I can not believe what I was seeing? Sir Holmes standing in front of me,bold as brass.
‘I don’t understand? You led us all to believe it was Carl that you were seeing?’
‘I wanted to tell you.’ pleaded Louisa.
‘Aw spare me the begging,it doesn’t work with me.I can’t believe it.I lay my neck on the line for you with my husband.I stood up for you.I even got Oliver round to my thinking,and believe me that’s a rare occurrence.He was coming round to the whole idea,he gave you his blessing.I was coming to look for you and share the good news with you.and all the while you were standing in the middle of a passionate embrace with Declan? And this is me being perfectly calm.I don’t understand I thought that you were so sweet on Benjamin.’
‘Lord Henry? Oh please. That pathetic sap? It waa all him,he was sweet on me.The whole worshipping the ground,being attentive to my word routine was frightfully dull.’
‘Why all of the secrets Louisa?’
‘I didn’t want you feeling hurt?’
‘Oh how very considerate of you.’
‘How very noble of you.’
‘That’s why I had to conceal my dinner with Sir Holmes.’
‘I can not believe you,I thought that you were upset? To think you allowed me to say all of those harsh things about Carl?’
‘I was that close of telling you,I really was Gis…’
‘Don’t Gis me.’
‘Please believe me.’
‘Oh leaving so soon? Taking the cowardly way out of you? No don’t let me stop you Louisa,oh please don’t turn on the crocodile tears,it doesn’t work.I’ve tried that many of a time.Quite the little actress aren’t you? And to think I always thought that you were the responsible one? Judging me,when here you are doing exactly the same!’
Louisa runs off crying.
‘Go on run! You can’t handle the truththat’s your trouble.’
Actually no,I am not going to let her get away with out any explanation.
‘Oh no she is not getting away from me that easily.I want answers!’
Declan grabbed hold of my arm.
‘What are you doing? Let go of me before I scream.’
‘You quite the expert at that?’
‘You haven’t changed a single bit?’
‘That doesn’t work anymore,those empty words mean nothing to me.I’m not a child anymore.’
‘I heard what happend about Oliver’s so called death?’
‘It was nothing like that?’
‘Oh what abandoning his pregnant wife for months on end.Your husband is a coward!’
‘You know nothing,it’s our business.None of your concern,how dare you judge Oliver! He did what he had to do!’
‘Oh defending his honour how sweet?’
‘I also heard about the whole sorry business before….’
‘My sister in law been trading in secrets,typical bedside manner.’
‘How Earl Merrells almost killed you?’
‘I wasn’t with you.’
‘I was heartbroken to think that My Gisele….’
‘I’m not your Gisele,I don’t want to talk about it,the least of all with you.What happend in my past is none of your concern.’
‘Don’t be like this?’
‘Like acting as though you’re a stranger to me? We were once so close?’
‘I tore my whole family apart,my papa died because of what we did.I wish I set eyes on you you Sir Holmes.’
‘I thought you truly loved me?’
‘You and I were unbridled passion,you were my wild Heathcliff,only good for one thing.’
‘You don’t mean that?’
‘Really? Since when can you get inside my head?’
‘I know you don’t…this isn’t you?’
‘Enlighten me Declan?’
‘How do you think I felt the day you left?’
‘I’m sorry but things have got to be said.’
‘Please not again,that was three years ago!’
‘It was like it only yesterday,there were so many words left unsaid….You stood there in front of me,I was so scared that you were dying.You whispered those two words,they haunt me so.I’m pregnant.’
‘I had a little girl,I called her Ava.’
‘What did you tell everyone when you went back to Oliver?’
‘I said that you and I had grown apart,they bought that…It was truly humilating crawling back to them,it was so hard to turn my backon you….I had to do it for the love of my unborn child,and if I turned back time and I had to do it again…I would,there’s no contest.’
‘You then broke my heart.When you handed back your ring as if it was only a piece of tin,and then walked.’
‘That’s not true you knew how upset I felt…’
‘I haven’t finished Gisele,how do you think I felt when my one and only true love pushed me away? As if I never meant a thing like a passing fancy?’
