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As always I suggest to any new readers that they go back and read the previous chapters as far too much has happened for me to do a recap here. As you can probably tell by our cover girl, this chapter is very Alexandra heavy. Don't worry the boys will be about though. In fact let's start with one of the boys visiting his family back in Regalton.
Theodore Harrison stood at the gate to his childhood home with DrSupremeNerd. "I know I am here for my father's birthday, but it is so pleasant to see you Doc. I...miss you when I am away at university.“ "I miss you too." She replied moving closer. He reached out and took her hand. They stood in silence for a while, just enjoying being with each other. "We really should go in Mr Harrison." Said Doc eventually. "I know, it is time for me to introduce you to my family.“ "Yes, we have been stepping out for a year now.“ "Really? A year? I feel as if I have known you all my life Doc." "You do?“ "Yes, and I cannot imagine..." He was interrupted by his grandmother sticking her head out of the front door. "Theodore, there you are. Come on in, everyone else is here." *** DrSupremeNerd writes the amazing Vetinari Dualegacy and won Theo's bachelor challenge.
After greeting his mother Theo turned to his father. He had already seen him that day because he had wanted to discuss something with him. "Father, I would like you to meet someone." He drew back from his father. "This is DrSupremeNerd. Doc, please let me introduce you to my father Frederick Harrison."
"It is a pleasure to meet you Mr Harrison." Smiled Doc. "And you Doctor."
Whilst Doc was talking to Frederick, Thomas had commandeered his grandson. "I knew that you would find someone in Riverblossom Hills Theodore." "Yes Grandpapa, it appears that you were right.“ "And you are happy?"
“Yes Grandpapa, I am very happy." Replied Theo smiling broadly. "And yet there is no ring on her finger Theodore.“ Theo sighed, thinking of the conversation he had had with his father earlier and the small velvet box his mother had slipped into his pocket when she had greeted him. "No Grandpapa, no ring yet.“ Violet bustled into the hall. "Why are you all standing here? Come on into the drawing room."
Violet herded her family into the drawing room, and Frederick looked round at them all and smiled. It was so nice to have everyone together in one place. Enid walked past him. "Do not worry Frederick, I will still love you when you are old and grey.“ "Thank you dearest." He replied wryly.
So with his son, stepmother...
...brother-in-law, wife's cousin, wife, future daughter-in-law, sister, father and various friends looking on, Frederick spun into elderhood.
They all agreed that he had grown up to be a very distinguished looking gentleman. Enid was heard to remark that she thought her husband to be as handsome as the day they had first met.
Whilst the Harrison household had been preparing for Frederick's party, Beth and Alexandra Legacy had been waiting for a carriage to take them to the village of Bluewater. "I hope you manage to find everything you need darling." Said William giving his wife a kiss on the cheek. "So do I. I fear we may have left getting Alexandra's trousseau a bit late." She replied in an undertone so her daughter wouldn't hear and get into a panic. William was about to reply when the carriage pulled up and a very excited Alexandra bounded up to him to kiss him goodbye.
*** A trousseau was the clothes and household linen, a woman would take into her marriage.
Alexandra looked round Amelia's Closet, her eyes shining. She was here to put together what might be the most important wardrobe of her life, and she was looking forward to browsing the fabrics and patterns immensely. Her mother was already looking at one of the new outfits on display.
"Alexandra princess, what you do think about this dress?“ "I like the cut a lot." She reached out and touched the cloth. "The fabric is nice too.“ "I was thinking that it might be nice for you to wear of an evening.“ "Yes." She gestured to the assistant and explained that she would like to see a pattern for this dress made to her measurements.
With her instructions given to the assistant Alexandra continued wandering around the shop, either adding dress patterns to her list or dismissing them. Her list of dresses complete, she switched her focus to her undergarments and nightwear, picking out pretty but still functional chemises, petticoats and drawers.
The lists complete the assistant went into the back room to bring out several dresses Alexandra had already had made up. She would be wearing one of them as her wedding dress. Beth took a seat by the mirror as Alexandra headed to the changing room.
Beth smiled as Alexandra came out in the first dress. "Princess you look lovely." She said.
"Thank you Mama. I am not certain I want to wear it at my wedding though, it just does not feel...perfect." She responded. "Well you have two more dresses to try on." Pointed out Beth. "See what you feel about those."
Alexandra came out in the next dress, an unsure look on her face. "Mama?" She asked.
"I...like it," started Beth, "but I do not think that it is right for your wedding.“ "I agree. I chose the cut because I already have a similar dress, but it is not right for my wedding." She turned and walked back to the changing room to try on the third and final dress. She hoped that this one would be right.
Alexandra practically ran out of the changing room once she had put on the last dress. "Mama I think this is the one." She said excitedly. "Look at it. It fits perfectly, and the colouring and fabric suit me wonderfully."
Beth smiled at her. "Princess you look so beautiful. I think that you have found your wedding dress.“ Alexandra beamed back at her mother and hurried off to get changed.
With her dress sorted it was time for Alexandra to turn her attention to shoes. "Mama, can you ask the assistant if they have these shoes without the fringing at the back?" She asked. They did, and after she had spent half an hour trying on that pair and several others she had finally finished buying all the items she needed for her trousseau.
"Congratulations Miss Legacy." Said Nicole the salesgirl as she rang through the items Alexandra was buying. "Thank you." She smiled, gratified that someone outside the family seemed happy for her.
Alexandra and Beth didn't arrive home until after sunset, and they soon sat down to eat. "I hope that you were successful in your shopping trip." Enquired William as they ate.
"Very, were we not Alexandra?" Replied Beth. Alexandra nodded. "We managed to get Alexandra's entire trousseau sorted out, as well as deciding on her dress for the morrow.“ "That is good news."
He turned to his daughter. "How are you feeling about tomorrow?“ "Nervous, and excited." She replied. "I have been waiting for tomorrow for so long..." She trailed off. "Then I expect that you will be wanting to have an early night in preparation for tomorrow?" He asked. "Actually I was planning on going to see Victoria, Rosemary and Louisa. I want to make sure that they are ready for tomorrow too." She said. "Oh very well. I will call you a carriage when you are ready.“ "Thank you Papa."
True to his word William called a carriage to take Alexandra to the Acadamie, and spent the rest of evening roped into making sure everything was ready for tomorrow by his wife. It was fairly late when he was ready to retire to bed and his daughter hadn't returned home yet. Neither he nor Beth were too concerned, after all the Acadamie was an hour or so away and Alexandra was wont to get very chatty when excited. Allyn however was out haunting and wasn't happy at all about her granddaughter not being at home. "William why is my granddaughter not here? Do you even know where she is?" She managed to say before disappearing.
William stood there for a little while, his heart hammering. "Oh my." He managed once he had got it and his breathing under control.
"What is wrong dear?" Asked Beth who had been oblivious to her mother-in-law's haunting. She had been going through her mental checklist for the wedding, making sure that nothing had been forgotten.
"Mother just appeared asking if I know where Alexandra is." He explained as he joined his wife on their bed. "I would think that she is on her way home by now." "That is my thinking too."
But Alexandra wasn't on her way home. She had asked the carriage driver to take a detour to a small town not far from the city. She was now waiting for someone to answer a door, wishing that she had at least thought to wear a dolman: the night air was colder than she had expected.
*** A dolman is a garment, similar to a jacket, that was cut especially to sit over a bustle. They were characterised by the cut of their sleeves, making them appear part cape.
