When the photographer was satisfied with all the photos she had taken they made their way to the garden where the festivities were just beginning to warm up. They were offered a glass of wine each which they took. A table had been set for them near the water fountain which they had asked Booth to turn off. He had obliged. Steph sat in a table close by. He was ready to give a speech. Ann couldn’t see Mariana anywhere. There was a chance she had left but then she spied Tib seated at the corner table. Mariana was sitting next to her. They seemed to be chatting. Mariana smiled. That made Ann nervous. Anne looked over at her. ‘What’s up?’ She said following to where she could see Ann was looking. ‘Oh, I see. I wonder why Tib brought her along as her guest.’
‘Who knows. Mariana could have bribed Tib to bring her along as her guest. I thought Tib liked that we were together. She seemed keen enough to put my paintings in her gallery.’ Ann said.
‘Some people are hard to understand, Ann.’ Then Tib stood up. She was coming in their direction. She seemed upset about something but they didn’t know what.was wrong. When she reached their table she walked around to stand next to Ann and gave her a hug. Then whispered in her ear, ‘Mariana is here to cause trouble. She told me if I didn’t bring her she would’ve cause a scene.’ Tib said. Then she leaned over and conveyed the same message to Anne.’So, what are we going to do? We can’t send her away because she hasn’t done anything wrong, yet.’ Anne said.
‘Oh, she has. She tried to stand up and say there was a reason why she objected to you two getting married only Vere was sitting behind her and stopped her. So, be careful.’
‘We will. Thanks for the warning.’ Ann said.
‘I suppose I had better get back to the lion’s den before she bites my arse off.’ Tib returned to her seat. When she sat back down Mariana asked her why she went up to Anne and Ann.’They are good friends and I didn’t want them to think I brought you here of my own freewill.when we both know I didn’t.’
‘Yeah, you told them that. Hey, I could say you asked me to bring you here. I wonder who they would believe.’
‘Don’t mess with me. They will believe me before they believe you, Mariana.’
‘Whatever! I came to get my woman back and nothing or no one is going to stop me. I don’t care if they are married. Anne is mine and no one else’s.’
‘Good luck with that one. You might think Miss Walker is a push over but I wouldn’t mess with her. She can be feisty when she wants to be.’ Oh can she thought Mariana. Well, see about that one.
The meal orders for the guests were delivered. Anne and Ann decided to get one of each of roast lamb with rosemary, roast potatoes and roast pumpkin and roast chicken with bread stuffing, roast potatoes and roast pumpkin. So, they could share their meals. They decided to have one dessert between them. That would be plum pudding with ice cream.
When everyone had eaten. Steph had everyone charge their glasses to toast the happy couple. Mariana gave them a look that would make anyone who saw her cringe. Thankfully Anne and Ann didn’t notice but Tib did. ‘If the wind changes your face will stay like that’
‘I would love to congratulate the happy couple on this their special day. I know they will do great things together. I am sure all of us here would like to wish them all the best.’ Steph said.
‘Not me. I plan to butt in when they are dancing.’ Mariana said.
‘Not if I stop you, bitch.’ Tib said as she looked at Anne who was about to make a speech. ‘Thank you for attending today. I am so happy to be with the only woman who accepts me as I am. Who doesn’t find fault in me even though I know I have many.’ Ann blushed. ‘Who loves me as no one ever has.’
‘I loved you, too, Anne Lister.’ Mariana bellowed or tried to. Tib had put her hand over Mariana’s mouth to shut her up and got bitten for her efforts.
‘Thank you, Adney for being the person who has done everything possible to help make this day amazing.’ Anne said. ‘I don’t know how I lived without you for so long. A toast to my bride, Ann Walker Lister. Hip hip.’
‘Hooray.’ The guests cheered. Ann blushed. ‘Hip Hip.’
