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Shelby & Solomons

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The sound of your brothers downstairs was what woke you up. Your pocket watch on the bedside table read that it was just after 10 in the morning, so you stretched before slowly getting out of the bed. It was your first day of you 2 days off this week, which meant you could relax. You worked as a nurse at the second largest hospital in Birmingham, a job which you loved as you were mostly on the children and elderly wards. You loved working with them, as you were a patient and love person, and in turn you were sure the patients loved you as well (well, hopefully). On the side you also helped your family business of Shelby Company Ltd. as it was always good to have an extra brain about. You done anything from attend meetings, help John with the bets, worked with Michael on the number tasks, anything really.

You dressed up in one of your favourite dresses - it was a yellow gown that was very light and could be worn in almost any weather. It sat just on the knees - which made you receive some odd looks, as not many of the women and girls around Small Heath approved of anything that showed your legs, preferring longer dressed that didn't even show an inch of skin. You pulled on a pair of tights so you weren't bare legged before walking down the stairs, checking and adjusting your hair in the mirror on the landing.

Walking into the kitchen, you found Finn, your youngest brother, his friend Isaiah Jesus, a few other Blinder boys their age and Michael. They looked at you and smiled as you walked in. Isaiah looked blown away - he'd always had a crush on you. You made your way over to the cupboard where you made yourself some tea.
"Morning princess," Isaiah winked in welcome. "You're looking radiant."
You couldn't help but blush and roll your eyes in amusement. You were sure you caught Finn glaring at his friend when you turned back around to face them. "Cheers Isaiah, you too." You smirked. Then you remembered - there was no sight of your older brothers and Pol. "Where's our family got to?" You asked as you looked to Finn and Michael, trying to rattle your brain. Was there a race meeting on today? You tried to think. If there was, that was where they'd be. But it would be odd that they didn't invite you to go..
"They're in Tommy's office." Finn answered, lighting a cigarette. You would have scolded him, but left him to it. Quickly drinking your tea, you placed your cup down and went to find them, as you wanted to see if there were any little jobs you could do for them to lessen their workload.

The blinds in Tommy's office windows were all shut, and you could hear multiple muffled voices. You barely knocked once before opening the door.
To your surprise, there were multiple men in the room and almost all the seats at the table were occupied. They all turned to you, even though your eyes were probably wide and you were frozen in shock. Finn, I'm going to kill you, you made a mental note to slap the upsides of the back of your brothers head later.
"Ah shit, sorry lads, I didn't know you had visitors today." You said, trying to leave quickly to avoid embarrassment.
"No worries, Leah, there's someone I'd like you to meet." Tommy gave you a warm smile. You tried not to make a fool of yourself as you closed the door as you walked further into the room, all the eyes on you. Male eyes, no less.

Tommy continued, "Leah, this is Alfie Solomons, our new business partner and ally."
A man stood up and made his way towards you. He wasn't the tallest, but you'd be damned if you didn't find him any less intimidating. He was dressed in all black except from his white shirt. He had a beard and a top hat. He now stood in front of you, this Alfie Solomons. The man stuck his hand out, "Pleasure to meet ya, Miss Shelby," the man spoke as he shook you hand almost delicately. You gave him a smile, trying to seem confident and not weak at the knees.
Introductions done, you made your way to vacate the seat in between Arthur and John. As soon as you sat down, they gave you a smile and both put one of their arms around the back of your chair, perhaps to show protectiveness. A lot of the men were still looking at you.

Tommy and the man Solomons kept on talking business, and Alfie Solomons swore, a lot. You swore ever third word was either "mate" or "fucking" and you could tell he was from London. You didn't mind that, though, you did grow up with Arthur Shelby, the most potty mouthed of your siblings.

Refreshments were brought in for all the men, even those not seated. The man Solomons kept on looking at you, you noticed. Your eyes caught his, and normally you would blush and look away, but you held your nerve. He is damn beautiful, you thought. The sinful things I would do to him.. I wonder if he's married?
You crossed your legs under the table and leaned back in your chair as you finally pried your eyes from Alfie Solomons. John, sat on your right, lit a cigar. He turned slightly and whispered to you. "I don't trust this Solomons."
You chuckled, as you glanced ever so slightly at Alfie to make sure he wasn't looking. The man was chatting to the younger dark-haired gentleman beside him. "And why not, brother?"
"Well, for one, he keeps fucking staring at you, Leah." John grumbled, and you couldn't help but let out a laugh, which you didn't mean to let out so loudly. Tommy gave you an odd look whilst a lot of men continued to stare. Solomons resumed his staring. "I don't see you storming into my ward, guns blazing, every time a patient looks at me for more than ten seconds, John." You whispered back.
"That's different, Leah." John half-glared. "This man wields power in London. He could do whatever he wants."
"John's right." Arthur added, whispering next to you. You had no idea he was listening. "Solomons wants more than 'e lets on. I swear to God, if he even tries to lay a hand on you, he'll be six feet under."
"You boys are such idiots," you rolled your eyes, looking between your two older brothers. You adored them a lot, but sometimes they were just silly. Crazy overprotective. You had demonstrated on numerous occasions you could take care of yourself and hold your own.

One time, a man tried to follow you home after your first night shift at the hospital, and you deliberately let him corner you. He'd obviously had intentions to either sexually assault or rape. He'd barely gotten his hands on his belt before you took your sharp hair pin out and drove it into his throat - a trick you adapted from Polly, - causing the man to bleed to his death on the cobblestones behind some woollen mill factory. It had saved you of traumatic stress. Your brothers (along with Ada and aunt Pol) had been crazy impressed and proud, but their rage had been something to behold. Uncle Charlie too had almost made his scrap yard a tip in his rage when they told him, and sweet Curly always wanted to make sure you were fine after it. Since then, all the Peaky Blinders had sworn to watch out for you.
"We're not being idiots, Leah." John clenched his jaw. "He's almost ten years older than you, he could easily take advantage of you. Who knows what sick thoughts go through his head."
"If Alfie Solomons thinks he can scare me, I'll put a bullet in his head, alright? But first he'll feel my wrath for days on end before I gift him death." She insisted to her brothers as quietly as she could.
They were silent for a few seconds, but looked at each other before grinning and each pulling you into their sides and kissing your head. "That's my girl," Arthur muttered softly, whilst John whispered, "My not-so baby sister."

The short break came to an end as Tommy sat back down, a clear sign for negotiations to resume. Solomons looked to you yet again, this time sneaking you a small wink and smile. You cocked your head slightly and smiled, which seemed to spark something in the Jewish man.
When Tommy had finished speaking about something, Alfie's eyes flickered back to you, and seemed to stay on you as he spoke. What is he playing at? You wondered.
"Mr Shelby, I have another proposition, right, that would seal this deal for life. Non-aggression pact, alliance, call it what you fucking will, right, but hear me out." Alfie Solomons begun.
Tommy clearly wanted him to continue. "I'll be glad to hear your proposition, Mr Solomons."
Arthur tensed slightly next to you, and John slowly leaned forward.
"Mr Shelby, I wish to put forward the notion that we should seal this fucking deal with a marriage, yeah," the man paused, eyes still on you.

