“A Magnificent Love”, Ch. 04 (PG-13, D): A Busy Christmas Eve Day, December 26, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #678)
[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 Prof. 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: After arriving home from work in Chicago the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 23rd, Christina cajoled her elderly father to eating some of the takeout dinner she had brought home with her. They no longer have a cook and she wants to make certain that her father eats a little something. Since her Mother Meghan Meg Gilcrist died a few years ago, Christina’s Daddy–as she calls him–has not had much appetite for life. And though he reveals that he is working on a new book review of a favorite work receiving a new edit, he disdains receiving pay for that review. So it falls to Christina–his Chrissy–to earn the funds they need for their day to day living. And though their mansion badly needs a new water heater so they may take even warm showers again, her father is more intrigued by his daughter’s exchange with the Thorne heir, Richard Thorne. However, the next day–Christmas Eve Day–will not prove to be entirely constructive on that front.
“A Magnificent Love”, Ch. 4 (PG-13, D): A Busy Christmas Eve Day
Taking her daughter Edie into her confidence about Richard’s potential new lady friend–a Sales Associate acquaintance at Barnette Chicago named Christina Gilcrist–Elise Thorne does what any self respecting mother does, check out the lady in question. With her daughter Edie joining her–along with her unsuspecting 10 year old granddaughter Elisa–Elise Thorne walks into Barnette Chicago on the Wednesday morning of December 24th, Christmas Eve day. Elise is dressed in a bold blood red upscale ladies suit with a turtle neck encasing her womanly curves under her jacket. While her daughter Edie is wearing a black coat dress with a pattered deep red white and green silk scarf. And the ten year old Elisa is wearing a deep burgundy corduroy jumper over a cream colored blouse with a peter pan collar and butter soft dark brown leather mary jane style shoes. Style thy names are Thorne and Burke!
Barnette Chicago will only be open until 4:00pm today–to allow their employees time to get to their own family activities this evening, as well as allowing last minute shoppers to make their purchases. But for Elise Thorne, it will be time enough. Hurrying out to the sales floor, Barnette Chicago Director Barnard Kline cordially greets Elise and her party.
Mr. Kline: “Mrs. Thorne and Mrs. Burke! This is a pleasure to see you at the holidays. I am the Barnette Chicago Director, Barnard Kline. May we assist you in purchasing a gift for someone? Or perhaps, for yourselves?” He nods at both women and the young girl with them.
Elise: Eyeing the well dressed and rather effusive gentleman in front of her, Elise gestures to her daughter and granddaughter. “Yes. And since one of the person’s receiving a gift is my young granddaughter here, please recommend your youngest Sales Associate to me. We want someone who can relate to her.” Elise is well aware that Christina Gilcrist is probably the youngest Sales Associate, hence her reasoning to the Director.
Mr. Kline: “At once, Madam.”
Mr. Kline lifts his head and another older Barnette Associate leaves her station and heads to the employee break room to fetch someone. When they return, they have a young man dressed in a smart suit with them.
Mr.Kline: This is Tad Drummond.
Elise: “No!” Elise Thorne states definitively and with authority.
Mr. Kline: “No?” Both Mr. Kline and the handsome young man look confused.
Elisa: Tugging at her grandmother’s sleeve, she whispers. “But Grandmama, he’s handsome!”
Elise: “No.” She states again unequivocally. “We would like a young lady Sales Associate, please.” Then to avoid further confusion, Elise states her request without obfuscation. “Such as the nice young lady who helped my son Richard pick out my lovely birthday present yesterday, Christina Gilcrist.”
Waving away the young man–who smiles agreeably and bows before leaving to alert Christina that her presence is requested in the showroom–Mr. Kline smiles cordially, if not wholly sincerely.
Mr. Kline: “Of course, Miss Gilcrist will be with you momentarily, Madam.” He agrees affably.
