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With This Ring


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Rating: PG-14
Content: N/A

Mature Content: No.

Author: Hector Wigfall

With: Clara Redmond & Family, Jacob Lutz & Family and friends.
Location: The Church.
When: 6 June 1876.
Time of Day: Five Past One in the Afternoon.

 

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Hector Lupin Wigfall considered it all again for a moment. Some mere fifteen hours ago – fifteen – he had been sitting quite happily in the front parlour, reading The Telegrapher journal (good article on the Baudot code) and now he was standing here in church, of all the God damn places, in his best suit, acting as Best Man to a kid he’d hated at school and hadn’t actually seen much of since. The only time Lutz had entered his orbit was all those times he’d come round to see his horrible sister … whatever that was all about.

 

He shuddered.

 

No sign of the Bride’s party yet. Late! God damn rude he called it. Groom’s side of the church were here but looked like a pretty ropy lot, item: his own sister, looking a sight and still putting the finishing touches to Lutz. She’d been up all night taking in one of their father’s suits and when the husband-to-be had come round to the Wigfall place to get into it this morning, his gruesome twin had given the beanpole a shave and a haircut! Hector wouldn’t let that crazy fruitcake anywhere near HIS windpipe with a cut-throat razor.

 

Then there was the Groom himself, the lanky drip, probably looking the best he ever would in his life, thanks to Jemima’s ministrations. Granny Miggins, the dried up old Mummy, rubbing her finger like she been sticking it somewhere it shouldn’t oughta been stuck … and got it stuck. Then Lutz’s big sister, Leonora. She was actually a nice bit of real estate, but given to fainting fits, apparently. Mind you, having an attractive and unconscious female in his company might not be such a bad thing.

 

Then there was that ginger piece, Bridget something. Not bad but only one leg – ugh!

 

He pulled out his hunter and flipped the lid. ‘Bride’s prerogative’ and all that but what the Hell?! Father Thomas didn’t look concerned. Hector drifted over to him.

 

“So, Father, how long are we going to give it until we call it a day and head for the saloon?” he asked with an unsuitable air of levity.

 

@boshmi

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The afternoon was pleasant for a wedding, for the summer heat was beginning to set in and the spring rains were becoming ever less frequent. Under the roof of the church the air was cool, and outside the road lay free of muck, due to the absence of any wet weather. It might have been the perfect scene, in fact, were it not for how hurried the whole thing had been. Thomas'd hardly had time for any decorations, having instead to make do with a few flower bunches that he'd arranged along the outer nave, and a ceremonial cloth at the altar.

Still, he'd tried as best he could for the young couple, and the church was hardly ramshackle. For his part he'd thrown a just-purchased suit jacket over his shirt and waistcoat, lending an aspect of the refined to his usual informal appearance.

 

The guests too seemed to have made an effort, mostly bearing what fine clothes they could dig out of their wardrobes or scrounge from each other, and for a frontier wedding it was not all that bad. At the very least it showed that the invited parties cared for Jacob and Clara.

 

He glanced over at the Lutz boy, no doubt preoccupied, nervous, excited, and scared. He thought of how he felt at his own wedding, a lifetime ago, and reached onto his pocket to give the rosary stashed there a discreet squeeze, that hybrid of Catholicism and Protestantism perhaps being symbolic of a union between such different personalities.

Or perhaps he simply felt like dwelling on the past for a moment.

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“So, Father, how long are we going to give it until we call it a day and head for the saloon?”

Thomas glanced over at the source of the question; a sort of young, wiry boy - the ubiquitous Hector Wigfall. Jacob's best man, by his own request, though it became ever clearer that the arrangement was more one of necessity than any brotherly camaraderie.

He gave a sort of half-bemused, half-concerned look, not quite sure if a dig was being made at his rooming in the Stardust some months back.

"It won't be long now, I don't think." he said with his usual inoffensive tone, though he turned his gaze to the entrance as he said so. Clara had seemed such a prudent girl, and he hardly expected her to be severely late in any capacity.

