Of Truth and Consequences
By March the secret was shared. Meredith knew Atherton was Sidhe and that Jareth was the Goblin King. She knew because Atherton had been honest and told her because he loved her and she needed to know the truth. Sarah showed Meredith the book she had read that triggered her memories and Meredith had understood what Atherton's confessions of love truly meant. At first she was shocked, then came a few days of denial and then acceptance followed by joy. To be loved by a man who could fall in love only once was a rather heavy revelation but also a dream come true. It was what she had wished for and Annabelle just adored Atherton and the feelings were mutual.
They had gone down to the courthouse on Wednesday and were legally married by the judge. Just his parents, Sarah and Jareth and Annabelle had been present. Her parents had passed away years earlier. They didn't need a big ceremony; they just wanted the paper that proclaimed they were legally married. Egberta wasn't happy about it, and made them promise to retake vows in the underground properly later, they agreed and Egberta was appeased. The timing was also perfect, the lease was up on her cramped little one bedroom apartment and Atherton was insistent she move in immediately, she wasn't going to live with him unmarried, he had already proposed just a week after their first date, at the same time he had told her everything about himself, hence the rush wedding. He had made her ring with Jareth's assistance and it was beautiful. He had drawn it, provided the rough materials and gems and with Jareth's magic, she had a one of a kind sidhe crafted wedding ring. So she didn't mind at all at the rush and less than memorable ceremony, she had 'a keeper' and he was wonderful and was going to be a wonderful father for Annabelle.
They were now moving in on a permanent basis and boxes were being brought in by moving men and Atherton had Annabelle on his shoulders to keep her up and out of the way from under feet, he was already talking about adopting Annabelle legally as his own. He did after all, just go through it with his own daughter, this was going to be easier, Annabelle's father never signed her birth certificate and because she had been furious at him for dumping her in the hospital room while giving birth, Meredith refused to give them the father's name. Adopting Annabelle was going to be easier than what Atherton had gone through to get his own biological daughter declared his own legally. Ironic as it was. Atherton took to fatherhood like a fish to water and he glowed from happiness.
"If her own worthless father can't be bothered to treasure her, I certainly will. Children are precious treasures." He had said leaning over to kiss Sarah's brow as she trudged by with a box.
"Love you too Papa." Sarah winked as she headed for the stairs thrilled. She was happy, her family was happy and thriving, and having a little one under foot again was a joy. Annabelle just worshipped the ground Atherton walked on, and looked to Sarah like a paragon of all wisdom. Jareth was her favorite playmate with his shiny balls he could do neat things to with his hands and his talking stuffed toys, which were in fact Goblins. She was three and adorable and infectious. If you stayed in a foul mood while in the little darling's presence something was wrong with you. Her only regret was Toby; she hadn't seen him since before Christmas and missed him with an ache in her very soul. He could have been Annabelle's Twin, they were both blond, and blue eyed and utterly toothache inducing cute. They even shared a birthday. Sarah mused as she set some of Annabelle's toys in her new room.
Even Jareth was lending a hand, complaining about manual labor but still schlepping just the same. Cyril was helping Agnes make sandwiches for lunch, a variety of meats and cheeses for the adults and Cyril was making the peanut butter and jelly, with the crusts cut off and cut into four little triangles for his newest little granddaughter. She was quite particular in wanting her peanut butter creamy, her jelly of the fruit of the vine and everything cut in perfect triangles sans the 'icky crust'. Along with her sandwich were to be six, not five, not seven, but six carrot chips. He chuckled, children had such quirky gastric demands, and he complied with glee.
It was a beautiful day out, the snow was melting, and it was unseasonably warm for the first weekend in March. Spring was coming early and everyone ate outside amidst boxes before going back to work. They only had the weekend before both Sarah and Meredith had to be back to school. Spring break wasn't for another three weeks.
Across the street at the beauty parlor an unlikely observer sat glaring and listening to the gossip in the shop. "Looks like Atherton got himself a new wife and another daughter recently. I heard they went down to the courthouse a few days back and made it official. Nothing fancy, just before the judge. I met the older girl Sarah. Nice and such a pretty thing and oh so sweet, she came in for a trim with her fiancé a few weeks back. Oh he was funny, making sure I didn't cut off too much. Men, they all have hair fetishes." One beautician said and the other laughed.
"I remember the British guy in the Armani. Damn he was hot stuff, I'd not cut my hair either if my rich ass boyfriend liked it. He seemed a little old for her, but hell the girl is smart, if he likes 'em young I'd have been first in line too." The other cackled when a third piped in.