One minute later when Mr. Kline sees Christina at the showroom entrance from the back offices, he raises his hand to beckon her toward them. As yet, Christina has not been told whom has requested her assistance. But given the fact that she has several regular clients, her being requested to attend to someone particularly is not unusual.
Christina: “Mr.Kline. May I be of assistance?” Christina asks politely with a cordial smile plastered on her face.
Mr. Kline: “Yes. Mrs. Elise Thorne here requests you help them make a gift selection for her granddaughter.” He gestures to the grandmother and then to the granddaughter.
At the mention of Elise Thorne’s name, Christina’s eyes widen as she turns to look at Mrs.Thorne, her daughter Edie Burke, and her granddaughter Elisa now revealed to her as the very large Barnard Kline steps aside.
Christina: “Oh! How delightful to meet you, Mrs. Thorne.” Christina says warmly. But Christina is uncertain if Mrs. Thorne has received her gift yet and she does not want to spoil the surprise. So Christina does not mention it.
Elise: “Charming.” Elise appraises Christina. “You favor your late mother Meg, Christina Dear.” Elise says kindly. “We were in private day school together when we were my granddaughter’s age of ten.”
Christina: “Thank you.” Christina nods her thanks for the unexpected compliment, and reference to her beloved late mother. Though saddened by her mother’s loss, Christina is always glad to meet someone who knew her mother.
Elise: Then by way of explanation, Elise clarifies their visit, gesturing to her daughter and granddaughter. “Yesterday, you helped my son select my lovely birthday and Christmas gift from he and my daughter Edith Burke’s family. This is my daughter Edie and my granddaughter, Elisa. It seems that Elisa and her mother would also like something from Barnette Chicago–because I am not parting with my gifts in the near future. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!” Elise chuckles. Edith smiles. And Elisa nods her head up and down several times in confirmation that she wants a pretty present, too.
Christina: “Of course. Did you have something particular in mind? I’m afraid the set that you received was one of a kind. Though I am certain that we could have something similar custom made for your daughter and granddaughter, were you to wish to replicate it.” Christina smiles engagingly. Service to their Barnette Chicago customers is paramount. And what Barnette Chicago customers want, Barnette Chicago provides.
Edie: “Mama, let us look for Elisa’s present today. Mine can wait.” Edie says a bit tiredly as she leans on the glass display case counter.
Noticing that Mrs. Edith Burke seems fatigued, Christina suggests thoughtfully.
Christina: “Might I invite you to sit in our comfortable chairs at our viewing table for your jewelry selection?” Christina motions to a small round conference table area six feet away and they walk over there and sit. Christina can see the instant relief showing upon Mrs.Burke’s face–and a grateful expression upon her mother Elise Thorne’s face. “I will bring out several jewelry pieces for you to consider as you enjoy some refreshments? Tea or wine? Or juice in the case of the young lady?”
Elise: “Tea for all of us. Thank you.” Sitting in the very comfortable chairs, Elise [(2) right] having doffed her overly warm jacket is suitably impressed with Christina already–regarding Christina’s compassion for her daughter Edie’s comfort.
After tea is served during which Christina confers with her young client Elisa Burke about her wishes, it is decided that a selection of pendant necklaces and rings be shown to her. Since Elisa is too young for pierced ears, earrings will have to wait. The jewelry Christina selects is all youthful and appropriate to the young ten year old Elisa, but pieces that can also age with her and be worn throughout her life. Christina returns with two polished dark walnut jewelry cases in which she has placed a selection of rings and pendant necklaces, respectively. Christina lifts the lid of the rings jewelry box first. It contains both gem stone and cameo rings in it.
Christina: “I remember when I was your age, Elisa, my grandmother gave me a cameo ring that I still cherish to this day.” Christina shows Elisa the small cameo ring on her pinky finger. She had never had it sized up for her adult sized fingers because she wants to give it to her own young daughter some day when she has a daughter.
Elisa: “Ooh! That is pretty!” Elisa coos.