@Javia@Wayfarer@Bongo

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Of course, Clara Anne Redmond was never later for anything. To be late for her own wedding would be especially galling. However, when it came to weddings, the people with the least control over anything were the bride and groom. The particular fly in this jar of the ointment of promptitude was Arabella. Not that she was late. She arrived right on time, five minutes to One of the Clock, and, to be fair, she looked pretty good: the saloon folks had done a real good job of finding a nice dress and getting it to fit and pinning up hems and taking in bodices and lowering sleeves, and on top of it all, she had tied up her long black hair right prettily with a brand new light blue ribbon bought from Pettigrew’s and saved up for a special occasion such as this.

 

However, she had demands. Just as Clara was about to enter the church, bang on One, she had screamed.

 

“Oh Lordy, you do got ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, don’t ya?!” she had questioned urgently. The procession skidded to a halt.

 

Clara might not have been bothered about such old superstitions, but others didn’t want to take the risk, and this occasioned some thought and scrabbling around. The dress was both blue and old, so that was all right: but it had been given as a gift and therefore disbarred form the ‘borrowed’ part. Eventually Arabella had a brainwave and pulled the ribbon from her head, occasioning a cascading waterfall of black hair over her face.

 

“Borrow this new ribbon!” she urged, peeping out from behind the sable curtains. There was no time to actually put it anywhere on show, and in fact it clashed horribly with the beautiful deep Prussian blue of the dress “Just shove it down your décolletage!” Arabella hissed.

 

She smiled at Mr. Redmond and moved in front of his daughter, to spare her modesty at such a moment.

 

Arabella had single-handedly managed to put the whole affair a good three minutes behind schedule, and she now looked like a wild woman of Borneo, but, to be fair, she had also assured the future happiness of the happy couple.

 

@Wayfarer @Bongo @boshmi

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Clara and the rest of her part of the wedding party made a hasty walk over to the church, Aurelian nodding pleasantly at a few of the local townsfolk staring at the well dressed group. Clara was far too nervous to even glance at any of these folks. Emeline had provided her with that blue dress - same one as the barn dance - that Clara was now so fond of and also threaded some flowers thru her freshly washed brunette hair. Her shoes were her Sunday go to meeting pair, adequate though certainly not new but at she had polished them last night, not that anyone would really see them under that long blue dress.

 

Arabella had slowed things up by at the last minute trying to add her own imagined fine touch to the ensemble but Clara could only tolerate the blue ribbon for about twenty steps before she pulled it out and off, handing it over to Wyatt.

 

"Hang onto this for me," she requested, "and do not lose it. We would not want to lose it now, would we?"

 

The exchange of looks was added silent communication between the siblings. Wyatt grinned, he knew his sister and he knew what her real meaning was in this sudden request, "Oh yeah, sure. I'll take great care of it."

 

Arriving at the front door of the church then, Aurelian opened the door and signaled to those inside with a quick wave of one hand that they had arrived and were ready to start this ceremony now.  Aurelian and Clara lined up next to each other. They hadn't actually rehearsed any of this so they waited until they got some sort of cue from the minister or heard some music.  Either would set them off for their procession down the aisle.

 

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Had Emeline been present for Arabella's antics, she very likely would have grabbed Miss Arabella Mudd by the ear and dragged her as far away from Clara and the ceremony as she could, then educate her in manners and propriety.

 

But once she had helped Clara dress and styled her hair, then made certain that everything was perfectly in place, she had given the young woman -- her surrogate sister -- a quick kiss on the cheek, then gone in to find her seat by Barnabas.  Her heart was pounding in sympathy for Clara, even as she was beaming with pride and blinking away a few tears...this was even more emotional for her than her own wedding!

 

But...where was Clara?  She should have been coming down the aisle, and Emeline was about to go look for her, but then there she was, on her father's arm, looking so pretty and vulnerable all at once (Clara, not Aurelian!), and Emeline reached over and gripped Barnabas' wrist, squeezing tightly as she prayed that someday it would be their child, and he would be the one walking her down the aisle!