‘You said it?’
‘You’re like a thorn in my side that I try to get rid of,I can not believe you could act so cold hearted?’
‘Oh you know,I’m not all sweetness and light? If some one presses my buttons the wrong way,you know me? Everybody has a dark side,even you’re beloved Gisele.’
‘No,I don’t believe that.’
‘That day I left.I was torn between two lovers,the love of my child and you.When I walked away from you for the very last time,do you truly think it was an easy time for me? I learnt what it was like to cry…Yes this monster does have feelings after all,but look at me now,still standing.I got over you.’
‘You were like a poison arrow aiming for my heart.’
‘Oh please shame I missed.’ I scoffed. ‘Because if I didn’t you wouldn’t be standing there right now.’
‘Hear me out.’
‘I don’t understand you and Louisa? How? When? I mean there’s no significant event that you’re paths would have crossed?….So many questions left unanswered?’
‘Louisa,Lady Rickman,she felt the ultimate betrayal,learning the revelation of you and her brother together again,making a go of things.Then discovering that she was second best to her brother’s whore.’
‘That’s not true,she forced Oliver to choose between us,she’s twisting the truth.’
‘I saw her on her travels,I think it was Rome,no matter.I…I can’t remember,I saw her standing there,so lonely and forelorn,as if the whole world was on her shoulders.She looked so beautiful.We exchanged stories and shared a glass of champagne,I discovered from the start that there was an instant spark,no denying it.But I was still hung up on you.I didn’t let anything happen between us.Despite everything,I still loved you and still lived in false hope that you’d come back to me.’
‘I’m sorry I caused you so much heartache.But I’m no longer you’re muse,I love my husband Oliver.’
‘It took a few months later later,our paths crossed at a ball in London,one of Lady Isabelle’s.Nothing happend,until you went away to Paris,Louisa felt so isolated.’
‘She told you that?’
‘We started with letters of friendship,completely innocent,no hidden agendas.Then it blossomed into something else.I thought that she was the key for healing my broken heart.She started to make regular trips from Paris to London,staying for the weekend here and there.The bottom line is she hated lying to you and Oliver.That’s why she came up with the whole deception story of starting a relationship with Carl,as you no longer felt anything,whilst with me,the flame was still ignited.The pain still raw.’
‘That’s where you’re so wrong.’
‘Seeing you tonight,I realise that now.’
‘Be happy Declan.’
I walked away from him,I always thought that if I ever saw him again.I would feel something deep inside,but alas not any more.My feelings for Declan are dead and buried.
I finally found Oliver.
‘Have I got a tale and a half to tell you.’
‘Before you say anything,Louisa has told me of her secret trysts with Sir Holmes?’
‘Aren’t you angry at all?’
‘Yes Gisele,I’m angry with her for being so spiteful and deceitful,but we will move on from this.’
‘I can’t believe you’re acting so calm?’
‘So what happend?’
‘After Louisa did her little diasappearing act,Declan and I….we talked Louisa and Declan are just as bad as each other.They were in this together from the start.I can’t get my head around it all? I thought that I was the lying,selfish woman? Not Louisa,she was always the quiet and sweet one.The one who acted all timid at parties? My my,how the tables have turned? The angels halo’s finally slipped off.’
‘You were never selfish.’
‘Oh you have a very short memory Oliver?’
‘It was a very long time ago,Gisele look at me in the eye.’
‘I trust you.’
I looked at him directly in his eyes.
‘Do you still love him?’
I looked at him,and I truly meant those words.I felt nothing what so ever for Sir Holmes.It almost feels as if that business before had happend to another person.I turned away from Oliver.
‘Whatever is it?’
‘Declan he can be so trying to dredge up the past,it was so painful recalling the time I almost lost you.’
‘I’m so sorry I ever put you through that ordeal my love.’
‘I know.I told him that I felt nothing for him in person,I love you Oliver Randolph Rickman,heart body and soul.’
‘I mean it,you have made me whole and strong again.Does that answer your question?
Louisa was stood aside with Declan.
‘I hate myself.’