"He drives that Rolls Royce always parked across the street, his chauffer I think is Atherton's dad. I wonder how he met Sarah, it seems odd to me a guy that rich and that insanely HOT put that big rock on a mere girl's hand. No matter how adorable I think Sarah is, it does not add up." The third said as she rolled red hair into curlers.
"Oh Sarah and that Jareth guy told me, they met a couple of years ago, just briefly and apparently she made an unknown impression on him, he tracked her down when she was a little less shall we say 'jail-bait'. He's actually a perfect gentleman, waiting for Sarah to be eighteen. They only meet under her father's supervision until the wedding. It's terribly old fashioned but really romantic." A fourth said and the red-headed customer asked a question.
"He's rich? What does he do?" She asked and her hairdresser shrugged.
"I don't know, but he drives a classic Rolls Royce Phantom III series, pre-war issue. One that was not made available to the public but was specially built for royalty and officials of state. That car cost him easily a million these days in that sort of condition. I know because my husband left face marks on our shop window the other day when he came to pick me up. He's such a car buff and he was having a cargasm only the truly enthusiastic of classic car nerds can have without looking like they're having seizures. That Jareth fellow let him take a look under the hood before he went inside for Sarah. So whatever he does for a living, he makes a bundle or he's some sort of big shot with royal connections or he is a royal. Commoners cannot get those cars, the blood has got to spurt bluer than blue." The lady said and her customer's eyebrows rose.
"Really? How interesting." She commented, thinking long and hard.
"Have you seen his place? He's totally restored that old Millingford Manor Estate back on the east end just outside of town. It looks like its brand new and it's huge! We drove past it the other day, it looks like a castle sitting there, and it hasn't looked like that in fifty years. The place must have a hundred rooms in it, built in the days of grand old money. It's nice to see that place back in its former glory again. I can only imagine how much money it took to rebuild that place."
The conversation continued, but the redhead was no longer listening. Now Karen Williams was smart, she hadn't married the most eligible lawyer in town because she didn't know the rungs of the social ladder intimately. Love had absolutely nothing to do with her marriage and everything to do with being at the top of the social elite. It appeared her former step-daughter was catching an ever bigger fish to fry and Karen was not at the top for nothing and she certainly wasn't going to stand by and let that slip of a girl marry royalty without being connected to it and benefitting from the association. The only trouble was she had totally burned that bridge. Trying to insinuate herself into Sarah's life like nothing had happened between them was going to take careful planning and one massive and fake apology.
Karen shivered, she never apologized, and she certainly would not mean this one when she forced it out of her lips. It would have to be another day however. Also since Sarah's departure, she'd had to take the little brat to day care and she was going to be late picking him up as it was. She'd only had Toby to forever tie herself to Robert's money. Toby was the ticket to the cash. Even if they divorced, she'd have alimony and child support. He certainly was not what she would have chosen if Robert hadn't begged. The brat cried all the time for Sarah, acted obnoxious and rude and was altogether too much trouble. She was sorely tempted on more than one occasion to drop him down a well or like Sarah's stupid little book she used to read all the time, wish him away to the Goblins.
She left the beauty parlor, her mind devising plans, as she picked up a sulking Toby and drove home. She couldn't ask Sarah to babysit again; Robert wouldn't stand for that either. He wanted nothing to do with her any longer. The bitter bastard, he was a chore to live with. If he weren't well off and respected in the community, Karen would be packing her bags and would be chasing the new Neurosurgeon that had moved into town. She sent Toby to his room so she could think in peace.
Spring break rolled around and for a week everyone went underground. If Meredith had doubts before, she was under no delusions now. The Castle beyond the Goblin City was in sad need of a woman's touch just as Atherton had warned her, but it was sublime. The gardens, the goblins, the labyrinth, everything was a feast for the senses. Sarah was overjoyed to see Ludo again and after many hugs and assuring Meredith he was 'safe', Annabelle was hoisted on his shoulders for a ride on the 'big fluffy cow'.
Jareth was always delighted with children. Annabelle was no exception. Children could make even large, scary looking monsters into seemingly unbelievable and creative comparisons that were infinitely amusing. The only thing even remotely resembling a 'cow' on Ludo would have been his ox like horns, leave it to a child to make only that one single common trait into an explanation.
