The Scarred Governessof Livington Manor
A year and half after one of the happiest days of Cedric’s life, he once more stood in front of the mirror in his bedchambers, dressing in his finest suit for yet another happy occasion. His valet smoothed his shoulders, giving him a knowing smile.
“I have only seen you grin so proudly twice before, Your Grace,” he said.
Cedric wagged his eyebrows at his reflection, his smile widening.
“I hope you can grow accustomed to it, Benjamin,” he said. “It is a look I expect to wear now for the rest of my days.”
With that, he patted the valet’s arm, thanking him briefly. Then, he went downstairs, where his beautiful wife awaited him before they left for the church.
When they arrived, he kissed his wife on the cheek, then sought out the bride. When he reached her, his heart swelled with pride and love.
“Sister, dear, you look absolutely beautiful,” he said, kissing her softly on the cheek.
Their mother stood beside her, wiping tears of joy from her cheeks.
“Both of my darlings will soon be married,” she said, hugging them both. “This is every mother’s dearest wish.”
Both Cedric and Olivia returned their mother’s embrace. Then, the duchess excused herself to find her seat at the front of the church.
Cedric turned to his sister and smiled.
“Are you ready, Sister?” he asked, holding out his arm.
Olivia beamed at him, and Cedric knew he had never seen her so happy.
“I absolutely am, Brother,” she said.
Cedric held up his head proudly as he walked his sister to the altar. He gave her without reluctance to Edgar. Before he took his place behind Edgar, he leaned toward his old friend’s ear.
“One might think that you could not be happier right now, Edgar,” he said.
His friend stuck out his chin.
“Whatever gave you that idea, Cedric?” he asked, his eyes shining.
In the weeks following seeing his sister married, Cedric found he only grew happier by the day. He arranged to do most of his important business from home or right in London. After the birth of his son, whom they had named Albert after Rosalie’s father, Cedric wanted to spend as much time with his family as he could, and as little time overseas as possible.
Sophia took on her new role as a big sister with gusto and great love for her little brother. She spent every free moment with the toddler, tending to him with more dedication than even the new nursemaid did. Cedric had been puzzled when Miss Jennings had resigned shortly after he and Rosalie had married. But when Rosalie and Sophia explained to him how cruel she had been, to both Rosalie and Sophia, Cedric was glad.
The new nursemaid was older, but she was jolly, friendly, and kind. She had a big scar that ran along her left jawline, and Sophia and Rosalie adored her. As she did them. And the nursemaid, whose name was Brenda, simply worshipped little Albert. At last, Cedric knew he needn’t worry about anyone being cruel to his family. He understood that he would forever be grateful for whatever force had brought Rosalie into his life.
One day, Cedric pulled Sophia aside, asking her to keep Rosalie busy outdoors while he slipped off to town. Sophia seemed to understand at once, running off to do exactly as her father had asked. He spent most of the day in west London, but he managed to find everything he sought.
After dinner that evening, Cedric once again pulled Sophia away from her stepmother.
“Go with Miss Brenda and keep your brother occupied until bedtime, my darling,” he said.
“You are giving Mother a surprise,” she said knowingly. “May I see what it is?”
Cedric nodded, gently caressing his daughter’s chin.
“You may tomorrow,” he said. “I am certain that Rosalie will be thrilled to show it to you.”
Sophia nodded, thrilled to have such a big responsibility before her. She hurried up the stairs to find the nursemaid and her little brother.
“Rosalie, darling,” he called as his wife stepped out of the dining room. “Would you join me in your parlor, please?”
Rosalie looked at him quizzically, but she nodded, following him to her parlor.
Cedric waited for her to enter the room first, holding his breath. The instant his wife gasped, he knew she had seen it.
“Oh, Cedric, darling,” she said as he slowly entered the room. “What is all this?”
Cedric glanced around at the easels, canvases, paints, and charcoals arranged carefully about the room. He had spent weeks choosing the best quality art supplies from all over the world, and he had paid the servants bonuses to haul it all in earlier that day and arrange it just the way he believed his wife would like it.
“I do hope you do not mind that it takes up the whole room,” he said. “I noticed you hardly used this room as it was, and I also recalled that you are a very talented artist. I only ap0logize for not doing this sooner for you.”
Rosalie turned to him, tears streaming down her cheeks and her smile bright. She ran to him, leaping into his arms and kissing his cheeks with vigor.
“You are the best husband in all of London, darling,” she said. “But there is one problem.”
Cedric looked at his wife with wide eyes.
“What?” he asked.
“Now, Sophia and I will never leave this room,” she said.
For little Albert’s second birthday, Cedric and Rosalie decided to host a small house party. Olivia and Edgar, who were just returning from their six-month-long wedding trip, happily accepted the invitation to attend. Lady Isabel and her husband, Lord Dwayne Kent, Duke of Kennington, would also be present. And, of course, the dowager duchess would be there, as well. She doted on Albert every bit as much as she always had on Sophia. She was just helping Beth finish all the arrangements as the first of their guests arrived.
Everyone filed out into the garden, enthusiastic about the picnic. Cedric greeted everyone with gusto, thrilled to have all the people who meant the most to him at his home. Once upon a time, he would not have believed he could be so happy. But knowing that he was made him feel as though he could rule the world.
The picnic was set up shortly after the guests arrived. Everyone was happy to do something to help, and before long they were ready to enjoy their meal. The smiles and pleasant exchanges were enough to fill Cedric’s heart with love and joy, and he held his head up with pride.
“Excuse me, everyone,” Edgar said, rising to his feet, before taking Olivia’s hand and helping her to hers. “I do hope that this will not be an unwelcome interruption, this being young Albert’s special day. However, Olivia and I would like to make an announcement, if we may?”
Cedric looked at Rosalie, who nodded eagerly.
“Say on, Edgar,” he said, giving a nod of encouragement.
Edgar and Olivia shared a sweet kiss. Then, it was Olivia’s turn to speak.
“We wanted all of you to be the first to know that very soon, Edgar and I shall be joining my dear brother and lovely sister-in-law in the blissful chapter of life known as parenthood,” she said, glowing.
Cedric leapt to his feet, giving Edgar a hearty handshake, while Rosalie went over to Olivia and embraced her. The dowager duchess joined her daughter and daughter-in-law in their joyous embrace, delighted at knowing she would soon have her third grandchild.
Sophia joined her family, having picked up her little brother and put him on her hip.
“Might I nominate myself to be the new baby’s nursemaid?” she asked. “I do very well with Albert and I do love looking after children.”
Edgar and Olivia exchanged a look with one another. Then, Olivia looked at Rosalie, giving her a fond smile. When she turned back to her niece, she knelt, brushing a strand of hair out of her beautifully unique eyes.
“You are a bit young to be a nursemaid, dear,” she said. “But you may certainly look after the baby whenever we come to visit.”
Sophia, whose face had begun to darken at being told she was too young, suddenly smiled.
“Very well,” she said. “And I shall be the best nursemaid in all of London.”
“I, too, am with child,” Isabel said, almost too quietly for everyone to hear.
Her husband looked at her with surprise, kissing her softly on the cheek and chuckling.
“I did not know we were about to announce out happy news too,” he said, gazing at his wife with adoration. “But since my darling wife has chosen to do so, then I can confirm with great pride that I, too, shall soon be a father.”
Olivia shrieked, running over to Isabel, who had since become her closest friend apart from Rosalie, and embracing her tightly.
“You mean that we shall be with child together?” she asked excitedly.
Isabel nodded with excitement.
“Perhaps we shall give birth on the same day,” she said.
The party continued, with everyone laughing and enjoying themselves. The dowager duchess’s tears of joy continued all through the picnic, gushing over her young grandson and the grandchild who would soon be born. Cedric sat back, content to be amongst family and friends, relishing every laugh and smile.
Rosalie laughed, and he turned to see Sophia and Albert chasing a butterfly. Princess sat back, watching the pair with her head tilted, as though trying to understand the appeal of such an activity. Cedric, too, laughed as he recalled the little dog’s past adventures doing precisely the same thing.
With a heart filled with love and joy, Cedric pulled his wife close to him. She leaned in willingly as he kissed her cheek, nestling her head into his neck as she sighed.
“Today is a most wonderful day,” she said, her contentment warming his heart in a delicious way.
“It is, indeed,” he murmured against the top of her head. “I hope you know that I fall more in love with you every single day.”
Rosalie looked at him with mock surprise, batting her eyelashes.
“Why, Your Grace, whatever would your wife think of such a declaration?” she asked, giggling as she spoke.
Cedric leaned down, kissing his wife passionately on the lips.
“I hope she feels the same way,” he said. “Because nothing would make me happier than to continue sharing such days with her, for the rest of our lives.”
This is the end of my novel “The Scarred Governess of Linington Manor”. I hope that you enjoy it! Your effort to read it means a lot to me and I have to thank you for your love and support on these difficult days!
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