The basis of this story was two incongruous facts about Hector and Molly's wedding. In one episode, Molly says she was married in her knickers because it was the only thing she had to wear that was white while in a later episode she shows Paul a photo album which contains a wedding picture of the couple, and Molly is wearing a wedding gown.

Mrs. Delia Char-Pottage, Jefferies, Perilla Lovage, Olivia Aldwin, Tilly Barnes and Reverend Mettle are characters of my own creation, the rest of the characters and their respective worlds, I do not own.

Bride Ties Knot—in Knickers

Glenbogle, 1960

Stag

The clean, sweet smell of freshly peeled orange was what greeted him that morning. With drapes fully drawn, a delicious splash of sunlight bathed his bedroom, warming his face. It gleamed enticingly off the china service containing his carefully prepared breakfast; four toast soldiers standing at attention, arranged on a buttery terrain of scrambled eggs, barricaded by mounds of grilled tomatoes and link sausage, all browned to perfection.

It was this keen awareness to detail that Mrs. Delia Char-Pottage, Head Cook and Housekeeper, prided herself on. That her employer favored whole oranges to orange juice—even if hand-squeezed, that toasted bread should always take the form of sentinels at breakfast, never points which were reserved for caviar or smoked salmon and dill, and every so often—when Hector Naismith MacDonald, 14th Laird of Glenbogle was feeling particularly randy, a nice salty glass of tomato juice, tangy and piquant, was what did the trick.

Today though, today was special. Tucking into his morning meal, Hector savored each juicy citrus segment, all neatly trimmed of the stringy creamy-white pith—such a nuisance to remove if lodged in one's teeth, Hector likened it to futile attempts at ridding the air of an angered swarm of midges, a frustrating impossibility.

But Mrs. Char-Pottage saw to the fruit as diligently as she saw to all household concerns. Raised of good Scottish stock, she was a force to be reckoned with although her kind, plump face void of wrinkles, did much to bare the truth of her real countenance, while also hiding her true age, a fact that, were it not for the mop of once-fiery hair now turned a dull straw shade kept wound and tucked into a neat bun beneath her cap, would surely have gone undetected. Mrs. Delia Char-Pottage had a heart as big and as soft as her hips were wide and rounded. The midges, however, were another matter entirely.

Though the rest of the house may have been bustling about with preparations for the big day, Hector was taking it all in stride. Sitting alone in his bed, his breakfast eaten and a steaming cup of tea poured, the young laird closed his eyes and allowed himself the time to reflect and to count his blessings. He was careful not to do this too often, this thinking too deeply about his position and its importance. Though it was humbling and grounding to remember one's place, over-thinking could have the reverse effect rendering this all-too-often pessimist, paralyzed.

A massive estate, Glenbogle was a testament to Scotland itself, made of stone hewn from its earth, festooned with ornate turrets, gables and spires, all crafted by local laborers, she had stood proudly for generations. But the beauty of its environs, the acres and acres of land, of crystal lochs and cresting waterfalls, wildlife and farm stock, everything that by nature could not truly be owned by any man, but by law and on paper had belonged to the Clan MacDonald for centuries, had come at an enormous price. The cost, monetary and otherwise, was responsibility.

Only in his mid-twenties Hector had taken to the appointment of laird quite well. With youth in his favor he was exuberant and full of energy, having the strength to chase down an errant flock of sheep, the charm to smooth things over with feuding tenants and just the right amount of boyhood still left in him to know when to chuck it all in and head for the salmon or to the green.

But as one might suspect, disadvantages did prevail among them Hector's authority which, given his young age, lacked a certain sense of gravitas. Managing a staff composed mostly of workers more than twice his age had proven to be awkward at times, but he'd found that taking a democratic approach rather than dictatorial, even when dealing with the folks in the village, allowed for a much more relaxed relationship amongst workers and laird.

A knock on his bedroom door brought forth Hector's valet.

"Good morning, sir." The servant's penchant for worsted wool suits, unlike the standard kit worn by most staff, hung perfectly from his tall, slender, straight-postured build. "And might I say what a lovely day it is for an October wedding?"

