Alcandor loosened his tie and unbuttoned his shirt at the neck. He knew he was at his son’s wedding, but felt as if he was about to suffocate. He looked around at the wedding guests, to make sure no one was aware of his agitation. No one was, of course. They were all having fun. Caterina was having a conversation with Ardelis and didn’t see his distress.
Nothing had happened in eighteen years. They were happy and secure here. Surely, Constantine had written those things in anger. Alcandor tried to tell himself he would have done the same thing, if the situation were reversed.
Why did he still have a sense of unease? He turned to watch the celebrations again, and his eyes roamed over the guests. He looked at their clothes and watched conversations, trying to lip-read what they said on the other side of the room. His eyes fell on Charis’s parents, Mr and Mrs Petrides, and he thought what a wonderful family they were, and how fortunate Dymas was to be part of their family. He felt fortunate to have Charis as a daughter-in-law too, but the pleasant feeling vanished as rapidly as it had come.
In the far corner of the room at the most distant table, he saw the two young men who worked with Stepan at the carpentry workshop, and, all at once, felt a strange disquiet. Alcandor had only met Fedor and Vasilios Chalakas briefly a few times before the wedding, but each time he met them, that inner disturbance of mind needled him like a burr in his socks. It was irritating him now as he watched them.
They applied to Stepan with some excellent examples of their craftsmanship, and Stepan was impressed with the quality of the work. They proved their worth in time, and the business went from strength to strength.
Twice Alcandor invited them, through Stepan, to come for a meal and meet the wider family, but each time they politely thanked him and pleaded inability because of their own family affairs.
Alcandor averted his gaze, wanting to shake off his disquiet. He focused his attention on his family again, gaining comfort as he watched his grown children interacting with the grandchildren. He amused himself for a time, working out who each grandchild resembled.
Someone walked by him and cast a shadow, interrupting his thoughts. He looked up to see the back of a young man who was walking towards Dymas at the other end of the hall. He recognised Dymas’s friend and best man, Spyridon Pagonis. As his eyes followed Spyridon along the length of the hall, he experienced the same unsettled emotions as when he was watching Fedor and Vasilios.
Alcandor had also only met Spyridon a few times because Spyridon was as reluctant to socialise as Stepan’s employees were. Alcandor couldn’t understand why these three young men made him feel ill at ease. Was he feeling resentment that his sons were finding mateship with men apart from himself? Why wasn’t he happy that his sons had found good friends who had also proven their worth in employment? Was he really a jealous man at heart, resenting the influence of other men in his sons’ lives? He deliberately turned away, momentarily ashamed that there might be some truth in these thoughts.