kitchen. Then Leela asked, “Mom, were you nervous before your wedding?”

Munda was silent for a moment before answering. When she answered, her voice was full of emotion, “Yes sweetie. I was so nervous that I couldn’t eat all day. “

“What were you nervous about?”

“Oy! What was I nervous about?” Munda seemed lost in memories, “That I’d trip going down the aisle…that everyone would think my wedding dress was ugly…that I wouldn’t be able to speak on the altar…that I wouldn’t please your father on our wedding night…a million and one things. I kept anticipating a disaster that never happened.”

“Really, mom? You worried about all that stuff?”

Munda gave a laugh as she remembered an incident from her wedding, so long ago. “Leela,” she said with a smile, “the only thing that happened out of the ordinary was when your cousin Ralph passed out from drinking too much coffee.”

“Where did he pass out?”

“Right in the middle of the dance floor. Plop! Like a stone!” Munda laughed again at the thought. “Poor Ralph…he never could hold his coffee.”

Leela laughed at the thought of her cousin Ralph, who she knew slightly, collapsing on the dance floor.

“What about liquor?”

“Like a fish, that man could drink! The stuff never bothered him, but coffee is another matter.”

Leela laughed briefly. Then a look of concern crossed her face as she thought, “What if something goes wrong?”

Munda reached out to pat Leela on the knee, “Don’t worry sweetie. This is going to be the best wedding ever held in the Mutant Village…trust me.”

Leela sighed before she said fervently, “From your mouth to God’s ear.”

Apartment 5I, 100 East 123rd Street, June 30, 3004, 0900 (9:00 a.m.).

“There!” Fry thought as he stepped back to survey the results of his work, “this bedroom is really set up for a romantic wedding night!”

A dozen Altarian Blue Roses each were arranged in two vases at the head of the bed. Fry had placed scented candles at strategic locations around the room. He’d even put new sheets and a bedspread on their bed…all in soft pastels.

“Pastels,” he mused, “that was definitely Amy’s idea.” Amy had offered him a lot of advice on ‘what a woman wants’ in a romantic setting. But he had added a few touches himself.

Fry had rigged their stereo system to play some very romantic music…real classics. He’d even gotten a full bag of rose petals to scatter all over the living room and bedroom. Sight, sound, and smell were all taken care of.

He’s even gotten Amy to promise to mind Nibbler for him. She was due to pick him up in just a few minutes. He wanted no distractions.

Amy had laughed when he had said, “Can you imagine Nibbler jumping on the bed when we are…well…you know? What a mood killer.”

“I’m walking on sunshine, oh, oh!” Fry began to sing cheerfully as he walked through the apartment, making sure that everything was absolutely perfect. A series of guttural sounds caused Fry to look down and see that Nibbler was following him.

“Hi Nibbler,” Fry said cheerfully. Nibbler responded by yapping and growling as he jumped up and down. Fry bent over and picked him up, “I bet you miss Leela, just like I do.”

Nibbler began to purr as Fry scratched his belly. With a sudden note of solemnity Fry said, “You know Nibbler, we are all one of a kind…Leela, you, and me. Maybe that’s why we belong together.” He shook his head, “Listen to me, I must be getting loopy from the excitement. If anyone saw me talking to you, they’d think I was losing it.”

He stroked Nibbler’s fur for a few minutes before putting him down, “Well, it will be time to head down to the church soon. I wonder where Amy is?”

As if in answer to his question, the buzzer rang. “That will be Amy,” Fry said. He was right. When the door opened, Amy stood there with Inez and a tall, thin, middle-aged man in a pearl grey chauffeur’s uniform. Fry was struck at once by the aura of calm that the man seemed to give off.

“Amy, Inez, how nice to see you both!”

“Yeah, yeah,” Inez said dismissively, “we gonna take that Nibbler off your hands for your wedding night. Where is he?”

Fry turned around and pointed to the kitchen, where Nibbler was busily lapping water from a bowl.

Inez turned around to the chauffer, “Henry, go get funny looking thing and take it to my apartment. Take good care of it, OK?”

In a distinctly English accent, Henry replied, “Yes, Madame.”

Fry watched with interest as Henry went to pick Nibbler up.

Amy glanced around the apartment, “Nice job, Fry,” she said admiringly.

He shrugged, looking embarrassed, “Thanks, a lot of this was your idea.”

They were distracted from their conversation when Nibbler gave a series of low pitched guttural sound that meant he liked someone as Henry picked him up.

“Nibbler really likes you,” Fry said in a surprised tone.

“Yes, sir,” Henry replied, “I find that most animals can read my love of all living things from a distance.”

“We’ll take good care of him,” Amy interjected as she laid her hand reassuringly on Fry’s arm, “I don’t mean to be rude, but we really have to get going.”

Fry glanced at the clock on the wall and replied, “Holy smokes! So do I! There’s no way I’m going to be late today!”

Mutant Village, Meeting Room, Church of the Alpha and the Omega, June 30, 3004, 1000 (10:00 a.m.).

Amy came into the meeting room with a look of grim determination on her face. This was going to be a perfect wedding, or her name wasn’t Amy Wong!

Her visage softened a bit when she saw that Elzar himself was there, making the catering preparations. Hearing her enter, Elzar glanced in her direction, “Bam! I told you that I was going to make this a first class affair for a third class price…and I meant it.”

“I believe you, Elzar.”

Scanning the room minutely, Amy noted with some satisfaction that the decorations were all in place just exactly as she had ordered them. If there was one thing Amy liked, it was having her way. Still, she punched a few keys on her Wristamajigy to summon Henry to have a look at the decorations.

At times Amy worried that she was going to grow into her mother…a pushy, domineering, opinionated woman. Amy smiled at the thought of what Chenxi had said earlier in the week, “Your mother has suffered in so many ways, but never in silence.” “How true that was,” she mused.

Satisfied that everything was on track, her thoughts turned to Kif. She wondered if she would ever…could ever…settle down. “If I do settle down,” she thought, “it will be with Kif. He is the sweetest man in the universe.”

“How is our brood on Amphibios 9 doing?” she wondered. Once she had told Kif how she often worried about them. He had laughed softly, “Amy my love, they will be fine. Out of any brood no more than 10 percent survive to adulthood. That means in another 18 years, you’ll have four or five fully adult offspring.”

She shook her head. The thought of abandoning babies, even amphibians, to the mercy of nature had seemed so wrong to her, but she trusted Kif implicitly. What had surprised her was when the doctor had told her she could become pregnant by Kif. That idea had taken some getting used to.

Elzar interrupted her thoughts, “Do you want spicy or mild slug fritters on the buffet?”

It took Amy a moment to focus on Elzar’s question and give an answer, “Mild. My dad gets terrible nightmarish diarrhea from spicy.”

The thought of the billionaire Leo Wong in such a state apparently amused Elzar, for he gave a short barking laugh. The withering look Amy gave him wiped the smile from his face. Chastised, Elzar retreated back to puttering around the long tables piled high with food.

Henry entered the room at that moment. In his usual dignified yet deferential manner, he asked, “Does Madame require my services?”

“Yes Henry.” She said with a smile, for she genuinely liked him. “I’d like your opinion. Have I over decorated?”

