|Romancing His Own Wife
Author: Danielle Eve PM
5 years ago, Sebastian and Effy were forced into a regency marriage of convenience. Now Effy returns to London and Sebastian needs an heir and for Effy to be truly his.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Chapters: 11 - Words: 30,113 - Reviews: 56 - Favs: 21 - Follows: 54 - Updated: 04-17-13 - Published: 04-29-12 - id: 3017899
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The carriage ride was dreadful.
The roads were bumpy and she felt nauseous. Effy rarely travelled more than 6 miles anywhere and those smooth enough for her to read. Matilda by S.R. Fielding had laid forgotten on the cushioned seat next to her. She tried to distract herself with the increasingly popular novel but could barely get past a single line without feeling sick.
She was exhausted, nauseous and nervous in her husband's carriage riding back to London.
She felt as if she had been transported back in time 5 years ago, to where she was in the exact same position. Nothing had changed. She was still as helpless, scared and submissive as she was back then.
It's only for a couple of days
It's only for a couple of days
It's only for a couple of days
She repeated in her mind to reassure herself that once she leaves London, she would be back in her beautiful and welcoming cottage and away from him.
What if he doesn't recognize me? Her mind began to wonder and generate new circumstances; the endless scenarios played relentlessly in her mind. The further humiliation of him not remembering – no, she corrected herself, he remembered her that was why he penned the note to her –recognizing was the only word suited for this. True she had changed, her body had finally developed but her face remained relatively the same. She doubted her voice or her behaviour had changed that drastically. Although Derbyshire was no London, people there still practice etiquette, not to the ridiculous extent of the ton, but they were undeniably polite. So she doubt her manners would have disintegrated though they may not have been as polished they had been five years ago, no one could have faulted her for poor manners. Therefore, there would be no reason for her husband to not recognize her.
What if he wants me to bed him? Legally he could. Legally he could do whatever he wanted with her. The Duke still wanted an heir and his younger son had yet to settle down. Not only The Duke but also the Marquess himself would want an heir too. He needed to start producing, he wasn't getting any younger and neither was she. He was 33 and she was 22. They were getting old. She sighed to try to relieve the pressure from her heart but didn't seem to work.
An heir. It was a lot of pressure. It had to be a healthy baby boy or she was to be blamed. Yet she didn't want a son. She didn't mean that literally. More that she didn't want a child that would be taken away from her once the child was born. A daughter would be treated differently from a son; she would not be an heir to the dukedom. Instead a daughter would be hers to love and adore, the way Effy never was.
Yes, a daughter would be lovely, assuming of course, that Effy would be allowed to take her imagery daughter back to Derbyshire and raise her the way she wanted. Yes, that wouldn't be too difficult, after all men didn't bother themselves with the upbringing of their off-springs until they were old enough to conduct a civil conversation. Though taking her future little girl away may prove difficult until her had produced an heir. Drat.
A child of her own would be lovely. More than lovely, it would be splendid, wonderful and brilliant. The days she would spend in the outdoors during summer with them, running around in the fields and basking in the sunlight when it wasn't raining. She thought of how she could be eating strawberries with fresh cream with them, picking Mrs. Wentworth's biscuits right out of oven or even the simple task of reading them to sleep. Yes, she had decided that she would have two: a boy and a girl.
Her little boy would have his father green eyes that matched the colour of spring fields and chocolate brown hair. He would be smart, daring and forever annoying his sister but only doing so to aggravate her irritation with him because that was what little boys do. Her little girl, in turn, would also have her father's green eyes but her blonde hair. Effy remembered when she was a child, how light and pale her hair was. She recalled all the times she herself had been dolled up, only to act as an accessory for her mother to boast about to her friends. No, she wouldn't put her children through that. No, her children would be brought up knowing that despite their titles they would still be required to be held against the strictest etiquettes and manners. She refused to bore children that turn out just like him: spoilt, lazy and rude.
Oh how she wished!
It was the first time in a long time that she had wished like that. Wished like an innocent little girl who hadn't been touched by the harsher experiences of life. Her children would stay forever imaginary for she would never bed her husband. Even if he forced her, she would somehow manage to stop it. I'll be all right. She comforted herself. I always am.
What if he wanted an annulment? That's what she had always wanted. She had been stopped more than once by William from going through with the annulment. 'He'll come around,' he said. He always said that. And every time he did, she believed him. She believed that her husband would come to the cottage and beg for her forgiveness. Believed that she might still get her happily-ever-after she had read in silly and fanciful novels and poetry of love.
Then she would spend the next couple of days hating herself for even contemplating that impossible notion. An annulment would also mean that she would be homeless. Her own family would shun her for sure. The shame it would bring to the Howards. A failed marriage was bad enough but a failed marriage to the Cavendish's eldest son? That was more than shame. That was just despicable. Although not the oldest title there is, the Cavendish bloodline was bluer than the King's and was one of the richest and most powerful families in England.
Not only that, but she would never be allowed to return to Derbyshire. Her cottage would no longer be hers. Her servants though loyal would no longer be paid by her husband. Her life would be gone. Just as her London life had been taken away from her years ago, only this time it would hurt so much more.
True she had money of her own. The allowance her husband gave her was more than enough to cover her living costs. She had saved as much as she could away and she also had her pin money from her parents. She wasn't wealthy by London standards but she was certainly well off. If she had to, she could probably start anew. She knew how to cook, watched her maid clean –didn't look too difficult –she concluded that if worse came to worse, she would survive.