Edie: “Cameos never go out of style.”
Elise: “I quite agree. And you have a lovely selection there. Try some on, Elisa Dear.”
Elisa tries on several of the cameo rings and gemstone rings–removing the rings that she doesn’t like and putting them in a reject pile. While keeping the rings that she does like on her fingers–creating quite a display on her left hand.
Elisa: “I can’t decide, Mommy and Grandmama.” Elisa wriggles her fingers and shows the rings that she likes to her mother and then to her grandmother.
Christina smiles, for Elisa has chosen a few ring styles that she guessed that she might like. Then Christina further guides her young client in her jewelry selection–with the approving nods of the young girls mother and grandmother who are sitting back enjoying watching Elisa have her first jewelry fitting.
Christina: “Elisa, if I may suggest a further way you might narrow your choices?” Elisa nods. Then Christina slides another polished dark walnut jewelry display box toward Elisa and removes its lid–now revealing several cameo and gemstone pendants, three of which match the rings on Elisa’s fingers. Christina lifts each necklace out of its velvet cradle and then lays it down on a black velvet cloth on the table.
Elise: “My! These are lovely!” Elisa’s grandmother enthuses. It would be her choice for Elisa to select a cameo set over the birthstone gemstone set for her granddaughter. But she will leave the final selection up to her granddaughter, Elisa.
Elisa: “Mommy? Grandmama? May I have both a ring and a pendant?” She looks sweetly hopefully into their eyes.
Edie: “That is fine with me, if Mama is agreeable.” She turns to her mother who nods with a smile.
Elisa: “Oh thank you!” The ten year old Elisa claps her hands with glee. Then Elisa sees her grandmother’s slightly raised eyebrow at Elisa’s exuberance. And Elisa quietens her enthusiasm, but she still grins broadly from ear to ear. This matching set will be Elisa’s first grown up jewelry gift.
Christina: Christina smiles knowingly. “I thought, that perhaps, Mrs. Thorne and Mrs. Burke, that one of you might wish to gift Elisa with a cameo ring, and the other to gift her with its matching cameo pendant necklace. Of course if you wished to save one of the items to give her for a later special event, we can always put the jewelry item on hold for you to purchase at a later date.” Ever the astute Sales Associate and former society debutante, Christina has perceived their wishes precisely–with regard to purchasing both a ring and a pendant, but not delaying doing so.
Elise: Ever mindful to have her granddaughter be more aware about other people’s situations and needs, Elise asks her. “Now do you remember what we said about your jewelry gift, Elisa Dear?”
Elisa: “Yes, that other little children are not as lucky as I am to have parents who can afford nice presents. And they sometimes need more food to eat. So we’re donating the same amount as my presents to the children’s aid charity, Childline” [(3)]. Elisa smiles for having remembered it.
Edie: “That’s right, Elisa Dear.” Both Elisa’s mother and granddaughter beam with pride for Elisa’s growing compassion for others.
Christina: Stunned and deeply touched by the Thorne’s philanthropic spirit, Christina replies. “That is so lovely and generous for you to think of other children in need, Mrs. Thorne, Mrs. Burke, and Elisa. That will make Elisa’s gifts be even more special.”
Elise and her daughter Edie nod in recognition of Christina’s kind remark. Then Elise selects one of the cameo rings [(4) right] off of her granddaughter’s finger and holds it near the selection of cameo pendant necklaces.
Elise: “Look Elisa and Edie, this lovely cameo ring has a cameo pendant match for it.”
Edie: “It is a lovely set. Do you like it Elisa, Dear?” She asks her daughter caringly.
Elisa: “I do. It is very pretty.” She smiles hopefully at her mother and grandmother.
Elise looks questioningly at Christina. Christina recognizes that gaze and takes a business card out of her suit pocket, turns it over, and writes the jewelry in question prices on the back–$500 for the cameo ring and $750 for the cameo pendant necklace. Christina discreetly hands her business card to Elise Thorne, who nods and shows the prices on the business card to her daughter, who also nods. It seems that ladies are not shy about seeking prices before making their purchases.
