The English said papa like puh-PAH, instead of PAH-puh. If that makes sense.
William was speaking to Nathaniel Blackwheel, at Elizabeth's request, about the price he was expecting for the farm with John in his arms. He pointed out the boundary lines when Nathaniel tried to go lower that William's requested price. The two did not seem to like each other very much, but neither was uncivil. John continuously tried to pull William's wig off of his head, as he had since he realized the white hair his adoptive father wore was not his own. William was patient, taking the little hands in his own and directing them away from his face as he spoke.
"I am telling you Mr. Nottage-"
"Sir… Sir William," he corrected him. Nathaniel hid his bristle. He remembered the Englishman from a year previously and still disliked him just as much.
"Sir William, you are asking London prices. No one in this colony could afford that amount of money," Nathaniel told him. "I don't make that much in a year."
"What can you afford?" William asked, shifting John in his arms.
"Two hundred and forty pounds-"
"That's barely ten pounds an acre!" William said outraged. He had half a mind to turn around and go back inside. He had little patience with this man. He was only there because Elizabeth had been insistent.
"Three sixty is the highest I can possibly go," Nathaniel said. He waited, his eyes never leaving William's face. William sighed angrily, looking toward the front of the farm house. This much land in England would go for a lot more than a lousy three hundred sixty, but knowing her family farm was going to Nathaniel would please Elizabeth.
"Fine," William conceded. He extended his hand out to Nathaniel and the two shook hands stiffly. "Come inside and we can sign the deed over to you."
"It doesn't bother you?" Nathaniel asked as they crossed the green fields and headed toward the white farm house. The pain was beginning to chip off the sides from lack of maintenance and William admitted to himself that perhaps the house would not be worth much in its state of disrepair. However, the colonial, American, appeared to be more than capable of fixing the place up himself.
"How does what not bother me?" William asked, clearly not in the mood for small talk.
"That you're raising another man's bastard." As soon as the words left his mouth William turned on him, his eyes on fire.
"Do not dare. Understand me? Do not dare," he snapped before turning away. He touched John's little head gingerly before placing a kiss to his dark brown hair. The little boy, with wide, brown, doe eyes looked up at him, his little plump lips parting.
"Dada?" he asked looking up at William. A small smile came to William's face.
"It's alright, Jack," he said softly. "I just love you."
"I love dada," he said, clapping his hands and giggling.
William smiled as he walked up the farm house porch. Elizabeth stood in the kitchen as they entered, setting the table for dinner. William set John down on the floor and the little boy immediately fell toward his mother on shaky legs. William took out the land and house deed and placed it on the table.
"I give this to you with the expectation that you allow us adequate time to vacate the premises," William said, holding the old pieces of parchment in his hand.
"How much time would be necessary?"
"A week," he said.
"A week?" they heard Elizabeth gasp behind them. "We are leaving for England in a week?"
"We leave for Boston in a week," William informed her. "Finding a transport to England is another story."
"I will give you a week," Nathaniel said, taking the deed from William. Nathaniel kissed Elizabeth on the cheek as he said farewell despite William's obvious opposition to it. Elizabeth walked him to the door, John walking over and hugging William's leg as he stayed in the kitchen. Leaning down, William whispered in John's little ear. The little boy smiled and ran into the hallway. His little hands were in fists as his arms moved back and forth. When he got to the door he stood between Nathaniel and his mother, looking up at them for a moment. Seeing his father in the doorway of the kitchen he turned to Nathaniel. With a mighty swing of his little leg his stocking clad foot collided with Nathaniel's shin. Elizabeth gasped as Nathaniel let out a small cry of surprise. It was not painful but it was certainly unforeseeable.
"John William!" she yelled and the little boy immediately pointed to William.
"Dada made me!" he cried and ran away from his mother toward his father. William scooped up his little son in his arms, giving Nathaniel and Elizabeth a confused look.
"I have absolutely no idea what he could be talking about. I'll deal with it," he said and walked back into the kitchen. Elizabeth apologized to Nathaniel just as they heard the squealing laughter of John coming from the next room.
"Thank you, Mrs. Engles," William told the kind old woman as he handed her a few notes. She held up her hand.
"Keep your money, Englishman," she said. That was what she called him, even after he told her his first name.
