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No Object of Regret, Indeed
The service had been performed, her dolls had kissed, all the guests had attended the wedding breakfast and now her bride and groom were ready to leave on their honeymoon. Her work was done, for now.
Perhaps it was time to think of marriage for herself now. It would be nice, she thought, to be the one wearing the white dress and being the centre of attention. The only problem was, she had to find someone to marry first.
Who could she marry? In the past she had wondered why she could not simply marry one of her best friends, like Isabella or Miss Taylor, for if you were to spend your life with one person, wouldn't it be better that it were someone you actually liked? But Miss Taylor, after laughing heartily, had told her that she would have to marry a boy.
Well, that narrowed her prospects considerably. She was left with the choice of Frank Weston, John or Mr. Knightley. John, she dismissed immediately as a possibility – he was sure to marry Isabella. She toyed with the idea of Frank Weston for a while – it was a pleasant idea, because she had never met him and could therefore make him anything she wanted him to be – but ultimately dismissed him because he was absent and therefore not really an option.
That left Mr. Knightley, who had recently returned to Donwell Abbey after finishing his degree. She thought for a moment: he was, of course, the handsomest man in the world, he always had time to play with her or speak to her, and though he might tease her sometimes, she basked in his attention in whatever form it was given to her. Yes, he would do.
Since she had made up her mind, all that was left to do was organise the wedding, get Isabella and Miss Taylor to help her with her dress, buy a new hair ribbon and invite all the guests. And oh yes, she would have to notify Mr. Knightley of the time and venue. It seemed fairly simple; she could foresee no obstacles to thwart her plan.
That is, until he said no.
'What?' She glared up at him. 'What do you mean, you can't?'
He looked as if he were trying not to cry. Or laugh – but that was impossible; nobody laughed at her. 'Emma, I am far too old for you; we should not suit.'
She made a noise of outrage, stamping her foot. 'I can't believe this – I rejected Frank Weston for you!'
He laughed outright at that. 'Emma, you've never even met Frank Weston.'
She did not see the relevance of that point. She had dismissed him as a marriageable option in her head – that and rejecting him were one and the same.
Eventually she shrugged. 'Very well, Mr. Knightley – it's your loss.' After the initial pique at his resistance to her order, she was not unduly bothered, comforted by the certainty that one day he'd bitterly regret his decision.