“A Magnificent Love”, Ch. 02: The Receiver, December 25, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #676)
[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage for Richard Thorne, Sigourney Weaver for Richard’s mother Elise Thorne, Jennifer Jason Leigh for Edith Thorne Burke, Haley Atwell for Christina Gilcrist, James Slattery for Frederick Burke, Harrison Ford for Percy Gilcrist, Franco Nero for Count Victor Renaldi, and others]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “A Magnificent Love” is story with mature themes (D for drama and S for sensuality) of love and relationships. Most chapters will be PG or PG-13. However, if you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s recap from the previous chapter: Billionaire medical equipment/supplies entrepreneur Richard Thorne determinedly headed to his favorite jewelry store, Barnette Chicago on Dec. 23rd, to purchase his mother Elise Thorne a combined birthday and Christmas Gift from he and his sister’s family. And the beautiful Sales Associate who assisted him, Christina Gilcrist intrigued him with her beauty and her not fawning over his wealth. They share an acquaintance in her cousin Susan Gilcrist for whom Christina served as Maid of Honor where Richard initially noticed. her. And though Richard not turns his attention to their family celebration gathering for their mothter at his sister’s this night, Richard will find that he will not be able to get another lady out of his mind.
“A Magnificent Love”, Ch. 2: The Receiver
Ushered into his sister Edith Thorne Burke’s Chicago penthouse apartment foyer by her butler at his precisely punctual 6pm Tuesday evening, December 23rd, Richard Thorne [(2) right]–betraying a small smile for he knows the exuberant greeting that awaits him–he is beset by his nephews and niece, Will, Daniel, and Elisa. His niece is named for his and his sister Edie’s mother Elise, but with a twist to avoid confusion.
Niece and Nephews: “Uncle Richard!!!” They swarm him.
Richard: “Will, Daniel, Elisa! It is good to see you.” He smiles broadly as they guide him into the living room. “Edie, Dear.”
Richard’s sister Edie [(3) right] extends her hand to her brother from her place sitting on the couch as he comes to her side and he kisses her cheek. Though suffering from chronic painful arthritis that fatigues her and limits her mobility, Edie can navigate their large single level penthouse suite in short bursts. But she conserves her energy when she knows that she has a long evening ahead of her–as they do tonight celebrating their mother’s birthday. And Richard is aware of Edie needing to conserve her energy–him thinking that she looks a little more tired tonight–probably due to the holidays and preparing for tonight. But Edie never complains about her chronic arthritis illness, she just soldiers on–then rests when she needs to.
Edie: “Richard, you’re late.” Edie pouts at her baby brother. For at her 51 years to his 43 years, neither of them is a baby anymore.
Frederick: Shaking his brother-in-law Richard’s hand and slapping him on the back, Frederick smiles. “Now Edith Dear, Richard is only 1 minute late. Cut him some slack. Ha ha ha!”
Then Frederick [(4) right] leans down and lovingly kisses his wife Edith on her cheek. Edith smiles up at her distinguished looking husband adoringly as they continue to hold hands. Theirs is a love match still, these twenty years later. And his addressing her as Edith–her given name–is his pet name for her since everyone else calls her Edie. The 52 year old Frederick is prematurely gray and shows the weathered signs of aging due to his living an outdoorsy life of cross country skiing and sailing as befits his wealthy lifestyle. However he is a warm and cordial family man full of a zest for life. His boundless energy quite compensates for his beloved wife Edie’s lack of it. And they make a great pair as a loving couple and as loving parents.
Richard: Feigning ignorance, Richard smiles as he looks about the elegantly and festively appointed living room. “What, Edie? Has Mother arrived already? Have you hidden her in the butler’s pantry?” Richard jests.
Edie: “No silly, but she is due any minute. Did you find a suitable gift for her?” I ask anxiously–so glad that I had called to remind him today that it was his turn to select the gift.
