This is for the dialogue meme post. lady-strallan asked for Edith and Anthony and “I’m sick of being useless!” Hope this OK, sorry you’ve had to wait for it. It’s slightly AU and I had to adapt the dialogue slightly, hope that’s OK too.
AU. Edith visits Anthony for luncheon the day before their wedding and leaves him with a choice…
Early May 1920, Loxley House
Sir Anthony Strallen watched his fiancée hurry up to the door of Loxley House and not for the first time, he felt guilty. He knew he shouldn’t, he should be happy. He was 24 hours away from marrying a wonderful woman, one that was clever, beautiful and kind and that was the problem. Her kindness. He would rather not marry Edith than have her stay with him out of pity, because she thought he needed a nursemaid and he would soon enough. His age aside, his injury meant that he already needed help just get on with the day and despite what she told him, he would not see her waste her life on him.
Robert was right. She deserves someone whole, someone young that can give her a full life.How long would it be before she becomes more nurse than wife?
So preoccupied was he that he didn’t even hear his butler announce her.
“I’d say penny for your thoughts, but judging by the look on your face, I wouldn’t like them.”
Anthony turned to see a rather stern look on Edith’s lovely face.
“Has my father been interfering again?”
“No, but dearest, do you not think he has a point? I feel so useless sometimes, do you really want to spend your marriage caring for an old cripple who was too selfish to let you find a better man?”
Edith answered with a strength she hadn’t realised she had.
“Firstly, I most certainly do not think he has point and neither should you. Secondly, you are in no way useless. You are one of the most capable men I’ve ever met and finally, I’m marrying you because I love you and want to make you happy. Will I care for you if you need it? Yes, but because I love you. The marriage vows say “In sickness and in health” not “until one of you needs help”! Anthony, if our situations were reversed, if I was the one who needed help, or care, would you walk away from me?”
For the first time in what felt like a while, he felt himself start to relax, even if he still thought their ages was something to be considered.
“No, I wouldn’t. Not even for a minute would I think of leaving you, but Edith my love, surely you see that my age -”
Edith’s voice was still firm as she interrupted him.
“Anthony Strallan, if you bring up your age as a reason I should leave you I’m going to get cross. It didn’t bother me before the war, it doesn’t bother me now and it won’t bother me tomorrow when we’re at the altar.” She took deep breath before continuing, as if she’d came to an important decision. “I love you, I do hope you know that, but I don’t want to force you into marrying me. I’m going to leave and after I’ve gone I want you think about whether you love me and whether you want us to be together for the rest of our lives. If you decide you do want me, then I’ll see you tomorrow and if not, well then I’ll try to understand.”
She kissed him lightly on the cheek and walked out of the room. After showing her out, the butler returned.
“I take it Lady Edith won’t be staying for luncheon Sir?”
With a sad smile, Anthony shook his head.
“No, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have been good company today.”
“I see Sir. Just a light luncheon then?”
Anthony nodded and while the butler went to the kitchen, he went over what Edith had said and he realised that actually, he had no decision to make…
Two years later, Loxley House
They left nursery hand in hand, just as they always did, Anthony turning back to get a last look at his beautiful twin girls and Edith smiling at the love in her husband’s face. As he turned back to his wife, Anthony again marvelled at the joy he felt every day. Tomorrow might be their wedding anniversary, but today would always feel important, after all, it was the day he learned the true strength of his wife.
“What are you thinking about?”
“You dearest, as always. You make me so happy I can’t believe I ever contemplated life without you.”
Edith positively glowed.
“All you needed was to actually make the decision for yourself, rather than have someone tell you what to do, I just gave you that. I have something else for you as well. I wanted to wait for tomorrow, but I can’t.”
“Oh? What is it?”
“Well, by this time next year, we may need a bigger nursery.”
“Really? You’re sure? When did you find out?”
“I’ve thought it for a little while, but I saw Dr Clarkson this morning and he confirmed it. We’ll have a new arrival in November.”
Anthony swept Edith into his arms and the two shared a passionate kiss. The next day, when the family arrived to mark their anniversary, they announced the news and that November they welcomed Edward Robert Strallan.
Well, there you go. Hope you like it. The ending isn’t quite what I’d like, but I have trouble ending stories sometimes, especially if I’m enjoying it. Again, I’m really sorry this late, I promise I’ll try and learn better writing habits! Oh, before I forget, the twins are called Beatrice and Rosamund.