His next words shocked you. "Give me your sisters hand in marriage, Tommy, right, and you'll have no cause to question my loyalty."

Arthur and John shot up like two rockets as son as the word 'sister' left his mouth. Instinctively, you stood up too, but much slower. You tried to lay your arms on both your brothers as the room descended into chaos - mostly caused by your brothers and other Blinders shouting abuse. As you rose, you glued your eyes on Alfie. He was smiling, but ever so slightly. His eyes seemed softer than before. His men seemed stunned by his words. It sparked a sudden urge to get to know him.

"ARTHUR! JOHN! SIT DOWN!" Tommy tried to scream at your brothers from down the table.
"John, come on, I already told you I can handle him." You said through gritted teeth, trying to avoid a full-blown war between two gangs. When that didn't work, you brought your right arm down on his shoulder and applied pressure, forcing John back down in his seat. Whilst John was now seated, his shouting had only slightly decreased. You physically had to grab Arthur to hold him back from marching around the table and killing Alfie Solomons. Tommy eventually joined you in helping and together got Arthur sitting down again.
"Now will all of you SHUT UP!" You half-screamed.
Your brothers winced at your tone, and half the men were rendered scared.
"Thanks. Now that we're all calm, I'd like a word with Mr Solomons, alone." Was all you said.
"Leah are you fucking mad?!" John screeched.
"No way. No." Arthur was adamant.
Hells, even Tommy disagreed. "You're not being left on your own."
"I want to discuss this marriage on my own terms, brothers." You half-snapped. "I want this to happen."
Glancing again at Alfie, the man looked smitten. Utterly smitten. He wasn't expecting such a fiery and fiesty woman, was he? You almost smirked.
"She is right." Tommy said. Before Arthur or John could even open their mouths he said, "We gain an ally for eternity instead of an enemy. Don't you both see?!"

Arthur and John were clearly thinking, and you knew deep down that they were probably seeing sense in this. Arthur turned to Solomons. "Five minutes. And listen 'ere, right, if you try anything funny with her, it will mean your death."
Breathing a sigh of relief, both Alfie's men and Tommy's got up to leave the room, chairs scraping on the hardwood floor. Your heart skipped a few beats at the prospect of getting to know this dangerous yet beautiful man a bit better.
This really could work, you thought to yourself, giddy. Clearly he takes a fancy to me as well, all that staring..
Something sparked inside you when the door finally closed behind all the men.

Chapter Text

Alfie Solomons had never lost his cool. Never. It was law for him - he had an image to uphold, as well as a reputation.

But yet when this Leah Shelby burst into her brothers office, all morning light and grace, he found it superbly difficult not to trip up on his words.

All throughout that short break in negotiations he just could not keep his eyes off her. It was hard to - this particular Shelby was a damn fairer sight than her psycho brothers. Long lashes. Gorgeous and kind light green eyes. Long light brown hair. Plump lips. High cheekbones and a fucking stunning jawline. Not to mention the way her yellow dress made him think of fantasies not safe for mentioning around her brothers.. He swore he went weak at the knees when he heard her laugh at something her brother said, and her smile.. This girl was a damned trap.

Alfie had never really entertained the idea of falling in love and getting married. He was in his thirties for god sake - what enticing young woman would want a man who looked (and felt) old enough to be a father? The kind of women who want to fake love and steal all your life's earnings when you're on your fucking deathbed, mate, some part of his brain was telling him. But what if.. What if she was feeling the same as him? She was certainly staring at Alfie in ways that made his heart fly.

To be honest, he was terrified a little bit when he asked Tommy for the girls hand in marriage, but he knew he'd done well when the girl wanted to talk to him. Alone. He was utterly in awe of the way Leah had enough exerted authority that she had managed to calm her two screaming brothers down. And fucking hell, when she snapped at them, blood was going everywhere but his brain at that moment.. If Ollie even said a word about this to any of the others, he would have his head removed.

And now he was alone with her, he was almost frozen frigid. He was about to make a fool of himself in front of this riveting young lady when just minutes ago he'd been bold enough to ask permission to marry her!
Make these five minutes count, Solomons! His brain was screaming at him.
Thankfully, she was making the first move. He literally had to sit himself back down in his chair because he thought he was going to faint from the way she was walking towards him and making eye contact.

She sat herself down directly opposite him, and Alfie swore she was trying to seduce him. She smoothed the backside of her dress as she lowered herself to her seat and she way she was blinking at him..
"You're a sly little vixen, sweetheart." He didn't even know where that came from or why he said it, but it was out.
She smirked, and looked at her hands as she placed them on the desk. "Is that the way you start every conversation with your betrothed?"
Fucking hell. "So you do want this marriage?" He said, more softly than he intended.
"Yes, Mr Solomons. You're clearly captivated. Wouldn't want to leave you heartbroken, would I?" She said, tilting her head to the side and flashing him a wink and a grin, which rendered him entranced once again.
If she carries on doing that then a whole load of shenanigans will be going down in this office, he thought to himself, trying to stay collected. That smile was so contagious it was like a sickness - eating away at the immune system and weakening it within a matter of seconds. He'd give anything to see Leah Shelby smile and giggle, he decided.

"Well, right now, I do not have a ring to give you, nor the strength to get down on one knee and back up again, right, but let's say we make it official with the best fucking dinner you've ever had in your life. I'll book us a table, right, at the best restaurant in this stinking city, and we'll have a nice chat, so that this marriage does not feel forcibly arranged in any way shape or form, because," Alfie paused, before gulping and carrying on, "we barely know each other, right, but what I know is that you are a precious gem. From what I can tell, your family worship the ground you fucking walk on, and half of Birmingham probably calls you a fucking queen, and I so want to learn more about that wonderful aura of a personality that I just know you fucking possess."
He shocked himself at his little speech. Leah looked surprised, but was revelling in it all.
"You know what? I'd fucking love that." She grinned.
Alfie lit up, reputation and intimidating figure be damned. He'd just scored a dinner date with this fucking queen in front of him. "I'll pick you up tomorrow night then, let's say 8?"
"Sounds good to me." Leah replied, looking radiant. They locked eyes yet again, and Alfie didn't even have to stop himself as he heard a right good hammering at the door.