What if –The carriage stopped. She was suddenly aware of the loud bustlingly noise of London.
She was back.
She was home.
As much as London reminded her of him. London would always be home. She grew up in London. She took her first steps here, learned to ride a horse here and fell in love here. Yes, she admitted to herself for the first time in her life. She hadn't loved him, but she had fallen so hard and fast for the idea of him. And it shamed her so much that the person she fell in love with wasn't even real.
Her bodice had tightened making her feel more uncomfortable. She closed her eyes attempting to hold back her tear as she heard the door open. She reached for her footman's hand and stepped out of the carriage, all the while keeping her eye on the ground until both her feet were steady and weren't about to buckle at any given point. She lifted her gaze to the magnificent Devonshire House.
It was bigger and grander than she remembered. She wanted to throw up. She felt so pathetically small here. Despite loving London, she also hated it with passion. She was suffocated here with the dirty air and insufferable people. But being in front of Devonshire House was worse. It was her husband's home. Burlington Cottage had been her husband's property, yes, but it was so different when he actually resided here.
She was going to have to share the same roof as him.
The realization hit her as if someone had slapped her across the face. A tear trickled down her check and she reached for her handkerchief in her reticule but the butler, Bridgerton, had not only appeared by her side and remembered her, he also had his own handkerchief ready for her. Oh how she could cry on Bridgerton. He remembered her! She couldn't believe it. He remembered her; she had only resided in Devonshire House for two weeks.
"Thank you Bridgerton, that was very thoughtful of you. I didn't expect so much dust from London, it has been a while." She tried to explain and was save from further embarrassment when he replied, "Completely understandable my Lady. May I show you back to your chambers to freshen up?"
Although it was very blunt of Bridgerton, she was very grateful. She smiled and mouthed a 'thank you' to him. She didn't think she had the energy to stop herself from crying if she had said it instead.
She followed him to the house. Of course, he couldn't actually show her personally to her room but as soon as she entered the house, Mrs. Beckett, the housekeeper had materialized and greeted her. Next to her was a young lady's maid, which Effy presumed was her new lady's maid. Mrs. Beckett introduced her as New Little Daisy. She supposed that Mrs. Beckett had hired Daisy for Effy's needs for the week. Although she didn't need someone to help her with her every need, it was very thoughtful of Mrs. Beckett.
Daisy silently led the way to the Marchioness' chambers. Effy took in her room again, as if she had never step foot in here before. It certain felt like she had never done so. Nothing had changed though; time stood still in here, just as she would expected it to. Except the room wasn't quite as warm as before, but the furniture had obviously been newly dusted. It had been furnished in an elegant and tasteful manner like the rest of the house, it just wasn't Effy. It was so colourless in the shades of off-white ivory and the natural hues of the matching mahogany furniture but it was still beautiful regardless of her opinion.
"Would you like a bath, my Lady?" Came the barely audibly voice of Daisy.
Effy gave Daisy her warm and comforting smile, nodded and watched as Daisy hurried out the room to order her bath. Effy sank onto the nearest seat she could find and sighed. It was all she could do to keep the tears from coming.
She had expected the pitying looks she received those years ago but she had forgotten how much they still hurt. She eyed herself in the mirror and saw that she looked exhausted and dusty from travel. Her hair was about to come apart. She always thought she had manageable hair. Not also obedient but it would stay put when her maid, Victoria, dressed her hair. But now it was dirty and disgusting.
How Effy hated travel!
Promptly her bath was drawn and Daisy had efficiently helped Effy undress and wash. Although she normally didn't need Victoria's help, Effy was too drained to deny the luxury of being pampered. It felt nice. She remembered the scented oils and flowery soaps. They had been comforts that she had taken for granted years ago. Those products were not accessible to her in Derbyshire, not that it mattered, it was just little extravagant she had and still enjoyed.
After she was dressed she noticed how old her dress was. It wasn't fraying or worn, she just knew that it wasn't in the current styles that London deemed so important. She refused to give the peerage any more to gossip about. Her failed marriage was bad enough but to add terrible style? No. She didn't think so.
She was going to need to go shopping. She quickly found so paper and ink, and wrote to Lady Cavendish, the Duke's youngest sister, and request her company for a shopping trip. Yes, Effy decided, a girly shopping trip was what she needed to feel young and restless again.
She absent-mindedly handed the note to someone and instructed that it go straight to Lady Cavendish without fail. Then laid down onto her bed. She was too exhausted to move. Feeling clean from her bath, she simply wanted to snuggle under the thick blankets and enter into a dreamless slumber.
This trip was wearing her out faster than she expected and she wasn't too certain that she would survive her inevitable confrontation with him.
A/N: Hoped you liked it, please comment and review!
I would also like to thank The Duchess of Buckingham and EverAfterGirl for their positive reviews and encouraging support!
The referrence to Matilda by S.R. Fielding (the book at the beginning of the chapter) is from an actual novel Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas - One of my all time favourite authors, if you have time I seriously recommend her books. Although I haven't referred back to the dates of when Matilda came out, so sorry if that was incorrect.
Also, the name Bridgerton (Sebastian's butler) is taken from Julia Quinn's Bridgerton Series - Again great author and great series. Hopefully, some of you will have read it before and if you haven't, please read them. They are truly fantastic. (In the series, the Bridgertons are memebers of the ton, this is no way a reflection of the butler, Bridgerton)