Mama looked at me. ‘Gisele tell me this isn’t so?’
‘I can’t pretend anymore.’
Particiles of Carl’s blood was still upon my hand,I felt a rage of pain rushing through my heart.After all of this time they are still treating me as though I’m a child.Reminds me of the darkness of my life when I imagined I saw Lord Rickman they are going to tell me that it isn’t true.Perhaps I got it all wrong and that I aught to check upon Carl once more.I feel as though they all against me.Marianna took me by the hand just like she used to after I woke up from a bad dream.I’m sorry sweet Mari milk and kind words isn’t going to make everything vanish.Oh sweet kindhearted Mari you must believe me?
‘Mama perhaps we should take Gisele somewhere and discuss this matter more privately?’
Matter? How dare she describe my misfortune as some matter she can brush under the carpet.Yes Mari that’s right cast me to one side as though I’m a common courtesan,I thought you were different you of all people.So many times you have told me that secrets and lies have torn apart this family and know you’re prepared to take me into one side.I refuse to bite my tongue.
‘Secrets and lies have already torn this family apart…You are not going to hide me away like some mad woman!’
‘Whatever this is I’m sure we can fix this?’ soothed Letitia.’Letitia if you can somehow perform some sort of aparition and bring my baby boy back! Go ahead be my guest.Your’e not Jesus you can’t bring children back to life.’ I have endured so many whispers,Lady Gisele is so perfect and beautiful it’s as though she’s a nymph,some creature.Believe me if I was some enchantress I would breathe sweet kisses upon my son and Carl’s lips and bring them back to me.Fan of flame of self-destruction upon those who have doubted and wronged my family.Lady Antoinette slowly walked towards me.
‘Gisele,I’m truly sorry.’
‘Are you really? Is this a sincere apology from the great and mighty Lady Isabelle? Pardon me if I choke upon your words.’
‘Gisele Tara Anastacia Delessop please learn to control that fiery temper of yours! Forgive me Lady Isabelle,my daughter purely isn’t herself.’
‘Don’t make excuses for me Mama,I know my own mind.’
‘Gisele we’ve never hit if off,truth is I’ve been publically willing for your daughters downfall and humiliation.I’m partially to blame,I resented you for winning Lord Oliver’s heart.’
‘How very childish of you?’
‘Do learn to hold your tongue Gisele.’
‘I’m not a child,so please stop addressing and treating me like one.’
‘You have certainly given as good as you can get,I admire that fire within you Gisele.You and I are more alike than you think? We’re two of a kind.’
‘I will never be like you,do not dare to compare me.Forgive me but I have never looked down at you as if I’m the most superior race.’
‘You are an attractive girl Lady Gisele,I give you that.’
‘I don’t need your pity Lady Chadwick.’
‘I think it’s time we said goodbye?’ whispered Lady Antoinette.
‘I need to be with my son.’
The thought of my son dying in Lady Isabelle’s house got the better of me,I need to be with him.I can not bare the thought of him being alone.My little angel needs his Mama.I ran back upstairs every step harder than the previous.My heavy beating heart pumping against it’s chest.I reached the room and noticed a stranger in my midst,taking my darling precious son away from me.I wanted to kick and scream,but I felt powerless.
‘No! They can’t!’
‘Evan,no they can’t take my baby away! I need to be with him!’
I tried to fight with the undertaker,I can not bare him to take my baby away.It only seems like yesterday when I held him in my arms for the very first time.I took my love for granted,we never bonded from the start and I shall never get that moment back again.My heart is broken I know I have to start making plans,but I can’t make plans without Oliver’s say so.Oliver never said goodbye,this is going to destroy him.
‘Gisele,please they need to so you can start making arrangements.’
‘Oliver isn’t here…We don’t know what caused his death?’
‘It’s quite common Gisele,there’s nothing suspicious about William’s death!’
‘He needs to kiss his sweet little goodbye.He needs his father…If only I’d been a couple of minutes sooner? I could have saved him?’
‘Gisele,please do not torture yourself.’
Evangaline grasped hold of my hand.
‘You are so sweet,but you will never understand a Mother’s love until you have your own? I’ve only just met him.I should be making arrangements,celebrating his birth.Not burying my first son,and my best friend.’
‘I know you probably refuse to hear this right now.But Gisele…What went on upstairs with Jack?’