"Times up!" Tommy said on the other side of the door.
"Fine!" Leah called back. Just before the door reopened, the lass leaned forward and whispered millimetres from his face "It turns out I've got the most fabulous new dress ordered for the occasion. I do hope you're good with guns, Alfie Solomons, because the amount of people who will be staring at me will be needing swatted away.."
His heart was now all over the place. Leah stood up, and the door swung open. The rough voice of Arthur Shelby was muttering "Did he do anything to you, Leah?"
"Hardly, else his men would be leaving with his dead body in a coffin." She joked, smirking down at him. He smiled back at her, delighted with life. Not even his crazy future brothers in-law would dampen his mood.
"So what's the arrangements then?" John Shelby demanded, glaring slightly in Alfie's direction.
"Alfie is taking me out for dinner tomorrow, so we can know more about each other." Leah explained, before quickly adding, "and neither of you three better not send men to spy on us."
Tommy chuckled. "For once Leah, we trust your judgement."
"Oh really?" She challenged light-heartedly, crossing her arms.
"Yeah." Both Arthur and John mumbled, although it sounded reluctant.
"Superb." Was all she said.
Alfie rose out his seat. "Well, that seems to be negotiations done. I'm sure the actual wedding can be discussed at a later date, innit, Tommy?"
Tommy Shelby's blue eyes fixated on him, and Alfie noticed the man's jaw tense slightly. "If all goes well, yes. Synagogue or church?"
"The bride can choose," he playfully nudged Leah, who let out another award winning smile.

As he left the building with his men to go back to their accommodation, Alfie couldn't help but feel on top of the world. Ollie gave him a side eye look and even chanced a smirk. For once, Alfie didn't send him a look that would curdle milk, and instead beamed, "Ollie, mate, I'm getting married!"


Chapter Text

Leah could hardly sleep that night, when the house had gone to bed. She was far too excited - she was going out for dinner with a man who clearly adored her, and they were probably going to discuss their own wedding plans. I wonder if he's also doing and feeling the same, she wondered, thinking about me and smiling. The time on her pocket watch had gone three in the morning by the time her eyes were forcing themselves shut.

She was practically skipping by morning. Every time she opened her wardrobe door, the dress - her dress, the one she was going to be wearing tonight, was staring her in the face. It was beautiful and perfect. She had originally had it made for the hospital staff's Christmas night out in town last year, but she had fallen ill the day of that occasion and couldn't attend. Ever since it had been sat on its hanger, awaiting its day in the sun. And today was that day.
When she trotted into the kitchen to settle her rumbling and hungry stomach, Michael and Polly were the only ones in there. Through both the walls and the windows, she could hear the noise from the betting shop next door, indicating that's where her brothers probably were.
"Morning Leah," Michael grinned in welcome, setting down the morning paper.
"Morning Michael, morning Pol," Leah replied, all happy.
"Tonight's your night," Polly smirked. "How you feeling for it?"
"Like a girl on her wedding day," Leah beamed, "which is ironic, as I know I'll be marrying the man."
She noticed somehow that Michaels eyes kept flicking towards the door she had just came through. Was that a floorboard I just heard creaking upstairs? Leah thought. She brushed that thought away though, as she figured it was just Finn finally arising from sleep.

Leah buttered a slice of toast and poured herself a cup of tea. She broke her fast with her aunt and cousin, and Polly seemed so delighted that Leah was "finally settling down" so to speak. Polly also offered to help her get ready for her dinner date.
"No you won't," Leah smirked.
Polly looked slightly taken aback. "Pardon?"
"None of you will be seeing me in my dress until it's time for me to descend the stairs when Alfie comes to the door, I've decided." Leah said triumphantly. "I want to see all your faces."
Aunt Polly kept on protesting, but eventually left it at that. Michael was acting very odd, she decided. Studying her cousin, he was clearly pretending to act interested in the section of the paper he's reading. Oddball, she thought.

She excused herself from the table when she had finished, and went back up to her room to either read or finish off paperwork from the hospital she always got assigned to do on her days off. Finn was coming down as she was coming up.
"Morning, sleepyhead." She nodded to him.
Finn's eyes widened. "Oh, hello Leah." He said, rather surprised.
"I know I like having a lie in, Finn, but it's not rare for me to rise before ten in the morning," she chuckled, a bit confused. "What's got into you?"
Finn stuttered. "Erm.. N-nothing." And with that, he virtually jogged down the stairs past her two at a time. Leah turned and watched him go. "Fucking weirdo, just what is he up to?" She said aloud.

Leah over dramatically flopped down on her bed after retrieving the paper folder from her work bag. She went to grab her pen from her dressing table when something caught her eye just under her mirror.
An envelope. And written in the centre of it was her name, written with such familiar handwriting, but she couldn't figure out who's.
Not quite knowing what to expect, she took it between her fingers and broke the glue.
Inside was a folded white bit of paper, clearly torn out of a book of some sort. Her heart skipped a beat - what if it was a threat? What if an associate of Billy Kimber's was going to take revenge on the Peaky Blinders?
Not wanting to waste time, she unfolded the bit of paper quickly - the sooner she read it, the sooner she could bring it to Tommy and her brothers so they could deal with it. Cursing her slightly shaking fingers, she braced herself for the words.
She had no threat to worry about.

"Leah Shelby,
Truth be told, I'm really fucking nervous about this. I would have said this in person but.. I know I'd probably faint.
I'm rarely ever caught off guard, but Jesus Christ princess, you distract me in so many ways it's a wonder nobody has caught on.
To get to the point, I think you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life. No joke. Everything you do entrances me. I know for a fact half the city is probably in love with you too but can't pine over you do to your brothers. Your eyes just ooze kindness and compassion it's no wonder you became a nurse - they probably hired you after taking one long look into your eyes (joking, of course, I know it takes more than that).
I don't just love you for your looks - I love everything about you. But mainly your personality. I've never met someone like you - you who could light up a whole building just by walking in. You could melt a heart of stone, my lovely.
But there is no pain greater than loving somebody you know you can't have.
You're marrying that London gangster - all the Peaky boys are talking about it. To say I'm heartbroken would be an understatement. I know I cannot do much once you marry him except admire you from afar, and oh so wish you were mine. I won't hold a grudge - I'll attend the wedding. I already know you're going to look out of this world. Maybe I might just have a dance with you.
I'm sad I cannot ever have you, but I want you to know that if Solomons ever harms you - in any way shape or form, I will save you. The thought of you ever being harmed is enough to make tears form in my eyes. All you have to do is tell me and I'll put a bullet in his head.
I feel this letter is far longer than I intended it to be, but to finish it off I'll just say... I love you, Leah Shelby. Truly. So so much. I'd do anything to keep you safe, to see you smile, to see you laugh. However, knowing that you'll be loved and cherished by the man you're betrothed to is good enough for me. Look for me at your wedding, Leah. I'll be there with the other Blinders. Just look for the man with the most forlorn and loving look in his eye, for that will be me.
Signed, nobody."

