“Love & Friendship”, Chapter 14-15 (PG-13): Christmas Holidays and Wedding Celebrations, 12/26/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #333)
British actor Richard Armitage and American actress Diane Lane and others.]
[(1ab) Story Logo]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Love & Friendship” is a romantic love story set amidst contemporary times. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes or other sauciness (R rated) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments. I will label the maturity rating of those chapters accordingly. Otherwise, the general rating for this story is PG or PG-13 due to mature situations and topics. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read those chapters. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap: Lydia and Robert inadvertently reveal their changed relationship from friends to romantic partners to their set colleagues and Robert’s parents. They spend a loving weekend at Robert’s Director’s apartment in Paris. All that remains is to plan their wedding over the Christmas holidays.
“Love & Friendship”, Chapter 14 (PG-13): Heading to Robert’s Parents for the Christmas Holidays
After calling his parents Tuesday and informing them of their small intimate wedding plans, to his parents delight—and then calling the vicar to insure that it’s possible scheduling wise–Robert and Lydia do change their wedding date to Sunday Dec. 26th to occur during the 10:00am worship services so that their village neighbors can join them. But before the Christmas holidays, Robert has another week and a half in London doing some light advert recording sessions which allows he and Lydia time to buy some holiday clothes that will also serve as their wedding clothes–and they also buy Christmas gifts. Then they head North to Robert’s hometown village by train Wednesday afternoon on December 22nd. They are four days away from being married and they could just pinch themselves.
Robert and Lydia meet his parents at the pub for dinner—rolling their suitcases behind them, but with a joyful purpose in each of their hearts compared to their last visit with his parents–and it is a very full and bustling holiday season pub, festively festooned with all manner of tinsel and mistletoe.
Robert: “Mum and Dad!” Hugs and kisses all around.
Mum: “Oh Lydia Dear. We’re so glad to have you join the family.” She whispers conspiratorially since they don’t want the villagers to alert the media.
Lydia: “Thank you. I love Robert very much.” I am happier than I have ever been. Please God, let me make Robert happy. Lydia prays silently to herself
Robert: “And I love Lydia very much.” They look at each other and he kisses the tip of her nose. Thank you God, for bringing this wonderful woman into my life and into my heart. Let me be worthy of her and to always know how to make Lydia happy. Robert prays silently to himself. Lydia is becoming a good influence on Robert in that regard–praying to God. “Lydia Dear, look up.” They both do and spy the mistletoe hanging from the ceiling.
Mum: “Well? Kiss her, Robert.” His Mum smiles impishly.
Robert: “Mother, I have enough directors telling my what to do in my day job. Romance with Lydia, I can handle on my own.” And he takes Lydia into his arms and kisses her so tenderly that his parents wonder if they should move up the wedding date.
Dad: “Hhhhh! Well, it’s about time, Robert my boy.”
Robert: Coming up for air from kissing Lydia, Robert says in Mock exasperation. “Now Dad!”
Lydia: “Ha ha ha ha!” Lydia giggles and buries her face into Robert’s chest as they walk to their table. She is so giddy that she is not quite sure that she will be able to sit still for dinner.
Robert: They sit down and look over their menus. “Dinner is our treat!” Robert grins gleefully–delighted to be part of an our when he’s been alone and lonely for so long.
Mum: “So, do you have your ring sets, yet?” Mums are always concerned about the lovely mementos that commemorate occasions, like jewelry.
Lydia: “No! Robert! Oh my gosh! We completely forgot about wedding rings when we shopped for our wedding clothes the other day.” She pouts her lower lip out–quite cutely, thinks Robert.
Robert: “Not to worry, Lydia. I’ve got it covered.” Robert smiles broadly at being able to keep his surprise. Robert pulls a small square worn velvet covered jewelry box out of his breast pocket and sets it on the table in front of Lydia. She stares at it in disbelief for a few moments. “Well, aren’t you going to open it?”
Lydia: “Uh. If I recall tradition correctly, that’s your job, Robert.” She looks at him amusingly as she sits up primly.
Dad: “Yes, and Robert, you should be down on one knee.”
