This Story goes to the usual suspects: Lauren and Stella for their constant help.
To Adelly who listened my rambling on an on that night so long ago. And to Bratsie for The Naming Of Gabriel.
Many thanks to All of YOU who have read it.
All the love in the world plus shipping and handling,
IT HAD TO BE YOU
It will forever pain me to admit it, but you were right about married life, it's good. I don't think I've ever been this happy.
You should see Ellie now, she's huge and the baby is very active, it's always kicking and moving. I can't tell you how relieved I am that we made it back to England with enough time to spare before the birth.
We have the nursery all set up. I'm not sure when we are going to leave for The Warrior's next trip, and I want the baby and Ellie to be comfortable.
I rather like Bristol, I always have. I even bought the house we had been renting – Ellie likes it and we almost always touch land here for repairs and such.
And, to tell you the truth, I'm not sure how I feel about traveling anymore, I've seen pretty much all the civilized world, and quite uncivilized parts as well and all that roaming about can be tiring. I'm not sure what I'm saying I just have been feeling like that for a while.
In the end, I'll do whatever Ellie wants. She has gotten quite good at getting me to do whatever she wants. All she has to do is look up at me and say 'Baby and I would like…' and there I go, running off to do/fetch/buy whatever would please her –and Baby. I just can't say no to her, she looks so adorable with her wonderful round belly, her natural beauty enhanced by her own delight in her condition.
The baby is due in any week now, so who knows? Maybe by the time you get this letter you'll be an aunt already.
Ellie sends her love,
Love you always, little sister,
Of all the paths Gabriel ever thought he would take, he had ended up in the least likely. Ever since he was sixteen he had imagined he would die young at sea or probably on a tavern brawl. That's how his uncle had died anyway.
But fate wouldn't have it that way.
Fate had sent Ellie Mathew to his life, life had made him fall in love with her and time had taken care of the rest. It was funny how, in the end, it hadn't been Ellie the one who had made him quit the sea life he had loved so much once upon a time.
No, it hadn't been Ellie but rather someone Ellie had introduced to him: His first born Claire. It only took a moment, really, he had come into the room and seen Ellie cradling a small, pink slip of a thing in her arms and she had motioned for him to come closer. He had sat on the bed next to her and Ellie had placed the little baby on his arms.
"Isn't she beautiful?" Ellie had asked in awe as she rested her head on his shoulder.
The baby's face was all scrunched up and red and she wore a perplexed expression, he couldn't quite see her eye color but she had a thatch of strawberry blond hair on top of her little head, and his eyebrows. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen –next to her mother, of course. "She's more than beautiful." He had said reverently as he brought the baby to his face and kissed her cheek. "She's ours."
Ellie had fallen asleep quickly after that, exhausted by the labor, and Baby-Claire had fallen asleep too, her little head on his chest, her tiny fingers curling and uncurling.
Gabriel had understood it was possible to love two women with all his heart and he had also understood he didn't much care for the sea life anymore. He had had enough of aimless roaming through the world; he had a wife and a baby and was quite happy with his place in the world.
There wasn't a need to move anymore. The wanderlust that had kept him at sea was gone.
The next day, after she had talked to Ellie and she had confessed that she wanted to stay in Bristol too, Gabriel had gone and handed the ship over to Smith and Bess and the rest of the crew, his days as sea Captain were over.
It was cold as Gabriel rode home from the meeting he had been in, soon after settling in at Bristol; Gabriel had found that he had a ridiculous large amount of money and lots of time in his hands, never one to be idle, he had decided to invest in several business venues –railroad, locomotive company, soap company, and even charities – and was now in directive boards of many companies.
He didn't exactly need to work but he wanted to have something good for his daughters to inherit – about a year and a half after Claire's birth, Ellie had gifted him with little Lottie who was now just about two years old – Ellie and him had put all of Ellie's inheritance in a trust found for their children (to be divided equally among their offspring if something ever happened to Ellie) once the whole mess with Mr. Fairfax and Mr. Gunn had settled (they had fought Ellie's inheritance after they had dragged themselves back from St. Lucia and, according to Bea, had had to shell out a lot of money to avoid being prosecuted for 'licentious, inappropriate behavior' by St. Lucia's authorities, but Mr. Mathew's will was very clear and their marriage legal, so they had never had much of a case).
Arriving home, he found a letter from Smith and Bess on his desk, and after inquiring where Ellie was and finding out she was out calling on Bea (Charles had resigned his military post three years ago and bought a small state just five miles outside of Bristol, so Bea and Ellie could be close), Gabriel settled on a chair and read Smith's letter.
He was proudly informing him that Bess had finally agreed to marry him, and that they would be back in England in about three months and planned to visit them. Bess then complained that Smith had blackmailed her to marry him by getting her pregnant at her advanced age – all of thirty six years old – and demanding his child wasn't born a bastard.
Gabriel was still smiling over the letter when Ellie arrived; she immediately went to him.
"You shouldn't be on your feet so long." Gabriel complained and made Ellie sit down after her had kissed her. Then he rested his hand against the side of her body, which was heavy with child, it would be their third. "And you shouldn't be up and about; Bea should have come visit you, not the other way around."
"Bea just had a baby last month, she can't be up and about either," Ellie replied. "And the girls wanted to get out of the house for a while. I think this confinement is harder on them than on me."
"Where are my babies anyway?"
"Up, dropping off their coats and bonnets." Ellie responded, sitting a little straighter as the baby began to kick. All of her babies had been kickers.
"Smith finally got Bess pregnant, after all these years." Gabriel informed Ellie as he turned her a little, so her back was resting against his chest. "And they are on their way to India or something, promised to visit next time they are in England."
Ellie nodded and smiled, but then her expression turned pensive.
"What is it, love?" Gabriel asked gently, brushing aside Ellie's curly red hair and kissing the back of her neck and then her cheek.
"Nothing." Ellie said hastily.
"Don't you ever miss it? The Warrior and all that. Don't you regret giving it up for me?"
"Not ever. It wasn't just for you, it was for me too, Ellie. I told you once and I'll tell you again, there is nothing I love more than you – and the Claire, Lottie and this little one," he said, patting her stomach and added grudgingly-"and possibly Bea and her brats." He said, referring to his nephews.
Ellie smiled but Gabriel could feel the tension in her. So he turned her around completely to face him. "How could I ever miss it when you have given me so much?" He said his hands on her face and on her stomach, everywhere, kissing her and holding her.
"We do make beautiful babies, don't we?"
Said babies chose that moment to make an appearance.
"PAPA!" Four year old Claire screamed and ran towards him and Ellie. Lottie followed her two paces behind, yelling 'Papa, Papa!' over and over again.
Gabriel let go of Ellie as Claire and Lottie climbed to his lap and wrapped their skinny, little arms around his neck and showered him with kisses.
"See what I mean?" Gabriel said quietly, "So much"
Ellie could feel happy-tears coming to her eyes and she sniffed a little.
"Mama sad?" Lottie asked.
"No, darling." Ellie answered. "I'm happy."
"We shall kiss you anyway," Claire declared and both she and Lottie threw themselves at Ellie –though in a much gentler fashion than with Gabriel, as they were mindful of their little sister-to-be.
Gabriel held the three of them for a long while, kissing each one of their red-haired heads, in one of life's most perfect moments of happiness.
End of the Epilogue.
End of IT HAD TO BE YOU
Ps. check my new story Written in the Rain, which is now up!