Dermott enjoyed his midday lunches. He had always found them to be one of the most appealing times of day. Especially, in the Spring when the weather wasn’t hot yet for Summer and not cold any longer for Winter. No, Spring was indeed the most capital of seasons and his lunches in the midst of it were marvelous.

Some time ago, never mind how long, Dermott decided that lunch time was to become a meal and opportunity to treat himself to the pleasure of formality. He also decided that regardless of what he prepared for the repast, he would determinedly invite friends and family to attend his event and enjoy the spontaneity of not requesting RSVP. See, without knowing who was to arrive for the midday adventure, he was forcing himself to rely on his available resources. In other words, he only used what he had on hand.

He never over prepared. Many times he would cook a chicken and bake grainy bread and that would be the entirety of the meal. The food was never the primary focus of Dermott’s luncheons. No, the primary focus of Dermott McFadden’s midday meal, inevitably, was Madeline Lucas.

Madeline Lucas was incredibly beautiful. She had been born with a purity of form and spirit as one rarely sees in a lifetime. Everyone in town loved Madeline like a daughter and she loved them.

She always attended Dermott’s lunches because she loved Dermott McFadden more than anything else in the world. He was, to her, everything she could hope for in a friend and her secret wish was to be with him always. She had known she loved Dermott as more than friends since they were teenagers. In her opinion, theirs was a love formed in destiny.

This day was especially bright and beautiful and Dermott was terribly excited about this lunch as no other before it. This was the day he had decided to ask Madeline to marry him.

—–

Dermott and Madeline had been friends for as long as they could both remember.

Their friendship, while destined, was not one of obvious origins. You see, Dermott, an upstanding man and well liked in the community, was a McFadden. The McFadden family had settled in the town two generations ago with nothing to redeem them besides open, smiling faces, a strong work ethic, and almost supernatural immune systems. They never got sick. Ever. Not a cold, sniffle, cough, or sneeze had ever been witnessed from a McFadden.

Anyways, being new to town the family had set about making a life for themselves. They did this without hardship and within a year had established themselves as a stable pillar of the community. Yet, though their efforts at creating a life were successful, they never attempted to pursue anything more than a simple living. No McFadden ever ran for public office. They never applied to managerial positions or positions of authority of any kind. It was as if the family, as a whole, had decided they wanted nothing more than what they had and that was enough.

Where the McFadden’s were light on ambition, the Lucas family made up for in great full barrels. Thomas Lucas brought his wife and three children to town and set about claiming it for his own. He was a man with a mission and that mission, apparently, was to own everyone and everything within 200 miles.

Besides being a man of great ambition, he was also a man very well blessed in his family. Everyone who met the Lucas family was made instantly at ease by Mrs. Lucas who took great pangs to ensure such ease. Their children, Marcus, Philip, and Madeline, were beautifully mannered and no one ever remembers hearing any of them speak cruelly or disrespectfully to anyone.

When Thomas settled in town with his family, Marcus was already 5 years old, Philip was 2, and Madeline was just an infant. Mrs. Lucas asked Mrs. McFadden for assistance with a vegetable garden and while they worked on the garden, their children would play and care for one another.

The McFadden children were a little older with twins Jill and Aril at 12, and the youngest, Dermott, was 3. Dermott immediately loved baby Madeline and the two became fast friends.

Today was the day Dermott was determined to see that long-time friendship solidified for a lifetime.

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