Henry swept the room thoroughly with his eyes. After a short interval he replied, “No Madame, everything is done to perfection.”

The smile of pleasure that flickered across Amy’s face pleased Henry. He had known Amy since her birth. His attitude to her was that of a bachelor uncle towards a favorite niece. Still, he was only a servant, “Will that be all Madame?”

“Yes thank you, Henry.”

“Very good Madame,” he said before withdrawing to the car to resume petting Nibbler.

Amy took one last look around. Everything was going to go well. Now she needed to take the short walk to Morris and Munda’s house where she would change into her Maid of Honor gown.

“Who knows?” she thought, “Maybe my next gown will be a wedding gown.” With that happy thought, she strode out the door whistling softly.

Mutant Village, Sanctuary, Church of the Alpha and the Omega, June 30, 3004, 1100 (11:00 a.m.).

Everyone in the wedding party had arrived. First to arrive was Fry, sporting a smile that went from ear-to-ear. His enthusiasm made Rabbi Liebgott think of that of a thoroughbred race horse at the starting gate.

Hermes and LaBarbara had arrived next, with Dwight and Cubert in tow. The Professor had straggled in muttering complaints, along with Bender and Melissa. Amy and Kif had arrived shortly after, with Mr. Vogel on their heels. He was holding Albert and Sally by the hand.

When he arrived, he announced, “I have to get back out there to watch the other children.”

Rabbi Liebgott motioned with his hands, “So bring the children in already! They could catch such a cold!”

Mr. Vogel nodded his assent vigorously. Then he looked at Fry, “It was so nice of Leela and you to invite all of the children.”

Fry smiled and shrugged, “It was the least we could do.”

Sarah, Chelsea, and Caitlyn arrived and began to set up their band equipment. The ushers, XT, CosmicF, Brad, James and Zoidberg were the last to arrive. Rabbi Liebgott watched them mill about for a moment before he said quietly, “Let’s all please take a seat.”

They all took seats, except for Amy, who continued pacing back and forth. “Shpilkes,” Rabbi Liebgott thought. He smiled at Amy, “So what’s with the pacing? Everything will turn out just fine.”

Amy smiled back; for she had come to respect Rabbi Liebgott in the short time she had known him. After all, not many clergy of any type would descend into the sewers to perform a wedding.

“I’m Okay, Rabbi. Honestly, I’m better off if I pace.”

Shrugging his shoulders, Rabbi Liebgott said teasingly, “So, you’ll keep pacing during the ceremony?”

Amy stopped, “No.” Then she laughed, “All right, I’ll sit down.”

Once Amy sat down, the Rabbi ran through the wedding ceremony. He found that he couldn’t help noticing something odd about James. While he was reminding them of the vital part the ushers would play it hit him, “He’s wearing some sort of theatrical makeup!”

Sarah and Zoidberg had done their best to help James conceal his orange tinted skin, but their success was incomplete. They had succeeded in making James look like was a refugee from a berserk tanning bed.

“EXCELSIOR!” Bender bellowed causing everyone to jump.

“Oy vey!” Rabbi Liebgott said, “Bender, you’ll remember to turn off your voice box for the wedding?”

“Relax, meatbag.” Bender grumbled, “I’ve got it under control.” With that said Bender reached into his chest cavity and flicked a switch. He was now silent until after the ceremony.

Fry touched Bender’s shoulder, “Thanks, old buddy.”

“Who has the rings?” Rabbi Liebgott asked.

Fry reached into his pocket. “Here they are Rabbi,” he said as he fished the two boxes out.

Rabbi Liebgott took them in his hand. Then he walked over to Albert. He knelt down on one knee before him and said in a solemn voice as he looked him in the eye, “Your name is Albert isn’t it?”

“Yes sir.”

“Albert, as the ring bearer, you must guard these rings very carefully. Can you do that?”

The sound of Albert’s “gulp” seemed to echo through the Sanctuary. His voice quavered slightly as he replied, “Yes sir.”

With a reassuring smile, Rabbi Liebgott handed the rings to Albert. He reached out and patted his cheek before standing up.

The band began to tune their instruments as Rabbi Liebgott resumed his place in front of everyone. He held his hand up said in a solemn tone, “May the Lord bless you and keep you. Now you all know what you are supposed to do. Let’s make this a wedding that everyone will remember.”

Mutant Village, Sacristy, Church of the Alpha and the Omega, June 30, 3004, 1145 (11:45 a.m.).

Peeking out from the Sacristy, Fry could see that the church was rapidly filling up. Morris and Munda were not there yet…but Munda would come in just before Leela anyway. Morris would walk Leela down the aisle…just like rehearsal.

“Gosh,” Fry thought, “rehearsal seems like a million years ago.”

He noted with some satisfaction that most of the inhabitants of the Mutant Village were already there on both sides of the aisle. Leela and he had agreed that there would be no bride or groom’s side. Everyone would be seated together…regardless of genetic heritage.

A smile crossed Fry’s face as he saw his attorney, Joseph Kershaw enter the church dressed in a conservative suit and red bow tie, as always. Judy entered on the arm of Brad. Behind them came her fiancé. “What was his name…Lip?” Fry wondered before the sound of Hermes tuning up the church organ brought him back to the present.

Ducking back into the Sacristy, Fry could not keep from dancing with sheer joy. He began to dance, play air guitar and sing, “I’m walking on sunshine, oh, oh!” He stopped at the sound of applause. Embarrassed, he wheeled to see a smiling Rabbi Liebgott standing there.

“Hello Rabbi.” He said in a tone of embarrassment.

“Fry, I’ve done hundreds of weddings. But never have I seen a groom dance with joy before the wedding.”

Consulting his watch, Fry felt his heart begin to pump faster. Only two more minutes until he and the Rabbi would go out into the Sanctuary to await his bride!

Rabbi Liebgott touched Fry on his forearm, “Are you ready to go?”

“Ready…heck no! I’m eager, I’m overjoyed!”

“Then let’s go.”

They strode into the Sanctuary and onto the Altar. Fry took his place on the Rabbi’s right.

Then the procession from the back of the church began. Munda entered, wearing a plain, but hardly patched blue dress. By mutant tradition, only the bride was permitted an unpatched dress at a wedding.

Bender and Amy, the Professor and Melissa, and Kif and LaBarbara, each took their turn coming down the aisle. Bender wore a bow tie and monocle. The groomsmen wore pearl grey tuxedos that were a counterpoint to the light blue gowns worn by the ladies.

Once all the bridesmaids and groomsmen were assembled, Fry stole a look at his watch. Only two minutes to go. He gave the biggest smile he had ever given in his life. It was such a smile that everyone in the church remarked that they had never seen a happier looking groom.

Seated next to “Lip” Lipford and Judy, Kershaw had leaned over and said in a low voice, “That boy is grinning like a raccoon eating fish guts out of a wire brush.”

Lip snorted to suppress a laugh. Without moving her head, Judy’s eyestalks swiveled to glare at both Lip and Kershaw. That effectively silenced them.

“Men!” she thought with a mild feeling of annoyance.