Leah couldn't quite believe what she was reading. She had a secret admirer?! It couldn't be Alfie - that much was obvious. Was it somebody her brothers knew? It had to be - else how would they know what the 'Peaky boys' knew. And how else would this letter get into her bedroom?
She swore a cog started turning in her head - Finn had been acting odd, and she'd heard a floorboard creak..
As if on cue, she heard somebody come up the stairs again.
Jumping up off her bed, she flung her bedroom door open and peeked over the rail on the landing to see who it was. Low and behold, it was Finn.
"Brother, I need to speak to you-"
"-No you don't," Finn made a mad dash to his room. Leah however was very swift and reactive - she grabbed him by the lower arm and shoved him against the wall.
"Leah, what the hell?!" He groaned.
"Who wrote the letter?" She demanded, not angrily.
"Look, I swore not to tell-"
"-Finn." She gave him a look which so mirrored Tommy's 'don't give me bullshit' stare.
"Are you going to be angry with him?" He asked. Leah gripped him tighter. "Ow, that's fucking sore!"
"Language, young man!" Leah slapped him slightly. Come on, I'm desperate to know.. "Who wrote the letter, Finn? You clearly put it in my room on somebody's behalf."
Finn did reply to her, but so quietly. "Pardon? What was that?" She said harshly.

"Isaiah." Was the answer he gave.

She knew that Isaiah Jesus had a crush on her, but bloody hell, Leah didn't think he was that in love with her he was willing to do anything that ensured her safety and happiness. She slowly let go of Finn.
"I'm amazed you didn't know," Finn said hesitantly after a few seconds, "he called you a princess just yesterday."
"Well yeah, but.. He does that with every girl." She replied.
"Are you kidding? He's been saving himself for you." Finn said incredulously.
"He's coming to my wedding," she said, still trying to process it all. "It will probably kill him to see me wed Alfie, but.. He says so long as I'm happy, he has no cause to be sad."
Finn just nodded. He slowly went back into his bedroom.

The rest of the morning and afternoon, Leah almost didn't get any work done - with both Alfie and Isaiah on her mind. It was three o'clock before she managed to complete a full page. It didn't help that just after half four, the boys had closed up the betting shop and were now downstairs, talking loudly and laughing from time to time, which didn't help her concentration levels.
Just as she was getting into more writing, Arthur and John decided to congregate upstairs and entered her room.
"Jesus, boys, ever heard of knocking?" She said, unimpressed as she noticed them. It was then she remembered that Isaiah's letter was still sat open on the dressing table, inches away from John, who was now leaning against it..
"Tommy said we have to tell you some ground rules before your date with Solomons tonight," Arthur explained, a tad sheepishly.
Tommy couldn't come and do it himself, the wuss. Leah raised her eyebrows, and rolled her eyes. "I'm not fifteen, you idiots."
"We know how cunning and coy you are, Leah," John added, "I've seen you constantly bat your eyelashes at men."
"I'm hardly going to ask him to fuck me behind the restaurant, you know." She sassed, smirking victoriously as Arthur and John winced, looking disgusted. "We're gypsies, but we were raised with class."
"Rule number one, we want you back by eleven o'clock at the very latest." Arthur said, his tone implying there was no room for negotiation. We'll probably be back before then anyway, Leah thought, I've got work tomorrow.
Leah nodded, waiting for her overprotective brothers to continue.
"Rule number two," John continued, "if he touches you in any way, or makes degrading comments in any way shape or form, or puts you in danger, blow his fucking head all the way back to London."
Leah just laughed, "Don't you think I already know that, John? Didn't I say yesterday how I'd make him suffer before killing him if he ever did that to me?"
"We're just making sure." Arthur said in a telling-off tone.
"Righty-o, will that be all? I've got paperwork to finish before I start getting ready." She threw them a fake smile as sweet as honey.
"Leah." John and Arthur said at the same time.
"What?" She said, furrowing her eyebrows as she looked back to them.
"As much as it pains us to say this, have fun tonight, but most of all be safe." John said, sincerely with concern and brotherly love clear on his face.
Leah smiled, feeling loved. "I will, boys, don't you worry."
They nodded and left the room.
Just after five, Leah powered through all her work and decided to start getting ready, jumping in the shower adjacent to her room - where she could have a nice long think.


It had just gone twenty minutes past seven, and Leah had finally slipped into her dress. Standing in front of her mirror, she lit up at how gorgeous it looked on her. It was a bit low-cut, but it didn't show anything - she knew that half the population of Birmingham would probably faint when they seen her in it. She couldn't help but feel giddy and squeal a little when she twirled around in it, feeling like a princess from the stories Polly and her mother used to tell her when she was younger. Alfie is going to be blown away, she knew, hells, Isaiah would get down on one knee probably.

Her makeup and hair were looking great as well - her hair was curled at the ends and fashioned in a half-up, half-down hairdo. She had let a few loose strands purposefully fall loose so they could frame her face. Her eyeshadow almost matched the colour of her dress too, and she decided on a subtle pink lipgloss to make her lips more fuller and appealing. Who knows, Alfie may just be going home with it smeared on his face, she thought, smirking.

Leah almost bolted to the window when she heard a car engine rumbling down the street. Surely it's Alfie?! The car had came to a halt about five doors down. Trouble was, it was quite dark, and the street lamps weren't exactly the brightest. But she could definitely see there were gentlemen in the car.
She kept herself out of their view - determined for them not to see her before she came down the stairs. Her heart was skipping beats inside her chest, she was sure of it.

At seven forty five, she was spraying on some perfume and sorting out her clutch bag when she heard the car doors open and close. Darting to the window again, she could hear their voices, and she heard the rap at the door. It's time.
Tommy shouted from the bottom of the stairs, "Leah! Are you ready? Alfie's here!"
She opened her bedroom door, "Yes! Just give me a minute, I'm putting my flats on!" She shouted down, hoping her voice carried.
Breathe, Leah, she told herself, if this is how anxious you are before a dinner, you'll never get through the wedding.

Adorning her fingers with some rose gold rings, she gave herself one last look in the mirror. She also threw on a silver bracelet decorated with numerous charms, a necklace which had belonged to her great-grandmother, and some long but elegant looking earrings. She couldn't have been more happier.
"Right Leah, come down now!" Arthur called.
"Alright, I'm coming!" She almost giggled. She couldn't wait to see their faces.
Walking out on to the landing, she peeked over the bannister to try and catch a glance. They were quite literally all gathered in the hall, awaiting her arrival. Here it goes.

