|Sense and Sensuality
Author: The Pig Lady PM
Modern SS. Mary and Ellie Dashwood are two sisters living in New York City. Both have been unlucky in love, but with the help of friends and family, can they find their way in the world of relationships? NOW COMPLETE.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Friendship - Chapters: 22 - Words: 54,008 - Reviews: 47 - Favs: 31 - Follows: 12 - Updated: 08-24-08 - Published: 05-18-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4264235
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The small hand that grasped Mary's was struggling to break free, as it was dazzled by all of the colors and excitement that Navy Pier had to offer. Truthfully, Mary was a little excited as well – it'd always been her dream to go and see Chicago, especially since she and Phil had established their relationship as being truly serious.
"Auntie Mary, Auntie Mary, I want to go and ride the Ferris wheel!" Her four-year-old niece, Maggie, squirmed, and nearly stained the front of her blue sundress as she ice cream she was holding slumped off the cone in the July heat. By luck, however, it only managed to fall onto her chin. Phil, who was standing next to Mary with his arm around her waist, laughed at the sight, while Jessie scooped down to pick up the toddler, who was making a further mess by spreading the cream on her chin all the way up to her cheeks and forehead.
"I am warrior!" she chanted.
"Damn straight," Jessie muttered, getting a disapproving look from Mary at her use of a swear word in front of her niece. "Mary, Ellie is going to murder you. She really wanted Maggie to look nice for the ceremony." Mary rolled her eyes and lunged for the stack of napkins she'd shoved in her purse at the Baskin-Robbins counter.
"It's a spur-of-the-moment elopement on Navy Pier," she exclaimed. "How nice does the spawn really have to look?" She wiped the little girl's face, despite complaints. Noticing that she still had a sticky look about her, Mary realized that it wasn't too hard to miss and that Ellie would indeed murder her when she saw it. At the mention of the ceremony, Phil looked down at his watch.
"It's almost two o'clock," he stated. "We should probably get going."
It took the foursome about five minutes to get from one end of the pier to the other, even with Maggie insisting on stopping so she could go on some of the rides. The adults were all in quite a hurry, not wanting to miss the ceremony that had been put off for five years already.
By the time they arrived, the ceremony was nearly set to begin. Phil, Mary, and Maggie settled in the front row – compiled of five seats – with Carol and Michelle Ferrell, who had begrudgingly accepted the invitation only to represent the entire Ferrell clan; after all, Eddie's mother had adamantly refused to attend, and Rob and Lucie were too busy with their multimillion dollar insurance agency to travel down to Chicago for the weekend. Jessie seated herself in the second row – also compiled of five seats – with Mark Schaeffer and his wife, who didn't look too pleased to attend the wedding of the woman her husband maybe had feelings for, Anne Hudson, the Norland Publishing intern who'd been promoted to editor, and Abby Morris, who'd brought her five-year-old son David along. Truthfully, Mary didn't know why she'd been invited other than to please Phil Brandon; at the hotel the night before, Ellie said it'd been for good measure. "Besides," she added, "I'm really quite eager to meet the young woman that was raised by my future brother-in-law." Mary had rolled her eyes at this, although she was secretly hoping that the day might come where she could have the perfect happy ending Ellie was getting.
Eddie had managed to arrange for a Justice of the Peace to do the actual ceremony – unfortunately, the man who would have been in a black suit was dressed in a Hawaiian print shirt with Bermuda shorts and black Adidas flip flops. His wardrobe had seemed to completely change since they'd first met with him in his office downtown three days before, but Mary thought the ensemble fit for the atmosphere of the occasion.
The ceremony only took about ten minutes, and Mary was convinced that she could make it through the entire thing without bursting into tears. But by the time they'd reached the vows, she knew that the fight had gone to a complete waste – the floodgates were opened, and she was reaching for one of the Baskin-Robbins napkins that were still tucked into one the pockets of her purse.
She could hardly believe that five years had gone by – five years since her accident, since Eddie had nearly married Lucie, since the Adam Willoughby fiasco. Everything had changed so much since then. What had begun as a strained relationship with her sister had blossomed into a friendship she was supremely thankful to have found; she'd come to be thankful for her mother's retreat to Africa after their father's death, for she wouldn't have grown closer to Ellie as a result; she was happy to have reconnected with her mother, having grown to forgive her for her mistakes considering she'd made some pretty horrible ones as well; and she'd found her potential to be great, brought out by one man who had rejected her and one man who she'd rejected at first, but had grown to love. All it really took was some prodding, and Mary had allowed herself to welcome quite a bit of it.
