Has some definite similarities to 'Father of the Bride' so I have to say I can't take credit for either that or 'The Addams Family'. Very different from my usual stories but I couldn't get it out of my head.
It would be all worth nothing, if he couldn't have them. This home, the cars, the staff, the business would mean nothing if he couldn't give it to his sons, his wife and her.
He surveyed the ballroom from his vantage point on the chair. He sighed lowly, deliberately and lit a cigar. He could count only three times in his life where he had felt such contradictory emotions. One was his wedding day, the second was her birth and the third was today; her marriage.
He played with the word in his head. His marriage was damn near perfect, serve a few differences and arguments through their history. Would it be the same for his little girl? His daughter. He struggled to contain the pain he felt, struggled to watch as Wednesday and her new husband danced in the middle of the floor. The celebrations had just begun and yet he was tired. His bank book was also rather exhausted; he couldn't resist the women in his life when they wanted something. He rubbed his fingers across his forehead, noted he was perspiring slightly. Being in the ballroom did that to him often, usually for more enjoyable reasons. God, he was feeling old. If he had any energy he would be seeking out his wife to ensure him that he was, indeed, no old man. But it was not the kind of exhaustion that pervaded your muscles or bones; it was the kind that fogged your brain. Emotional exhaustion, he had heard his astute wife call it.
Happy/sad. The master of all contradictions. He took a deep draw on the cigar and scanned the ballroom with his eyes. Everyone, his friend Williamson, even Tish, was giving him a wide berth. It was not that he had been rude; he had been the ultimate patriarch, the absolutely charming host. But they knew him well enough to know that it required very little to dislodge him. His speech had been punctuated by gasps for air and a distinct lack of true emotion at the wedding dinner.
His wife caught his eye and smiled. She was at the far end of the ballroom; deep in conversation with Carmen. She was beautiful as she sipped from the steaming, noxious looking goblet that was in her fine hand. If he could go back and do it all over again, he would not have changed a thing. If he could go back with the knowledge he had now; he would only advise his 25 year old self never to fear her beauty or her wit. Only to exalt it. Oh, and he would kindly remind himself that marrying a younger woman meant he needed more energy for carnal pursuits than even his wildest dreams could have envisioned. Tish laughed with delight and he envied her happiness at this moment; though he rarely coveted anything his wife enjoyed. In fact, giving her pleasure was his goal in life. But today he was irritated that she could seem so cool, so unbroken. They were giving away their baby, their creation to another man, and yet his wife seemed totally at ease. Of course he knew that inside she was struggling. It was her ability to be unflinchingly well-presented that was irritating him.
The music had finished and the young couple, full of happiness, made their way from the dance floor. Wednesday never had glowed, never had once looked so completely at ease, as she did at that very moment. She looked so like Morticia – she looked so like a woman. A low, pathetic growl rumbled in the back of his throat. She was a woman, his little girl, was a woman now. And she belonged to someone else. She was another man's now; a man who would make or break her. How could he trust that?
He could have broken his young wife if she hadn't been so incredibly, entirely the focus of his everything. She had been so young, younger than Wednesday was now. He had been a cad, lost, aimless. And she had always been Morticia. She had darkness in her; the kind that was inherent, not created. That was what this man needed to feel about Wednesday if he were to be successful as a husband; he needed to feel all the things that he himself felt for his wife. He needed to want to be her slave. Gomez watched the young man and knew that he felt that way. He watched him and knew there was no hope for his own wants. The women in his life made the right decisions nearly always.
His daughter, in her wedding dress that had cost him a small fortune to have made, stood before him. He smiled as he looked at the dress and remembered when Morticia had offered her own wedding dress to her daughter for this very day, only to be told quite curtly that it was far too low cut for Wednesday to even 'consider wearing it'. He had a momentary image of his wife floating toward him in her wedding dress the day they were married; he moved in his seat with discomfort. Such a memory should not create that reaction in him. But that was what she was capable of.
His voice and it's weakness surprised even him. And his cigar had all but been smoked to the absolute end. He hadn't been concentrating.
