23. Evensong of Life [III]

All traces of anger dissolved from Phillip’s heart.

“What…?” He whispered, rather in awe.

“We can’t postpone the wedding… I can’t have you going off to a place where you could be slashed down, or maimed, at any point in your time there. Our baby needs his or her father alive and well to care for us both in the painful times.”

Phillip gently walked forward and embraced Aidelle, feeling her soft ringlets on his neck as she laid her head on his shoulder. Subconsciously, Phillip lifted his right hand from the small of Aidelle’s back and stroked her brown curls back and forth. Chocolate, to match the umbrella that he had found in a second-hand shop. It was a lucky find, and a precious bargain; just like Aidelle.

The umbrella itself was a perfect symbol for their relationship too: sturdy and enduring; not even time would wrench them apart; Phillip made it a pact to himself. He would stay with his beautiful fiancée forever and through everything and anything.

“A baby… I can’t believe it. Do you know whether it’s a girl or a boy?” he finally decided to say.

Aidelle pulled away from the embrace, from which no tears had fallen, and gave Phillip a coy, embarrassed smile. She was proud of what they had both achieved, really.

"I don't know, there's not much to go on yet, but I have a feeling that we have a baby girl. Call it a hunch, or mother’s intuition; she seems like one to love pink or light purple.”

Phillip grinned at her. He’d got over his initial shock, and now beamed out to the world.

“A beautiful baby girl…” he repeated, grasping Aidelle’s hand and spinning her round into him, “If she's as beautiful as her mother... Well, I couldn’t ask for more.”

Aidelle laughed despite the worry still brewing in her.

“So…this means you’ll stay home?”

Phillip was slightly taken aback by her question. There was no chance of it being otherwise.

“Of course, of course. I wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else now. And we can manage without my father’s money.”

Aidelle gigged merrily in delight, but then face dropped.

“Money? What has anything got to with money?”

“Everything…yes, Ryan said that father wanted to disown me if I didn’t join the army, but we can do without his money. Besides, I’m not the only brother who dislikes war. You’ve seen that as much as the rest of my family. I’ll be easy to make him see sense.”

“Oh,” Aidelle clasped her hands together, finally understanding the entirety of Phillip’s grand dilemma, “Well, thank you for being honest with me. It’s better that than have us fighting over something in which not all the truth is revealed to one of us. I’m sure your brothers, once the war is over, will hand out mercy and pity if we really need it. We’ll survive on our own grounds, Phillip, my dear.”

“Yeah,” Phillip said gently, “I shall never let anything get between us again, okay.”
A ray of warm, golden sunshine spilt through the broad, bay windows, lighting up their second embrace. A laughing Aidelle pulled away and extended her arms into the sparkling gems of light. They sat, as dew might, on her arms, dying them a healthy, happy glowing, gorgeous brown. What a change that had occurred to the weather in that short instant!

“What’s the time? We should get going. Plus, I think you, Sir, have something to say to your parents.” She prodded her fiancé in the chest playfully.

“Indeed. But we have all the time in the world.”

Phillip gathered Aidelle’s arm in his and opened front door. Smiling, they walked out into the newborn sunlight.

***

The End

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