Chapter 44 – Pimlico House

Rebecca – October 1985
Rebecca has chosen to wear a long sleeve plunge fronted dress in a deep crimson silk by a new designer to Palmerstone: Yves St Laurent. Just above knee length the wrap front showed a flash of leg as she walked. She went barelegged and wore simple ballet flats. The whole effect was youthful and casually chic. Caitlin would approve she thought as she brushed her hair till it shone and applied a coat of mascara to her naturally long lashes and a slick of lip-gloss. Her toilette complete Rebecca’s mind wandered back to Caitlin and her big day. She hoped so much that this time would be a success for her life-long friend.
The boys had gone to a friend’s house for the day and would sleep over there, she’d asked Dylan but for once he had not been amenable to having them. The taxi beeped outside the house; Rebecca had taken the precaution of booking it for her journey to the registry office. She would be travelling to the Dorchester with Caiti, Michael and his witness after the formalities. Rebecca grabbed her bag and with one last glance to check her appearance made for the door.
The last time she had been in a registry office was for her own wedding to Dylan. She tried not to think about it but weddings often are powerful reminders of one’s own hopes and fears and follies she mused ruefully. She shook her head to clear her regrets and tried to concentrate on Caitlin’s day.
Caitlin looked stunning, the dress suited her without overpowering her small form; instead it served to enhance her natural blonde beauty glowing with health. Rebecca smiled affectionately at her friend as she approached the couple. She was introduced to Giles an old school friend of Michael’s and smiled through gritted teeth as he over complimented her on her outfit and practically dribbled down the front of her low cut dress. Caiti smiled approval and not for the first time informed Rebecca that she should wear a dress more often.
Rebecca looked on as the ceremony was conducted swiftly but not entirely without emotion. What a striking couple they made. The baby would be a beauty Rebecca mused idly.
The Orchid room of the Dorchester was decked out in cream silk with pale yellow bows and laid up to accommodate the hundred or so guests that Caitlin had managed to whittle her guest list down to. So much for informal Rebecca thought taking a proffered champagne flute, fortunately she knew Caitlin well enough to have guessed it. She hoped that Suzanne and Penny had too and commenced scanning the room for them kicking herself for not forewarning.
She spied Charles first, his tall frame standing out in the crowd, and made her way towards him. She needn’t have worried Penny would look pretty wherever she fetched up. Her Laura Ashley sprig dress looked fresh and dainty. The friends embraced warmly and admired each other’s outfits Charles smiling benignly on.
‘Have you seen Annie yet?’ Rebecca asked Penny, scanning the room. Her heart suddenly skipped a beat as she spied not Annie but Dylan. A myriad of emotions flitted through her mind. Why was he here? What was Caitlin up to? Why hadn’t she told her? She knew the answer to this one though. She would have made a fuss about it that’s why. Surely Caitlin didn’t like Dylan so much as a personal friend that she had chosen to invite him. Was it some sort of conspiracy? Rebecca stood stock still not knowing what to do. Penny followed her gaze and saw Dylan just as he looked up and caught sight of their little group. He made his way towards them a wide smile of greeting on his handsome face. Charles and Penny welcomed him with obvious affection. They had had a great visit with him and the boys earlier in the summer and were both convinced that Dylan was a changed person. Turning to Rebecca he took her hands and bent to kiss her on both cheeks.
‘You look breath-taking’ he said simply. Rebecca’s head was tilted back slightly to look up as she spoke to Dylan and he had an overwhelming desire to take her in his arms and kiss her. Their eyes locked momentarily and Rebecca’s lips parted despite herself.
The instant was dissipated by a small commotion over at the other side of the room. The chatter of guests silenced for a moment and heads craned to see what had happened.
‘I see Annie’ Rebecca cried out to the others over the hubbub that had now ensued. She started to make her way over to the door where the meeting and greeting was going on Penny in her wake. Pushing a way through the crowd Rebecca could see Annie disappearing back out through the main entrance. With a final sidestep and wriggle she get through.
Her first sight was of Caitlin’s stricken face looking up at her recent bridegroom. He had hold of her wrist and his face was contorted with anger. Guests had dispersed from around them in embarrassment as the incident had unfolded. Suzanne had entered the room to greet and congratulate her friend. She had stopped in her tracks as she had seen that Caitlin’s new husband was none other than her old adversity Michael Peterson. Suzanne’s dislike was apparent. Her mind struggling with the whys and wherefores, how could an ex junior civil servant be married to Caitlin the Park Avenue Princess? It was astonishing. Caitlin saw the look on Suzanne’s face and moved to hug her friend, puzzled by the expression. Michael taking in the scene before him had turned viciously to Caitlin,
‘What is this bitch doing at my wedding?’ he spat out at Caitlin. She paled at his words and the force of their vehemence,
‘Suzanne is one of my oldest friends.’ Caitlin defended her voice waivered slightly under the malevolent look that he levelled at her.
‘Get her out of here or I’ll have her removed.’ Michael’s eyes were like gimlets boring into hers.
‘But she’s my friend…there must be a misunderstanding.’ Caitlin attempted to sooth.
‘She goes or I do.’ Michael didn’t have to be nice to Caitlin anymore she was his wife. Suzanne half smiled at Caitlin trying to reassure and turned on her heels; best to put a swift end to the minor drama she reasoned but what to do about the major one?
Caitlin had inadvertently just married a liar and a cheat and a bully to boot. God help her Suzanne thought tears of sympathy springing to her eyes.

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