(An original Contemporary Romance fan fic story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022;
All rights reserved) [(1) story cover top left]
[Illustrations: I cast my stories as I write them. So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors and such, including the original cast of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021): Cary Elwes as Myles the 12th Scottish Duke of Dunbar and Castle Dun Dunbar, Brooke Shields as the American Sophie McGuinty, Vanessa Grasse as her daughter Lexi Brown, Dalmeny House as Castle Dun Dunbar, Lee Ross as Thomas the Castle Dun Dunbar caretaker, Andi Osho as Maisie the Dunbar Village Innkeeper, Eilidh Loan as Rhona Fitzwalter the young pastry chef par excellence in Dunbar Village, Tina Gray as Helen Fitzwalter the elderly Dunbar Village knitters group leader, Kevin McKidd as Dr. Ewan Roxburgh, and others as noted.]
[Author’s Note: This original Contemporary Romance fanfic is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author. And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect. This is my disclaimer. And I came up with this story idea hoping for the creators of “A Castle for Christmas” (2021)—loved it–to give us a sequel! So if they see my fanfic story here, I hope that they consider this a suggestion for a possible continuing story for Duke Myles and Sophie and the Dunbar Village folks.]
Ch. 07: A Christmas Eve Castle Dun Dunbar Wedding and Village Party
Whilst Dr. Ewan Roxburgh spends three long days away from his love Lexi Brown—December 14 – 16–while he serves as a guest physician in residence at the Cambridge Medical Center, Lexi distracts herself from missing him by helping her Mom with bride wedding preparations. As of December 13th, they have only 11 days until the December 24th Christmas Eve wedding and village party at Castle Dun Dunbar. So time is of the essence.
Making time to look for Sophie’s wedding gown is the main concern, as they are still staying in Edinburgh while Helen is still recovering from her heart attack and subsequent surgery. The concierge at the Edinburgh Arms Hotel where Sophie and Duke Myles are staying recommend to them the premiere bridal shop in this large city of Edinburgh called the “Classic Bridal Boutique”. As long as Sophie doesn’t have to wear too much in the way of plaid/tartan sashes and such, she’ll be happy.
So once they enter the bridal shop, Lexi asks to see their evening gown section, since Sophie as a mature bride doesn’t want to look like a poofy marshmellow in a traditional poofy ballroom silhouette wedding gown.
Lexi: “Oh Mom! These evening gowns are lovely!” She gushes sincerely at the selection of ivory, white, and some boldly colored gowns with fine pearl and beading details.
Sophie: “They are.” She agrees, but she notices that the gowns on display might not reach floor length on her tall frame. And she wrinkles up her nose.
Bridal Shop Clerk: “Madam, we have severrral gowns that can be alterrred to accommodate yourrr lovely height. And it should only take thrrree months to have a custom fitted gown.” She smiles proudly. Then she notices the worried looks on her customer’s faces.
Sophie; “My wedding is in 11 days, on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Do you have any gowns on hand that might work—with perhaps a bit of lace added to the hem to give the dress more length—or even a tea length gown?”
Bridal Shop Clerk: Ever not wanting to miss a sale, and also wanting to make her mature bride happy, she makes a suggestion. “Actually, we have a custom made trrraditionally brrridal evening gown with a modern twist in a tea length hem made last yearrr for a brrride who decided to elope and do a beach wedding in a warrrm climate, so she chose a differrrent gown forrr herrr new wedding venue.”
Lexi: “Traditional? It’s not too old fashioned a wedding gown is it?” Lexi asks worriedly.
Sophie: “Ever my fashionista.” She smiles at her daughter Lexi.
Bridal Shop Clerk: “Not at all. Let’s have you trrry it on Madam, and you can see forrr yourrrselves.”
Sophie does try on the ivory satin gown and loves the ivory gown’s subtle fabric draping on the bodice and its flouncy skirting. But in the end, Sophie follows her wish not to appear traditionally bridal. And the allure of the vibrantly hued evening gowns wins out. So her wedding gown choice is complete. Lexi pronounces her mother perfection in it.
Their bridal gown mission is fulfilled. And Lexi also finds a lovely daughter of the bride evening gown for herself to wear to the wedding.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ewan Roxburgh is plowing through his two day on call rotation on Dec. 14th & 15th [at the Cambridge Medical Center in England] with professionalism and attention to detail. He sees young Andy again upon his discharge from the hospital after his appendectomy—after Dr. Ewan having had a spirited game of tabletop checkers with him, and then gifting Andy with the checkers magnetic travel set.