"It is indeed, Jefferies! It is indeed! I'm on top of the world this morning, I am!"

Handing Hector his slippers and silk smoking jacket—the navy one with an all-over paisley pattern that matched his pajamas, Jefferies escorted the laird to a chrome-framed barber's chair positioned in front of the huge windows which overlooked the side lawn and a little further down the shimmering loch.

"Ah, just look at how that water is sparkling so today. It's calling me. I have half a mind to rush right down to the loch this instant and do my laps. I bet I could swim out to the island and back in record time. What do you think, Jefferies?"

"Yes sir, I'm sure that would be entirely possible." Removing his own charcoal toned suit jacket, the valet folded it neatly over the back of a chair then rolled up his crisp white shirtsleeves. "But I bid you to resist the urge, as you are expected downstairs in about an hour's time."

"Oh, what's all of this fuss about anyway, huh?" Hector leaned back in the black leather chair, settling his heels comfortably on the foot rest while Jefferies draped a white cloth around his chest and shoulders. "I thought the one thing I'd be freed from now that dear old mum and dad have passed on was the trappings of tradition! But the clan has spoken and they won't have it any other way, a proper wedding ceremony shall be performed. Pah! All of this pomp and circumstance nonsense, Jefferies, it's not me I tell you!"

Chuckling spontaneously, the valet readied a thick, stout brush, dipping the natural-bristled end in a pot of shaving soap and swirling it about.

"What? Was that a snicker Jefferies? Do you dare to dispute me?"

"No never sir." Said with jocularity, the valet smeared the cold shaving lather over the bottom half of Hector's face and neck using a tight, circular motion, making it difficult for the laird to respond. "It's just that I remember your investiture as the new laird of Glenbogle rather well, sir." An unnerving and uncomfortable sound sliced through the air as the servant stropped the edge of a straight razor on a flexible strip of leather. "Then," Jefferies continued, taking the sharpened razor to Hector's face," you were quite keen to have all of the rites and rituals observed, the pipes playing full tilt and all." Rinsing off the tool, Jefferies gently turned Hector's head and scraped the stainless steel blade across the laird's right cheek, opening and closing his own mouth in concentration as he worked. "Respectfully, sir I don't see how you could have changed your desires so drastically in such a short time." Finishing up the shave, Jefferies took a soft white towel to Hector's face, wiping away any remaining bits of soap and shorn hair but by no means any splotches of blood. Never in his life had the skilled valet ever drawn blood.

Hector slapped a stinging application of an astringent aftershave balm on his face and glimpsed at his reflection in a side mirror, his skin now smooth and clear with a hint of pink coloring to his flesh, he modestly declared himself to be brilliant.

"Damn good idea I had not letting my brother make an appointment for me at that nouveau rich salon in Inverness. He has a few quid in his pocket, that one, and he has to burn right through it. A proper barber, Donald called the bloke who owns the joint. A proper barber my arse! I mean what does a chap want with a facial anyway? Nope, no one knows my face as well as you, Jefferies."

"Thank you, sir. Shall I trim up your mane a little, then?"

"All right," Hector glanced in the mirror again, turning his head from side to side, "but do be careful not to cut off all the locks I think that's what endeared me most to my Molly, my curly brown ringlets!"

"Aye, as you wish, sir." In truth, the valet knew his master preferred leaving his hair on the long side under the misguided belief that it gave his face symmetry, balancing out his somewhat largish nose. Pleased to humor the laird in this falsehood, the servant could only assume that Hector's fiancé had also done the same—the lengths one took to protect the fragile male ego.

"In all seriousness though, this is 1960, man. Exciting things were going on while Molly and I were down in London. It's such a hip, happening place, positively thriving with modernism. You watch, Jefferies, mod's the word; the 60's are going to change the world as we know it! Forget about the past, it's time to look toward the future."

"Well it's no matter, is it? A traditional Scottish wedding is what's on order for today, despite your feigned abhorrence of your heritage and its rich traditions."

