Saturday, December 03, 2005

Beautiful...Tangled Roots - Ch. 3

Chapter 3
The union of Edric and Abigail was a typical upper-class southern wedding. The ceremony took place at the main Wainwright family home, which had been decorated seasonally with holly berries, mistletoe, garland, and pine boughs. Adhering to current customs during that decade, no wedding gifts were given. Yet the bride and groom did exchange early Christmas presents in front of their guests, who ranked very high in Wainwrighton society.

The customary post-wedding supper followed. White tapers in silver candelabras gave the formal dining room an elegant glow and the food was bountiful. There was turkey, ham, bread, biscuits, jellies, various cakes, ice cream, gelatin, candy, and an abundance of fruit.

After saying their goodbyes to everyone, Edric finally retired with his new bride to the home that would be theirs. As agreed upon by all of his brothers, Edric would get the best of the land which was on the westernmost side near the river and they would all help him provide for that land.

His brothers, Jacob, Nathaniel, Solomon, and Zachary also made sure that the homestead on the land was repaired and garnished with new furnishings. Various outbuildings had been erected for his other interests and the land surrounding the big house was manicured with low cut grass and trimmed shrubs. Additionally, the four brothers made sure that Edric had a competent overseer and enough slaves to work the land in order to further accommodate the man who’d saved the Wainwright family fortune.

“Are you ready now, my beautiful bride?” Edric asked as he stroked Abigail’s creamy white cheek. His new wife really was beautiful. Even more so up close. Edric couldn’t wait to fully claim her. After all, if he had to be locked in an arranged marriage, at least it was with a beauty like this.

As Edric continued to marvel at Abigail’s beauty, the day suddenly didn’t seem so gloomy anymore. And it was of no concern to him that it was finally starting to rain outside.

Abigail nodded at her husband’s words. She trembled beneath his tender caress, wishing that she could enjoy it more. Although this was the moment all new brides feared, this particular bride had even more reason to be afraid. Abigail was not a virgin. Hadn’t been since age fifteen when she slept with the handsome schoolmaster in her former city of residence and ended up pregnant. When her father found out, he promptly ran that same schoolmaster right out of town. Then Mr. Naylor made his daughter induce a miscarriage to get rid of the child she’d carried for two months in order to restore her menses and put herself right again.

No daughter of Asa Naylor’s would marry or bear a child by someone as lowly as a schoolmaster. Asa had high aspirations for his one and only daughter, especially since his only son, Asa Jr., had been such a disappointment by marrying a local farm girl that he loved.

Mr. Naylor’s intention had been to find Abigail a doctor or lawyer type from a prestigious family. He’d struck gold when he met the Wainwrights last year and discovered that not only was one of the men still unmarried, but that the family was also in dire straits and needed someone with discreet finances to see them upon their feet again. Thanks to a loose-lipped clerk, Asa overheard the latter information while he’d been doing business at the local Wainwrighton bank.

“I will try to be very gentle, Abigail,” Edric said, cutting into her thoughts as he began to slowly relieve her of the white satin dress that been replicated from the wedding dress that Queen Victoria had worn one year earlier. Priding herself on keeping up with those at the highest level of society, Edric’s new wife even had her designer to accent the dress with identical orange blossoms just like the queen’s.

“Yes, my husband,” Abigail breathed, trying her best to relax as garment after garment was removed from her body. She so wanted to enjoy this night with the man she loved. The same man that had captured her heart from the moment she saw him dressed so finely in his long black tailcoat at the big October social held annually at the main Wainwright estate.

“You are very becoming, dear wife, as I knew you would be,” Edric said as he openly admired her creamy frame more closely.

Such candid observance, caused a blush to rise upon Abigail’s cheeks. That blush quickly spread to other areas of her body, prompting Edric to chuckle. He’d been with a virgin before and knew that making love to one required a certain level of patience. Fortunately Dr. Wainwright was a very patient and very disciplined man. He would not rush this most important moment.

“Would you like to undress me, dear wife? Or would you like to wait in the bedchamber while I do it myself?” he asked, constantly trying to be sensitive to his wife’s needs per his mother’s instructions during one of their many talks about love and marriage. Talks that Edric’s father had been too busy to participate in.

“I will wait in the bedchamber,” Abigail forced out as she licked her lips. Just the thought of seeing Edric unclothed was sending hot tingles coursing through her frame. She’d never felt such attraction before in her life.

“Very well then,” Edric replied as he lifted her slender frame in his arms and gently deposited her in the center of the sturdy mahogany wood bed. He looked a bit disappointed when Abigail immediately covered up her body with the white consummation sheets of the bed. It was obvious that he’d wanted to gaze upon her loveliness a mite longer. However, the fact that Abigail’s anxiety could be reasoned away as that of a virginal bride caused Edric to push past his disappointment.

Abigail watched in awe as her handsome husband discarded his garments and carefully laid hers and his on the French walnut chair by the window. This man she married was such an unusual specimen. Edric seemed to care about everything he touched, including their raiment. Such a man would make delicious love to a woman. Abigail just knew it and she was so grateful that she would be that woman tonight and always.

When Edric was finally bare, he did not immediately join his wife in the bedchamber as she suspected he would. Instead he stood before Abigail for several seconds, allowing her to get a full view of what she’d married. He seemed to want her to derive pleasure from the sight of him as well.

“Are you pleased with what you have wed so far, dear wife?” Edric asked. When the decision had been made for him to wed, he’d spent his remaining bachelorhood conditioning his body for marital bliss. That conditioning had mainly included lifting heavy rocks from one side of the yard to the other as a form of strength-building since it had been too cold outside for swimming.

