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The rumor around Microsoft in Medford, Wash., is that the boss, founder William Gates III, is tying the knot with his long-playing fiancee, Melinda French, Jan. 9 in a very hush-hush ceremony. French, 28, is a product manager at the giant software corporation. Invitees are said to have been directed to meet at a specified parking lot where shuttle limousines will take them to the wedding site. This may be the $40 million lakeside home that Gates, who at 38 is the nation's youngest billionaire, has been building not far from Medford. The seven-bedroom spread is connected by tunnels to two guest lodges where most of the wedding party is expected to stay. The main house has a medieval banqueting hall, movie theater, library, 60-foot pool and a children's wing as yet unoccupied.

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