‘I don’t wish to discuss this.’
‘Please Gisele,let me in.’
‘Once or twice was enough.I mean I understand in our time,we live our lives then we fly with the angels.But I thought I dealt a harsh card,when he took our beautiful Lucille so early in her life time,dying childless and unmarried…Watching father fade away in front of my very eyes.I prayed that I should be next….’
‘Please don’t you ever say that.’
‘I never thought I’d see Carl die,he’s finally free of his guilt that he’s been carrying around for so long.Matthew’s death wasn’t an accident.Holly was right it was cold blooded murder and Carl was the one that dealt the fatal blow.So go on say that he saw what was coming to him?’
‘How long have you known about this?’
‘I’ve carried this burden for long enough….when I fleed to Paris.I stayed at Carl’s.It hit me really hard when I first discovered it,Carl was in such a bad place his head was all over the place.I was dying to tell someone,but I made a vow to my best friend that I would never betray his secret and that I shall take it to my grave.I’ve let him down.’
This dark and deadly secret has consumed me for months.He’s finally at peace with his demons.’
‘I’m so sorry Gis,I know he deeply cared for you?’
‘And I him,I was with him till the very end,held his hand.Cradled his head,kissed him goodbye.He tried to fight it,but he’s a stubborn old fool.Those five minutes his broken and shattered dreams were finally pieced together.He finally had the girl he loved for so long,back in his arms.He was slowly slipping away from me…he was losing blood by the minute.I was hysterical I wanted to get help.But he insisted….he asked me to stay with him and who am I to deny a dying gentlemans last wish? I felt him slip away through my fingers,I lay beside him,trying to breathe life into him,unwilling to leave him.Unaware that my son was gasping his last breath.’
A few days later Oliver had returned to London to stand along side me.I don’t know whether he wanted to be with me,or if he blamed me for killing the rightful heir.I was in the library,seeking solace and comfort from my books.I noticed him walk past.I ran towards him,he placed his luggage down in the hall way.I expected to see Esme and Ava,where are they?
‘Oh my sweet love!’
‘My darling Gisele!’
He picked me up in his loving arms,he unwrapped them around me,I didn’t want to let him go.I smelt his hair and held my husband so tightly.
‘I came as soon as I received Lady Antoinette’s telegram? Tell me my sweet Juliet,tell me it’s not true?’
‘I keep telling myself,it’s a nightmare and I shall wake up from it…Oliver please tell me it’s just a horrible dream?’
‘I’m so sorry about Carl.’
‘God has one more heavenly angel,looking down on us and William is the brightest star this is shining ever so brightly.Where are the children?’
‘Your Mama has them,she’s giving you and I time alone?’
‘How very noble of her?’
‘Time to talk? What happend whilst I was away?’
‘I can’t think straight,there is so much to organise….I never thought I’d see the day I’d be burying my own son.’
‘Oh Sweet Pea.’
Oliver brushed my hair away from my face.
‘I’ve let you down Olly.’
‘You are my wife, and I love you.’
‘You wouldn’t say that if you knew the truth?’
‘Don’t you ever say that.’
‘Please,don’t be nice to me.’
‘It’s my duty as my husband to express my feelings for you.What you truly mean to me.’
‘I don’t deserve your kindness my Lord.’
‘You’re grieving my love.’
‘Stop making excuses for my past behaviour!’
‘You’re not well?’
‘I am perfectly fine!’
‘Don’t you lie to me! I can not believe Jack had the nerve to return to London?’
‘Please I’ve been through quite enough the past few days to last few days.’
‘State what his intentions where? You insisted…No you promised that you were going to be ok?’
‘Do you think I could have predicted what was going to happen at Lady Isabelle’s?
‘Why did I listen to you? Whatever possessed you to go out on your own?’
‘Pardon me but I dont need a protector watching my movement twenty four hours a day! I’m certainly no royalty.’
‘If you were with me then you wouldn’t have ran away?’
‘Oh I’m sorry would you being there make a difference,you cant wave a magic wand what’s done is done…’
‘…If you werent so self-centred then Carl wouldn’t be lying on a cold slab in a cold morgue somewhere!’