Robert: “But Dad, …” Robert whines. Then he whispers sotto voce. “… I already proposed to Lydia—in Paris, I might add.” Mum and Dad and now Lydia look at Robert pointedly. “Okay! But the whole engagement and wedding secrecy will be blown. Here I go.” Robert stands up and then he kneels down next to Lydia. “Lydia my love, you’re the love of my life. I want to be with you always. Marry me, my Darling?” Robert opens up the jewelry box. It contains a man’s and woman’s plain gold band wedding rings and an heirloom diamond solitaire engagement ring also in a gold setting.
Lydia: “Hhhh!” She gasps at the ring set’s beauty–and that they are obviously treasured family heirlooms.
Robert: “Lydia, these rings are my grandparents’ wedding set that I’ve saved all these years for my future bride. And I give this ring to you with all of my love.” Robert takes the engagement ring and slides it onto Lydia’s ring finger.
Lydia: Tearing up with love for Robert and the beautiful sentiment of his proposal, Lydia says. “Yes, Robert my love. I will marry you. I love you with all of my heart.” Robert and Lydia kiss each other adoringly. So much so that his parents have to cough several times until Robert and Lydia come up for air.
Mum & Dad: “Khhh.” “Kkkhh.”
Robert: “Now Lydia, I know that this engagement ring might not be in your style. So, we can always change it if you wish.”
Lydia: “Oh no Robert. It is so beautiful! I will treasure it always as my engagement ring from you. And it’s even more special to me because it is a family heirloom.” Robert and Lydia kiss again and his parents nod approvingly at Lydia’s—and Robert’s—sentimentality about the rings set.
Patrons: Now the surrounding pub patrons are catching on and whoops and cheers go up for the happy couple. “Hazzah! Well done! About time! Congratulations! When’s the wedding!?!”
Robert: “Thanks everyone.” He says waving to folks and neighbors around the room. “I guess that all Lydia and I can say is … a round of drinks for the house on us to celebrate!”
Of course, more cheers go up and even more holiday and wedding merriment ensues.
Patrons: “Well done!” “Thanks Dearie!” “Hazzah!” etc.
The midnight Christmas Eve Service in most churches is a very festive one with special music and closing with a candle lighting ceremony as “Silent Night” is sung. So after a yummy Christmas Eve meal at his parents’ home, the four of them—Dad and Mum and Robert and Lydia—walk down the lane to attend the 11:00pm Christmas Eve services. There is a hush of peace and calm when they enter the church sanctuary. The church sanctuary is lovingly lit up front by the altar with even more candles than usual. And there are four tall and slim fir trees covered in only white lights [(2) right] shining behind the altar. And the ribbons and wreaths and red and white poinsettias interspersed through the sanctuary for Christmas and Advent add a festive touch to the beautiful woodwork and stone background that is a hallmark of these traditional country churches.
Of course, the choir and musicians are in good voice–as are the parishioners–as they sing together the Christmas hymns that tell the story of our Lord’s birth. It is a moving service filled with families—with children young and old, friends and neighbors—and new families to come as in the case of Robert and Lydia. As each of the Christmas hymns are sung, the electric lights in the church sanctuary are gradually turned off—leaving only the flickering lights of the candles up front around the altar and down the sides of the church aisles, and the candles held by the parishioners in the pews. Everyone leaves the hushed church in silent reverent awe of the beauty of Christmas Eve night—of this night and of the night over two thousand years ago when our Lord was born.
As the parishioners leave the church, their twinkling hand held candle lights thread throughout the village as they walk home through the crystal clear starry night. Their twinkling candles echoing ribbons of light in the darkness, echoing ribbons of friendship in good times and in bad times, and echoing ribbons of hope and peace and joy and love that spread throughout this community and throughout all communities in England and the world tonight. And for Robert and Lydia—who are people of faith—they feel a renewed peacefulness and strength to accept and meet together the joys and challenges that will come their way when they are married and truly begin their lives as a family. And this night, as Robert and Lydia drift off to sleep in each others’ loving arms, they know that their love will sustain them and their future lives together in all their days and nights to come.
Christmas morning is a wondrous time with family—presents under the tree, yummy meals yet to come, and just being able to spend time with each other. This morning, Lydia and Robert arise naked from their lovers slumber and put on their Christmas flannel pjs they had bought especially for the occasion. Though, they are both well into their adulthood, Robert and Lydia couldn’t pass up wearing his sledding snowmen design pjs and her snowflake and and penguin design pjs. Honestly, neither Lydia nor Robert has ever looked this precious–even when they were children. Mum is wearing a red velour house dress with cream lace around the collar and Dad is wearing a red robe with white trim and a black belt—bought to impress future grandchildren with his Santa like appearance, hint, hint, despite him not having the Santa beard.
