Martha Barwood

Regency Romance Author

Unforeseen Engagement
During Christmas

The Extended Epilogue

One Year Later


“I can’t reach it,” Mary complained.

“Are you sure? Try again,” Jonathon urged. Mary tried again dutifully, raising herself up to the tops of her toes so that she might be able to place the decoration on the tree precisely where she wanted it. It was no use, she was still too short. She held it out to her brother who, as expected, took it from her and tried himself. The parlor at Whistendale was decorated with a large evergreen tree, the twins busy placing decorations so as to complete it. They had done the same the previous year, but that was before they had become part of the family. The adoption had been swift and the twins had stayed together; something the vicar’s wife had prioritized while seeking placement for them.

“The tree looks wonderful,” Beatrice called from her seat on the settee. Beatrice, heavily pregnant and unable to join in the activity watched on with a contented smile on her face. Jonathon very much had the children under control so she did not worry. The twins bustled about, their faces full of joy.

“It’s not yet finished,” Mary reminded her.

“Of course, of course,” she said with a laugh. She rested a hand on her stomach as she watched her family attend to the tree. She would give birth any day now and the entire household was on high alert for when it started to happen. Jonathon strolled over to the settee and sat next to her.

“It is a shame you are unable to join us this year,” he said, looking down at her stomach. She shrugged, happier at being with child than she was sad about having to spend most of her day seated or laying down. She was so exhausted that there was talk of her carrying twins. She would be happy regardless, if only she was allowed once more to stand for more than five minutes without becoming fatigued.

“This time next year, our new child will be able to join in too,” she said happily. Jonathon placed a hand on her stomach.

“I fall more in love with you every day,” he whispered to her.

Beatrice smiled up at him, her eyes twinkling with emotion.

Good,” she said, satisfied. Jonathon laughed, always aware of how lucky he was to have her. Likewise, she felt the same way. His heart swelled with love. He pressed his lips to hers in a sweet kiss. The past year had been as pleasant as a fairy tale. Their family had grown and was going to grow further as soon as the baby was born. William and Mary had assimilated perfectly into their new life as Jonathon and Beatrice’s children.

Once the baby was born, they would remain for several months at Whistendale and the rest of Beatrice’s family would come to visit them. They would make their way to London eventually but neither of them was in any hurry. Beatrice was becoming more and more friendly to the idea of making Whistendale their home. If that was to change in the future then Jonathon was not scared. He was only happy. As long as he was surrounded with those that he loved, he was happy.

The twins summoned him to the tree to help them place decorations upon the highest branches. With one more kiss to his wife, he rose to help them. He imagined that the previous Christmas when he proposed to Beatrice might have been the best of his life, but he was wrong, the best was yet to come.

Martha Barwood