"My feigned abhorrence, now you listen here, Jefferies."

"Laird, I must implore of you to sit still, else I won't be held accountable if the scissors slip and stick you in the jugular vein."

"Well now there's a dreadful thought, thanks a mil, Jefferies. Oh blast," Hector strained to see the time, "where on earth is my brother? Do you know if he's up yet?"

"Up? I don't believe he ever went to bed, sir."

"Oh aye well," Hector laughed. "It was a pretty rowdy Stag Party we had last night! Personally I chose not to over-imbibe, wanted to have a clear head today though even if I had, I know the secret to holding one's liquor! It's cheese!"

"How's that, sir?"

"Cheese, Jefferies. When one's belly is full of cheese, it takes longer for the body to absorb the liquor. Well it's something biological like that, I don't know the exact rudiments, the why or how of it, I just know that it really works a treat!"

"Yes, if you say so, sir."

"What about Kilwillie and Toad? Are they in any better shape, do you know?"

"They are not, but they'll all be right as rain soon enough. Mrs. Char-Pottage has supplied them each with a healthy dose of the pickle juice, sir."

"Pickle juice you say, Jefferies?"

"Aye, pickle juice, sir. Best cure-all for a hang-over I've ever come across," straightening his vest and tie the valet clarified, "not that I've often been in such a state to know, you understand. It's just that Mrs. Char-Pottage is very free with her advice when it comes to home remedies and the like. And she's never given me any reason to doubt her vast knowledge." Removing the cloth from the laird's shoulders, he used a hand-held whisk broom to brush off the laird's dressing gown. "Your kit for this morning's coffee is on the door of your cupboard, sir."

"How many costume changes will be required of me today, Jefferies?"

"Three, sir four if you count your going-away get up."

"Yes, but Molly and I are not going on honeymoon, not today any way."

"Right you are, sir but you'll be attending an after-party following the ceilidh I imagine, and the clothing therefore will be a bit more relaxed."

The grooming implements put away, the servant unrolled and buttoned his sleeves and donned his gray flannel jacket.

"Ah yes. Good thinking, Jefferies." Hector rose from the barber's chair and faced his valet. "It's my Molly you know, my dear heart."

"Sir?" Jefferies removed Hector's first outfit from the hanger and laid it out on a chaise.

"My Molly's the one who really abhors the pomp and circumstance. Mind you, it's not that she shuns our shared Scottish heritage. That certainly isn't the case at all. She just doesn't care for being fussed-over, doesn't relish the attention. Makes one wonder how she managed to be such a success at modeling, doesn't it?"

"Begging your pardon, sir, Ms. McLean is a lovely woman who carries herself very well. She was successful at modeling, I dare say, because she wears clothing with such grace, elegance and style, that even a burlap sack would be elevated, if hung from her frame."

"Well, well, hey-hey there Jefferies, stand down, ol'boy," Hector teased, "that is my wife you're speaking of."

"Your soon-to-be wife sir," Jefferies corrected.

"Yes, yes…right, of course."

A boisterous commotion in the hall just outside Hector's bedroom, followed by a series of light raps on the door interrupted their conversation.

"Oi! That doesn't need picking up, thank you very much!" Perilla Lovage, her housemaid's skirt hemmed a bit above Mrs. Char-Pottage's modest and tasteful dress code, slapped away the hand of the laird's mischievous younger brother Donald as she let herself into the laird's bedroom. "Excuse me, your lairdship. Only I've come to collect your breakfast things."

"I say there Ms. Lovage," Jefferies uttered sternly, "The laird's tray should have been picked up an hour ago." Though the servants' pecking order was very detailed and, in his position as valet Jefferies' rank was several rungs higher than that of a housemaid's, he actually had no authority over the household staff, but his seniority in service to the estate did give him a bit of leverage which he used judiciously to maintain a modicum of order.

Not one to cower, the young Ms. Lovage took offense at the comment, disregarding her lowly status on the Glenbogle roster. "Oh aye, Jefferies, you ever try dealin' with Mr. MacDonald the younger then, eh? Oooh he's cheeky, this one 'ere is! He's followed me all through the house this morn, he 'as. I've just now been able to get 'ere. Nearly broke the heel o'm'shoe, didn't I?"

