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 Wedding Bells, (Winston/Maddy/Wyndham)
Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 17 2012, 02:00 PM
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Winston paced the small room he'd been escorted to on arriving at the church, well on his way to wearing a hole in the opulent rug that covered the floorboards. An empty glass sat on a table nearby, as did a decanter of whisky with a respectable amount gone. It had been quality whiskey, but that didn't seem to matter, as he didn't feel the least bit inebriated.

With a sigh, he sat down in a nearby chair, uncomfortable as all chairs in churches seemed to be, and dropped his head into his hands. Not surprisingly his thoughts turned to his brother, and once again he wondered...what if he just left? What if he dropped it all, forgot about the family fortune and simply left? Surely there was some cousin or other who would inherit, and take care of his mother...hell, maybe whoever it was would even marry the young lady his father had decided was so fitting to his station.

It wasn't the girl he objected to, really. There was nothing at all wrong with her, it was just that he didn't want to be married again. His first marriage had been such an unmitigated disaster that facing the prospect again had literally driven him to drink. With another heavy sigh, he ran his hands through his hair before reaching for the whiskey again.
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Madrigal 'Maddy' Conway
 Posted: Nov 17 2012, 09:09 PM
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People were talking to her...her mother was going on about something, but Maddy wasn't really hearing any of it. It was all she could do just to stay upright, what with the way her head was swimming and the constricting corset making it impossible to take a deep breath. She was shrouded in white layers of satin, crepe and lace and a lace veil flowed from a diamond-studded tiara, and while she knew she should be excited, she was far too nervous to notice.

Despite it being a common practice to arrange marriages, and despite having a year to prepare herself, she still was having a hard time believing that this was really happening. Not that she had so many notions of love and romance, but she had thought that she would at least have more than passing acquaintance. Not only that, but the man was ten years her senior and had been previously married. Not that she particularly cared about that, but it meant that he had...er...experience, and would have expectations that she wasn't sure she could live up to...

In fact, that was one thing she had always assumed...that she and her new husband would be on equal terms on their wedding night, and would learn and explore the secrets of love togeth....

"Madrigal! Where is your head, girl?"

"I'm sorry, Mama." Maddy plastered on a smile as she turned to face her mother, grateful, at least, that her mother could even be here. It had been her mother's illness that had postponed the wedding for nearly a year, giving Maddy a stay of execution, so to speak, and now she really wanted to please her parents. That didn't make her head or stomach feel any better though.

"Have you been listening, child?" Sighing, the woman kissed her daughter lightly on the forehead then pulled the veil over her face. "You are beautiful...my little girl." The woman sighed. "It's time."

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Wyndham Conway
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 03:09 PM
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He ran a disapproving and through his hair. It was sleek and clean, cut short and proper. His beard had been shaved, which, together with the short haircut, as Wyndham observed as he inspected himself in the stained mirror in his bathroom, made him look a bit younger. He'd gone through a whole, thorough scrub (something he realised he'd missed dearly) and come out a gentleman. Who knew?

Having many friends from different places and of various social standings made it easy to find a perfectly-matching suit. A gift from a grateful tailor, customly made with the care and attention only a both skilled and eager master of his craft could muster. Putting on a similarly impeccable coat, Wyndham left his house with only one last look at his duster and boots. He could smell himself, and he smelled pleasant, but subtle. Every time he slipped into this disguise - for it has stopped being his natural state of being a long time ago - he amazed himself with how easy everything came back to him. It was just a context change. He walked differently, talked differently and everything, from his mannerisms to his expressions became smoother and more perfected.

A mask of elegance.

He didn't so far as take a carriage, but walked the way to the church, watching the snow flakes settle on his dark coat with a sense of happiness akin to a child's. He slipped in unnoticed (years of experience made him both light on his feet and very intuitive). Coat now folded neatly about his arm, Wyndham made his way through the building unremarked and unheard. His Gift also helped with some of it, though he made sure not to employ it when unneeded. Listening in on one or two conversations gave him the information he needed and, after a quick stop, he headed straight for the door in question, opened it, walked in and closed it immediately after, with a smile made of pure charisma.

"My, now that's a long face," Wyndham greeted, dropping his coat onto a spartan chair in the equally spartan room and shoving his hands in his pockets. "If I didn't know better, I'd think I walked in on a funeral."
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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 03:40 PM
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Winston looked up, but even his surprise at seeing his brother all cleaned up and looking spiffy couldn't lift his mood right now. He smiled faintly, but his heart just wasn't in the expression. Turning his head, he gave the window what was certainly an appraising look, as if he was calculating whether he could fit out through it, and how far the drop might be on the other side.

