Chapter 3.17: Dear Diary, the Gift
Dear Diary, how is it that I can be so blissfully happy? My feet seem to barely touch the ground these days and I’m always quick with a smile when I never was in the past.
It’s more than my blossoming relationship with Matthieu. Life on the island is filled with beauty, my father and I are close again, and my family is still here, visiting. The icing on the cake is Matt. I’m not writing all of this because I expect the other shoe to drop. I know there will be difficult times ahead and that life is not all roses all the time.
It’s just that, in my entire life, I’ve never felt this way, so I intend to enjoy it as long as it lasts. The best part, is that Matthieu gives the appearance of being ecstatic, too. There was one serious moment, though, when he told me that before we could announce our engagement, he wished to speak to my father.
It was all I could do not to giggle at how sober he was when he spoke about this. As old fashioned as it sounded to me, in a way, I was delighted that he thought to ask my father for my hand.
I wasn’t supposed to be there, yet I couldn’t help but peek in through one of the newly installed windows. Briefly, I grimaced as I peered in. The house looked pretty ghastly from this view, too!
Then it was their voices that brought me back to the task at hand… trying to eavesdrop on them.
As they talked, it became quite frustrating for me. I could faintly hear their voices, but I couldn’t make out a single word. In fact, I couldn’t even make out the tones of their speech.
At least I knew the windows were quite sound!
All at once, Matt had a huge grin on his face and my heart leapt.
Next, they hugged and I realized I needed to get away from there as fast as possible.
Where was I supposed to be? It was clear I was no good at this sneaking around kind of thing. As I ran away from the house, it suddenly came to me that I’d told Matthieu I’d be clearing the garden.
I had barely caught my breath before Matthieu appeared, running toward me at full force. He scooped me up into the air and swung me around as he laughed and yelled, “Your dad said yes! He said yes!”
Laughing with him, I held onto him steadfastly, feeling the tightly corded muscles just beneath the fabric of his shirt. A tingling warmth spread through my entire body, something I’d only felt when with him. It was sensual yet sensitive, intense and fierce yet pleasant at the same time.
“When should we have the wedding?”
Slowly, he set my feet on the ground and tenderly touched my face, smoothing a loose wisp of hair back where it belonged. “I think we should have it soon before your family has to leave. Mrs. Capra said something about Leonardo’s school session beginning soon.”
Yes, he had a point. “That’s fine with me,” I enthused. “But one thing.”
“Don’t call her Mrs. Capra. It sounds weird.”
He gave me that, ‘you poorly mannered person’ smile, full of patience and said, “Until she suggests otherwise, that is exactly what I should call her.”
As soon as we announced our engagement, plans went into full force. Mostly, everyone seemed concerned about the food which made me really wonder what the wedding ceremonies were like here in Winchester.
After expressing my concerns to Agathe, she suggested that all of the ladies take a long walk on the beach with the excuse that it might settle my nerves. It was really nice having my friends and step-mother around me. The sand was toasty warm, it was humid, but once in a while, there was a nice breeze and the air smelled salty from the ocean.
As we spent the afternoon chatting and enjoying the day, I noticed that Audrey-Ann didn’t seem herself. Her face almost seemed pinched and her crystal blue eyes were troubled.
Pulling her aside, I asked as gently as I could, “Is there something bothering you?”
Her fine blond hair was finally long enough to be put up, but the humidity had created pretty little wisps around her face. Her arm was warm and damp as I reassuringly touched it. Glancing down at my feet, my eyes were actually drawn to her bare feet. I smiled a little to myself when I saw the pink toenail polish. Audrey-Ann had agreed to dress like everyone in the community but no one was taking away her polish.
“Blue, there is something wrong, but I don’t want to talk about it now – not when we’re talking about your wedding and everything.”
My eyes narrowed with concern. “Is it you and Elliott?”
Instantly, she shook her head. “No, we’re fine. He doesn’t even know yet.”
Now my eyes widened as my heart plummeted in my chest. “Are you sick?”
“No. And I can see now that if I don’t tell you, all you will do is worry.”
“You’re right about that!”
She stared off in the distance, her eyes glistening with tears. “After Laci was born, the midwife said I shouldn’t have anymore children. It was a real blow to Elliott, but I was happy with the little family I had.”
“Are you pregnant?” I whispered, making sure no one else could hear.
She nodded and a few tears escaped her eyes, following zigzagged paths down her face only to drip off of her chin. Impatiently, she swiped at them with her arm. “This could be dangerous for me and for the baby.”
“Why haven’t you told Elliott?”
“Because I know him well and I’m convinced that if he knew, he wouldn’t want me to risk my life. But, Blue, I’m going to have the baby no matter what. Even if it kills me.”
In shock, I put a hand to my mouth. “Either way, Elliott has to know.”
“He can’t!” she cried. “You can’t tell him either.”
“Oh no,” I said, “I’ve done a lot of lying in my past and I swore to myself I wouldn’t do anymore. So, I’ll agree to not go out of my way to say anything about this to him, but if he asks me if I know what’s wrong with you, I’ll tell him.”
She frowned as she dried her eyes. “It was wrong of me to ask you to lie. I’m sorry about that. I’ll try to tell him myself.”
“I think it’s best. He’s your husband, for goodness’ sake, you’re supposed to confide in him and make a decision together.” Yes, I said that. No, I have no experience in the matter whatsoever. But, she asked me for advice and that’s what I gave her.