"Oh lovely Ms. Lovage," Standing a good deal taller than his older brother, his glen plaid suit crumpled, his full head of glossy, flaxen-colored hair squashed and flattened from a night spent lolling about, Donald the undaunted lothario—the impetuousness of his own young age fueling his nerve, spoke to the youthful maid in a voice as smooth and sweet as dripping nectar. "You didn't seem to mind my following you around last night, Perilla."

"Donald! Donald Ulysses MacDonald! I'll have none of that hanky-panky nonsense on my wedding day! Is that clear?"

"Oh Hector, you old fart! Didn't know you'd gone to your dotage already. You sounded just like father then!" Stepping aside, Donald allowed the lovely Ms. Lovage to pass through with the breakfast tray. "It's in my nature to woo beautiful creatures. Moreover, they expect it of me! You should know that by now my dear, dear misguided, ball-and-chain-captured brother."

"Ball and chain captured? Please just promise me you'll behave today, Don." The rank smell of ale and whiskey, of sweat and cheap cologne wafting about Donald's presence and assaulting Hector's nostrils, sent him away from his younger brother to dress.

"Well, I'll promise to try my best anyway. Ah, Jeffers! And how is my brother's manservant this morning? I don't know why I've never had a valet at my beck and call. I s'pose one must be titled for that privilege, eh? Be a mate, would you Hector? Lend me your servant this morning. I could do with a proper shave, given today's special occasion and all. Do you think you could spruce up this mug o'mine, Jeffers?"

"Master Donald, you may address me by my last name or, if you prefer, by my Christian name but not by Jeffers as it is neither. Now, if you'll have a seat in the chair here I shall do my best to, as you've said, spruce up your mug."

Donald rubbed his hands together and dove happily into the barber's chair. "Wanted to take my brother to a barber in Inverness who owes me a fave, did he tell you? He flat out refused my offer. It's too bad too, because that was to be his wedding present!"

"You were going to use a favor some bloke owed you as a wedding present to me?" Half undressed the laird shook his head in exasperation. "Thank you, Donald. I mean that's low even for you. But none of that matters. Nope, I refuse to let anyone sour my mood. Because today gents, today I am going to marry the woman I love."

Hen

"Molly? Molly, are you up yet? They've sent down breakfast and it looks delicious! I could definitely get used to this! Molly? Molly?!"

"Olivia! Leave the poor dear alone. This is probably the last morning she'll ever spend alone, let her have some peace."

"Oh, I s'pose you're right." Stepping off the circular staircase, Olivia Aldwin returned to the small living room where she and Tilly Barnes had spent the night cramped, one each, on two settees which were slip covered in a deep ecru shade of slouchy cotton duck linen. "But everything does look scrumptious. Makes me just want to tuck right in. Perhaps I'll just have a nibble of this smoked salmon."

"Do you think we should have left Molly alone here last night? I mean this Gate Lodge is tiny, isn't it? Meant for a couple I suspect."

Quietly slipping down the stairs undetected, Molly entered the living room and joined her friends.

"Don't be ridiculous, Tilly!"

"Molly!"

"It was an honor having you, two of my dearest friends, stay the night. I only wish the quarters were more spacious and comfortable for you. As is, I felt like Rapunzel sequestered in that little bedroom at the top of the winding staircase. A fairytale come to life. Do you think Hector would have climbed up my rope made of hair to save me should I have let down my long golden tresses?"

Laughing at the thought, Molly encouraged her friends to partake of the breakfast they'd been served.

"I think we made the right decision," Tilly explained as she poured them all a cup of tea, "not trotting out the fun gifts at the big do yesterday. Better to have opened them as we did, at our own Hen Party here last night."

"Yes, I did appreciate that, Tilly. I don't even know who half of those women were at the bridal shower, only that they were an extended part of the Clan MacDonald."

"Honestly Molly, you can't tell me Hector knows all of his extended family."