"Please I would feel much better if-"
"You have made an honest women of little Lizzie," she said, kissing him on both his cheeks. William leaned down so she could reach him.
"Thank you again," he said and got up onto the wagon she had given them for their trek to Boston. Elizabeth said a tearful goodbye and Mrs. Engles warmly kissed John goodbye. Elizabeth scooted close to William as the wagon pulled away and they made their way south. She wrapped her arms around his one, leaning her head against his shoulder as he held the reigns. John sat in her lap, playing with his little toy gun.
"John, do you know where we are going?" William asked him as he hit the little piece of wood against his leg.
"No," he said. It did not seem he cared much.
"We are going to England," he told him.
"What Ing-lin?" he asked.
"It is where your papa is from," he told him.
"We are going to live there now," Elizabeth told him.
"Live in Ing-lin?" he asked.
"Yes," William told him.
"You, I and John will go to the manor in Berkshire. I want Mary to go to London. She can live with my sister for a few months until we return to the city," he said, now addressing Elizabeth.
"Mary cannot live alone," Elizabeth said. William looked at her.
"I had hoped we could spend time alone together for a week or so," William murmured. Elizabeth thought a moment before nodded.
"We will speak about it later," she told him, not wanting to speak of it with Mary seated right behind them.
"Of course," William agreed, and flicked the reigns, spurring on the horse that pulled them.
It took them two days to get to Boston. They stopped at a small tavern to sleep for the night. The man was very welcoming until he heard William's accent and suddenly tried to tell them he had no rooms open. Elizabeth explained they had a young child with them and they were eventually given a room.
"They think I raped you," William said as they prepared for bed. John was asleep and Mary was out of the room.
"What do you mean?" Elizabeth asked from bed. William smiled humorlessly.
"Why else would an American girl marry an Englishman? They think I raped you, you became pregnant with our child, and you had no choice but to come away with me," he finished just as Mary walked into the bedroom. Not fully understanding the dynamics between men and women she tried to help by speaking, and unwittingly made things much, much worse.
"But John doesn't look a thing like you," Mary said. Elizabeth tensed the moment it was said. She looked at William a moment, bracing for his reaction. He looked over at the sleeping boy on the other cot. He didn't look at Elizabeth or Mary as he turned and left the room. He slammed the door shut behind him, causing both young girls to jump. Mary looked at Elizabeth in confusion. Elizabeth could only bite back tears as she settled into bed, looking over at her sweet little boy. William was outside when Elizabeth and Mary woke up. It was impossible for Elizabeth to know if he had come back to the room or not.
When they arrived in Boston they had the same hard time finding a place to sleep. He was turned down by many inn keepers and it wasn't until he sent Elizabeth in without him for a room did they find a vacancy. William carried their things from the wagon into the inn and handed the man his bills. As he brought the things into their rooms he was bubbling over with anger.
"I'm a bloody baronet. Won't give me a bleeding room for the night. I should have gone to Canada. What was I thinking coming to Boston?" he ranted. His jaw clenched when Elizabeth took his face in her hands. Her thumb stroked his lips softly as she looked up at him.
"Please calm down, William," she pleaded softly.
"I am very well respected in England," he told her softly before growing angry again. He pointed toward John , who was playing on the floor. "And that bloody boy is my son."
"Of course he is," Elizabeth told him. She stepped up on her tip toes to place a kiss to his lips. "It's not who made the child that matters. It's who raises the child."
William looked over at him.
"People will know," he said regretfully. "It's obvious that is not my son. No one would dare say a word, but they will know it."
"You are being paranoid. We will say he looks like my brother," Elizabeth told him.
"He's a spitting image," William said. She knew he meant of Edward but she ignored it.
"He calls you dada," she told him. That brought a small, sad smile to his face.
"Jack?" he called. The little boy looked over at him. "Come here, son."
John placed his hands on the floor and pushed himself up onto his feet. His little cotton diaper clad bottom was up in the air as he pushed himself up. He stumbled backwards as he tried to stand before he stumbled toward his father. He hugged his father's leg, looking up at him with a smile. William leaned down and looked into John's big eyes. While they were the same color, shape and size of Clarendon's he saw Elizabeth staring back at him and he smiled.