As a family everyone decided that once the wedding was over, Atherton would move his ladies back to the palace and help take over some of his father's duties. Meredith and Annabelle needed to spend a good amount of time underground and let the magic 'change' them with Jareth's assistance. He wasn't about to lose them, and if they remained mortal, their time would be short indeed. Living underground, mortals would undergo a transformation and Jareth was the only Sidhe with the power to make changelings from adults. Sarah would need no aide, the longer she spent in the underground, her sidhe blood would surface on its own and 'burn away' for lack of a better reference her mortality.
During spring break, invitations to the Royal Wedding were sent out, informing the gentry and all and sundry that the wedding would in fact be taking place in a tesseract of space. Those coming from Above would come to Sarah's park and be ushered into the dimensional room via a tent erected in the park, those coming from underground would converge in a similar tent erected in the garden's of the castle. It would be tricky but would accommodate friends and relatives living in both planes of existence to attend and for the mortals unaware of the sidhe they would believe they were simply seated in the park under a tent never realizing they were out of space and time for the duration of the ceremony and reception gala.
The tesseract would also have glamour spells placed upon it for those who did not know about the sidhe or the underground, they would only see other humans. Jareth frankly didn't trust his father not showing up as anything other than his glorious sidhe self, he never used glamour spells and Jareth didn't need fainting mortals at his wedding. High King Oberon of the Seelie Court was a vain bastard that made Jareth look positively humble.
The invitations sent to mortals or sidhe living in the above had instructions that it was a formal affair and evening attire was required. That was a failsafe, the sidhe never went to a Royal luncheon without dressing to impress let alone a Royal wedding, there were going to be yards and yards of silk in the dresses alone and there was no need for mortal women to feel underdressed so instructions were detailed.
"Jareth, I don't have anyone to invite from my side other than my father and Meredith and they are already well aware you're a Sidhe. I don't see why you're going through all this trouble." Sarah said as Jareth explained what was happening.
"Sarah, love. I am being a vindictive git and enjoying myself. In your local newspaper today there is our engagement announcement. I specifically timed it so it would print while we were otherwise unreachable. I made sure a copy was personally delivered to your former step-mother's doorstep. At this very moment she is reading that one Miss Sarah Elizabeth Didymous, formerly Williams, is hereto engaged to be married on the evening of June 23rd to His Lordship, Jareth G. King. I did play down my lineage slightly, gave a list of not so false credentials and pedigrees however that are at this very moment making her seethe in absolutely jealousy. At one time I was indeed also titled in the above; my castle still stands actually in Wales in a place where people still believe. There I am still called, 'r Choblyn Brenin, which is really just Welsh for the Goblin King. My castle is called 'Balas chan Gwyllt Hud' The palace of Wild Magic. I'll take you there sometime, perhaps for our honeymoon. I doubt your former step-mother will take the time to translate the Welsh in my pedigree. Those however who do read Welsh however will more than likely steer clear of the park that day. I doubt many in your small hamlet read Welsh." Jareth grinned with a wicked glint in his eye.
"You didn't!" Sarah gasped and Jareth nodded.
"I most certainly did. I am going to make the woman positively choke on her own avarice. It's high time she learned that her actions and deeds have consequences and I am just the bastard to do it, because I will enjoy it immensely. There is also an invitation sent, specifically asking she attend, with your little brother. I have sent a letter requesting he be allowed to be our ring bearer. She will agree she has been plotting on trying to find a way back into your life for a few weeks now. She wants to climb her social ladder, she feared she burned a bridge and I gave her a rope and I intend to give her just enough rope to hang herself with." Jareth said flopping into his chair with a flourish and Sarah glared at him.
"That's cruel. As much as I would love Toby there, I don't want to use our wedding for a joke or some sort of revenge tactic Jareth." Sarah said and Jareth just smiled.
"This is not a joke Sarah and believe me I will not tighten the noose on the day of our nuptials. That is just the opening of the door. Trust me Sarah, she will hang herself I am just allowing her the opportunity in which to do so." Jareth said and Sarah sighed.
"I hope so and it's not that I don't trust you Jareth. I just don't want her ruining our day." Sarah said and Jareth pulled her into his lap.
"Love, I won't allow it, 'm anwylyd Banon at bod" Jareth purred and Sarah smiled.
"Was that more Welsh?" She asked and he nodded.
"What did you say?" She prompted for translation and he grinned.
"I called you 'My beloved Queen to be.' Mio beneamato Regina verso essere." Jareth said switching to repeat his translation in Italian.