"You'd be surprised how much information he's got crammed in that big head of his," Molly filled a plate with food and took a seat on a small tufted cushion set by the fire. "He has a memory for names and details, all that sort of thing."

"So too will your name and those of your many children be added to the illustrious MacDonald family tree!"

"Well, let's not hope for too many new branches where our little family is concerned. I think three children would be nice."

"You know, I must say Molly that peignoir looks lovely on you. Was that one of the gifts you received yesterday?"

"Oh thank you Tilly, yes it was. It was a shower gift from the stern Dowager Lady Isobel, if you can believe, with explicit instructions for it to be worn last night and not on my wedding night."

"Oh aye? Doesn't she have that the wrong way round? Shouldn't you have worn your dull old thermals last night and saved the sexier bit for the marriage bed?"

"Oh," they all laughed again while Molly stood posing, showing off her dressing gown. Made of the finest silk and lace in a delicate oyster shade, the full-length two-piece ensemble, sheer and flowing looked more refined and sophisticated than tawdry. "I guess this outfit does have some allure, but I don't think you could actually call it sexy, could you? It has more to do, I believe, with my feeling pretty and pampered."

"Sure, but they stuck you here in this tiny hovel! You can't mean to tell me out of all of the fifty million rooms at the Big House, each one was occupied?"

"No, no but it's proper to have the bride and groom separated before the wedding isn't it?"

"Well, they could have at least put Hector and the other chaps down here."

"Actually, I quite like this place. It's very cozy and to be fair, there are two rooms upstairs, it's just one has all of my wedding gear in it now. And besides, you two did have rooms made up for you at the estate. I don't think they knew what to do in this situation, me being without a proper family and all. Well, you two are my family, you know that. And tonight you may sleep in Glenbogle, my new home, beneath canopied beds surrounded by the portraits of all the former MacDonald clansmen, their eyes all glaring down at you!"

"Speaking of family, I haven't seen Jolyon. He won't miss the festivities, will he? He must see his little sister marry!"

"He'll be here, he has to be, he's to give me away!"

"And what of eligible men, will there be anyone worthy in attendance today?"

"Well, you've met Donald, he's quite handsome but he can be a handful. There's Hector's army mate, Toad. His real name is Terry, I've no idea how he acquired the moniker. You'll just have to scout about, I guess."

"Hmmm. Molly, you seem awfully calm for someone who's mere hours away from marrying a laird and marrying into all of this. What gives?"

"What can I say, Olivia. I'm in love!"

"No, no Molly, that answer won't suffice. C'mon, fess up! Why are you so sure of yourself? You've never been this cool before a runway show!"

"Maybe it just hasn't hit me yet. Dear me, look at the time, must nip upstairs for a bath."

Stag

"Donald? I wanted to talk to you about something before we head downstairs."

"Marvelous, I tell you. You'll have to lend him to me more often." Donald stood before Hector's mirror admiring his clean shave. "By the way, what is his Christian name? All the years he served father, and I never knew his first name."

"Whose?"

"Jefferies, Hector. What is your personal servant's first name?"

"Victor. Now Donald please, I need to discuss something with you."

"Even if I did have my own valet, he mightn't want to traipse all the way up to the attic every morning."

"Donald!"

"Yes, yes. All right, all right Hector, cool your jets. You have my full and undivided attention."

"Right well, I just wanted to make sure there weren't any hard feelings between us, me choosing Toad to be my Best Man. I mean you understand my reasoning, don't you? When we were in Korea just a couple of years ago, he saved my life. His bravery saved our whole regiment, in fact. One doesn't forget something like that."

"No, no of course there are no hard feelings between us, Hector. It works out better for me this way, actually."

"How do you figure?"

"Well, in my role as Groomsman, I can escort all the ladies I want and no one can say a thing about it." A lascivious smile crept across Donald's face as he envisioned himself arm in arm, charming all the lasses.

"I'm sorry to say, mate but there is a downside to your plan."

"Is there? Oh please, do tell. What could possibly be the downside of escorting lovely females, all permissions granted?"