Dr. Ewan also has two surgeries each day as well as doing rounds in the Cambridge Medical Center’s (CMC) orthopedic wards. All the while, he does not realize that he is being watched quite closely. So when the esteemed and distinguished looking Physician Director of the CMC invites him for a coffee, Dr. Ewan wonders what’s up.
Dr. Holcomb: “Dr. [Roxburgh], we have been very pleased with your nearly three month guest physician placement with us.”
Dr. EwanR: “Thank ye! I have enjoyed it as well. I commend you on yourrr fine medical facilities and staff. This is cerrrtainly the type of cutting edge and personalized medicine that I also give to my patients.”
Dr. Holcomb: “Good, good. We are hoping that you also have enjoyed your experience with us. And we would like to extend your stay—even to making it permanent. Hmm? Here is a formal offer letter for you to become an attending physician with us, with a detailed physician compensation package. Though we do have some flexibility on that compensation package should you wish to revisit some of the particulars. And our family health insurance and pension benefits are unparalleled.”
Dr. EwanR: “I’m very flatterrred. And I would love worrrking herrre! But I have to considerrr my long terrrm plans, which involve anotherrr perrrson.” He smiles, thinking of Lexi. “It’s a big decision. And tomorrra, I must returrrn to Scotland forrr a family wedding next weekend. I will be therrre for the next two weeks, actually. May I let you know my decision afterrr the new yearrr?” For Dr. Ewan is technically done with his current guest physician stint after today’s rotation.
Dr. Holcomb: “Of course. Have a lovely family wedding.” He smiles as the young Dr. Ewan Roxburgh leaves his office, hoping to keep him on their medical staff.
For ease of being near at hand as Duke Myles and Sophie’s wedding day approaches, Lexi and Ewan graciously accept her Mom and the Duke’s invitation to stay at Castle Dun Dunbar leading up to and after the wedding. This is Dr. Ewan Roxburgh’s first visit to his ancestral home, and its size and grandeur quite takes his breath away. The permanence and artistry of the Castle’s exterior stone work alone make her a very grand lady of an ancestral home.
Though the Castle is still a family home—ever more so with his soon to be stepmother Sophie in residence. Sophie as a domestic goddess and a Duchess in waiting are just two of her many talents. The following morning after Lexi and Ewan spend their first night under Castle Dun Dunbar’s roof in the same bed chamber—scandalous!–Ewan and Lexi, and Duke Myles and Sophie are awakened by Thomas’ attempts at Scottish bag pipes playing. Thomas’ bag piping is mostly for the tourists on guest days at the Castle, but Sophie thought that Ewan might like this little tradition just for him today.
And having stayed at the Castle many times over the past year, Lexi feels right at home. So she gently coaxes Ewan to pad down stairs in their new pajamas and robes to eat breakfast informally in the family sitting room with the fireplace blazing courtesy of Sophie as the cook and Duke Myles as the fire place fire builder.
Lexi: “Mom! Breakfast smells heavenly! Did you make the cinnamon rolls that I like?” She grins impishly.
Sophie: “Of course! And Ewan, I hope that you’ll find something among the breakfast selections to tempt you. Or let me know what you prefer and I can whip it up—such as French toast. Just grab a plate and fill it up!” Sophie smiles warmly at her fiancé Duke Myles’ son, and her daughter Lexi’s romantic partner.
Dr. EwanR: “Thank ye, Sophie! It all looks delicious—especially the sausages.” He nearly smacks his lips as he used to do as a boy. It has been many years that he has been on his own, without even his late Mum’s coddling. So he welcomes Sophie’s coddling now.
Duke Myles: “And if ye like, this afterrrnoon, we can go into Dunbar Village to pick up supplies and such, while the ladies do whatever they do.” Duke Myles offers mirthfully.
Dr. EwanR: “Aye! That will be good.” Ewan nods with a cordial smile for his father.
So far, Ewan has seen his father in a few limited situations, as a medevac helicopter pilot, as a friend waiting to hear how Helen is doing, and now as the Duke, his father as they set out for Dunbar Village in his father’s jeep. And this will be the first extended time that he will spend in his father’s company, as they get to know each other.