She leaned down, touched his arm gently. Wednesday was thawing to affection lately. It scared him more that anything as he knew it to be the sign of maturity in a young girl, she was readying herself for motherhood and for being a wife. She was beginning her transition from sadistic child to darkened woman.
"I'd like to dance with my father."
He smiled lightly, attempting with great zeal to hide his emotions, and took her hand. He seen his wife as he escorted his daughter to the dance floor and seen, for the first time, the turned down corners of her mouth and the tears that threatened her eyes. He had not seen it because he did not want to. He managed only to brush his hand against hers before he was on the dance floor.
He took his daughter in his arms and for the first time, truly noticed how she had filled out. He seen a familiar smile on her face and was consoled by it, if only slightly. It was a slow dance; perfectly appropriate. Sad and happy at the same time.
"Thank you for everything father. My mother and you have done so much for this day. For my entire life."
He looked into Wednesday's face and he could see it all very plainly. He could see her cradled in his arms, only hours old. He remembered the exact words he used to thank his wife for bringing his daughter into the world.
Then she was starting school, plain and sullen. And deviant. She was wearing a severe pinafore and a white shirt buttoned to the neck. She was not smiling as he attempted to hoist her onto his back. She bit the side of his neck and it bled for over an hour. She was aggressively silent. And he adored her.
She was 16 now and she was sobbing into her mother's hair, her arms wrapped tightly around the body that had given her life. He wasn't supposed to be watching, but when one of the women in his life was drowning in tears; he felt helpless. His wife motioned with large eyes for him to leave the doorway but he simply wanted to murder the boy who had hurt her like this. It was the first time he had witnessed his daughter cry. She was already thawing and it frightened him. Emotion was a sign of maturity.
He saw her graduating. He was proud of her. She couldn't have cared less.
And now his last memory, burned into his heart. Handing her over to the young man, offering him his little girl's hand, as they were married. It was so soft in his, so small, that he didn't want to let it go.
He smiled. She was happy and so was he. And as they danced her hand was in his once more.
"It was worth everything," he muttered quietly, "You are worth everything I have given you and more. You are all worth it. Your mother, your brothers...you are what I live for. "
Wednesday flushed with emotion and under her pale white face, he could see a red blush of heat on her cheeks.
"I'll always be your daughter," she whispered so quietly, so that no one heard. She was, as yet, unable to be openly affectionate.
He could only nod as she continued, "I'm still your child."
"You're a woman. As your mother always says, you were only ever ours to borrow, not to keep."
"Sometimes mother's wrong,"Wednesday laughed quietly.
"The women in my life are never wrong, Wednesday. My happiness outweighs my grief."
He let her go then, clung to her hand for a moment, but her husband wished to have her by his side to speak to their guests. She disappeared into the throng of guests, into her well-wishers. And a little piece of his heart went with her.
He didn't get the chance to say goodbye to her before the car pulled away to take them to the airport and then to Calcutta. Then all that was left were the remnants of a party and of a childhood. He cradled a last scotch and arsenic in the study as his wife said goodbye to her friends and put their youngest to bed. He climbed the stairs, grateful for his solitude and the silence of his home. It creaked underneath him, shifted as if it knew something was missing. He sympathised with it's sorrow.
It was quiet when he entered their chamber. The fire was lit, the bed was turned down. It smelled like her. Comfort washed over him.
She did not answer and he made his way to her dressing room. It was somewhere he rarely went, unless he wanted to be thoroughly horrified by the amount of clothing his wife owned. Or if she allowed him the reward of choosing what she might wear or if he needed to fetch a whip. But tonight he stepped into the room. She was fiddling, rather ungracefully it had to be said, with the laces of her corset.
"Damn! Will you help me with this?"
She was decidedly frustrated as she threw her hands down and looked at his reflection in the mirror. There were tears in her eyes. She was only young, he reminded himself. He silently untied the knot he had tied that morning when she had lustily asked for his assistance. Then le loosened the laces, watched as her body loosened too. She removed it, then tied her gown around her body.
"Take me to bed?"
He smiled then, a crooked, genuine smile. He wiped the tears from her face and lifted her into his arms.
She was perfect but then again, such were the women in his life.