"Alexandra, what are you doing here?" Asked Joe, when he answered the door. "It is considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding." He looked back through the front door. His parents had already retired to bed, but he didn't know if they had been disturbed by the door bell.
"I know, but I wanted to see you and tell you how happy I am we are to be wed tomorrow. I cannot wait to start my life as your wife." She smiled at him, her eyes shining with happiness.
He wasn't sure how to respond to that. He was still not sure that he was doing the right thing by marrying this woman. He noticed that she was shivering. "Are you cold?“ "A little bit.“ "Come inside and get warm." He said, holding the front door open for her.
Beth was still laying awake when Alexandra finally arrived home. She was surprised that her daughter had stayed out so long, but decided not to confront her about it. She didn't want to upset her daughter before the morning.
The next morning Alexandra looked into the hall mirror nervously. "How do I look Mama?" She asked, smoothing her hair for the umpteenth time. "Beautiful princess." She said smiling. "Really? You do not think that I should wear my hair differently?" Asked Alexandra, examining her reflection intently. "No princess. I think that we should be getting out to the carriage, otherwise you will miss your wedding." Pointed out Beth. "Oh of course." With one last look at her reflection Alexandra left her childhood home, ready for her new life.
As everyone was being ushered into their seats in the garden of the Grundstrom house, Alexandra was with her parents in the hall of what would soon be her marital home. "Princess you look so beautiful." Said William smiling at his daughter. "Mr Grundstrom is a lucky man to be marrying you today.“ "Thank you Papa." She said. Just then Mrs Grundstrom opened the front door. "Everyone is seated and ready.“ Beth gave her daughter a quick peck on the cheek. "I will take my seat then." The smiling she went outside.
Joe Grundstrom was standing by the wedding arch nervously awaiting his bride. He closed his eyes and wondered how things had got this far. When he had first met Alexandra he had envisioned having some fun and meeting a new person, he had never expected to get a wife out of it. But...she had been persistent and he had realised that she was convenient and would make a good wife. He had pushed aside the fact that he did not love her, focussing on the thought of making a good marriage. But now, as he was about to marry her, his doubts surged to the front of his mind. He opened his eyes and saw William and Alexandra ready to walk down the aisle. He moved to take his position beneath the wedding arch.
Alexandra reached the wedding arch and turned to look at her assembled family. She was so pleased that they were all there to share this happy event with her.
As the ceremony got underway Alexandra was sure that she would remember every second of it for the rest of her life.
Joe on the other hand was going through the ceremony in a daze. He barely registered what Alexandra was saying, and his mouth uttered his vows with no conscious input from his brain. The state persisted until Alexandra went to slip his wedding ring onto his finger.
"No, I cannot!" He exclaimed and pulled his hand from her grasp.
In the congregation Anthony Smith closed his eyes and groaned. He had been dreading this moment. He had hoped against hope that Joe would actually make Alexandra happy, but he had never truly believed it. Now he was witnessing the inevitable heartache he had known was coming. Sitting behind him, Edward scowled and muttered "What does he think he is doing?“ Doc glared at Joe. "I don't suppose there is a cowplant around here?" She muttered.
"I do not understand." Alexandra protested. "I cannot do this Alexandra. I cannot marry you.“ "But...but...I love you." She floundered.
"I am sorry Alexandra but I do not love you. I have never loved you, and I cannot marry you.“ "But...last night...you said..." It came out as a whisper. He just shook his head. "I am sorry." He turned on his heel and ran.
Alexandra just stood for a moment, staring at Joe's wedding ring. She couldn't believe what has just happened. Abigail Harrison sat watching her friend. She had seen this coming, but that didn't make witnessing it any easier.
Joe meanwhile felt like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. For the first time in years he felt truly happy. He may have just hurt Alexandra but he didn't regret what he had done in the slightest.
Back on the other side of the hedge Alexandra had dissolved into tears. As soon as she had done so, Anthony had instinctively run to her side. As he watched the woman he adored with every fibre of his being sobbing her heart out, he felt as if his own heart was breaking.
Edward's reaction was to race after Joe and find out what he thought he was doing. He was so angry that Joe had hurt his sister, and he wanted answers. He was soon followed by Theo and Stanley. Wherever their cousin went, and whatever he did, they would be there too.
Anthony handed Alexandra over to Beth and William. "Oh princess." Said Beth putting her arm around her daughter. "I will go and see if Mr Legacy..." Started Anthony. "Yes. Thank you Mr Smith for rushing to comfort Alexandra." Replied William, never taking his eyes from his distressed daughter.
Anthony met Edward, Theo and Stanley coming back up the road. "You did not manage to catch him." He stated. "No, he hailed a hansom and..." Eddie shrugged. "Maybe it is for the best." Replied Anthony, "If he was here now..." "I know." Replied Eddie. "I think that it would be a good thing if Mr Grundstrom does not cross my path for a while. You obviously feel the same.“ Anthony nodded his agreement.
They made their way back into the garden as Marcus Grundstrom approached William. "Mr Legacy, whilst I am very sorry about what has just happened, I think that it would perhaps be best if you took your daughter home. We can work out the financial arrangements later. You will want the dowry returned I expect."
"That is the least of my worries at the moment Mr Grundstrom." Responded William. He glanced at his wife and daughter. "We will be leaving momentarily."
"Come on princess, it is time for us to go home." Said Beth. "I...thought...that...this...would...be...my...home." Sobbed Alexandra. "I know princess, I know." Beth hugged her daughter tight.
Marcus turned to the guests still milling around. "Ladies and gentlemen, I apologise but there is obviously going to be no wedding today. If you could please make your arrangements to go back to your homes, it would be appreciated."
Less than an hour later William, Beth and their children arrived home. Alexandra had stopped crying in the carriage about ten minutes into the journey and had spent the rest of the time staring out of the window at the passing countryside, ignoring her family and their questions about her well being.
Alexandra ran up the stairs, tearing at her veil. All she wanted at that moment was to get into her childhood bedroom and shut the world out. So many thoughts and emotions were whirling through her mind, fighting to be heard.
When she got to her room she stopped in the middle of the floor panting with rage. How dare he? After all those years? He had told her he loved her; asked her to marry him; promised to look after her and then callously abandoned her at the altar. She should be married by now! She should be happy! She should...
She dissolved once more into tears, and it was in this state that her mother found her when she entered her room. "Oh Alexandra princess, come here." She said drawing her towards her.
Downstairs Edward was talking to his father. "I am going to stay for a while. I do not like the idea of going back to university whilst Alexandra is so distressed."
"I understand." He paused. "Edward I could have prevented this. I had my doubts over his feelings for Alexandra, if I had refused my permission for him to ask her to marry him...“ "Father, you cannot think like that." Eddie replied. "I know Alexandra, as do you. She set her heart on marrying that man as a teenager. If you had refused your blessing, then she would never have forgiven you. You would not want that, especially as she would in all probability have refused to speak to you.“ "That is true." He sighed heavily. "That does not make me feel any better at this moment in time though.“ "I know Father."
Up in Alexandra's room, Beth was doing her best to calm her down. "Why do you not get changed out of this dress, put on your night things and comb out your hair. I will ask Papa to make your favourite vegetable soup. Would you like that princess?“ Alexandra nodded, her sobs starting to abate.
"William?" Beth called down the stairs. "Yes dear?“ "Do you think that you can put on a pot of vegetable soup?“ "Of course dearest." He replied.
