Dinner at Mothers
Lilly studied her body in the mirror, brushing off imaginary marks which had Ruben frowning when he entered their bedroom to see what was taking so long.
“Hey baby, what…wow, you look amazing,” he smiled walking up behind her, his hands settling on her hips.
“I do hope your hands are clean or I’ll need to change,” she muttered.
“It’s time to go and yes my hands are clean. What’s wrong?”
“Anxiety kicking in. It doesn’t matter how perfect I try and be, she’ll find fault with something, be it what I’m wearing or…” she dropped her head to her chest. Ruben turned her in his arms holding her in a gentle hug.
“You're perfect, Lilly. It doesn’t matter what your mother thinks about you or me. We don’t have to live with them. We have to live together. Just remember, I love you and if you get uncomfortable, we’ll leave…together.”
“Thank you, Ruben. I love you too.”
“Let’s get this over with.”
They arrived at her parents. Ruben was shocked at the grandeur and pleased he’d taken the hint from Lilly and dressed up. His parent's house was large, this place was huge.
Ruben escorted Lilly up the front steps where she knocked on the door. The door was opened by a maid in uniform. Ruben tried not to lose the plot wishing Lilly had warned him.
“Afternoon Miss. Your mother is in the drawing-room waiting for you. If you’ll follow…”
“I know the way,” she replied curtly. She strode down the hall stopping by some double doors which she threw open. Ruben stood meekly at her side not quite sure what to do. This was a different Lilly to the one he knew.
“Mother,” she smiled crossing quickly air kissing her cheek. “How are you?”
“It would be nice if you visited more frequently. Who’s this with you?”
“In his office. He’ll be along shortly. What on earth are you wearing?”
Lilly turned away from her mother looking at Ruben. “The usual cast-off clothing I enjoy wearing.” Ruben’s eyes widened at her reply as she walked back to him, taking hold of his hand, kissing his lips gently her eyes asking him to keep quiet.
“Really, Lilly,” snapped her step-father.
“Good afternoon, papa,” she said sweetly tugging Ruben into the drawing-room sitting on the antique sofa.
“Pray tell us who this young man is?”
“This is Ruben,” she stared at her mother. “My fiancé.”
“What,” her mother squealed, her hand going to her throat.
“Do calm down, Maria.”
“S-she can’t be engaged! W-what about,” she gulped, “you were promised to...”
“Do stop mother or we’ll leave. This is the man I’m marrying, like it or not.”
“We’ll see about...”
“Do you wish to leave, darling,” said Ruben, finally finding his voice, cupping her cheek.
“What and miss all the fun?”
“I don’t call this fun, Lilly.”
“Young man. Come with me,” said Adam.
“I’m not sure it’s safe...”
“Go. He’ll only try and buy you off. Why don’t you see what I’m worth,” she smirked. Her mother choked on her drink, glaring.
“You sure you’ll be ok?”
Ruben reluctantly rose following Adam down the hall to his office.
“Sit,” he waved his hand to a chair in front of his desk.
“You’d really pay me out not to marry your step-daughter?”
“Depends on whether you love her or not. I’m not her father.”
“That would be her bitch of a mother who tries to be something she isn’t. Maria was born on what the rich call, the other side of the tracks...a bit like you,” he smirked.
“Considering you don’t know me, Mr Cuthbert. You would have no idea where I was born.”
“No. I’m not interested in getting to know you or Mrs Cuthbert.”
“Maria will find a way to make sure you don’t marry, Lilly.”
“I’d like to see her try.”
“I’d advise you to watch out for Sargent Danvers. He’s a not so nice policeman.”
“We met him yesterday.”
“So I’m told,” he smirked. Ruben looked at him blankly. “Sex in a car? Really?”
“Sex in your office with a staff member...really?”
“Remember sex smells and I doubt Mrs Cuthbert would let you fuck her in your office,” he smirked. Adam flushed.
“Get the fuck out of my house.”
Ruben stood leaving the office moving back to the drawing-room finding Lilly sitting primly, sipping lemonade. The atmosphere was chilly.
“Ruben,” she mumbled when he reached for her hand.
“Time to leave,” he turned to Maria. “I wish I could say it was nice to meet you and your husband, Mrs Cuthbert. However, it isn’t. We’ll say goodbye and we’ll see you sometime in the future...the distant future.”