 

@Flip

 

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As the doors opened and his lovely Clara entered the little church along with the rest of the Bridal Party, Jacob Lutz felt more dead than alive, more paralysed with fear than he had ever felt in his whole life. He didn’t know why. Fear of forgetting his lines? or of his voice trembling?, or that he might even faint?  … he knew not what. He was vaguely aware of Jemima finishing retying his tie, which he had botched, brushing some stray newly cut strands of hair from his shoulders and giving him a manly slap on the back as she scuttled off and took her place in the pews next to Bridget. He heard the snap of Hector’s hunter closing and his snarky comment of “’Bout time! Is she always this late for everything?” [😉] as he took his position next to the groom. But mostly he was aware of the feeling of his own heart thumping in his chest and the sound of blood rushing in his ears.

 

He didn’t dare to turn around and, anyway, was vaguely aware that he was supposed to show decorum by not rubbernecking as the party approached and various ooohs and ahhhs came from the congregation in the pews as they caught sight of the lovely bride and the well turned out Father of the Bride and Bride’s Maid. He was even grateful for the distraction of Wigfall’s somewhat grating commentary on the whole thing: he certainly wasn’t shy about turning round and having a good gander at the proceedings.

 

“Well, your Missis has scrubbed up well for the thing; Pa forgot his shotgun, so you’re safe there;  Mudd looks like The Wreck of the Hesperus and…” he feigned wide eyed surprise”… that poor little Wyatt kid’s been decked up in velvet knickerbockers and a top hat!”

 

“No he ain’t, shut up!” replied Jacob, keeping his up stoic forward stare. But it did him good to speak, and to know he hadn’t lost his voice completely!

 

The Bridal Party were nearly upon them and the Best Man had time for only one more comment before he too had to maintain some sort of dignity. “Phew, Blakesley's looking pretty damn good today, wouldn’t mind me a slice of that pie!”

 

But Jacob wasn’t listening. He knew she was near him and the air tingled with electricity as she came closer and ever closer and for some reason he abstractly remembered the feeling of their skin touching as they had made love in the field yesterday.

 

He felt Clara draw near at his side and couldn’t help but steal a glance. He stopped breathing for a second. She was SO BEAUTIFUL. He felt undeserving of her. A tear piped in his eye and all he could do was to reach out and grip her hand (who cared if that was allowed in the ceremony or not) and whisper to her those worn out, but ever-new words “I love you.”

 

Now he was looking he couldn’t stop and his eyes flicked to Aurelian, to whom he directed a grateful and manly smile and Arabella close behind Clara to whom he… he frowned, what the Hell was happening with her hair?! All he could see of her face was a nose sticking out between the black drapes … oh, then a tongue. Nice. All right, that was enough to make him turn back facing forward.

 

He didn’t feel scared or ill or anything bad now. With Clara at his side, he could do anything, and find happiness in any situation: this one most of all.

 

@boshmi @Bongo @Wayfarer

 

[OOC: wasn't sure if Wyatt would sit on the pews or traipse up to the altar with the others]

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As the procession marched their way up the aisle, Thomas took to the commanding position by Jacob and the Wigfall boy, placing him in full earshot of the overly informative and occasionally perverse running commentary. Were he not officiating a teenage wedlocked marriage, there might have been something to say for the sin of lust in the house of God, but given the circumstances, he'd let it slide.

 

Instead he distracted himself by beaming encouragement at Clara and Aurelian as they approached, until the hand-off was complete and before him stood Hector Wigfall, Jacob Lutz, Clara Redmond, and Arabella Mudd, in that order. Under normal circumstances he might have waited until the music had stopped to begin the service but, well, there wasn't any music.

 

He stepped forward and raised a welcoming arm to all in the church, as he had done so many times before;

"Friends and relations, we are gathered today in the sight of God, to witness and bless the joining together of Jacob Lutz and Clara Redmond in Christian marriage. The covenant of marriage was established by God, who created us man and woman for each other. With his presence and power Jesus graced a wedding at Cana of Galilee, and in his sacrificial love gave us the example for the love of husband and wife. Jacob and Clara come now to give themselves to one another in this holy covenant."

 

He paused for a moment, allowing the room to settle and any whispering to die down after the introduction. Then, he looked down, speaking directly to the couple.