Hermes began playing a version of a Haydn minuet when little Albert began to solemnly walk down the aisle, bearing the rings. He walked with the deliberation of a soldier going through a minefield. When he reached the Altar, he took his place beside Bender. Fry could see the sheen of nervous perspiration on the little guy’s face.

“Psst, Albert.”

Albert looked at Fry, who gave him a wink and a ‘thumbs up’ sign. It pleased Fry to see Albert relax a bit.

Next came Sally, whose face mirrored the joy that Fry felt. She smiled at everyone as she strew rose petals the entire length of the aisle. She took her place at Amy’s side, smiling still.

The doors to the Sanctuary opened once again. The sound of “Here Comes the Bride” rang through the Sanctuary.

Rabbi Liebgott said in a low voice, “Okay everyone. It’s Showtime!”

Mutant Village, Sanctuary, Church of the Alpha and the Omega, June 30, 3004, 1200 (12:00 p.m.).

Morris glanced at his daughter as Sally went through the door into the Sanctuary. Leela’s face was hard to see beneath the veil, but even so she radiated a happiness that made Morris’ heart glow. “My little girl is getting married,” he thought, “and to a surface dweller! Who’d of thought it?”

Aware that her father was looking at her, Leela whispered, “Don’t get too emotional on me dad or I’ll never make it through the ceremony.”

“Right.”

“Dad, has Sally made it to the Altar yet?”

“No. Just a few more seconds. OK, she’s there. Let’s go.”

They both stepped off together to make the long trip down the aisle.

The crowd, which had risen to its feet at the first notes of the Wedding March, gave a collective murmur of admiration as they saw Leela. Clad from head to foot in pristine white, she looked every inch a bride.

Her tiara and veil combination were perfectly adjusted. While not entirely obscuring her features, the veil lent the perfect air of mystery and anticipation to the moment. She managed her long silk dress perfectly as she came done the aisle on her father’s arm.

“Careful,” she though to herself, “don’t trip. Don’t hurry. Smile for everyone. Don’t get nervous.”

Rabbi Liebgott’s voice seemed to echo in her head, “Don’t look at the Altar until you get there. That’s what causes most brides to panic, so just look at the crowd or the aisle about ten feet in front of you. Whatever you do, don’t look at the Altar until you get there.”

Leela surveyed the crowd packing the church. It seemed as though the entire Mutant Village was there, along with everyone she and Fry had invited from the surface. She was pleased to see them all.

Unlike many brides, Leela did not have to fight a sudden impulse to speed up her pace. This was her moment, one she would never have again. She was the bride, the absolute center of attention, and the envy of every woman there.

The thought crossed her mind that she had married Fry once before, during their misadventures with the time skips. “That doesn’t count,” she thought, “I don’t even remember most of it.”

On the other hand, she knew that she would remember these moments for the rest of her life. Smiling, she basked in the glow of love and positive emotion that seemed to radiate from the crowd. “Yes,” she murmured softly, “this really is my day.”

Standing on the Altar, Fry was awestruck by Leela’s appearance. At the first sight of her, his smile brightened. As she approached the Altar, Fry’s heart felt as though it was going to leap out of his chest. For the first time the realization struck him with full force; she was really going to marry him after all!

Rabbi Liebgott had been keeping a close eye on Fry. When he saw Fry begin to tremble as Leela approached, he touched Fry’s elbow and whispered, “Easy Philip, you don’t want to spoil the moment for her by attracting attention to yourself. This is her time.”

The sound of the Rabbi’s voice calmed Fry instantly. It did not wipe the ear-to-ear grin from Fry’s face, however.

Now Leela could see her mother, standing in the front row. Munda was smiling sweetly as she dabbed at her eye with a handkerchief. Leela longed to rush over and embrace her mother, but she knew that her mother’s tears were tears of joy.

A few steps more and Leela caught sight of the wedding party on the Altar. She almost froze in her tracks when she saw Fry’s wide grin. “That grin,” she thought, “It drives me crazy!” Leela made a mental note to really eat him alive tonight.

Now she stood at the foot of the Altar, ready to ascend. “Only three small steps, Leela” she said to herself softly. With her father’s assistance, she ascended the steps. Her father whispered, “Take your place, honey. I love you.”

Leela took her place on Rabbi Liebgott’s left, glancing over at Fry. She couldn’t help but smile at the sight of a man who was obviously so happy. The last strains of the Wedding March fell silent. Rabbi Liebgott motioned to everyone to be seated. He whispered, “Ready?”

Both Fry and Leela nodded.

“Good. Let’s begin.”

Mutant Village, Sanctuary, Church of the Alpha and the Omega, June 30, 3004, 1205 (12:05 p.m.).

Rabbi Liebgott smiled as he cast his voice out into the crowd, “"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the presence of this company, to unite Fry and Leela in holy matrimony. Marriage was ordained by God and is declared to be honorable among all men. On this occasion we begin by asking God's blessing on this marriage service. Let us pray."

Everyone bowed their head for the prayer and closed their eyes. Unfortunately, when Albert bowed his head, one of the rings rolled off the cushion in his hands. It rolled beneath the seats before it came to rest squarely between the unsuspecting Rebecca Robotowitz’ feet.

Albert was in a panic. What should he do? Before he could do anything, Bender came to the rescue. He stealthily popped one of his eyes out, grasped it in his right hand and snaked his right arm out in search of the wayward ring.

He found it soon enough. However, to grasp the ring, he had to set his eyeball down. Unfortunately for Bender, his eyeball was pointed straight up Rebecca’s dress.

As he was slipping the ring on, but before he could retrieve his eye, Rebecca happened to glance down at the floor. Her instant reaction was to stomp on Bender’s hand. She was ready to rip that arm right out of its socket. Then she noticed the wedding ring on Bender’s finger.

She glanced up and saw both Bender and Albert looking at her pleadingly. It dawned on her what had happened, so she took her foot off Bender’s hand which swiftly withdrew with both ring and eyeball intact. The ring was back in its place on the cushion just before the Rabbi said, “Amen!”

Rabbi Liebgott turned to Fry, “Philip, do you have a passage of Scripture you would like to read to Leela?”

Fry nodded. He took a slip of paper from his pocket and read, “This is from the Song of Solomon, Chapter 8. It says, ‘Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

The crowd murmured their approval.

Then the Rabbi turned to Leela. “Leela, is there a passage of Scripture you would like to recite to Philip?”

Leela nodded and said, “When I was in the Orphanarium, Mr. Vogel used to read this every week. I learned it by heart. It is from the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. She cleared her throat and spoke in clear, measured tones, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

Out in the audience, several people began to dab at their eyes. Leela noticed them, but continued without pausing.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Now there were audible sobs coming from the pews. Amy and LaBarbara had begun to wipe away tears as well. Still, Leela continued on.

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

There was a moment of profound silence punctuated by sniffles and muffled sobs. It lasted until Rabbi Liebgott – who had been forced to dash away a tear or two – turned to face Morris and Munda. He asked, “Who gives this woman away to be married to this man?”

Both Morris and Munda rose before answering, “We do.” Then they sat down.

Pausing for a moment, Rabbi Liebgott looked out over the crowd in the Sanctuary before solemnly intoning, “If there is anyone who knows of any reason why these two should not be joined together in the bonds of holy matrimony, let them speak now…or forever hold their peace.”