Hooray,’ The guests cheered for one last time. Anne leaned down and gave Ann a kiss. They hugged.. Then Catherine gave a short speech. ‘I would like to thank my cousin, Ann for asking me to be her attendant. I feel privileged to be here on this her special day. She has had a crush on Anne Lister for so long I don’t remember when she didn’t. Now, her dream has come true. Anne Lister, you look after my cousin please. She is so sweet and kind and good. Congratulations, Anne and Ann. Your future together is bright.’ Everyone cheered except Mariana who seemed to be walking closer and closer to the main table. Cordingley approached the table.’Miss Lister, would you like to cut the cake?’
‘Cake, I didn’t know we ordered one.’
‘You didn’t I made it especially for you and Ann.’ Cordingley said.
‘Yes please. Bring it out.’ Cordingley brought the cake out with the help of Joe. He was smiling broadly. They set the cake down in front of Anne and Ann. Their photographer was there and snapped up a couple of photos as they cut through the cake with the knife Cordingley had provided.
Joe and Elizabeth returned the cake to the kitchen where it would be sliced into pieces for everyone. Cordingley had only made a one tier cake but Anne and Ann were so happy she had done that. They hadn’t thought about getting a wedding cake.
The DJ had arrived earlier to set up his gear. Now, he was ready to start playing music. ‘This is for the happy couple. Let’s encourage them to get up and dance.’
‘Come on, Anne. I chose this song for us.’ I only want to be with you..As the song began playing Ann began singing. Anne melted into Ann’s arms as she sang and they danced. When the song ended Anne signaled to the DJ.It was her turn to sing to Ann. She had chosen The time of my life. The DJ played the song and as they danced Anne sang. It was sweet music to Ann’s ears. She didn’t know her wife could sing. ‘When were you going to tell me you could sing?’ Ann asked her.
‘Oh, today.’ Anne grinned. ‘Well now’ Then she continued singing.
When the song finished Anne and Ann took a breath. They had been dancing and singing. Anne and Ann sat for a moment. Tib brought them over a glass of water each and warned them about Mariana. She was heading in their direction. Anne and Ann drank then they stood up and returned to the dance floor. Tib stopped Mariana but Mariana pushed past her to reach Anne and Ann. She tried to cut in on their dance but couldn’t. Ann looked her in the eye and said.’If, you don’t leave us alone we will have someone call the police and have you taken off the property. Mariana stormed off. She could see Ann meant business. No one cuts in and tries to separate them. Anne smiled at Ann. She didn’t know how brave Ann was. ‘How did you get to be so confident, Adney?’
‘I have you. You give me the strength to be confident. When I am with you I could take on the world.’
‘Well, you told Mariana a think or three. Let’s dance.’ They did. When they looked over Marian was dancing with Catherine and they were smiling. Ann couldn’t believe her cousin was dancing with her sister in law. What was this all about? She was curious. ‘Anne, how is it that your sister and my cousin seem to have eyes only for each other? How long has that been going on?’
‘I have no idea but let’s just allow them to enjoy their dance. We can ask them later.’
‘Okay!! Anne Walker Lister, I love you so much. I could dance like this all night but I do recall you saying something about a surprise.’
‘Me!! Surprise. I don’t remember that.’ Anne said with faux shock. ‘I don’t know where you got that idea. Maybe it’s something you dreamed up.’
‘Very funny, Lister!’ Ann said. ‘When are we leaving?’
‘Soon, Adney. Very soon. Like now. We need to say goodbye to everyone and thank them for coming.’ Anne and Ann left the dance floor. They knew the party would go on for a few hours longer but they were desperate to get down and naughty together. Anne had the DJ stop the music and she spoke to their guests again. ‘Thank you for coming and wishing us the best for our future life together. We really appreciate that and we love you all even those who don’t think we are good for each other.’ Anne looked at Mariana as she said that. The DJ resumed playing the music. Anne and Ann found Aunt Anne. They gave her a hug and told her they would be back in the morning to pack for their honeymoon. As they walked over to the Chaumiere Ann whispered in Anne’s ear. ‘You did save me that day and you are still saving me from the world, dearest.