by JSAGL, partially adapted from The Brave and the Bold #61 and #62 by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson
JSA Headquarters, Earth-Two, 1964:
“Sounds like you all had quite a time of it.”
Green Lantern was speaking to the assembled Justice Society of America at their meeting table. Black Canary, Doctor Fate, Doctor Mid-Nite, Hawkman, and Starman had returned not too long before on a case with Earth-One’s Justice League of America. (*) Also at the table were the Atom, Hourman, Johnny Thunder, the Flash, and Wonder Woman.
[(*) Editor’s note: See See “Crisis on Earth-Three,” Justice League of America #29 (August, 1964) and “The Most Dangerous Earth of All,” Justice League of America #30 (September, 1964).]
“Yes, we did, Green Lantern,” said Doctor Fate. “Thankfully, the JLA was able to imprison them in the limbo dimension between Earths One and Two, where hopefully they’ll trouble the people of Earth-Three no longer.”
“Darn it all, why do I always miss these things?” Johnny Thunder lamented. (*) “I’ve got my Thunderbolt back, so it’s not like I’d be in the way or anything.”
[(*) Editor’s note: For an explanation what the other JSAers were up to during this case, see Justice Society of America: Times Past, 1964: Missing in Action.]
“Cheer up, Johnny,” said the Flash. “You might have missed out on these past two get-togethers with the JLA, but who knows? You might be front and center at the next one.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right, Flash, but still…”
The meeting continued only for a few more minutes as the JSAers started thinning out and, one by one, headed back to their respective homes. Remaining behind, Black Canary felt a tap on her shoulder.
“What? Oh, Starman. I thought you’d left already,” Black Canary said with a smile.
“I was going to, but I wanted to say, I mean, umm, you did really well out there today,” Starman said, somewhat flustered.
“Well, thank you,” said the Canary. “So did you. I think this is the first time we’ve actually worked together, isn’t it?”
“Yes. I retired as Starman before you ever joined,” Starman replied.
They both stood there for a moment in awkward silence, and then Starman extended his hand. “Ted Knight.”
She took his hand and held it. “Dinah Drake Lance. Listen, I’d like to stay and chat, but my husband Larry is expecting me. See you around.”
As Dinah left, Ted just stared until he was interrupted by a cough behind him. “Isn’t Doris waiting for you at home?” Doctor Mid-Nite asked.
“What, Charles? Oh, yes. I need to bring some things home for David, too,” Ted said as he snapped out of it.
Ted started to leave when Doctor Mid-Nite grabbed his arm. “Ted, she’s married. And so are you.”
Starman looked back at his friend. “I know that, Charles. Good Lord, is there something wrong with simply being attracted to another person?”
“No. Just as long as you don’t act on it.”
Gotham City, 1965:
Inside the lavish Drake Flower Shoppe, Larry Lance, head of a private eye agency, made a hurried call on his wife, Dinah Drake Lance.
“Just dropped in to say hello, honey — and so long, sweetheart!” Larry said as he kissed Dinah on the cheek. “There’s been another of those mysterious robberies — and I’ve got to check it out!”
Dinah continued working on an arrangement as she forced a smile. “Good clue-hunting, darling!”
As she finished the arrangement, Dinah’s mind was obviously elsewhere. How long is it going to be like this, Larry? I’ve barely seen you at all for the past few weeks, and when I do, it’s just long enough for you to eat something and go to bed. Is this why I semi-retired as Black Canary? To devote my life to this flower shop? I thought at least we’d have children by now, and…
As the memories of the death of her little girl came back in a rush, Dinah suddenly became dizzy and had to brace herself lest she fall. (*) Getting her strength back, she started working on another order to distract herself. “Enough of this self-pity. I’ve got work to do.”
[(*) Editor’s note: Thunderbolt made Dinah and Larry Lance believe that their young daughter Dinah had died after he took her away to the Thunderbolt Dimension for her own good, as seen in “The Doppelgänger Gambit,” Justice League of America #220 (November, 1983).]
A few minutes later, another visitor arrived.
“Ted! Ted Knight!” Dinah said with a smile as she greeted her JSA comrade and friend. She and Larry had gotten to know Ted much more over the last year.