Duke Myles: “Ewan, let’s pop over to the General Store in the Village. I have a list from Sophie of items to pick up to add to our food stores now that our castle numbers have doubled with you and Lexi staying with us for the next two weeks. And I also have a thing or two that I wish to buy.”
Dr. EwanR: “Certainly.” He nods.
So they drive up and park at the General Store and Duke Myles hands his list of items to one of the store clerks to fetch for him. Then he strikes up a conversation with the proprietor, James McLaren.
Duke Myles: “Ach! Jaime! Let me intrrroduce ye to me son, Dr. Ewan Rrroxburrrgh. Ewan, this is James McLarrren, prrroprrrietorrr.”
JamesM: “Ach! Young Ewan, ye arrre the spitting image of yourrr Da when he was young. Except for yourrr rrreddish hairrr, of courrrse. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Dr. EwanR: “Aye! It’s nice to meet you. And yes, about my hairrr. My late Mum had rrred hairrr. So I take afterrr herrr in that rrregarrrd.” Ewan smiles, but it is still hard for him to think that his Mum is no longer among the living. Even though his metier as a physician is life and death, as a doctor he tends to be more hopeful about his patients’ diagnoses.
JamesM: “Aye. I can see that. Your Mum Isabel and I werrre in school togetherrr grrrowing up. She was a lovely lady, and full of fun. Duke Myles stole herrr away frrrom severrral of us when they marrried. And my sympathies to you on herrr passing.”
Dr. EwanR: “Thank you.” He nods solemnly.
Duke Myles: “Jamie, can you put my grrrocerrries on my tab and have one of yourrr lads put the items in the back of my jeep when they’rrre rrready. Although, the two biggerrr items you can just have them lashed to the rrroof of my jeep. Ewan and I arrre going to pop overrr to the Village Inn. It looks like therrre is a crrrowd therrre today.” He furrows his brow in curiosity. Theirs is a small village of only about 150 souls. So anyone new coming to town is interesting.
JamesM: “Aye!” Jamie smiles and waves at them in farewell.
So Duke Myles and his son Dr. Ewan Roxburgh walk over and down the snow laden street to the Village Inn. Their snow boots crunch in the snow as they make haste in the cold weather. They walk into the Inn and instantly notice a long line of individuals waiting patiently, for what they do not know.
Maisie: “Looking up, Maisie sees the Duke and his son. “Ach Myles! Ewan! Saints preserve us! Today is Clinic day (which occurs every two weeks), but the young doctorrr in trrraining that the Edinburrrgh Medical Centerrr sent us this time is verrra young and he seems to be strrruggling a bit with all the county’s citizens that have turrrned up today. Would ye be willing to give him some guidance Drrr. Ewan?” She pleads. “We have the clinic examining rooms set up on opposite ends of our prrrivate banquet room.” And she gestures to a nearby room.
Dr. EwanR: “Of course. Happy to. Though I don’t know what otherrr plans Myles might have forrr us this afterrrnoon.” Ewan is still hesitant to call his father Da at times.
Duke Myles: “By all means. Tend to yourrr patients. I’ll just wait at the barrr and call Sophie and Lexie with the reason for our delay.” Though Duke Myles knows that they’re not actually his son’s patients, but they could be.
So Ewan meets the very young Dr. Brian McGregor and offers his aid. It seems that there are usually two doctors sent for Clinic days at Dunbar Village, but only one came today. So the young doctor is more overwhelmed with the patient load, rather than him not being able to diagnose [their ailments]. So Dr. Ewan suggests that they triage the patients into three groups—those needing immediate attention, those uncertain how to treat their ailment, and those coming in more to have a caring person to talk to, that they get with Maisie’s cheerful smile and kind eyes. This plan works exceedingly well and helps them clear up the back log in 2 hrs–with each doctor working on patients in one half of the banquet room, with a privacy screen in between the two areas. And the very kind and friendly Innkeeper Maisie invites the third group just wanting some socialization to join her for some tea and scones in the Inn’s sitting room area adjacent to the Inn’s bar.
With all of the Castle Dun Dunbar afternoon wedding and evening village party prep needed for these two Christmas Eve Day and Evening festivities, the time goes by very quickly. And early Christmas Eve afternoon finds the Groom Duke Myles fidgeting whilst getting dressed in his fine dress tuxedo jacket with a kilt below.
