Three years later
For a while, I had believed that life had a distinct meaning to it, that there was a defined purpose in the fate that was meant for us and that nothing could ever change it. I always grew up believing that fate was the sole mastermind of our future and we as the recipient, had no say in whatever decided to come out of it.
But I was wrong.
I think, there are certain meanings to life, voracious ones, you can single out. Ones you can choose from and decide to make yours. Fate— a funny word as it is— is not cruel. It would always give us the advantage to forge our own way, while holding our hand through the journey of life.
Just like it did to me.
It has been three years since I married the love of my life and every day, when I look upon his handsome face as I get up in the morning, I am reminded of how truly blessed I am. If I had allowed my fate to be chosen without my consent, I probably wouldn’t have.
My father and George were charged and have been imprisoned since then. Although there are rumors that come now and then about mother and I, but I ignore them. I won’t allow them to dictate my actions any longer, especially when they are not here.
Ellen and Adam are betrothed and are planning to get married very soon. I would truly admit, it was not something thing I saw coming and neither had Jeremy.
Marcus has retired and Jeremy and Adam run the business together, which has been thriving. My mother now resides with us and Julianna, my mother-in-law, was traveling throughout Europe. Grandmother still comes to visit sometimes. She is nearly four-and-eighty years and is the same levelheaded woman she’s always been. Her senses are acutely aware. My mother says it is the women Campbell genes. They were made for durability. I think that is true.
At this point, I must drop the pen. This will be my fifteenth entry for the month. I shall write again tomorrow. Before I leave, I would like to share some good news.
Today is an important day and I certainly feel giddy about it. It was on this day, three years ago, that Jeremy and I were married and we are going to celebrate by hosting a family dinner. Oh, and there is another happy news too but let’s not be too enthusiastic.
Everyone will find out soon enough.
Charlotte closed her journal and placed it into her nightstand drawer. She smoothed her gown and smiled at herself in the mirror, then she left her chambers and went downstairs. She loved this house. She recalled the first time Jeremy had shown her it. He had taken Charlotte’s hand and looped it around his elbow and given her a tour. The house was large, and many of the rooms were interconnected. The ground floor had a series of reception rooms in addition to a small study that his mother enjoyed for writing her correspondence. Charlotte swooned dramatically at each room, and he told her he’d enjoyed seeing the house through fresh eyes. His family had always resided here when they were in London, so he supposed he took it for granted.
Charlotte had marveled even more at the rooms on the first floor: the grand, crimson-colored ballroom, lined with gilt-edged mirrors; the private parlor with its yellow-and-white-striped décor; the family portrait gallery that spanned the length of the house; and especially the music room with the custom-made pianoforte.
Now, Charlotte found Jeremy standing at the entrance of the porch, holding their young son, Ian in his hand and pointing out something outside. Charlotte embraced her men warmly.
“Is there something outside that you both are so fixated upon?” she asked with a smile.
“We are naming trees.” Jeremy grinned. “It is apparently now a favourite pastime of this young one.”
“Which one does he like?”
“Oak. He mispronounces it as Oak-ey. So that’s what we are going with. Oak-ey. An Oak-ey tree.” There was a mischievous glint in Jeremy’s eyes. Charlotte laughed and leaned in to brush a kiss atop her three-year-old son. His eyes lighted up and he whispered cheerily, “Mama, mama.”
Charlotte smiled and wiped the drool that was beginning to form at the side of Ian’s lips. He was so adorable she thought her heart would melt. He looked so much like his father, too and Charlotte always felt a tug of her heartstrings whenever she saw them together.
“We should prepare for dinner soon, don’t you think?” Jeremy whispered into her ear, cutting short her thoughts.
She looked up at him, nearly melting. Three years married and she still felt her heart stop for a moment whenever his breathy voice tickled her skin. She nodded mutely.
“The guests will be here soon,” he reminded her.
The guests were Adam, Ellen, Marcus and Grandma. They had all been invited to celebrate the couples’ anniversary. It was going to be a promising time. The family had also gathered to welcome Adam and Ellen home from their delayed honeymoon in Scotland. Later, when Jeremy and Charlotte stood at the front door watching their guests depart, Ian having been whisked off to the nursery by their doting nursemaid, Sally, Jeremy could not resist a kiss on his wife’s cheek. “You need your rest.”
She smiled a naughty smile. “That is just an excuse and you know it.”
“You know, it has been a while since I have seen you wearing the Goldfeather rubies.” It was their way of referring to their more intimate moments.
“You are right. It has been too long,” she said, her lovely eyes smiling up at him.
“And I also reckon that it would be the perfect anniversary gift, don’t you think? Especially since we have time with Mr. Oak-ey off having his nap.”
Charlotte laughed loudly. “All right, then.”
He nuzzled his beard against her chin. “Shall we?”
“Darling, you don’t even have to ask,” Charlotte murmured against her husband’s lips.
Jeremy put an arm around her waist and he kissed her full on her delicious mouth. Jeremy’s kisses were simply lovely. When he held her in his arms she felt precious and delicate. His smile widening, he kissed her again. Charlotte wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer to her. He deepened the kiss, and the rest of the world faded away as she gave into the bliss of being with her husband. Sometime later, as the rain beat against the window of their bedchamber, Charlotte curled into the crook of Jeremy’s arm and sighed contentedly. His hand stroked her hair and she was tempted to let the tender motion lull her into the deep sleep she so craved. But she had one more thing she needed to say before she drifted off to sleep.
“Jeremy,” she said quietly into the darkening room.
“Hmm…” He sounded half-asleep. “What is it, my love?”
“Well,” she turned slightly so she could rest her chin on his chest and see into his eyes that sparkled in the dim firelight. “There is something important that I must let you know.”
He sucked in a breath, and his eyes widened slightly; her serious tone clearly made him uneasy. But it was impossible for her to keep up the somber ruse, and a smile broke out on her lips before she could stop it.
“You needn’t look so very terrified, Jeremy . . . or should I say, Papa?”
It took only a moment for him to comprehend her words, and then he leapt from the bed with a great holler of joy. Charlotte laughed at the sight of her husband. He gave a few more ecstatic shouts of “I’m going to be a father again!” before he returned to the bed.
He nearly smothered Charlotte with his kisses, but she didn’t mind one bit. There was affection, so much of it, behind every kiss and it was the sweetest moment Charlotte had ever known. Though her life had been filled with uncertainty for so long, she knew she would never, ever doubt again that she was thoroughly and completely loved.