“Yes, I am,” Abigail replied as she gazed upon her muscular husband in all of his glory. She marveled at Edric’s freedom in being able to put his body on display for her approval. Did all men behave like this on their wedding nights? Or was it just this special man who was a doctor by trade, yet had the body of a well-endowed farmer?

Abigail blinked rapidly to make sure she was not dreaming as her husband joined her in the bed. If she was in dreamland, then she wished with all of her heart that she was a virgin again. Abigail wanted to be untouched for this man and she desired for him to be untouched for her as well.

Yet this was reality and the truth was, neither of them were virgins. She, based on her own inner admission. He, based on the fact that Edric was now touching Abigail as if he was familiar with every inch of the female body. In fact, he seemed to know exactly where to place his hands and mouth in order to produce the highest pleasure. No doubt, Edric had done this many times before, because he was rapidly reducing Abigail to a whimpering mass of delight beneath his tender ministrations.

Suddenly Abigail found herself blindsided by acid jealousy like she’d never known before. Just the thought of her husband being with another woman past or future incited something wicked within her. That insidious thought and the fact that Edric was about to learn her secret caused Abigail to tense up even more at the point of consummation.

“Be at ease, dear wife. Your pain will be over very quickly I assure you,” Edric said as he ventured forward, intent on truly claiming her as his own.

Abigail squeezed her eyes shut and waited with intrepidation for that moment of truth. And then it was upon her as Edric suddenly stopped all moment and withdrew to look down into her face. Feeling his hot gaze upon her, Abigail couldn’t help but snatch her eyes open again to face the inevitable.

“What is the meaning of this? Why is there no barrier?” Edric’s eyes were incredulous and his mouth was set in a deep suspicious frown.

“There was a riding accident when I was fifteen. It took away that which I thought to save for marriage. I am very sorry,” Abigail replied, quickly telling the untruth that she’d been advised to by her father in preparation for this night and for all the questions that would arise because of her secret. Father and daughter knew that if Abigail didn’t say something at this moment, the white consummation sheets below would surely tell on her before daybreak.

Edric continued to looked at his wife for a long silent moment. The tears running down Abigail’s cheeks could easily be interpreted as tears of sorrow, even though they looked more like tears of fear. Yet Edric ignored her tears for the time being as he wondered over her explanation. As a physician, he understood that it was quite possible for such a thing to happen to a woman. But as a new husband, he questioned why Abigail hadn’t revealed this to him before they married. Yes, their thirty-day courtship was brief, but it was not that brief.

Then realizing what was at stake if he didn’t go through with the act of consummation, Edric said, “All is forgiven, dear wife.” Yet not forgotten; he added silently, now starkly aware that Abigail had it in her to be deliberately deceptive towards him. He felt highly deflated by that knowledge.

Somehow Abigail’s omission had tarnished the pure passion of the moment. At least it did for Edric. Whereas his original intent was to give her the bulk of his sexual expertise that had been gleaned from making love to many beautiful woman over the years; now Abigail only qualified for a watered down version of his passion.

Edric was amazed to discover how eagerly Abigail accepted that diluted version of his ardor. It was as if she was a dry ravine that had been starved for the waters of attention for years. Yet for all his wife’s eagerness, at the end of the night, Edric was not fulfilled. His only comfort now was in the fact that his family’s reputation and homestead would be saved because of this marriage. As for the marriage itself, Edric was just going to try to make the most of it.

******

The next day, Abigail’s father came for a short visit. According to Mr. Naylor, the reason for his visit was due to the fact that he had a special joint Christmas gift that he wanted to give the newlyweds privately. Yet some of the things Asa said during his visit seemed to indicate otherwise. In fact, at one point during the visit he actually hindered Edric from playing a second selection on the piano in order to ask if all was well in the new marriage.

To that, Edric replied, “I shall let your daughter’s beautiful countenance answer that for me. Does she not bear the look of a radiant bride?” Then like a music conductor, Edric’s right hand smoothly directed Asa’s attention to Abigail. The newest Mrs. Wainwright was sitting across the great room, chatting happily away with her mother-in-law who’d stopped by for a brief visit as well.

Asa glanced at his daughter and saw that she was indeed looking very happy and extremely content. In fact, there was no sign of her usual inner sadness that stemmed directly from the termination of her first child. Asa sighed in relief that their plan had worked and that this marriage to Dr. Wainwright seemed to be the cure-all for what had previously ailed his daughter’s soul. He was even hopeful that Abigail would one day have a whole house full of children to somehow make up for the one she lost.

Then Asa turned to Edric at the piano bench and offered to add another generous sum to his daughter’s dowry. To that, Mr. Naylor received an intent stare, followed by a slow, gracious nod from his son-in-law.

“Thank you very kindly, sir,” Edric said after a few quiet seconds of reflection. He knew, Dr. Wainwright mused as returned his attention to the black and white keys below.

Whether Edric could ever prove it or not, he was sure that his father-in-law had been well aware of Abigail’s condition before they married and had deliberately omitted that information during the marriage talks they’d had. And now that it was clear that Asa wanted to pay for that deception, Edric would most certainly allow him to do so.

© 2005 Suprina Frazier

2 comments:

Count said...

I'm confused. Was Abigal supposed to have a chasity over her stuff?? Or was it not as tight as Edric perceived it would be?? I know she wasn't a virgin but neither was he so I'm not sure why he's so upset.

Suprina said...

Back in that day and age, a woman's virtue consisted of many things, the main one being her sexual purity. Too bad double standards still existed back then as well, which is why Edric was so peeved about Abigail not being a virgin when he wasn't one himself.