After a moment’s pause in which no sound came from the crowd, the Rabbi turned to Fry.

“Do you, Philip J. Fry take Turanga Leela to be your wife? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish and protect her, forsaking all others and holding only unto her for long as you both shall live?"

Fry felt lightheaded, but he answered in a voice that was clearly filled with joy, "I do" “Do you, Turanga Leela take Philip J. Fry to be your husband? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish and protect him, forsaking all others and holding only unto him for long as you both shall live?"

In what sounded to Fry like the voice of an angel, Leela responded, "I do"

The Rabbi turned to Albert with a smile, “The rings, please.”

Albert stepped forward. He had a nervous smile plastered on his face, but his hands were rock steady. Unbeknownst to him, Bender was poised to move swiftly if another disaster looked in the making.

In a solemn voice, Rabbi Liebgott intoned, “The giving and taking of rings has been practiced for as long as recorded history. These rings serve as outward symbols of your love and devotion to each other. Philip, I invite you to place the ring on Leela’s finger. Leela, I invite you to do the same for Philip.”

With trembling hands, Fry took the gold band from the purple velvet cushion. He took Leela’s left hand in his as he poised the ring to slide it onto her finger. He took a deep breath before he said, “With this ring, I thee wed; all my love, I do thee give."

Smiling beneath the veil as she felt the ring slide onto her finger, Leela reflected for a few seconds on how nervous Fry was, but how well he was doing. She was conscious of being proud of him. Then she took his left hand in hers to place the wedding band in place as she said, “With this ring, I thee wed; all my love, I do thee give."

The Rabbi smiled broadly, “By the authority invested in me by the City and State of New-New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife.” After a short pause, he added with a twinkle in his eye, “You may kiss the bride.”

Fry raised the veil to gaze for the first time at Leela as his wife! In his eyes, she never looked lovelier. “This time,” he reflected, “I won’t have a flower arrangement stuffed down my throat.”

Leela smiled seductively just as their lips met. Their kiss was one of pure love, a love that had endured many trials during their trip to the Altar, but it was a love that had persevered.

When they parted, they faced the crowd in the Sanctuary, which had risen to their feet. In a booming voice, Rabbi Liebgott announced, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Philip J. Fry!”

The cheer that exploded forth form the crowd seemed to raise the roof. All Fry could think was, “My God! She’s really mine at last!”

Mutant Village, Sanctuary, Church of the Alpha and the Omega, June 30, 3004, 1230 (12:30 p.m.).

Hermes and the all-girl band of Sarah, Chelsea and Caitlyn struck up the recessional. Fry and Leela stepped off arm-in-arm, in perfect unison, the ideal bride and groom. Beaming smiles at the crowd, they moved regally down the aisle. Every eye in the Sanctuary was riveted on them.

Once they transited the aisle, they made a sharp left. They walked down a paneled hallway into the area that held the church offices. At the second door on the right they paused. Fry opened the door, holding it for Leela as she entered the senior pastors’ office. It was a large, comfortable office suite complete with a desk, leather couch, several overstuffed leather chairs. It even had a bathroom with a shower.

Fry took Leela’s hand in his, “Well, all we have to do is wait for Bender to come and get us for our ‘Grand Entrance’ into the reception.”

She smiled, “Then why don’t we sit on the couch and wait, like the old married couple that we are?”

“Old married couple,” Fry said as though tasting the words, “yeah, I like the sound of that…I like it a lot.” He grinned at her, a full-force Fry-at-his-best grin. Like all of his best grins, it got results from Leela.

With a speed that amazed Fry, Leela embraced him like she had on the Titanic. She planted a kiss that made his toes tingle. Then it felt as though his bones had melted. He went limp, reveling in the warmth of their kiss.

Then he began to kiss her back - passionately. Fry returned Leela’s embrace, his arms encircling her and pulling her close. Now it was Leela’s turn to feel light headed. “Wow,” she thought, “Phil has never kissed me like that before!”

Without even realizing it, they sank to the couch. This time, it was Leela who came to her senses first. “Phil,” she almost gasped, “we have to go to the reception in a few minutes.”

“Oh,” he gasped, “right!”

Releasing each other, they sat side-by-side. The only sound in the room was their ragged breathing slowly returning to normal. Fry reached out and took Leela by the hand. Their fingers intertwined as they sat there quietly.

Leela spoke first, “It was really a lovely ceremony.”

“Yeah, it couldn’t have been lovelier.”

“Phil, were you nervous?”

Fry thought for a moment before answering, “A little. The only thing I was worried was that you’d come to your senses and run away.” He paused before continuing, “Were you nervous?”

Biting her lip thoughtfully, Leela replied, “Yes, I was nervous before my dad took me down the aisle. But once I entered the Sanctuary, my nervousness all went away.” She smiled, “I used the techniques Rabbi Liebgott told me to keep from panicking.” Then she suddenly giggled, “As you can see, they worked really well. I didn’t bolt on you.”

Fry nodded in reply and they lapsed into silence. Looking down at their clasped hands, Fry thought back to the first time he and Leela had held hands. “It was down in the ruins of Old New York,” he mused, “it felt like electricity ran through my body when she placed her hand on mine.”

How many times had he dreamt of a moment like this? How many tears had he shed in silence, bitter tears of longing and frustration? Well that was the past, now they were married…joined together forever if he had anything to say about it.

At his side, Leela felt shame as she thought of all the times she had spurned Fry. She realized now what the problem had been. She had wanted to feel secure with a man in a way that Fry had not made her feel secure. “What a fool you were,” Leela admonished herself mentally, “to equate security in a relationship with anything other than the commitment of the other partner.”

Leela realized that Fry has shown more commitment than she has ever encountered. His dogged devotion to her in the face of all troubles had finally made her realize that he was the one man for her. “Thank you God, that I didn’t lose him,” she breathed.

Fry looked at her, “I’m sorry?”

She smiled as she turned and lovingly patted his cheek, “Nothing, dear.”

There was a rap at the door. Without waiting for a reply, Bender came into the office. He looked somehow disappointed as he boomed out, “Time for the reception meatbags.”

Fry and Leela stood up together, still holding hands. Bender found that, in spite of himself, deep within his circuits he was growing used to the idea of Fry and Leela as a married couple. He envied his friends for the closeness they’d found, but…being Bender…he wasn’t about to show it.

Instead, he said sarcastically, “I half expected to find you two mammals breeding in here. That’s why I knocked.”

Leela confused him by answering him sweetly, “Thank you Bender.”

Grumbling to himself, Bender turned and left the room, heading for the reception.

Fry turned to Leela, “Are you ready, Mrs. Fry?”

Leela laid her head on his shoulder briefly before responding, “Yes Mr. Fry, I am ready, willing and eager.”

“Then let’s go.”

Mutant Village, Meeting Hall, Church of the Alpha and the Omega, June 30, 3004, 1310 (1:10 p.m.).

When Fry and Leela made their “Grand Entrance” Leela was impressed with the lavish decorations and the organization of the room. Amy had arranged the room with a single rectangular head table at one end. Two rows of ten circular tables ran perpendicular to each end of the head table for a total of twenty-one tables.

