hen Todd woke the following morning, she had gone. He had taken her virtue. He had needed to. She had left him a note, “I'm glad it was you, Carmel.” Finally, he let the tears go that he had been bottling up all year, “I didn’t wake up next to you, Carmel,” he said to the pillow that still held the indent of her head, as his finger traced her head's outline, and now he never would.
Carmel went to Liverpool University, she got a shock when Liam Watts was on her course. Todd went to Oxford. Carmel checked his wall occasionally. The first year at university, Todd Steadman is in a relationship with Tamara Lewis. The second year at university, Todd Steadman got engaged to Tamara Lewis, her mother and Penny had rung to say it had been announced in the local papers too. Todd checked Carmel's wall, Carmel Edwards is in a relationship with Liam Watts, and that’s the way it stayed.
Carmel's relationship with Liam wasn’t bad but wasn’t fabulous either. Todd's father's social standing was looking decidedly healthier with his engagement to Tammy, and Todd resented him even more. Still the wedding had been booked for a year after they finished university, and was now just a month away.
Jessie and Penny went to college together and they settled on the same university, as they were going into their second year Jessie mentioned to his father about the wedding. “Did you read the small print, Jessie?” was all his father said.
“He screwed me over Todd!” Jessie wailed down the phone, “He put clauses in the small print, I can’t marry Penny.” Todd was livid, his father had gone back on his word, Todd told Jessie not to mention it to Penny yet. Todd had a mind to tackle his father head on but that would be no use, instead he got his copy of the contract between him and his father, he picked up the phone and called his mother, he would book her on the next available flight here, she agreed immediately when she heard what her ex-husband had done. Then Todd called a number he hadn’t called in over three years.
Carmel was working for an international bank as their overseas business consultant, it was by the luck of God she happened to be in the UK. “Can you meet me at registry office in Beswick Stanton on Friday at 1 o'clock?” Todd asked her. “I know it's short notice, but you have no idea how important it is”
Carmel had a feeling she knew what it was, Todd was getting Jessie and Penny's wedding sorted, she cleared her diary. How could she not be there?
On Friday evening, Todd made his way into his father's study and asked him to get the contracts out. His father laughed, what good would that do him now? He got the contracts out of the safe and handed them to Todd. Todd had one of the best lawyers in the country look over Jessie's contract, there was nothing to say that he couldn’t marry Penny once he came of age, of his own accord. Todd pulled a lighter from his pocket and lit the contracts, he let them burn then dropped them on his father's mahogany desk.
His father demanded to know what he thought he was playing at. His father had won! Destroying the contracts would serve no purpose, there was copies at the solicitors. Todd smiled....
“Father, let me introduce you to someone,” Carmel took this as her cue, “Father, I would like to introduce you to Carmel Steadman, my wife.” His father who had stood fell back into his chair.
“The contract stated you weren’t allowed to date her!” His father went blood red in the face.
“I didn’t date her, I married her.” Todd stated, firmly taking Carmel's hand.
“But what about Tamara, what about your career?” his father asked.
“You want that family merger so badly, marry her yourself,” Todd said, putting out the smouldering desk.
At which Jessie came in behind them holding Penny's hand, “Father, I would like to introduce you to my wife, Mrs Penny Fujimoto” his father clearly didn’t understand. Until his ex-wife walked in behind them.
“Jessie changed his name by deed poll to my maiden name in case you found a way to counteract the marriage. I gave them my written consent and it has all been dealt with by solicitors. How dare you try and ruin these two boys' lives.” At which the family turned and walked away from Todd Steadman the First and never looked back.
“Will you marry me?” Todd had got down on one knee in front of the registry office, he had got a ring the same size as the one Jessie had got Penny and prayed it would fit.
“Not because of Jessie or Penny or what my father has done, but simply because, I love you, I have loved you since the night we danced in the club, and I never stopped.” Todd had pleaded, and with a proposal like that, how could Carmel refuse?