Elise: “Then we will buy them for you, Elisa Dear–as our extra Christmas present from us to you.”
Edie: “You must be extra careful and only wear them when you are with me or your grandmother–not to school. We wouldn’t want you to accidently lose them.”
Elisa: “I will.” Elisa nods understanding. Then she gets excited again. “May I wear them home with me now?” Her mother and grandmother nod in agreement.
Christina: Christina smiles at the young girl’s exuberance. “The cameo pendant necklace you may certainly wear home today. But I fear that we must size the ring to properly fit you. It is a little loose on you and you would not want to lose it.”
Elise: “How long will the sizing take?” She knows that were she to request it, she could have it done immediately. But she wants to see what Christina will offer them.
Christina: Christina looks at her watch that reveals that it is now 12noon. “Our Executive Jeweler returns from another appointment at 2:00pm. Since this is a cameo ring–which has a delicate setting–I would prefer that our Executive Jeweler do the resizing for you. And given her other rush orders today, I feel confident that she would have the sizing completed and have the ring couriered to your home in the city before we close at 4pm today.” Christina smiles, hopeful that the 4 hour delay will be agreeable to them.
Elise and Edie confer then nod and smile to each other, to Elisa, and then to Christina.
Elise: “That will be perfect. Here is my credit card and my address card. I would be pleased if you personally would deliver the ring to me at my Chicago penthouse, Christina.”
Christina: “Of course. It will be my pleasure.”
Elise: Elise mischievously raises her eyebrow. “You have been so wonderfully helpful–to my son yesterday and now to us–that I would like to do something for you in return.
Christina: “It is not necessary. I have been happy to assist you.” She demures.
Elise: “Nonsense! Let me I invite you and your father Prof. Percy Gilcrist to attend Christmas Eve services with us, and then join us for a light Christmas Eve supper at my penthouse in town afterward. I haven’t seen your father in years and I would so like to reacquaint myself with him.”
Christina blinks. That Elise Thorne requests that she deliver the cameo ring herself is not unheard of. But the invitation to join their family gathering is out of the ordinary. And Christina wonders if this invitation is as Mrs.Thorne said–to renew her acquaintance with Christina’s father–or is it because of Christina’s interaction with her son Richard Thorne yesterday? Christina wonders if Elise Thorne is testing her? For what, she knows not. Still Christina responds with the required cordiality.
Christina: “You are very kind to invite us, Mrs. Thorne. But sadly, my father’s frail health precludes him from venturing much beyond our home in the country. And train travel vexes him.” Christina wrinkles her nose with a bemused smile.
In truth, Christina would like to see her father get out more and live life a little. But his heart has been failing in recent years. So he doesn’t go out much. And of consequence, he has not replenished his wardrobe for dressy occasions. So she understands his reticence to enter into any social engagements that might require stamina or tuxedos.
Elise: “Oh! I’m so sorry to hear that. But I understand.” Elise replies caringly. Elise’s husband Xavier Thorne and Prof. Percy Gilcrist would have been the same age. And Xavier died of heart ailments two years ago. Then Elise perks up. “Well, our country estate is only five miles from your home, if I recall correctly. And Edie and her family are coming down for the weekend to get in some snow sledding and cross country skiing. We are rather informal for our Day after Christmas family gathering.” She leans in conspiratorially to Christina. “Might we coax you and your father over for luncheon the day after Christmas on Friday? We have an informal buffet lunch and make our own turkey and ham sandwiches. Then we take our plates and sit on couches around the fireplace with our shoes off, keeping our sock covered feet warm by the fire while we play board and card games and such.” Elise grins gleefully. Family time is so relaxing and fun at the Thorne Mansion–not stuffy at all. “Then your father and I can chat and drink our hot mulled ciders while the children–you and Richard included–go off for your winter sports outside later with the snowmobiles, skis, and sleds.” Elise rolls her hand–clearly indicating that none of those activities interest her–for fear of her falling off and breaking a hip.
