It was two days before Con’s wedding and the triplets were together in Con’s house just talking and remembering before the rush started.
Con’s husband to be, Ben, was an artist who specialised in portraits, indeed that was how they had met. Con had been looking for a painter to do one of the Chalet School in Switzerland as a present. He hadn’t been able to help but the attraction was immediate. He was tall and almost skinny, not handsome but with an engaging warm smile, brown hair and eyes.
Con had been surprised, she had a successful career as a journalist with no idea of getting involved, never mind engaged then married. But he had won her over and now the thought of marrying him made her feel happy, warm, content, excited.
At 30 she felt a little old to marry for the first time, but, as she ruefully admitted to herself, Ben was not her first partner, although he would hopefully be her last.
One of the many good things, in her eyes, about Ben was the acceptance of her triplet sisters. Neither led what would be classed as conventional lifestyles. Len was a teacher as everyone thought she might be, a successful teacher, deputy head at only 30. But her partner was Ted, the Ted from school. They had been together since school, determined but wary, keeping their secrets by telling lies and half-truths. Neither liked it but, although becoming more common, a same sex relationship was still very much frowned upon in educational circles.
Ted was also a teacher but at a different school to Len. They had picked day schools so they could go home each night and not struggle like their friends Nancy and Kathie had to do still as Heads of the Chalet School.
Con had wanted Ben told, her sister was important to her, had been a source of help, support and companionship for many years. Had dried tears over failed romances, had whisked her away for weekends when life got too hard. So she wanted Ben to know the truth. And he had accepted Len and Ted without question, without disgust, just accepted them as being important and special to her, and therefore would be the same to him.
And Margot, who had not become a nun, who had realised her faith was not that strong, but was a doctor. But not in a modern hospital but in clinics for unmarried mothers, in clinics for those struggling with life, sometimes with no hope and she tried to give them hope. She received little pay, had few clothes, looked shabby but was happy in her work, determined to make a difference in others’ lives. Len and Ted helped support her willingly, as did Con, they were all proud of her, of her drive and compassion. Yes, she still grew angry but it was for a reason these days, to help, persuade, maybe even bully others into helping.
And Ben had accepted her, admired her for what she was doing, and offered to help support her in her work.
Con loved him for that, for the fact he cared for her sisters, and Ted, respected them and wanted to see them.
Ted was not with them; she had been invited and would have been very welcome, but had declined to give them the time to be just the three of them. She was coming the next day to help with all the last minute details and preparations. Her and Len were saddened but realistic in that it would not be wise for them to appear as a couple, as together, but the risk was too great. The revelation if it got out might help Margot, but would not help them and could also affect Con’s career. So Ted was just a close friend of the family, and only the family knew just how close.
Con was marrying from her own house in Manchester, not London as many had expected her to be based. She disliked London, had to travel there often on business but was always glad to return to the north of England. Even better was the fact Len and Ted were teaching in Newcastle upon Tyne, not that far away by car, which they all had these days, even Margot had an old banger. Margot had stayed in Edinburgh so all three were within easy travelling distance of each other.
The rest of the large family were arriving that night and Con dreaded it. The four, Ted was always included, had plotted and planned her wedding together, getting it organised in quite a short time, fairly smoothly, without argument. Len’s organising abilities had helped, Ted practical skills invaluable and Margot had supported all of them. It had been done with love and laughter, with no fussing, no trying to take over.
But she knew her mother, even at this late stage, would want to try to change things, would dislike her dress, would want to know why she had no bridesmaids, not even her sisters. She would hate it all Con knew, yet it was what she wanted, it was her wedding, her choices, not anyone else’s. Her mother would hate it was in a registry office even though the venue was beautiful, with chandeliers and carved wooden panels. She did not want to marry in a church, especially a catholic church; she had not been in years and would feel a hypocrite. Ben did not mind, he was not a church goer, and would marry Con at any place she decided as long as they married. Neither Len nor Margot went to church either, a fact they had kept from their parents to avoid disagreements. They knew about Len and Ted, Joey did not particularly approve, but having been told strongly by Len that she either accepted it or did not see them, she reluctantly accepted it. Joey approved of Margot being a doctor, but not of her lifestyle, her clothes, she felt doctors should be more dignified. Margot ignored her and just kept on doing what she loved doing, helping others.
So Con knew all this, her sisters had supported her totally, neither had wanted to wear bridesmaids dresses anyway, but Joey was sure to bring it up, all the other sisters and cousins that were available. None of whom Con had wanted, in fact at one point she was tempted to elope. She had stopped because she had realised that out of the triplets she was the only one likely to marry, Len couldn’t and Margot was always doubtful. So although eloping was tempting she had invited some of her family, hardly any of the cousins, which would cause more issues she knew. But it was her wedding, not her mothers. Joey had already moaned at not being involved, that she was the mother of the bride, should be with her to pick her dress. Con had bought her dress with the other three in attendance. It was ivory, it was smooth and simple, full length, long sleeves, a rounded neckline. It was what she had wanted. Joey had suggested white, Con smiled, hardly after her past, she had suggested frills, a train, a veil, in fact everything Con had hated. And Con had refused and stuck with her own choice.