Lilly bit her lip wanting to ask what had happened. Instead, she stared at her mother, nodded and left.
Ruben settled her into his car, getting behind the wheel he drove down the driveway. He didn’t say anything. His fists were clenched on the stirring wheel. Pulling up at his parent’s house half an hour later he stopped the car. He stared at Lily. Getting out of the car he escorted her inside his parent’s home.
His parents were in their lounge, they stared when Ruben and Lilly appeared at the door.
“I thought you were... What happened?” said his mother in concern hurrying over to take Lilly in a hug.
“They won’t be coming to any wedding or engagement. In fact, if Lilly agrees and we can get the paperwork sorted, we’ll be getting married as soon as possible. We can have the type of ceremony we wish later.
Lilly burst into tears letting Ruben’s mum rub her back. Taking charge she walked Lilly towards the back deck where they sat on a sofa swing.
“You want to talk about it, son?”
“Apparently, I’m not acceptable. Maria is happy to pay me off. Her husband is a fucking asshole,” he sat down beside his dad.
“Who the hell are her parents?”
“Rich people. I don’t know Lilly’s birth surname, it seems she was adopted by her step-father.”
“We’ll need to find out. I don’t like the sound of this at all. Some of the old families in town can make your life a living hell.”
“Keep an eye out for Sargent Danvers, apparently he reports to them. They knew we were here yesterday.
“Stalking? That’s outrageous.”
“If it happens again I’ll lay a complaint.”
“We will too. Though I’m going to worry, especially if they have the ear of the Mayor or town council.
“We’ll move if we have too. Meanwhile, we’ve not yet had lunch and I, for one, am hungry.”
“I think we have leftovers from yesterday. The roast is on for this evening. Let’s go see how Lilly and your mother are doing.
Out on the deck, Lilly wiped her eyes blowing her nose on a tissue Julie handed her.
“Apologies and thank you. I needed a hug.”
“Sweetheart, no one should treat their child how you were. Whatever happened to you? Please remember we’re here for you.”
“Everything will sort itself out eventually.”
“Will you be all right with a quick marriage to make sure,” she frowned, “make sure you’re safe. I don’t want you two... either of you to get hurt.”
“It doesn’t matter if we marry or not, she’ll do whatever she can to separate us. I’d hoped she’d changed. God, what a mess.”
Hearing her last sentence, Ruben sat knelt beside her. “We can move if need be. I’m not letting you go. Ever.”
“I do love you, Ruben.”
“I know,” he kissed her. His mother moved to let him sit beside Lilly.
“What does your dad say?”
“We need to know your birth surname. I only realised you were adopted when I met your parents.”
“Mainwaring. My dad was...”
“Theodore,” sighed Ruben’s mum. “He was a darling man.”
“One of the old families. He married Maria Sax. His parents weren’t overly pleased.”
“Old. They helped establish the town, hunny.”
“The story goes he got Maria pregnant and he was forced to marry her. She supposedly miscarried a few weeks after the marriage,” Julie Clancy sighed.
“How do you all know this?”
“Theodore Mainwaring, as with the rest of his family always married who they were told to. It was generally a business deal between the fathers. He was meant to marry me.”
“Bloody hell,” said Luke Clancy.
“It wasn’t a love match and of course never happened due to Maria and her lies. She’s always tried to portray she was better than anyone else,” Julie looked up at her husband. “You were always my one true love, Luke. I’d adored you from afar since junior school.”
“True love is amazing. It’s lovely to see you two taking on the challenge. Now, what are we doing about your engagement and marriage?”
“We can either go ahead and ignore them, see how far Mrs Cuthbert will go or we can sort out the paperwork, get married then have an engagement party...and go through the ropes. The final choice is moving.”
“I don’t want to move,” said Lilly. “This is where my friends are, my job and your folks,” she said to Ruben.
“Our folks, sweetheart.”
“Would you like to get married in secret and then pretend...?”
“Dad can you sort this out. I’ll email you any details needed.”
Lilly’s stomach grumbled, they laughed.
“Let’s make some sandwiches and coffee. I do hope you’re staying for the Sunday roast tonight.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Please tell me it’s Pork!”
“I love you, mum.”
“You love my food,” she laughed.
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