William was heading for the kitchen when the front bell rang. He opened the door to find Anthony standing there. "Mr Smith, what can I do for you? As you are aware now is not a good time for us to be receiving visitors,"
"I am well aware of that sir. I merely wanted to enquire as to how Miss Legacy is holding up.“ "She is not too good at the moment Mr Smith.“ "I am not surprised. Can you please inform her that I called?" He asked handing over his card. "Of course.“ "Thank you. Good day sir." Anthony nodded at William and left.
William fought back tears as he put the soup on to cook. He tried to tell himself that it was the onions, but it wasn't. It was the events of the day and the fact that his eldest daughter was so upset.
Alexandra entered the dining room to wait for her soup. She had changed out of her dress and Beth had taken it away to cut into rags. Alexandra has no desire to ever see it again, let alone wear it.
William smiled at her as he entered with his soup. "How are you feeling princess?“ "I have been better Papa. Thank you for making this soup for me.“ "You are more than welcome."
They were soon joined by the rest of their family. For the first time since Alexandra had left for the Acadamie, they sat down for a family meal. Eddie spent some time entertaining them with stories of his time at university, tactfully leaving out Stanley's favourite past-times.
They soon lapsed into companionable silence, which was broken by Alexandra. "I feel like I should apologise, I have been so foolish..." she started to get upset again.
"Alexandra, do not upset yourself. That...man is not worthy of you at all. I should never have given my blessing to him." Alexandra reached out and touched his hand. "Papa, please do not blame yourself. I was most insistent in my feelings for him."
"I think that it is pointless for you two to continue in this vein." Interrupted Victoria. "Alexandra you deserve so much better than him, and you will find someone worthy of you one day. Papa, you acted in what you thought was the best way. You cannot blame yourself for that." Her sister smiled at her. "Thank you Vicky.“ William looked at her. For the first time he realised what a wise young lady his youngest daughter was.
"Alexandra, Vicky and I are going to head back to Sim State and the Acadamie once she has finished eating. I wanted to make sure that you were no longer distressed." Said Edward not long after.
Alexandra reached out and hugged him. "Thank you for being here for me Edward.“ "That is what supportive brothers are for Alexandra. I know you hurt now, but it will lessen and you will find happiness." She hugged him harder in response.
Alexandra decided to clear the table. Carrying out mundane tasks seemed much more appealing to her than moping around, dwelling on the events of the morning.
Beth was on her way to see if Alexandra wanted a hand when she heard an exclamation from Alexandra and the sound of crockery breaking. "Alexandra princess is everything alright? I heard breaking crockery."
"Urm...yes Mama...I...err...dropped a bowl...I am...fine." Stammered Alexandra.
"Would you like me to clear it up for you, whilst you go and sit in the morning room?" Beth called through the door. "NO!“ "Alexandra..." Beth tried the door handle, but to her it felt as if something had been jammed under it, stopping her from opening it. "I am fine Mama." Shrieked Alexandra.
Beth kept trying at the door handle until, with a clatter that sounded like a broom falling over, the door opened. "I am just going to take this out to the bin." Alexandra called as she raced out the back door, leaving Beth staring after her.
Alexandra had ran straight to her room after taking the broken bowl out to the bin and locked the door, so it was with heavy hearts that both Eddie and Vicky had left Regalton. "I genuinely thought that she was doing better at lunch." Sighed Eddie. "So did I, but this had come as a huge shock to her." Replied Vicky. "I think that it has come as a huge shock to us all."
Vicky looked uncertain for a moment then started speaking. "I was not...hugely shocked.“ Eddie looked askance at her. "I do not understand.“ "I...there was always something about how he behaved with Alexandra that I never liked. I always felt as if he...did not care for her." She paused. "Eddie I feel so guilty, I should have said something."
"Vicky, I think that you should take your own advice. You cannot change the past, so stop thinking that you should have done more.“ "You are right.“ Eddie smiled. "I will just say that it might be best that you do not keep such feelings to your self in the future though."
Vicky looked at him. This was an opening that was too good to pass up. She took a deep breath. "Eddie, there is something I would like to talk to you about with regards to Miss Hutchins.“ "Oh?" He replied warily. "I am not...happy about her, and how she...is when she is with you." "Vicky..." Warned Edward, but Vicky had started to warm to her subject and continued on. "She always looks disinterested when you are not around, then makes the effort to look like she enjoys your company when she thinks you are looking..."
"Victoria enough!" Interrupted Eddie. "I do not wish to hear anything you may have to say about Miss Hutchins."
"But Eddie, please just listen to what I have to say."
"No! This is your guilt talking. You feel bad because you did not tell Alexandra that you did not like him so you are seeing something that is not there with Miss Hutchins."
"I...“ "Victoria, surely you can see what I am saying.“ "Yes, but..." Vicky looked at her brother. There was no way that he was going to listen to her at the moment, so she decided to let the matter drop. She sighed. "Perhaps you are correct."
They stayed talking about other subjects for a while, until Vicky pointed out that she should be getting back to the Acadamie. "Are you certain that you do not want me to walk you home or call a carriage?" Asked Eddie. "Yes. It is only a short walk and there are still a few hours of day light left."
"I am sorry I snapped at you earlier Vicky.“ "I know you are. Just...remember what I tried to say.“ "There will be no need for me to do that, but I will anyway." He said, not waning to get into an argument with his sister.
Whilst everyone else had returned to university or finishing school, Theo had decided to take advantage of being back in Regalton by taking Doc out for dinner and dancing. "This is nice. We should do this more often." Said Doc. "We should, yes." Agreed Theo.
"Although next time maybe you could take off your coat." Said Doc with a smile. "I had forgotten I was wearing it." Said Theo with a small laugh. "Just like the day we first met.“ "Oh, yes." Theo thought back to that day over a year ago when he had stood outside his grandfather's childhood home in Riverblossom Hills waiting for seven female guests to join him. He had been resentful of his grandfather interfering in his life, and not looking forward to the week ahead. He hadn't counted on falling head over heels in love with one of those guests.
He released her and dropped to his knees. "Theo what are you doing?" Asked Doc, her heart hammering as she hoped she knew the answer to her own question.
"Doc, I know that we did not exactly see eye to eye the first time we met," he said thinking about their first conversation, "but as I have got to know you, I have realised that I love you, and I cannot bare the thought of not spending the rest of my life with you." He reached into the pocket of his coat.
"DrSupremeNerd Simself, will you do me the honour of agreeing to be my wife?" Doc stood there for a moment, before breaking into a wide grin. "Yes."
She put the diamond ring on her finger and looked at it. "Of course I will marry you my Nummy Theo."
"You will?" He smiled. "I cannot tell you how happy that makes me."
"I'd guess as happy as you have made me by asking." She replied flinging her arms around him.
Back at 1 King's Square, Alexandra Legacy was climbing into bed. She had stayed shut in her room since her siblings had left, refusing to see either of her parents and crying until there were no more tears left to cry. Now, as she pulled her covers up to her chin, one word echoed through her skull. ‘Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid...’
In the morning room her very worried parents were talking. "I can understand her being upset Beth, but she seemed in much better spirits at lunch. Now she is worse than before. At least she would let you see her when we first returned." Said William.
"I know." Replied his wife. "I fear that the reality of what happened has hit her. I will persuade her to make the effort to get dressed tomorrow I think. Perhaps she would like to help me with some of the household chores. They might take her mind off of today's events."
