The First Wedding

The ceremony took place that very Saturday in the chapel downtown, just as Carol had anticipated. Only a few guests were invited – the Braytons and the De Groffs made up the entirety of the assemblage – but to Cecily it felt as grand as a wedding could be. The only dark spot was her feeling of dread upon seeing Max De Groff and his sister Elsie.

She knew that speaking to Max at some point during the course of the day was inevitable – he was going to be at Brayton Hill later for the reception, too – but she wanted to put it off for as long as possible. All week she had been pondering reasonable excuses for being outside of the Granville that night, but she hadn’t yet thought of anything that didn’t sound ridiculous. She needed more time.


Her worried thoughts were overthrown as the ceremony began, and she grew excited again. Mayhew and Carol entered the chapel arm in arm and proceeded to the front of the room, where they stood facing each other, wreathed in candlelight.

At this point Harry turned to Arianna and whispered, “What are we going to do without her?”


Upon hearing him, Cecily felt herself start to cry, but she held it in. She was brimming with joy for Carol, but it was touched with sadness – surely the same sadness her father felt. What was she going to do without Carol? Carol’s new house was on the other side of town – within walking distance, but not an easy walk – and Cecily would no longer be able to see her dearest friend every day.

As Mayhew and Carol exchanged their vows, Cecily found her thoughts straying down a different yet much more familiar road – she pictured herself in Carol’s place and James in Mayhew’s, and all of their family arrayed before them, the magnificent flowers, the sweet music, the promises of love until death…

Mayhew wrapped his arms around his new wife and kissed her, and just like that, the ceremony was over. Carol was now Mrs. Mayhew Love.


Without much fanfare, the Loves thanked their guests for attending the ceremony and headed out to a marvelous open-air carriage, complete with a haughty driver in livery, which De Groff had lent them for the day. The carriage whisked them off to their short photography session, which produced a lovely wedding picture.


Afterwards they appeared at Brayton Hill, flushed and serene with happiness, as the Loves, De Groffs, and Braytons gathered in the dining room for a light dinner and celebratory punch. Cecily attended these proceedings but remained slightly detached from the group, feeling again that strange mingling of sadness and yearning and dread, and she fled the dining room as soon as she could, hoping no one would notice.

Unfortunately she only made it as far as the foyer before she heard a voice calling out to her. When she turned around, she saw Max De Groff strolling towards her, looking as dignified as ever with his smooth hair and neatly-groomed beard.

“Miss Brayton,” he said in his jovial manner. “I hope you’re not leaving the party so soon. There was something I wanted to ask you.”


Cecily paused, putting on her best smile, though she felt like hiding beneath the rug. “I was just going to check on Paulina,” she said nervously. “Sometimes she wakes up from her afternoon nap early, and she hates to be alone for too long.”

“Don’t we all,” laughed Max, his eyes twinkling. “Well, I won’t keep you – I simply wanted to know if you’d be interested in having supper at our house Wednesday evening. Porter Guthrie will be there as my special guest, and I thought you might like to meet him.”

Cecily had heard of Porter Guthrie, the painter – he was known for his sensitive landscapes, beautiful use of color, and slightly old-fashioned style; in other words, he was just the kind of artist she most admired, and it made sense that Max, rather old-fashioned himself, would admire him, too. She must have looked hesitant, however, for Max continued:

“I’m inviting Carol and Mayhew as well, and of course, my sister will be there.” He looked at her eagerly, but without expectation.


Cecily glanced down at her gloved hands. “I would very much like to, but I’m afraid I have a previous engagement for that evening.” She wasn’t lying – at least, she didn’t think she was – she thought she recalled James saying he would call on her that Wednesday. “But thank you for the kind invitation.”

Max nodded. A shadow of disappointment flickered across his face, but his lively spirits returned quickly afterwards. “Well, that’s a shame – I saw your portrait of Arianna hanging in the drawing room, and I was quite impressed by it. I’m sure you and Guthrie would have a lot to talk about. But maybe next time.”

“Yes,” Cecily said, smiling faintly. “Maybe next time.” She wanted to turn and leave, but she didn’t want to be impolite, so she simply stood there as if waiting for him to dismiss her.

Suddenly Max grew serious as he regarded her, and he stroked his beard a moment before speaking again, this time in a lower tone. “You know, I hope…due to certain circumstances…that you’re not afraid of me, Miss Brayton. I wouldn’t want that.”


Cecily tried to maintain her poise. “What circumstances would those be?” she asked quietly, dreading the answer.

For a moment Max just stared, as if considering the best way to put things, then glanced behind him to make sure no one was there. “That night I saw you downtown,” he said.

So he did recognize me, thought Cecily, her heart racing. She felt like a child who had been caught sneaking candy out of the dish before dinner – only her crime had been much worse. All of the excuses she had considered crowded into her head, but none of them seemed sufficient.

Max noted her look of terror and smiled reassuringly. “I just want you to know I’m not going to say anything about it to anyone. As far as I’m concerned, I was half-drunk, and you could have been anyone. So you don’t need to be afraid.”

“You were half-drunk?” Cecily asked stupidly, not knowing what else to say.

Max laughed. “I never drink,” he said dismissively. “But no one needs to know that either, do they?”