Christina: “Your kind offer is so tempting. We haven’t been a part of a large family and friends gathering for some time.” Christina admits wistfully. “Might I confer with my father and then let you know when I deliver Elisa’s ring to you later this afternoon?”
Elise: “Of course! And please give your father my very best regards when you speak to him, Christina Dear.”
Christina: “I will. Now let me warm up your teas, before I finalize your purchases for you both.” And Christina does that.
Fifteen minutes later–while proudly wearing her pretty new cameo pendant necklace– a smiling ten year old Elisa Burke walks hand in hand with her mother and grandmother out of Barnette Chicago to their waiting limo that will take them to their ladies lunch outing at Macy’s Walnut Room [(5) right].
And Elise Thorne smiles at her daughter Edith knowingly–about possibly setting in motion the chance meeting again of Richard Thorne and Christina Gilcrist over the Christmas holidays.
Richard Thorne had been detained at the corporate offices of Thorne Medical Inc. (TMI) the afternoon of Wednesday, December 24th by a cat–well actually, a cat scan machine that TMI is supplying to Chicago Children’s Hospital (CCH) this afternoon as a stop gap measure while the hospital’s own machine, bought from another supplier, was being repaired after it had stopped working unexpectedly. Richard is on the CCH Board because the Thorne Family Foundation has been a deep pocket contributor to Chicago Children’s Hospital ever since Richard’s sister Edith was a child and in need of their services for her arthritis treatments. And since it would be a conflict of interest for TMI to sell their medical equipment to CCH, they instead donate some medical equipment and supplies free of charge to the institution every year. So Richard Thorne is a very well liked and respected member of the CCH board.
Sweeping into his mother’s penthouse apartment in Chicago at 4:00pm, Richard is preoccupied with doffing his warm overcoat, gloves, and setting down his briefcase with his lap top in it. So he does not notice that his mother Elise has a guest–Christina Gilcrist. Elise first walks over to her son and greets him.
Elise: “Richard! Finally! I was beginning to think that you abandoned escorting me to Christmas Eve services tonight.
Richard: “No Mother, we just had the logistics of moving a cat scan machine from the warehouse to CCH–since their cat scan machine broke down.” Then Richard looks up and freezes when he sees Christina Gilcrist standing before him.
Christina: Christina smiles wincingly at Richard, a tad embarrassed to be running into him again–at his mother’s home. She amusingly wonders if he’ll think that she is stalking him.“Hello again, Mr. Thorne.” Christina nods to Richard cordially.
Elise: “Richard, you remember Christina Gilcrist.” Richard nods once, but he does not say anything–him wondering what his mother is playing at. He distinctly remembers asking her not to play matchmaker. “She was just dropping off the resized cameo ring that I bought for Elisa for Christmas. Edie bought her the matching pendant necklace today.” She clarifies.
Christina: “Yes. I hope that Elisa enjoys the set. She made a charming selection.” Christina nods to Elise. “But I must not hold you up for your evening. So I’ll say good night. Merry Christmas!” Christina smiles and begins to walk toward the front hall.
Elise: “Wait!” Elise calls after Christina.
Christina halts in her tracks, closes her eyes in mortification, then she turns around to face Elise Thorne–and her son Richard Thorne.
Christina: “Yes Mrs. Thorne?” I smile at her sheepishly. I feel that Richard’s fierce laser like gaze is boring a hole into my forehead.
Elise: “Oh call me Elise, Christina Dear, we are practically family.” Elise says oozing cordiality.
Richard: “Mother!” Richard thunders, looking at his mother with a horrified expression upon his face. Him thinking that his mother is implying a relationship between himself and Christina be initiated–or her presuming that one exists already.