"Good idea my love." He sighed heavily. "I just want our bossy, pushy daughter back, rather than this fragile, vulnerable creature.“ Beth gave a small smile. She had a feeling that somehow this fragile, vulnerable creature had always been hiding behind Alexandra's bossiness.
Less than an hour's drive away, Joe Grundstrom was finally returning home. He had spent the day wandering aimlessly through the city until he had known that he couldn't put off going home any longer. His parents waiting for him in the library heard his key in the lock. "Son, a word."
"What in plumbbob's name happened today?" Asked Marcus furiously. "Did you purposefully set out to make fools of us all?" Screeched Maria. "Dear let me handle this..." Started Marcus. "Then handle it properly and get him to answer you!“ "I will dear. Joseph, what happened?“ "Have you been drinking Joseph?" Interrupted Maria. "A...few." Conceded her son. "Maria, please let the boy speak!" Said Marcus forcefully.
"I...could not go through with it. I do not love her and should never have asked her to marry me..." Started Joe.
"If you knew it was a bad idea, then you should never have done it!" Shrieked Maria. "Instead you have made laughing stocks out of your father and I!"
"Is that the issue here? Your reputations and the good of the family name?" The drinks he had imbibed were making Joe bolder than he normally would be in the presence of his formidable mother. "How dare you!"
Marcus put a calming hand on his wife's arm, before re-addressing his son. "Joseph it seems unlikely that this was a sudden decision of yours. I heard you say to Miss Legacy that you had never loved her. If that is true, why let it get this far?"
"I...I." He thought back to all of Anthony's warnings to him, and how he had pushed on with what he was doing despite of his second thoughts. "I do not know. I got so caught up in thinking that she would make someone a good wife, and there was no reason that person should not be me, that I thought I could ignore the fact that I felt nothing for her."
Maria regarded her son thoughtfully. "Be that as it may, you are a fool. You should never have embarked on such a scheme if you were not going to see it through until the end.“ "Maria..." "It is true!" She countered before laying back into her son. This conversation wasn't going to end anytime soon.
The next morning Beth used her skeleton key to let herself into her daughter's room to wake her up. "Alexandra princess, I think that it is time that you were getting up.“ Alexandra groaned. She had been surprised that she had slept as well as she had, but that was probably down to sheer exhaustion. Now she had to face a new day.
"Now come on sleepy-head, you cannot spend all day in bed. I will go and make you a nice cup of tea, and then bring it up here so that you can drink it whilst I help you dress." She said once she was certain that Alexandra was waking.
Alexandra waited until her mother had left the room before swinging her legs over the side of the bed. If she could perhaps dressed before her mother came back in...
She had managed to put on her chemise and drawers and was just trying to pull the laces to her corset tight when her mother came back into the room. "Alexandra darling, would you like some panc..." She stopped as she noticed Alexandra.
"Oh my plumbbob, you are with child!"
"I know!" wailed Alexandra. Breaking down into tears again.
Alexandra wiped away her tears. "Mama, what am I going to do?" She whispered. "I am not sure yet princess, but you will not be alone, I can promise you that. Now let me help you finish getting dressed and we will go and speak to your father.“ Alexandra was silent for a moment. "He is going to be so disappointed with me." She said in a small voice. "That is a distinct possibility." Replied Beth. "You just have to remember that he loves you very much."
Beth left Alexandra putting the finishing touches to her hair, and ran into her husband on the landing. "How is she today? Has she gotten dressed?“ "Yes darling, but there is something she needs to tell you." She took his hand. "Come on downstairs to the morning room. We can wait for her there."
Alexandra walked down the stairs with a heavy heart. She knew she had been stupid, and that she deserved censure, but she was dreading her father's reaction to her condition.
"Ah Alexandra good to see you dressed..." He stopped when he caught sight of her belly.
"WHAT THE BLAZES!" He shouted jumping up from the settee. "ALEXANDRA ALLYN LEGACY I AM FLABBERGASTED AT YOU!"
"HOW COULD YOU BE SO STUPID?" Alexandra dissolved into tears at her father's words. "William..." Said Beth trying to interrupt him. "I THOUGHT BETTER OF YOU; I THOUGHT THAT YOU HAD A BRAIN, BUT NO!“ "William..." She tried again.
"YOU HAVE BROUGHT SHAME UPON THIS FAMILY!" He roared causing Alexandra to sob harder. "WILLIAM STEVEN LEGACY!" Shouted Beth.
That finally got his attention and he whirled round. "WHAT?“ "Stop this! I know that you are understandably angry, but you should be taking that anger out on the correct person, not Alexandra!"
"HE IS NOT HERE!" Bellowed William. "And because Alexandra is, you think that you should shout at her?" Asked Beth. "She knows that she has been foolish and she regrets it, and has to live with the consequences. You shouting at her is not going to change this situation!"
"She has not been foolish, she has behaved like a common harlot!" Hissed William. The last vestiges of Beth's temper fled. "NO SHE HAS BEHAVED LIKE A WOMAN IN LOVE!"
Beth took a deep breath to try to regain her temper before continuing. "It may surprise you to know William Legacy," she said in a quiet but deadly voice, "that had you asked me into your bed before we were wed, I would have gone willingly.“ Despite himself a cocky smile pulled at William's mouth. "You would?“ "Yes. Do you think any less of me now?“ "No. But we were in love.“ "And Alexandra believed that she was in love and that those feelings were reciprocated. She made a mistake William, but she is still your daughter."
William lapsed into silence, and it was then that he became aware of the sound of his daughter sobbing behind him. All his anger at her faded at the sound of her distress. "Oh princess. Papa is sorry for being angry at you." He said "We will get through this will we not Beth?" He asked looking at his wife.
"Yes." She replied, even though she had no idea about what they were going to do. At least William was no longer shouting at their daughter, and that thought brought a small smile to her face. She was watching William making amends with his daughter when the front bell rang.
She answered it to find Anthony Smith on the doorstep. "Oh Mr Smith, good day. What can I do for you?“ "Good day Mrs Legacy. I was wondering how Miss Legacy is today?"
"Not too good again I am afraid. I will pass on your..." Started Beth, but at that moment Alexandra came into the hall. "Mama, Papa and I are going to make pancakes..." She stopped when she saw Anthony at the door, then turned and ran back into the morning room.
Alexandra hadn't been quick enough though and Anthony had seen her swollen abdomen. His jaw muscles clenched and he had no idea that Beth was currently talking to him. "...is not a good time for...“ "Mrs Legacy, I will be calling on your husband at three o'clock this afternoon."
"Mr Smith," Beth tried again, "I am very sorry, but as you can see, circumstances do not permit us to receive visitors at this time. I will certainly tell Mr Legacy that you have called on us, but I cannot sanction you coming here this afternoon."
Anthony fixed her with a steady gaze, and said in a firm, calm voice. "Mrs Legacy, I will be calling on your husband at three o'clock this afternoon. I expect him to see me." With that, he turned and walked down the path to his waiting carriage. Beth watched him go. She really didn't think that William would want to see him, but he was giving them no choice.
Beth was heading to the morning room where she could hear Alexandra once again crying when the telephone rang. "Good morning Regalton one double zero." She answered. "Mother it is Edward. How is Alexandra this morning?“ "Oh Edward, she is not good."
Beth proceeded to explain what had occurred to her son, whilst he listened in stunned silence. "But...I cannot believe she...That ...man took advantage of her. Mother this is awful." Eddie was getting angrier than he had ever been in his life, but he was making a real effort to stay calm for his mother's sake. "Yes it is." On the other end of the line, Beth sounded close to tears.