The hall was festooned with silver and white streamers that crisscrossed the ceiling as well. Each table was done in silver and white, including the centerpieces, which featured a dozen white roses apiece. The floor was strewn with Blue Altarian Rose petals, perfuming the air with their fragrance.

Leela and Fry took their seats at the head table along with the rest of the wedding party. At the head table, from left to right sat Hermes and LaBarbara Conrad, Turanga Morris and Munda, Albert and Sally, Fry and Leela, Bender, Kif Kroker and Amy Wong, the Professor, and Melissa.

To the right of the head table sat the rest of the Planet Express crowd. Starting at the top of the table sat James Martindale and Sarah Foster, XT and Chelsea, CosmicF and Chenxi Wong, Zoidberg, Caitlyn, Brad and Katrina, Cubert Farnsworth and Dwight Conrad.

To the left of the head table sat friends and family. Beginning at the top of the table sat Leo and Inez Wong, Anthony “Lip” Lipford and Judy, Joseph Kershaw, two of Leela’s cousins – Carla and Betty with their dates, and Dwayne and Wanda.

Seated at the next table were all of the children from Orphanarium, chaperoned by Mr. Vogel and Rebecca. The rest of the tables were packed with friends and family from across the Galaxy. They were all in a festive mood, filling the hall with joyful chatter.

The room was relatively silent during the buffet-style dinner. There was a small amount of chatter, but the loudest sounds were the clinking of cutlery on plate. Elzar had outdone himself. The crowd consumed Neptunian Slug, Buggalo wings, Space Roc Eggs, and Slug Fritters by the tray full. As one guest later said, “If anyone went away hungry, it was their own fault.”

After a buffet style dinner, the dancing began. Fry led Leela onto the floor, where they danced to a big band song they had first heard over Armed Forces Radio in June of 1944, My Everything.

You are to me…everything,

My life to me…everything,

When in my dreams you appear,

There stars and deep blue appear,

Each time our lips…touch again,

I yearn for you…so much again,

You are my favorite star,

My haven in heaven above,

You are everything I love.”

When Leela and Fry sat back down, Albert asked Fry, “Can I go talk to some of the other guests?”

Fry smiled as he looked at Albert’s chubby, sincere face, “Sure.”

Albert slid from his seat and scooted off to talk to the other kids from the Orphanarium. Sally remained where she was, chatting like a magpie with Munda. When Morris and Munda got up for their dance, Sally sat patiently. As soon as Munda returned, they resumed their conversation right where they had left off.

While waiting for the wedding party to finish their round of dances, James and Sarah sat silently, holding hands. James was thinking about a proper way to pop the question when he heard Albert’s voice, “Excuse me, Mr. Martindale, but do you mind if I ask you some questions about police work?”

James turned to see Albert standing there with a smile on his rotund face. James nodded, “Sure Albert, what do you want to know?”

“Are you a real cop?”

James’ brow furrowed, “I guess that depends on what you call real. I’m a licensed private investigator.”

“Oh.” Albert sounded slightly disappointed.

Sarah spoke up, “If you’re looking for a Peeler, then you might want to talk to that bloke over there.” She pointed at Lip and continued, “He’s fair dinkum.”

Although he hadn’t understood exactly what Sarah had said, Albert guessed that the tall man in the long coat was some sort of policeman. He smiled at Sarah, “Thank you, ma’am.” Then he took off to talk to Lip.

“Ma’am!” Sarah gave a short laugh as Albert walked away, “I shall be getting myself a white wig and a cane shortly.” She shook her head in amusement, “Lord! But that does make me feel old being called Ma’am!”

James squeezed her hand affectionately as he said with a grin, “No worries, mate! I think you’ve a long way to go before you need a cane.”

She smiled at James’ using the word mate. She touched his cheek affectionately, “That’s mighty thoughtful of you Jimbo!” She gave another short laugh, “It looks like the party’s open for all comers. Care to take the old Battleaxe out onto the floor?”

“You don’t mind being seen with a fugitive from a berserk tanning bed?”

“Crikey,” she said through her laughter, “you sure know how to make this Sheila laugh.”

Before James could respond, Sarah threw her arms around his neck and gave him a passionate kiss. As he was recovering, she looked into his eyes and breathed in a husky voice, “Faint heart ne’er won fair lady Jimbo. Now let’s get onto that dance floor before I shock the children.”

James replied with some difficulty, “Right away, my love, right away.”

Mutant Village, Meeting Hall, Church of the Alpha and the Omega, June 30, 3004, 1400 (2:00 p.m.).

Albert gingerly approached the table where “Lip” Lipford sat talking to Judy. He didn’t want to be rude, so he stood at a short distance away waiting for a break in the conversation. When he judged that the time was right, he stepped forward.

“Excuse me sir,” he asked, “are you a policeman?”

Lip turned slightly in his seat to size Albert up. Giving a half smile he asked in a friendly way, “Who wants to know?”

“Oh, I’m sorry sir. My name is Albert and Mr. Martindale told me you were a policeman. I don’t mean to bother you.”

“That’s okay, kid.” Lip paused for a moment before sticking out his hand, “I’m Detective Sergeant Anthony Lipford. My friends call me Lip.”

With his most adult look on his face, Albert reached out to shake Lip’s hand. His hand disappeared in Lip’s for a moment as they shook hands. Albert was amazed at Lip’s gentleness. When they completed the handshake, Albert asked tentatively, “Do you mind if I ask you some questions?”

“Sure Albert, go right ahead.”

“How long have you been a policeman?”

Lip rubbed his chin, “Let me see…if my memory serves me right…I’ve been on the force for twelve years.”

Albert looked impressed, “Wow! It normally takes that long just to make detective!”

A smile flickered across Lip’s face as he regarded Albert a bit more closely. “Few kids his age would know that,” passed through Lip’s mind before he said, “So Albert, are you interested in being a cop?”

“Yes sir, but everybody says I’m too fat and clumsy.”

“Don’t let ‘em rain on your parade, Kid.” Lip said with a sudden fierce conviction in his voice. Everyone at the table stopped talking at the sound. Lip paused long enough foe everyone to resume their conversations, then he leaned closer to Albert.

Lip whispered conspiratorially, “Know what they used to call me?”

“No sir.”

Porky.”

Albert’s face reflected the surprise in his voice, “Porky?”

“Yup. Sometimes they called me Chubs or Fatso…or Dorkford.” He smiled, “But the laugh is on them now.”

“Wow.”

“Kid, if you want to be a cop…go for it.” Lip’s jaw was firmly set, as if he was ready to start throwing punches, “There are always plenty of jerks who will want to pull you down, but don’t you let them.”

“No sir.”

Reaching out to briefly tousle Albert’s hair, Lip said in a voice tinged with emotion, “You remind me of myself at your age. My old man was a cop and I wanted to be just like him. One day when I was twelve, he went to work and never came home. He was killed in the line of duty.”

When Lip saw tears beginning to well in Albert’s eyes, he quickly changed his tone, “Hey, how’d you like to come down to Headquarters for a tour?”

Albert snuffled briefly, and then exclaimed joyously, “Wow! Would I? I mean, yes sir, I certainly would.”

“Good. I’ll come get you from the Orphanarium tomorrow.”