Elise: “What?” Elise feigns innocence. “I went to school with Christina’s mother, Meg. And her father Prof. Percy Gilcrist and I were also acquainted through several university boards I served on before he retired.”
Richard: “Oh.” He back peddles. “Of course.” Then Richard remembers his manners. “Merry Christmas, Miss Gilcrist.”
Christina: “Merry Christmas, Mr. Thorne.” I nod once at him.
Elise Thorne looks observantly at her son Richard and then at Christina Gilcrist. There is potential there, she thinks.
Elise: “Christina? Have you conferred with your father Prof. Gilcrist? Will you and your father be able to accept our invitation for you to join us for luncheon and games the day after Christmas on Friday?”
Christina: “You are very kind. Are you certain that we won’t be imposing upon you?” Christina wants to give them every opportunity to gracefully retract their invitation, should they wish to do so.
Elise: “Nonsense! You will be very welcome. Isn’t that right, Richard?” Elise turns to her son who has been staring non stop at Christina. She nudges his shoulder. “Richard? I said isn’t that nice?”
Richard: Jolted out of his stupor, he asks his mother obtusely.”What’s nice?”
Elise: “That Christina and her father will join us on Friday for luncheon and an afternoon of fun.”
Richard: “Oh,yes. Of Course.” He replies in a stilted fashion. And he is unintentionally scowling at Christina. When it is his mother Elise whom he really wants to scowl at.
Christina: “Well! I should go and not keep you! And I have to catch the last train since they’re closing the metra rail lines early today due to the holiday.
Elise: “Oh dear. You wouldn’t want to get stuck in town away from your father, Christina Dear.”
Richard: “No, I’m sure she wouldn’t. Let me walk you out, Miss Gilcrist.”
Christina: “Well I …” Richard forcefully takes her elbow and ushers her out the door. “Thank you, Elise.” Christina calls out over her shoulder.
Elise: “Bye, Christina. See you Friday with your father.”
Richard waits until he and Christina are out of his mother’s penthouse apartment and in the private elevator before he expresses himself. First, he stops the elevator with the emergency button. Christina looks at him warily.
Christina: “My intentions? I’m sure that I don’t know what you mean.” Christina straightens up as she stares at Richard Thorne incredulously, with her lips pursed in annoyance [(6) right].
Richard: “Then let me spell it out for you.” Richard says through gritted teeth. “I don’t like my mother’s good nature taken advantage of.”
Christina: Christina’s mouth drops open in shock. “Taken advantage? How so?”
Richard: “I purchase some very expensive jewelry from you, yesterday. Incidentally there is a slight social connection between us with your cousin Susan. Then my mother is buying more baubles from you and inviting you and your father to our after Christmas Day family gathering? I don’t think so. What did you say or do to my mother to get her to invite you?”
Christina is floored, appalled, and incensed at Richard Thorne’s implied accusation that she is somehow preying upon his mother Elise Thorne in order to get close to him.
Christina: “Unbelievable!” Christina explodes, giving him both barrels. “Who the hell are you, Mr. high and mighty Richard Thorne, to presume anything about me? You came to our store yesterday. Then your mother and sister and niece came to our store today. Are we not supposed to assist you with your purchases?”
Richard: “Well what about my mother and sister buying both a ring and a necklace for my niece? That seems excessive. Elisa is only ten years old–not yet a debutante. Is that what Barnette Chicago does? Have its Sales Associates lure in unsuspecting customers to make more purchases than they might normally would have made?” He asks in consternation–feeling caught off guard with the vehemence of her defense.
Christina: “What are you, the jewelry police now? Your mother and sister wanted something suitable for your niece as a young girl, that she can grow into as she gets older. Wait a minute! Why am I explaining this to you? Go ask your mother and sister and leave me out of this! In fact, let me out of here or I’ll press kidnapping charges against you!” I jab at the elevator start button, trying to get it going again. The elevator jolts, then stops again. I pound on the closed elevator doors. “I want out! Let me out!” I yell as I start to panic. I don’t like enclosed places and elevators are enclosed places.
