|The Journey to Happiness
Author: ScarletCourt PM
How do Sybil and Tom get from a failed elopement to Lord Grantham's blessing and eventually married in Dublin? Interweaves with the scenes we see in S2E07 and S2E08 and eventually the C/S. Warning: Spoilers for S3! Runner-up in the January 2013 Highclere Awards in the Progress - Multi-Chapter category.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Sybil C. & T. Branson - Chapters: 44 - Words: 180,047 - Reviews: 384 - Favs: 75 - Follows: 101 - Updated: 09-06-12 - Published: 12-23-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7666512
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Thanks so very much for all the reviews, etc., since the last chapter. I am in awe by the fact that this story has over one hundred reviews as of the last chapter. It's always lovely to hear what people think of the story and there are days when I read each comment multiple times especially when I need encouragement to work through a particularly difficult plot point. For those who have indicated that they check this story every day for an update, I should mention that I update approximately once every six days. Thanks for your patience.
As always, many thanks to my ever patient betas, Tripp3235 and mswainwright, without whom, the quality of this story would be much poorer indeed!
Disclaimer: Not mine. All Downton Abbey characters belong to Julian Fellowes and ITV. I'm just playing with them.
When Tom arrived on Monday morning, Sybil was doing some dusting about the house. Mrs. Branson was at the table working on a dress for a client.
"Good morning to you both," said Tom, newspaper tucked underneath his arm and a few paper bags in his hand.
Mrs. Branson nodded in acknowledgement while Sybil came up to him to give him a kiss on the cheek and said, "Good morning to you, too."
"I have the chicken, the eggs and the vegetables you requested," Tom said to his mother.
"You can put the chicken in a bowl on the work table so it doesn't drip everywhere and the vegetables beside it," said Mrs. Branson as she continued working on the dress. "I'll season it when I make lunch. You know you're spoiling me by bringing all that when you come in the morning. Saves me an hour after lunch."
"Well, if I'm working by next week, that might be the end of it." said Tom as he put the items where his mother asked. "Though if I have a lunch hour free, I might bring it then."
"I won't have you spending your lunch hour shopping for food," said Mrs. Branson. "Besides Sybil will need to learn the skill and this is a good time. Oh, Cousin Fergus sent a boy with a note this morning. You can go see the flat tomorrow afternoon at three. It's just down the street. Sybil has the address and the price you should ask."
"Oh good," said Tom. "I was hoping to be able to see it and hopefully settle on something this week so that we can find furniture and the like. We don't need much, but a bed, a table and some chairs would be a good start."
"You'll also need some dishes, pots and pans, and linen to start with as well as a start of a pantry," said Mrs. Branson as she finally looked up from her work. "What are the plans for today?"
Tom looked at Sybil and said, "We need to visit the bank and I'd like to look for a ring for Sybil."
"Tom's jealous of the attention I'm getting without one," said Sybil in a teasing tone.
"Well, it was something I should have taken care of a long time ago," said Tom a little sheepish. "But with trying to keep our understanding a secret in Yorkshire until we were almost ready to leave, I tried not to think about it and then with everything happening at Downton and us arriving on Holy Thursday there's not been an opportunity."
Mrs. Branson said, "Well, the bank won't open until ten o'clock. Will you be back for lunch?"
"No," said Tom. "We'll come back later in the afternoon. Is there anything else you want us to pick up while we're out?"
"I'm low on sugar," said Mrs. Branson. "But it's so expensive right now. I don't want to burden you."
"Think no more of it, Ma," said Tom. "We'll bring sugar when we return." Turning to Sybil, Tom asked, "Are you ready?"
"Mrs. Branson, is there something else I need to do before I go?" asked Sybil.
"No," said Mrs. Branson as she looked up at them. "You go ahead as I know that Tom is anxious to get to the bank."
Turning to Tom as she untied her apron, Sybil said, "Let me get my hat and pocketbook and we can head out."
Soon there after, Tom and Sybil were on their way to the bank down the street to open a couple of accounts, one for daily use and the other for the money that her father will be sending. As they were walking toward the bank with Sybil holding on to Tom's arm, Sybil said, "You know I've never dealt with a bank before. I had an allowance for incidentals, but otherwise we almost always bought things on credit and Papa's man of business managed all the details."