Even so, I felt kind of … I don’t know… uneasy inside. What if I had to face what Audrey-Ann was going through? If you knew it was a terrible risk to have another child, would you still go ahead with it? What if the worst happened and Laci had to grow up without a mother? Was that fair to her? Or Elliott?
Audrey-Ann stepped away from me to dip her feet in the water. I supposed her mind was questioning even more things that I had thought of about the situation she was in.
Suddenly, I was even more grateful for Matthieu. While I’d never had to tell him anything serious like that before, I already knew that he would be supportive and calm. Honestly, I really didn’t think Elliott would react any differently to his wife.
“Oh that is such a lovely gesture,” Leela murmured, drawing my attention.
“Oh nothing,” Agathe said. She seemed to look more her age every time I saw her. Married life definitely agreed with her. No longer were her lips pursed in a scowl, her eyes weren’t as squinted and she even had more coloring in her face. She was absolutely lovely.
“Oh, come on.”
“Just never mind,” Leela smiled at me.
Agathe laughed at me then. “What a face, Blue! You’ll know very soon.”
“All right, all right,” I sighed as I left them to talk to my best friend Alice. “I have a question for you.”
“The answer is no.”
“What? I haven’t even asked you yet!”
“I can’t marry you since you are already engaged to Matthieu.” My jaw dropped as, abruptly, her lips curled into a wide grin and she held her stomach with fits of laughter. “You should have seen your face!” she shrieked.
“You’re killing me,” I laughed. “I wanted to know if you would be my maid of honor.”
“Well, why are you so surprised?”
“I thought you would want to ask Ruby. She’s your sister after all.”
I frowned slightly as I thought about Ruby. Every time her name crossed my mind, my stomach clenched and I could taste bile. I wanted so badly to make amends with her, it hurt.
“You ask her, and if she won’t do it, I will,” Alice said.
Before I could say anything or even think any longer about it, Agathe pushed a white box with a red ribbon around it into my hands.
“Goodness, this is heavy! What in the world?”
“Open it,” Agathe said, holding the bottom of the box for me so I could undo the ribbon without dropping it.
My breath caught in my throat as I lifted the lid. Inside, were folds and folds of ivory lace with little pearly buttons. “Is this your wedding dress?”
Smiling wider, she said, “It was the dress I never got to wear. It didn’t seem appropriate to wear it when I finally got married since we had such a little ceremony. I want you to wear it… if you want to, that is.”
I could feel the moisture of tears brimming my eyes and I knew if I blinked, they would cascade down my face. “Of course I want to. Thank you so much.”
“Very good,” Agathe said, giving me a small hug and retying the box. I marveled at how everything she did was so tidy.
“My turn,” Leela said. “Your father and I want to have the farm completely redone for you and Matthieu.”
“What?” Why did I feel so horrified? “No! I mean, I appreciate that, but Matt and I are working on that together. And I think he’d feel kind of weird taking money from you and daddy.”
She paused a moment before speaking. I think my reaction had surprised her. “You see, we really like Matthieu a lot. You two make a beautiful couple and we’re very happy for you. But we’re worried about you living in that place. It looks like it could fall apart any minute.”
I don’t know why, but this really got my dander up. “Listen here,” I fumed, “Matt and I will be just fine and if the house falls down around us, we’ll just put it back up! Or live in the barn! But my husband is not going to want to take money from you and daddy, I can tell you that now!”
Swiftly, Leela pulled me into her arms, embracing me. “I didn’t mean to offend you, honestly. I’m so proud of you, Blue, and I’ll make sure your dad understands.”
With a sigh of relief, I held her back, taking in the spicy scent of her perfume. “Thank you so much, momma. I love you.”
It was the first time I’d called her that, but I meant it with all my heart. I didn’t know where Chrissy Valentine was – I hadn’t even asked my dad if he knew. But it didn’t matter. Leela had been my mom since I was in elementary school and she would be at my wedding cheering me on.
With mixed feelings about the day, I headed back to Matt’s farm… our farm. OMG… I have a farm with the man I love! Is. This. Really. Happening?!
Later in the day, after we’d cleaned up, Matt went with me to the mainland to use the hotel’s phone. There was something I had to do.
“Blue, is that you?”
“Yes, I – ”
” – I’m busy and can’t talk right now. I have a life, you know!”
I really wished she wouldn’t still be so angry with me, but more than that, I wanted her to be my maid of honor.
“I’m getting married,” I stammered, my voice shaking.
“Well, so what? Who’d you con?”
Swallowing hard, I bit my lower lip to keep the tears from spilling from my eyes. “Please, can’t you accept my apology? The reason I called is because I wanted you to be my maid of honor.”
There was a small gasp and then a laugh… a nasty, bitter sounding sneer. “Right, okay.”
“I’m not trying to trick you! I really want you to be here more than anything in the world!”
“Blue, it’s time you got this straight. See, I wouldn’t go to your piddly little island again even if it was the only safe place left in a zombie apocalypse! Have a nice life!”
Then there was nothing but the dial tone. As I slowly put the phone back on the counter, Matthieu put his arms around me.
“I’m sorry,” he said, reading my expression.
Putting my hands on either side of his face, I gave him a brave smile. “I knew it wouldn’t work out, I was just really hoping. And you know what? Our wedding is going to be wonderful!”