Authors: Sk Quinn
Tags: #Ivy Lessons
Ready for Part VI of the Ivy Series?
Then read on …
But wait! Have you read Parts I, II and III yet?
If not, you might want to search for:
Book I: The Ivy Lessons
Book II: Where the Ivy Grows
Book III: Bound by Ivy
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My wedding day.
It’s truly been the best day of my life so far.
The wedding ceremony is over and now we’re hanging out on the sunny lawn.
As Marc and I sit on the grass watching the setting sun, I feel the love of family and friends all around us.
I lean against Marc’s broad shoulder, thinking about the vows we made beneath a canopy of trees.
Sophia Rose, I promise to love you for the rest of my life …
I loved that our ceremony was in the woodlands behind Ivy College. And that Jen and Tanya were my bridesmaids. And that Tom helped us say our vows.
I look down at my loose, white silk wedding dress and know I couldn’t have picked anything better. It’s beautiful but kind of natural-looking and comfortable. Not too formal. I would have got annoyed with some big starched netty thing.
Even though the sky has turned pinky-grey, it’s still warm.
My hands wander to my stomach. Could I really be pregnant already? I know it’s way too soon to tell. But …
Marc’s arms tighten around me.
‘We’ll visit the doctor tomorrow,’ he says.
He’s so handsome in his jet-black suit, his jaw hard and clean-shaven, his eyes intense blue.
‘Maybe you should stay away from the lobster later on. Just in case.’
For the evening meal, we’re barbequing lobsters and steak.
‘Why?’ I ask.
‘Because pregnant women shouldn’t eat shellfish.’
‘I think maybe you’re getting confused with sushi,’ I laugh. ‘I’m pretty sure shellfish is fine. Anyway. Maybe I’m not pregnant.’
‘I’ll have someone find out about the shellfish—’
‘No!’ I grab his hand. ‘We don’t even know if I’m pregnant yet. I don’t want anyone to find out. It could turn out to be nothing.’
Marc frowns. ‘Sophia—’
‘Please Marc. Look. Let me Google it, okay?’ I pull out my phone and type in the question. ‘It says here shellfish is fine.’
As we talk, staff light garden candles for the evening party. Fairy lights glow in the white bell tents dotted around the lawn.
‘This is truly the best day of my life,’ I tell Marc.
‘I’m glad to hear it.’
‘Everyone we love is here.’
Well almost everyone.
I gaze up at the sky, thinking of my mother. I was a child when she died. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss her at times like this. It’s funny – I actually hadn’t thought about her all day. Even when Marc and I said our vows. But as I look at our family and friends on the lawn, I feel a pang in my stomach.
She would have loved to have been here. The grass and trees … and Marc …
‘Sophia?’ Marc’s voice is concerned. ‘Is something wrong?’
‘Not wrong exactly, but … are you missing your mother today?’
‘I thought about her earlier, as a matter of fact.’ Marc stares out at the trees. ‘While I was waiting for you in the woods. I was wishing she could have met you. She would have loved you.’
‘My mother would have loved you too.’
‘So you’re missing your mother?’
‘A little bit. Only just now. Not all day or anything.’ I look over at Dad, who’s laughing at something Denise is saying. ‘Dad usually misses her at times like this too, but I think he has a great distraction today. Which is brilliant. When my mother knew she was dying, she said, “Don’t mourn me. Celebrate me.” She didn’t want us to be sad. And she wanted my dad to love again.’
‘She sounds like a wonderful woman.’
I look around at our family and friends, and feel a glow of happiness chase away sad thoughts.
Jen is laughing with Leo. Tanya sits on the arm of Tom’s wheelchair, smiling adoringly at him. Dad grins at Denise. Annabel is swinging Daniel around.
Mother or no mother, I am truly blessed.
It’s early days for Jen and Leo, but things look promising. Leo’s staying in London longer than planned. And I know it’s because of Jen. She’s round at his apartment every night and won’t shut up about him.
Tanya still plays down how serious she and Tom are. But I can see just by the way she’s looking at him that those two are serious. And Tanya
catch my wedding bouquet. So you never know …
Dad and Denise say they’re taking things slowly. But they spend most of their weekends together these days.
I feel a little sad for my ‘wicked stepmother’ Genoveva. She’s all alone now. The man she cheated with has dumped her, and Dad has moved on with Denise. But like Jen says, karma is a bitch sometimes. Genoveva only has herself to blame. I just wish Genoveva would see my little brother Sammy more. But none of us can force her to be a good mum.
As I’m looking around at our family and friends, I notice Marc’s sister, Annabel, talking to a security guard. She’s frowning.
Annabel has been so happy recently. Now she’s finally kicked her heroin habit and got her little boy Daniel back with her. But right now she looks … I don’t know. Worried.
‘Marc,’ I whisper. ‘Is your sister all right?’
Marc’s dark eyebrows pull into a frown.
‘Wait here,’ he replies, jumping to his feet.
I feel myself shiver, even though it’s not cold.
As Marc approaches Annabel and the security guard, I hear words on the breeze.
‘No. Of course he can’t come in.’
‘How did he even know about today?’
I get to my feet, my silk ballet pumps sinking into damp grass.
This is my wedding day. If something’s going on, I want to know about it.
Marc frowns as I cross the lawn.
‘What’s happening?’ I ask, taking his arm.
‘Nothing for you to worry about.’
‘Annabel?’ I ask.