Richard: “Hey! Calm down.” I can see her becoming pale as her breathing quickens. God! I hope she doesn’t hyperventilate.
Christina: “Calm down? Calm down? You question my integrity? You insult my personal ethics? You threaten my livelihood. And now you block me in an elevator that could plummet to the ground? You you …. Oh I’m too much of a lady to say it.”
Richard: “You could have fooled me!” I say unwisely.
SLAP! Christina’s palm connects with Richard’s left cheek so suddenly–and with such unexpected force–that his head jerks to one side and he inadvertently bites his lip and it starts oozing copious amounts of blood. Uncontrite, Christina nods her head curtly–round 1 to her, she thinks.
Richard: “You hit me?” I look at her incredulously.
Christina: “Serves you right! You’re the most ill mannered man, I have ever met.” I push a few more elevator buttons including the emergency call button.
Then the elevator starts moving downward again. Christina fumes as she glares at Richard attempting to stem the blood gushing out of his lip. He is making rather a bad go of it–getting blood everywhere, all over his suit. She rummages in her purse and pulls out an unopened pocket tissue package and hands it to him. Richard takes it and dabs at his lip–his hands are covered in blood.
Richard: “Thank you.” I say feebly before I wad some tissues in the corner of my mouth by my cut lip–almost like a gag, and it prevents me from saying anything else. Then I use some of the other tissues to try to clean my hands.
Finally, the elevator door opens and Christina strides out of it. Then she whirls around to face Richard Thorne again.
Christina: “Please thank your mother for her kind invitation, but my father and I will be unable to accept.”
Richard: The elevator door starts to shut and I block it– propping it open with my free elbow. Then I remove the tissues from my mouth and ask her snidely. “And what will I tell my mother is the reason for your change of heart?”
Christina: “If she or my father think that they can get you and I together as a couple, they are monumentally mistaken! If you were the last man on Earth and the human species would die out and become extinct, I would not so much as go anywhere near you and breath the same air, let alone not kiss you or exchange other bodily fluids! Go back to slumming among the amoral debutantes who want you only for your money and your social position–and they will sell themselves to get it! You deserve each other!” The people in the lobby are gawking at me, at us, but I don’t care.
The elevator doors close and Christina Gilcrist turns on her sensibly low heels and walks purposefully out of Elise Thorne’s highrise apartment building. Christina stood up for herself and she feels great! All of her endorphins that might have caused her to hyperventilate make her feel elated and empowered! That Richard Thorne will think twice before he crosses me again, reasons Christina in smug satisfaction as she treats herself to a taxi ride to the metra train station to take her home for Christmas Eve.
Meanwhile, Richard Thorne stands inside the elevator in a daze. What just happened? He hadn’t intended to let things get so out of hand. He has never seen a woman become so upset as Christina was. A man, yes. A woman, no. Out of habit, Richard pushes the button for his mother’s penthouse suite. He is to collect her to take her to Christmas Eve Services, he thinks as he continues to dab at his bleeding lip. His cheek has also begun to throb and swell. This is not turning out to be a very good Christmas Eve at all.
When Richard exits the elevator to his mother’s penthouse foyer, her butler opens the door for him.
Butler: “Sir! You’re bleeding! Shall I call for a doctor?”
Richard shakes his head numbly and enters his mother’s penthouse. Elise Thorne turns around to face her son with a smile on her face for him being gone so long escorting Christina–her thinking that surely there must have been some mistletoe action since the lobby is full of it. Then she sees her son, bleeding, bruising, swelling, and looking like he wants to throw up and she freezes.
Elise: “What happened? What did you do?” She asks accusingly.
Richard: “What did I do?” He asks her in astonishment. Then he sees his face in the reflection of the hall mirror. “Crap! I’m going to need stitches for this lip.”
