A Tenacious Trents Wedding -A Tencaious Trents Novella(Book 9)
A SECOND EPILOGUE: Catch up with the Trents, meet up with old friends, and possibly meet someone new.
You are cordially invited to the wedding
of Mr. Jonathan Bridges and Miss Genviève Mirabelle. The marriage is to take
place at the Church of St. George, Hanover Square, Mayfair, London, on May 1,
1815 at two in the afternoon. I am fully aware that this is not a proper or
appropriate time for a wedding. However, the church has been quite busy of
late, sometimes with two and three weddings scheduled a day, and neither the
bride nor groom were willing to wait weeks just so they can be married before
noon. Thus, they have expedited matters and obtained a Special License. This
was mainly due to Mr. Bridges not willing to wait longer than necessary to make
Miss Mirabelle his bride.
A wedding breakfast shall follow at the
home of Lord and Lady Bentley, and a ball will be held that evening. I do hope
you’ll join us for this most celebrated event. Besides the Trents, friends and
acquaintances you might be familiar with will also be in attendance, but I
don't dare give their names away. That would ruin the surprise.
The Right Honorable Countess of Bentley
May 1, 1815
Rose Trent, Dowager Countess of Bentley, dabbed at her eyes as Genviève Mirabelle began her walk down the aisle. She looked absolutely stunning in the sea blue satin gown with a gossamer overdress of soft green, trimmed with tiny pearls. Genviève had not wanted anything so fine, or expensive, and insisted her best dress would do for the occasion, but Bentley ordered otherwise.
Clayton Trent, Earl of Bentley, the bride’s half-brother, was in charge of this day. The fine wedding at St. George’s, the wedding breakfast, though a luncheon in this case, and a ball to follow, were not because he favored Genviève over his other three, half-sisters, but for the single purpose of sending a message to the haute ton. And, it all was about to begin with the exchange of vows.
He’d even paid the fee for a special license, all so the marriage to could take place today, on an already busy day for the Mayfair parish church, at two in the afternoon.
Mr. Jonathan Bridges waited for his bride, formally dressed in long, dark trousers, black frock coat with claw hammer tails and a silver and black striped waistcoat. His white cravat was expertly and intricately tied, and the smile on his face was evidence of the happiness he felt upon seeing his bride. The love in his light brown eyes when he looked at Genviève was almost painful it was so beautiful.
Nobody had ever looked at Rose the way Bridges looked at Genviève. Or, the way any of her stepsons looked at their wives. And, it was long past the time anyone would. She wasn’t a young woman any longer and the last of the children was about to be wed.
Rose lowered her head and chuckled to herself. None of them were children any longer. In fact, the only ones she’d known as children were the Trent brothers: Clayton, Jordan, Matthew and John, though Clayton was only a few years younger than her. She’d been closer to his age than his father’s on the day she married. Despite the five years that separated them, she’d become Clayton’s step-mother when he was only ten.
Even though this was a cheerful day, and she was genuinely happy for Genviève, Rose was melancholy as well. What was she do to with herself now? The boys never really needed her, though they cared for her, and took care of her after their father died, the girls no longer needed her guidance either.
A sigh escaped her that she hoped others thought was due to the emotion of the wedding, but it was more because of her memories. So much had happened since her husband died. A day Rose would never forget because it brought relief, not sorrow. Though it was proper to go into mourning, and she retired to the country which was the respectable thing to do, not a single tear was shed for the man who had married her when she was but fifteen and he was five and thirty. The former Earl of Bentley was a cold, cruel man, and as horrible as it may be to admit, which she never did to anyone, she was glad to be rid of him.
If only the secrets could have been buried with him. Secrets that she’d become aware of when her own Madeline was only fourteen. The secret that his second wife, Adele, was not dead, but very much alive, living in Paris with Bentley’s first daughter, Julia. Rose had kept the secret because of the shame it would bring her daughter. She didn’t care so much of society learning that her marriage wasn’t valid, but she’d not stand by as the ton painted her daughter, Madeline, a bastard.
It all worked out in the end, however, for Madeline had fallen in love and married Lachlan Grant, Marquess of Brachton. Before the two ever exchanged vows, Brachton had known the truth, and accepted Madeline as his wife, not giving a fig about the circumstances of her birth. That was all Rose had ever wanted – for her daughter to be settled and content.
She glanced to her left, and at the young woman she’d birthed so many years ago. Her very own joy and bliss in a nightmare of a marriage. From the first moment she’d held her daughter, Rose finally understood why a wife endured her husband’s attentions when required because the end reward of a beautiful child was well worth the price.
By the next spring Adele had been located, as had Julia. The family soon discovered that the reason Adele had run away in the first place, before Bentley sent her to Paris, was because she was expecting another child and refused to have it raised near the father. Having known Bentley and his quick temper and preference for the switch, Rose could not blame the woman for risking life and limb to be away from the man. Had she been older and more secure, she might have had the strength to do the same. Unfortunately, fear guided Rose’s actions and responses most of the time since she’d grown up in a home similar to the one Bentley ran. Rose learned at a very young age that it was best to remain out of sight when her father, and later her husband, was in a temper, and did her best to protect those younger than she. The moment her husband had taken his last breath was the moment she fully relaxed for the first time in her life. It was probably no different than what a man felt upon stepping outside of prison after many long years.
The pregnancy Adele successfully hid from Bentley was that of twins, Hélène and Genviève, the bride. Rose had grown closest to Genviève. But, none of them needed her now. They had lives and husbands to watch after them and Rose had nobody of her own. Which was well and good, she supposed, as she had no need for a husband as Clayton had seen that she was financially secure. But, what was her purpose to be now? What was to become of her if she had no one to mother?
Perhaps it was good that she and Ada, Dowager Viscountess Acker, were taking a trip in the morning. They’d originally intended to depart for the Caribbean two months ago, along with Genviève, but her stepdaughter’s betrothal halted those plans. Ada still insisted on traveling and thought a holiday in Edinburgh would not be remiss and Rose’s family was in full agreement. So, tomorrow she would depart on a ship provided by her newest son-in-law. Perhaps it was exactly what she needed at this moment. Her life had always been guided by others. From her father telling her what to do, then a cruel husband, and then her concern for her children. This was the first time in her life that she was able to do something for herself without fear of consequences.
She lifted her chin and smiled. Juliette and Hélène stood beside the bride, while John and Brachton served as witnesses beside Bridges. This chapter of her life might be closing, and an adventure was exactly what she needed. She was free and there was no reason why she should couldn’t be happy too. Her smile grew broader. She was a widow with means, no need for a gentleman, and in that moment, Rose decided she was going to finally enjoy herself to the fullest extent.