Duke Myles: “Grrrrr! I canna get my blasted bow tie tied rrright.” He looks for aid to his two supporters.
Ewan: “Do na look to me forrr aid, Da. Lexi tied my bow tie forrr me.” He sheepishly shrugs his shoulders. Tuxedos—let alone formal kilts—were not frequent attire for Dr. Ewan when he worked for Doctors Without Borders. And Ewan is glad that the formal Dunbar tartan kilt on him now had last been worn by a broad and tall Dunbar ancestor who was similar in build to Ewan. So Ewan is happy that his knees and other parts are well covered.
Duke Myles: “Well I can na do it!” He blurts out in frustration as he yanks the somewhat drooping black satin off of his neck.
Thomas: “And ye neverrr will if ye trrreat it that way. Come herrre, ya big baby. And I’ll trrry me own hand at it.”
Of course, Thomas’ own bow tie with his formal kilt attire looks impeccable—him having the good sense to order a pre-tied bow tie that clips on with fasteners at the back of his neck, under his starched collar. But Thomas still manages to do a credible bow tie for Duke Myles, a service he takes seriously as his Best Man—with Ewan serving as a Groomsman. And Maisie is Sophie’s Maid of Honor, with her daughter Lexi serving as an extra Bridesmaid.
So the three couples will line up quite nicely as they walk back down the aisle after the wedding service—Bride and Groom, the best friends of the Bridal Couple, and finally the [adult] children of said Bride and Groom who also happen to be dating. So if the planets had aligned, there might have been a trifecta of marriages this day. But one must not rush romance, despite the two younger-ish couples being quite besotted with each other, as much as, the Bridal Couple is with themselves.
The Bride Sophie also feels nervous—but more in an excitedly happy way. Sophie’s radiant smile as Maisie and Lexi put the finishing touches upon her long flowing locks cannot be contained—not the least of which are for the fine amethyst drop earrings in a gold setting she wears as a wedding gift from her love Myles. For Amethyst is her birthstone. And for her part, Sophie had gifted Myles with a new pair of gold cuff links that she had custom made with the image of Castle Dun Dunbar etched upon them.
And happily the Castle Dun Dunbar Chapel serving as their wedding venue is within the castle, such that no one need step out into the snowy and freezing weather this festive Christmas Eve—least of all the kilt wearing Groom and his attendants.
When all their Dunbar Village and Scotland and England friends who traveled to join in Duke Myles’ and Sophie’s wedding celebration are seated in the medieval chapel, the wedding ceremony commences. First, the mid thirties village priest Fr. Hugo walks from the front’s side sacristy to the middle front facing the wedding guests sitting in the pews. Then he beckons to the Groom Duke Myles [(2) right] and his attendants to join them, with a dignified Duke Myles leading the three men in from the side sacristy.
Then the organist begins to play Pachobel’s Canon in D as the Bride’s two attendants walk up the aisle toward the front—with both Thomas and Ewan smiling broadly at their ladies Maisie and Lexi. Up until now, Bride Sophie has stayed out of sight in the back nave foyer area—even as Duke Myles leans forward longing to see his Bride, since by wedding tradition they have spent the last two days apart from each other. Duke Myles had half worried that Sophie might bolt. Or was he worried that he might bolt? It is the second wedding for each of them, a leap of faith that their love will endure.
And then Bride Sophie walks to the back of the center aisle and looks up and lovingly [(3) right] smiles at her Groom Duke Myles standing handsomely at attention at the front of the church. The organist switches to Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke, and Bride Sophie begins to slowly and gracefully walk up the chapel’s center aisle toward her Groom Duke Myles. He is entranced with Sophie’s beautiful image in a purple velvet off the shoulder gown and her hair flowing in soft waves over her bare shoulders, with the amethyst earrings he gave her twinkling delicately upon her earlobes. She could have worn any number of Dunbar Duchesses tiara’s for her wedding, but Sophie preferred the understated but quite lovely earrings for their wedding finery.
When Sophie reaches Duke Myles and the priest, she smiles lovingly at her love Myles.
Duke Myles: “Ye look so beautiful, My Love.” His eyes are brimming with tears for this lovely lady who came into his life, and gave him a second chance at love.
Sophie: “And you look very handsome, Myles.”
The priest leans in to the Bridal Couple.