“Dinah, you doll! I’m in Gotham City to look over some of my business interests — none of which will be half as interesting as spending an evening with my friends, the Lances!” Ted gave the girl he knew to be the Black Canary a friendly kiss. “I hear your husband does all the crime-chasing, these days!”
“Well, I am in semi-retirement — but speaking of evening-spending, I insist you have supper with Larry and me as soon as I close up shop!”
“Good deal! That’ll give me a chance to do some research at the observatory…” said Ted, referring not to his own private observatory in Opal City, but the Gotham City Astronomical Observatory.
Dinah broke off a flower from a bunch she was preparing for delivery and put one in Ted’s lapel.
“Wear this flower as a reminder to keep that date–”
“Ha! As if I’d let it slip my mind!”
As Ted left the flower shop, Dinah thought to herself, I’d forgotten how handsome he is, and… Dinah Lance! You’re a married woman — what in the world are you thinking?!
And outside, Ted Knight adjusted the flower in his lapel. As if I’d ever forget a date with a woman as beautiful as Dinah.
In the hours that followed, Starman, Black Canary, and Larry Lance uncovered a criminal scheme enacted by the Mist that used flowers from Dinah’s own shop to hypnotize the wealthy into stealing from themselves and giving the loot to the Mist. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Mastermind of Menaces,” The Brave and the Bold #61 (August-September, 1965).]
Later that evening, after the Mist and his mobsters had been turned over to the police, a long-delayed dinner date was kept at a rooftop restaurant.
“It sure is good to see the stars again — and know I’ll keep on seeing them!” said Ted, referring to the phenomenon of seemingly disappearing stars at the observatory that had put him on the trail of the Mist’s scheme in the first place. “I wish you’d keep the miniature cosmic rod, Dinah.”
“No, thanks, Ted — when I go back into action again, it’ll be in Black Canary style — all the way!”
The conversation was interrupted as the maître d’ approached the table. “Mr. Lance? There is a phone call for you.”
Larry got up from the table. “Ted, Dinah, excuse me. That must be someone from the office.”
Dinah pulled the napkin from her lap and threw it on the table, obviously perturbed by the phone call.
“I’m sorry, Ted, but Larry hasn’t been home much lately, and now that we finally get an evening on the town, he’s going to be taking off… again!”
Ted smiled as he looked into Dinah’s eyes. “I can understand your frustration. Ever since David was born, Doris hasn’t wanted to do much of anything outside the house. That’s why she didn’t come with me on this trip. I wish I knew what to do for her. Some days she’s fine, and then others she cries all the time, and when I try to comfort her she gets angry and tells me to leave her alone.”
Dinah placed her hand on Ted’s. “Oh, Ted, I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”
Ted looked at their hands and then into Dinah’s eyes. She looked back at him, and time seemed to stop for a moment, and then…
“Sorry to do this, but I’ve got to run. We just got a big lead in a case I’ve been working on,” Larry said, returning to the table and kissing Dinah on the cheek. “Ted, would you mind seeing Dinah home?”
Before Ted could even respond, Larry dashed out.
“See what I mean?” Dinah said as they, too, got up to leave.
As they walked down the street back to the flower shop (and the Lance’s apartment above), Dinah poured her heart out about how frustrated she’d been lately. “…I don’t know, Ted, it’s as if there’s this gigantic hole in my life, and I don’t know why. Every time I try to talk to Larry about it, he just clams up, and then it’s out the door on another case.”
Ted looked into her eyes, those gorgeous eyes, and said, “Well, I don’t understand why Larry would want to spend so much time away from you. You’re beautiful, gorgeous, intelligent: everything a man could want.”
They stopped in front of the flower shop. Dinah took Ted’s hands and held them. “Doris is the lucky one, Ted. You are a sweet, darling man, and I…” Dinah reached up with her left hand and caressed Ted’s face.
Dinah put her fingers to Ted’s lips. “Hush. I don’t want to talk anymore.”
She replaced her finger with her lips and kissed Ted passionately. Ted was taken aback, but within seconds, he was kissing her with as much energy as she kissed him. They finally came up for air. Without another word, Dinah took Ted inside. Neither noticed the man taking photographs of them from a nearby rooftop.
