Simon and Celia
Athene was standing in her attic bedroom at the Pennington’s spinning around in front of the mirror. She was wearing her bridesmaid dress which span out as she twirled. The dress was a very pale blue, and she was wearing it over the underskirt that Celia had given her last summer.
As she was spinning there was a knock on the door, she stopped twirling as she was getting a bit dizzy anyway.
“Are you decent?” asked Anthony knocking on the door again.
“Come in Tony!” laughed Athene.
“Wow,” breathed Anthony as he looked at his girlfriend.
Anthony himself was wearing his new tuxedo, as he was quite tall for his age and was wearing his new suit, he looked closer to seventeen than fourteen and a half. The dark suit made his dark hair and deep blue eyes somehow look even more handsome.
He had taken off his glasses to polish them and check that he wasn’t seeing things because unless he was much mistaken, his girlfriend had transformed into the beautiful goddess he always known she was.
“You look, you look,” he stammered.
“Thanks, Anthony,” laughed Athene getting the gist of it.
“Have I got this tied right?” asked Anthony pulling at his bowtie.
Anthony had somehow always had trouble with ties, he had figured out how to tie his school tie properly, but a bowtie was another matter entirely.
“It’s fine,” she said shaking her head, “can you get my sash?”
Athene turned around so her back was facing him, and he tied the silk sash on her dress.
“How is it?” she muttered as she pulled on her shoes.
“That even when I’m wearing a pair of high heels, you’re still a foot taller than me?”
“Genetics?” shrugged Anthony.
“Come on,” she sighed as they headed down from the attic, “or we’ll be late!”
Simon was pacing frantically in the hallway downstairs, muttering to himself. To be honest he looked more like Anthony than his usual easy and confident self. This was clearly a terrible case of wedding day nerves.
“What is she’s not there? Maybe she’s changed her mind!”
“Oh dear god!” he exclaimed, “what if there’s an accident on the way to the church!”
“Simon,” said Nick calmly straightening his brother’s jacket and putting a flower in his buttonhole.
“You have got nothing to worry about. Cels loves you, and it’s only five minutes from the Bell’s to the church.”
“But what if?”
“If anything happens, we’ll deal with it,” assured Nick, “but as for now, just calm down and don’t worry. Everything’s going to be fine!”
Simon looked slightly uncertain, but they all got in the car all the same and drove to the church. They had had to arrive early, as Mark and Anthony were ushers and were showing people to their seats.
There were slightly under a hundred people coming to the wedding, but that was still quite a lot. It was being held at the local church, as they were both from the village.
Mr Pennington went to go sit in the front row with Mrs Brown whilst they waited for the guests to arrive. Captain Llewelyn had wanted to come to the wedding, but he had to work that day.
Simon was still pacing frantically muttering to himself, at the back of the church by the entrance.
“Nick,” said Mark carefully not wanting to upset Simon, “Simon’s going to have to move, he can’t see Celia before the ceremony!”
“Right, right,” nodded Nick shepherding Simon towards the front of the church away from the entrance.
Nick was the best man, and apart from looking after the rings, his main job was to stop Simon from panicking too much or getting too upset before the ceremony.
Julie arrived soon after and even though they were wearing the exact same outfit, Julie somehow seemed to look much more elegant in her dress than Athene.
Julie and Athene practised walking up and down the aisle out in the graveyard outside the church whilst the guests streamed in, and Mark and Anthony showed them to their seats.
Before long a car covered with ribbons pulled up by the church, and Celia got out of the car with her parents. Celia somehow looked even more sophisticated and beautiful than usual. Her shoulder-length blonde curls were covered by a lace veil, and her dress was made from a cream floral lace.
Mr Bell came running up the graveyard, as Mrs Bell adjusted Celia’s dress skirts having just gotten out of the car. He was carrying two bouquets of flowers.
“Here,” said Mr Bell breathlessly handing them both a bouquet of light blue flowers which matched their dresses. Celia had a larger bouquet of the same flowers.
“Do we look alright?” asked Julie spinning around.
“You look beautiful,” he beamed, “you both do.”
Mrs Bell gave her daughter one more hug before going to take her seat in the church.
Athene and Julie stood in front of Mr Bell and Celia at the back of the church.
There was muttering from throughout the church as the congregation waited for the service to start. Simon was as pale as a sheet, he looked almost like a ghost!
Mr Bell nodded to the organist, who started to play the processional music, and the congregation stood as one.
Julie and Athene started walking up the aisle slowly, followed a few metres behind by Celia and Mr Bell. As they walked, Nick nudged Simon slightly in the ribs and he turned around and looked to the back. The colour returned to Simon’s face almost instantly as he saw Celia walk towards him.
Athene and Julie sat down in the front row, next to Mark and Anthony as Celia stood next to Nick and Simon at the front of the church.
The ceremony was beautiful, Athene had never been to a wedding before, she had never known anyone who had gotten married.
After the wedding, they all gathered outside of the church for the photographs and then headed back to The Yews.
Whilst they had been at the service, the caterers had been setting up a marquee in the back garden of the house. As there were a hundred people coming to the reception there were about forty cars, and there was not enough space to park them all on the driveway. Therefore, Mr Pennington and Nick were having to direct all the guests to a spare field that they owned next to the house and helping them all park their cars.
Instead of having a wedding band, Mark and Simon had been fiddling with Mark’s record player for the last few days and had managed to wire it up to some new speakers that they had just gotten. The dancing wasn’t going to be until later, they had to get through the meal and the speeches first.
Athene was sitting at the main table next to Anthony, with Mark and Julie. After the main course and before the cake came the speeches.
Mr Pennington had a microphone which was wired up to the speakers.
“Testing testing one two three!”
“Are you receiving me?”
“Loud and clear Dad!” called Mark from further down the table.
“Well, we know the speakers work!” laughed Mr Pennington.
“First of all, I would like to thank you all for coming. And I would of course like to welcome young Celia to our family.”
“As many of you know, Charlotte and I were never blessed with a daughter, but I know that if Charlotte could be here, she would view Celia as a daughter, as I do.”
Celia blushed slightly as she and Simon beamed at Mr Pennington.
“Simon and Celia were both born in 1935,” he continued, “four years before the beginning of the war, a war that we only finished recovering from last year with the end of rationing.”
“Let’s put it this way, there’s been such a short supply of nearly everything since my children were born that up until Christmas a few months back, the younger ones thought that Christmas crackers were a myth!”
There was a smattering of laughter from the guests, and Anthony and Athene both blushed.
“Well I know you all want me to keep this short, so we can get on with the dancing. So, seeing as there is no longer rationing, bring out the cake!”
There was a round of applause as the caterers brought out a huge four-layered delicately iced wedding cake, covered with sugar flowers. On top of the cake were two figurines, the groom had short dark hair, and the bride had shoulder-length blonde curls.
Athene’s eyes popped open in amazement; she had never seen such a big cake! And it was so beautiful!
Simon and Celia held the cake knife between them and made the first cut from the first tier to applause from the guests again.
Athene had been so amazed by the cake, that she had completely forgotten about the dancing.
She tried dancing with Anthony in her high heels, but they kept on getting in the way. So eventually she pulled her shoes off and danced around with Anthony in her nylon tights.
At the end of the wedding, Simon and Celia headed off for their honeymoon in Rome and they all waved them off.
As they waved them away, Athene hoped that if she ever got married, her wedding would be half as wonderful as the one she just went to.