Richard: “Right here.” I raise the Barnette Chicago gift bag. “It’s already wrapped, or I would show it to you. She’ll love it!”
Frederick: “Richard, just let me know what our portion of the gift cost is and I will reimburse you.”
Richard nods at his brother-in-law. Then the door bell rings–no doubt heralding the arrival of the lady of honor herself.
Richard: “We’ll settle up later.” Richard nods at his brother-in-law as he hands the gift bag to his sister Edith, for her to give to their mother from all of them. It is a small gesture of respect to his sister to let her make the gift presentation to their mother. And Edie appreciates her younger brother’s consideration.
Of course, Richard rarely seeks a full half share for their mother’s gifts from his sister’s family when he does the purchasing. Though his sister Edith is almost as wealthy as he is–by birthright and via her husband–Richard reasons that she has more mouths to feed. And the boys, especially, are big eaters. Richard grins sheepishly while thinking about this.
Then all heads turn as the elegant Elise Thorne is escorted into the living room.
The timelessly beautiful Elise Thorne [(5) right] smiles at her family and greets each of them in turn–going to Edith first as the children wait patiently nearby, leaning down to kiss her daughter’s cheeks and embrace her.
Elise: “Edie, dear. You look lovely. And your home is so festively decorated for the holidays. Thank you for hosting us for my birthday this year!”
Elise smiles appreciatively at her daughter’s effusively festive trimmings.” There are lighted green garlands framing the doors and upon the fireplace mantel, as well as a very large decorated Christmas tree in front of the living room window [(6) right].
Edie: Smiling up at her as they embrace, Edith greets her mother. “Thank you, Mama. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday.”
Elise: “Thank you, Edie Dear.” Then Elise stands and greets her son-in-law by kissing his cheek, and he kissing her cheek. “Frederick.”
Frederick: “Mama. We’re so glad that you could join us this evening.” He greets her sincerely. For unlike some families–be they society scions or middle class–the extended Thorne family is a tight knit and loving clan.
Elise’s birthday parties are usually held at her stately home at the family mansion named Ravenwood in the countryside [(7) right] and everyone sleeps over for the holidays–for snow sledding and such–and attending a Christmas Eve worship service. But this year, Edith feels particularly pained with her arthritis, so they all came to Edith’s and Frederick’s for the evening tonight. Then on Christmas Eve, Elise will escort her grandchildren and son to worship services in town while Frederick stays home with Edith. Finally, on Christmas Day, they will travel to their Thorne family home Ravenwood in the countryside for the weekend–including Edie and her family, if she is feeling up to it.
Richard: “Mother, you look splendid! Lovely as always!” Richard and his mother kiss cheeks and embrace lovingly.
Elise: “Richard! Thank you, darling. You are always such a charmer.” She purrs.
Though Elise is tempted to tease her son Richard about his current bachelor status, she refrains. She doesn’t want to make too much of a point about it. She will mention something to him at some later date. And she is rather glad that his previous lady friend did not last since Elise felt the woman was rather too elitist, and ill mannered when interacting with her servants and other guests. And Elise cannot abide discourtesy. Though Elise does not know the reason for their breakup, Richard also felt his previous lady friend was too chilly as he came to know her better and she let her guard down. His lady friend was beautiful–all of his past amours are–but her beauty did not reach her heart. And Richard congratulates himself that he rather cleverly engineered their parting most ingeniously by him becoming annoying to her and pushing a more eligible and pliant bachelor into her view.
Ten year old Elisa gracefully steps toward her grandmother. Little Elisa is the picture of a holiday princess in her party dress with a black velvet bodice, pink satin waist sash, over a full pink lace over satin skirt–and a pink satin head band. Pink is little Elisa’s favorite color at the moment.
Elisa: “Grandmama, may the boys and I greet you now?” Elise’s ten year old granddaughter asks politely as she has been taught to do now that she is no longer a little girl, but is on the cusp of becoming a young lady when her age progressed to double digits.