Cecily felt a weight being lifted from her shoulders, but just as it left, a new one settled there. Max had promised he wouldn’t tell anyone about her fling at the Granville – and from his secretive tone she knew that he knew what she had been doing there – so was she now obligated to Max in some way? She felt like she owed him a favor, only she wasn’t sure how to repay him. She hoped he didn’t expect a certain kind of favor…no, it was too disgusting to think about.

“I guess not,” Cecily finally replied, trying to smile. “Thank you, Mr. De Groff,” she said. She gave him a rather bewildered look of gratitude before turning and walking out of the room.

“It’s ‘Max’!” he called out after her, but she didn’t hear him.

(NOTE: The Brayton Family stories can now be found in the “Annabel Island” category. Read the next post here.)

25 thoughts on “The First Wedding

  1. Hmmmm, I can’t decide where I think this is going. For a second I thought, “A ha! She’ll become involved with a painter.” Then that was dashed. Then I thought maybe Max liked her. But now I’m wondering if he’s going to exploit what he knows.

    Waiting on bated breath!

  2. o.o
    Are you planning on marrying Cecily off?
    God this story arc is going slow @__@

  3. Carol looks radiant at her wedding. I hope she and Mayhew are happy together. What aspiration is he? Hope it’s not romance!

  4. Maaaaaaaaaax! Maxmaxmaxmax! I vote for Max!
    Don’t listen to Mieko. :P I’m loving this story, don’t change the pace or anything!

  5. I love the pace of the story. Though I have to admit, when I first saw the title in my RSS feed, I thought maybe it was Cecily’s shotgun wedding. *VBEG*. Ooooh, maybe she’ll fall in love with the painter, then HAVE to marry James …

  6. Scandal!! I think Max is really too kind and altruistic to take advantage of Cecily. But, it seems as if Cecily is going to have to pay for her sins at some point. And Mayhew and Carol’s wedding was lovely. I love that chapel. Maybe James will “have” to marry another girl. Maybe a shopkeep’s daughter. OOOoooo. I just love finding out what’s going to happen. Thankyou much Jen! :)

  7. Hi Jen. I love the Braytons!!!
    Oh this update is very intriguing. I’m wondering what path you’re taking with the story. Part of me believes you will marry Cecily to James, some part of me still hopes she ends up with Samuel and now you throw in the mix Max. Oh you’re good. But i knew that already. I love how you are keeping us on the guessing with the story. I hope you are enjoying the Brayton as much as we are. I’m really looking forward to another update on Braytons.
    Happy Simmings and thanks for all your hard work. :D

  8. lil, I like that … James quietly marries the girl he’d disgraced, before Cecily knew she was with child. Max will then come riding to her rescue and take the ‘prematurely born’ baby as his very own! *Looks expectantly @ Jen*. :-D

  9. Great update Jen! I’ve been waiting to see what would happen with Carol. I’m happy things are working out for her and Mayhew. :)

  10. Wow. Good job. I thought that maybe James’ brother would get married because of the title but boy was i wrong. Maybe Max will exploit her, but then again he might just fall in love with her..inviting her to his house and all. :D Anyway good job on the update.

  11. Just lettin’ you know that I updated again. =)

    MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAX! *waves picket sign!*

  12. I vote Max but only if he has a dark secret that will put him on equal footing with Cecily, and if he shaves. He has to compete with Jame’s memory and all that :)

  13. Max is my new bestest friend. He rocks *waves a banner with saying ‘We love you, Max!’ with lots of heats on*

    When is Cecily going to realise she loves Samuel and not stinky James? When is Samuel going to burst in out of no where and confess his undying love for her? BAH! Good post, looking forward to the next one :D

  14. I agree with lil! I think it would be awesome if James had to marry another girl (because she’s pregnant), but CEcIlY doesn’t necessarily have to be pregnant. She can meet Max…and the painter…and think more about Samuel. But no, in the end Max will rescue her. Maybe he should get a slight makeover though. I mean, he can have the beard back when he’s an elder but it just makes him look so much more…Santa Clausey. There, I said it!

    *Joins Kay* GO MAX! WE WANT MAX!

  15. oh, IS Cecily pregnant? Did I miss something or do we just not know?
    *Hangs on a cliff holding on with her pinky*

  16. She’s not pregnant…yet. ;-P

    Thanks for all the story ideas, everyone! Unfortunately I have the next few episodes pretty well mapped out…*laughs evilly*

  17. It’s not unfortunate. It’s wonderful. I’d be dissapointed if you were predictable and wrote what we speculated about. :)

  18. I’m afraid you might be disappointed then, lil! Some of the speculations have been right on the mark. I won’t tell you which ones, though. :-)

  19. First I thought it was Cecily who was going to marry her James. But after reading this entry, I’m unsure WHO she will marry in the first place. Great writing as ever. I was so absorbed while reading the I didn’t notice my4-year old was asking me something. Like when I’m reading a good novel ;)

  20. Here’s my theory: Cecily will be pregnant with James’s child, but James won’t marry her; Max will know, or at least suspect, that Cecily is pregnant, and will offer to marry her and take the child as his own. Then, once they’re married, Cecily will begin to fall in love with him.

    Now I want to know if I’m right! When’s the next update? :)

  21. Thanks, Zoe & Catootje. I’m working on another Shanley update at the moment — it’s about half-written. Life keeps getting in the way! But it should be up soon, I hope…and then I plan on working on the Braytons.

  22. Is there going to be another Brayton update soon?? You’ve got my imagination going in about ten different directions!