As she carefully walked down the stairs, she could hear them whispering, even though she wasn't in sight yet as she was up on the third floor. When she turned the corner to finally get down on to the first level, their faces did not disappoint.
"How are you related to us?" John hooted, causing Leah and the others to laugh.
"Tell Mr Solomons good luck in handling this little queen," Arthur said in jest to the man at the door, who surprisingly wasn't Alfie. It's probably just his driver.
Glancing to Polly, Leah couldn't help but giggle. "Pol, why are you crying?"
"You're so bloody beautiful, Leah, that's why!" Polly retorted, trying desperately to swipe her tears away.
"It's true." Tommy said at last, giving a rare smile. "You look like our mother."
"Here, where the fuck did you get that dress from? It looks expensive." Finn commented.
"It was, which is why it's getting worn." Leah quipped.

She finally was on the ground floor. She could nearly move for her family crowding her.
"Right, I'll see you all later." She said, trying to be confident.
"Remember, eleven o'clock at the latest." John said from further back.
"Yes, I know." Leah rolled her eyes, causing them all to laugh.
"Have a nice night, cousin!" Michael called out from somewhere.
Having said her goodbyes, she closed the front door behind her and followed Alfie's driver to the awaiting motor. Alfie was in fact standing beside the car, but he was looking down the street. The light outside may have been dim, but Leah could tell he really put in the effort - he was wearing a white shirt with black trousers and a long black coat. His beard had been trimmed slightly and his hair was partly concealed by the hat he was wearing.

"Hello, mister." She hollered, in order to get him to turn around.
Alfie turned around, and Leah thought he was going to collapse. "Fucking hell, lass.."
She was now stood in front of him, and he leaned down to kiss her hand. "Shalom to you too, Alfie." She giggled as his facial hair grazed her skin.
Alfie straightened back up, and his eyes were like saucers. "You.. are the most stunning woman. I just.. Do not know what to say when you're looking like that."
She flashed him a grin. "What would your men say if they saw you losing your cool over a lady, eh?" She then ran a hand down his shoulder. "Come on, let's get in the car. Wouldn't want to be late for our reservation, would we?"

The car journey to the restaurant Alfie had booked was pleasant and smooth - the roads were quieter at night, especially when it was dark. The drive to the restaurant barely took ten minutes - it felt like Leah had barely sat down before the driver was pulling over to park the car.
Alfie got out first, thanking the driver (who she learned was called Ishmael) as he walked around the other side to open her door for her. "My sexy lady," he almost bowed as the door opened.
"Thanks, sir." Leah replied, grinning. After he shut the door, Alfie rather boldly placed a hand on her hip as they walked towards the entrance. She didn't mind that - in fact, she melted into his touch as she caught scent of his cologne.

The couple entered the restaurant, and bloody hell was it spacious. There were so many tables - many occupied. Everyone was dressed elegantly and there wasn't a spec of dirt anywhere. I hope I brought enough money, she wondered.
"Ah, Miss Shelby!" A waiter stepped forward to greet them. "Let me show you both to our more quieter dining suite upstairs."
Alfie groaned beside her at the mention of stairs, but it was an easy climb. They found themselves being whisked towards a private booth with a spectacular view of the city.
After the waiter had given them menus, he left them alone.
"So, Miss Shelby," Alfie mimicked their waiter, causing Leah to smile. "How come I had to haggle like a fucking fishmonger just to get a reservation for tonight, whereas you just turn up and they do whatever you fucking want?"
"My brothers are king's of Birmingham, Mr Solomons. Which means I am a queen," she teased, "because this is my city, not yours."
Alfie's face broke out into a smile. "You bloody well are, did you not notice everyone's attention on you when we walked in?"
"I did warn you to be prepared to scare away wandering eyes." She winked. Alfie winced when she did that. Oh, this is going to be fun.
She took advantage of her low cut dress and leaned forward, eyes on him still, as she opened up the menu. As she read it, she rested her head in one hand, but was sure to push her arm against her breast, to make them more prominent. "So, Alfie, what do you fancy?"
"To be honest, I'd rather have you for dinner than anything else here."
Leah let out a laugh, even though she did predict him to say something like that. "Cheeky bugger,"
"But, I suppose we best get something. What you fancying, love? Will we just do mains?" He asked.
She nodded, happy with that. This is going to be a fun night, and it's only getting started..




Chapter Text

"I'm quite fancying the sound of the lamb," his lovely date was saying across from him. Her doe eyes looked up from her menu at him. "What do you think?"
"'m not sure, really, angel," he had to try and not swoon. He'd tried desperately not to let his legs go jelly when he seen her in her dress for the first time, and was thankful that they were swiftly seated upon arriving at the restaurant. Her rings and the charms on both her bracelet and necklace were constantly glistening in the light whenever she moved, and her drop earrings must have had some sort of diamonds in them, for they were shining almost as brightly and helping to highlight her perfect face. "I try and avoid the meat, y'know, being Jewish n' that, and I don't fucking suppose they do Kosher here."
Her smile faltered slightly as the realisation hit her, but she soon giggled, whether in embarrassment or remembrance he couldn't really tell. "Oh shit, I forgot about that."
"No need t' worry, princess," he locked eyes with her, "how about we finally get to know one another, eh? Since we're to be fucking married, innit."
She lit up, probably glad. "Let's order first, shall we? Then we won't be interrupted."
He looked at her for a good few seconds, adoring how pearly white her teeth looked in the lighting. It helped to make that smile ever more brilliant.

A waiter came over at her summoning, and as she was ordering her choices - a fish linguine, which she wanted accompanied with butter potatoes, and to drink - a large (she particularly emphasised the word large) bottle of French red wine. He couldn't help but feel incredibly jealous as the waiter chanced a quick glance at her as he was writing all that down.
"And for you, sir?" The waiter turned to him. If he knew who he was dealing with, he'd think twice about looking at my queen. Alfie couldn't help but plot the man's death in his head.
He grimaced slightly, as most of the things on the menu he could eat as a Jew were Italian based foods. "Right, I'll have the bruschetta platter, me thinks - without the meat, please." He said, as collected as possible. He looked at his lady, and she was ever so subtly teasing him more, for Leah took advantage of the plunging neckline of her stunning dress and was continuing to slightly press her breasts together to make them look bigger. She thinks I don't notice.. Wild thoughts went through his head.

As soon as the waiter (who he decreed in his head a cunt), left them, Alfie broke out into conversation again. "So m'dear, what exactly do you do for a living? Surely your brothers don't coop you up all day."
"I'm a nurse here in Birmingham," she answered, eyes looking relaxed, "mostly on the children and elderly wards."
He couldn't love her more. "Wonderful. That's a lovely fucking job, that. If I woke up in a bed during the war to see you tending to me I'd be a very happy man." Down there especially.
She blushed. "It is a nice job, I love it." Their conversation came to a brief pause as the waiter returned with their glasses for their drinks. He'd ordered rum instead of wine, but he was especially surprised at the size of the bottle her wine arrived in. If her intentions are sexual, I'd be ever so happy to oblige.