"What are we going to do?" Asked Eddie. "I do not know.“ "It will work out Mother.“ "I hope so, Eddie, I really do.“ They stayed talking for a few more minutes until Eddie made an excuse and rang off.
He walked into the dining room where Theo was finishing his breakfast. "I am going out." He said. Theo took one look at his face. "I am coming with you.“ "No, I do not need you to, and it is best if I do this on my own.“ "Eddie, if you think that I am going to let you go off on your own, when something is so obviously wrong, you do not know me at all.“ Eddie mulled this over for a second before nodding curtly at him. "Very well.“ "Do you want to wake Stan?“ "No." Eddie shook his head. Normally he would want Stanley with them, but considering the type of man they would be dealing with, he thought it best if Stan wasn't with them.
It was a little while after they had left that Stanley awoke and headed downstairs. "Eddie and Theo not here?" He asked Timothy. "No, they left a note: they've gone out. You are up late.“ "Yes, well, you know how it is. I got in late.“ Timothy did know how it was. "Anyone you have seen before?“ "Now, you know as well as I, that a gentleman never tells.“ "And you have been a gentleman since when?“ Stanley laughed before leaving the room to have a shower.
Back in Regalton, Beth and William were sitting at the dining table, waiting for Alexandra to bring out the pancakes she had insisted on making without their help. It had taken a little while to calm her down again, but she was starting to act with more of her customary vigour than they had expected. "He really was very insistent William. I tried to tell him that you would not see him. But he did not listen."
"I have only met Mr Smith on a couple of occasions, but he has never struck me as rude or impudent. He obviously believes that what he has to say is worth disturbing us." He paused. "Yes I will see him when he calls." He decided.
As Beth and William were having this conversation, Anthony was waiting for Joe to open the front door. He had been thinking about what Joe had done the entire journey, and so was not in the mood for pleasantries when Joe finally answered the door. "Anthony, I did not expect to see you. You were right all along, I really should have told Alexandra that I had no feelings for her, rather than letting the charade go as far as it did."
"What...?" Asked a stunned Joe as he tried to get to his feet. "Why did you do that?"
"Just stay away from Miss Legacy, and stay away from me." Said Anthony through gritted teeth as he walked away.
At three o'clock exactly Anthony was back in Regalton waiting for William to answer the door. "Ah Mr Smith, my wife said that you were most insistent about seeing me today.“ "Yes Mr Legacy. If I may, I would like to discuss an issue of great importance with you.“ "Very well. Do come in."
"What did you wish to discuss with me Mr Smith?" Asked William once they had sat down in the drawing room. Anthony could almost not believe that this moment had arrived. "Mr Legacy, I wish to ask for your daughter Alexandra's hand in marriage.“ William regarded him for a moment.
"You are aware of her...situation?" He asked. "Yes, and I care not a jot about it." Replied Anthony. "To be honest with you Mr Legacy, I was planning on having this conversation with you at some point in the future anyway. Her...circumstances have merely caused me to bring my plans forward."
William regarded Anthony. "Then my first question to you will not come as a surprise. Do you love her?“ "Yes.“ William smiled. "You did not pause." He said quietly.
"Of course not. I have loved Miss Legacy since the day we first met. She is bossy, pushy, spoilt, yet vulnerable, and the most wonderful creature on the face of the planet.“ "You forgot to say beautiful in there." Said William amused. "Her beauty goes without saying, but it is not the primary reason I love her so.“ "I am very pleased to hear it." Said William truthfully. This was going much better than the last time someone had asked for Alexandra' hand in marriage.
"And what of my grandchild?" He asked hesitantly. "It will be the child of the woman I love and I will raise it as my own." Said Anthony simply. William nodded. He believed him. "I have to ask you now what your prospects are, and if you are able to take care of my daughter and grandchild."
"I am a very wealthy man Mr Legacy." Replied Anthony. "My father owned a substantial estate in Simbridgeshire, which I inherited on his death, but I prefer to spend my time at my town house in Simdon. I have secured a good job with good promotion prospects, so financially I will be able to provide for my family. More importantly though, I adore your daughter and will be able to care for her and our children until my dying day."
William smiled at him. "Mr Smith, you have my blessing to ask my Alexandra to be your bride. I would however ask that I may be allowed to speak to her first.“ "Of course." Said Anthony beaming. "But if I may be so bold, I would ask you to speak to her soon. Given her situation I feel that if she agrees to be my wife, then we should make plans to marry as soon as we can.“ "I agree, which is why I plan to speak to her now." With a smile and a nod to Anthony, William left the drawing room to speak to Alexandra in the morning room.
"Alexandra princess, Mr Smith is here to see you." He said to his daughter "Papa I cannot..." She started "Princess, please, I realise that you would rather not see him, but I urge you to listen to what he has to say."
Alexandra looked at him. She wasn't silly and she realised from the tone of her father's voice what it was that Anthony wanted to speak to her about. "He wishes to ask me to marry him, does he not?" She asked "Yes.“ "Then I see I have no choice." She said sadly. "I will have to marry him."
"Princess, you always have a choice. If it is truly odious to you, then you do not have to marry this man." Pointed out William "But...my situation..." "We will find a solution to it, and one that does not make you unhappy, I promise you.“ "Thank you Papa." She smiled weakly at William. "Shall I send him in?“ "Yes. I will see him now."
Once William had walked out of the room, Alexandra turned to her mother. "Mother, what do I do? I fear I have no choice but to accept his proposal."
"Alexandra, as your father says, you do not have to do anything you do not want to do. If you have no feelings for this man, and do not want to marry him, then do not. We will find an alternative solution." Said Beth patiently.
"But how do I know what my feelings are? After all I thought that I loved him, but I was mistaken.“ "Alexandra, you will know whether or not it is the right thing to do when he asks you." Answered Beth with what she hoped was more confidence than she felt. After all Alexandra had accepted Joe's proposal, and that had turned out to be a disaster. "I suppose you are correct."
"I will leave the two of you alone." Said Beth as the door opened to admit Anthony. "Mr Smith." She nodded at him as she passed. "Mrs Legacy."
"I understand that you wished to see me Mr Smith." Said Alexandra getting up. "I do, yes.“ "And that there is something you wish to say to me.“ "Yes. Your father has briefed you well." He said, a smile pulling at his mouth. "Papa is very thorough when he wishes to be." She replied.
"Before I discuss the reason for my visit with you Miss Legacy, please allow me say that I have loved you, completely and utterly since the day we first met. Seeing you with another, especially one who was not worthy of you, was like a knife to my heart."
Alexandra looked at him in wonderment. For the first time she knew what it was like to have someone who genuinely cared for her, share those feelings with her. "Why did you not say anything?" She asked. "Would you have listened?“ Alexandra thought for a moment before shaking her head. "No. I would have said that I was very flattered but..."
"That you were in love with someone else." Finished Anthony. "Yes." She gave a wry smile. "I know, which is why I kept my silence. If I had thought that you would have listened, then it would have been a different story."
"But, you are listening now." He said dropping to his knees. "Miss Alexandra Legacy, will you make me the happiest man in the world and consent to be my wife?"
"Yes." She replied. She had expected to have to think long and hard about her situation and whether she could marry as a solution to it, but instead she hadn't even thought about her baby. All she knew at that point in time is that she wanted to be Mrs Anthony Smith more than anything else.