Elise Thorne’s eyes sparkle as she opens her arms wide to her grandchildren and they rush forward, each taking their turn in greeting her warmly.
Elise: “Elisa, sweetheart. Your hair is so lovely.” She strokes her granddaughter’s long hair. “Are you letting it grow?”
Elisa: “Yes, Grandmama. When it gets long enough, my stylist will cut off 10 inches to donate to Locks of Love [(8)]–so another child with a disease that made their hair fall out can have hair again.” Elisa beams about her hair gifting plans.
Elise: Caressing her granddaughter’s face, Elise kisses her forehead. “Oh, my precious! That is so wonderful of you! You have such a kind heart–like your mother.” Elise looks lovingly over at her daughter Edie and they share tender smiles of love with each other.
Then Elisa steps aside and her 12 year old not quite teenage brother Will steps forward and lifts his grandmother’s hand to his lips and kisses it. Both brothers are also dressed formally, with them wearing dark suits with dark red and black striped ties.
Will: “Grandmama. May I wish you felicitations upon your birthday.” He tries to sound formal and dashingly British.
Everyone exchanges amused glances. Daniel, 14 years old, elbows his brother.
Daniel: “Cut out the Downton Abbey [(9)] stuff, Will.”
Elise: “Now now, Daniel. Will is simply being polite. Thank you for your kind addresses, Will.” She smiles bemusedly at her grandson, Will.
Will: “And Grandmama, only one more month and the new season of DA episodes begins!” The dedicated anglophile, Will, tells his grandmother excitedly. He inherited her love of all things English.
Elise: Elise leans in conspiratorially to her grandson Will. “I know. I can’t wait!”
Of course, Elise Thorne didn’t have to wait, because she has an old college friend at the BBC who sent her an advance press copy of the boxed set of the new season’s episodes earlier in the Autumn when it aired in England. Just one of the perks of wealth and position–getting to watch Downton Abbey when the Brits watch it. Of course, Elise could have easily flown over to England and stayed in London for the 8 weeks of the new season last fall, but she would have missed several of her grandchildren’s school events and choir concerts had she been away. So that notion was a non starter.
Daniel: “Grandmama!” The fourteen year old exuberantly takes his grandmother into a big bear hug lifting her off of the ground and kisses her cheek. Daniel is most like his late grandfather Xavier Thorne–gregarious and spontaneous. And he is very tall like his father Frederick, his grandmother Elise, and his Uncle Richard.
Richard: “Down Daniel! Don’t break your grandmother before she gives you your Christmas present!” Richard teases his boisterous nephew.
Everyone laughs: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Of course, the children have to be much more gentle with their mother Edith. But their embraces with her are still heartfelt.
Elise smiles and looks at everyone, spying the festively wrapped gift bag on her daughter’s lap.
Elise: “So! Are you making me wait until dessert for my present, or do I get to open it now?” She asks with a youthful glee belying her 65 years, minus one day age.
Edith: “Will Count Renaldi be joining us tonight, Mama? Should we not wait for him?”
Everyone looks inquiringly at their mother and grandmother, Elise Thorne. For after being widowed two years ago–bereftly mourning her beloved late husband Xavier Thorne in relative seclusion for the first year–it was only a longtime Thorne Family Foundation board member Count Victor Renaldi who was able to coax her back to living her life more fully this past year. He had also been widowed a few years earlier and they commiserated. And the Thorne and Rousseau couples had been friendly acquaintances before their spouses died. So their becoming companions was a natural progression of Elise’s and Victor’s familiarity.
Elise: “Victor? His plane did not arrive on time–delayed by weather. So he sends his regrets. He hopes to join us on Christmas Day.”
However Elise suspects that Victor merely wishes to give her this private time with her family since their being on the cusp of becoming a romantic couple–as opposed to companionable friends in their widowhood–is so new, barely two months old. And Elise has not made public to her family the changed status of their relationship. However, they are still dating and their intimacies have not gone beyond hand holding and kisses. Elise feels that she is almost ready for the next step. She has missed feeling cherished as she was with her beloved late husband Xavier Thorne. And Victor is very attentive and caring. She smiles thinking about him.