"Nearly half of all the females in attendance are of the old and wrinkly set and nearly all are related to us!"

Hen

Partial to the cool, pretty colors of spring Molly McLean had always hoped to have a June wedding, when the dogwoods, magnolias, azaleas and hydrangeas were all blooming pink, ivory and varied shades of blue and purple. The compromise was worth it, she surmised. After all, today was just a mere formality. And the grey-stoned Glenbogle did look lovely and alive set against the warm oranges and browns of the fall season.

It was the rest of what this marriage entailed and represented, that worried her. Her friends' observation was spot on. Though not one to become overly worked up over the littlest of things, marrying a man of wealth and prominence, in a community where she was, for all intents and purposes, an outsider was a big deal indeed. Her love for Hector would sustain her, she knew, for she had never loved anyone so deeply. Molly had found her soul mate in Hector. Two swans, mated for life.

Stag

A piper perched just outside the kirk played the classic Highland Cathedral tune as wedding guests arrived. Their ushering duties paused for the moment, Master Angus Kilwillie, the already balding friend and Glenbogle neighbor stood impatiently beside Donald, both lads clad in white gloves, short black jackets with shiny buttons and trousers baring the MacDonald tartan, they looked a pair of salt and pepper shakers. While in a small room just off to the side of the altar, Hector peeked around the corner to see the people assembled, simultaneously scratching at his itchy leg where the skian dubh, the small knife worn in a traditional Scottish man's kit, was firmly tucked into the wide cuff of his stocking.

"Are we having a case of cold feet here, chap?"

"No Toady. I just can't wait for the ceremony to begin, to see my lovely bride walking down the aisle."

"Well um I hate to bring this up on such short notice but…"

"Yes, yes? What is it Toad? Out with it, whatever it is! We've been to war and back together friend, there's nothing you say that can shock me!"

"It's the rings, Hector. As your Best Man I should be in possession of them and the truth is I'm not."

"The rings, you don't have our wedding rings? Well who has them, then?"

"Jolyon, I'm assuming. Didn't you say he was supposed to be bringing them with him?"

"Yes, yes, he was having them engraved; it was his wedding present to us. Only Molly doesn't know anything about it. She thinks the rings were being kept in the safe but I posted them to Jolyon and I know he received them. I could have sworn I heard my brother say the MacKenzie lad had picked him up at the airport."

"Aye, he did but still, I haven't seen him yet Hector."

"Well we can't get married without rings! Let's see, what shall we use instead?"

"You know I'm a wee bit surprised you're taking this so well, Hector. Normally, you'd have been tearing up the place, sending out the dogs to track down Jolyon."

"Ah, right well, what's one to do really, hmm? There's no sense getting all uptight!"

"This doesn't sound like you."

"Toad, are you going to help me find a substitute for those rings or not?"

"Ah, it doesn't look like I need to now, mate."

"Huh? What?"

"Hector? Sorry ol' chap."

"Jolyon? How the hell are you? Where are the rings? Oh do tell me you have them."

"I don't, I'm sorry, man."

"What do you mean you don't have them? Well go and get them and hand them over to Toad here!"

"No Hector, you don't understand. I don't have them at all. You see I never check my camera bag when I travel. So I, being a clever little devil, tucked the rings safely into one of my spare lens cases. But being a spare, I do pack the backup lens in with my luggage. And since all of the cases are identical, somehow some way they must have gotten switched."

"So what you're saying is the spare lens and case is in your camera bag, which I can see you have slung round your body, and the case with the rings is in with your luggage?"

"Yes, exactly."

"So my daft in-law, what is it that you need from me, a lift back to the house or something so you can root through your luggage to find the case with the rings?"

"No Hector. See that's the trouble. They've done lost my luggage!"

Stag and Hen

"As you exchange these rings," Reverend Mettle recited in a loud, warm voice, "let them be a constant reminder of the commitment you have made to each other." He turned to the Best Man and whispered, "May I have the rings?"