"Okay, I know that was Italian, but unless you want pizza or pasta, that's about as much Italian as I know. How many languages do you speak Jareth?" Sarah asked and he waggled his eyebrows.
"All of them, including some very long gone and dead ones too. If we ever get bored being King and Queen, I could go and make us a living reading Dead Sea scrolls and the like." Jareth said with a wink and Sarah rolled her eyes.
"Sometimes, I'm sorry I ask you questions. Old man." She teased and Jareth laughed.
"I'll show you old little girl." Jareth said twisting so she fell backwards further into his arms where he then proceeded to kiss her senseless.
"Okay, you still have some spark." Sarah teased when he let her up for air.
"Indeed." Jareth chuckled as Egberta entered the room, and swept Sarah away for more wedding plans. Jareth grumbled. Even on Vacation, he had to steal time with her.
The wedding in his opinion could not come fast enough.
Karen sat in her fluffy pink bathrobe over coffee Sunday morning and picked up the paper. She always turned to the society and community pages first to see where and who and what of the day. A large photo of Sarah and the extremely handsome blond gentlemen was prominently featured in the announcements section. "Local Girl in a Fairy Tale Come True" was the header under the picture preceding the engagement announcement.
Karen's eyes were as wide as saucers as she read the announcement.
Miss Sarah Elizabeth Didymous, formerly Williams, age seventeen, daughter of Atherton Didymous and the late actress, Linda Williams a local girl and senior at James G. Harding High School and His Lordship, Jareth G. King, 'r Choblyn Brenin of Balas chan Gwyllt Hud from near Harlech, Wales, age twenty-nine, have announced their engagement. Every little girl dreams to grow up and be swept off her feet by Prince Charming. It seems that fairy tales can come true. They met while the groom to be was here on business and he states, "I found my heart and soul and will not leave without her as my bride. A love like this comes but once in a lifetime. She is everything and without her my soul would be bereft. I first met her in the park, dressed as a princess and she astounded me, she spoke and her intellect intrigued me, she smiled and the sun paled, she proved she can beat me at my own games, and she has faced dangers untold and hardships unnumbered with bravery and courage. I vowed one day she would be a Queen to this King and I am eternally grateful she agreed with me and consented to plight her troth me." They will be married at seven in the evening on June 23rd in Evergreen Memorial Park, near the monolith where they first met, on the Bride's eighteenth birthday. The Wedding is by invitation only.
"Oh. My. God!" Karen gasped aloud, the little baggage was going to marry an aristocrat with a title! All the rumors she'd been hearing were true. How had she managed it? How was Karen going to get an invitation to the wedding? This was going to be the social event of the century! She was ruminating and calculating when Toby wandered in, saw the picture and squealed.
"That's the magic guy and Sarah!" Toby said scrambling up on a chair for a better look.
"Magic guy?" Karen asked wondering how Toby of all people knew Lord King.
"Yeah, he looks different here though. When he 'poofed' he looked like a Prince out of the fairy book Sarah gave me. His hair was all poofy too, not like that." Toby said and Karen frowned.
"What do you mean by 'poofed'?" She asked and Toby looked at her was if she were as dense as a brick.
"You know, POOF! Magic. He just 'poofed'." Toby said rolling his eyes and Karen groaned. Dealing with an almost four year old was maddening.
"Sarah." Toby sighed touching her face in the photo. He missed her so much and mommy wouldn't let him see her anymore.
Just then there was a knock at the door and Karen answered it and stood there dumb as the man with the eye-patch that drove the Lord's car stood there. "Madam, I come bearing a letter." He said, handing Karen the envelope before bowing and turning to leave without another word.
It was a heavy parchment with a wax seal. The imprint in the sealing wax was a strange inverted set of horns with a curious Celtic knot in the center. The script was elegant on the outside. Curious, Karen shut the door and sat down to carefully open the letter.
Inside was the coveted Invitation to the wedding, Karen squealed. The gold filigree on cream parchment was decadent and lush, the invitations must have cost a small fortune. Tucked inside the envelope was also a letter, the stationary of the finest linen with gilded edges and the handwriting was as elegant as on the envelope. It Read:
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Williams,
While I do understand the delicacy of the situation between yourselves and my intended bride, I would like to formally request a humble favor of extreme importance. These past few months have seen a great sorrow in her life at the loss of her relationship with young Tobias. We would be most honored if differences could be set aside and have the young master in our wedding entourage as our ring-bearer. It would bring great joy to my bride to have him near and a part of her wedding day, her love for him is most sincere.