They start their Christmas morning sitting around the tree next to the fireplace—well Robert and Lydia are sitting on the floor around the tree—sipping hot cocoas and noshing on sweet rolls. They have a family tradition of opening one present each before their main mid day meal and the rest of the presents after that. That way it extends their Christmas fun throughout the day. So, with presents from each other and Santa around the tree, they each ponder which present to choose to open first. Ultimately, Robert and Lydia choose the presents they bought for each other to open this morning. So, with loving smiles, Lydia and Robert give each other their Christmas gifts as Mum and Dad look on.
Robert: “Lydia Darling, open your gift from me first.” He smiles warmly as he hands her a flat rectangular box.
Lydia: Noticing that the box is quite lightweight, she asks. “Now Robert Dear, you didn’t forget to actually put the present in the box when you wrapped it did you?”
Robert: “Not at all.” He smiles mischievously about his surprise for Lydia. “I hope that you like it.”
Lydia: “I’m sure I will if since it is from you, Robert Dear.” Before she unwraps her gift, she makes some guesses as to what the present could be. “Is it a pretty lace handkerchief?” Robert smilingly shakes his head no. “How about a picture of the two of us from the film set?”
Robert: He shakes his head no again, with a small smile. “No, but those are both good gift ideas for me to give you in the future. You’re getting warmer. And, your gift does have something to do with both of us.”
Lydia: “Hmm. I’m stumped.” Then, she thinks she has an idea, and her face lights up. “Is it a candy making mold for us to use the next time we make our candies together?”
Robert: Rocking his head back in laughter, he says. “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Lydia my love, you obviously have very simple wishes.”
Lydia: “Not really Robert. You see, I already had my dearest wish come true—you. What more could I want?” She says lovingly and sweetly as she gazes at him adoringly.
Robert: Robert leans over clasps her hand in his and he kisses Lydia tenderly. “Lydia my love, you are my wish come true.”
Mum and Dad smile happily that their son has finally found true love and happiness–and they embrace as they sit together on the couch.
Lydia: She tears off the festive Christmas wrapping paper and opens the box–like a little kid, not worrying about keeping the paper pristine. As Lydia lifts the lid, the folds of tissue paper cover the gift that lies beneath. She moves the tissue paper to see a photograph of Paris. “Oh Robert Dear, this is the park near the Director’s apartment we stayed at in Paris.” [(3) right] She smiles up at him remembering their lovely time there. “This is a lovely gift of one of our memories together.” Lydia shows the unframed picture in the box to Mum and Dad–who smile approvingly. Then Lydia leans over and kisses Robert again.
Robert: He smiles mischievously. “It’s a little more than that. Turn the picture over.” He can barely contain his glee.
Lydia: Lydia smiles at him quizzically. She turns the picture over and sees an address hand printed on the back of the picture at the right bottom corner, and she reads it aloud. “Robert and Lydia Kensington, Place de la Seine, 35 Rue de Voltaire, Paris.” She almost has an inkling, but her mind can’t quite grasp what this means. “I don’t quite understand.”
Robert: “Well my Darling, I guess I was assuming that you would want to take my name.” He says impishly.
Lydia: “Yes, my love. I will be honored to take your name.” They kiss again. “But, this is the address of our Director’s apartment that we borrowed to visit Paris last week. Are we going back to Honeymoon there?” She asks with a hopeful smile.
Robert: “If you like. And we can stay there any other time you would like.” Robert grins broadly. “Lydia Darling, it’s ours. I bought the apartment and its furniture and decorations for us.”
Lydia: “Oh Robert!” Lydia leaps into Robert’s lap and they shower each other with hugs and kisses. Then when they come up for air, she sighs. “Oh my love. You are so romantic … and so generous. “ Then she asks worriedly. “But can we afford it?”
Robert: “Well, let’s just say it’s … an investment—and your other scripts that we produce will help us pay it off. Ha ha ha ha!” He laughs joyously.
Dad: His Dad nods approvingly about his son’s real estate purchase–sound business decision. “Well done.”
