Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 375
The church was full of glances and Lennie followed the path of each one, secretly, peeking through her eyelashes.
Gerard and Gamilla had not once taken their eyes off of one another since they joined hands at the altar. Lennie imagined the weight of Gerard's broad hands in Gamilla's slender palms. Gamilla had once told Lennie that in just the touch of Gerard's hands she felt, "lightnin'."
Lennie had only once held Matthew's hand. Lennie recalled how she didn't feel anything in his touch. That's not to say she found it unpleasant. No, it had been pleasant. As pleasant as the man himself was. Yes, the Earl of Cleaversworth was undoubtedly a pleasant, pleasant man. Still, Lennie concluded that no lightning bolts arose from the touch of his long, narrow, hand.
Gerard's hands were thick and calloused, but still attractive. Years upon years of work in shipyards and upon ships had made them strong and...Lennie thought for the right word. "Masculine," she concluded. Even the hands of her brother, though soft from nobility, were strong. Punch's fingers were long and nimble, his grasp firm and sure from the tools of the jewelers' trade. Robert's hands, too, perhaps even more steady, held the strength of a doctor.
Matthew's held nothing, except maybe a little moisture.
Smiles and glances. Lennie returned her attention to the marriage ceremony. All present looked so overjoyed.
Robert looked past the bride and groom as often as possible, ensnaring in his gaze his companion and their child. Punch, too, looked often at Robert, smiling a slight smile which seemed unique to them, a smile which communicated more than any infinite words.
Charles shyly looked, too. He looked across at Violet who stood to Lennie's right. Vi made a show of not looking at Charles, but Charles knew she was.
Punch and Robert...Charles and Vi...Georgie and Ethel...and Matthew.
Lennie could feel Matthew looking at her though she dared not look at him. As she listened to the exchange of vows, of promises to cherish, to love--Lennie could not look at the man to whom she's one day soon be married.
It wasn't that she wasn't fond of Matthew. Lennie was quite fond of him. She would never have claimed that she felt the deeply intense, unyielding, passionate devotion which Punch and Robert felt for one another, nor the electric attraction shared by Gamilla and Gerard. However, she felt...loyal, and grateful and...fond.
Still, as "I will," arose again and again throughout the service, Lennie couldn't help but think, "I will...one day" about her own fiance. She did, indeed, wish to marry Matthew. Being Lady Cleaversworth was any appealing idea. Being the lady of the house was a comforting thought.
Yet...she was already Lady Fallbridge and though Punch was unquestionable head of their household, as it should have been, she was still the "lady of the house." The simple fact remained that the former Ellen Barrett rather liked the life she had. She was enjoying it.
Gamilla and Gerard had been eager to marry, eager to join as one. Lennie didn't feel that urgency. In fact, she somewhat dreaded leaving her brother(s). After all, she'd only just found them. Life with Punch was fun even with the dangers they had faced. There was comfort with Punch and Robert. She relished being a real sister to someone. She doted over her nephew, enjoying each moment as an Aunt to Collin. She had friends. Certainly, they were servants, but still, they were friends. And, for once, she had a life of her own, but one she could share with people she loved. Why, she wondered, would she wish for that to change? To marry? Why? Because she was Lady Fallbridge, sister to the Queen's favorite Duke, and expected to make a good marriage?
Suddenly, the organ began to play again. Gamilla and Gerard were kissing and everyone had risen to their feet.
Gamilla and Gerard, still holding hands, began their way down the altar steps, followed by Charles and Violet and, finally, Lennie and Robert.
"Wasn't it lovely?" Robert whispered as they exited.
"It was." Lennie nodded.
"Yours will be just as fine." Robert smiled.
"One day, Robert." Lennie returned the smile. "One day."
Did you miss the earliest chapters of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can catch up here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 376.