Albert burst into tears, hugging Lip fiercely. Lip hugged him back, murmuring, “It’s okay Tiger, it’s okay.”

Once Albert had cried himself out, Lip said, “You sit here with Judy and me for the rest of this shindig, okay?”

“Okay.”

For the rest of the reception Albert sat with Judy and Lip, chatting away with them whenever they weren’t on the dance floor. For the first time in his young life, Albert felt really at home.

Mutant Village, Meeting Hall, Church of the Alpha and the Omega, June 30, 3004, 1500 (3:00 p.m.).

The party was still going strong when Joseph Kershaw came up to the table where James and Sarah were taking a short break from dancing. Kershaw asked politely in his soft South Carolina accent, “Wonderful party, isn’t it Mr. Martindale?”

James regarded Kershaw with a bit of a surprise, “Mr. Martindale? Why Mr. Kershaw, I believe you want to talk some business!”

Pulling a face, Kershaw nodded, “Unfortunately I must intrude for a moment.” Then he bowed politely to Sarah, “With your permission, Sarah.”

Sarah half-rose, “Righto, I’ll just make myself scarce for a moment or two.”

Kershaw motioned for her to remain seated, “Please, that will not be necessary.” He gave her a charming smile, “I would not deprive James for an instant of the company of one of the fairest flowers at this gathering.”

Sarah gave a merry peal of laughter, “You make me sound like a bonzer Sheila.”

When Sarah finished laughing, Kershaw resumed, “James, I stand in urgent need of your talents.”

“What’s the job?”

Kershaw took a seat next to James, “Someone is pushing very hard behind the scenes to invoke the Mutant Edicts. I want to know who is doing the pushing and why.”

“Isn’t Poopenmeyer behind it?”

“James, I can scarcely credit that a man of your intellect would believe that for a moment.” A sour look crossed Kershaw’s face, “Poopenmeyer is so dumb he can scarcely get through a doorway without hitting his head.”

Both James and Sarah laughed at the remark and Kershaw joined in. Then he continued in a serious tone, “This terrorism business is being carefully orchestrated by someone with a lot more grey matter, and malice, than old C. Randall could ever manage.”

“I take it you have some compelling interest in this matter?”

“Yes, I do. On the 4th of July I will be filing a brief in Federal Court to annul the Mutant Edicts as unconstitutional. I am certain I’ll win the case.”

James nodded in agreement, “Okay. I’ll take the job. My usual rates apply.”

“Done, sir.”

As Sarah had sat listening to the conversation her curiosity was roused. When it appeared that Kershaw was preparing to leave, Sarah asked, “Jimbo, I’ve noticed that Mr. Kershaw has been a regular wall flower this evening. Do you mind if I take him for a dance?”

“No,” James said with an enigmatic smile, “I have no objection at all.”

Kershaw held his hands up in protest, “Really, I could not impose…”

“Surely you would not be so ungallant as to refuse a lady a dance.” Sarah said in her best imitation of a southern accent.

Kershaw chuckled, “Very well, but I fear that I am not much of a dancer. I’ve not had much practice, you see.”

“We’ll soon fix that.”

They moved onto the dance floor. James watched them go and thought, “What’s she on to, I wonder?”

Sarah and Kershaw made small talk for a minute or two before Sarah asked the question that was on her mind, “Mr. Kershaw…”

“Do call me Joseph, all my friends do.”

“Joseph, why are you interested in protecting the mutants’ legal rights?”

He took a deep breath, “Let’s finish the dance, for if I begin the story, I’m afraid that my attention will wander so much that your feet will suffer.”

“Fair enough.”

They finished the dance in silence and returned to the table. Kershaw said to James, “Your lovely lady has asked me to tell her why I am interested in helping mutants. You know much of the story, James. However, I hope that I do not bore you too much.”

“Not at all.”

Kershaw cleared his throat, “Many years ago, I was a young lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina. My family was one of the most prominent in the State. As the eldest son, I was held to carry the fortune of my family on my shoulders. Everyone expected that I would marry among one of the prominent Charleston families and carry on the family name.”

He shook his head, “But fate did not have it so. A beautiful young lady came down from the North to visit her relatives. Her name was Flora MacDonald. The first time I saw her, I was rooted to the spot. It is no exaggeration to say that it was love at first sight.”

“She was wearing a lovely hat when I first met her.” Kershaw chuckled, “I didn’t know it at the time, but it concealed a third ear in the center of her forehead.” He exhaled, “Not that it would have mattered, for I had fallen in love.”

“To make a long story short, I courted her and won her affections. We were engaged to be married. Then, one day, she disappeared…” Kershaw fell silent as he obviously strove to control his emotions.

Sarah asked gently, “What happened?”

His face flushed with anger as he answered, “I later found out that some of my female relations had persuaded her that marriage to a mutant would harm my career. She went home to New-New York rather than be a burden to me.”

“I went North to search for her, only to be told she had died of a fever. I was, as you can imagine, broken hearted.” He paused as if reflecting on what to say next, “There’s not much else to tell except that I swore that I would do all in my power to eradicate the injustice of the Mutant Edicts and the ignorance that support them.”

When Kershaw remained silent she asked, “Did you ever marry?”

“No, I did not. I had promised my love to Flora. No one else ever came up to her lights in my eyes.”

“Thank you for sharing that with me.” Sarah’s voice was sincere, “I hope I didn’t stir up too many painful memories. I’m such a stickybeak.”

Kershaw laughed, “Not at all, Sarah.”

While Sarah and Kershaw had been talking, Leela and Fry had sat down at the head table for a short breather. From where Sarah sat, she could see both Kershaw and Leela as they sat in almost the same attitude.

Sarah felt the hair on her neck rise when she realized that with the exception of the number of eyes, Leela and Kershaw bore an uncanny resemblance to each other. True, Kershaw had white hair, but there were still touches of rich purple in his top locks.

“Oh my God,” Sarah thought, “I wonder if anyone else notices?” Before she could bring it up, Kershaw rose, “I’m terribly sorry, but I must pay my respects to the bride and groom. I have to catch a flight to Charleston shortly to visit with my brothers for Freedom Day.”

Kershaw shook Sarah and James’ hands and then walked to the head table. Sarah sat pondering for a moment. The she decided, “This is one mystery I’m going to unravel myself…just as a bit of fun.”

James intruded on her thoughts, “Want to dance?”

She sprang to her feet, “Absolutely Jimbo! Let’s show these folks a Corroboree!”

Apartment 5I, 100 East 123rd Street, June 30, 3004, 2100 (9:00 p.m.)

It had been a perfect reception. When Fry and Leela left, more than half of the guests were still there. Amy had whispered to Leela, “Get out of here, already! You’ll get Fry so tired, he won’t be able to perform.”

Leela had giggled at the thought. She knew that if they stayed up until midnight, Fry would be ready, willing, and able. Still, there was no sense in taking chances, so she had persuaded Fry it was time to go.

During the limo ride home, they had sat closely together, simply holding hands. Leela had taken her gloves off to enjoy the feel of Fry’s palm pressed against hers. Surprisingly, they rode the entire distance to their apartment without speaking a word.

Now they stood in front of their apartment. Fry turned to Leela, “Leels, you have to close your eye.”

