It was a wedding for the ages. Not only did it literally take place at the dawn of a new age, but there had been present one of the most spectacular displays of human ingenuity up to that point. It was...but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start from the beginning, shall we?
Murdoch experienced a lovely after glow high in the days following his proposal to Julia. Doubtless so did she. It was all but confirmed by her constant smiling whether or not he was around. But when he was, he could tell she was feeling just as jubilant as he was. The days passed by in a blur and before he knew it, it had been two weeks since that fateful night.
The more surprising thing to him was that Julia had already planned out the entire wedding reception, before they had even figured out where or when they were to get married! He was overjoyed by her eagerness to get this show on the road and also quite happy that she hadn't needed to bother him with any of the specifics. Besides which, he basically told her to plan it how she wanted, as he had no idea about such things anyways (the only thing he wanted to be consulted on was the location of the wedding). However, when he saw the price tag attached to all of it, he lost some faith in her planning skills. There was no way he could afford such extravagances!
After discussing the findings from a recent murder victim, their conversation took a more personal direction. And things were getting heated (in a bad way).
"I already told you, William, you don't need to worry about it. My father will take care of everything."
"That's not the point, Julia! This goes beyond acceptable limits!"
"You mean your limits?" she said, started to get annoyed. "I know you're not a rich man but you know I've never cared about such things. But if I have the means to have my dream wedding, why shouldn't I? After all, it only happens once in a lifetime."
Julia realized her mistake and looked away as she finished her sentence. Murdoch wasn't letting her off that easy.
"Is that what this is about?" he asked haughtily. "You feel the need to prove something because of your disastrous marriage?"
"No, it has nothing to do with that!" she exclaimed. "How dare you even bring up such a thing!"
"I'll bring up whatever the devil I want!" he shouted. "I want you to come to your senses Julia! We don't need half the things you have planned!"
"Maybe we don't need any of it at all!" she countered, feeling horrible as soon as she said it.
They averted their gazes for a few seconds out of awkwardness but also to give themselves some time to cool off.
"I'm sorry," she said, "I didn't mean it."
"No, I'm sorry, Julia," he said taking her hand. "I wanted no part of that whole affair, so I shouldn't criticize how you choose to do things."
"Thank you for saying that, William, though I suppose I am being somewhat unreasonable. Is it so wrong that I want everything to be perfect?"
"Of course not, Julia."
"I'll see what changes I can make. After all," she said smiling, "marriage is all about compromise."
"That may well be the case but there's always a bright side to things," he said also smiling.
"Oh?" she said raising her eyebrows, "and what would that be?"
"I get to come home every night and do this."
He pulled her close and they kissed for awhile, until all his anger ebbed away and it was but a distant memory.
"Yes, there's always that," she said slightly breathless as she always was after kissing him.
"Well, I guess I should continue on with the investigation."
Reluctantly releasing her hand, he headed back to the station house.
Three days later he ran into someone rather unexpected. It was Alexander Graham Bell.
"Mr. Bell," he said, offering his hand, "how good to see you again."
"Likewise, detective," Bell said, clasping hands. "I'm rather glad we were able to put that whole sordid affair to rest so quickly." Shaking his head he said, "Death, what a dreadful business to be in."
"Yes, well, someone has to do it."
"Forgive me for prying, Mr. Bell, but I'm very curious to know what you are working on now."
He looked off to the left momentarily and said, "Oh, nothing much at the moment, detective. I'm taking a bit of a break."
According to his half brother Jasper, looking to the left signified that someone was lying. But why would Bell lie to him? Was he worried that Murdoch might try to steal one of his ideas? What a preposterous notion! Surely Bell knew that even after only one encounter? So what was so top secret that he wasn't privy to the details?
Murdoch chose to ignore Bell's fib (if indeed he was lying, after all it was a tenuous form of intuition to say the least). "Everyone's entitled to breaks now and then. I myself indulge in that pursuit once in a while."
Bell nodded and said, "Well, I must be going now. I was actually on the way to meet some friends before I ran into you."
"Of course, sir, have a good time."
Murdoch had solved the previous murder yesterday and had nothing to do at the moment. He waited for Bell to be just on the periphery of his vision to begin tailing him. This was relatively easy for he was wearing a red coat that stood out amongst the crowd. Bell walked for several minutes and then got into a carriage. Murdoch hurried to do the same. Unfortunately, by the time he managed to find an available one, he had lost Bell. This mystery was going to have to wait a bit before being solved.
"William," said Julia that same day, "we really must decide on a location for the wedding. I'm very eager to send out the invitations and I can't do that until I know where the wedding will take place."
"Yes, it's about time we did that." He had purposely avoided this for as long as possible. "I have some thoughts on the matter but would like to hear your opinion first."
"Well, I don't really have a preference myself. As you well know, I'm not a religious person and besides which, I've pretty much decided everything else already. So you should get to decide this detail."
"In that case, what do you say to getting married at my church?"
She frowned at that. "I'd be delighted to but won't there be issues with that? Am I even allowed to get married there?"
Rather than answer her questions he said, "I've spoken with the parish priest. He's agreed to meet with us to get to know you better. We'll see how it goes from there."
Murdoch felt terrible about not coming completely clean with her right then and there. He knew this meeting would not end well but stubbornly wanted to try anyways.