When they were left alone again, she kept her eyes on him as she took a drink from her wine. He didn't fail to notice that she licked her lips afterwards. "So, Mr Solomons, it's my turn to ask a question." She paused. "What do you do when you're not being a gangster?"
He chuckled, gulping down some rum. "I run a bakery."
Leah almost choked on her wine, and she let out a laugh that was loud enough to grab the attention of the occupants of the other tables in the vicinity. "You're joking?"
"No," he replied, almost grinning, "though I do admit, it's not all about baking. More of a cover up to what I actually do, really."
Leah took a long look at him and then leaned forward, making sure to still press her tits closer together. "What else happens in your bakery, Alfie?" She almost whispered.
Good god, he thought, blood going everywhere but his head in that moment, if she keeps on being a seductress I'll have her bent over this table, regardless of the other people. He also leaned forward, making sure his hand slightly brushed hers. "I 'ave myself a nice little distillery, love." He murmured. He seen her eyes widen a bit, as if she was thinking of a witty comment. "I'll make sure that at our wedding we have a nice big bottle to ourselves at the top table."

"Speaking of our wedding," she pulled back a bit, before continuing, "I think, so long as its all right with you, it should be held in a church. I ain't even religious, but I think most of my family and friends would be happy with that arrangement."
Alfie couldn't even complain. To be quite frank, he didn't even care about holding his wedding in a church rather than a synagogue, he just couldn't wait to secure her hand in marriage. "That's completely fucking fine with me, love."

Their food took about twenty minutes to arrive, but it felt like only five due to them getting to know each other. Leah was busy telling him about her other family he hadn't met at the meeting just yesterday, - her youngest brother Finn, her sister Ada, her cousin Michael, her abundance of nieces and nephews, brother and sisters in-law, and her aunt Polly, who she seemed to really admire a lot. "Polly is like my surrogate mother and father, in a way, as our dad left us. She taught both the boys, me and Ada how to be bold and strong."

After Alfie explained a little bit about his life - from his mother, to being a captain in the war, and starting up a gang empire in Camden Town, they got down to some laughs to lighten the mood. The more Leah Shelby drank, the wittier and cheekier she became. Everything she muttered had some sort of innuendo in it. He was sure he was getting bolder with ever slurp of rum too. When their food came, it was actually very pleasant - Alfie was quite happy he picked bruschetta. He couldn't help but have yet more dirty thoughts when Leah first tried her linguine, - for she let out a slight moan of approval as soon as it hit her taste buds.

By half nine at night, they were to put it frankly stuffed due to their food and drink. Although Leah had managed to finish her bottle, he was amazed that she wasn't even properly drunk. Well, neither was he, as he wasn't a lightweight, but it would be handy knowledge to have knowing that she wasn't either.

The waiter cleared their table, and brought the bill over. He pretended to be shocked when he told her it was £180. She giggled, saying it wasn't bad considering how immaculate and posh the restaurant actually was.
"No, don't you even think about it," he warned her, as soon as she reached for her purse.
"Pardon?" She looked confused. Then she realised. "Alfie, please, I can't have you paying it all."
"I will be fucking paying for it, right, because it was my fucking idea, weren't it babes?" He literally pulled out twenty pound notes from his thick wallet and started counting them as quickly as he could before throwing them down on the little dish the receipt was laid on. Leah pretended to be angry, and even let out a whine. "How about we go halfers?" She tried to negotiate.
"Nope." He smirked, popping the p.
Resigning, she puffed her cheeks out. "Fine, I'll sort out the tip then."
He raised his eyebrows at her. "That waiter has been fucking you with his eyes ever since we walked in 'ere, lovely, he don't deserve any tip."
Despite his complaints, she ignored him and placed six quid down on the table, with a triumphant shit-eating grin. "And who are you to stop me?"
He swore his eyes fluttered. She was probably the only woman ever to challenge his authority - even though she was probably only doing it to tease him and she was comfortable with him, he loved how she was an independent girl with a mind of her own who could stick to her own decisions. I'm the luckiest man alive, to have bagged her. He thought to himself, we'll have years of fun together.

By quarter to ten, they had paid and were descending the stairs to leave the restaurant. Despite the late time, there were still plenty of diners, and practically almost all of them were staring at them as they disembarked. As they walked past a table, Alfie even heard a woman mutter to her companion, "She looks so beautiful..". That made him swell with pride, and he couldn't help but admire her dress one more time. He had plenty of tailors and seamstresses doing business with him, but none of them would ever be able to make a gown that would outdo the one she was wearing. It looked so high quality he wondered just how much money the Shelby's actually had..

Exiting the building, they were reminded of the cold instantly, as a sharp breeze was in the air, causing Leah to fold her arms and gasp slightly. She wouldn't be cold for long though, as Ishmael was still parked in the same place he dropped them off at. As they walked towards the motor, he hadn't even realised she had linked her arm with his.
"Thank you for a wonderful night, Alfie." She said sincerely, her eyes shining.
"It's no problem, my love." He replied, and picked up the courage to kiss her cheek. He so wanted to give her a nice snog on the lips, but he wouldn't do that unless she definitely wanted to.
When he pulled back, she was giggling like a schoolgirl, and managed to twirl herself under his arm and then proceed to kiss his bearded cheek in return. He knew for a fact she was probably wearing a lipgloss or a lipstick, but he didn't care. He was once again entranced with this fair beauty. Then, she stopped suddenly, looking a bit puzzled.
"Love?" He questioned.
Her brows furrowed. But then they broke into a wide smirk. "I want to kiss you down that alleyway right there, up against the wall."

Alfie's heart was well and truly racing, without a doubt. His prayers had been answered. She wanted it as much as he did. "Then let's do that, dear."
He led them part of the way down the alleyway, so that they weren't directly in view of whoever passed by, and just like that Leah Shelby's wicked side came out. She gently shoved him against a wall and instantly joined her lips to his, both of them coming alive as they shared their first kiss. And certainly not their last one.
When they finally pulled back for air, they both let out breathy laughs at how cliche and silly they probably were. He lifted a hand up and brushed one of her loose strands out her face, gently caressing her. "L-Leah," he said, almost as if he was drunk on love, "you are so beautiful, dove."
She blushed profusely, smiling at the ground. "Alfie, I've never felt like this with a man before."
"Long may it continue. You're brilliant." He said, and she chuckled.

Just as they were about to rejoin their lips, however, a man who had obviously been ducked down behind a few crates, stood up and growled, "Gypsy slut."