Lydia: She also laughs. “Ha ha ha! That’s wonderful! You’re wonderful!” Lydia says adoringly as she also kisses Robert adoringly. “Now you open my gift.” She says sitting back down on the floor. “I’m afraid, it’s not quite as extravagant.” She hands him the slightly smaller squared tube like rectangular box.
Robert: “Crikey! Lydia my love, this is heavy. Now, it’s not a lump of coal is it?” He laughs. Then he pouts cutely. “I’ve been a very good boy this year.” His parents laugh.
Lydia: “Ha ha ha. No Robert. It’s not a lump of coal. But, you’re not too far off.” She smiles impishly.
Robert: He lifts the wrapped box in the air several times, pumping it like lifting weights. “Ooh, this is giving me a nice workout.” He narrows his eyes, mischievously. “Lydia, are trying to tell me that you like my muscles?”
Lydia: “Of course I do. Ha ha ha!” Robert’s parents roll their eyes amusingly. “Robert, if you haven’t figured out that one by now, then I must be slipping.” She says giving him a tenderly and lingering kiss. “Now, open up your present.” She says mock impatiently.
Robert: Robert opens up the box and he first sees an invoice. “Ah, it looks like you bought me something, too.” He looks closer at the invoice. “A tree, an oak. And by the looks of the cost on the invoice a rather large oak.”
Lydia: “Yes, Robert my love. A good climbing tree for the backyard and our future children that we adopt or have. They’ll deliver it in the Spring when the ground thaws.” She smiles at him and they kiss adoringly.
Robert: “Perfect! And what’s this?” He unwraps a very large rock. “Lydia my love, I think this rock is too large to skip stones with or serve as a paperweight.” He says humorously holding it up for his parents to see–and they exchange knowing glances.
Lydia: “Turn it over.” She smiles warmly at him.
Robert: Robert turns over the rock. Chiseled onto the rough granite rock are two words that he reads out loud. “The Kensingtons.” He shows his parents.
Lydia: “Yes Robert, I thought we could put that in our garden in the backyard.” She says sweetly while still sitting next to Robert and leaning in to him.
Robert: “This is wonderful my love. You’re wonderful!”
Lydia: “You’re wonderful!” Then Robert and Lydia kiss each other adoringly, lovingly, lustfully and adoringly for so long that his parents start coughing to get their attention.
Mum: “Kids why don’t you put your presents away in your rooms and have your showers while Dad and I get the turkey started?”
Robert: “Good idea, Mum. Lydia and I will see you and Dad in about an hour–and a half.” Robert smiles suggestively at Lydia and she blushes.
Then Robert and Lydia take their presents and head to their bedroom upstairs where they sweetly, tenderly, adoringly and lovingly make love with each other this, their first Christmas morning together. Then, after showering and dressing in even more festive Christmas attire of all red sweaters, they head downstairs and help Mum and Dad finish making the rest of their Christmas lunch—and then eat it ravenously. Then, they head to the church to make a traditional Christmas dinner with several other families as hosts for those less fortunate in their parish and they share a lovely dinner meal and presents with the kids in the neighborhood. All in all, it is a loving, sharing, and giving Christmas this year for both Lydia and Robert. For after all, Christmas is about giving the gift of oneself to others.
To be continued with Chapter 15
“Love & Friendship”, Chapter 15 (PG-13): Wedding Day, Sunday December 26th
Tradition dictates that the bride and groom don’t see each other—let alone sleep with each other—the night before their wedding. So, Robert and Lydia bow to tradition and he sleeps in his teenage bedroom Christmas night while Lydia sleeps in the guest bedroom. They are only a hallway apart, yet they ache for each others’ arms around them that night. But, they know that in the morning, they will be wed at the 10:00am Day after Christmas Sunday church service—inserted as a surprise for their parish neighbors—with a reception to follow after at the Parish Hall.
The parishioners are used to having baptisms included in the church service, this will just be their first wedding included thusly. Robert and his Mum head to the church first–leaving Lydia to finish getting ready with his Dad escorting her to the church. They elected not to wear formal attired, so Robert is dressed handsomely in a new blue suit and Lydia is wearing an ivory sheer shoulder cocktail length dress with delicate gold beading on the bodice [(4) right] –with a small opening at the back featuring her lovely back. It is a festively elegant gown. Lydia wears no veil, preferring to let her long silky brunette hair flow in soft curls romantically over her shoulders.
