The newly wed Mr and Mrs Ashbrook, arranged for an extravagant garden party days following their wedding. An occasion for which, Mrs Rebecca Ashbrook proudly displayed her organizing abilities as the gardens of her husband's estate were lavishly decorated, which round tables lining around the gazebo, and every kind of gorgeous wildflower spread throughout the green of the grass like a duvet in the afternoon morning shine. After the hectically exhausting events leading up to the wedding, Rebecca desired for a private family gathering, to celebrate her marriage without the addition of snakes as she preferred to refer to it as; something her mother, Lady Margaret Seymour declared entirely vulgar.
"See, mama? I am perfectly capable of handling the arrangements for an event," Rebecca announced proudly, her arm linked around her husband's as they led her family into the gardens and as she responded to Lady Charlotte Allan's praises over how beautiful the set up looked.
"For a garden party perhaps," Her mama replied promptly, and Rebecca shook her head in disbelief as Austin Ashbrook stifled a chuckle at her side.
"Rebecca really does have a great eye for splendor," The husband started the obligated defense as his wife shot him a pointed glance, "I have indeed never seen a garden party look this welcoming."
"Then you haven't been out much, Mr Ashbrook," Lady Seymour let out, a teasing glint in her eye as Lady Allan laughed.
"Oh, come, Margaret," Lady Beaumont dismissed with a playful scoff, "Stop with your teasing, this is as welcoming as a garden party can be," the lady completed as she touched her married niece's shoulder in assurance, gripping her parasol in her other hand.
"To think, my daughter in law did all of this on her own accord," Mrs Ashbrook mused, clapping her hands together as they neared the arrangements, "My, I dare say, I wouldn't have been able to handle it better myself." After a brief walk, the party arrived at the garden party location, and parasols closed as ladies took seats around a table, and the gentlemen followed.
"Mama, may I go join Diana?" a soft voice probed, and everyone turned to look at a little Frances Allan, with her height barely more than the table's, as she stood at her mother's knee with hopeful eyes.
Lady Charlotte Allan glanced towards where her daughter had pointed, and in the distance she saw the figures of her niece, Lady Diana Beaumont and her intended, Lord Edward Buxton, as they walked alongside discussing something that was clearly making her laugh. Lady Allan smiled at the sight, and shifting her eyes to the east, she saw her other niece, Lady Alicia Kirkpatrick with her own intended, Lord Isaac Algernon. This time however, Alicia was the one saying something and making Lord Algernon laugh.
"No, my darling," Lady Allan spoke as she touched her daughters hair softly, "Diana is occupied, you may join her when she joins the party."
"Isn't it simply delightful?" Lady Kirkpatrick gushed, pressing her hand to her heart from where she sat by the table, her eyes fixed on her daughter and future son in law, and her niece and Lord Buxton, "To have so many weddings to look forward to?"
"It makes my head spin," Henrietta Beaumont spoofed, as Miles Kirkpatrick laughed at her jest and both Lady Beaumont and Lady Kirkpatrick narrowed their eyes at their children.
"Delightful," Oscar Seymour repeated as he sighed in amusement, raising a brow and distracting himself by fixing his cravat and coat with his hands. The whole ordeal had been disappointing and had brought his expectations down greatly. It had taken him a while to get used to his cousins' engagements, and after he had become used it, he had come to the conclusion that both of them really did not pertain good taste in gentlemen. Which, made him feel much better about the fact that they had referred to him as stubborn and immature to..
His face turned to spot Jessie Churchill, who sat just a chair away from him on the same table. His eyes met her instantly, and he suddenly became unnerved that she had been watching him prior for goodness knows how long. She sported a sheepish smile at him, flashing all her teeth and Oscar instantly looked away, his eyes widening in shock were anyone to spot her doing that. It was ridiculous how he managed to find himself in the oddest of situations. Jessie Churchill was not meant to attend this particular family garden party, for she was neither family nor had she any inclination of garden parties. Oscar recalled the situation once more, in an attempt to figure out his mistake. Rebecca had mistakenly sent an unaddressed invitation along with the invitations meant for her family, so Oscar had placed the invitation in his pocket that Sunday at church with a mind to return it to his sister when he stopped by the Ashbrook estate. But he had gone and dropped it in the pews, only to be told of it when the rector came by with his daughter the following morning, thanking the family for the invitation for Jessie.