"I don't think I can do it, Wyn." He turned to look at his brother, showing a vulnerability that the younger man was likely the only one to have ever seen, at least since he'd been grown. Weakness had been a thing to be hidden from their father at all costs, and their mother wasn't much different.

"How am I supposed to just...do this? Marry some girl I hardly know because our father decided she was a good match? How is this fair to either of us?"
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Wyndham Conway
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 04:02 PM
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Wyndham shrugged, making his way to the small window and peering into the glass. His face showed very little of his thoughts - this wasn't bound to change just by putting on new clothes. Something about wolves and sheep?

"What are you going to do?"
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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 04:04 PM
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He hadn't expected that. Wasn't Wyndham supposed to talk him down, persuade him to do the right thing? And there was the rub, really. He knew what the right thing was at this point, and leaving that poor girl at the altar wasn't it. It would officially be the end of any marriage prospects for her, at least any good ones. He stared down at the nearly empty glass in his hands, swishing a bit of amber liquid about in the bottom.

"The only thing I can do."
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Wyndham Conway
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 04:09 PM
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"Ah." He watched his brother's faint reflection in the glass. "There's always an alternative. You could call the marriage off, consider your options more carefully and find a woman of your choosing, rather than your father's."
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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 04:11 PM
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"And ruin her life in the process?" He shook his head. "She doesn't deserve that, at least not as far as I can tell. She's a nice enough girl, and if this falls through you know what her marriage prospects would be like. She'd end up an old maid, or worse, married to some old lecher." He smiled faintly. "Which is what I feel like right now."
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Wyndham Conway
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 04:14 PM
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His chin tilted upwards a bit, blinking slowly.