I will await your response to my request.
Lord Jareth G. King, 'r Choblyn Brenin of Balas chan Gwyllt Hud
There was a reply envelope enclosed already addressed to his estate in town. Karen's hands were almost shaking, Robert would have a fit but she did not care. Her ticket was the brat! She wouldn't even have to apologize, just show up with the brat to the rehearsal and the wedding. Oh Karen was practically giddy. She ran upstairs; Robert was still in bed while she dressed. She told Toby to behave until Daddy got up and she ran straight to the mall. She had to buy the best stationary to respond. You did not send a Lord a reply on a post-it note. While she was there, looking for a gown would be also on her list of priorities. Robert could suck it up, come along or stay at home. She was not going to miss the chance to attend this social extravaganza.
When Sarah returned to school the following Monday after having spent a wonderful spring break Underground, the first thing she found was the newspaper article taped to the front of her locker and Marcie standing there looking smug.
"Nice lie Sarah. That is so not true." She said and Sarah, sighed, removed the article and tucked it inside her locker.
"Marcie, will you just give it a rest already? Honestly, your pettiness is just getting ridiculous now. Why on earth does it matter to you at all who my fiancé is or what he is? Can't you just leave Jareth and I alone? Is your life so empty you have to pick apart others?" Sarah said, getting her books together for her first class of the day.
"Oh no you don't Sarah, do not get all high and mighty. No high school girl gets a guy like that without putting out or being preggers. I bet the cops would like to hear about your man and how you are jail bait. That's called statutory rape ya know, even if the girl spreads her legs willingly." Marcie sneered and Sarah had had, enough. She slammed her locker, turned and used her superior height to advance and leer over Marcie. Having a Goblin King as a supreme example of how to intimidate with sheer presence alone, she did her best impersonation.
"Listen here right now and do not forget. You are messing with the wrong girl, you have no IDEA what you are getting yourself into little girl. You are out of your league Marcie, not only would you be purgering yourself to the authorities, which holds substantial legal penalties that I will pursue should you dare, my husband to be is more powerful than you can dare hope to comprehend. I am through humoring you. By all means if you want to insure I make the rest of your life miserable, and I do have that power at my intimate disposal, keep pushing my buttons. I have been generous with you up until now, I can be very, very cruel. Don't tempt me further, do you understand?" Sarah said her eyes flashing and Marcie shivered. She was all talk and no one ever confronted her back, not like Sarah was doing.
Perhaps the article was true, which meant that Jareth really was a lord and people like that got away with murder and worse. Marcie just nodded and Sarah took a step back from hovering over her.
"Good, I do not want to hear another word from you, not another rumor, not another scribble on a bathroom wall or else you will be very sorry." Sarah said turning on her heels and heading to class, head held high like a queen just as the bell rang.
"Now, That's my Queen!" Jareth chortled, watching Sarah in his crystal regally swagger away doing her best Jareth impersonation. She was going to make one hell of a queen indeed.
To Be Continued….
OMG, first I have to apologize for taking so LONG on this very short transitional chapter. Real life has been FULL. Putting up Christmas decorations, inside and FIVE TIMES outside (I am so frustrated with strands of lights that go out in the MIDDLE and you have to re-string EVERYTHING just to change that one strand! GRAH!) and then I had to change the outside electrical socket, because that was what was blowing out my lights! Then getting shopping done, getting to a dozen follow-up doctor appointments (I was in ICU back over Halloween and in the Hospital over a week so I had to get to all my follow-ups…), The garage door opener broke and had to get that fixed, (Still waiting on parts for THAT…) Then came the problems WITH my computer, do NOT BUY DELL THEY SUCK! Upgrading to Windows 7 from their piece of crap disk they sent was a chore, until I finally gave up on their tech support and did everything manually MYSELF and it worked at last… then there was a million other mundane life annoyances that kept me off the computer. So I am sorry for the delays. Perhaps I'll be more timely after the holidays, I'm hoping at least. Oh the joys of being a grown-up, oh to have my own Goblin King to magically sort out life's problems. *grin* If you wish to keep track of my status, see progress reports and such you can always follow me on twitter (user name also fablespinner) or on my livejournal: fablespinner(dot)livejournal(dot)com.
Reviews are always welcome, they just make my day and everyone has been exceedingly WONDERFUL about leaving reviews. *KISSES and HUGS to YOU ALL!!!!!!*XOXOXOXOXOXOXO