She replied in a voice tinged with amusement, “Why?”

“Because I have a surprise for you.”

“Ooh, I like surprises.”

“Good, then close your eye…please.”

Leela’s eyelid closed tightly, “Okay, I’ve got my eye closed.”

“No peeking! You promise?”

“I promise, no peeking.”

Leela listened with keen interest to the events that followed. First, the door lock chirped as it recognized Fry’s career chip. Then the door slid open and she could hear Fry rush into the apartment.

The sounds that she heard were confusing. First it sounded like Fry was emptying a bag of its contents. Then she heard a fire starter hissing for a few moments. She wondered, “What on earth is he doing?”

The next sound was that of some sort of aerosol can spewing its contents forth. Then, music began to play softly. She was about to open her eye when she heard Fry say, “Okay Leels, I’m going to carry you across the threshold. Keep your eye closed until I set you down, Okay?”

“Okay.”

She was surprised at how deftly Fry lifted her from the floor to carry her across the threshold. What she didn’t know was that Fry had rehearsed the action with Amy earlier that day. Unlike Amy, Leela was in no danger of having her head whacked against the door jamb.

“I’m setting you down, okay?”

“Okay. Can I open my eye now?”

“Yes.”

Leela gasped at the sight that met her eye. Fry had outdone himself! The apartment was illuminated in the glow of a dozen candles. Strewn throughout the apartment was a multi-colored carpet of rose petals. Their fragrance, along with the aroma of the candles was perfect for creating a romantic atmosphere. The soft, romantic music that mingled in the air with the fragrances completed the spell.

Leela was entranced, “Phil, this is so perfect.”

Fry kissed her on the neck, “Not nearly as perfect as you.”

Leela took his hand, “Come on husband. We have things to do.” Then she nearly dragged him to the bedroom. She glanced around, noticing the pastels colors, the Blue Altarian Roses (her favorite), and every other little touch.

Whirling around, she embraced Fry, “Oh Phil, you’ve made everything absolutely perfect. I knew you were romantic…but I never knew…” her voice trailed off. She took a deep breath, “Could you help me undo my dress?”

“Sure!” Fry replied enthusiastically. When Leela turned her back to him, Fry looked at the silken ribbons that closed the back of her dress. “Crud,” he thought, “this is the one thing I didn’t rehearse.”

Not wanting to ruin the mood, he set to work untying the ribbons. The problem was, he was so nervous that his fingers had trouble manipulating the knots. This led to him becoming even more nervous.

Luckily, the stubborn knots proved less stubborn than Fry. He managed to get them undone, sliding both ribbons loose from the dress. He could see Leela’s back, which was now bare from her shoulders to the small of her back.

He stepped back to admire her, “Lord, you are so beautiful!”

Smiling seductively, Leela looked over her shoulder and said teasingly, “You are a hot blooded beast!” She paused before continuing, “I’m going into the bathroom to change. I’ll be right back.”

With that, she went into the bathroom, closing the door.

“Wow!” Fry breathed to himself, “Don’t change too much!” Then he set about readying himself for the evening to come.

Apartment 5I, 100 East 123rd Street, June 30, 3004, 2110 (9:10 p.m.)

Leela smiled as she heard the door slide shut behind her. Amy’s advice swirled through her mind, “Let Fry wait for a few minutes, it will build his anticipation!” She decided that Amy was right as she slowly stepped out of her Wedding Gown. Carefully, she hung it on a hanger, stepping back to admire it. She smoothed out a few imaginary wrinkles in the silken fabric before she turned to face the mirror on the wall.

Still smiling, Leela spoke softly into the air, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”

The mirror remained silent.

Leela stuck her tongue out at the mirror as she finished undressing. As always, she folded each garment neatly as she removed it. Soon she stood before the mirror wearing only her smile.

Conscious of a growing feeling of nervous excitement, Leela breathed softly to herself, “It’s only Fry. He’s only my husband.”

As soon as the word “husband” escaped her lips, she began to tremble. “Oh my God,” flashed through her mind, “Fry is my husband…my husband!”

She held her hands up in a ‘slow down’ gesture. “Get a grip on yourself Leela,” she said quietly, “There’s nothing to be nervous about.”

A voice seemed to sound in her head, “Then why are you standing quivering in front of mirror, stark naked?”

“I am not afraid of Fry!” she said out loud.

She heard Fry muffled voice from the other side of the door, “Do you need some help?”

“No!” she almost shouted. Then in a calmer voice she called, “Just a few moments, Phil, then I’ll be out.”

“Okay.”

Leela held her hand to her mouth and exhaled. “Ugh!” she thought, “I need to brush my teeth!” Taking a toothbrush from the holder, she vigorously scrubbed her teeth. Once she was finished, she tested her breath again. This time it passed inspection.

She scrutinized herself in the mirror again. She turned to where she could see herself in profile. “I look so fat,” she thought, “and my hair is a mess!”

Grasping a brush from the counter, she began to brush her hair in long, rhythmic strokes. Soon every tangle, real and imagined, was straightened out and it flowed through the brush like purple silk.

“Should I take a shower,” Leela wondered, “or should I wait until after?” She stood still for a moment before deciding to wait for a shower.

“I’m back in control of my nerves,” she thought, “time to get dressed.” With that thought, Leela took the bag from Viktoria’s Secret from beneath the counter. She opened it and took out the silken garments that she had tried on so hastily a few days ago.

She shook her head, “Amy really picked out some hot numbers…but they just aren’t me.”

Pausing, Leela reflected, “Should I just go out there in my birthday suit? It would certainly get a reaction out of Fry.” The thought of Fry’s reaction made her giggle.

“No,” she decided after she stopped giggling, “I’ll stick with the plan.”

Having made up her mind, Leela slipped on the panties. “You’ll never see these in the Bulk Underpants Outlet catalogue,” she mused. Next she donned the top. It was lustrous silk georgette, lavished with embroidery, beading, and sequins that tied at the neck.

“Well,” she breathed, “I’m ready.” As she approached the door she managed a quick grin, “Look out Fry, here I come!”

Apartment 5I, 100 East 123rd Street, June 30, 3004, 2110 (9:10 p.m.)

When the door closed behind Leela, Fry went into a victory dance much like an NFL Player who had just scored a touchdown. “Yes!” he said between his clenched teeth as he capered about, so full of joy that he felt he might burst.

“Time to get ready for action,” he thought. Quickly stripping off his tuxedo, he found that he was actually quivering with anticipation. “Leela Fry” he said softly to himself, “what a wonderful name.”

As he peeled off his tee shirt, he felt a sense of alarm. In his haste to get ready, he had thrown his clothes all over the bedroom! Knowing Leela’s sense of order, he realized that an untidy bedroom could be a major mood killer.

Like a man possessed, he gathered up the scattered garments and hung them up neatly. “Whew!” he breathed, “That was a close call!”

Back on track, he checked to make sure that the small heating unit by the bed was full of lightly scented massage oil. He tested it with his finger. Perfect!

Leela’s voice sounded from the bathroom, but he had missed what she said. He called out, “Do you need some help?”

“No!” she almost shouted. Then in a calmer voice she called, “Just a few moments, Phil, then I’ll be out.”

