“Sixteen paces forward,” Aidelle giggled, and took those steps carefully, her eyes covered by a pair of gentle, strong hands.
“Don’t worry, you’re in safe hands,” the owner of said hands announced, leading the woman over a little grassland and to the wooden garden gate of a large country house.
“And…open your eyes…”
Aidelle did as she was told, and her eyes widened in joyful surprise.
“Oh, Phillip, it’s beautiful!” Aidelle gazed round at the two-story building; as well as the little flower garden out the front, there was a large grass lawn at the back; the walls were brick, a red light enough that it was bordering on becoming sunrise tangerine, each window had a white-painted cross frame and to Aidelle it seemed that there were no imperfections.
“Wait until you see the inside,” Phillip grinned and pulled her along by the hand.
At the time, Phillip Costello and Aidelle Masters were young, carefree and eagerly anticipating their lives ahead. They lived by the ethos that there were no halves; if they were going to do something, they would do it to the full.
The end of two honourable family lines, both had been destined for an elaborate life and the pairing was amicably and well chosen.
Aidelle was overlooked by elder sisters of great beauty and her brother who was already leading the way into a career of law, whereas she herself had no discernable talent or career path; with her money there was no need. Aidelle’s chocolate curls had a tendency to frizz up in the cold and precipitation, and chose to be untamable. Her hazel eyes were unremarkable at first glance, but were always quick on the mark and showed her intelligence and way with numbers.
The kindly Phillip did not see her physical features; however crooked her nose and however thin her lips, he would still pour out admiration. His five brothers were military men and confidently persuading Phillip to join- but to no avail; Phillip was more gentleman than warrior, more likely to lift a paintbrush than a rifle. With his steady good looks and smooth features (hair of Raven black and jade eyes, a chiselled jaw and a prominent nose) he could fit into any uptown college, but he chose to live a life of more peace and quiet.
Aidelle gripped Phillip’s arm as she spoke, her icing-pink nails digging in slightly.
“I can’t believe that in a couple of months I’ll be Mrs. Costello!”
“Two months and we’ll be living the rest of our lives together. To think that it’s only that little amount of time to go.”
They both stood proudly, and looked around the living area of their new house.
The rooms were certainly not a disappointment to the exterior: the walls were decorated with golden flower wallpaper, combining with the angular windows to give the room a light and airy feel.
Miniature bookshelves were crammed into ever corner of the sitting room, and green foliage bloomed in pots of cherry that were lifted onto shelves. There was a mirror above the mantelpiece with a golden frame, which glimmered whenever Aidelle looked over at it. An ebony grand piano sat to the left of the mantle-place and the only thing that Aidelle found amiss in the room was that there no grandfather clock, and only one timepiece. The clock was barely three inches high and relatively plain amongst the other ornaments that were resting on the mantelpiece. The face was white but the body gleamed gold and had a handle, designed for it to be hung by. Its numbers were Roman numerals and the hands winked as they spun around into the light.
“They’re pure silver,” Phillip said as he noticed her looking.
Aidelle nodded absently and traced the face with an index finger. She found it unremarkable, yet…something about it drew her attention.
“Come on, I should show you the rest of the house,” Phillip guided her away.
Aidelle approved greatly of her fiancé’s choice of abode. Every room was bright and the furnishings were full of life. The floor was always soft carpet and there was at least one cream-colour rug in each room. The décor did not disappoint, as mirrors seemed to be a theme of the house, and Aidelle rejoiced in spending her time peering into the looking-glasses. Finally, Phillip led Aidelle to the last room: their master bedroom.
It was possibly the most empty of the rooms, but still contained one of the signature mirrors above a writing-desk, and a little diamond clock attached to the wall across from the window, shimmering silver gemstones adorning its elements. In the current light it was difficult to read (for the face was reflecting the sunlight outside) but, as Aidelle noticed, it was broken anyway.
“Phillip, this clock is to be thrown away. The time’s stuck at five to eleven in the morn. Rubbish.”
And then she turned to survey the rest of the room and gasped in pleasure.
In the center of the room was a four-poster double bed, the elaborate quilting decorated with beautiful pink and crimson silk roses.
“Oh, it’s beautiful.”
”Our marriage will be beautiful.”
They wandered back to the sitting room, hand in hand, and looked with delight at the house. All was good.