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Maid of Honour

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It had been a long time since Jane and Melisande first shared a room.

"I can't believe how much I love it here now," Melisande said, looking around the sunny room with a smile. "Oh Jane, it means so much to me, you being my maid of honour. And I'm so grateful to Uncle Peter and Aunt Linnie for letting my wedding party leave from here."

"Well, it makes sense, doesn't it?" Jane said, casting her night bag onto the bed she had occupied as a girl. "After all, me and Susan have beds here anyway, and it lets the groom's party depart from Holly Farm."

"Yes, it was a stroke of luck, Paul agreeing to that," Melisande said, setting her case down carefully and beginning to unpack.

"That can wait, surely?" Jane said. "I'm dying to get downstairs and talk to Mummy."

"Oh Jane, you haven't changed a bit!" laughed Melisande, abandoning her unpacking to give her cousin an unexpected hug.

"All right, all right!" Jane said gruffly, when she felt that the hug had gone on for long enough. Melisande drew back, eyes shining, and Jane smiled back.

"Your clothes will crease if you don't unpack straight away," Melisande said.

"Both of the dresses I'm wearing tomorrow are downstairs," Jane said. "I've only got underthings in here…and jodhpurs, of course."

Melisande laughed.

"Of course," she said. "Come on, let's unpack and get downstairs. I have a thank you gift for Aunt Linnie."

"Well…" Jane said, then briskly unpacked her cases, hurling the contents willy-nilly into her dresser drawer before running a brush through her hair.

Melisande was ready shortly afterwards, and they went down the stairs arm in arm.