He grinned broadly, “She called me Phil! Woo Hoo!”

He whipped off his tightie-whities and stood there for a brief moment in the buff. Then he reached into a dresser drawer and produced a small surprise for Leela.

“Leels thinks I don’t know much about 31st century style,” Fry thought, “Wait ‘till she gets a look at these!” He slipped on a brand-new set of “Faster-Than-Light Briefs.” They were bright red and very complementary to his physique.

“Look out Leela! Fry is on the case tonight!”

He could hear Leela giggling on the other side of the bathroom door. “Oh Lord, did she hear me?” Fry wondered.

Before he could make up his mind, the door slid open.

With the light from behind casting a penumbra about her figure, she looked like an angel to Fry. The Silk baby doll georgette complimented her figure perfectly. Her lustrous purple hair fell in a rich cascade to her shoulders. Her lips were parted slightly, showing her perfect teeth. In her eye burned the fire of love.

Fry felt his knees begin to knock together as his heart pounded in his chest. His palms became moist and his mouth became as dry as a desert. She smiled seductively and began to move toward him.

“Oh Mamma!” Fry said in a trembling voice, “Where have you been all my life?”

Apartment 5I, 100 East 123rd Street, June 30, 3004, 2115 (9:15 p.m.)

The sight of Fry in his FTL Briefs had shocked Leela a bit. Not accustomed to seeing Fry in any thing stylish, his sudden adoption of high fashion excited her…because she knew that he did it for her!

“He looks nervous,” she thought, “Well, we can’t have that!” Those twin thoughts caused her to smile seductively as she padded slowly across the floor to the spot where Fry stood seemingly rooted to the spot. The closer Leela got to Fry, the harder it became to control her feelings. She found that an impulse to simply ravish Fry was almost overwhelming.

Almost.

Standing face-to-face within inches of each other, Leela asked in a voice made husky by emotion, “Hey sailing-unit! Want to have a good time?”

Fry’s response surprised her. He embraced her, giving her a deep, soulful kiss. At first she was too surprised to react, but her surprise lasted only a few seconds. Then she returned his kiss with passionate fervor.

They stood there at the foot of the bed, joined in a kiss of pure love. Leela ran her fingers into Fry’s hair as she hooked her left leg around Fry’s legs…pulling their bodies closer together. They looked like a carved marble masterpiece, so perfect was their unity.

When at last their lips parted Fry spoke first, “Tonight is your night, Leela. My only goal is to please you.”

An uncontrollable shiver ran down Leela’s spine when she heard those words. She closed her eye before replying in a somewhat shaky voice, “Is that heated massage oil by the bed?”

Fry nodded, “It sure is. I thought you might like a special massage.”

On an impish impulse, Leela asked, “Like the one you used to give your old girlfriend…what was her name…Michelle?”

Fry made some inarticulate noises, which caused Leela to burst into laughter. However, Fry’s crestfallen look cut her laughter short. Feeling stupid for trying to be funny, she took his right earlobe in between her teeth. She whispered huskily in his ear, “I still plan on eating you alive tonight, mister.”

Showing he still had a sense of humor, Fry whispered, “I thought we weren’t ever going back to Cannibalon?”

“I love you,” Leela said as she squeezed him tightly. Then she stepped back and took him by the hand, leading him to the bed. She gestured to him to lie down, “I know what I want Fry, I want to give you a massage.”

“But Leela…”

“No ifs, ands, or buts! You put me in charge tonight, so get ready for a super-dooper massage!”

Fry pulled off his FTL Briefs and stretched out on his stomach. He laid his head on his arms, looking toward the side of the bed where Leela stood, oiling her hands. When she first touched his back, he felt as though he was going to jump out of his skin. Her touch was so sensual that he felt like he was going to burst.

“You seem awfully tense, Phil.” Leela asked in a low whisper, “Are you tense?”

His voice came out about two octaves above normal, “No, what makes you say that?”

Both of them laughed at the same instant, relieving some of the tension. Fry was surprised by the strength Leela had in her hands. She worked his muscles expertly, relaxing them while stimulating his spirit.

After what seemed like an hour to Fry, Leela breathed, “Roll over so I can finish the job.”

Obediently, Fry rolled over. He looked up at Leela as she stood by their bed. “Good Lord Leela, you are so beautiful!”

She smiled, “You think so?”

Fry nodded vigorously.

Lazily, Leela reached up behind her neck with both hands. One hand held her rich purple hair up while the other undid the tie to her top. When it was undone, she removed the top.

Fry gave an appreciative gasp at the sight.

Leela leaned over, taking Fry’s face in her hands. In a voice full of emotion she almost whispered, “I love you Phil.”

His arms reached up to pull her onto the bed, “I love you too.”

Apartment 5I, 100 East 123rd Street, July 1, 3004, 0015 (12:15 a.m.)

They lay there relaxed, with their limbs entwined, as only those who have had a perfect union of body and spirit can relax.

In the darkness of the room, Leela’s lay with her head on Fry’s chest. She listened to the measured beating of his heart, wondering if he had fallen asleep. She considered waking him, but then she dismissed the thought.

“Let him rest,” Leela thought. A smile flickered across her face in response to the next thought of, “I really wore him out.”

Her body was sore, but it was a pleasant soreness. She hadn’t flexed that much in years. “I felt like a pretzel,” she murmured aloud.

At the sound, Fry’s hand came up from the bed and began to gently stroke her hair. It made her start a bit, “Phil, did I wake you?”

“No Leels, you didn’t wake me. I was just sort of half asleep.”

“Do you want to…?”

His voice sounded sleepy, “Only if you really want to.”

Leela raised her head from his chest. From the dim light of the alarm clock, she could dimly see the outline of his face. He looked tired. She patted him on the chest, “As much as I’d love to, we both need some sleep. We have to pick up Sally and have dinner with my parents tomorrow.”

Trying to sound disappointed, but actually relieved, Fry said, “You’re the boss.”

The ludicrousness of the situation caused Leela to laugh. In a teasing voice she said, “Now I really know we are married! Soon you’ll be watching blernsball rather than coming to bed to cuddle with me.”

In response Fry pulled her close, “No way is that ever going to happen!” He kissed her lightly on her forehead. The thought of ever passing up a chance to cuddle with Leela caused him to laugh, “You know what they say, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised.”

Leela joined in his laughter. Then she remembered where she had heard that expression before! Zapp had used it on Amazonia…so long ago. She felt a bit sick to her stomach as thoughts of her brief sexual encounter with Zapp crowded in on her consciousness. “Ugh!” she thought, “Zapp was such a pig. Why did I ever sleep with him?”

Fry felt her body suddenly tense and her laughter become a bit strained. He wasn’t sure what had happened, so he asked, “Hey, are you Okay?”

Forcing thoughts of Zapp from her mind, Leela responded cheerfully, “Yes, I’m fine dear.” To fry she sounded weary as she said, “Let’s go to sleep. We’ve got a long day ahead of us.”

Fry took her face in his hand and kissed her gently, “Goodnight…wife.”

Leela smiled, “Goodnight husband…pleasant dreams.”

Within moments they were both asleep, dreaming of their future together.

Buddies