‘If I wasnt so self-centred how dare you! You have no idea how hard these past few days have been for me,Carl didnt have to do what he did,he acted in the heat of the moment…’
‘It’s not another man’s duty to protect another man’s wife,its like some unwritten law,especially not a gentleman who…’
‘What? Spit it out Oliver?’
‘A man who was still obviously in love with you!’
‘Unwritten law? Who do you think you are? Ive put up with plenty of women falling all over my husband in my time and I’ve put up with it.’
‘Unlike some people in our marriage?’
‘How dare you bring this up!’
I slapped him across the face.
‘Youve had that coming to you ever since you set your foot in Mama’s house.’
‘So you’re not denying it?’
‘Yes I admit it,he said he loved me,and in yes in that moment I said I loved him too,and I loved every second of it! For the moment I believed it,finally with an uncomplicated man.I wasn’t going to deny a dying man’s last ever wish to come true!’
‘You were with him when our son was dying on his own upstairs!’
‘Don’t you dare turn this around on me.He asked me to stay,Carl needed me…he was scared and desperate and if I could trade places and for Rose to be there instead of me then I would.She blames me for his death! How was I to know that my baby was struggling for life….begging for his Mama to make him better again.At night I sat and cried,asking for this pain inside to be taken away….Someone has pierced my heart,I was wishing you were here.I was so frightened and alone,isolated.Time had stood still,I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs and no sound comes out.I longed for you to walk into my room,and mend my broken body.Stroke my hair like you used to…kiss me and say Sweet pea,you’re not to blame.Death is a dark and devious shadow,it has its evil way with the angels.I dealt with the Devil Olly in the past.But all I did was love him.Where we’re you?’
‘Here I am!’
‘You may be here in body? But tell me where’s the real Oliver? The one who’s full of compassion,warmth and kindness.My wings have broken,I just want him back to fix me again.Make me feel like the real Gisele,’
I put my arms around Oliver ‘You know recapture the love I had for you.When the first time I saw your face.’ I took my hands off him. ‘But all I see now standing in the darkness is nothing but a cold hearted pig! If you loved me,and I mean really loved me,like you said you do? Then you wouldn’t be saying these cruel things to me! I warned you from the start,run away Olly.Start again I’m a whole lot of trouble.’
I broke down ‘I’m so sorry,I just havent been sleeping too well in that big empty bed…waking up in sweats.Trying to make sense of it all.I just want my Daddy Olly,to hold me and say hush now little petit Gisele,let me wipe all of your tears away.They always leave me in the end.’
‘I wish I could bring him back for you my dear,but I can’t.’
‘I’m not ready to say goodbye,when I haven’t even said hello to her yet.’
‘Louisa has decided to postpone the wedding.’
‘The words rang in my ears she’s told her that’s the only explanation.Oliver knows the shocking truth of my love affair with Benjamin.But he’s not letting on,oh my days.What can I say? To Oliver,the whole truth,completely bare my soul.Look him in the eye and tell him truthfully I can not love you.’
I looked at him innocently. ‘Oh whatever for?’
‘She thought that due to the current circumstances it would feel improper to have a wedding.It was under Lord Henry’s order.’
I knew it that’s his code,his hidden message that he’s not over me.That explains everything.But I will not fall for that man’s charm again,Lord Henry has been the ruin of me.Wait until I get my hands on him if I had the strength within me I would throttle the life out of him.
‘She really didn’t have to do that for me?’
‘It broke Louisa’s heart to do so,but she felt she aught to come over to London to help assist with the funeral arrangements.’
‘She’s here now?’
Oliver nodded her head.
‘That is very sweet of her.’
‘She’s in the garden with Lord Henry.’
‘He refused to allow her to travel alone.’
‘Very noble of her?
‘Nothing darling,do you mind if I go out for some fresh air…I’m feeling a tad faint.’
‘Is that such a good idea?’
‘It’s a slight cold,I will be fine.’
‘You know I don’t like you out of sight?’
‘Possessive was the ruin of our marriage first time around it’s what drove me into sleeping with Sir Holmes,Olly it’s sweet of you to share but I dont need to be treated like I’m fragile.I’ll be fine.’
‘Really? I know when you’re lying to me?’
‘Yes really,I’m longing to see Louisa.’
‘Yes my love.’
‘You still love me don’t you?’ Louisa fluttered her eyelashes at Lord Henry.