‘Don’t be too hard on yourself Louisa.’
‘It’s the truth.’
‘We did the difficult thing,we no longer have to hide any longer.’
‘This isn’t right? You and I,how could I be so stupid? Maybe Benjamin Henry,could give me the life that I’ve always wanted?’
‘You don’t mean that? I love you Louisa.’
‘How do you possibly know that you love me? You’re just saying the words that I’m longing to hear.This might be a game to you,but I can’t afford to do that.’
Louisa kissed Declan on the cheek. ‘It was nice while it lasted?’
‘Where are you going?’
‘I’m going to walk away from you Declan,and dance with Lord Benjamin.’
I watched the scene unfold between Declan and Louisa,there is never a dull moment in my life.Always full of drama,endless twists and turns.Oh just wait till I tell Sophia of the goings on.She slowly walked towards Lord Benjamin Henry.
‘What is she playing at?’ asked Oliver.
‘She’s playing hard to get I guess?’
‘I thought that she was madly in love with Sir Holmes?’
‘When you’re at a young and impressionable age,and looking incredibly beautiful as your sister.You don’t know what you truly want,all of those hormones raging.Beautiful strangers falling at her feet,hanging onto her every word.Not knowing which way to turn.’
‘Is that what it was like for you?’
‘Let me in to a little secret,part of me was wanting to please my family,try and do the right thing by them..the rest of me,even though I longed for the right gentleman to find me and sweep me off my feet….There’s no harm in a little fun now and again,us women thrive in harmless flirting.Those endless fantasies that should remain locked away in your heart.The fun stops when it leads to breaking another person’s heart….I’m so sorry what I did to you.Reflecting on my past life,I truly deserved what Jack did to me.’
‘You didn’t deserve to almost die?’
‘It’s sad but true Oliver,you’re wife used and abused the good nature of Jack.’
‘But he hit you?’
‘I didn’t love him.Not at all.I only wanted him for one thing.When I was with him….intimately.I closed my eyes and longed for it to be with you.When I fell pregnant with Esme,I got my fingers well and truly burnt.Karma finally got it’s sweet revenge on me in the end.I tricked him into believing that I loved him and wanted to be with him.I only wanted security for my children.’
‘Why do you always put yourself down?’
‘It comes natural to me.’
‘Well stop it.’
‘I just wanted you to give you incite into a woman’s prevogative,it’s not pretty.I still can’t believe you wanted to be with me.’
‘You look at me,and I forget everything.You gave me the love of those girls.You put the love of your children first and that’s all that matters to me…I think we need to take a stroll outside.’
‘I don’t need fresh air.’
He looked at me.
Louisa finally summoned up the courage and approached Lord Henry,he bowed out of politeness.
‘Benjamin,I’m so sorry for the way I treated you,that offer of dinner does it still stand?’
‘Well then,I would like that very much.
Declan watched from afar,as Benjamin affectionately kissed Louisa’s hands.
Oliver led me outside.
‘It’s freezing cold.’
‘Where’s your sense in adventure?’
‘I left it back there,inside were it is nice and warm.’
‘Close you’re eyes.’
‘Are you insane?’
‘Gisele,trust me.Close your eyes,and give me your hand.’
He took me in his arms and he started to dance.’Now imagine that you are the countess,and that you have been invited to the palace of Versailles.I could just picture you on the throne,Queen Gisele.’
‘Isn’t that treason?’
‘You would be the envy of everybody,so beautiful.’
‘Are you trying to prove a point?’
‘I don’t this often,but I’m proud to see you as my wife,you don’t need to be royalty to impress me.’
I opened my eyes and the stars were shining so bright.
‘It’s so beautiful.’I smiled.
Out of no were such a remarkable sight.
‘A shooting star!’
‘Make a wish.’
All right.’I smiled.
‘Are you going to tell me what it is?’
‘No as it won’t come true Olly.’I laughed. ‘Such a perfect ending to a perfect night.’
Our dream trip to Versailles was sadly over,and we were on our way to London,oh I can’t wait to see my sister’s,oh have they missed me as much as I’ve missed them? The journey was going to be tedious,thank goodness the children were tired.