It all whizzed by as quick as a blink. The stranger lunged towards Leah, and Alfie probably almost gave her whiplash with how quickly he changed their positions - for he was now shielding her against the wall. This man obviously had intentions to harm Leah, - and nobody harmed anyone that Alfie held dear. He was prepared to get shot or slashed for this girl, which sounded stupid considering he met her just over twenty four hours ago.

The man wasn't wielding a gun, but he was dual-wielding knives. It was quite dark, as obviously there was no lampposts down the alleyway, but in the moonlight they looked nothing more than sharpened kitchen knives. Pathetic, he thought, and if the situation wasn't so dire he would've laughed, I will not be killed by those mere things.
The man was inches away. And Alfie had no plan in place. He just whipped his gun out from his inside coat pocket and took aim. However, just as he went to pull the trigger, Leah somehow had pushed past him, and before he could even register what was happening or get her away from the lunatic, she plunged something into the mad mans throat and kicked him in the stomach to send him flying back against the crates. Blood had splattered on the ground and wall next to them, but none had gotten on them thankfully. In fact, the man was still spluttering blood as he choked to death. It was quite literally flooding out of him.

As soon as Alfie came back down to earth, his eyes adjusted and he seen that a sharp pin of some sorts had been driven into the man's throat. He turned to Leah, speechless. "W-what.."
"Aunt Polly taught me that." She said, pleased with herself as she pointed to the back of her head, "I always have that hairpin with me. It's saved me and my virginity many a time." She then strut forward as if nothing had happened, walked over to the man's corpse, and pulled the hairpin back out, leaning down to wipe it dry on the guys waistcoat.
"You, are mad, but incredible." Was all he could say.
"You look like you've seen a ghost, Alf." She grinned. She then leaned forward and whispered directly in his ear, "I'm even more ruthless with a gun."
"Let's get to the car before I cream myself." He let out. She just burst out laughing.

The drive back to Small Heath was quick, but he wished it was longer as he was still trying to process the previous minutes. His future wife hadn't even batted an eyelid or let him handle it, she did it herself. And to think, she's done that before..
He walked her to her front door, which seemed to open as soon as they were out the car. Tommy, Arthur, John and another boy who he guessed was Finn came out to meet them in the street. Were they sat by the window waiting for us? He wondered, but brushed it aside. He debated whether to tell them about the man or not.

"Shalom, Alfie." Arthur Shelby said, but his face was as cold as ice.
"How was your night then?" John Shelby demanded, looking directly at him.
"Very nice, food was delicious, and we had a lovely chat, didn't we Alf?" Leah answered for them, gazing up at him.
"Yeah, it was superb." He decided not to tell his brothers in-law, else they go mental and point guns at his head.
"So, the deal was that Leah would go out for dinner with you and then make a decision about if she wants to marry you or not." Tommy explained. He gave Alfie nothing more than a glance before then looking to his sister. "So, Leah, this is entirely your choice. Do you want to marry Alfie Solomons or not?"
"Yes, I want to marry him." Was her answer straight away, and Alfie beamed with pride down at her, and held her hand for the first time. Arthur and John tensed and shuffled on their feet, but he noticed they did look happy for their sister. The boy Finn looked nonplussed but happy.
"Then that's that." Tommy said, and stepped towards Alfie and stuck his hand out. "I guess we can now say - Welcome to the family, Alfie Solomons."

Alfie shook Tommy's hand, making eye contact with him as he done so. John Shelby shook his hand next, but his eyes still had a look of mistrust. He muttered an almost inaudible, "Don't break her heart," before stepping away. Arthur seemed to hold his hand in a death grip and flat out snarled, "If you ever lay a hand on her, I'll ruin your fucking life." Finn Shelby didn't threaten him at all, but that was probably because he was a mere teenager, a boy.

Just before Alfie had to leave to go back to his Birmingham accommodation, Tommy asked him the all important question. "So, was a date discussed for this wedding?"
"Well, not really Tommy, but after tonight.. I want to marry this angel as soon as possible. How about.. Next Sunday, at whatever church is convenient."
It was silent for a few seconds. The Shelby brothers seemed to communicate with each other just with looks, and he felt relieved when he seen Tommy nod. "That's fine with us. And what about the bride? Leah, will you even be able to find a dress in that time?"
"My dream wedding dress is literally reserved for me in that dress shop in town." She almost squealed. "It will be ready in time."
"Then that's that." Tommy concluded. At his sister's happiness, Alfie even noticed he smiled a bit, but it didn't last long. "How about we see you next Sunday at noon for the wedding, Alfie?"
"Yeah, Tommy, that sounds good. Any time is fine with me. I'll write to you during the week about arrangements 'n that, alright?" He said, not wanting to be separated from his soon to be forever wife.
Tommy nodded, and that seemed to be that.

As soon as he got inside the front door of his temporary house, away from all the business and bustle, he could not stop smiling. If any of his men seen him, they would never take him seriously anymore. Alfie Solomons was getting married. Leah wasn't even Jewish, but he literally couldn't care less. He had found his love.
He had only barely thought about who he was inviting to the wedding - off the top of his head he would definitely be taking Ollie, Ishmael, Goliath, maybe some of his workers in the bakery and his fellow gangsters..

It was fair to say, even though it was mostly rum clouding his mind, Alfie went to bed a very happy man that night.
Sunday can't come quick enough..

Chapter Text

"Ouch, Polly, not so tight!" Leah groaned in complaint as her aunt was fastening the back of her wedding dress.
"Well we can't have it hanging loose now, can we?" Polly said in exasperation as she tied the laces once again right against the skin. Leah just groaned and looked to Ada to see if she would back her up.
"Leah's right, Pol," Ada said, moving to stand next to Polly, "she does have to be able to actually move and breathe, and dance."
Polly let out an annoyed sigh, and went back to fastening, - thankfully, not nearly as tight to Leah's back as before. For that she was thankful.
Leah's emotions were everywhere in that moment. In less than an hour, she'd be walking down the aisle to secure her hand in marriage to Alfie Solomons. She'd no longer be Leah Shelby - she would be Leah Solomons.

Her hands got even more clammy with sweat, and she felt her throat start to tighten slightly. The ladies could sense her tension. "What's the matter?" Polly said, looking at her via the mirror in front of them on the vanity.
"Bridal nerves, that's all." Leah answered, looking down at her hands and trying to find something to rub them on.
"No second thoughts, I hope?" Ada said, in a half jesting manner as she topped up on her makeup.
"Gods no!" Leah replied, "I just don't want to mess up, is all. What if I trip going down the aisle, where everybody is watching me?! What if I say the wrong thing when it comes to the vows-"
"-wheesht, Leah. That will not happen." Polly dismissed her worries. "Trust me, in that moment you don't even notice anybody around you except the groom. Keep your eyes on him, and you'll find you almost float towards him." 
She took a deep breath, and calmed down a bit at her aunts advice. It was all well for a few moments, until Polly started up again. "Where the fuck have Esme and Grace gotten to with your veil?!" 