 

"I ask you both now, in the presence of God and these people, to declare your intention to enter into matrimony, through the grace of Jesus Christ, who calls you into union with himself as acknowledged in your baptism. Will you give yourselves to each other, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love, honor, comfort, and keep each other, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful, as long as you both shall live?"

@Wayfarer@Javia@Bongo

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Emeline reached over and gripped Barnabas' wrist, squeezing tightly as she prayed that someday it would be their child, and he would be the one walking her down the aisle!

 

There is pain that men endure for good reason, then there is pain that men endure that seeming has no reason, such was the pain in his wrist. He craned his head around, half twisting his body in the pew to gander at the bride and her father. He almost didn’t recognize Clara in the splendor of her bridal gown, hair all done up, pretty as a picture, almost as pretty as Em had been on their day.

 

Both were beaming on this very special day for both, Aurelian looking smart in a fine suit of clothes. Barnabas did not really know the man, though he had seen him about town on occasion, and perhaps spoken to him. The man looked proud and happy all at once. Which was good, very good, Barnabas thought.

 

Then there was a vision of himself, arm in arm with his own daughter, perhaps in this very church, walking down that very isle on her wedding day, and quite suddenly the entirety of this particular ceremony hit him, the realization he was looking at himself some years down the trail. Unconsciously, he patted Em on her hand that gripped his wrist, as his head and eyes followed the Bridal Party to the alter.

@Bongo

 

 

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Though he had not been officially invited, Speed stepped inside the church after the procession had passed. He who had not considered tying the knot, and had actually never found a woman that he would consider marrying was impressed with the scene before him, and young Miss Clara from the Lickskillet, look beautiful just as a bride should.

 

Pikes wedding had been similar, except it was his friend and Emily Blakesley at the alter, with him as best man. It was that part of life, some had called it the circle of life, he did not see it quite like that, in fact he considered it more the normal progression of things that happened for some, but not all, in this life.

 

It was a day to be joyful, and hopefully he thought, a day without incident, which it had been of late.

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As she slowly walked down the aisle, Clara, who prided herself on being able to keep calm under pressure and reining in her emotions, was both nervous and filled a heady mix of joy and fear. This was about to change her life forever and it seemed incredible that not three months ago she did not even know this young man who she was about to marry.  Had someone told her ahead of time of this occurrence she would have simply scoffed at the very possibility she would ever act so impulsively. But.........here she was. It was quite intimidating actually.

 

Aurelian stopped then silently handed over his much beloved daughter to this boy who looked even younger now at least in his eyes. But he also looked past the mere physical appearance of the gangly lad and saw something else, a real sincerity and it gave him hope...no make that faith in these two. That they were indeed in love and both had the strength of character and their convictions to make this marriage work. It was very soon going to be official, Clara was no longer just his daughter, she belonged to Jacob now. Things were never going to be the same. He dearly hoped Katherine would approve of his decision to let this happen but he had a strong feeling she would have. Katherine had been a far more romantic about such things than he.  The man snapped out of all these thoughts when the clergyman began speaking.

 

Clara exchanged a quick glance at Jacob and almost smiled but her eyes were lit up with excitement. Good lord, he looked so handsome. He had gotten a haircut even. She liked him with the longer hair but he certainly did look more dignified this way. Nice suit too. Fr. Thomas then addressed the sparse audience and of course the couple so Clara focused on every word. He was right to the point then commenced with the nitty gritty of the ceremony itself.

 

"I ask you both now, in the presence of God and these people, to declare your intention to enter into matrimony, through the grace of Jesus Christ, who calls you into union with himself as acknowledged in your baptism. Will you give yourselves to each other, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love, honor, comfort, and keep each other, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful, as long as you both shall live?"

 

"I will," Clara even emphasized the solemn vow with a nod. There had not even been the slightest hesitation, she was all in!

 

****

Meanwhile in the pew, Wyatt watched and listened and dearly hoped this wouldn't be as long as some of Parson Evan's sermons. Lot of fuss in his opinion. Besides, he was hungry.

 

@Javia @Bongo@boshmi @Flip

 

 

 

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