|Summary:||Anais, Belle, Lucienne and a host of retainers get ready for the wedding of the century.|
|Related Logs:||The wedding one. Someone link it for me.|
|It's not desced on grid. LAZY!!!|
|Wed Jan 18, 289|
Hours before the wedding, Belle Becket stands on a dressmaker's pedestal in the sitting room of Lord Jacsen and Lady Anais' suite, surrounded and fussed over by a number of household retainers skilled with needle and thread. The dress she wears once belonged to the late Lady Elinor, but has since been rendered unrecognizable — in a rather charming way — by the massive alterations undertaken to make it fit the much-smaller blonde. Inches have come off the hem, the sleeves have come off entirely, and as for Belle — well, she stands, nervous as any bride, trying to be patient and not lose her mind while she's made to stand straight, hold out her arms, turn this way, now that way. Truth be told, she's on the verge of screaming and unceremoniously defenestrating herself. But that would sort of put a damper on the joyous occasion.
There comes a little knock on the door; one that's no doubt familiar to many of those retainers, but hasn't been heard about Four Eagles for some time now. "My lady Anais?" That voice, too… even before a head of dark curls presumes to open the door a slit and peer around it, Lucienne is easily recogniseable. "Oh! Forgive me, please, ah…" You there. The cook's daughter, the one Luci's dark eyes fix upon as they trail from the bride-to-be. "Is the Lady Anais within?"
When times are tough, it's time to torment someone else. And so Anais, who spent many hours on just such a pedestal, is here to supervise the alterations. Which mostly consists of the occasional 'that looks pretty' or 'can you do it more..different'? In the meantime, she pores over reports of damages and accounts and - worse still - supplies. It's a good thing she's writing with a quill. It discourages chewing. And if there's an air of quiet desperation about her, at least she seems to have it under control. "Luci!" she exclaims when the other woman arrives, a weary smile creasing her features. "Oh, I'm so glad you're back." And she promptly rushes forward to catch Lucienne in a hug that…Well, she's never been /quite/ so affectionate.
Everyone curtsies, including Belle — who yelps an instant after and stands quickly straight again. "How many times do I have to tell you, Mind the pins, Miss?" the cook's daughter sighs to Belle. Belle grimaces, blushing, and takes a steady breath, executing a too-shallow-but-very-careful curtsy, this time.
"Lady Lucienne," the bride says to the newly returned Terrick, smiling warmly. "I'm so glad you could make it. Hardwicke will be overjoyed."
"Oh!" Lucienne can't quite hide her surprise at being wrapped up in a hug, her eyes startling wide open. She returns the strange gesture smoothly, wrapping slim arms about her goodsister as her surprise gives way to rare, genuine smile. "Annie. It's good to be back." Can we let go now? Luci lets go now, that she might rake an interested look over the bride. "Mistress Beckett - for a few more hours, at any rate. You look absolutely radiant, I'm so pleased to be part of your celebration."
Anais might not let go. Just for a moment. It's been a rough few days. But she does, because there's nothing to be gained from being /strange/, after all. Smoothing her hands over her skirts, she flushes faintly, smile apologetic. "And you're just in time," she sighs, grateful, as she looks to Belle. "It's looking very nice," she adds for the bride-to-be. "Though I think it might be time to be done with the pins and working on the sewing?" she asks of the seamstress. "It's almost time for the wedding."
"Just a few last tucks, milady," assures an older woman with a mouth full of pins. "An' we'll be all done."
"Thank you, my lady," says Belle, her smile turning nervous. Her hands might even be shaking. She clasps them before her, then sighs as she's scolded by one of the dress-making entourage, holding her arms out to her sides again. "I wasn't a nervous bride at all, the first time around. I don't know quite what's the matter with me. I can't decide if the dress is too much, too little, too strange — but I so value your good opinion. Thank you again. Between your assurance and Lady Anais, I'm much more at ease." Babbling. Yeah, that's babbling, right there. Belle bites the inside of her cheek and takes another breath — only to be once-more scolded for over-inflating herself.
"Maybe another tiny cinch juuuuust…" Lucienne indicates a spot at her own waist, nodding to the older woman. "Perfect. You look just perfect, my lady. Someone remind the Ser to breathe, when he lays his eyes upon her?" Perhaps sensing Anais' mood, the unwed Terrick girl reaches for her goodsister's hand. "Thankyou so much for organising this all, Annie. The smallfolk are all abuzz, it's splendid."
Anais lets out a breath of profound relief at Lucienne's words, hand tightening around the other woman's. "Oh, good," she breathes. "I was afraid they'd take it amiss, but it's just- We need something good right now. And the damned squids slaughtered everything they could, and the meat's just going to go bad if we don't use it, and the least we can do is feed everyone on it. And have something /good/," she adds, looking to Belle with a warmer smile. "And I am probably not helping with nerves, am I?" she observes, sheepish. "It's going to be perfect, Belle. Because even if no one else is happy - and they will be - you and Ser Hardwicke will be."