‘I hope Skye is ok with the servants?’
‘Oh she will be having the run of the kitchen,one look with those eyes and the maid servants will fall for it,endless treats of chicken…’
‘I hope they don’t over indulge her?’
Louisa was being ever so quiet.
‘Anything the matter my dear?’
‘I’ve thrown Declan over.’
‘Oh?’ said Oliver.
‘I thought that I would give Lord Benjamin a chance.’
‘What? Don’t look so surprised Oliver, This is what you both longed to hear,and don’t you go denying it.Declan and I it’s over.’ Louisa rest her head against the window.
‘Is she only saying what she wants us to hear?’
‘You’ve got me Gis,all I can say is that quite frankly I’m quite relieved that it’s all over.’
‘Surely,you didn’t mean that Olly?’
‘Having Declan in my life,would have been a constant reminder of what I almost lost.’
‘Darling,you’ve got me,if Declan had all the money in the land,and declared his love for me on a parisian roof top,it wouldn’t change a thing.’
After a tedious journey,we had finally arrived in London,it felt strange returning to my family home.Oliver and I stepped out of the coach,closely followed by a very reluctant Louisa.
‘London is so frightfully dull,compared to Versailles.’ she sighed.
‘Did we ask you to come Louisa,no you insisted,You should have stayed there.’
‘So you’re finally admitting that you want rid of me?’
‘Shh.’ I scolded. ‘Please,now’s not the time to argue.’
I rang the bell.Evangaline opened the door. ‘Gisele!’ she squealed.
She threw her arms around me.’Holly come quickly.’
‘If it’s buyers say we’re not interested?’
‘No really come quickly.’insisted Evangaline.
Holly reluctantly came out. ‘This better be worth it.’she sighed.
She looked and saw us all standing there.
‘Gisele! I can’t believe my eyes? What are you doing here?’
‘Oliver and I,we thought that we would come and surprise you.’ I gushed.
‘I’ve missed you.’ Sighed Holly.
‘I’ve missed you too Holly.’
We walked inside,the house looked exactly the same.Lady Antoinette was in the library with Marianna and Letitia.
‘Gisele! Oh my dear girl,what are you doing here?’
‘We thought you might be longing to see your grandchildren?’
‘Indeed! But my darling,you should have called?’
‘Mama has a telephone,it’s her new found thing.’
‘Really darling,it’s the best thing….I don’t know why you waste your time in writing.A call is much more quicker,honestly you need to get out of the dark ages.’
‘I think writing’s romantic.’ I said under my breath.
‘Nice to see your Mama hasn’t changed?’ teased Oliver.’I think your Mama is living in the dark ages,telephones have been invented for years.’
‘I’m sure Gisele,didn’t travel all of this way to discuss communications?’ smiled Marianna.She looked over and smiled.
‘Indeed not,I take it your planning a brief visit?’
‘As long as you’ll have me?’ I smiled.
‘I’ll best go and inform cook that we have two extra.Honestly girl I wish you informed us,we would have been more organised.
Lady Antoinette disappeared.
‘See Mama is as charming as ever?’ I smiled.
‘Such a pleasant surprise?’ gushed Letitia. ‘Why didn’t you write?’
‘I was going to…but I’ve been so pre-occupied lately.’
‘Oliver looked over at Louisa. ‘Louisa,may I show you the grounds?’
‘I’m sure they won’t be any different to the ones in Marseilles or Serenity Estate….same old.’
Oliver gave her a look to indicate that he’d think that we’d like some time alone together.
‘It doesn’t look like I have a choice on this matter do I?’
‘No.I’m afraid not darling.’
I watched Oliver and Louisa vacate the room,what has got into her lately? She used be such a sweet and polite girl in company,she was always like a timid little mouse afraid to put a foot out of place.Ever since we rumbled her dirty little secret,her attitude towards life has changed.Letitita broke the awkward silence.
‘Serenity Estate still lays empty,I think it’s a sign that you should be back here.’
‘Marsailles is my home.’
‘What’s happend to Louisa?’ asked Letitia.