As if on cue, the ladies in question entered the room, delicately carrying the shoulder-length fabric. Esme and Grace were both chosen as bridesmaids (along with Ada) as none of Leah's friends from the hospital quite wanted that amount of attention on them. 
"I'll help attach it." Grace offered serenely, and she got to work clipping it in behind the tiara 

Within twenty minutes, Leah was ready. She looked at herself in the full-length mirror, and she couldn't believe how lovely she looked. I look like a fair maid in this pure white, she thought as she twirled around. The lace sleeves were see-through, but embroided into them were white flowers. Polly and the girls were grinning, looking mesmerised.
"You look like a dream!" Ada proclaimed, with glassy eyes.
"You're looking like your mother again!" Polly said, already letting a few tears slip. The room of ladies spilled into laughter as Esme handed her a handkerchief, being careful not to ruin Polly makeup in the process.
"Right, I believe it's time for us to go down to the church." Leah turned to them, and looked at the clock on the wall. 

The hotel the brides party was staying in was literally just down from the church where the ceremony was. When they disembarked the lobby (after hearing many congrautlations and well wishes from the hotel staff), they came out on to the street to see Arthur and Charlie leaning against the wall next to the church's front door. They let out whistles of approval as they walked over the street to them. "Leah, you look amazing!" Arthur hooted, and Charlie Strong tipped his hat in agreement.
"What are you two doing?" Polly called to them. 
"Somebody needs to walk Leah down the aisle," Arthur replied. Leah had clean forgot about that. "
"Well it can't be you, Arthur, you're Alfie's best man!" Ada said. 
"Yes, yes, I know, Ada, you don't have to remind me." Arthur replied gruffly. To put it fair, he hadn't exactly been overjoyed when Alfie phoned midweek to say how nice it would be for his future brother in-law to stand as best man.
"Well you best get inside and stand at the altar, the ceremony's about to start!" Grace said, half jokingly, and tried to shoo him back inside. Arthur put his cigarette out before going inside. "And tell everyone we're ready!"
"That leaves me, then." Charlie said. He too put his cigarette out and straightened his suit.
Polly went inside too, to take her seat with the rest of the family in the front row. Before she filed in, she gave Leah a massive hug and kiss on the cheek. "Good luck, Mrs Solomons."
That just made Leah's heart race all over again. "Cheers, Pol. We'll see you inside." 

Ada, Esme and Grace then got into position, as it was decided that the bridesmaids were to walk in first. Since Leah had no dad, she had said to her uncle Charlie that she wanted him to walk her down the aisle. She always thought he was a tad under appreciated, especially by Tommy, so she'd offered him as a thank you.
She linked her left arm with his right, and glanced to him. He was looking as proud as punch. "Your mother would have loved to be here today," he said, a tad awkwardly, as he didn't talk about his sister often. "Your dress looks a bit like her one did."
She smiled. "Probably much better quality," she joked, for the Strong's weren't known for their elegant clothing.
Charlie laughed in agreement. He looked like he was about to say more when they heard the music starting from inside, and a church worker popped his head out the door. "The ceremony will begin now, Miss Shelby." 

Leah nodded, and took another deep breath as she tried not to freak. Esme, Ada and Grace then stepped forward together into the entrance hall, followed closely by Leah and Charlie. Then the two double oak doors that led to the main hall were opened, and Leah almost planted her feet, but forced herself to walk. Everyone had turned their heads now, and she tried to look confident. 

She locked eyes with Alfie, who was stood very much real at the altar, waiting for her.
She seen him mouth something to Arthur, who actually cracked a smile and patted him on the shoulder. She couldn't help but grin. Her man looked utterly mesmerised and infatuated.
She then remembered another certain someone who said he'd be here today. Isaiah.

Her eyes scanned the room, and low and behold he was sat in the second row, seated nearly at the edge of the aisle with Curly and Johnny Dogs. One quick glance told her everything - he was looking at her like she was the only woman in the world, yet had a sad look behind his eyes at the fact that he wasn't the one securing her hand in marriage. She had hoped he'd got her message - she wanted to meet him in a room halfway through the dancing tonight to discuss their future as friends. His heart may be broken, but I hope to god he's up for negotiating, Leah thought.

Her and Charlie had finally arrived at the altar, where she stood beside Alfie in front of Jeremiah, who'd been chosen as the pastor.
Jeremiah's pastoring duties seemed to go on forever, and Leah didn't even remember saying her own vows as her eyes were glued to Alfie's as they held each other's hands, facing one another. When the preacher finally said to Alfie "You may kiss the bride.", Leah felt content and excited.

With a good few hundred eyes on them, Leah Shelby became Leah Solomons as her lips were sealed to her now-spouse's. The room erupted in cheers, and she could hear Arthur saying something and whooping. John was just being his usual rowdy self, as she could hear him too. When they finished their kiss and turned to face everyone, she caught eyes with Tommy, who for once looked relaxed and happy. She could have wept happy tears. 

The wedding photographs didn't take too long, as all that was needed was a picture of the closest family and friends and a picture of the bride and groom outside the church. The bells were chiming out across the city, although it was slightly cloudy and grey, it was still sunny. 
From down a side street, tonnes of cars seemed to roll out on to the street and park up. She knew that Tommy had hired them to take everybody back to the evening celebrations at his Manor House in the country. Leah pin-pointed the car designated for her and Alfie, but she didn't fail to notice that all the cars were either Rolls Royce's, Bentley's or Aston Martin's. How bloody much did Tommy fork out for the cars alone?! She wondered, but didn't let it affect her. Shelby Company Ltd. had been doing exceptionally well the past few months, with money piling in. They probably had about a million in the bank.

Alfie finally spoke from next to her, as they got ready to get in their car. "You look beautiful, my love," he said so softly it was as if she was a child. 
She blushed, as if she was a schoolgirl and not a freshly espoused woman. "Thank you, Alfie." She paused, taking him in as they got inside the vehicle. After they had waved at everybody as the car started its journey, Leah felt herself relaxing. All it is from here on in is eating, drinking and dancing, she told herself, oh, and sex.

She had to stop herself from blushing at the thought. Despite more than half of the male population of Birmingham fancying Leah ever since she developed womanly curves, she was a virgin. Though plenty of boys and men on nights out had asked her for a shag many a plenty, she refused them all. She was no stranger to what went on in bedrooms though. She was nervous, but all the more excited. 

I suppose this will be my life from now on, she thought, optimistic as the car seemed to float over the cobbled streets towards Tommy's country retreat, with a man who I know would rather die than hurt me, surrounded by love and support.
And she wouldn't have it any other way.