'I'm proud of you, too, sister!'

“I’m proud of you, too, sister!” Gwynn declared.

Britamund smiled faintly.

“You’re truly my sister now! And Meggie is, too. I’m certain she is proud of you, too. But of course she couldn’t be here to say so,” she added smugly.

Emma knew that Gwynn was more than a little pleased with this fact. Such an event as a wedding night was for young women, not little girls, and Margaret was still a little girl.

Emma was a little girl no longer.

Emma was a little girl no longer, though she was only eleven. However, this distinction was less meaningful than Gwynn realized, for Emma and Margaret both knew more about what would or could happen in this grand bed than babyish Gwynn did. Or so they liked to think.

Ana began picking the pins from Britamund’s hair. “You should wear your hair this way more often.”

'I think you should wear your hair this way more often.'

“That’s a fine compliment coming from you, Ana,” Britamund said in a quavering voice.

“I was thinking of your husband. He couldn’t turn his eyes from you today.”

“I think it was soooo romantic!” Gwynn moaned. “He is so in love with you, Brit. I simply want to melt!

'When are you thinking to fall in love?'

“When are you thinking to fall in love?” Ogive asked Gwynn. “Since you seem to think about nothing else.”

“Perhaps she had better not,” Emma snickered. “If seeing her brother in love makes her want to melt, falling in love herself would probably make her evaporate.”

“I don’t know,” Gwynn sighed mightily. “But I simply can’t wait for it to happen. I’m already thirteen!”

Emma knew that Gwynn was quite proud of that fact as well.

“Whom with?” Ana asked. “You can’t marry Caedwulf now.”

'Whom with?'

“God help her!” Ogive cried. “What a calamity!”

“Gwynn wants to marry a man with violet eyes,” Emma explained. “She will be looking for a while.”

“What color eyes does Baldwin have?” Ogive asked.

'What color eyes does Baldwin have?'

“Green,” Emma replied sharply.

“He’ll be home soon, honey,” Ana cooed and rubbed Emma’s back. “Sir Baldwin and the others will bring him home.”

Emma shrugged. She missed young Baldwin as a friend – and it would be funny to have an earl as a friend – but she would have been just as pleased to learn she could not marry him after all.

She would have been just as pleased to learn she could not marry him after all.

Baldwin was the most boring, the most unimaginative, the most fearful boy she knew. The most promising aspect of his personality with respect to her married life was that he did absolutely everything she and Margaret told him.

“Help me with these hooks,” Ana said to her. “And then we shall all help with the dress.”

“Oh! But what about the garters?” Gwynn cried. “You must give us your garters so that we may soon marry.”

'You must give us your garters so that we may soon marry.'

“But there are three of us unmarried,” Ogive said, “and she only has two legs.”

“So she says,” Gwynn giggled.

“She does, she does!” Emma sighed. “You can have mine.”

'She does, she does!'

Ana patted her shoulder. “He’ll be home soon.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “I know! But he’s not even eleven yet. I can always swipe a garter at Ogive’s wedding or Gwynn’s.”

“On second thought,” Ogive said, “Gwynn may have mine too.”

'Gwynn may have mine too.'

“Two garters?” Ana laughed. “What does that mean? She will marry two men?”

“Hopefully not at the same time,” Ogive said.

“Perhaps she will marry the same man two times,” Emma suggested.

'Perhaps she will marry the same man two times.'

Ogive asked, “Two weddings? How? Is that Christian?”

“No,” Emma said. “But she could marry an elf: once in the Christian way, and once in the elven way.” She watched Gwynn for her reaction, and she was not disappointed.

“Ohhhhhh!” Gwynn moaned. “Sooooo romantic!”

'Sooooo romantic!'