23. Evensong of Life

Aidelle gazed at the pretty painting that she had placed on the marble mantle above the fireplace, and wished that the weather outside would mimic the loveliness that had been illustrated the previous day. The preceding day’s sun was gone, followed by clouds of dark grey and the knowledge of some stormy daytime ahead.

Moving in was always going to be a long and arduous task, and Aidelle had already unpacked and altered the positions of many objects. Of course, the large town residence had already come with fitted-in appliances, and some few decorative things. Whilst hanging up Phillip’s picture, Aidelle had needed to remove several bits and pieces from around the shape which the picture would take, including a small, hand-sized clock. It was plated gold, with silver hands, and rather heavy, made, unusually, of a stone like marble, and therefore matching the mantelpiece. Aidelle found it a shame to move the old thing, but it was there purely for ornamental reasons, and, besides, the circular, wooden wall-clock from Aidelle’s old bedroom would fit better with the style of the room, and would be easier to see if it were stood next to the tallest bookcase.

She had found a trustworthy mechanic from amongst the family of one of her dainty sisters’ husbands, and he had done a good job of making the bedroom clock tick along precisely.

“Something to do with the cogs in the back,” he had mumbled, “It just needed a bit of tweaking, that’s all.”

Leaving the rest of the house without time-pieces would make living rather awkward, but, as time went by, Aidelle assumed, they’d find, be given, and buy more chronometers to fill up the place with.

Having half unpacked, around Aidelle lay cardboard boxes full of clothes, books, ornaments, and various other things that might have been needed to complete the furnishing of their new home. She rooted around in one box, the closest to her, and lovingly lifted out a pastel pink christening gown, frilled at the cuffs and collar, rolling foams of salmon spilling over into the brighter pink that would sink many centimetres below the ends of the baby’s toes. It was mostly cotton and lace, but so soft to the touch, and Aidelle’s grin grew as she wove her fingers in and out of the heart-shaped patterns. This gown had once belonged to Aidelle’s infant self, and it would belong to any daughters she might have.

The christening dress made Aidelle think of the past couple of months’ happenings. She hadn’t expected any of it (well, perhaps she had expected Phillip’s proposal; it seemed like forever that they had been in love), but then, in the type of relationship that she kept with Phillip, nothing should have been unexpected. However, life, with its twists and storybook turns, was left to fate, and fate had other ideas. Sparkling, shockingly new ideas.

Aidelle sighed contently and rubbed a hand against her flat stomach. It would be only a matter of time now. And her wedding to Phillip was drawing ever nearer; a month to go and no more. There would never more be any waiting.

Suddenly, the latch on the old wooden front door clicked and Aidelle jumped, stuffing, albeit with the most care, the christening dress back into the box with the rest of her future plans. That box was her second heart; she wasn’t ready for Phillip to see it all…

He himself entered the sitting room, and attempted to reflect the warm smile that Aidelle gave him. There was more than the gloomy weather outside bringing down Phillip’s countenance and turning his face into a blank white sky.

 “It’s getting horrible out there,” Aidelle nodded to the windows, “What luck that we’re inside with each other’s warmth, don’t you think?”

When Phillip did not respond, she started to get worried; he was not letting her see into those bright green eyes of his.

Before Aidelle could say another word, Phillip took a deep breath and stepped forward. His fiancée shook as the room turned colder. Had she worked so hard in her life just for this? Was love going to let her down now? Nevertheless, she waited patiently, with baited breath, for Phillip’s resolution.

The End

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