Impulsively she threw her arms around Anthony. For the moment she was happier than she had ever been. As for Anthony, he was ecstatic. The woman he adored had agreed to be his wife, and for the time being he decided not to dwell on the possible reasons behind her decision.
Alexandra opened the morning room door to tell her parents that they could come in. Anthony then proceeded to tell them that Alexandra had accepted his proposal. William gave him a hearty pat on the back. "I thought that she would accept you." He said quietly. "Welcome to the family Mr Smith.“ "Thank you Mr Legacy, sir."
Beth hugged her daughter. "Congratulations my dear. I think that you have made a wise decision.“ "Thank you Mama. I hope that you are right."
At Sim State University Eddie had been unusually quiet once he and Theo had returned from their trip that afternoon. Even the news that his sister would be marrying the next day had done little to lift his spirits. Stanley had wisely decided not to push for details, instead suggesting a trip to the Campus Lounge. At Theo's urging, Eddie had agreed and now found himself playing the piano, wishing that his knuckles weren't quite so sore.
Theo meanwhile was quite happy singing. Since he had spent a week in Riverblossom Hills and met Doc, he had become far less self-conscious about his singing voice. He no longer needed to be full of juice in order to be persuaded to sing, and often told Doc when they were heading to the Lounge so that she could make the journey to watch them all perform.
As for Stanley, well he was busy being Stanley that evening. "Miss Creelman, I was wondering if I could buy you a drink at some point before I graduate?" He asked hopefully. "Mr Legacy, I know exactly what you are like, and how many ladies you have asked out for drinks." Pointed out Elise. "I am a friendly man, what can I say?"
They had a good evening at the Lounge, but it did mean that Eddie was up slightly later than he wanted to be. He did after all have to make the journey into the City for his sister's wedding. Therefore he wasn't in the best of moods when Stanley joined him for breakfast. "Good night last night, was it not?" Asked Stanley. "It was a distraction, certainly.“ "A good distraction. I am certain that Miss Creelman will soon be amenable to going out for a drink, or even a meal with me.“ Eddie looked at him. "How can you act so? You are always on the look out for another girl to chase."
"Yes I know but there is nothing quite like the thrill of reeling in a new lady friend Eddie. The will she? Won't she? How long will it take before she does? It is...exciting." Explained Stanley.
Eddie regarded him for a moment. "Excuse me. I do not think that I can stand to be in the same room as you at the moment." He said getting up.
"What did I do?" Asked Stanley bewildered as Eddie walked out, and into he study.
Theo entered the dining room as Stanley was clearing away his and Eddie's breakfast things. "Ah Theo old chap, am I pleased to see you. I fear that I may have upset Eddie, but I am blowed if I know how.“ "Eddie is just a bit upset at the moment, over his sister." Replied Theo. "Yes I realise that but this is more. I was explaining about how I enjoy the thrill of the chase, when he...got upset.“ Theo rubbed his hand over his eyes. "Ah, perhaps I should explain..."
Stanley slipped into the study where Eddie was staring at the chess board, trying to get his brain working. "Mind if I join you?“ Eddie just grunted in reply, but Stanley took this as acquiescence and sat down. "I have just spoken to Theo. He explained what has happened to Alexandra. I am sorry, I had no idea." Eddie was silent. "I understand why you reacted to me as you did, and in fact," he took a deep breath, "it has made me reevaluate how I live my life. I am thinking about getting engaged and married."
Eddie stared at him in astonishment, not sure he could believe what he had just heard. "I beg your pardon, but did you just say that you were going to settle down with one girl?"
"Yes Eddie." Said Stanley, "I do not want to end up getting a girl into trouble and then abandoning her. What sort of a despicable man would I be then? I would be just like the man who did that to Alexandra. No the best thing to do is to pick one of my lovely girls and spend my life with her." He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "The question is who? I have loved Amber for years. She is so witty and unconventional, but then there is Laura. So petite, but so, so feisty. I love that about her. Or my darling Karen, the life and soul f the party or..."
Eddie interrupted him, suddenly struck by a thought. "You love all your girls do you not?“ Stanley looked at him in amazement. "Of course I do!“ "Then you will never be like him. He never cared for Alexandra. He tried to use her for his own gains, caring not one jot for her or her feelings. You do care, and so you are different."
Stanley glanced up at him. "I hope so Eddie. I really hope so." "I am sure of it, and so I think that you should do what you want. If you want to still see your girlfriends, then do so.“ Stanley looked at the board. He wasn't sure what he would do yet, but it was nice to have his cousin's confidence in him.
As noon approached in Regalton, William and Beth were waiting for their daughter to come downstairs. "Perhaps you should go and see if she needs any assistance Beth." Said William. "No, she shooed me out of her room earlier saying that I was fussing too much and that she wanted some time to herself.“ "But if we do not get a move on..." He stopped as he heard the sound of an upstairs door opening.
Alexandra came down the stairs and smiled nervously at her parents. "What do you think?" She asked, pointing to her dress. "You look so beautiful princess." Replied William. "Just as beautiful as your mother did when she wore that dress on our wedding day." Alexandra smiled and bowed her head. "Thank you Papa." She was actually extremely happy to hear that. She had had a panic the night before when it had turned out that all of her formal dresses were too tightly boned for her to wear because of her bump. It was only when her mother had remembered that her wedding dress wasn't lined with whale bone that a disaster had been avoided. "The carriage is here. We had better be off." Said Beth. Alexandra nodded at her and gave a tight smile.
When the carriage pulled up in front of her future home, Alexandra was sure that there had been some mistake. When Anthony had told her that he owned a town house in the city, she had envisioned a modest house such as the one her Aunt Evie lived in. Instead she found herself in one of the most wealthy areas of the city staring up at a four storey townhouse. "This cannot be correct." She muttered. "It is princess." Said her father. "Mr Smith is from a very wealthy family." He put his arm around her. "Come on, let us get you inside."
The little ceremony was taking place in the main drawing room of Anthony's town house, and as her family went in, leaving her outside the door, she couldn't hep but reflect on what she was doing. This was not the wedding she had planned for herself, but she was surprised to realise that she felt much more at ease with this ceremony than the previous one. Perhaps she had always had an inkling then that things would not go well. Just then she heard her brother start playing the piano and knew that it was time for her to stop pondering such things and enter the room.
Anthony stood under the wedding arch waiting for her, his heart hammering like mad. He had dreamed of this moment for four years, and now it was about to happen.
Alexandra turned and smiled at him when she reached the wedding arch. She was gratified when he returned her smile and leaned forward to whisper to her, "you look absolutely beautiful Miss Legacy.“ "Really?" She asked. "Truly. I am the luckiest man on the planet."
This ceremony went off without a hitch, and as Anthony promised to love, honour and cherish her, Alexandra realised just how lucky she was to be marrying this man. Not many would be willing to marry a lady in her situation.
Her family looked on, happy to share this moment with her, as she became Mrs Alexandra Smith. William clapped the hardest of all, fervently wishing his daughter and son-in-law the same happiness he had found with his wife.
After the ceremony Anthony cut the cake, and Beth held her breath when she realised that he was planning on shoving a handful of it straight into her daughter's mouth. Such behaviour would normally earn the person a stern stare and a few choice words from Alexandra.
Not today though. Maybe it was relief, or maybe it was happiness, but Alexandra actually found it amusing, rather than vexing. She laughed along with Anthony, even wiping a dollop of icing from her chin and flicking it at her new husband.
