Guiltless

On the 11th of January 1937 Johnathon Ignes is born. He is a suitable weight, in good health...but different from all the other babies in the ward, because he is born immune to guilt. 2 years and 235 days later, worldwide war breaks out.
Sent away as an evacuee, Johnathon grows up away from his mother, and meets Erebus, a cheeky paperboy. Erebus too, has no guilt, and under his influence, Johnathon grows up into a monster.
This is the story of how that monster, became a leader.
- The prequel to 'Souls' (but will make sense if you haven't read it) -

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50. Chapter 49

After Adele accepted his proposal, Johnathon wasted no time planning the wedding. They booked the local church for the ceremony, and the town hall for the reception. Johnathon found a suit that made him look like a gentleman, and Adele found a dress that made her look like an angel. Time passed in a blur, and the big day arrived.

15/02/1978:

Shaking was an odd sensation for Johnathon. To feel the tremors of his hands as they jilted rapidly at thrice the speed of his rapid heartbeat wasn’t pleasant. He should’ve been happy, lighthearted, and gleeful, it was his wedding day after all. Although there was a small smile on his lips, and an optimistic outlook in his mind, he did feel awfully nauseated. He tried to hide it, after all the guests were beginning to take to their seats, and he didn’t want them to see him break down.

“You seem nervous” Kris came up beside him. Johnathon sighed when he saw his white shirt wasn’t fully buttoned, he’d invested a fair sum of money into his outfit.

“Do you not know how to dress yourself?” Johnathon asked rhetorically.

“You’re lucky I wore the blazer” Kris shrugged. “Seriously though, how are you feeling?”

“Not too great,” Johnathon confessed, “It all feels a little surreal.”

“That’s because it is. Today you get to pretend like all your problems don’t exist, that you’re the centre of the universe, that life will never go wrong again. Tomorrow reality will kick in again, but today, today you are allowed to live in a fantasy.” Kris patted his back, trying to be as supportive as possible. He was, after all, the best man. He was the best Johnathon could find, he didn’t have many friends, and after he’d left Erebus back in Cantumville, no one else seemed fit to fill the position. Which was sad really.

“All rise for the entrance of the bride” the priest spoke, and everyone did. Johnathon suddenly felt very stiff, he couldn’t quite manage to turn around and look at her, but he could hear her footsteps approaching as she came closer and closer. With each little ‘clink’ or her heel against the isle Johnathon’s heart skipped a beat, the shaking was getting worse and worse with every millisecond that passed…

Then she arrived at the altar. As if a wave of compassion had hit him, Johnathon was suddenly calmer. His shoulder’s relaxed, his face melted, and he turned to look her in the eye.The first thing he noticed was her hair, it didn’t fit under her veil, but that wasn’t a bad thing, it made her imperfectly perfect. Her dress wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t slim either. It went in at the waist, and then flowed gently outwards, leaving a small white trail behind her. There was lace detail on the sleeves, but it was subtle, and the rest was just silk. Adele needed no makeup to be beautiful, but the warm glow of bronzer on her cheeks seemed to illuminate her face even more than usual. Looking at her frightened Johnathon, because he realised just how scared he was to loose a woman he was so deeply in love with.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…” Johnathon wasn’t really listening to the words, he was too busy gazing at Adele. He repeated the words when asked, and soon came the time for them to say their own personal vows. Adele went first, he voice shaking with nerves as she spoke.

“I love you unconditionally and without hesitation. I vow to never willingly leave your side, to support you, respect you, cherish you, and to trust you. I choose you today as my husband for as long as I shall live, knowing I shall never love anyone as much as I love you. I shall stand beside you whenever you need me to, I vow to be your shoulder, I vow to be your redemption, I vow to be your wife.” By the end Adele was in tears, her hands vibrating gently in his hold. Her honest words were like a magnet to Johnathon’s heart, pulling him closer to her with every syllable. It was only after a few seconds that he realised it was his turn.