Fr. Hugo: “Shall we begin?” The Bride and Groom nod sweetly sheepishly. “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the marriage of this man Myles Roxburgh Dunbar to this woman Sophie [Rose] McGuinty. If anyone knows if there is any impediment to this marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace.”
The priest allows for a several seconds pause and looks about the wedding attendees sitting in the pews. No one objects. And the priest continues with the usual and blessedly short homily about marriage being a blessing through good times and bad—a married state the priest has yet to enter into himself, but he has married and counseled enough engaged couples over the ten years of his being a vicar for him to be well versed in the complexities of marriage.
Then there are a few bible verse readings, most notably 1st Corinthians chapter 13: verses 4 – 7.
Fr. Hugo: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” This admonition to cherish love is the most wonderful and heartfelt moment in any wedding service.
[Far. Hugo:]Then [Fr. Hugo] invites the Bridal Couple to face each other and hold hands. “Recite after me.” And they do.
Duke Myles and Sophie, saying their vows together: “I Myles/Sophie do take you Sophie/Myles to be my lawfully wedding wife/husband. To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. So help me God.”
And then there is a rings exchange, that goes slightly awry when after Duke Myles gallantly slides his Bride Sophie’s heirloom wedding ring onto her delicate finger, she has quite a bit of trouble getting Myles heirloom wedding ring over his last knuckle. But with much pushing and grunting—and a little bit of holy oil that the priest has on hand—Myles wedding ring is secured.
Duke Myles: “This ring will never leave my finger, until my breath stills.” Myles lovingly and tenderly promises to his Love Sophie.
Sophie: “Nor will my [wedding and engagement] rings leave my finger, until my breath stills.” She smiles at Myles, then whispers to him. “Or at least except when they are being cleaned and such.” She winks at him which causes him to joyously laugh.
Duke Myles: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” The wedding attendees titter with the Duke’s levity, their being glad for his and Sophie’s happiness.
Fr. Hugo: “I now pronounce you husband and wife. What God has joined together let no one put asunder.” [Fr. Hugo] in intones somberly. Then his eyes twinkle at the Bridal Couple. “You may now kiss your Duchess Bride, Your Grace.”
Duke Myles: “With pleasure! Sophie, My Love!” He tenderly pulls her into his arms and lovingly kisses her. She kisses him back with her arms circling his shoulders.
Naturally, their kiss at the end of their wedding service is sweet and tender. Their passionate loving expressions will come later, when they are alone. So they come up for air from their kisses, smile besottedly at each other, and turn to their wedding guests who applaud them most heartily. Then Duke Myles and his now Duchess Sophie walk back down the aisle to [the sound of] the bag pipers—also in kilts—exuberantly playing their rendition of Trumpet Voluntary.
And though Sophie and Myles might have wanted a respite between their wedding and the Castle Dun Dunbar Christmas Eve Dunbar Village party, their family, friends, and other well wishers and their wedding photographer commandeered all of their time. But Duke Myles having reunited with his son Ewan who is romancing Sophie’s daughter Lexi, is a blessing that feeds his soul [–as the now enhanced family wedding photographs illustrate]. So Duke Myles has much to be thankful for this day.
So Sophie and Myles will have to wait to privately celebrate their newly married state after the festive Castle Dun Dunbar Village and wedding guests Christmas Eve Party this night. And as with anything good thing like love, the benefits are multiplied—especially for Ewan and Lexi—not to mention Thomas and Maisie.
And now that Duke Myles and Duchess Sophie are happily ensconced in marriage to each other with their lives settled in Scotland at Castle Dun Dunbar, his son Ewan and her daughter Lexi must also consider their own long terms plans as a romantic couple.
To be continued with Chapter 08
References for Ch. 07 of “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, December 24, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1501)
- My “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2” story logo includes a cropped of Castle Dun Dunbar from “A Castle for Christmas” images of Castle Dun Dunbar filmed at Dalmeny House was found at https://hookedonhouses.net/2021/12/10/castle-for-christmas-movie-filming-location-scotland/
- Sophie on her wedding-day–isBrookeShields-long-locks-purple-gown-tate-_Dec23-2022viaFacebook-Grati-szd-blur-crp
Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Ch. 07 “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, December 24, 2022:
Previous SAL blog Post # 1500 link for “A Castle Wedding for Christmas 2”, Ch. 06, December 22, 2022: