The Year After
I own nothing
By Grace Walsh
Well the day is finally here! A society wedding on a cosmic scale! This is the kind of historic pop culture event that people will be talking about till the end of time. Forget Brangelina, to hell with Bennifer and TomKat, and don't even talk to me about Lindsey Lohan-slash-piece of Hollywood meat that's currently buying her drinks! No, the couple on everyone's lips this wedding season is BruAna and the wedding is today.
Of course I'm taking about Bruce Wayne and Princess Diana of Themyscira, the celebrity power couple nobody ever saw coming. He's an irresponsible playboy with a billion dollars in the bank and a reputation for dating and dumping (Elle, Cindy, Pamela, Jenny, Madonna, all three Jessicas, Both Jennifers, and a ScarJo! ) She's a superhero princess/founder of the Justice League who claims to be descended from Greek Gods (Sheesh, and I thought my ego was big.) Together they have the net worth of a European country and their own island paradise filled with scantily clad Greek girls (careful Brucie).
No one's exactly sure where these two first met. But insiders close to the Princess claim Bruce dropped ten million dollars during one of the Princess' benefit dinners last year and Ms. D just had to 'thank' Gotham's top stud…all night long if you catch my drift, gentle readers.
They dated off and on for a month until they went public in May and then went very 'private' on Bruce's yacht in the south of France. I never thought anybody would be able to sink the unsinkable but when we saw that ring on Diana's fingers three months ago it had to be true!
So ends the swinging lifestyle of America's last great man about town. Somewhere hundreds of supermodels, actresses, and women with their name on upscale hotel chains (yes he dated her too) are crying their eyes out because their Brucie Poo has all the woman he'll ever need. I always knew that if a girl nabbed Bruce it would be someone really special, but a living goddess?! A walking talking Greek Myth! Say what you want about Bruce Wayne but when that man does something, he only settles for the best.
The sun rose over the island of Themyscira but Bruce Wayne had been awake for over an hour. What did he do? Why did he do it? Decades of training in deductive reasoning gave him no assistance. This wasn't a puzzle he could solve by collecting evidence or questioning witnesses. He couldn't tap buttons on the Batcave computer to get an answer or ask Oracle to check her informants. This was….new.
Well, not new. Bruce had been in love before. Women have come and gone from his life over the years. Selina, Vicky, A girl or two in college, Talia. All of them gave him that moment of doubt, that small nagging thought that told him 'Stop. Give up the war. Be happy.'
None of them were convincing enough. The girls he met in college didn't deserve to have their lives ruined with his lack of intimacy. Vicky couldn't be trusted with his true identity. Talia and Selina were criminals and he knew that even if he gave up the war and walked away from that life, one day those two would face justice from someone. It would destroy him if that happened.
But somehow Diana had been different. Something clicked between them when the costumes came off and it was only natural for that emotional connection to gradually turn into something more. Bruce just didn't realize how quickly it would happen. One night, the stars aligned and a bottle of champagne was all it took. One year later, they were married and honeymooning in his wife's home country. This was the happiest week of his life.
So why did he feel so guilty?
As a young man, Bruce Wayne made a solemn vow in the name of justice. He has never broken that vow. Not once. Even with a broken back, facing a lifetime as an invalid, he continued the fight. When the Joker took his friend and partner from him, Bruce kept going out every night to defend the innocent. But this felt different from all the other things he'd dealt with over the years. It clouded his vision, made the future seem so unclear. Was this the first step to hanging up the cape? Was he calling an end to the war?
Bruce knew she was standing behind him but he pretended to be surprised when Diana's arms wrapped around his waist. "You're up early." She whispered. He felt her hand rubbing his stomach and tracing outline of his muscles.
"I couldn't sleep."
"Want me to tire you out?"
He smiled, Bruce had been doing a lot of that lately and that was part of what concerned him. He changed when he was around her. Felt the weight of his parent's murder lift ever so slightly. Ever since that first night they shared, he had trouble keeping up the persona around her. Wonder Woman was making it hard to be Batman.
"No I'm fine." It was a lie but he didn't know a better way to put it. Normally Bruce was careful about telling lies around the woman who carried a lie detector on her hip but he needed to risk it anyway. "I think I just need a good breakfast."
Either she believed him or Diana knew better then to press him. Instead Bruce felt her powerful arms squeeze him tightly then said something about taking a quick bath. Soon he was alone with his thoughts, quietly contemplating the massive change marriage would bring into an already complicated life.
Bruce Wayne didn't technically exist. Bruce Wayne was a persona Batman adopted to fight crime, not the other way around. There was no Bruce Wayne. It was just a name he used to sign checks. But now his mask, his real life persona was married. The fake person had a real connection and that scared him.
In the beginning that was how he rationalized his relationship with her. This was Bruce Wayne dating her, falling for her. It had nothing to do with Batman. Princess Diana of the Amazons was just one of hundreds of girls that fell for the charming billionaire's smooth talk but the only difference was that Diana had enough charm of her own to land a ring on her finger. It was helpful to the war in a lot of ways. Bruce Wayne's big ticket wedding further cemented the idea that he and Batman were separate beings. No man in his right mind would risk his life when the greatest woman in the world was waiting for him at home.
But then the doubts started surfacing, the cruel twists in his heart when he stood her up to track down criminals. It hurt more when he realized how much she understood why he wasn't there. She was a superhero too, she knew why he was doing what he was doing and none of the usual excuses pushed her away.
She's a detriment to the war, said the voice inside him, She's a connection you can't afford any longer.
But she makes you happy. You need her, thought another voice.
"This isn't about your needs, Bruce." He surprised himself by actually saying those words out loud and his thoughts turned dark again. Could he really dump a woman the morning after their wedding? Was the war that important to him?
Yes, said the voice, you already know that.
His hands shook as he walked towards the bathroom door with a feeling of sinking dread. Do it quickly, he thought, don't let it hurt too much.
But Bruce stopped at the threshold to the lavish Greek bathroom. Diana was lounging on the side of the massive tile bathing pool, pouring cupfuls of water on her jet black hair. She stood up and he could see drops of water sliding down her naked chest to bare skin on her thighs. The light streamed in through an unseen window and made everything in the room glow.
The conflict must've shown on his face because Diana looked at him with a worried look. "Is something wrong?"
Yes! He thought, You're getting in the way of the war. Part of him wanted to say that to her, to shout that right in her face. But seeing her like this…with that innocent look on her face…
"No, nothing's wrong." You're weak! Said the voice in his head.
They stood there in awkward silence and Diana bit her lower lip in nervous excitement. "Do you want to do my back?" From the lips of any other woman in the world that offer might've sounded lurid and suggestive but somehow Diana managed to make it sound pure and innocent.
Bruce just smiled.
TO BE CONTINUED….