‘You know I do.’
‘It’s just that…ever since Gisele left to come to London,you’ve distanced yourself from me.There isn’t something that you need to tell me?’
‘You must know that you’re the only one for me?’
‘That’s all I needed to hear.When you decided to call off our wedding…I got scared,convinced that there was someone else? I just need some reassuring that’s all…’
‘When all of this is over,I promise you we shall be married.It will be the talk of Versailles society.Lady Louisa Rickman,the beautiful blushing bride,to see you in your beautiful white dress,I don’t think I will be able to keep my hands to myself.’
‘Lord Henry are you trying to corrupt me?’
‘I can not wait to make you mine.’
Benjamin kissed Louisa,I walked into the grounds.There is so much I wanted to say to Benjamin.
‘Louisa? Lord Henry?’
Lord Benjamin bowed and removed his hat. ‘Terribly sorry to hear about your news,you must know that Louisa and I are here to offer our services.’
‘Enough of that Benjamin,I don’t think Gisele wants to hear small talk.’
‘Louisa’s right,I don’t think I can come with any more pity.Pray do forgive me,but it’s kind of patronising…Though I appreciate the sentiments Lord Henry.’
Louisa embraced me ‘You must know that I’m always here for you.’
‘I don’t want to be a burden to you.’
‘Gisele how could you be a burden to me? Your my sister and I love you,when you’re hurting I’m hurting too.’
‘You really didn’t have to postpone your wedding day,you’ve been looking forward to it for so long?’
‘How could I possibly get married when my matron of honour is going through hell? Your the sister I never had.Besides there’s the engagement gala…something to hold on to,keep us going through this time of darkness.’
‘See Benjamin,all she needs is some tender love and care,not forgetting a kind embrace,from a friendly face.You see should try it sometimes?’
With that she walked back towards the house.Benjamin and I were finally alone.Oh there is so much more that I’d like to say to him.This is my judgement day.
‘If tender love and care is all you need then your man? You know I’m always up through some rough play in the hay?
‘So you think this some joke do you? Get a kick out of my misfortune!’
‘Gisele.You must know how sorry I am?’
‘And idea of that is a quick fumble in the stables! You know I’m not that kind of girl anymoreAre you sorry? Really? Forgive me Lord Henry,but you have a funny way of saying it?’
‘Please,it’s just the two of us,you know what I’m like in awkward situations?’ Lord Henry cleared his throat nervously. ‘It’s the effect you have over me.’
‘So you keep saying,that line is getting rather tiresome.’
‘You no longer have to put an act on?’
‘This is me your Ben?’
I tried as I might to keep the barriers up between me,Lord Henry can read me like a book,he can detect my vulnerability.I refuse to let him,he moved closer towards me. ‘Hold me close,like you used to?’
‘This isn’t you at all? You have lost your son and your best friend on the same day? You’re behaving out of character?’
‘Benjamin stop treating me like I’m so fragile porcelain doll.’
‘You’re so perfect,your beautiful blonde curls driving me wild…’
‘It’s been nothing but trouble ever since I got involved with you.I wish it was you that dead and not my Carl!’
‘No you don’t mean that!’
‘Why did I get involved you knowing that Louisa was involved with you?’
‘You’ve always liked playing with fire,dont you deny that you didn’t enjoy the thrill of the chase?’
‘That was before people started getting hurt.’
‘When we made love,I know that it was real to you.That day you left my head in a spin,left me wanting more.’
‘I thought it was you that I wanted,I got myself tangled in a deceitful web.I tasted the forbidden fruit,and at first It was good.I have been building the words I’ve wanted to say to you.Since it happend.But to be honest with you,I’ve got nothing to say at all.’
‘I can only imagine what you’re going through?’
‘Really? Have you lost a son recently?’
‘I wasn’t thinking…’
‘You never think do! You jump in feet first,letting your feelings run away without thinking of the consequences.I never thought that I would ever say this but I curse the day that I ever met you.You have ruined my life.Why did I ever love you? I just slap you again,I hate you so much’
‘Come on hit me,hurt me!’
‘I haven’t the strength left.’
‘…Nothing you say or do will make me stop loving you.’
