Revelation At Dinner
Later that night, Percival's parents invited Garth Mason and his parents as well as the Horace family over for dinner.
''I am so glad you all could come!'' Victoria Baskergrand announced once they were all sat around the table. Victoria and Alfred were sitting opposite each other, and Garth's mother Ethel Mason was sitting next to Victoria on her left. On Victoria's right sat Valerie's mother Isabella Horace. Millicent sat next to her, and opposite Algernon. On the right side of Algernon sat Valerie's father George Horace. Percival was sat opposite Valerie, and on his left sat William Mason, Garth's father. Garth sat on the end next to Percival.
''Thank you both very much for inviting us. The ball went very well when you hosted it last Saturday,'' William Mason replied to Victoria.
''Thank you. It was Percival's idea, actually. He held it primarily for the Bartletts before they left for India,'' Alfred said to him. Garth drank his red wine, looking at Percival with envy. Percival was smiling, and Garth watched in a despising manner as Valerie smiled back at him.
''And now the Bartletts are in India. I hope their journey went well. I sent a letter to them, so I hope they get it and let us know soon that they are all right,'' George Horace said. The group hummed in agreement as they ate and drank.
''Oh, I can just imagine what they are doing right now! I wonder how hot it is over there,'' Isabella chimed in.
''It can be quite unbearable, I heard,'' Ethel Mason said before she drank her wine.
''And I hope they do not embark on any dangerous activities. If you not familiar with it, a foreign country can harbour some unsavoury sights,'' George Horace interjected. The group hummed again. Valerie kept giving Percival quick glances teamed with smiles. Percival returned them, then proceeded to stand up. Everyone stopped eating and looked up at him.
''I am really happy that one and all is here tonight. For a while now, as some of you may know, my mother has been tirelessly trying to find me a wife. She nearly succeeded when we had the ball last week!'' Percival spoke. The group laughed heartily in unison, whilst Garth glared bitterly at Percival.
''No, I love you, Mother, and I am grateful for your care and concern. But...you need not seek for one no longer, because I have found the one for me,'' Percival continued. A subdued gasp rang out from the group, and Victoria held a hand to her mouth. Valerie looked up at Percival, who returned her gaze.
''Everyone...I am delighted to inform you...that Valerie and I...are in love!'' Percival declared delightfully. The group burst into applause at the announcement, and William, George and Alfred all stood up to congratulate Percival. Valerie was embraced and kissed by her mother, and Victoria and Ethel too. Millicent and Algernon looked across to each other and giggled.
''Oh, I am so happy for you, Percival!'' Alfred gushed as he hugged his son.
''Thank you, Father,'' Percival replied. Garth was the last to stand, and he took up his glass of wine nonchalantly. Percival turned to his friend when he heard him clear his throat.
''Well, it's out in the open now, old chap,'' Garth said, suppressing the sourness in his voice.
''It's all thanks to you, Garth. You made me realise that I was in love all along,'' Percival responded.
''Yes. I did. You always seem to be hiding, Percival. I hope your life with Valerie is filled with honesty and truth,'' Garth toasted to Percival, staring at him while he drank. Percival was somewhat puzzled by what Garth meant. They both sat back down, and Percival smiled at Valerie across the table. He drank some more of his wine, whilst thinking of what Garth said.
'He must not know of the Nautilus yet. I will tell him when the time is right,' Percival resolved whilst he carried on eating his food.