Happily Ever After

There has to be a word for it, Leo thought.
Draped in linen damask, the sumptuous table was laden with heady red roses and platters of food. Guests, the wealthiest and most influential noble folk of Evermore, gathered round Leo’s table. Talk and laughter filled the air. Leo tried to catch the eye of Arabelle, his beloved , at the table’s opposite end. His wife was chatting with Lord Someone or Other and Leo only spied her creamy shoulder between the leaves of an overblown floral arrangement.
Leo wondered if he should make a toast or chat up Lady What’s Her Face who was seated to his left. But the fine lady was shrieking giddily to the Archduchess of Whatever. Leo downed his red wine, dark and a little bitter.
Leo pondered the dregs in the bottom of his crystal goblet. He remembered when he only drank his fine claret alone with his books and thoughts his only companions. His manse was his home and his cage. Long rides along the heath, collecting first editions, Leo enjoyed his life before love. But over the years his solitude weighed on his shoulders. He wanted the things, those feelings, that he had read about.
Arabelle had been a gift. Leo picked out his love’s voice above the din. Leo smiled to himself. A servant refilled Leo’s glass. He drank deeply. Arabella brought warmth to his cool heart and her light made his old family mansion come alive. She was everything Leo wasn’t.
Lady What’s Her Face was talking to him while deftly caressing his thigh. Leo shifted away and pretended to be interested in the guest to his right. Dropping his gruff countenance, Leo turned up his charm. The servants began to clear the table. Through the remains of a monumental asparagus salad, Leo peeped his wife still laughing, always laughing. She was the bell of the land and brought so many, many different things to his world. Of course their life together was wonderful. It was only the dessert course.
The candles glowed brightly. Next would be the cheese, then cigars and ports with the gentleman, and then back with the ladies, and someone would play that damned concertina. Vanilla wafted into the dining room. Everyone applauded the massive baked Alaska.
There has to be a word for it, Leo thought, this kind of happiness.

Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

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