Originally posted on Patreon in May 2018 and part of the Great Patreon Crossposting to WordPress.
This story comes after “Securing One’s Own Legacy” and is a tale of Zenobia. Warning: it covers grief and loss.
Zenobia looked good in black. And she was in no position to appreciate it.
She was actually mourning the man, although she doubted anyone in her family would believe that.
Lewis had been a sweet man, a patient man, and willing to do just about anything to keep his family off of his back, which had included a sweet but entirely sham marriage to Zenobia – a marriage he had, in the weeks before his death, explained to their pastor exactly how sham it was.
Zenobia had been able to see three things about Lewis from the moment he showed up in her card readings.
The first was that he had not long to live, and knew it. The second was that he would father no children. And the third was that he lived under heavy secrets and heavy pressures.
Her discussion with him had been quiet and very polite – at least by her standards.
“I know that you’re dying,” she’d told him, as they walked together under a parasol in all indications of a courting, “and I know your parents won’t leave you alone. I have similar problems. Would you consider an arrangement?”
Once he had stopped gaping at her, once they had gotten by “How… oh, of course. You’re part of that family, aren’t you?” they had moved on to more practical matters, some of that being how long they would need to pursue a courtship to convince everyone that they were genuine.
After that, they’d had four sweet years, while Zenobia used everything in her power to prolong his life and make him comfortable.
In the last days, she’d been reduced only to minimizing pain, and she had cried bitterly when no-one could see her. He was her Lewis, damnit. He was not supposed to hurt like that!
The priest would declare the marriage to have been annulled if Zenobia asked. But for the moment, she stood by his coffin.
It had been the perfect plan. And she did look good in black. She had not, however, banked on him being quite so much the perfect husband.
Her veil was heavy; she cried without shame and let the teardrops send him to heaven with her love.