One month later, Starman and Black Canary were joined by Wildcat in taking down the latter’s old foe the Huntress, along with her husband, the Sportsmaster. (*) After the villainous duo had been taken to police headquarters in Opal City, the stolen Parker Trophy was returned to the Sportsman’s Show, where it was presented by Ted Grant as Dinah Drake Lance and Ted Knight looked on.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Big Super-Hero Hunt,” The Brave and the Bold #62 (October-November, 1965).]
“It’s too bad the Sportsmaster prefers to use his great athletic skill to commit crimes,” Dinah said to Ted, who was seated next to her. They both rose to clap their hands as the legitimate winner of the Parker Trophy received the applause of the crowd.
“Yes — for otherwise he might very well have won that Parker Trophy — legally! All he’ll win now is a long jail term!” Ted replied. As the applause died down, they took their seats once more, and Ted asked, “So tell me, where is Larry, anyway?”
“Same old story: on a case,” said Dinah. “We were supposed to come here together, since the Sportsman’s Show hired the Larry Lance Detective Agency to protect the trophy, but as usual, his work takes precedence. I can’t say I minded coming here alone, because I knew you’d be here.”
Ted blushed as Dinah said that. “I’ve thought about you a lot, too, since, well, since what happened. I’ve… I’ve missed you, Dinah.”
“Man, I tell ya, it is great being back in the saddle again,” said Ted Grant, fresh from the stage, as he interrupted Ted and Dinah. “I haven’t felt this alive in years.”
“We appreciate your help, Ted. I never realized how cagey those two were,” Ted Knight said as the three JSAers left the show floor and began walking toward the exit.
“Yeah, that Huntress, she’s a real spitfire,” said Wildcat, his voice hushed to prevent any of the other show attendees from overhearing. “And, believe it or not, Sportsmaster used ta give G.L. quite a workout back in the day.”
“I remember, Ted,” said Dinah just as quietly. “They were with the Injustice Society on the case in which I became a member of the Justice Society.”
“Yeah, speaking of the JSA, do ya think I could get an invite to yer next shindig with the JLA?” Ted Grant asked, having enjoyed his first real case since coming out of retirement.
“I’m sure Hawkman would love to have you back on the active roster,” Starman said.
“So what exactly was it that happened last time that you two were whispering about?” Wildcat asked.
Dinah looked at Starman with shock in her eyes. Could Wildcat know?
Starman quickly answered, “Um, well, uh, Dinah was being used by the Mist about a month or so ago, and we were just mentioning how well we worked together.”
Wildcat nodded as they headed to the parking lot. “Uh-huh. Listen, I’d love ta stay and chat, but I gotta go. Give my best ta Doris and Larry, OK?”
Ted Grant jumped on his motorcycle, leaving a very disturbed Ted and Dinah in his wake.
“Oh, dear Lord, Ted. Wildcat knows. We can’t… we can’t do this again,” Dinah said, tears welling up in her eyes. She put her head on Ted’s arm and began to cry. Ted put his arms around her.
“I love Larry, Ted. I really do, but there’s been this big hole in my life for years, ever since our daughter…” Dinah broke off to stop herself from crying once more before continuing. “Then you came along, and it seemed so right. I’ve never stopped loving him, Ted, but I couldn’t help falling in love with you, too.”
“Dinah, I know,” said Ted. “I love Doris with all my heart, but this thing with you — I haven’t been able to get you out of my mind this past month. I know it’s wrong, but I don’t want this to end before it’s really begun.”
Just then, a car pulled up next to the two heroes. The driver rolled down his window. “Hey, Knight. I got a message for you.”
Ted left Dinah standing on the sidewalk and went over to the car. “What is it?”
“The Mist requests your presence at Blackgate Prison in Gotham.”
“What? I’m just an astronomer. What would the Mist want with me?”
The man laughed. “Yeah, OK, pal, whatever. Name’s Bullock. Harvey Bullock. The Mist arranged for me to follow you and your cupcake, here, while you was in Gotham. You nabbed him as Starman and Black Canary. Don’t bother denying it. Oh, and by the way, next time you go up to a married woman’s apartment, make sure the blinds are pulled.”
Ted swallowed hard as Bullock sped off into the distance.