‘Was that the reason you called off the wedding? Lord Henry you are delutional.If you think this is a way of worming your way of getting your way back into my bed.Then you have another thing coming! I wished my son away,I blamed him for preventing us from being together.Please stop me from hurting,take this pain away from me.’
Benjamin kissed me.
‘Take me back.’
I walked away from him.
The day came that I had dreaded the most,the funeral of my best friend.God had been kind to us.I closed my eyes.
I was at William’s funeral,it was a dark rainy day.It reflected how I was feeling,we congregated outside the church.Oliver clutched onto my hand.
I insisted that William aught to be buried in London,as part of my heart still remained there.Besides Papa and Lydia was here and I didn’t want him to feel isolated and alone in Marseilles.That of course caused a wedge between Oliver and I,he thought that there so many memories remained in London after all he lost his life here.
‘Can someone find the pieces of my broken heart.’
‘Nothing will ever be the same again.’ I whispered. ‘I feel so empty.’
It killed me following the tiny white coffin inside,I needed my Carl there to hold my hand and kiss away the tears that I shed.At the graveyard we released four beautiful white doves.Thats how old he was four days old,he was too young.Lord why did you have to be so cruel? I placed a rose on top of his grave,my tears pouring onto the coffin.How am I ever going to live without my beautiful little boy? A mother shouldn’t have to bury her only son.I’ve never felt empty since he left me,for the sake of Esme I have to learn how to pick up the pieces and move on. ‘Sleep well my beautiful little boy.Mama will love you always.’ I placed his bear on to his grave ‘That’s so you will never be lonely again?’
‘Is something wrong?’
‘I was thinking about William.’ I sobbed.
Marianna squeezed my hand.
‘Those perfect little white doves so serene,I will never see my boy again.’
‘I wish I could take the pain away from you.’
‘Why do I feel so empty?’
‘Nice to see you the colour return to your cheeks?’
‘Oliver and I haven’t been the same since that day…I can’t bare to be touched my him.’
‘Have you and Lord Henry?’
‘No.I could never go back there,I can’t find it in my heart to forgive him,for blaming me for William’s death….I abandoned him Mari.’
‘The Doctor’s said there was nothing you could do.’
‘My little boy he’s really gone hasn’t he?’
Mari choked back the tears.
‘I wish Papa was here,he would know what to do…And now it’s Carl’s turn.I can still see Carl’s face.’
Inside the church,it was such a moving service,the vicar said such beautiful words. ‘Carl was a pillar of society.Some say he was a beautiful kind and gentle fellow.Who thought the world of everyone around him.He will be truly missed…’
Oliver tried to clutch my hand,I quickly removed it out of his.I noticed Lord Henry glance towards me.But I resisted the temptation of looking.A funeral is no place for that sort of behaviour.I learnt my lesson at Papa’s funeral.When I was caught in the act of passion with Sir Holmes.Besides I didn’t want to lose my train of thought.I had been asked to deliver a speech about Carl.Much to Rose’s annoyance,I looked down and started to play with my wedding ring nervously.This band had once upon a time meant something to me,but now I’m not so sure.
‘And now Lady Rickman is going to deliver a few words,about Sir Carl Casey.’
I walked up,trying to keep my balance I was afraid that I should fall.Keep your composure Gisele,I shall not give Lady Rose and Lady Isabelle Chadwick the satisfaction of seeing a Delessop fail so miserably.
‘Carl.’ I briefly paused looking towards his coffin.I was beginning to lose my cool already,ok deep breathes.Breathe in and out,a moment to reflect and compose myself once again.I can not believe he is laying there in that wretched coffin.If we were married I could have saved you.I’m so so sorry. ‘I never thought I’d be up here,saying these words on the day of your funeral,how we’d joke that you’d outlive us all…I always thought I would be celebrating your wedding day.So soon after my little boy’s death.You were the one who stopped me from falling apart,when I lost Lydia and Papa…It just doesn’t seem real or fair.It’s no secret you and I didn’t always see eye to eye.Partially due to my bad judgement…You always had a way with words,I recall a time when you once described me as the angel that fell from the sky,who captured your attention in a heartbeat.Well there’s one more angel in the sky looking after my shining little star.I will always love you in my own unique way.Sleep well,my precious Carl.I love you.’ I gestured a kiss towards the coffin,choking back the tears.
At the grave yard,I was lost in my thoughts.