"Dada funny," John said and placed his little palm on William's face. William grabbed his little hand and brought it to his lips, kissing his little curled fingers. William stood, John once again wrapping his arms around his father's leg. William lifted an arm, welcoming Elizabeth into a hug. The three held each other for a few minutes before William felt another body join the circle. Looking over at Mary he laughed, lifting his arm once against and welcoming the youngest living Watson into the family hug.
William, as a military officer, got himself a private suite in the large ship they were to cross the Atlantic in. He spent most of the first day on the decks, speaking to the sailors, asking of home. Elizabeth stayed inside with John and Mary. Neither of the girls felt safe around sailors and didn't want to be a target of unsavory attentions. When the sun began to set William came in to get Elizabeth. She came out at his insistence and jumped when his hands covered her eyes.
"You must trust me," he whispered to her. She nodded under his hands and let him lead her across the decks. "Keep them closed."
He uncovered his eyes, taking her hands in his and placing them on the railing.
"Ok, open them," he said. When Elizabeth opened her eyes, they immediately widened. She let out a big breath as she looked out into the sea. The sun was beginning to set and the sunlight reflected against the deep blue water. They stood at the left side of the ship, against the railing, looking out into the ocean.
"I think everyone should enjoy a sunset at sea," he whispered in her ear, wrapping his arms around her waist. "I will wake you for sunrise if you like."
"Yes, please," she said as she looked out in the ocean. She pointed out toward the sun. "Is England that way?"
"No, behind us," William told her. Elizabeth turned her face toward him.
"The boat is growing the wrong way," she whispered and he laughed.
"We must go north first, then east," he told her. She leaned into him.
"Tell me about England, William," she asked and he obliged. The two stayed on desk, softly speaking to each other, until well after the sun had set. Eventually both turned to look out toward England.
"Me!" Edward yelled at his younger brother, who was seated on a chair, staring at him with a relatively blank expression. "She said no! To me!"
He took the glass of brandy he had in his hand and refilled it. James Edward Attenborough, brother of Edward James Attenborough, had arrived only an hour earlier to greet his brother before Edward began ranting. It had been quite clear to James that his brother had had his fair share to drink but he said nothing. When Edward offered him a brandy in his sitting room he had accepted and asked of the war.
"It was quite a surprise when the news of Cornwallis' surrender made it to London. I would have loved to see His Majesty's reaction to that," he had told him.
"Bloody peasants," Edward had snapped, looking out the window and down into the streets of London. "Bloody tart she was."
"Who?" James asked shifting in his seat. "Were those colonial girls a good shag then?"
"Do not speak of her that way," Edward snapped. James' eyebrows rose in surprise.
"Touched a nerve, big brother?" he asked. It was then that he fell into his rant. James listened for nearly three quarters of an hour as Edward raved. Apparently, Sir William Nottage, a man James had worked with in parliament, had stolen Edward's mistress from him. James failed to understand how Edward could have become too emotionally attached to a rustic, but he said nothing.
"Find a good English woman, Edward," James told him.
"I do not want another woman. I want her," Edward said. He sat down in his chair with a huff. He frowned deeply. "There was a child. A boy."
"I am an uncle?" James asked and Edward gave him a hard look. James removed the amused smile from his face. "I apologize."
"I will have my son, and I will have my woman," Edward said as he took another gulp of his brandy. "It is only a matter of time."
"She is coming to England?" James asked.
"With Nottage," Edward said, suddenly more subdued. "I should have had him killed when I had the chance."
James lowered his eyes while his eyebrows rose.
"It seems she has made her choice and you were not it," James said as gently as he could.
"She does not know what she wants," Edward murmured. "Naïve little thing."
If James did not know any better he might have thought there were tears in Edward's eyes.
"You will help me," Edward said.
"Oh will I?"
"You will," Edward said. "She will come to understand why I could not marry her. It does not diminish my love in the least." James said nothing at the declaration of love. He would support his brother in anything, and did his very best to keep his judgments to himself.
"I will get her back," Edward said, his eyelids growing heavy as the alcohol began to fully hit his system. "She will come back to me."
James watched his brother silently as he slowly fell to sleep, the name Elizabeth on his lips.
Part One Finite
Sequel being planned.
Check out my new story too. It's set in Spain during the Spanish Inquisition.