"You are in a position to make life very easy for her," Wyndham casually reminded him.
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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 04:29 PM
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"I'm...not sure I follow you." He quirked an eyebrow, his brother having gotten his full attention now.
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Wyndham Conway
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 04:33 PM
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"Are you not a powerful man? Known in many very prestigious circles? Your word can breach over gossip. Your money..." Wyndham grinned sharply. "Money can fix everything these days, in these parts of the world."
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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 04:41 PM
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"Money I won't have, if I don't produce an heir." He rubbed his hands over his face. "You know, when a groom gets cold feet you're supposed to talk him out of it." He pointed out with a wry smile.
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Wyndham Conway
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 04:57 PM
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"That's not really my style," Wyndham said, turning and extending his arms wide, smiling slightly. "And it seems like you're trying to talk yourself into it. Your inheritance as heir will remain yours." His hands went back to fold themselves neatly behind his back. "Your mother will be disappointed, but she'll live. Your former fiance will be distraught, but then she will eventually realise she has choices she can make without her dying mother's approval. Eventually, she will find she has a purpose beyond being someone's wife. It will be an uphill struggle for both of you, but you will manage."
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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 05:00 PM
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He took a deep breath, letting it out. "I need to talk to her." He set the glass aside, rising to his feet. "I can't go over there, they'll never let me in. Can you...do you think you could get me some time alone with her?" It seemed absurd, asking someone most of the people here would never had met, but he knew his brother. If anyone could do it, Wyndham could.
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Wyndham Conway
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 05:12 PM
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He smiled even brighter. "Across the hall, room to the left. Wait here two minutes then go. Make sure you don't attract too much attention to yourself." Then, without any further ado, Wyndham grabbed his coat and exited the room.

~~~


The knock on the door of the bride's room came suddenly but gently. The handle then turned and the door opened revealing a young man with a very serious if not apprehensive expression on his face.

"Excuse me, ma'am," he said to the older woman, with an accent betraying a prolonged stint in the army. "There seems to be an issue with the flower arrangements and the priest wishes to speak with you before the ceremony."

In truth, there was indeed an issue with the flower arrangements. Wyndham had made sure to 'move' some of the ribbons in a different location, for no particular reason and the priest, well... he would have nothing to say to the mother. But she would have to talk to him in order to find that out. He hoped that would keep her busy at least for a while.
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Madrigal 'Maddy' Conway
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 10:19 PM
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"Oh, good heavens!" Madrigal's mother rolled her eyes, shaking her head. "Nothing ever seems to go smoothly." She glanced at her daughter and smiled. "Don't worry, darling, everything is going to be just fine. Thank you, young man." With that, she scurried away.

For Maddy, it was actually a bit of a relief to have some time alone for a moment...maybe she could actually keep herself from throwing up all over the groom's shoes, and her mother's nervous puttering wasn't helping any. Taking a breath, she looked at the young man still standing in the doorway through the shield of her veil, then stepped toward him. "Thank you," she murmured, reaching for the door to close him out.

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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 19 2012, 11:02 PM
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A hand reached past Wyndham, holding the door open for the few seconds it took Winston to slip past his brother and into the room, closing the door behind himself. Standing just inside the door, he cleared his throat awkwardly, offering Maddy a tentative smile.

"Sorry to ah, barge in like this, I...I was hoping we could talk." His manner was far removed from the cold, distant man she would have remembered from their prior meetings, however polite he had tried to be.
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Wyndham Conway
 Posted: Nov 20 2012, 06:33 PM
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Wyndham smiled pleasantly at the young woman and stepped aside at the exact time his brother moved to reach pay him and close the door. With a curt nod, he turned his back to the closing door. Nobody saw what happened next four it was to quick for the named eye to spot. More than that - it was instant.

Inside his speed bubble, Wyndham took out a key he'd previously nicked and locked the door. New only released his hold on time when he was in the exact same position as before, key tucked right back in his pocket and expression neutrally amused.

Without a word, the man went to join the other guests.
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Madrigal 'Maddy' Conway
 Posted: Nov 20 2012, 09:47 PM
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"Sorry to ah, barge in like this, I...I was hoping we could talk." His manner was far removed from the cold, distant man she would have remembered from their prior meetings, however polite he had tried to be.

Startled, Maddy took a step back, taking a moment to realize who he was. Then she pushed her veil up, blinking at him. "Um...yes...." So, this had been a ruse to get him into the room...that couldn't be good, right?

The nausea surged and she had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep it at bay as she plastered on a smile, as though she didn't have a care in the world. "What can I do for you, Mr. Conway?"

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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 20 2012, 10:23 PM
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Her smile was easily seen through, though he had to admire her for it. Good grief, he hoped she wasn't about to faint or something. Judging from how pale she'd gotten, he figured he should get ready to catch her just in case. With that in mind, he took a step towards her, though he was careful not to crowd too close.

"It just occurred to me that in all this, no one bothered to ask you what you wanted." He began, a bit uncertainly. "And whether this...or myself, I suppose...was it."
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Madrigal 'Maddy' Conway
 Posted: Nov 21 2012, 11:38 PM
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"Oh, well..." She didn't know how to respond to this, for he was right, no one had ever asked her, and she hadn't expected anyone to. A girl of her standing often didn't have a choice in such matters, but was merely a pawn. And as much as she wasn't at all certain about this, the crowd was gathered, she was in her dress, ready to walk the aisle, and if he backed out now she would be seen as somehow tainted, no matter how much he tried to say it was is doing.

