TRAPPED IN THE MARQUESS' HEART
Selena and Will sat in one of the front paws, and Aaron and Belle decided to sit behind them. Aaron smiled at his sister, and then, he saw the little bundle of joy for which they were gathering today in her arms. He was asleep, bundled up in a blanket.
“He is so handsome, Selena,” Aaron whispered. “Congratulations.”
“Thank you,” she whispered back. “He is a joy, is he not? We have named him Ambrose.” She smiled at him.
“After Father…” Aaron could hardly believe it. As much as he had wanted to name his son after his father, Belle had talked him out of it as a first name. Jonathan’s middle name was Ambrose, while Harry’s was Bertram—both of the father’s names.
“I thought it a wonderful idea after all the trouble we have had in the last few years,” Will spoke up. “Your father was a wonderful man, and I am sad that he is unable to be here for this joyous occasion physically.”
“I do truly believe he is with us in spirit, Will,” Selena said. “Especially because he is the namesake of our child.”
“He would have been happy to hear that you have named your child after him,” Aaron said. “May I hold him?”
“When we go to the manor, Aaron,” Selena said. “I know you like to hold children, but I do not want to let him out of my arms while we are here in the chapel.”
He nodded, knowing that Selena was probably being overprotective because of how hard it had been for her to have Ambrose in the first place.
Soon, the baptism started, and it was a joyous occasion. Ambrose slept through most of it, only wailing for a few moments when the water was dribbled over his face. Selena and Will were both smiling widely throughout the whole event. Aaron did not blame them; watching a child be baptized was one of the best moments a parent could watch, and he should know.
He had watched three of his children be baptized into the church by now. It was worth that moment, worth all the fuss of preparing for it.
Soon thereafter, he helped herd the children back to the carriage.
Bethany remained quiet, as she would much prefer to read in the library at Casshall Manor than celebrate with the adults. The nurse who would be taking the three while they were at Casshall knew this and had found another nurse to help her because the boys would not appreciate the library as Bethany would.
They arrived at Casshall Manor, and Selena greeted them at the door as she got up to it.
“I am glad to see that you have arrived at about the same time I did,” she said. “Come. The nurses are ready to take the children, and I believe you will be able to read as you like, Bethany. We have two nurses here.”
“What a lovely thing to hear,” Bethany said politely. “Thank you.”
“Ugh. Reading,” Harry grimaced. “I want to play harpsichord!”
He did not know where his son got this fascination with the harpsichord, but they had bought one so that he could practice. To Harry’s credit, he had been practicing everyday with the tutor, and even without the tutor. He wanted to learn to play, and he was doing that.
“Of course.” Selena smiled. “Just be careful with it, Harry.”
The nurses took the children, and soon they could hear the faint sounds of the harpsichord being played in the drawing room.
Selena led them into the dining room, still holding little Ambrose while Belle held Jonathan.
“He is so handsome, Selena. Congratulations,” Belle said once they had settled into the drawing room.
“Thank you, Belle,” Selena said. “And Jonathan is adorable as well. He has gotten so big since I last saw him! What a lovely young boy. And Bethany and Harry are becoming quite the children, too. I did not know Harry could play the harpsichord so well.”
“He has been learning for a year now,” Belle said.
Selena handed Ambrose to Aaron, as she had promised before she said anything.
“So he has; his practice is paying off. He sounds wonderful in there. Perhaps one day he will woo a lady with his playing.” Selena laughed, and Aaron, Belle, and Will joined in.
It was such a joyous day to behold, and he was glad that he could be here to see it. As he held little Ambrose, Aaron was overcome with a profound feeling. It was not exactly joy, but it was not exactly grief, either.
Whatever it was, he did not like it, but he could not deny that he liked to hold little Ambrose in his arms. He had a strange fascination with holding babies, and he had held Harry, Bethany, and Jonathan more than any other father he knew held his children when they were babies.
“You are a natural with babies, Aaron,” Will remarked. “How did you do that? I can never get Ambrose to sleep in my arms.”
“I have no idea,” Aaron said.
They spent the day celebrating with his sister, which was a feat because the baptism celebration was a quiet and small affairs. While theirs had been a quieter day, it had not been small. His sister had had many visitors to see the child, and Selena had eventually had to take Ambrose from Aaron so that she could show him off to the visitors instead of making Aaron feel awkward about it.
He appreciated the thought, but he would have loved to hold Ambrose all evening. Belle eventually relented and allowed him to hold Jonathan all night long. She had held him all morning, after all.
Once they arrived home, they got the children ready for bed, and then they prayed together as a family before the children went to the nursery. They fell asleep one by one, and Belle put Jonathan in his crib.
“Ah, alone at last,” Belle whispered once the children were asleep and they had gone to their bedroom. “I love you, Aaron.”
“I love you too, Belle,” he said.
He held her in his arms as she started to fall asleep, but his mind raced. Though he had been busy all day with the celebration of Selena’s child, he now had other things he had to think about. He had been working with Belle’s father to expand a thriving sugar business, and they had an important business meeting tomorrow afternoon.
Eventually, he fell asleep, holding Belle in his arms with her head on his chest. It was a good reminder of everything that he had worked for, and everything he had wanted in life. It was all right there. He simply had to be aware of it and ready to fight for it if anyone tried to take it away from him.
He slept well, dreaming of the night he had first met Belle. If someone had told him that he would love again after losing Lady Chloe, he would have laughed, but now that he was here—some twelve years after her death—he could only imagine that he was wrong to believe he would never love again.
The family he now had was better than anything he could have had with Lady Chloe simply because they never had the chance to have a family. Belle and their children were here, and they were all he needed. They were his everything, and he would do anything to make sure it stayed that way.
He woke up to the sun in his face and Belle was already awake. He smiled as she pulled the curtains back, though he had to put a hand over his eyes.
It was a new day, and he was ready for it. The children came in shortly thereafter and jumped up on their bed, proclaiming that they were ready to start the day and that they were hungry.
Belle laughed, and Aaron helped her settle the children down so that they could get ready for breakfast. Another wonderful day had begun.
This is the end of my novel “Trapped in the Marquess’ Heart”. 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 these difficult days!
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