In that moment, when his mother, brother and sister had turned to look at him in shock and disbelief, Oscar had retired to the gentlemen's club entirely, wondering just how utterly stupid he can become when not kept in self composure.
"I am so glad everything worked out," Mrs Fleming beamed, looking fondly over at her nieces, "I couldn't ever have imagined this."
"Certainly a delight," Arthur Fleming nodded, lacing his fingers with his wife's on the table, as his eyes shifted towards his own children playing in the grass and the flowers with his younger sister's daughters.
"I missed them," Lady Diana Beaumont revealed, her eyes fondly observing her family over at the tables, "Not a day went by in Portsmouth where I didn't long to return."
"I can imagine," Lord Edward Buxton responded, taking hold of her hand, "I know that it will be hard for you to leave, so I am willing to wait."
Diana looked at him, Berkshire Abbey, she recalled the name of his estate. She longed to see it. It was an interesting thought, a place where he had grown up and his family had lived in for generations. But it was an equally terrifying thought to leave everything behind, everything she was used to, to go live someplace she wasn't. When she had gone to Portsmouth to care for her Aunt and cousins, it had been with the firm intention to come back, no matter long how the stay was. But this time, if she went there would be no coming back, it would be forever.
"Did you write to your mother?" She asked, not responding to his previous statement, despite how much it touched her. He would wait for her, but no matter her feelings, she would not make him wait.
"I did," He smiled, "I am heading to Berkshire tomorrow, to see her and father."
Diana looked at him confused, "You're leaving? so soon?"
He laughed, taking both of her hands in his and bringing them to his lips, "I am not leaving. I will be back soon. I kept mother and father entirely in the dark about you, because of everything that was going on. They are bursting with questions and are dying to meet you. I'm thinking of returning with them, so they can meet you and and your family."
"No, they will go through the journey just to meet us? I'm sure I can come-," Diana started.
"No," Edward interrupted her with a determined smile, "You will stay here, until we marry and I take you to Berkshire. Besides, mother and father love travelling. They claim it gives them a rush of excitement."
Diana nodded, smiling in return, before she looked into his eyes and added, "You know, I will not make you wait. Unless you promise me we will come to Southampton frequently after we marry."
His eyes brightened, and he let out a breath, "I promise, we will be here whenever you say so."
"If Turnbury Park is gloomy and dark, then I shall return to Southampton the next moment," Lady Alicia Kirkpatrick declared with determination, making Lord Isaac Algernon laugh as he shook his head, his gaze on the ground.
"I shan't think any place remains gloomy once you step in," He responded, making her blush as she looked away in an attempt to disguise it.
"All this," Alicia began as she looked towards her family at the tables by the gazebo, "Will be hard to leave behind."
"I know, and it seems cruel of me to ask that of you," Isaac nodded, his smile fading slightly, before he turned to look at her, "But I want to make you a part of my life forever. I can't wait for you to meet my sisters, they will adore you."
"I want to be part of it, but I-," She paused, not knowing how to continue.
"I will always bring you back here, whenever you want me to," Isaac spoke with determination, making her frown fondly before she embraced him in happiness.
"Edward and I are heading back tomorrow, he has to see his parents and I'll head over to Turnbury," He expressed as they parted from the embrace.
"Can you bring your sisters back with you for a visit? I shall love to meet them," Alicia asked, and Isaac's face immediately lit up, "Yes, that would be amazing," he breathed in surprise.
"Girls! my lords! The refreshments are commencing," a sudden a call interrupted them as they turned to where it came from to find everyone at the tables by the gazebo looking up at them as Lady Margaret Seymour motioned for Alicia, Isaac, Diana and Edward to join the party. Isaac smiled, "Just in time. I could almost feel my stomach growl." Alicia laughed as she took the arm he offered before both of them were joined by Diana and Edward, and they all made their way towards their family.
YOU ARE READING
Rules and RosesHistorical Fiction
(Completed) It is the year 1810, Lady Diana Beaumont and her cousin Lady Alicia Kirkpatrick's idyllic lives in Southampton, full of luxury and social graces, suddenly turn upside down when they gain the acquaintance of two mysterious businessmen fr...