A slice of birthday cake.
Today is the anniversary of the day the lovely, wonderful @chelsietothenorthern entered this world. She is truly a kind and loving person, and deserves all the love and blessings this world can give, on this day and every other!
She also deserves a birthday fic/chapter from me…unfortunately I have not been able to finish it in time. But I will do so in the next few days. In the meantime, here is a slice of it. I hope you like it, dear! Cheers! xxx
“Careful,” Charles said as they fumbled their way up the stairs. He hoped it wasn’t too dusty. Elsie would be unhappy if her dress got dirty.
Jack coughed behind them. “Where are we going? The ancient torture chamber where bad students used to disappear?”
In the dim light, Charles saw Elsie smiling. “Just wait,” she glanced over her shoulder. The two men heard a clink of a key, then the groan of an underused door swinging open.
The evening sun was blinding in their faces.
“Ooh, that’s bright,” Elsie laughed. She pulled Charles behind her up the last two stairs, then they both turned to help the photographer. “Welcome to the roof of Downton, Mr. Ross.”
He blinked when he got to the top, his eyes adjusting. Then he smiled as he surveyed what he could see.
Elsie was well aware he skipped the immediate view of the ugly vents, and the nondescript roof, with its eaves and angles. Below the three of them, the white canopy tent on the lawn gleamed. People, scattered like dots, were milling about. Laughing, talking, eating, drinking, dancing. Music drifted on the breeze.
“Hmmm,” Charles hummed, wrapping his arms around Elsie from behind. He whispered in her ear. “Looks like quite a party. I wonder what they’re celebrating.”
Smiling, she reached up and touched his face. Her ring was cool against his cheek. “I’m sure I don’t know, Mr. Carson.”
“I have no idea either, Mrs. Carson.”
It was not the first time he had called her by that name, but for some reason, it made Elsie giggle to hear it.
“What?” her husband asked, standing up straighter, his eyebrows together. She bit her lip, grinning, wanting to assure him she wasn’t laughing at him.
Because she wasn’t.
“Mrs. Carson…” she whispered, turning in his arms. “I just…look where we are.”
He was perplexed. “On the roof at Downton, of course. Where we had our first kiss.” He looked down at her, befuddled. “We wanted to come up here. For Jack to take pictures of us here.”
“Yes,” she said, trying to marshal her thoughts. She took his hands in hers. Rubbing her thumb over his ring, she shook her head. “That Valentine’s Day…I woke up that morning at school thinking the day was going to end just like any other. That the Head Boy knew my name, but didn’t feel anything like I felt.”
“Elsie,” he whispered, leaning his head against hers. “But the Head Boy did feel something for you. He couldn’t believe the smart, strong Elsie Hughes actually liked him back.”
“I liked you then,” she murmured. “But I love you now, and always will.”
“I love you.”
He gently pressed his lips against hers. It was a short kiss, sweet, as they both smiled remembering that cold night in February years before.
Their next kiss was not short.
Charles held her close, feeling her hands on his back as she hummed into his mouth. She ran one hand up to the base of his neck, bringing him closer.
Elsie’s heart was full. Here we are, where we began.
And now we will live the rest of our lives together.