"Well it's not that difficult," said Tom. "You give the bank the money or a cheque to deposit into an account and they give you a booklet to indicate how much money they are holding for you. When you require money, you bring your booklet in and they subtract the amount you wish to take out. It's very important to keep the booklet safe because without it, it can take some time to determine the amount of money the bank has for you. I'm sure that they will go over everything when we open the accounts."
"Will we need to write cheques?" asked Sybil. "I mean, the money that Papa will be sending would be in cheques, which we deposit into the bank, but will we have to write them ourselves for various larger items or would we manage everything on a cash basis? I've never written one before."
"I've never written a cheque before either," Tom admitted. "I've received them as wages which I then deposit into my account and I pay everything in cash. I don't know anyone who takes a cheque as payment for goods."
"This brings me to another thing," said Sybil as she looked around the busy street." Your mother won't take money to help with expenses while I'm staying there. I don't know what to do. You know I don't want to be a burden to her, especially with two other mouths to feed besides myself."
"I know that Cathleen gives Ma ten percent of her wages," said Tom with a smile. "It's what we all did when we worked and lived there, so I don't think that you're as much of a burden as you think you are."
"What do you think of giving her a household gift when we marry as a token of thanks for all that she has done for us?" asked Sybil.
"She might appreciate that, depending on the gift you have in mind."
"I don't have anything in mind at the moment," said Sybil. "Is there something that she wants but hasn't gotten for herself?"
"There are many things that she wants," said Tom. "But whether she will accept it as a gift from you is a different story. You have to understand. We have pride in our ability to pay our own way and while we may want something that we cannot afford, we may not necessarily accept something from someone out of charity or as a payment for something we would do for family."
"Which is why originally you weren't very happy with the money that Papa is giving us," said Sybil as she looked up at him.
Tom smiled at her and said, "Yes, you understand then and it's why you will be putting the money from your family into a separate account."
"But do you understand where I'm coming from in my wish to thank your mother for everything she has done for us?" asked Sybil.
"Yes, I do," said Tom. "And she would appreciate it more if it was something you did or made from the kindness of your heart."
"But don't you see, that's part of the problem," said Sybil. "Anything I can make or do to show my thanks, she has taught me or will teach me."
"I don't believe that," said Tom. "Were you not taught any practical skills?"
"No, I was not," said Sybil with a sigh. "As the daughter of an Earl, I was taught to know how to balance the sexes at the dinner table; I was taught to ride and how to drive a governess cart; I was taught to write correspondence; I was taught how to plan parties and events; I was taught how to supervise staff and set a menu; I was taught how to keep a conversation going in a drawing room, and I was taught how to play the piano, but I was never taught any practical skills such as sewing or cooking or cleaning or washing or ironing or even how to make a bed, which is why I am very much indebted to your mother and why I want to give her something in thanks."
Tom smiled in amusement at Sybil's diatribe. Seeing the lack of amusement in her features, he quickly asked, "Do you not embroider? I thought every young lady was taught embroidery even princesses."
"Yes, I do," said Sybil. "Not very well, but I do. Why?"
"I think she would appreciate a gift that you make yourself, like embroidered handkerchiefs," suggested Tom.
"I could, couldn't I?" said Sybil as the idea took hold. "But I didn't bring my embroidery equipment. Where would I get what I need?"
"I'm sure Cathleen could help you with that," said Tom. "She embroiders and I'm sure wouldn't mind you borrowing her needles and hoop. She could pick the thread up on the way to or from work if you need something and you don't want Ma to know. Though if you want to get the handkerchiefs yourself we could look tomorrow. I know that Ma would appreciate something like that."
"Yes, if you wouldn't mind taking me shopping for handkerchiefs," said Sybil.
"Then that's what we'll do and we're here," said Tom pointing to the door to the Munster and Leinster bank.
Tom and Sybil were shown into an office when they inquire about opening some accounts.
"Mr. Flynn, are you available to help this lovely couple open up a couple of accounts?" asked the young woman who brought them to the office.
"Yes, I am," said the man dressed in a grey suit behind the desk, looking to be in his early thirties with light auburn hair, neatly combed, and a neat mustache. "Thank you Miss Burke." Rising from his chair, he looked at Tom and Sybil and said, "Please do sit down." Once they do, he asked, "How may I help you?" Miss Burke closed the door to the office as she left.