As Alexandra sat down with her slice of cake she smiled at her family. She had always wanted a large wedding, but her attempt at that had gone horribly awry. Now she was more than content to be sharing this day with her immediate family. "I like this one, Alexandra." Said Vicky quietly as she sat down beside her. "He is nice, is he not?" She responded equally quietly. "Mr Smith, I am amazed that you managed to procure a cake at such short notice." Said Beth taking a slice. "I had Cook brought here last night from Simbridge." Admitted Anthony. "All of the bakers were closed when I arrived back in the city.“ "She has done a splendid job."
Her family didn't stay long after the ceremony, mainly because Alexandra, now in the very late stages of her pregnancy, was feeling extremely tired. Once they had left and she had changed into her everyday clothes, Anthony sought her out. "There you are Alexandra. I hope you are looking forward to being the mistress of this house."
She smiled softly at him. "Yes I am. I also wanted to thank you again for marrying me Mr...Anthony. Not every man would have risked their reputation to help out someone like me." She gestured at her swollen belly.
Anthony looked at her. "But I love you Alexandra. That is the reason I wanted to marry you, not to be charitable.“ "I know." She replied, and she did. Now she was no longer thinking about Joe, she could see that there was something unmistakable about the way Anthony looked at her. "My point is that given the circumstances, you could so easily have walked away, ending our friendship.“ He shook his head at her. "No I could not, because you mean the world to me."
Alexandra knew that she should respond in kind, but she had gone through the pain of being left at the altar by Joe, before being plunged into the shock, panic and shame of expecting an illegitimate child, to the relief that her child would not be born out of wedlock. Now, although she was happy, she was still numb and unsure of many of her feelings, including those feelings about Anthony. She smiled at him. "I...am very tired. The day has quite worn me out. I hope you do not mind if I retire for the night.“ "Not at all." He said. Truthfully he would have liked to spend some time with her, just the two of them, but he would not push it. After all they had the rest of their lives to spend together.
Alexandra didn't make it up to her bedroom without some more excitement though. "Ow.“ "Alexandra, are you well?"
"Argh, no. I think, ARGH, the baby is coming. ARGHHH!“ "Oh my. Hang on, I will get some linen." For the first time Anthony regretted not keeping a permanent staff at the townhouse. He could use some help at that moment in time.
Thankfully Alexandra instinctively knew what to do, and as her husband was searching the linen closet upstairs, she delivered a healthy baby boy. "Hello little one." She said quietly. "You have your grandmama's eyes." She smiled at her son, conveniently forgetting that Joe also had green eyes. "I think that I will call you Christopher William. Ooo." She winced as a new pain shot through her abdomen. "I think that we should go and find my husband."
Anthony was in the back drawing room, looking around slightly absently, his arms full of cloths when Alexandra found him. "Can you please hold my son?" She asked. "Our son," he countered, "and of course I can. Hello there my little man." He dropped the cloths on the floor and took possession of his step-son. "Owww." Cried Alexandra. "Alexandra?" Asked Anthony worried. "Another...baby." Panted Alexandra through gritted teeth.
Just as with her first child, Alexandra found that she knew what to do, and was soon holding her daughter in her arms. There was no mistaking her father: like her brother she had Joe's hair colour and his and Beth's green eyes. She also had his skintone. "She is beautiful." Said Anthony as he gazed on her. "Yes, she is." Replied Alexandra. "I was thinking of calling her Bethany Elise." She said. "A beautiful name, for our beautiful daughter."
Within the space of a day, Alexandra had acquired a husband and two children. She glanced over at Anthony as she cuddled Bethany. She had been slightly worried about how he would actually react once she gave birth. Saying that he was willing to raise another man's children was not be the same as doing it, but as she looked at him murmuring soothing words to his step-son, those worries evaporated.
With the twins bathed, fed and put down for the night in the nursery, Anthony and Alexandra slipped into their respective beds. Anthony would be lying if he said he had never thought about what his wedding night with Alexandra would be like. Somehow though, he had never figured on it including new born twins and separate bedrooms.
A couple of months passed, and the boys were nearing the end of their final year. All three were excelling in their degree subjects, but that did not mean that they were neglecting their social lives. "Miss Hutchins, it is Edward Legacy. I was wondering if you were able to come to the Legacy Society this evening? My father is coming you see and I would like to introduce you to him...Well, yes it is short notice I suppose...Oh really? It does not matter then. Perhaps we could go out for a meal tomorrow instead?...I will book a table then...Where? Why do I not surprise you?...Good. I will see you tomorrow evening at seven then. Goodnight Miss Hutchins."
William arrived about half an hour later. Alexandra's situation had meant that he had somewhat neglected his other children, and when Eddie had said that he wished to discuss something with him, he had decided that it was time to pay a visit to the Legacy Society. "Alexandra seemed happy when I spoke to her." Started Eddie. "Yes, she is. I think that she finds the twins exhausting, but she loves them dearly despite of who their father is. Her husband is also a good man.“ "He is." Agreed Eddie. He paused. "Father, speaking of husbands, and marriage, I would like your permission to ask Miss Hutchins to marry me."
William smiled. "I was hoping that we would be having this conversation at some point before you graduated.“ Eddie returned his smile and ran his hand through his hair. "There was a time when I did wonder if this conversation would take place, I must admit, but here we are.“ "Yes here we are. Before I say anything else, though Eddie, I am disappointed that neither myself nor your mother has met Miss Hutchins."
"Hmm, I know Father, but Miss Hutchins could not make Alexandra's first wedding, and her second wedding was just the immediate family. I did try to have her here this evening, but again she is busy.“ "That is no bad thing." Mused William. "Legacy spouse is no position for a lazy woman: there is far too much responsibility, and much work to be done.“ "I know Father."
"And you love this woman?“ "Yes Father.“ William smiled at his son. "Then you have my permission to ask her to be your bride. Now that we have got that out of the way, tell me, do you still have that poker table here?“ Eddie laughed. "Yes Father. Would you like to play?"
They entered the games room to find Theo and Doc slightly preoccupied. When William had arrived Theo had insisted that he and Doc would stay out of the drawing room to give Eddie a bit of privacy whilst he broached the subject of marriage with his father. Eddie had just smiled and thanked him for his consideration, but he had known that Theo just wanted an excuse to spend time alone with Doc. As William passed them on the way to the poker table he let out a chuckle that surprised his nephew. Theo couldn't know it, but William was remembering the times he and Beth had tried to make excuses to be alone in this house.
It was a typical night in at the Legacy Society, apart from when Sergeant Kauker turned up to initiate Timothy into the Landgraab Society. As soon as he had entered the games room and William had seen him the atmosphere had turned frosty. Luckily William was still a member of the Landgraab Society and would not interfere with the rituals that took place. He stayed stock still, waiting for the "arrest" to finish.
For poor Timothy, the "arrest" was every bit as traumatic as it had been for Eddie. He had spent his formative years living in with his mother in the house of the clicky person's simself. The simselves there weren't perhaps the most careful or discreet, and so he had known from an early age that his father had been arrested for attempted murder. As the steel bit into his wrists, he felt the familiar shame of his parentage, and vowed as always never to become like his father.
He did soon cheer up though when he arrived at the Society house he was greeted by Marie Tsang and some of her fellow female members. He was soon making friends and getting to know what the perks of joining the society were.