Richard: “That’s too bad. But we will see him in a few days.” Richard glances knowingly at his sister who nods her head.
Both Edie and Richard are delighted for their mother to find a new love. For when Elise Thorne is occupied, their lives are not under her scrutiny quite so much. And, they also love their mother and they want her to be happy.
Edie: “Mama, please open your gift from all of us now. Then we will serve dinner.” Edith smiles cordially, because she wonders what their gift is as well–since it was her brother Richard’s turn to do the gift selection this year.
Edith holds out the gift bag to her mother. Elise smiles and goes to sit next to her daughter on the couch.
Elise: Lifting the bag up, Elise makes some observations. “The gift bag is rather light weight, though a bit lumpy. It’s not a lump of coal is it? I have been a good girl this year. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Everyone laughs: “Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Elisa: Plopping down next to her grandmother on the couch, Elisa pleads. “Oh open it quickly, Grandmama. So we can see what Uncle Richard chose for our gift for you this year?”
Elise: “So you trusted Richard to choose the gift this year? Hmmm. Might it be winter cross country skiing gloves with battery powered warmers from L.L. Bean?” [(10)]
Richard looks bemusedly at his mother with a raised eyebrow.
Richard: “No Mother. But if that is a request, I will order it on the internet for you.”
Elise: “Thank you!” Elise smiles.
Elise reads the birthday card that Richard had enclosed and thoughtfully included everyone’s name on it. Then she lifts the small wrapped square box out of the bag.
Edith : “Hmmm. Good things come in small packages, as they say.”
Edith wets her lips. Though Elise has gifted Edith with many of her baubles over the years, Edith still enjoys the thrill of seeing her mother’s latest acquisition–whether or not it will eventually come to her or to her brother Richard’s future bride, whomever that might be, and their daughter.
Carefully unwrapping the paper box, she opens the lid. Inside the box is a black velvet jewelry box.
Will: “I bet it is diamonds! A lady always likes diamonds.”
Frederick: “Ha ha ha! Listen to the boy. With that attitude, he’ll have a bevy of ladies swarming him when the time comes.”
Elise closes her eyes, then she opens the small jewelry box to reveal her gift.
Elise: “Oh my! These really are exquisite! And just my stytle as well. Thank you so much, everyone!” Elise smiles at her family sincerely as she turns the box around so they can all see them.
Richard smiles broadly for having pleased his mother.
Edie: Edith clasps her brother’s hand. “Well done, Richard!”
Richard: “Thank you, Edie. And I’m glad that you are pleased, Mother.” Richard smiles contentedly. Another successfully bestowed birthday slash Christmas gift for his mother.
Elise: “I am.”
Elise smiles, removing her earrings that she had put on earlier tonight, and she adorns herself with her new presents of diamond earrings and its matching diamond pendant. Everyone oohs and ahhs. Then Elise walks to the foyer hall mirror to admire herself in her newly gifted gems.
Elisa: Coming to stand beside her grandmother, clasping her hand in hers, and gazing into the mirror at the jewels, ten year old Elisa asks sweetly hopefully. “May I have your new earrings and necklace one day, Grandmama?”
Richard: Richard who had followed his mother into the foyer to observer her delight, bursts into laughter at his niece’s boldness. “Ha ha ha ha! Elisa, Sweetheart, Let your grandmother enjoy them for a little while.” Elisa pouts at being teased by her uncle. Then he smiles caringly and caresses Elisa’s cheek with his index finger. “Besides, your mother already has much of Mother’s jewelry–which you will no doubt inherit or be gifted with when you are older.” I smile at her and Elisa nods with a smile and leaves.
Elise: Her eyes darting to her son in the mirror, Elise asks. “Are you afraid that your future wife and daughters won’t have anything left for me to give them?”