Annabel glances at Marc. ‘I don’t like keeping secrets. Not any more.’
‘It’s not a secret,’ Marc barks. ‘It’s just not worth Sophia’s time. This is our wedding day. Sophia doesn’t need family drama.’
Annabel looks down at Daniel, who’s holding her leg. ‘Hey there little man.’ She pulls him into a cuddle. ‘Come on. Let’s go and find some more lemon meringue pie, shall we?’
She throws a pained glance at Marc as she leads Daniel across the lawn.
Marc sighs. ‘That’s the trouble with rehab. It’s taught her to be too dammed honest.’
‘Honesty is a good thing. I don’t want secrets either.’
‘It’s just a family drama that we can do without on our wedding day. Okay?’
‘And the family drama would be?’
Marc looks at me with stern blue eyes. ‘Sophia. You’ve heard about Pandora’s box …’
‘Yes,’ I say. ‘And if
remember I opened Pandora’s box. And look where it got me. Marrying the love of my life.’
I see Marc fighting a smile. ‘We still have to live happily ever after. You know that, don’t you?’
‘Yes,’ I say. ‘And part of living happily ever after means being honest with each other.’
‘I am always honest with you.’ Marc kisses my forehead. ‘But this drama can wait. Now Mrs Blackwell. It’s time to cut the cake.’
We head to the largest bell tent, which is as big as a church hall. It’s decorated inside and out with glittering fairy lights and real ivy.
Our wedding cake sits on a silver table at the centre.
Of course, the cake is chocolate. Five tiers of deliciously moist chocolate fudge cake with gleaming chocolate icing.
It’s decorated with fondant roses and ivy leaves, all hand painted.
Our family and friends assemble inside, smiling and accepting champagne from waiters.
‘Would you accompany me to our wedding cake, Mrs Blackwell?’ Marc asks, escorting me through the crowd.
‘I’d be delighted, Mr Blackwell,’ I say.
‘Let me guess,’ Jen says, as we stand by the cake, ‘the chocolate cake was Soph’s idea, right?’
Marc passes me a silver knife. Then he puts his hand over mine and we cut the cake.
A zillion cameras and phones flash as we make two neat cuts. Then Marc lifts out a slice and holds the crumbling chocolate sponge to my lips.
‘Thank you.’ I lean forward to take a bite, feeling a little self-conscious as everyone watches.
The crowd breaks into applause and Marc and I stand laughing, me trying to cover my chocolatey mouth. Marc moves my hand away and kisses me.
Suddenly I can’t hear the crowd any more. It’s just Marc and I.
After the cake is served, the band sets up on the lawn and everyone drifts outside.
We hired a local folk group called ‘Green Fingers’ who’ve played in our village pub for years. The singer is an Irish girl – Rita – with the most beautiful voice.
‘It’s a pleasure to be here,’ Rita tells us in her soft accent. ‘And what better way to start the party than with the first dance. Mr and Mrs Blackwell, would you come forward please?’
‘May I have the pleasure of this dance, Mrs Blackwell?’ Marc asks, his deep voice finding its way into my stomach.
Marc leads me across the lawn.
The crowd parts and Marc and I stand by the band amid twinkling fairy lights.
The band plays ‘True Colours’ by Cyndi Lauper, and Marc pulls me close. He wraps one arm tight around my waist and slides a hand to my cheek.
His blue eyes are so clear today.
I don’t need him to tell me he loves me. His eyes say it without words.
‘Could you imagine, when you first met me, that we’d end up here?’ I ask.
‘No. Never in a million years.’
you think when we first met?’
‘I thought you were astonishing.’ Marc gives his quirky half-smile. ‘You saw something in me that hardly anyone sees. Light. You believed I had light in me.’
‘I don’t remember saying that.’
‘You said there was light in everybody.’
‘Maybe I was just being general.’
‘No you weren’t.’
I laugh. ‘You’re right. I did mean you.’
Marc puts his forehead to mine. ‘And I’m getting lighter by the day. Every day I spend with you.’
‘You still have a dark side, Mr Blackwell,’ I say. ‘That’s one of the things I love about you.’
‘Do you indeed?’
‘Indeed I do.’
Marc moves his lips towards mine. He kisses me, softly at first and then harder until I’m gasping for breath.
I pull back. ‘Easy now Mr Blackwell. Save something for the honeymoon.’
‘I don’t think we should go on honeymoon just yet. Not until you’ve seen a doctor.’
I put my head on his shoulder. ‘Maybe you’re right. Just in case. Marc … What if I am? Isn’t it too soon to have a baby?’
‘No. I don’t think it’s too soon. Do you want to take a test tonight? I could have Rodney go and—’
‘No!’ The volume of my voice startles me.
‘I just … I don’t want
to know anything today. Is that okay?’
‘It’s okay.’ Marc strokes my hair. ‘Anything you want right now. Okay? Anything you want.’
Originally, we’d planned to take a night-flight to Venice after the wedding, on Marc’s private jet with a luxurious bedroom suite on board. But as the limo drives us away from Ivy College, Marc asks Keith to take us to the townhouse in London.
‘The townhouse?’ I ask. ‘Not the farmhouse?’
‘I’m arranging for you to see a Harley Street physician first thing tomorrow morning,’ says Marc. ‘It makes sense to stay in London.’
‘Okay,’ I murmur, leaning against his shoulder. ‘Marc?’
‘For the best day of my life.’
Marc gives me that quirky smile of his. ‘It hasn’t finished yet.’