The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 79

The outer door of Mrs Dinnimont’s house was closed and locked. Adam had tried it after ringing the bell several times and hearing it echoing through the hallway. He was filled with desperation. Had he been away too long? Had everything changed?He had to find Constance, but, before anything else he had to speak to Josh. He was exhausted and unshaven, wearing his very last clean shirt, and had no more than a handful of coins left in his pocket. But none of that mattered. He had made the journey back from Bellagio with only one thought, which swept all others aside. Constance. Sometimes, when he had no bed for the night and had long forgotten his last meal, he would take her gloves from his pocket and inhale their perfume, seeing her in his mind’s eyes.“Naebody in!” a passer-by called, jerking his thumb towards Mrs Dinnimont’s house. “They’re awa’ tae the weddin’.”For a fleeting moment, Adam laughed, glad he was back in this friendly city where everybody took an interest in the affairs of others. Then the word “wedding” sounded like a brass gong in his head . . .Miss Downie peered timidly round her front door, her spectacles on the end of her nose. She stared at the deeply tanned young man.“Yes?”“Adam . . . Adam Gray, Miss Downie. I’m looking for Josh. There’s no-one in at Mrs Dinnimont’s.”Constance’s landlady threw open the door.“Come in, Adam, I didn’t recognise you! Mrs Dinnimont’s gone to the wedding. Kirsty and Josh are getting married today.”He dropped his valise on the hall floor.“Where?”Miss Downie blinked at his abruptness, but supplied the name of the church and the time of the wedding. By the time she was halfway through her explanation why she hadn’t gone Adam had left, loping down Hill Street as if his life depended upon it.****As the Arrol drew up at the kerb, Kirsty glanced uneasily at her father. It had taken many heated exchanges between them to persuade Thomas Gray to give her away.“I thocht it was tae be a quiet weddin’. This is no’ my style at a’’,” he had grumbled.Now, he looked pleased. She had insisted on leaving from her home in the East End, and a throng of neighbours had seen them off. On this warm summer morning the big Arrol had white ribbons fluttering from it in celebration. As the bride and her father were driven to the church near Hill Street people stopped and waved, shouting good wishes to them. Inside the church, Josh turned as there was a flurry at the door and his bride made her way up the aisle. He caught his breath. His Kirsty had never looked lovelier, her red-gold hair glowing in the sunlight that slanted through the stained-glass windows. She was dressed in shiny satin, a circlet of rosebuds and stephanotis in her hair.Thomas placed her hand in Josh’s with the smallest of nods and withdrew thankfully to sit with Mirren who looked almost girlish in rose-trimmed hat and smart pink dress chosen by her daughter.Constance took the bride’s posy and exchanged a swift smile with her. She fought a welling tide of emotion that threatened to engulf her as it had done on the day of Aunt Letty’s wedding, raging at herself that she should be happy for Kirsty and Josh. But that day, she had felt herself to be standing outside a charmed circle of happiness, for ever fated to be alone with her memories, her regrets. Her glance travelled past the bride to where Aunt Letty and Sir Hugh sat, hand-in-hand like young lovers, to Adam’s parents who were looking pleased and proud . . . and contented. Mrs Dinnimont, the only other guest, sat alone, as always completely self-sufficient. The feather on her spectacular hat formed an exclamation mark above her head. Some day, Constance reflected, she might be just like Mrs Dinnimont!“Dearly beloved . . .” the minister began, and Constance, glancing last at her dear friend Josh (who couldn’t stop smiling!) came to attention. As she did, Sir Hugh stood up and quietly took his place by Josh’s side. Constance bit her lip, knowing that the bridegroom had waited until the very last moment in the hope that Adam would return and take his place as best man. Now, Josh’s father would stand in that place. Constance tried to ignore the sudden presence of unshed tears.


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