Susanna’s wedding dress was as lacy and intricate and interwoven as the life she had led. It was made from the most delicate silk and lace in lavish ivory and cream. The trail was the longest anyone had ever seen.
As she stood at the alter, her life with Alex, wealthy, handsome Alex, with the golden locks and the bluest eyes beamed down on her. Susanna’s smile, a brilliant white matched his, her hair was pinned with exquisite pins and ribbons looked a picture. Susanna admitted they made a perfect couple.
Alex Ramsey privately educated, a ruby player’s build squeezed into a dark grey morning suit stood at six feet tall besides Susanna’s tall elegance.
Susanna gathered herself and glanced around the church hall at the two families exuding affluence and breeding. Who could want for more? The Fitzgerald family renowned City of London bankers and Alex Ramsey’s family of beef farmers from Scotland, an enviable position for most women.
Lucy her younger sister and chief bridesmaid gave a delicate cough into a cream gloved hand, silently communicating to her sister to not let her mind wander. Susanna shot her a knowing smile. She then caught the eye of Toby, her groom’s older brother and best man, she inclined her head in his direction.
Then, she caught the eye of the matriarch, Hermione Fitzgerald, resplendent in pale blue silk with a wide brimmed hat to match, who sat upright in the pew, no doubt looking forward to her first glass of champagne at the wedding lunch which she had naturally funded, with no expense spared.
“And when you marry Alex and later inherit,” her grand mother was fond of saying, “you will become one of the richest women in England darling.”
Susanna acknowledged now the veiled threat her grand mother was making. That this marriage was for the best and served both families perfectly. Susanna thought the whole arrangement was rather Victorian, but dare not rebel because she had no real means of making her way in life alone, making a living as other less fortunate women had to do.
She stole a look at her proud father, Henry whose arm she was entwined with, a short while ago. Thus, she was proudly deposited to her future husband whose eyes twinkled with eager anticipation. How could Susanna turn him down? They had known each other since they were children and it was simply expected of them to marry each other one day and live happily ever after!
Butterflies fluttered in her tummy but not for the most obvious reasons.
Ben Cooper, dark haired, funny and broke was the polar opposite to Alex. He hadn’t quite managed to gain any footage in life even though he was nearly thirty years old. He got by with odd jobs like removals and decorating but despite that Susanna loved him for it. And it was to him that Susanna’s thoughts remained at her own wedding ceremony to another man.
“You marry who you must Susie,” he had told her previously, “I know your family would never accept a simple guy like me.” And she had tried to introduce Ben casually at the odd Fitzgerald clan gathering, but he had been politely snubbed with the consensus being that Susanna was being absurd if she thought they were going to allow her to ruin her life by taking such a guy seriously. The most he could have been was a temporary interlude, anything more would have been swiftly quashed. And Susanna simply wasn’t strong enough to become an outcast from her own family whom she cared for dearly.
So it was on this sunny morning in July that Susanna Fitzgerald stood at the alter in a Sussex church looking for all to see like the happy young bride, who had chosen well and was looking forward to life with her new husband. In a sense she was. Very much. She loved Alex, however she loved the other gentleman more and it was this truth that broke her heart. How was it possible that a bride wanted to weep for another man on her wedding day?
It was a question Susanna didn’t have time to answer, because her attention was brought back to the present when she heard the vicar say, as if from a distance…
‘Do you, Susanna Caroline Penelope Fitzgerald take Alexander Charles Patrick to be your…’
It was in that very moment that Susanna Fitzgerald truly woke up to what the vicar was asking of her, was asking her to give up.
So without any more hesitation she gathered up the front of her dress and spun around on her delicate heels, and proceeded to walked calmly to the church door to the utter astonishment of her guests especially her now jilted husband who stood and watched on in mild shock. There were gasps and muted utterances of disbelief as everyone watched transfixed.
Susanna quickened her step and her heart raced before the inevitable happened and she was somehow dragged back to a life she no longer wanted to be a part of. She was well aware she was giving up a life of cocktail hours and privilege for a life of relative poverty, but as she approached the door Susanna knew there was only one life she could in all heart have chosen.
Her guests watched on as the last of Susanna’s trail snaked around the door and then disappeared from view.
Susanna smiled inwardly as she tossed her bouquet of white roses aside and made her way calmly downtown.
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Until next time, Sharon