"Unless anyone present has cause for objection – by the power vested in me on this overwhelmingly hot July 4th, I now pronounce you husband and wife." The justice smiled. "I believe you know the drill." Both Eddie and Ellie laughed as they moved in to kiss each other. The guests cheered for the newly married couple as Maggie rushed up to her parents and allowed herself to be pulled into their embrace. Mary couldn't help but laugh at the sight of the gloriously happy family.
"You did what?" Ellie demanded to know, tugging at her daughter's dress, which was now stained with the remnants of their pasta dinner. Married for only five hours, and a mother for five years, Ellie couldn't help but be stressed out at the sight of the dirty outfit. Under her breath, Mary giggled. Eddie snorted.
"I made a painting!" Maggie declared.
"Margaret, dearest, it's not a painting if it's made on the front of your dress," Ellie declared, momentarily forgetting to call her daughter 'Maggie,' as the tot had demanded everyone do when her aunt had first used the nickname. "Come on, we have to go and clean you up." She grabbed her daughter's hand (the one that wasn't totally covered in tomato sauce) and proceeded out of the dining room in the direction of the bathroom. Eddie stood up, pecking Mary on the cheek, and followed his wife out of the room, saying, "We'll be right back."
Mary was now alone at the table, the rest of the wedding guests having returned to their hotel rooms or, in the case of the Schaeffer's and Michele Ferrell, to the airport so as to return to New York City and California respectively. She reached for the cloth napkin sitting on Ellie's chair, making a motion to sop up the mess that Maggie had made on her chair. However, a hand that placed itself on her shoulder quickly stopped her.
"Mary? Is that you?" She recognized the voice instantly, and had to resist the urge to take the butter knife and plunge it into the speaker's heart. Successful in this, she took a deep breath and spun around to face the nervous, yet anxious form of Adam Willoughby.
The past five years hadn't been kind to him. His hair was already beginning to gray; his eyes were lifeless, and his face was sunken and expressionless. She didn't imagine that all of this had been because of her, but for a split second, she believed it was, and was satisfied.
"Adam. What are you doing here?" His hand, which he'd held out for her to shake, fell back to his side.
"Job interview at Cook County tomorrow." He shrugged. "I'm staying at the hotel, actually. Wow. It's great to see you. What are you doing here?"
"My sister – Ellie, remember? – got married today." She didn't make any effort to sound particularly enthused by his appearance; judging by the look on his face, he could tell that she wasn't very happy to see him. "Speaking of marriage," she continued, "how's Alicia?" He rolled his eyes.
"She ran off with some underwear model two years ago. Sent me the divorce papers last week." He smiled. "Listen, Mary, if you're not seeing anybody, maybe we could get together when I get back to New York City. Go out for drinks and reminisce about the good old days, or something." He looked down at his feet. "I've really missed you, you know." She stood up, grabbing hers and Ellie's bags.
"Sorry, but I don't think that's going to work out," she explained. "But good luck with that interview."
"Wait . . . what do you mean?"
"I mean that I am seeing someone," she explained. "Phil Brandon, to be exact." He seemed shocked – and who wouldn't be, with their age difference – and immediately snorted.
"Phil Brandon? Our college Anatomy teacher? You're dating that old guy?"
"For your information, he's not old, and he's twice the man you'll ever be." He hung his head.
"Your sister said that to me once." Mary shrugged.
"My sister has always been smart." She made an effort to make the table seem somewhat presentable before departing. "Well, it was nice seeing you again, Adam, but I'd prefer it didn't happen again for a very long time. Good luck at the job interview. I hope you get it and move very far away from me." She sent him a strained smile and immediately left the dining room.
Once she was out in the lobby, she slumped down into one of the couches and tried to replay what had just happened. Adam Willoughby had asked her out on a date, five years after he'd broken her heart, and she'd turned him down. She'd turned him down. This wasn't like the old days, where she would've done anything to go out on one more date with him, to feel him touch her one more time. And thank God for that.
Thank God for that.
A/N: Well, there it is. The end. It's been a wonderful journey, and I thank all of you for reviewing and for reading and just being plain wonderful - it really made me want to continue on with the story.
I definitely veered a little off track with this chapter - I was disappointed there wasn't an Adam/Mary confrontation in the original book, so I added my own. I used Margaret (the name of the third sister) to name Ellie and Eddie's daughter. And while some of you may disagree that their relationship isn't the type to have a child before marriage, I view little Maggie as a testimony to their love.
So - thanks a million! Make sure to look for more of my stories on the site, because this isn't the end of the Pig Lady! Love, TPL.