‘How do you mean?’
‘It’s like you left London with Louisa,and returned with Lucille.’
‘Ever since this whole business with Sir Holmes,she has been difficult to live with.’
Marianna looked down awkwardly.
‘Have I missed something?’
Louisa was making a fool of herself in public with Sir Holmes.’piped up Holly.
‘We had heard whispers of their involvement.’ added Letitia.
‘You have such a way with words?’ scolded Marianna.
‘I’m sorry if the truth hurts?’ says Holly.
‘How ever did you find this out?’asked Marianna. ‘We want details?’ She poured out a cup of tea. ‘Would you like a cup of tea Gisele?’
‘No thank you.’I smiled.’I’m trying to cut down.’
‘Not like you,my France has changed you?’ says Marianna.
‘This all started when Louisa confessed in passing conversation,that she was secretly seeing Carl.At first I was surprised at this,as she was aware of how he treated Holly.’
‘Oh please Gisele,I’ve wasted my last tears on him.’scoffed Holly.
‘I’m pleased to hear that.’
‘I don’t know whatever I saw in him in the first place.’
‘Money,I expect.’ said Evangaline. ‘I’m sorry Holly,if the truth hurts but it always comes down to money with you.Gisele,have you heard about her muse Duke Christian Wheatley?’
‘No I haven’t heard.’
‘Oh that old news.I threw him over,he was no good for me.’giggled Holly.’ Besides he was a terrible kisser.
‘Ok.We are slightly getting over topic here.’ said Marianna.
‘Well,I thought that Louisa,was old enough to make her own mistakes,so I came to terms and said that I would discuss it with Oliver to give him a chance.It took a while,but he finally gave in.Later on the day,she led us to believe that Carl had postponed lunch with her.I pitied her.I thought of her as a sister,I felt angry and betrayed for her.Call my friend every name under the sun.She looked so beautiful,I was stupid to buy into her little plan.Sometimes I feel that her and Matthew would make a good match,I shudder at the thought…I said that we should take a trip to Versailles,she looked so down,she had longed to attend a masquerade.’
‘You went to a masked ball without me?’ snapped Holly.’You promised you would take me to one of those? That is so frightfully unfair of you.’
‘I’m sorry,but I’m sure I’ll be attendinf plenty more in the future Holly,it’s all the rage in France.’
She looked away. ‘Humph.’
‘Well we were in Versailles,so perfect.It’s such a charming little place.’
‘Didn’t you go there when you ran out on Matthew?’ asked Evangaline.
‘Let her finish her story.’ sighed Letitia. ‘You girls are a bad as each other,pray continue.’
‘A Lord Benjamin Henry,had taken an instant shine to Louisa,and had invited us to his house.A Lotus Sacre Estate,very charming gentleman indeed.’
‘Don’t tell me you got your wicked way with him?’ said Holly.
‘I shall choose to ignore that,we walked in,it was like from a fantasy,perfect in every single way,the night was going so well,well so I thought.Louisa had mysteriously slipped away.After a heart to heart with Oliver,he caved in and said that Louisa could see Carl.He had an arguement with her previously forbidding her seeing him…Anyway I found her in an uncompromising position with Declan.’
‘That must have been an ordeal for you?’ said Letitia.
‘Kind of.’ I sighed. ‘Last time I saw him,I had broke his heart and returned to my husband.At first old feelings resurfaced.As we revisited the past.But I reassure you my sisters,nothing happend.’
‘Not even one last kiss for old time sake? How frightfully dull you’ve become?’sighed Holly.
‘Holly? You should be pleased and relieved that Gisele has put all of that business behind her.’
Louisa and Oliver were in the garden.
‘I see what you’re trying to do said Louisa.’ I’m not a child.’
‘Well stop behaving like one Louisa!’
‘Don’t you dare tell me what to do!’
‘What is your game Louisa?’
‘I’m quite partial to a bit of poker.’
‘Don’t play smart with me,what has got into you?’
‘Gisele can do no wrong,she plays the victim card and you go running.I make one silly mistake and I’m the villainess of the piece!’
