Lily Chapter 12

Chapter 12

While Lily planned the wedding, Harold had been doing some of his own planning, and he had never looked happier. Harold burst into the room where Lily sat at the kitchen table, checking a list of things to do. He grabbed her. “Come on!”

“Where?” Lily asked as she shared a surprised look with Anna.

“You’ll see.” He pulled her out the door before Lily could ask any more questions.

They drove the fifteen miles to Langdon. The whistle blew, and men poured out of the lumber mill on their way home for lunch. Harold parked the car in front of one of the company-owned cottages that were provided for the mill workers. Matching window boxes showed signs of the first spring flowers.

“Miss Lily Blair, soon-to-be Mrs. Dawson … your new home.” Harold bowed low and swept his arm toward the little house as if a red carpet were laid for Lily to enter as royalty.

Lily was speechless. She had been so busy with the wedding plans, she hadn’t even thought about where they would live.

The cottage was small and cozy. She ran from room to room. Her grandmother had said she could have the four-poster bed that Lily had had all her life. And now she visualized it in the bedroom. “Oh, Harold, I love it. I just love it.” She threw her arms around him, and standing on her tiptoes, she planted a noisy kiss on his clean-shaven cheek. In her excitement she knocked his spectacles askew.

The little house couldn’t compare to the mansion Lily was raised in, yet she felt that it was hers—all hers. No one could tell her what to do now.

The place that Lily and Harold would call home was owned by Langdon Lumber Mill. The community of mill workers lived side by side in matching cottages. There was a drug store, post office, bank, and theater—everything they needed. The Langdon residents resided beside the bend in the river and about fifteen miles south of Laurel Springs. Lily thought it was far enough away from her meddling spinster aunt. Now they had a place of their very own.

During the next two months, wedding preparations were hastily and efficiently carried out to Lily’s specifications. Then just a few days before the wedding, Lily became ill. When she wasn’t vomiting, she could hardly get out of bed. She wondered if she could possibly be nervous over the wedding. Every morning after vomiting, Lily would emerge from the bathroom looking pale and feeling weak to find her aunt standing in the hall, an accusing look on her face. One day, Agatha demanded, “Are you in the family way?” Before Lily could answer, Agatha went on. “Well, I’d half expect it of you, but I thought Harold had more respect for this family. I didn’t think he’d disgrace us like this.” Her piercing eyes bore into Lily. “Your little secret is safe with me. Don’t worry. I’ll never tell your father or your grandmother. It’d break their hearts. Humph.” She stomped away.

Could it be true? As she dragged herself back to her room, she remembered the night in the cabin with James. Is it possible? Well, if it is, no one will ever know it isn’t Harold’s baby, not even Harold.

On the morning of April 27, 1918, members of the Christian church and the townspeople of Laurel Springs filled the pews in anticipation for the event of the year. On this day, Reverend William Blair’s daughter, Lily, would marry Harold Dawson.

Harold stood at the front of the church, dressed in a black frock coat faced with silk, a black tie, and gray striped trousers. With John Tenny beside him, they waited. Although Harold was liked, he didn’t have a close friend. When Harold had asked John to be his best man, John had said, “I’d be proud to.” Now the two men nervously stood in front of the crowded church.

First, White Dove came slowly down the aisle to shocked murmurs. Behind White Dove, at the back of the church, Lily and William stood in the doorway. Sunlight filtered through her delicate veil as it gently fluttered in the breeze. The processional filled the church, and everyone stood as William escorted Lily down the long aisle past each pew. Her Grecian-styled peach chiffon wedding gown clung to Lily’s full curves. She wore her mother’s opera-length pearl necklace and matching teardrop earrings, a gift from her father given to her only days before.

Her frothy veil streamed from a wreath of orange blossoms. The wreath encircled her thick auburn curls with tiny braids entwined amongst them, all pinned up at the back of her head. Lily’s beauty always turned heads—never more so than on her wedding day.

Lily took each step slowly, regally, savoring the moment. As she passed, she heard someone say, “She looks just like her mother.” Then as she proceeded down the aisle, she heard another voice. “She looks like a goddess.” Lily smiled. She had planned to stun the crowd, and she knew she had succeeded.

William gave Lily to Harold and took his place at the front of the church; he stood before the couple and those who had come to witness this wedding.

“My dear, dear friends and especially Harold and my daughter, Lily.” William looked affectionately at Lily and then Harold. “You have come before God and your friends to express your love to him and your love to each other.” He paused, his hands clasped in front of him. “It is with mixed emotions that I perform this ceremony. Lily is my only child. I believe God sent her to me as a gift. I have cared for her and loved her with all my heart. Now it’s time for her to go on and for Harold to care for her. I will miss her.” His words were filled with emotion. He wiped a tear with the back of his hand, and then slowly, he reached for his Bible and performed a memorable wedding ceremony.

At the conclusion, everyone gathered at the social hall for a reception to extend their best wishes to the bride and groom. Lily truly was the center of attention, yet it wasn’t until later that she was disappointed. She had wanted dancing; she had dreamed and begged her family to change their minds and allow dancing at her wedding reception. But it was never allowed. How she would have loved to have danced with every man there, to have been twirled around and around. Instead there had been food, chatter, and well wishes. She was the center of attention, yet she wanted more.

The wedding trip consisted of a drive to Redding for a few days. But the first night, her wedding night, was at Ora’s Hotel. The room smelled musty, the furniture was worn and faded, and the bed was too soft. The consummation of the marriage had left Lily empty. There was no emotion, no caresses, no lingering, and no passion.

She heard Harold’s deep breathing beside her and knew he was asleep, but she was wide awake. She heard laughter and music coming from downstairs. She longed to be downstairs dancing, longed to be the belle of the ball.

Unhappy, Lily finally began to understand the gravity of the commitment she’d made. It’s a mistake. I’ve made a terrible mistake! It’s James I love. It’s always been James.

Published in: on March 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm  Comments (2)  

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Published in: on March 17, 2011 at 2:23 am  Leave a Comment