As Lydia takes her place at the back of the closed church sanctuary doors with Robert’s Mum when it comes time for their vows, Robert and his Dad walk up front with the Vicar. Robert’s parents are also serving as their attendants.
Vicar: Dear friends, we have a special Christmas blessing today. For two of our very own will be joined in marriage today with us, their friends and neighbors in attendance. We join together today in holy matrimony Robert Kensington and his lady love Lydia Baker.”
Happy sighs and cheers go up from the parishioners and then the organist begins to play Pachobel’s Canon in D on the piano. The sanctuary doors open at the back and Robert standing tall and proud in a new blue suit [(5) right] smiles when sees his mother waiting. Then she walks up the aisle to his father. When his Mum reaches his Dad, Robert’s parents kiss each other. Then Robert’s Mum kisses him and she moves to stand to the Bride’s side of the communion rail and Dad gives Robert a hug and Dad moves to stand to the groom’s side of the communion rail behind Robert.
Then, the organist switches over to the organ and begins to play Trumpet Voluntary[(6 below]—the favorite of bride’s everywhere since Princess Diana’s wedding nearly thirty years ago:
Lydia walks to the back of the church, turns and looks up at Robert as she stands at the open doors to the sanctuary. To Robert, she is a vision of loveliness, tenderness, caring, and grace that he has been searching for all of his life—and now he has found it in his beautiful sweet Lydia. To Lydia, her strong and handsome, kind and caring, gentle and honorable Robert is every dream she has ever hoped for of love—and more. Slowly, Lydia walks up the center church aisle to her Robert, to her love. When she reaches him, he takes her hand in his and kisses it. Then, they turn to face the vicar. Their wedding vows and promises are a lovely blur to Robert and Lydia as they promise themselves to each other before their family and friends. Robert slips his grandmothers wedding ring onto Lydia’s ring finger, next to her engagement ring. Then Lydia slips Robert’s grandfather’s wedding ring onto his ring finger.
When it comes time for the newly married Robert and Lydia to kiss at the end of their wedding ceremony, Robert gently takes her in his arms, caresses her face, and leans down and softly, sweetly, and tenderly kisses his lovely wife Lydia. Their kiss is sweet and poignant and lingering—holding this precious moment in their hearts and memories forever. Then Robert and Lydia walk back down the aisle to the cheers of everyone. After the service ends with communion—that Robert and Lydia share for the first time as husband and wife—they all head over to the Parish Hall for their wedding reception. And as one might suspect, Lydia had a say in that—including some hot and cold appetizers that everyone in attendance enjoys, as well as, the traditional cake and punch.
Then, Robert whisks Lydia away for their honeymoon night—not under his parents’ roof, nor even their own roofs in London nor now in Paris. No, Robert has also secretly bought a cozy little two bedroom cottage in the village that they can call just their own. Robert and Lydia spend their wedding night giving and sharing their love with each other adoringly, lustfully, tenderly, passionately, and lovingly—as newly married lovers do. It is an exquisitely rapturous night for Robert and Lydia–two souls who took a lifetime to find each other, and who now find their lives lovingly entwined before them as their future unfolds together.
To be continued with Chapter 16
1)The Love & Friendship” story logo is a composite of two images:
a) British Actor Richard Armitage in a December 2010 Promo portrait found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/2010Promo/album/20Dec2010-Perou-03.jpg; and
b) American Actress Diane Lane at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011 found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diane_Lane_%28Berlin_Film_Festival_2011%29_2.jpg
2) Image (narrowed) of plain white tree lights was found at http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/12/04/white-christmas-tree-lights-at-night/
4) Lydia wedding dress image is Diane Lane (cropped to closer portrait pose) at the 2012 Golden Globes was found at Saucy’s Sprinkles blog at http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-T1o7XEYPeuA/TxOcI9jXbzI/AAAAAAAARoo/KuqqMgHAaxg/s1600/diane+lane.jpg
5) Robert image (cropped, sharpened, brightened, and flipped) is Richard Armitage portraying Lucas North in Spooks Series 7, episode 5 (pix 110) and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/album/ep5/slides/5_110.jpg
6) “Jeremiah Clarke – Trumpet Voluntary “ a video by BritainShallPrevail http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRrss4kBi2M ; for more information about this music, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trumpet_Voluntary
Previous Story Link to Ch. 11-13 is: