"What are you hiding from me?" Rebeca glanced suspiciously around the room, but saw nothing.
"Nothing, my dear," said a rather too composed Christopher.
Rebeca could have sworn she saw a flitting smirk right before he ducked his head.
"It is a beautiful morning. I think we should take a walk."
She simply nodded and took his proffered arm.
The couple basked in the sunlight of the late spring. The fields around the house looked stunning with all colors of flowers sprinkled amongst the vibrant green grass. Christopher guided them through the path they usually walked on almost until the edge of the forest when he suddenly took a turn to the left and led them into the thick woods.
"Where are we going?" Rebeca asked frowning.
"It is a surprise," Christopher murmured behind her. He covered her eyes with his hand and guided her for the rest of the walk.
"Christopher," she said exasperatedly.
"Just a few more paces, darling," he said gently. "And, here we are."
The sight before her was lovely and peaceful. The woods stopped a few meters before a little pond with clear water. A few lilies floated above its surface and the crystal water perfectly reflected the sky and clouds.
"And," said the gentleman turning her around.
Several hydrangea bushes sat behind them, most of the blooms were a pretty blue. Just like Rebeca liked them.
"They are beautiful!" she exclaimed with joy.
"Happy Birthday, Mrs. Kingsley," said Christopher as he drew her into his arms for a hug.
"Do you like it?" he asked after bending down to kiss her forehead.
"I love it, Mr. Kingsley. I am afraid you shall not see me much inside the house since you have built me a haven outside."
She planted a kiss on his cheek. "Thank you," she murmured.
The smile which overtook his features filled Rebeca's heart. She had never felt happier in her life. His smile still made her heart skip a beat; it made a second feel longer. They had been married for just over four months, yet, every memory they shared together was happier than the one before. They fell in love each day, felt it as if it were the first day they spoke their mutual feelings.
Of course, the path which led them to that one moment by the pond had been a harsh one, but it had at long last brought them together. Months of uncertainty had followed Lord Albert's introduction to Mr. Kingsley, because the Viscount was not ready to let go of his daughter. Rebeca and Christopher patiently awaited a change of heart. Mr. Kingsley returned to his house for a whole two months and sent letters to his beloved every week. His heart ached to be with her, but he also knew he had to take care of the estate. He wanted everything to be ready for when Rebeca came to her new home.
At last the day came when the Viscount gave them his blessing. Wedding preparations started right away.
Christopher extended a blanket on the grass and sat down.
"Mrs. Kingsley, would you join me for a picnic?" he said retrieving a basket hidden inside the bushes behind them.
Rebeca giggled. "All right, Robert."
He winced at the name, but then his lips settled into a smile.
"Why do you often call me Robert?" he said as he opened the basket and pulled out a platter with grapes and cheese.
"I like to see your reaction," replied Rebeca looking very serious.
Christopher chuckled. "Is it because I keep calling you Mrs.?"
"You make me feel old," she said jokingly.
"Old or young, I will always love you." He glanced at her from under his eyelashes. A blush spread across her cheeks.
"You are blushing," he said teasingly.
"It is your doing, Robert."
He winced again.
She finally raised her gaze to his face. "You will always be Christopher to me, just so you know."
Now it was his turn to blush. He ducked his face as he focused on getting everything out of the basket.
"I love you Robert or Christopher or Mr. Kingsley. I love all three of you."
"That sounds strange," he said with a lopsided grin.
"It sort of does huh?"
They looked at each other's faces and started laughing. How wonderful it was to be together.
"Are you ready?" said the gentleman to his wife.
"As ready as I will ever be," she replied with a nervous smile. "Does it ever become easier?" she asked turning to look up at her husband.
"I am afraid not, my dear," he said smirking. "But I am here with you. I will not let you out of my sight. Besides, you are probably going to break many a hearts tonight, so I ought to keep you by my side."
She stifled a giggle. "Me? Break hearts? Please. Half of the single women of the Ton swore they were in love with you last season. If anyone is breaking hearts tonight…"
"Is that so? I never heard a word about it."
It was the day on which Frank would present to society his wife, Mrs. Bethany Trentworth.
"Your hands are cold," he said as he brushed his knuckles against Bethany's left hand.
She decided not say that he still made her nervous.
"Beth," he said softly.
She dared to glance quickly at her husband, he was smiling that smile. That heart-melting, sweet, loving smile he only ever bestowed upon her. It took that much to make her knees weak.
"Is there another reason why you are nervous?" he said playfully cocking an eyebrow at her.
"You are teasing me," she said simply.
He chuckled. "Tell me."
She released a long sigh. "Those women out there…they can be vicious, mean, conniving. I do not know where I am going to fit into all of this."
Frank rubbed his thumb absentmindedly against her knuckles.
"You think they are going to talk about us, is that it?"
She barely nodded.
"Bethany," he said in a serious tone. He pressed his lips gently against her temple.
"I know people can talk and they can talk about whatever they want to, but we know the truth. Do not let them ever doubt yourself. I chose you because I love you. I chose you so that I could spend the rest of my life by your side. Never let them trick you or make you feel less." He kissed her temple once again.
Bethany leaned her head on Frank's shoulder. In the two months they had been married, she had already memorized his scent. Her heart jumped at this detail. It was such a small thing, but she sensed he was wearing a different fragrance.
"Did you change your fragrance?" she blurted out. Her cheeks flared as soon as the words tumbled out of her mouth.
Frank stared at her with wide eyes, but then his smile grew wider with each passing second. Bethany buried her face in his shoulder. Oh, the embarrassment! When was she going to blurting things unthinkingly?
"Bethany," he said. She could hear the smile in his voice. He poked at her head, trying to make her look at him.
"Bethany Trentworth," he said again. This time he tickled her neck and she straightened to block his hands. Frank captured her small hands in his and did not let go. Bethany gave up with a sigh.
"I will change to the old one if you want me to," said Frank. He was enjoying this too much. His smile was too teasing.
Bethany wondered if the coachmen could hear them talk. That would be even more embarrassing.
"Bethany…" He did not let her hands go because he wanted an answer.
"All right I will take that as a yes; I like the old one better." He let go of his wife's hands and she huffed a little.
The silence grew too loud. "Actually, I…this one is better," said Bethany softly. She just could not keep her mouth shut.
Frank smiled triumphantly and then, he rested his head on Beth's shoulder.
"Lavender," said her husband out of the blue.
"You were wearing lavender when I asked you to marry me. Honeysuckle and something else on the day we married."
Bethany gaped at her husband. A chill ran through her arms as she realized how much weirder than her Frank could turn out sometimes.
He smiled up at her contentedly. "If it makes you feel any better, I probably know all of the other perfumes you have. And, I may or may not have stolen the last bit of honeysuckle you had in a bottle just so that I could keep it. It is my favorite."
That did it. Bethany's giggles turned to incontrollable laughter.
"Thank you," she said after her mirth settled. Frank watched her all that time with a huge grin spread across his lips.
"Anything for you, my dear Mrs. Trentworth."
"Anything?" she said thoughtfully.
"Anything," he echoed.
"Would you save the first two dances for me?"
He grinned. "I would save all the dances tonight for you, my dear."
She nudged him playfully.
"But, I shall ask the same from you," he said returning to his grave voice.
She looked at him with curiosity.
"I am guessing Mr. Francis is going to be there."
"You will never let that go, will you, Frank?"
"No," he said. "Not as long as he is single."
"Do not worry, I only plan to dance with you today, Mr. Trentworth, and with my brother-in-law, of course."
"Of course," echoed Frank. The carriage rolled to a stop before the biggest house in the neighborhood.
"Here we go," said the gentleman.
A servant announced them as they stepped into the ballroom.
"The Honorable Frank Trentworth and Mrs. Bethany Trentworth."
Frank proudly held Bethany in his arm. Tto every person he spoke to, he first introduced his wife. She saw looks of curiosity, others of disdain, but mostly she was in awe of the sincerely congratulations Frank's closest acquaintances offered. Though in the beginning she was too aware of her surroundings, her husband soon drew her attention to him. He included her in conversations and sometimes led them away from a group of people just so they could be alone for a few minutes.
"All going well, my dear?" he said looking at her lovingly.
"Yes," she replied shortly.
The music started to play and just then, Frank led her to center of the ballroom. His gaze never strayed from her face and neither did hers. The world could have ceased to exist and they would not have noticed. That is until a familiar voice called out Bethany's name.
Rebeca and Christopher approached them after they finished dancing. They embraced each other. Friends and family they were. And only then, did they change dancing partners.
For other times the newlyweds just wanted to dance with their original partners.
The tender looks that passed between Mr. Trentworth and Mrs. Trentworth left no doubt that the couple loved one another and they were happy.
A/N: This is it, you guys. Thank you for reading this story. Knowing that someone out there is reading TMOH makes me happy. I decided that for this last chapter I wanted to add a little bit more humor. There had been tons of romance and tragedy in the last few chapters. I am going to miss these characters, but I think the story has come to a good end. If you have any final comments on this story, you are most welcome to write:). I'd love to hear your thoughts on this Regency Romance experiment of mine.