‘Carl,how am I ever going to live without you…You were brought to save me and I simply pushed you away.At the time I may have appeared ungreatful for you,but in truth I was too proud and afraid to accept help.I will have to live for that for the rest of my life.Why didn’t I marry you when I had the chance? You have made me so happy,and raised our beautiful children.It’s too late now.Today I’ve lost you.’
‘Those were beautiful words in the church?’
‘Letty you made me jump.’
‘You looked miles away?’
‘I wish I were,Today I’ve lost him.He’s faded away,Ok stop that no more crying Gisele.It’s not my day in the lime light,today it’s about Rose.She was his lover in the end.’
Gisele Rickman,you were his one true love.You have every right to shed a tear.Please do not switch your feelings off for the sake of a lover who has only known him five minutes.You were his Gisele for ever so long.’
‘I was wasn’t I? Oh Letty why didn’t I marry him when I had the opportunity?’
‘Yes,why didn’t you Gisele?’
The crowds parted,as Rose waltzed through.How she lapped up the attention,I can not deal with you on the day of today.
‘Look who is the grieving widow? My my,you should be an actress? That performance in the church was second to none.I shall reward it full marks.Tell me Gisele where those genuine tears? Or just plain crocodile tears?’
‘Of course they were real,I’ve just buried my best friend.’
‘Your best friend,you couldn’t care a jot for him,your love for him was fake?’
‘Do not speak to my daughter in that way?’
‘Carl never truly loved you,in fact he pitied you for falling from grace.He wanted to fix his once so perfect little friench girl? I look at you and think you’re nothing but a common little slapper! I know all about your sordid little secrets?’
‘Do not dare judge me!’
‘Declan,Jack….Your nothing but a fraud,putting on your perfect little wife and lady of society act! Oliver is a sap for putting up with you for so long,I could compare you to the ladies of the night that we dare not speak of and associate ourselves with.As for your daughters,how I pity them for having a whore of a mother! What chance of they got of true happiness,when they have you for a role model? As for your baby dying he had a lucky escape!’
I was about to lose control,if I had the strength I’d have dragged her by her hair and pushed her in the grave.But I’m so much better than that,With that I ran off.
Mama had decided to hold a tea in memory of Carl.I wasn’t in the mood for circulating.I was still reeling from the scene at the graveyard.Mama was talking to my sister’s.
‘I admire Gisele,she bit her tongue,she behaved with sheer grace and decorum.Lady Rose Keating has certainly displayed her true colours.We welcomed us into the fold of our family and that’s the thanks we get? She’s no longer welcome in my house.’
‘Gisele should have thrown on top of the coffin when she has the chance.’ laughed Evangaline.
‘I would rather have enjoyed Lady Rose ruining her prized gown,she’s always so prim and proper.’
‘That’s not the correct way to conduct yourselves at a funeral.Really girls you should know better.’
I stood at the corner of the drawing room out of view,Lord Henry walked over to me.
‘Aren’t you joining us Lady Rickman?’
‘I’m not really in the mood for tea and sympathising.’ I smiled.’You can almost say Lord Oliver and I are two of a kind?’
‘You’re nothing like your husband Gisele….Lady Gisele,I admire your courage.’
‘Thank you.’ I blushed.
‘Lady Rose aught to be ashamed of herself,she said some vile things to you at the grave yard?’
‘I’m used to being the talk of London society? Why would it be any different?..I could appear all thick skinned and not have a care in the world,inside I’m shaking Lord Henry.What is it you have over me,I don’t know how to act around you? I could have thrown her in that grave?’
‘It would have certainly livened up proceedings?’
‘I would have loved to have ripped her perfect hair out.’
‘What stopped you?’
‘Cowardice and I think I’ve caused too much of a scandal at Papa’s funeral.I was childish back then,I was caught in a compromising position with Sir Holmes…I do not wish to go into details.’
‘I do sometimes wish I never persued Louisa,so soon after her relationship break down with Sir Holmes? Then maybe you and I could have…’
‘Don’t…I feel guilty enough as it is.I’m convinced Lady Rose’s hair’s a wig.Nobody has hair that fall’s perfect like that,all of the time.’
‘I beg to differ Lady Rickman?’
Lord Benjamin playfully touched my arm.
‘Lord Benjamin,I pray you to control yourself.’
