By Amanda Leach <A.Leach@uq.net.au>
Submitted September 1999
Summary: A short "who's who" story with a twist.
It was the date of a lifetime.
Not many people get invited to a ball at Buckingham Palace. You're very lucky if you are. Even for Nathan Kent, the first man on Mars, this was an honour. But he wasn't invited because of his achievements. Instead his British girlfriend, Karen, had invited him. The other guests were aristocrats and the politically important, while he was a commoner. He'd been impressed by the importance that Karen and her family must have had in order to get an invitation to a ball at Buckingham Palace.
They had known each other for about twelve months. Their friendship began when he'd flown in from Metropolis for a weekend. He'd rescued her from the ever-eager paparazzi. Karen was the interior decorator for the upper-class of London and the paparazzi were always after a scoop. Nathan had regularly flown back and forth since, pretending he was in Britain to attend 'meteorology meetings'. His real reason was so that he could see the woman he loved. She was an enthusiastic woman with a charm that warmed people's hearts. This attracted him to her, unlike any other woman he had met.
He was sorry that he had been unable to escort Karen to this gala ball. Her interior decorating talents were needed in the palace earlier in the day, so she was invited to stay on after her work had been completed.
Nathan shut the taxi door with ease. He straightened his glasses and tuxedo. When he turned around, the sight of the extensive marble stairs leading to the entrance stunned him. He stopped, apprehensively, at the doorway, showed his ID and invitation. The butler took his coat and spoke to him in a deep Yorkshire accent.
"Welcome, Mr Kent. I hope your experience here is different to that of Mars."
Nathan smiled in appreciation. As he continued on to the ballroom, the light from the chandelier provided a clear view of his muscular frame. Other guests turned and tried to catch the eye of the famous astronaut. Nathan smiled politely. He was quite used to being a celebrity, but tonight there was something else on his mind. Entering the ballroom, the space traveller looked around for his girlfriend. He saw her blond hair shimmering from the glittering light as she talked animatedly with a group of young women. Karen looked around suddenly, as if she could sense someone was near. Their eyes met.
"Did you have trouble getting in?"
"No. The butler instantly recognised me."
"I knew he would. He recognises anybody famous from a distance."
Nathan nervously fingered his bow tie. He hoped he wasn't too well recognised. He remembered why he was there.
"Shall we dance?"
Karen's eyes twinkled in agreement. They danced gracefully to the music of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto. Every now and then Karen would glance in another direction, as if she feared somebody watching her.
In the middle of the number, Nathan's senses picked up that Karen was panicking. He looked around and saw part of the Royal family.
"There's King Arthur and his wife! I'm impressed with the decor you've organised for tonight. Did you meet the royal family today?"
Karen blushed, while Nathan gazed at the couple.
"I've got something to tell you," Karen spoke nervously.
The King and his wife were getting closer to them.
"I've got something to tell you too," Nathan said even more nervously.
"You go first," they said together.
Karen's news couldn't possibly be any match to his. He was going to tell her tonight because he knew that he wouldn't like it if Karen had kept a secret from him. Nathan wanted to introduce her to his parents in the near future. He had never met her parents. Karen insisted that they had their own affairs to deal with. He took the initiative.
"I'm—" his voice dropped to a whisper as he bravely continued. "The son of Superman."
"Good evening, Nathan," the King greeted him. "Is it all right if I call you that?"
Nathan jumped out of his skin, wondering how long King Arthur had been there.
"Uh…yes, sir. It is a pleasure to meet you, your majesty."
Nathan bowed politely struggling to smile. The King returned his grin.
Karen looked like she was at a loss for words. "Nathan…I would like you to meet… my parents."