Toad dutifully handed over the substitute rings; two thin beeswax candles fashioned into ring shapes. Molly's ring being the fancier of the two, having been entwined with a scrap of golden thread that was found in the vestment cupboard of the vestry, Toad pointed this out to the reverend.

An intrigued Molly, to the chagrin of her Brides Maids and those onlookers sitting close enough to witness the sight, took the whole incident in stride and urged the reverend to continue on with the ceremony.

Their I dos having been said, the reverend asked of the congregation, "If anyone has reason why this marriage should not take place speak now or…"

"Oi, vicar, you need to stop the ceremony!"

A collective gasp was voiced as the whole body of guests and attendants turned to look at the back of the church to see who dared stop the wedding.

"I'm sorry, boss for interrupting." A thin lad, who couldn't have been more inappropriately dressed for a wedding, his well-worn work boots, olive green utility pants and rugged leather jacket all coated with a thin layer of dust and grime, addressed the couple. "But I believe I have something here that belongs to you and the missus-to-be."

"Well come forth, MacKenzie. Bring it here."

His ice blue eyes fixed on the floor, MacKenzie slowly inched his way down the center aisle. Firmly grasped in his right hand was a large brown valise.

"MacKenzie, that's a piece of my luggage," exclaimed Jolyon, "How did you manage to find it lad? Did you drive all the way back to the airport?"

"Aye, I did but it's a long story, mate. Don't want to keep these good people waitin' any longer."

"Jolyon, tell me our wedding rings are in that case, man!"

"Let's hope they are, Hector."

"Our wedding rings? Jo, why would you have our wedding rings in your luggage? Hector, didn't you put them in the safe?"

"Aye, they were in the safe for a bit Molly, but then I sent them on to Jolyon, who had them engraved for us."

"Give it here, MacKenzie," Donald lunged forward taking the valise from MacKenzie as wedding guests gathered round the commotion. "Let's have a proper look."

"Wait! Donald, wait. I'll open it myself," Jolyon shouted, rushing forward, but he was too late, Donald had already undone the zipper and flipped open the top.

Letting out a whistle, Donald exclaimed, "Wow!! What's this? Look at those stunning gams! No wonder you nabbed her, brother!" Holding up a tabloid paper, Donald read the caption beneath a large picture that had been taken of Hector and Molly. "It says here, Bride Ties Knot—in Knickers."

"It's your fifteen minutes of fame, love." Jolyon explained, "I happened to see this rag as I went to catch my plane. Why didn't you tell me you'd already married?"

A buzz of words and murmuring…in knickers…already married…well I never…what was her surname…bounced around the small stone church.

"Now listen please settle down everyone, it's really not that big of a deal."

"Hector's right, it was one of those spur of the moment things. We had gone out for a lovely afternoon of walking around some gardens, going for a row in a lovely lake, visiting some shops and we'd lost all track of time. Before we knew it, evening was upon us and rather than travel back to our apartment in London, we stayed at this quiet little Bed and Breakfast called Swans Crossing. The next morning we visited this adorable little chapel. One thing led to another and we were married there in this intimate little ceremony."

"But in your knickers?" Donald blurted out indiscreetly, though it was what everyone else was thinking.

"Oh, leave it to you to get hung up on that bit. Just look at the picture, will you? She wasn't exactly in her knickers at all; she was wearing one of those short slip-type thingys. Weren't you darling? It's a very fashionable style now in London, like that new designer you told me of dear, what was her name?"

"Oh yes, Mary Quant."

"That's it, Mary Quant. She looked like she was wearing one of her little frocks!"

"Not having any luggage with us, it was the only thing white I had to wear."

"Well find us the rings, Jolyon."

"Yes, do please," the reverend replied.

"Right you are, Hector. Ah, here they are!" A joyous sound of clapping and laughter spontaneously erupted amongst the guests.

"Hector said you had these engraved for us, Jolyon?"

"Yes. I was tempted to go back and have them changed to the tabloid's headline, but I think you'll like my choice much better, love."

"Molly and Hector, mates for life," Molly read. "Yes Jolyon, it couldn't have been more perfectly said."

The End