“I am a complicated man,” he confessed, “But with you, my feelings are simple. I love you, Adele. There is no need to big that fact up with metaphors and exaggeration because that is all you need to know. The sheer innocence of those words, the vulnerability of saying them, and the reaction they receive provides enough motivation for our love to last eternally. Three words, one life-changing meaning. So today, I vow to you, my future wife, to never forget to remind you that I love you. I vow that I love you, and that I always will. I vow to be your husband.” Adele’s knees seemed to be on the edge of bucking, and Johnathon was sort of holding her up, but their similarly nervous states comforted one another.

“I now pronounce you Husband and Wife, you may now kiss the bride.” And Jonathan did just that. He made it a good, warm, heartfelt one too. One that assured Adele that all he had said was true. Once the kiss broke, neither of them were shaking.

The guests poured out of the church, and everyone made their way gradually to the reception. It was almost as if the most important part of the day was over, and the rest was all just extra little bits to make it more memorable. The reception was decorated excellently. There were lots of golden twirls of ribbon hanging from the ceiling that glistened in the tinted lighting, and silver confetti was all over the floor like dust, the name labels were all hand written, and the music which played was peaceful and calming so that is merged into the atmosphere rather than controlling it. As everyone came in to admire the decorations and socialise, Johnathon’s heart settled, and he relaxed into the afternoon.

“Congratulations” Eloise came up beside him.

“Thank you.” Johnathon replied stiffly.

“There’s no need to be all moody…” Eloise sighed, “Even if I did not approve of this relationship at the beginning I now see how important it is to you, and how big a factor it is in your life. Without Adele you’d be a very different man. You’d also be a lot more unhappy. So you have my blessing, if that means anything to you, I’m fine with your marriage Johnathon, and I wish you all the best in future.” Johnathon turned to her, judging her expression to see if she was serious or not. Eloise’s face was calm, with a hint of a smile, and empathetic eyes. She wasn’t lying. She was actually accepting his relationship.

“Thank you, that means a lot.” Johnathon thanked her again, with more meaning the second time around. After Eloise left to chat to others, Johnathon made the bold and uncharacteristic decision to go and join a conversation, rather than waiting for a conversation to come to him.

“...I’m telling you, they were rubble before we worked on them. Now they are things of pure beauty…” Richard was undoubtedly bragging about his houseboats to Andrew (who looked slightly uncomfortable), “Ah! Here he is, the man of the hour.” Richard placed his arm around Johnathon’s shoulders. “I was just telling Andrew here about our houseboats”.

“I guessed as much.” Johnathon forced a grin.

“They do sound quite stunning,” Andrew complimented them both, “You certainly put a lot of work in.”

“I’m telling you, I never would have got it all done without this man.” Richard was evidently slightly drunk, “He was my saviour”.

“Dad! Leave him alone…” Adele came over, “He’s my husband, not yours.” It felt nice to hear Adele refer to Johnathon as her husband, and not just her boyfriend.

“Alright, alright, I can tell when I’m not wanted.” Richard put his hands up in surrender, “Come on Andrew, I’ll show you some pictures…” Once her dad was safely out of earshot, Adele spoke to Johnathon.

“There’s a surprise waiting for you outside.” She informed him.

“A nice surprise?” Johnathon checked, wrapping his arms around her waist, “Because if it’s not I’d rather stay in here with you.”

“Whether it’s nice or not is a matter of opinion, and although I would love for you to stay in here with me, I think you should go see it” Adele evaluated. Johnathon removed his hands from her waist, and sighed.

“Okay, I’ll go check it out” he agreed. Adele smiled, giving him a quick kiss before he left.

Outside the sun was beginning to set, as the afternoon gradually turned to evening. Johnathon couldn’t see anything that resembled a surprise, but he wondered around all the same so he could be sure. He was just about to go inside when he heard a familiar voice speak from behind him.

“Hello, Johnny boy”.

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