A/N: I'm going to end this story with this chapter, but I think I'll continue it as another story, if ya'll want me to.

May 6, 1621

Elaine rolled over and gasped when she rolled smack into Evan's chest. The night before flooded into her memory like a sweet river. It had been wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. She smiled happily. Why had she insisted on holding her silly fear for so long, when something so delightful could have been hers the whole time? Yet she knew her fear had not really been silly, and if she had forced herself to be with Evan before she was ready, it would not have been delightful.

"Does that smile mean you have no regrets?"

She leaned up to kiss her husband, delighted to find that he was no less passionate now that he had gotten what he wanted.

"No regrets. I love you Evan."

He grinned, messy black hair falling tousled over his eyes, making him look like a little boy. His beautiful eyes sparkled. And she felt as happy as he looked.

"I love you too, Elaine."

George's fussy cry drifted to them from the nursery, and Elaine rose and dressed, ignoring Evan's admiring gaze. As she finished pinning up her hair, she turned to him and smiled enchantingly. He was sitting up in bed, head tilted to one side, watching her with adoring eyes. Never in her life had Elaine felt happier. She leaned to kiss him once more, but pulled back before he could get any ideas.

"Get out of here, Evan, before the maid finds you. I'm going to nurse George."

Buttoning up his shirt, Evan grinned mischievously.

"Can I watch?"

She laughed and blushed girlishly, swatting him in the side of the head before shooing him out. As she came into the hall she was met by Mrs. Brown going the other way, a suspiciously knowing look in her eyes.

"Morning mistress."

"Good morning, Mrs. Brown. Is something amusing?"

The woman smiled but managed not to laugh outright.

"Come 'ere, Elaine."

Elaine was pleased when the older woman dropped the formal 'Mistress.' She allowed the woman to lead her down the hall to a large mirror. Elaine had only briefly observed her reflection back in her room, and now gasped in shock at what she had not seen. Tiny red marks trailed down her neck, marks of love for all the world to see. Blushing furiously, she turned back to Mrs. Brown, who was now laughing in earnest. The older woman led the way back to Elaine's room and fished around in some drawers, pulling out a high lace collar within a minute. She wrapped it around Elaine's neck, and fastened it, then smiled at her work.

"There. That does it. Pretty too. That's what those things were made for, I think. Pretty useless otherwise."

"Thank you. To think I would have gone walking around the manor…Oh how horrid! I'm so embarrassed…"

"Silly child! You're married. I'm delighted you're finally learning to love the master the way you ought. You make him happy, and he wants so much to make you happy. I dare say we've all been waiting for that wall of yours to come down. Now, I hear Georgie crying, so you'd better run along."

Nodding, Elaine hurried down the hall, a deep feeling of contentment spread through her. How much more complete could a life be? A loving husband, two beautiful step-sons, a house full of faithful servants…How much she had to thank God for! She raised her grateful eyes to the ceiling, knowing her Heavenly Father was smiling down at her, as happy in her joy as she was.