Stanley had missed all the excitement that night. After a lot of soul searching he had realised that he couldn't give up his girlfriends and stay true to one. Instead he continued to add steadily to his list of girlfriends. He had, for example, met Lexie Mamuyac here on a trip downtown. He had told her where he lived whilst they were chatting, and he had been gratified, if a little shocked when she had rung him up asking him if he wanted to do something. He had, and so she became another one of his girls.
The following night a slightly nervous Edward was waiting for a table at the Palisade with Miss Hutchins. He had noticed her smile falter slightly when the carriage had pulled up outside the restaurant, so he asked "I hope that you do not mind dining here?"
"Hmm? No." She answered untruthfully as she scanned the restaurant. Last time they had been here she had run into Edward's Uncle Henry. Not only was he an old flame of hers, but she had in actual fact been instrumental in helping him try to kill his brother William in order for him to take over as heir. She had no idea if Henry would ever choose to share that information with anyone, but she dreaded the day if he did. "Good." Said Edward relieved. There was a reason he had chosen this restaurant, and he would hate for her not to like it.
The maitre d' soon showed them to their table. Marielle looked slightly disappointed when she saw that they were tucked away in a corner of the room. "This is not as nice a table as the one we had last time we dined here." She pointed out slightly petulantly. "I asked for a more...secluded table this time." Said Eddie with a smile. "Oh." Marielle supposed that it was better that Edward had requested this table than him having no influence over where they were sat, but she liked people to see her dining with the next head of the Legacy family. She had always been drawn to influence and power.
Once their plates had been cleared Eddie started fidgeting and tugging at his tie. "Are you well?" Asked Marielle concerned. "Was there something wrong with your prawns?“ "No, no, there was nothing wrong with the food at all." He took a deep breath and started into his prepared speech. "Miss Hutchins we have been stepping out for well over a year now, and as you may recall this is where we first dined together.“ Marielle nodded. "I will never forget it.“ "Really? That is...good."
"The thing is, as you are well aware, I am the next head of the family, and I have to find a wife." He pushed a velvet box containing his great-grandmother's engagement ring across the table towards her. "I can think of no other woman I want by my side. I love you Miss Hutchins, will you marry me?"
Marielle snatched the box up and opened it. A gleam appeared in her eye. At last this was it. The position of legacy spouse, and all that went with it, was within her grasp. If Eddie saw this gleam, he misinterpreted it as he waited for her answer. "Yes, of course I will marry you Edward Legacy." She said placing the ring on her finger and moving her hand to see how the light caught the diamond in its setting.
Eddie let out a breath he hadn't been aware he had been holding. "You will?" He asked relieved. "Yes." Her eyes danced as she smiled at him. 'Soon,' she thought, 'soon..'
The meal paid for, they made their way to the dance floor, where they danced for hours. It was only the fact that Eddie had an important class the next day that meant they left as early as they did.
Eddie was more than a little surprised to find that Theo was still up when he returned home. "You are up late." He said joining him at the chess board. "I have been speaking to Doc on the telephone." Replied Theo smiling. "That explains it then." Said Eddie with a laugh.
"Are congratulation in order?" Asked Theo as he waited for Eddie to make his move. Eddie had confided in him about how he planned to ask Marielle to marry him before he had gone out. "Hmm? Oh yes, I suppose they are. Miss Hutchins accepted my proposal. We are to be wed once I have graduated.“ "Then congratulations my friend." Said Theo, genuinely happy for his cousin. "Thank you Theo. Did you know that Stanley mentioned to me once that he was thinking about getting married?" Asked Eddie as he moved his piece.
Theo paused, his hand hovering just above the board. "Stanley? Marry?“ "I know." Said Eddie laughing. "It was after Alexandra, he had a bit of a crisis. I think that it is resolved now though, given the fact that he never seems to be in in the evenings lately.“ "I think I am glad. Our cousin would not be our cousin without his bevy of girlfriends.“ "I agree."
The next morning, after his class, Edward was surprised to see his friend Miss Leong wandering by. They had not had the chance to speak properly for months so he was quick to ask her to join him at the campus tea parlour. "Miss Leong, it has been far too long. How are you keeping?“ "Well thank you Mr Legacy. And yourself?“ "Very well. In fact I have some good news I would like to share with you.“ "Oh?“ "Yes. Last night I became engaged to be married to Miss Hutchins. I think I have spoken to you about her?"
Carmen nodded. She tried to smile and congratulate him, but her voice and facial muscles wouldn't cooperate. She cleared her throat and tried again. "Congratulations Mr Legacy." To her ears the cheerfulness sounded forced, but she did not know why. She should be happy one of her dear friends was getting married, but for some reason she was not.
Eddie didn't seem to notice her tone of voice. "Thank you Miss Leong. You are of course invited to the ceremony.“ "Thank you, but I do not know..." She started. "Please Miss Leong. You are one of my oldest friends, it would not be right if you were not with me to experience that happy day."
Carmen looked at him conflicted. She had meant to say that she would love to attend, and didn't know why she had almost rejected the invitation. Of course she wanted to be there to share such a happy day with a dear friend. "I apologise, I would love to attend." She smiled. "Good." Eddie smiled at her, and changed the subject.
Before anyone knew it, it was the end of the semester and time for Eddie, Theo and Stanley to sit their final exams. All three passed with flying colours, gaining first class honours degrees. This meant that it was soon time for them to throw graduation parties. Eddie's was thrown first and he smiled as he saw so many people he cared about under one roof.
The party was a roaring success, and it also gave Eddie the opportunity to introduce his fiancée to his parents for the first time. "Mr Legacy, I do apologise for not meeting you before." Said Marielle, smiling sweetly. unfortunately been extremely busy and opportunity never presented itself." "I have
William smiled at her: he could see why his son liked her so much. She seemed like a very nice young woman. "Miss Hutchins, that is quite alright. I understand that life can get busy. As a family we too have had a very busy year."
Beth however was not so taken with Marielle. There was something about Miss Hutchins that she did not like, but she could not put her finger on what it was. She sighed. 'I am just being over-cautious because of what happened with Alexandra and that man.' She thought. 'I am scared that another one of my children will get hurt, and so I am seeing things that are not necessarily there.'
Speaking of Alexandra, she had settled into married life nicely. She was still unsure as to her feelings for her husband, but she acknowledged how lucky she was, and was genuinely happy. This happiness was evident in the music she played on the violin for entertainment at the party.
Where there is music, there is of course dancing. By now it should come as no surprise that 1) Doc was once again a guest at the Legacy Society, and 2) that she and Theo had eyes only for each other all night.
As the party drew to a close Beth sought out her son to tell him how proud she was of him. "Mother I know." He said laughing when she told him. "I know you know Eddie, but I wanted to tell you myself. I love you so much my baby boy.“ "Mother have you been at the juice?" He asked suspiciously. "Oh, just give your mother a hug Edward." She said with a smile.
As the party finished it was time for Edward to change and leave for home. When he got there he would be taking over the reins as head of the family. He did not know how good an heir he would make, but he was willing to give it his all.
*** And thus ends the final chapter of generation three's reign. Thank you everyone for reading, I hope you enjoyed me getting all melodramatic on you with Alexandra's storyline. I really do appreciate your support and value the comments you leave me at Boolprop.com. As always thanks go out to Judie at All-About-Style and the creators at MTS2 whose CC I use. Thanks also to those of you whose simselves and legacy sims I use. Join me next time when I finally move into generation four's reign. =>
Oh come on, I can't be the only one who enjoyed this!
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