Julia gave him a suspicious look but didn't comment on his evasion of the topic. "And what of the date?" she asked. "I was thinking the first of January would be a nice touch. The start of a new life at the start of a new year has a nice symmetry to it, wouldn't you agree?"
"Absolutely. That sounds lovely. Hopefully our guests won't indulge too much in champagne the night before."
"Oh, I'm sure they'll be able to restrain themselves." She smirked, "Well, maybe not Uncle Horace but everyone else will. Anyways, when will we meet with the priest?"
"I'll arrange it for tomorrow," he said, feeling apprehensive for what was to come.
William was shaking hands with the priest.
"You must be Julia," he said also proffering his hand. "I'm Father Gallagher. Pleased to meet you."
"You as well," she said taking his hand.
The older man sat back down behind his desk and they followed suit in the chairs before him.
"So Julia," said the priest, "let's get to know one another better, shall we?"
She nodded and said, "What would you like to know?"
"For starters, have you ever been married before?"
"Yes, but I'm now widowed."
"I'm sorry for your loss."
"Thank you," she said rather hesitantly, feeling awkward considering she was happy he was dead. The real truth of Darcy's true nature and subsequent demise had never been revealed to the papers. If it had, she would have become a social pariah. Julia knew she owed William and Thomas for that rather large favour, even though they chose to deny it.
"Have you been baptized?"
"I'm afraid that I have not," she said slowly. "Is that a requirement?"
"We prefer if our constituents have undergone that holy sacrament but it is not absolutely necessary. There are ways around such matters. But tell me first, would you consider being baptized?"
Julia was silent for awhile before speaking again. She glanced at William who was fidgeting in his seat nervously. "I really don't think that's something I could do."
"I see. Does that mean you have no religious affiliations whatsoever?"
"You are correct. I am not a religious person."
"Well," he said turning to William. "I can contact the bishop and ask for dispensation. But as I'm sure you're aware, William, there are certain promises that must be made beforehand by the unbeliever in the party."
"What do you ask of me?" said Julia cautiously. She was surprised at how lenient the system had been up till now. Somehow she knew things were about to change.
"The Roman Catholic church only has two rules in this regard. First, that you won't interfere in your husband's faith at all. He must be allowed to practice Catholicism fully and without impediment. This means no undermining of his belief system." Julia got a lump in her throat at that statement. She had already on several occasions tried to get William to see the ludicrousness of certain things in the Bible. And, she thought with a touch of pride, had been moderately successful. "Secondly, William must be granted full rights to raising any children you may have in the catholic faith. Again, you must not interfere in this regard at all." Now Julia got angry. How dare anyone take her rights away! "Do you agree to these stipulations? Know now that telling a falsehood would be a sin."
She concealed her anger as best she could but then when she saw William looking away guiltily, just couldn't help herself. He had known all along that she wouldn't agree to such things! And he had brought her here anyways!
"I'm sorry!" she exclaimed standing up quickly, "but this isn't going to work out! I find this whole thing to be utterly laughable!"
Father Gallagher looked at her in a shocked, disapproving manner but she didn't care. Then she stormed out of the room with William hot on her heels. He ran in front of her and opened his mouth to speak but she wouldn't let him.
"Don't!" she said still fuming, "I don't want to talk to you right now!"
He hung his head and she left him standing there in front of Jesus Christ.
Several hours later, she came to him in his office. Murdoch looked up warily as she approached. He was still feeling the burn from her wrath. And she had been quite right to tell him off. It was his own fault that the whole ordeal happened in the first place.
"Julia," he said quietly, "I'm extremely sorry to have put you through that. I don't know what I was thinking."
"You should be sorry," she said sternly. Then more normally, "But I do understand to some degree why you did it. Faith is a very important aspect of your way of life. It's not surprising to me that you'd want to hold on to it."
He nodded and said, "I still shouldn't have done what I did."
"No, you shouldn't have." There was silence for several moments. "Is that something you want?" He looked at her confusedly. "To raise any children we choose to adopt as Roman Catholics?"
"I'd be lying if I said the thought hadn't crossed my mind before. Clearly you do not approve of such a thing."
"I wouldn't say that exactly, William, rather I'm annoyed at being told that I have to do such a thing. And that's my main problem with religion; that I'm not free to believe in what I think is right; that I'm not allowed to question the dogma from thousands of years ago!" Again there was silence. "So what do we do now, William?"
"I'm not sure," he said sadly, "we seem to be at an impasse."
She sighed and said, "Even if I did agree to let you raise our children as Catholics, I can't in good faith promise to never interfere farther down the line when they are old enough to think for themselves and make their own informed decisions. I simply can't agree to that."
"Yes, I had a feeling you'd say that. Well, Julia, I believe it's my turn to compromise. We won't get married at my church, besides which, I doubt we could do so even if you agreed to the rules. Needless to say, Father Gallagher was less than taken with you." She made no show of feeling badly about this and he didn't blame her. "We'll have to get married at another church that doesn't require you to make any promises of that nature."
"And then what, William? This is still clearly an issue that needs to be solved. If I do agree to let you raise our children a certain way, will you agree to let them exercise their rights as intelligent, free thinking people when they are old enough?"
He hesitated for just a second but he was sure she noticed. "Of course. They should be free to believe in whatever they want." And then to get away from that topic said, "Anyways, don't worry about locating another church, I'll do that as soon as possible." In fact, he already had.