AN AUTUMN AFFAIR
Christmas had always been James' favorite time of the year and it was just a week away! James should have been happy about it but in truth he couldn't muster much enthusiasm. It would be Eddie's first Christmas without Mrs. T and he didn't even want to think on what missing her Grandma on this occasion would do to Eddie. She was sad already. And all the advice he had gotten – from Jenny and Lady Caitlyn – was to give her time and space.
An then there were the rumors, of course, fueled by their hasty marriage and the scandal Eddie's mother had made upon finding that Mrs. T had left all her money (not much by Evencort standards but a good enough sum to make Eddie's mother's fingers twitch) to Eddie.
Marriage was hard. James had never realized of how much. His parents had always seems so happy together, they never quarreled about anything more important than if one of the kids had had too much dessert or if Maddy's dog had chewed on the carpet again. They were always so happy. Just now James was coming to realize how much effort went into a happy marriage.
Not that he regretted it, he would never do that. But he understood now that each couple had to through some trials… he remembered now how Lita and Derek had had that big fight before they went public with their relationship, and he himself had given Michael hell just to get him to realize how much he loved Jenny. So, James supposed, this was his trial, get through the first moths helping Eddie to make a new life for her self,
So James did the only thing he knew how, he showed Eddie in every possible way how much he loved her. He respected her sadness, encouraged to feel part of the Evencort family and tried to make her smile as much as possible. It wasn't easy, once the shock of Mrs. Thompson's death had faded and Eddie had to face the reality of missing her beloved grandma, her smiles were rare and she seemed at odds and ends… not sure what her next step should be.
And James gave her space, he remained close enough so she knew he would always be there for her, but not too close that she got frightened. He cuddled her and cosseted her and tried his best to make Eddie feel safe.
Eddie wasn't sure this was a good idea. When all the Evencort women had irrupted into her house, Eddie had been completely thrown off balance. They came in, all boisterous energy and loud voices and told her she HAD TO come shopping with them. Christmas was only one week away after all, and the Evencort's holiday celebrations were always grand. And they had many long withstanding traditions, and as part of the family she was now part of the traditions… and she better catch up soon.
She wasn't sure what it had made her go with them. Eddie supposed it was because of the way they had acted, back in the house; everyone who had come visiting had tip toed about and whispered as if someone ill was nearby. And James, bless his soul, acted like she was a delicate flower to be shielded from all harm. She loved him for it but it was weighting down both of their souls.
And so, Eddie went up to her room and was about to put on a dark gray gown, it was a mourning color – or at least a half-mourning color. Mrs. Thompson had always hated dark colors. She would have hated seeing her favorite granddaughter wearing mourning colors. So Eddie put the gray dress back and took out a demure, sage green velvet dress, it was sober but not somber and it would be perfect for a shopping expedition.
All the Evencort ladies – Lady Caitlyn, Lita, Jenny, Sophie and Maddy-and-Nikki – waited patiently in the parlor. And as soon as she was ready, they all set off to Harrods. And explained all the little traditions to Eddie. The big dinner at the Duke and Duchess home and how they always gave each other the presents on Christmas Eve and not on Christmas day because it was nicer for the kids and so on.
Lita, Sophie and Jenny also enjoyed telling her stories about James when he was a boy and all the mischief he had caused for someone who acted so quiet-mouse all the time.
"Luke and I have been thinking," Lady Caitlyn told her as they made their way to The Honey Bee for tea and cakes. "And, if you don't mind, Eddie, we want to give a party to celebrate your marriage, I know it's soon after Mrs. Thompson death but we want to give you an official welcome to the family and introduce you to those you haven't met yet. I was thinking it would be good to do it around the New Year."
Eddie smiled slowly. "I would like that, I have to talk to James but I think he'll agree too."
"Oh, don't worry about James." Maddy Evencort said. "He'll do whatever you tell him to."
"And if he doesn't'," little Nikki Evencort added. "You just leave Dear Uncle James to us!"