"As Miss Burke indicated, we are interested in opening up a couple of accounts," said Tom. "One as a current account and the other as a savings account."
"Very well," said Mr. Flynn as he put the papers he was working on to one side. "Will both of you be account owners on both?"
"For the current account, yes," said Tom. "But for the savings account, my fiancée would be the account owner."
"May I ask for legal purposes, when this happy event will be taking place?" asked Mr. Flynn as he took out some forms.
"The fifth of June," said Tom.
"Very well," said Mr. Flynn as he jotted a few items down. "What are your names?"
"Tom Branson and Sybil Crawley," said Tom as he looked over to Sybil.
"What are your respective addresses and is either of those places where you will be living after you are married?" asked Tom.
"We don't quite know where we will be living after we wed," said Tom. "We're currently looking for a place."
"We need an address for the purposes of issuing bank statements," said Mr. Flynn.
"In that case, use this address 87D Moran Road," said Tom. "My fiancée is living there with my mother at the moment."
"Very well," said Mr. Flynn. "Is there an amount you wish to deposit today into each of these accounts?"
Taking a stack of notes and Lord Grantham's cheque out of his billfold, Tom said, "We'd like to deposit this into the current account and this cheque into the savings account."
Taking the cash, the banker counted out the notes and made a note, and then when he looked at the cheque, he asked, his demeanor changing slightly, "This cheque is written to Lady Sybil Crawley. You are Lady Sybil Crawley?"
"Yes, I am." said Sybil finally speaking. "And there will likely be cheques written that will include my title and ones that will not. Will that be a problem, Mr. Flynn?"
"No, not at all, Milady" said Mr. Flynn. "Let me make a note of it in your file."
"Please address me as if I were titleless," said Sybil. She then inquired discretely, "I trust the fact that I have a title will not be broadcast by your bank."
"Yes, of course not, Mil-Miss Crawley" said Mr. Flynn, slightly flustered by Sybil's title and calm manner.
"With the situation here in Dublin, I would like to limit this bit of information to a few select people if possible," said Sybil. "How may that be accomplished?"
"I can assign you to a special cashier," said Mr. Flynn, thinking quickly. He continued to fill out the forms while he said, "When you or your fiancé comes in to deposit a cheque with your title upon it, be sure to go see Miss Dunne or myself if Miss Dunne is unavailable. Will you need to withdraw some cash from this cheque today?"
"Yes, I will," said Sybil. "I would like £5 in small notes and £1 in coins, please."
"Once we're done here," said Mr. Flynn as he checked the forms he had been filling out. "I will take you to Miss Dunne who will make the transaction for you."
"Of course," said Sybil. "There is one other thing. For the savings account, is it possible to put my fiancé as the beneficiary?"
"No, Sybil," said Tom. Looking at Mr. Flynn, he asked, "Can you give us a minute?"
"Of course," said Mr. Flynn as he rose from behind the desk. "Take all the time you need."
After Mr. Flynn left his office, Tom stood up and said, "I don't want your father's money."
"No, Tom," said Sybil as he looked at him. "If something were to happen to me, I want you to have access to it in order to bury me. I will not be a burden even in death. Give the rest to charity if you wish, but use it to bury me. Who knows what life may bring and I'm not coming here on my death bed to change it."
"You will not yield then?" asked Tom when he saw the determination on her face.
"No, I will not," said Sybil. "If I were to die in childbirth and the child lives, I would want you to have access to that money in order to help raise our child or any other children. We would not use the money for everyday, but it would come in handy if something were to happen to me or to you. Think of it as an insurance policy."
Seeing that he wasn't going to win this one, Tom said, "I pray that you won't die in childbirth, but I suppose that I could use the money to help raise the children if you were gone."
"Now you see what I mean," said Sybil. "I know that you would never use the money yourself, but I would want our children to benefit from the money if I was no longer with you."
"Very well," said Tom. "The only time I would use this money is to help raise the children and if there were no children, then the money would go to charity." Tom then walked to the door and asked Mr. Flynn to return.
"Please add Mr. Branson as the beneficiary on the savings account," said Sybil when Mr. Flynn returned to his chair.
"Very well then," said Mr. Flynn as he added Tom's name onto the beneficiary line. "I now need each of you to sign a signature card and the applications."
Both Tom and Sybil signed the cards and applications Mr. Flynn put in front of them after they read through it quickly.