Richard: “No, Mother.” I nod sheepishly. But she has rather guessed my thoughts. It is not the value of the jewelry, but the sentiment that accompanies the thought of my future wife and daughters receiving cherished heirloom pieces from my Mother one day. “And perhaps my future wife and I will beget only sons. However, it is a moot point until I acquire said wife and we produce said children.”
Elisa: “Don’t be so clinical, Richard. It makes you sound pompous. Ha! However did you select this set? They are really beautiful.” I touch my hand to my chest, below the pendant–turning my head to each side to admire my earrings as well.
Richard: “What? And I don’t have good taste all on my own, Mother? Ha ha ha!”
Elise: “No! Of course not, dear. You have excellent taste!” I smile. “It’s just that other ladies of my … era …” I refuse to say age, because age is just a number. “… seem to have less sparing tastes than my own.”
That is a polite way of my mother referring to what she considers to be vulgar ostentation. Oh mother has some really big jewels–the kind requiring a security guard to hover discreetly in the background near her at charity events–but those jewels mostly stay locked away in the vault. Mother’s everyday jewels are quite restrained, though still of the finest quality–as are our gifts to her tonight.
Richard: “Actually, it was the Barnette Chicago Sales Associate who assisted me with the purchase who pointed me to this set.” I smile benignly, trying to stem my continuing to think about her, Christina Gilcrist [(12) right].
Elise: “You’re smiling, Richard. Was she a pretty Sales Associate? Are you tempted?” I ask hopefully. A mother can dream of more grandchildren, can’t she?
Richard: “Hardly, Mother. Sales Associates are not found amongst my dating pool of available candidates.” I roll my eyes rather pointedly. I wonder whom I’m trying to convince of that prohibition–my mother, or myself?
Elise: “There you go again, Richard Dear. Dating pool of available candidates?” I shake my head in amusement. “But since you haven’t escorted a lady lately, perhaps you’ve reached the need to look elsewhere into other pools for a nice girl to date and bring home to mama?” I hint facetiously. It’s not that I think my son is a monk. But without evidence to the contrary–such as him taking a lady out for dinner or to charity events recently–I am left to the conclusion that he has hit a dry spell romantically.
Richard: “Mother, please.” I hold out my hands in mock protest. Then I think about Christina Gilcrist again. “Though I will say that the lady in question comes from a good family–she is Susan Gilcrist’s cousin, Christina Gilcrist.”
Elise: “A Gilcrist? How nice!” Elise smiles contentedly at the thought of such a match with the Thornes.
Richard: “Yes, but why she works as a jewelry store Sales Associate is beyond me.”
Elise: “Well, it is Barnette Chicago. That is not just any jewelry store.” Elise places her index finger below her chin thinking. “Hmmm. I wonder if she might be Percy Gilcrist’s daughter? He is quite the renaissance man–a retired professor at the university. But he had no head for business, nor trust funds. I hear the only reason that he has a roof over his head is that the living stipend from his daughter’s late mother’s inheritance keeps them afloat until her trust fund principle is accessible when she turns 35 in five years.”
Richard: “She can’t access the principle until she is 35? That sounds positively draconian.” I shake my head in disgust. I deferred my trust fund dividend payments early in my career by choice. But to not have a choice is vexing.
Elise: “Yes. I believe the arrangements were made to prevent fortune hunters from taking advantage of their only daughter. But it has nearly improverished the girl and her widowed father. That is, if one can claim a 10 bedroom mansion in the country as being improverishment. But of course, mansions need upkeep–and plumbing is so very expensive these days. Hhhh!” I sigh thinking of the recent work to refurbish the bathrooms at our family mansion home in the country and shudder at the cost–into the tens of thousands of dollars, per bathroom.
Richard: “So you know the Gilcrist family well?”