Adorable girls, this two were, but a menace all the same. Eddie liked them a great deal. But then again, everyone liked the Evencorts, they were all happy and attractive and rich, but one couldn't hate them for having such splendid lives because they were nice to everyone.
And now she was one of them.
She kind of liked that a lot, too.
"Lady Caitlyn," an older lady called, interrupting their stroll towards the Honey Bee.
"Lady Constance," Lady Caitlyn said softly. "How are you feeling?"
"Well enough, girl, well enough."
Eddie had to suppress a laugh. Lady Caitlyn was still a very pretty lady but by no means would anyone younger than seventy call her a girl.
"I'm glad to hear that."
"I see you brought all of your brood" Lady Constance said looking at all the young women.
"I'm fortunate that my daughters still want to spend time with me." Lady Caitlyn answered with an easy smile.
"What about you?" Lady Constance said pointing at Eddie with her cane.
Sophie passed her arm around Eddie and answered the old lady speaking kind of loudly as if Lady Constance was a bit deaf, which perhaps she was... "She is my new sister, Eddie."
My new sister.
Sophie had said it so easily and Eddie herself felt those words to be true. Sister… it felt so right, the Evencorts did command that kind of bond. Eddie couldn't help to grin. She had four sisters, two brothers, three nieces, three nephews and a set of parents. She was finally part of a family, by marriage if not by birth but even Eddie could tell these people, her husband's family, would never make that sort of distinction.
Mrs. Thompson would be very happy for her, finally having found a place in the world.
James was cold when he arrived home. He really shouldn't have rode to the office but that morning he had needed something to let out his energy so he had done it regardless of the cold.
Upon arriving at his home he was greeted by the butler who took away his chilled coat.
"I'll have tea brought for you in a second, my lord."
"Thank you." James answered absently. Basking in the warmth of the house, then he sighed and asked. "My wife?" as he asked every day.
Her ladyship is in her room, James expected the butler to say but before the man could answer the door opened and closed behind him and Eddie came in untying her hat. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes bright from the cold.
"James! I didn't think you would get home before I did." Eddie said handing her hat to the butler who excused himself to go look for that tea he had promised.
"Where were you?"
"The girls and mother came," Eddie said with a smile. Lady Caitlyn had told her she could call her mother, to Eddie's everlasting joy! "They took me shopping. Christmas is just around the corner, you know."
"I know." James answered, rather dumbfounded. This was not the sad, little Eddie he had left in the morning. "Are you alright?"
"Of course I am!" Eddie said. "I-I have been thinking… Grandma wouldn't want me to be sad and, well, besides the fact that I miss her I am very happy right now. I got you… and I adore your family and they like me back. I thought I shouldn't feel guilty because I'm happy. Grandma wouldn't have liked that."
"She would want you to be happy." James agreed.
Eddie went to him, a big smile on her face – it was the same smile she used to give him before – and stood on her the tip of her toes to twin her arms around his neck and kissed him.
"I love you James." Eddie said and kissed him again.
They clung to each other and kissed greedily, clawing to get closer as the kiss grew needy and hot and arousal swept through both of them. They hadn't been together in almost two months.
"I've neglected you terribly, haven't I?" Eddie asked, resting her forehead on James' chest.
James smiled. "I have a lifetime with you and I love you. I can wait for you until you're ready."
Eddie wiggled her body against his. "Take me upstairs and I'll show you how ready I am."
"You minx." He said, leaning down to kiss her again and take her up on her offer.
And so, as Eddie and James kissed, adding a tender love scene to the entrance hall of their cozy little home, and the snow began to fall outside on that winter night, the curtain falls and so it ends this Evencort tale...
End of Chapter IX
End of An Autumn Affair.
The series continues with Where Dreams Begin. Hope you'll still read:
Three years have passed since Ethan Aldercy, Earl of Burnell lost his beloved wife, he's back in England and trying to weave back together the threads of his life and raise his son. The last thing he needs is single minded, practical Sophie Evencort meddling in his affairs... but that's exactly what he gets
All the love in the World plus Shipping and Handling,