‘You have a lot of making up to do young lady! We love you and care about you,that’s why Gisele agreed for you to come and live with us!’
‘No,it’s because you pitied me! That’s the real reason!’
‘What do you want from me Louisa? Blood!’
‘I just want your forgiveness that’s all I ask of you,nothing more nothing less.’
I looked at my sister’s ‘I never thought I would see him again? I just can’t get my head around it all.I ran away to paris to start a new life,and my past comes back to haunt me….Turned out that they had been secretly seeing each other for months,how did I let her slip under my radar? I promised Oliver that if Louisa came with us.I would take care of her.Keep her away from all temptation….And look what happend?’
‘You’re not to blame.’
‘You have two children to take care of,that’s more than enough.’reassures Marianna.
‘I’ve let him down Mari,I promised that I would never do that to him again.’
‘Did you and Declan give into temptation and fall back into bed together?’
‘Well then my dear,that answers your question.For the first time in your life time you have did the right thing.’
‘I wish I could believe you,she’s so confused and lost.I wish I could guide her,next thing I know Louisa has thrown Declan over,for Lord Benjamin.’
‘Who does she remind you of?’
‘I don’t want her turning into me,that’s what I’m afraid of the most.’
Letitia abrubtly changed the subject. ‘What is your house like in Marseille?’
‘It’s a chateu.’
‘Hark at Lady Rickman over there.’ giggled Holly.
‘It is so beautiful Letitia,I should like you to visit there soon with Mark if you like?’
‘I should like that.’ smiled Letitia.
‘In fact it would be lovely for you all to come,and see for yourself that we have managed to build a new life.’
‘And tell me are you happy my dear?’ asked Marianna.
‘Very much so,I don’t miss the hustle and bustle of London one jot.’I smiled. ‘It suits us all.Oliver is like a completely changed man,much more relaxed.’
‘And not like he’s got a wasp stuck up his bottom’ smirked Holly.’What I do recall Gisele you said he used to be uptight and an impossible man to live with?’
‘Not any more.I don’t think London agreed with him at all.But France it’s changed our life for the better.’
‘Pardon me if this is a tad bold,but why did you leave Paris? I thought you adored the city?’
‘We did.But I was afraid that Jack would find me there,he knew how much I was fond of it,I just couldn’t risk it.’
‘Such a terrible business,we simply can not get over how brave you were,through it all?’
‘I was taught by Mama to keep everything to myself,only reveal the truth if it was necessary.At the time I thought that it was for the best.’
‘It breaks my heart to think that we could have lost you.’sobbed Holly.
‘That is so sweet of you Holly.But here I am,living and breathing ready to fight another day.’
‘How are the children?’ asked Marianna.’I can’t believe how much they have grown in that short time?’
‘All of that french air? I should suspect.They are so adorable.Ava is like her father all raven hair and perfect porcelain skin.Oh I detect we shall have another Lucille on our hands.So opininated for a girl of her age.’ I laughed.
‘How does Esme and Ava get on?’ asked Marianna.
‘They adore one another.Esme is the opposite,beautiful blonde hair.Piercing blue eyes,but the characteristics of her father I fear….She’s so quiet,I worry that she will turn into her father….’
‘Don’t think that.Despite who her father is,I’m sure with yours and Oliver’s guidance she will develop into a fine young woman,just like her Mama.’ smiled Evangaline.
‘When did you become so sensible Evangaline?’
‘Oh you know someone has to keep everyone in check.’
‘Speak for yourself Evangaline.’ laughed Holly.
‘How are Edward and Mark.’
‘Very well thank you,keeping themselves to themselves,in the drawing room I suspect.’
‘No change there then?’
‘How is Oliver with Esme….you know with him not being Esme’s father?’
‘It doesn’t make any difference,he loves her just as much as he loves Ava.There his little princess’s.I detect when they are older and looking for a suitable match,he will be the difficult one.I just want what’s best for them.’
‘I still can’t over that my little sister is a mother?’ gasped Letitia.’Where has the years gone?’
‘Oh don’t.Between us Delessop sisters,Oliver has asked me if I would consider having another baby? He’s always wanted a son,he feels that he’s outnumbered with all of us Delessop girls.’
‘That’s wonderful news,speaking on behalf of everyone.We’re truly happy that you and Oliver have kissed and made up,reconciled your differences so to speak.’
‘As am I.Have you heard from Reinette and Tom?’
‘Tom is busy as ever,Reinette just gets on with things.’
‘I could never do what she does.’
‘Oh I could imagine you as the Arcitecht’s wife?’
‘Don’t be absurd Holly.’
‘For once Holly is right.’ said Evangaline.
‘Thank you Evangaline.’
‘It’s like you both share an appreciation for fine art.’
‘True,Tom would have adored the architechture in Versailles….it was out of this world.Oliver is the complete opposite none of that matters to him.But he has grown quite fond of classical music.I should like to think that I played my part in that.He’s quite keen for the girls to start playing the piano,I said Oliver they are too young.’
‘Any news from Sophia and Daniel?’
‘No nothing,why do you ask?’
‘Oh nothing,it’s just that I wrote to Sophia,asking for information about Louisa and Carl.So unlike her?’
Louisa goes to walk up the garden steps.
‘Forgive you for what?’
‘For being me,I don’t know who I am anymore Oliver?’
Oliver lovingly embraced his sister. ‘You’re my dear sister,and I love you so much,now dry those eyes and lets go back inside.’
We were all gathered around the family table,Mama,Evangaline,Holly,Marianna and Edward.Letitia and Mark.In all honesty I can not recall the last time we were all sat down together,and by all I mean Oliver.The first time around,whenever it came to family gatherings,he always had some old excuse.
‘I can’t remember sitting down together like this.’whispered Oliver.
‘That’s because darling you weren’t here.’ I stopped for a brief moment.’Forgive me for speaking of term my Lord,it was unforgivable of me.’
‘Was I really that bad?
‘You always used the same old chesnut,I have business to attend to.’
It broke my heart dredging up the past,but in order to move on things needed to be addressed.I know that I should have chosen a more private moment.I know I shouldn’t use the victimised wife act,but when we first started out in married life.I had no idea what was to be expected of me,I had this whole world thrusted upon me.Sucked into the world of believing that once I had my beautiful gown and ring upon my finger everything would be perfect.
‘I’m sorry,I had no idea.’
‘That’s because we had didn’t talk properly.’
‘Yes we did darling.’
‘No we didn’t not really.’
‘I’m so sorry.’
‘No I’m sorry too,I’m partially to blame.I have the act of bottling everything up.I had no idea of the first thing of marriage.’
‘You could have come to me?’
‘I would have felt that I failed my duty of a wife.’
‘You would never be a failure to me.’
‘I was young and went into the world of marriage with my eyes closed.The whole lady of the manor,was a game at first.’
‘Gisele you don’t have to do this….’
‘Yes I do,I would rather that we had no secrets.It was all shiny,sparkly and brand new,like a new toy.I thought that if I had my perfect wedding dress and once that I had that ring placed upon my finger.That’s it,I had no idea of the effort that I had to put into this marriage.I did love you,but not as strong as I do know.So to risk putting my foot in it.I’d keep my mouth closed.I bit my lip,so that the truth remained hidden…..I’m sorry my love but if I told you the whole truth from day one then we wouldn’t have….Olly you mean more to me,you have did so much and I will be forever in your debt.’
‘Hush now,less of that.I knew that coming back here was a bad idea.’
I didn’t want to make a scene in front of my whole family,so I took a deep breathe and quickly composed myself.
‘Darling it was time that I revisited some ghosts from the past.’
‘Ah my family all together again.’ smiled Lady Antoinette. ‘Such a rare occasion these days.’
‘I think that was aimed at me?’ I sighed.
‘A toast to the Delessops,my beautiful children and their partner.’
‘I think the wine’s gone to her head.’ sniggered Holly.
‘Hush you.’ I said under my breath.
‘And my beautiful grandchildren,Ava and Esme.The Delessops old and new.’
‘The Delessops old and new.’