"Excellent," said Mr. Flynn. "Let me introduce you to Miss Dunne."
After lunch, Tom and Sybil went to a few jewelry stores to get some ideas for the ring that would signify their union. There were lovely rings in every store they went, but none caught both their eyes. After the fourth store, they decided that they would call it a day as Sybil wanted to get back to the flat since Mrs. Branson had promised Sybil she could do some of the actual cooking rather than just watch.
Stopping at a grocer's to get the sugar they promised, Sybil splurged a little for a bigger package, saying that she wanted to do some baking in the near future if Mrs. Branson was willing to let her. Since Tom enjoyed sweets of all kinds, he did not object very strenuously.
Later that evening, as Sybil and Cathleen were getting ready for bed in their room, Sybil asked, "Cathleen, I was wondering if you could help me with something." Both were in their nightdresses, sitting on their respective beds.
Cathleen looked at Sybil as she folded up her clothes and said, "What would you like help with?"
"Can you keep a secret?" asked Sybil as she tied the end of the braid she made with her hair.
Cathleen smiled broadly, eager to be in on Sybil's secret, and said, "Definitely."
"Good. Tom mentioned that you embroider," Sybil started nervously. "I want to embroider something for your mother as a token of thanks for all that she's done. I was hoping that I could borrow a hoop and some needles since I didn't think to bring mine."
"Of course," said Cathleen as she went to rummage through her sewing box for her embroidery equipment. "Here we are." Cathleen gave Sybil her hoop and a pin cushion with some needles.
"Thank you," said Sybil as she took the things from Cathleen.
"Do you know what colour thread you need?" said Cathleen as she looked through her sewing box.
"Not yet," said Sybil. "We're going to look for the handkerchiefs tomorrow and I'll know more when I see the colour of the material."
"Well, I have quite a few colours for items I've done in the past," said Cathleen. "If you need colours I don't have, I can always get it for you since you're not familiar with Dublin yet."
"That's very kind of you," said Sybil. "I'll make sure I give you some money for the materials if I need a new colour."
"Have you decided what you'll be embroidering on the handkerchiefs?" asked Cathleen.
"Not yet," said Sybil. "I'm hoping that the materials will give me some inspiration."
"Well, Ma's initials are RQB for Rose Quinlan Branson, if you wanted to put those in," offered Cathleen.
"Thank you," said Sybil, who has found Cathleen to be very helpful since her arrival in Dublin. "That's very interesting that your mother kept her maiden name. It's not very common in England."
"How did you know that?" asked Cathleen puzzled.
"Tom told me that he's named after her father, Tom Quinlan," said Sybil.
"Oh," said Cathleen. "Yes, Ma kept her maiden name because she didn't have a middle name and she never wanted to forget that she's a Quinlan. What's your middle name?"
"Patricia," said Sybil. "I was born on St. Patrick's Day and it's a name that's in the family. I had a second cousin named Patrick who died on the Titanic."
"He's the one who was going to marry your sister and be the Earl one day, right?" asked Cathleen. Cathleen had been very curious about Sybil's family and consequently had asked all about them the last four nights. With Sybil's family, it was almost like living in a novel.
"Yes, that's him," said Sybil.
"It's unfair that an entail prevents women from inheriting," said Cathleen. "I'm sure you or your sisters would have made fine Countesses."
"It is unfair," said Sybil. "But it is legally binding and since men do most of the voting, it keeps women from being heard. This is why all women over twenty-one should have the vote not just women, thirty and over, who own property."
"So Ma, Mairin and Niamh should all get the vote?" asked Cathleen.
"Absolutely," said Sybil. "Don't you think that your mother is smart enough to vote?"
"I suppose I never thought of it that way," said Cathleen.
"I'd like to get involved with women's suffrage movement here in Ireland when things are settled," said Sybil. "I was involved in Yorkshire before the war. Would you be interested?"
"Yes, I would," said Cathleen with a yawn as she got into bed. "Goodnight Sybil."
"Goodnight, Cathleen," said Sybil as she got into bed and blew out the lamp.
A/N2: Well, their banking is set up and next is the flat. Please feel free to point out typos and grammatical errors. Sometimes no matter how hard you or your betas look, these things get missed (especially those pesky verb tenses with which I have so much trouble.) Anyway, I'd love to hear what you think of this chapter good or bad, so please do review. :)