Elise: “Slightly, and I haven’t seen them for many years. You should invite the girl for cocktails sometime. Or better yet, bring her to Christmas Eve services and supper after at my penthouse in town as your date. She will make our numbers even.” Elise smiles gleefully at her attempts at matchmaking.
Richard: “Errr! No Mother.” Richard whines. “Miss Gilcrist will likely wish to spend her Christmas Eve with her family.”
Elise: “Then invite her to bring her father, Prof. Gilcrist, as well. I haven’t seen him for ages! And it is just the two of them now.”
Richard: “Won’t Count Victor mind that you invite another man to dine with us, Mother?”
Elise: “Not if he knows what is good for him.” She smugly remarks with an upturned smile. Elise feels secure enough in the depth of her relationship with Victor that he is confident in her attachment to him.
Richard and his mother then rejoin their family and have a lovely birthday dinner–with Edie letting slip how much she admires the necklace and earring set that they gave their mother for her birthday. It seems that the apple–in the person of Edie’s daughter Elisa–doesn’t fall too far from the tree. So Richard thinks that he has more gifts to purchase.
Meanwhile, Christina Gilcrist heads home to her father this night.
To be continued with Chapter 3
“A Magnificent Love”, Ch. 2 References for Wattpad, December 25, 2014, Gratiana Lovelace (Post #676)
1) The “A Magnificent Love” story cover by Gratiana Lovelace is a composite of images I capped from the video “The Hobbit Star Richard Armitage: Exclusive Interview on The Hobbit” by Glamour
found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAfBKuDo5sg :
a) the cropped background of Richard Armitage on street for Glamour UK 2013 Photo Shoot Dec1714 Bright Box Productions; and
b) the masked image of Richard Armitage on street for Glamour UK 2013 Photo Shoot Dec1714 Bright Box Productions.
2) Richard Thorne image Is of Richard Armitage on street for Glamour UK 2013 Photo Shoot Dec1714 Bright Box Productions
3) Edith Edie Thorne Burke is actress Jennifer Jason Leigh in 2011 found at http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/DBtCca1_uJx/Book+Mormon+Broadway+Opening+Night+Arrivals/hIUOS7kJz26/Jennifer+Jason+Leigh
4) Frederick Burke, Edie’s husband, is actor John Slattery; image found here at a Mad Men premiere: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/events/John%20Slattery/john-slattery-premiere-mad-men-season-6-01.html
5) Elise Thorne image is the timelessly beautiful Sigourney Weaver found at http://www.defanafan.com at http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9KcaU5pB1V0/TnR_-AJBudI/AAAAAAAAEeY/abUx4xscbL4/s1600/Sigourney-Weaver-450×450.jpg
6)This festive Christmas home scene is from MS Office Clip Art.
7) Image serving as EliseThorne’s family mansion Ravenwood was found at https://twitter.com/Independent/status/546013170385817600
8) For more about donating your hair so an ill or recovering child may have a natural hair wig to cover their baldness, visit http://locksoflove.org/
9) For more about the British tv show Downton Abbey (aka DA) visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downton_Abbey
10) For more information about winter cross country skiing gloves with battery powered warmers from L.L. Bean, visit http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/80419?feat=76188-pprrtop
11) Richard’s and Edie’s family birthday and Christmas gift for his mother Elise of exquisite diamond rounds framed in gold earrings and a pendant is a composite image of:
a) earrings (and third gem for pendant)found at http://www.cartier.com/collections/gifts/gifts-her/holiday-gifts-her/b8041600-diamants-legers-de-cartier-earrings;
b) gold chain found at http://www.ilovedesigner.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/g/o/gold-plated-cz-eye-charm-chain-necklace1a.jpg;
c) and velvet fabric background found at http://www.ilovedesigner.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/g/o/gold-plated-cz-eye-charm-chain-necklace1a.jpg
12) Christina Gilcrist image (cropped) is that of British Actress Haley Atwell in a suit was found at http://www.listal.com/viewimage/1674401