Elise: “You’ll need more than stitches if you don’t tell me this instant what happened, Richard Thorne. I can see Christina’s palm print quite clearly on your bruising and swelling cheek.”
From his earliest childhood memories, Richard could always tell when his mother was truly angry with him–because she would call him by his first and his last name. That must be a parent code thing, he thinks. Because all of his friends said the same thing about their parents.
Richard: I hang my head and look up at my mother in shame [(7) right]. “I might have … said something … that I shouldn’t have.” I dissemble. My mother stares me down. The clock ticks. And I’m still bleeding. “Mother, can we talk about it in the limo on the way to the emergency room? I think I really do need a stitch or two in my lip.” I pull out another fresh tissue–from the package that Christina had kindly given me–and dab at the blood flow.
Elise: “Fine!” I grab my fake fur coat–because I’m a PETA donor [(8)]. Then I think better of getting my son’s blood on it and switch to my regular cloth winter coat that is dry cleanable. We won’t make it to church tonight anyway. “Hhhh! Let’s go!”
On the drive to the emergency room, my son Richard–the child I carried for nine long months and was in labor 12 hours for–informs me of his boorish behavior with Christina Gilcrist. Though he didn’t label it boorish. If he weren’t already bruised and bloodied, I might be tempted to slap him myself. Except, that we never disciplined our children that way. We always sat them in a corner to think about what they had done or said. And that is what I did when Richard and I return home to my penthouse after he was stitched up–since he is planning to spend the night in my guest room.
I moved a dining chair to an uninteresting corner of the living room and told him to sit in it for 30 minutes to think about his behavior tonight. Surprisingly, my 43 year old adult son Richard did not object, and he slumped down in the chair. However, I did relent a bit and give him a fresh ice pak mid way through his punishment. Later, I told Richard to go to bed in the guest room and we would discuss the situation in the morning–after also telling him that Santa would not be giving him his Christmas present this year, because bad little boys only get lumps of coal.
That night I get little sleep, worrying about my son Richard and also about Christina Gilcrist. But one thought nags at me–something Christina said to Richard about if he were the last man on Earth, etc. And somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I wonder if there might be a faint glimmer of hope for the two of them after all. And at this point–rock bottom–the only place to go for Richard and Christina as a couple, is up.
To be continued with Chapter 5
“A Magnificent Love”, Ch. 4 References for Wattpad, December 26, 2014, Gratiana Lovelace (Post #678)
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 UK
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) Elise Thorne image (bkgrndmanip) is Sigourney Weaver found at http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/33500000/Jeff-Vespa-Portraits-sigourney-weaver-33504334-3000-4484.jpg
3) For a link to donate to Childline, one of British actor Richard Armitage’s sponsored charities, visit https://www.justgiving.com/Richard-Armitage/
4) Cameo carvings on jewelry date back to the Romans, but were popularized in modern times by Queen Victoria in the 19th century; for more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameo_%28carving%29 ; and a cameo image was found at http://image0-rubylane.s3.amazonaws.com/shops/877313/RL-309.1L.jpg?41
5) The image of the Walnut Room in Macy’s Chicago on State Street image was found at
http://www.visitmacysusa.com/sites/default/master/files/styles/history-highlight/public/Walnut-room-new.jpg?itok=yH5LYReI; its menu may be found at http://macysrestaurants.com/walnut-room-2/walnut-room-menu/
6) Christina Gilcrist image (backgrnd masked) is that of British Actress Haley Atwell attending “The Umbrella of Cherbourg” event found at http://media.monstersandcritics.com/people/Hayley_Atwell/images/group6/LMK-027798.jpg
7) Richard Thorne bloodied image (masked) bkgrnd is Richard Armitage as John Porter in 2010’s StrikeBack1, ep2hd_pix015 Dec2614ranet found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode2HD/ep2hd_015.jpg
8) For information about PETA(People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_for_the_Ethical_Treatment_of_Animals