"It was arranged...I admit it frightens me, but it is what my Father wants. I...we...if we back out now he will stop his trade with you and tell his friends, you'll be ruined."

Finally, she reached to put a hand on his arm for support as she looked up at him, suddenly feeling quite miserable. "I don't know what to think," she murmured, "I really had tried not to think about it."

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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 22 2012, 12:25 AM
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"It's your decision." He placed his hands over hers, their gazes locked. "If you don't want to do this, you don't have to. I've got enough money that it wouldn't ruin me, and I promise I would make sure you were taken care of. So...if you want a way out, that's what I'm offering." He let out a breath, watching her and waiting for her decision.
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Madrigal 'Maddy' Conway
 Posted: Nov 23 2012, 05:23 PM
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"Oh, well I..." Maddy felt her heart skipping as she looked up at him. He seemed kind and caring, she could certainly do worse, and chances were good that her opinion would never be taken into account in the future anyway. "My father..."

A sudden pounding on the door interrupted her.

"Madrigal?" her mother's voice called, "open the door, child! Whyever is it locked? "Percy! Percy, Madrigal has locked herself in!"

A look of panic crossed Maddy's features as she glanced at Winston then headed for the door. "You have to hide!" she hissed, "If they find you in here..." Well, that didn't need to be vocalized.

The pounding on the door increased and her father's voice joined her mother's. "Maddy, darling, open the door..."

And she did just that, not looking back to see if Winston had heeded her request.



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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 23 2012, 05:41 PM
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"Wait, we need to..." He broke off his protest as she headed for the door, frantically looking around the room. It wasn't exactly full of excellent hiding places, after all. In the end, the only thing he could find that was even close to suitable was the old standby of hiding behind the floor-length curtains and hoping no one tried to draw them across the window and expose him where he stood. Thankfully they went all the way to the floor so his feet wouldn't show, but he felt anything but secure as he listened to the sound of the door opening and wondered how he ha dended up in a situation this utterly ridiculous.
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Madrigal 'Maddy' Conway
 Posted: Nov 23 2012, 11:17 PM
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"What in heaven's name?" Maddy's mother pushed into the room, fussing over her daughter. "Why did you lock the door?"

"I didn't realize it had become locked, Mother," she answered, glancing around quickly, glad that there was no apparent sign of Winston.

"Well, no matter, I don't know what that young man was going on over the flowers about, but everything is ready." Her mother sighed, pulling the veil back down.

"He is a very lucky man." Percy hugged his daughter, then offered her his arm. "Come along now, dear. You are beautiful, by the way." Beaming proudly, he guided his daughter to the chapel.

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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 23 2012, 11:29 PM
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Winston sighed, rubbing his hands over his face as he stood behind the curtain. What now? He couldn't leave the poor girl stranded at the altar, he just didn't have it in him. Pushing the curtain aside, he moved over to the floor length mirror set up for the bride's use and checked himself over, quickly brushing his hair back into place and straightening his jacket. Looking himself in the eyes for a long moment, he took a deep breath and let it out before turning to leave the room.

He took a different route to the sanctuary than Maddy and her family, so he would be in his proper place, waiting for her by the priest when she entered. Stepping up to take his place, he looked around, hoping to spot his brother and yet knowing at this point even a miracle worker wasn't going to stop this wedding if he himself didn't.
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Madrigal 'Maddy' Conway
 Posted: Nov 24 2012, 03:23 AM
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Maddy was startled to see that Winston was there already, but she was also relieved in a way. Part of her just wanted to run, but there was also part of her that was ingrained from childhood to obey her parents' wishes and to do as told.

As she walked the aisle, she gripped his arm, feeling her head swimming but somehow managing to stay focused. Her family and friends were all there, but she felt alone and isolated, even more-so as her father offered her hand to Winston then stepped away...


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Wyndham Conway
 Posted: Nov 24 2012, 07:11 AM
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"Oil industry? Are you sure, young man?" Dr. Roberts, the one who delivered Wyndham to this world asked, in a rather sceptical manner.

"I'd go even so far as to say it would be a sure invention for one's progeny." Wyndham's eyes did not study the doctor who did not recognise him, but guarded for his mother. He'd passed her twice now, but was unsure whether she'd managed to recognise him.

"A very interesting thought indeed," chimed in Professor Newell. He'd been one of Winston's tutors, thankfully. "What did you say you did--"

The murmuring stopped abruptly as the bride stepped in. All guests stood. Some exclamations, faint but emphasis, went to Madrigal's dress. The priest smiled.

Wyndham signed.
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Winston Conway, Jr.
 Posted: Nov 24 2012, 12:14 PM
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Winston took his bride's hand as it was offered to him by her father, his mind inevitably going back to the first time he had done this. They had been so young, and so in love...so different from what he faced now. By marrying her, he was taking a gamble that they were each other's best options. He only hoped that gamble was right.

Giving her hand a gentle squeeze, he tried his best reassuring smile, hoping she couldn't see past it to how uncertain he really was. He kept his eyes on hers as the priest began reciting the vows, knowing that if he looked up he would likely see his brother's disapproving look, and now just wasn't the time.
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Madrigal 'Maddy' Conway
 Posted: Nov 24 2012, 02:11 PM
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"Do you, Madrigal Elizabeth Lawrence take Winston Conway for your lawful wedded husband, to live in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love, honor, comfort, and cherish him from this day forward, forsaking all others, keeping only unto him for as long as you both shall live?"

He was talking to her! The sound of her name brought Maddy from her reverie and she looked up and nodded, realizing now that the shield of the veil was meant to hide her panic. "I do," she murmured, at least managing enough volume to be heard by the front row. Her hand tightened on Winston's. At least she wasn't in this all alone.

"Do you, Winston Conway, take Madrigal Elizabeth Lawrence for your lawful wedded wife, to live in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love, honor, comfort, and cherish her from this day forward, forsaking all others, keeping only unto her for as long as you both shall live?"




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