Belle nods, smiling gratefully at both ladies, taking another (not as deep) breath and letting her arms down as the dress-fitting horde declares her done. She steps carefully down from the pedestal, twisting about a little, checking for any left-over pins. Chances are she's been stabbed and poked enough in the past couple of days to be a touch paranoid. "Thank you, both," she says, sincerely. "And I'm so glad you thought to do it this way, Lady Anais. I'm very much looking forward to sharing the day with — with everyone. All the people of my new home."
Luci wraps another hand about Anais', squeezing gently to soothe her. "Nonsense," she says, confident. "I saw it with mine own eyes - everyone's excited." Possibly just for the free food, isn't that the way these events go? "None so much as the bride and her groom, though? Have you some jewelry to wear, Miss Beckett?"
Anais smiles ruefully back at Belle. "Given that your efforts helped to protect your new home more than once, I think it's the least that can be done. Besides, Ser Hardwicke has been here near as long as anyone can remember, and if /he/ cares for you, then I can't imagine how anyone else couldn't." It's just as well that Lucienne has Anais' hand, because when the other woman mentions jewelry, she seems about to smack herself upside the head before she realizes she's holding a hand. "Jewelry, of course. How could I forget about jewelry?"
"No, my lady," says Belle, shaking her head, "though I appreciate the thought. I — " she laughs at Anais' exasperation with her oversight, smile wide and warm. "Truly, my ladies, you're both so generous. But I think — I think I would prefer to be… simpler. With nothing more than the common folk who'll be at the feast. I don't want anyone to think of what they lack, not when we've all lost so much. So… a repurposed gown and flowers are perfect, I think."
Lucienne exchanges a look with Anais, and shakes her head. "Nonsense," she says, freeing her hands from her goodsister's to shake them at Belle. "Here." As she tugs at a fine chain about her neck, a pendant reveals itself from under the collar of her gown, and she doffs the necklace to offer it to the bride.
"Flowers. Yes. Cayt knows where to find all the best wildflowers." They're useful for seducing unwary townfolk, after all. "A crown of them would be just perfect. Luci, would you mind staying with Miss Belle while I go and chase him down for a little help?" Anais asks with a small smile, giving the other woman's hand a squeeze. She looks to Belle one more time, then nods approvingly. "Flowers. Flowers are- are rebirth, and spring, and summer, and…flowers," she repeats. "Perfect." And without waiting to see how the jewelry plays out, she turns and flees in search of flowers.
Caught where she can't precisely refuse, and certainly appreciative of the gesture, Belle hesitates only a moment before taking the proffered pendant. "Thank you, my lady. They say it's lucky to wear something borrowed — so." She dips a proper curtsy — no fear of pins now — and then bows her head to put the necklace on.
"It's something simple, and your Ser will recognise it," says Lucienne, as she hands the thing over. It is a simple piece, a large purple stone for a pendant, cut vaguely heart-shaped, on a long, thin gold chain. "Of course, Annie, you go," she urges, waving her goodsister off quickly, that she might have her eyes upon Belle the very moment the chain is about her neck.
"It's very lovely," says Belle, shifting the chain so the pendant lays properly. "Was it a gift?"
Luci's hands lay over her heart in awe as she watches, her smile tugging the corners of her mouth. "It was," confirms the younger girl with a dip of her chin, "And it must be, again. My gift to you, Miss. Ser Hardwicke is as dear a man as any blood of mine, so it's only fitting to bless his bride with something special."
Deeply touched, Belle impulsively takes Lucienne's hand. "My lady," she smiles softly. "It's rude to protest too much, so I must only thank you, but — I'm sure you know how entirely Hardwicke adores you. And I know… this must seem sudden. I hope, though, with all my heart… that you and I can be friends — for I do love dearly anything that brings him joy… and you do." She clears her throat a bit and releases Luci's hand. "I'm a little over-emotional," she amends, smile turning abashed. "But. I mean it all the same."
"There are so few of us who can honestly claim to have known the Ser's smile," Lucienne speaks fondly, allowing Belle her hand and offering a gentle squeeze. "So I do think we ought to spend many an hour gloating together, don't you? Might I call you Belle, miss? And you should call me Luci, when there aren't ears about to take offense."
"Of course you may, my lady. Luci," Belle accustoms herself to the address. "And thank you. That in itself is another gift." She takes a breath and puts a hand over her stomach, quelling the stampeding butterflies. "It's probably about that time, isn't it?"
"You are too kind, Belle, honestly," says Luci, clasping her hands together in front of her own tummy - far less fluttery than the bride's, no doubt. She nods, eyes shining, and gestures towards the door. "Why don't we go see how Annie's come along with finding the flowers?"