‘Demanding are we?…’
‘Especially when we have witness’s? Lord Rickman and your dutiful fiancee’ are in view?’
Oliver looked in my direction,I smiled across innocently.
‘Is something on your mind Oliver?’
‘I don’t like the way your fiance’ is touching my wife?’
‘He’s just being friendly.’
‘And you encourage that?’
‘Lord Henry sometimes has trouble displaying his affection,I merely suggested he aught to offer a friendly shoulder to cry on in her hour of need?’
‘Shouldn’t she be choosing to confide in her husband?’
‘Oh she knows what you’re like always being so dismissive…you’re your own worst enemy sometimes.Relax Oliver,Benjamin is not remotely interested in your little wifey.I quote she’s a sweet enough girl,but she’s too much damaged goods for my liking…I think he said that I wasn’t listening at the time.’
‘Cant you get anything right?’
‘I was up to my eyeballs in table decorations and arrangements for my engagement gala.Give me some credit.Trust me brother dearest there’s nothing going on.’
‘I believe we’re the centre of attention?’
I laughed. ‘I believe we are Lord Henry.’
‘Darling Gisele,I didn’t mean to make you cry.’
‘Can I stop you there,I said things in the heat of the moment.’
He placed his finger on my lips.
‘I have you let me finish…You must know that I still care for you deeply Ben?’
‘Forgive me you will tell me if I’m being a tad too much?’
‘Really is it such a good idea? And I warned you never to touch me in public…’
‘Relax Louisa doesn’t suspect a thing? She’s under the impression that I think that you’re damaged goods to me to go any where near you.’
‘You said that?’
‘Not in so many words…Gisele you must know that I still love you,If I had to live my life again.I’d choose you,but for the sake of Oliver killing me and cutting you off then I shall have to marry Louisa.’
‘I can not bare it.’
Benjamin took my hand,and hid me away from view.
Why do we keep doing this? I’ve lost my son,I should stay away from me.’
‘And I you,you’re nothing but trouble.’
‘…cheeky,but you set my world on fire,you know how to make me feel like a woman…what buttons to press.
Benjamin pushed me in to the corner,he kissed me.
‘I really should be over their grieving for my friend and not with you?’
‘Grieve does the strangest things to people’s heads or so I’m told? Forgive me but black is certainly not your colour.’
‘Gisele? Gisele where are you my child?
I stopped what I was doing.
‘Mama can not see us together.’
‘One more kiss?’
‘No I mean it Benjamin.’
I emerged from the shadows. ‘Here I am Mama!’
‘Ah there you are! I was wondering where you had got to?’
‘Now’s not the time,Oliver is looking for you.Come we are to toast to the memory of Carl and William.I know it will be hard for you,but use the traditional Delessop stiff upper lip and all will be well again?’
Oliver took hold of my hand.
‘I wonder where you had got to? I saw you all alone earlier?’
‘I wasn’t in the mood,I wonder who that reminds me of?
‘Must we keep fighting Gisele?’
‘I don’t know,you tell me…because whatever I seem to say or do isn’t right anymore.’
‘Sweetpea? About what I said on the day of William’s funeral?’
‘Enlighten me,you said many things that day some were quite hurtful?’
‘I’m so sorry,you were perfectly right,our son he belongs in London with his family….He would have been lonely in Marseilles.’
‘That’s a first admitting your wrong?’
‘Must you always…’
‘I’m sorry too,it’s all forgotten about.We all said things we didn’t mean.’
‘I never had the chance to say it,but I was so proud of you that day.’
‘That means a lot hearing it from you.’
‘And those words you said about Carl? You displayed courage,of course I don’t wish him dead.I said those things in haste,I was jealous at how close you had become again.I thought that it should have been that saved you from Jack,but I wasn’t there.It’s my duty to protect you and I let you down,I was lashing out and I didn’t take your feelings into account.I am so sorry for ever doubting you.’
‘May I have you attention please,as head of this family.I would like to say a few things,its been a trying time for this family.Losing my grandson so young,and Sir Carl who had been a dear friend to our family…I consider him as the son I never had.Sir Carl stood by our family though thick and thin.Gisele has displayed true courage…Through out this difficult time.A toast to William and Carl,forever in our hearts.
‘William and Carl forever in our hearts.’