The Widowed Governess
Of Aldhury Manor
Of Aldhury Manor
Teresa sat in the study of Belmure Manor reading through the final set of papers that her family’s solicitor had sent to her. With Patrick spending the rest of his days in the colonies, it was now up to her to decide what happened to the manor and estate. Edward had offered to help her with anything she chose to do. But she had made up her mind from the very moment she and Edward were married six months prior.
She was just signing the last of the pages when Edward entered the room.
“Are those the papers?” he asked, walking over to the desk.
Teresa beamed up at him and nodded.
“They are,” she said. “And everything is final.”
Edward stepped around the desk, slipping an arm around her shoulders and kissing her on her head.
“I am very proud of you, darling,” he said. “You are truly the best mother I have ever met.”
Teresa shook her head as she prepared the papers to be mailed to the solicitor.
“Your mother takes that honor,” she said. “After all, she raised the best man in all of London, to become the best husband in the whole world.”
Edward blushed and looked away shyly.
“Nonsense,” he murmured, but he was smiling broadly. “But what you are doing for your son is a true blessing.”
“Well, as the husband of a dowager baroness, you can legally take over the title and duties,” she said. “Besides, I would do anything to ensure that I do not have to sell Belmure Manor. That is for Alex to inherit one day, and I could not stand to see him lose it.” She paused, biting her lip. “But are you sure that you do not mind taking the mantle of baron until Alex is twenty-0ne?”
Edward straightened his shoulders and grinned again.
“Are you kidding?” he asked. “I am the second son of a viscount. I was not directly taught to take a title of my own, but I know a thing or two. Besides, Graham has offered to teach me everything I need to know, and he is the best nobleman I know.”
Teresa smiled warmly. She would never forget the kindness Graham had shown her when she was employed for him for that short time. And that kindness had only amplified since she had confessed everything to him and Joanna. Whereas she had been sure they would hate her, they had embraced and forgiven her, just as Edward had.
When she married Edward, they had welcomed her as family more warmly than she could have ever anticipated. She had never had a sister, and Patrick had turned out to be a horrible brother. But Graham and Joanna now treated her just as though they had been her siblings her entire life. And when they learned that she was with child, Joanna had thrown the most lavish party that, apart from Edward’s and her wedding party, Teresa had ever seen. She loved her new family, and she couldn’t be happier or more grateful.
She finished sealing the envelope and rose, motioning for Mrs. Eston to take the letter from her. The housekeeper did so with a silent curtsey, smiling fondly at the couple. When she left, Teresa put her hand on her stomach and looked up at her husband.
“Well, at least as of yet,” she said, looking down at her barely showing belly. “Alex will be quite the wonderful nobleman, and this little one might be, as well.”
Edward put his hand on top of hers and kissed her cheek, beaming at her.
“How do you know it won’t be a little noble woman?” he asked.
Teresa smiled. She knew that Edward needed an heir, and that a girl would struggle to inherit his title when he died. She knew that Edward was thrilled about becoming a father. She just hoped that, for his sake, it was a boy.
“Either would be wonderful,” she said.
Edward nodded, stroking her cheek.
“You are already a wonderful mother,” he said. “I can’t wait to join you in parental bliss.”
Teresa’s smile widened.
“No man could be a better father than you, darling,” she said affectionately. Then, she rose slowly, stroking her stomach. The baby seemed to have increased her appetite drastically. With the important estate transfer paperwork finished, she decided she would ask to have tea and cakes brought in. But before she could speak, Mrs. Eston approached Edward with another maid following closely behind, both of whom were carrying trays with a variety of treats and beverages.
Edward turned to her and grinned impishly.
“Let us take tea in the parlor, dear,” he said. “You must be famished.
Teresa beamed up at her husband. His intuition and ability to read her had once been a point of great distress to her. But now, after six months of marriage, it felt as though he was connected to her on a level that no other man in London ever could be. He was as intuitive as he was considerate and protective, and she fell more in love with him every day.
“That sounds like heaven, darling,” she said.
Graham did, indeed, help Edward with his new status as baron. Teresa enjoyed watching Edward take to the title like a fish to the water in the sea. She was very grateful to him for taking on the responsibility. But her heart melted one day before Christmastide, when she went to ask her husband what she should have the staff prepare for the upcoming holiday feast.
She peeked inside the study and saw Edward sitting at the desk. He was holding a lit cigar in one hand and a glass of brandy in the other. And across from him sat Alex. He was sitting on a stack of books to make him appear taller, and he was also holding a cigar and a glass. However, his cigar wasn’t lit and his glass was filled with water. She stood in the doorway and watched for a minute, love filling her heart to bursting.
“Lord Belmure,” Edward said in a tone of exaggerated seriousness. “You have made me an offer that I simply cannot refuse.”
Alex grinned, raising his glass to Edward.
“To a long and prosperous business future,” he said.
Teresa’s giggle at Alex’s mispronunciation gave her away. She put her hands over her heart as she entered the room.
Alex leapt from the stack of books and ran to hug his mother’s ever-growing waist.
“Mama,” he said happily. “Edward is teaching me how to conduct business meetings.”
Teresa gazed fondly at her husband as she stroked her son’s hair.
“And it looks like he is an incredible teacher,” she said.
Edward shrugged humbly, looking at the boy with incredible fondness.
“He is teaching me a few things, as well,” he said. “This young man will make the finest baron I believe I have ever met.”
Alex mimicked Edward’s humble expression and shook his head, his cheeks turning pink.
“You will, Edward,” he said shyly.
Teresa smiled at them, stroking her son’s head and putting her hand on Edward’s arm.
“No woman in the whole world will ever be as lucky as I,” she said. “To have two wonderful barons in her life at the same time is a gift I shall treasure always.”
Alex kissed his mother’s stomach and grinned again.
“And my brother or sister will make all of us feel just as lucky,” he said.
Teresa giggled, glad that her son was so happy about having a sibling.
“He or she certainly will,” she and Edward said in unison.
The three of them embraced one another and laughed.
The following summer, one year after she and Edward were married and a month after returning to the countryside, Teresa waddled across the floor of her bedchambers, her stomach aching. She and Edward had returned to Aldhury Manor at Joanna’s and Graham’s insistence for her confinement. The couple tended to Teresa’s every need, and Edward hovered over her like a hen to her young. It was overwhelming to Teresa, as she had not had any such support when she was pregnant with Alex. But it touched her heart and made her love and appreciate her new family that much more.
That morning, Teresa had awoken with familiar, strong pain in her belly. She called out for Mrs. Eston who, within a matter of minutes, was rushing out into the hallway, calling for someone to fetch the physician. Edward came rushing to her side an instant later, taking her hand in his and kissing it gently as he led her back to her bed.
“I’m here, darling,” he said, caressing her face with his free hand. “Nathan himself is going to fetch the physician, and I shall stay with you until he arrives.”
Teresa nodded, holding her husband’s hand to her face.
“Have I told you what a wonderful husband you are?” she asked.
Edward gave her a smile so loving and affectionate it made her forget all about her pain.
“Such a wonderful wife deserves no less,” he said.
Edward got Teresa tucked back into her bed just as the door flew open. When Alex burst into the room, it was with Mrs. Eston right on his heels. Her face was red, and she looked flustered, but her eyes were sparkling with delight.
“I want to see Mama,” he said, running up to Teresa’s bedside.
Edward turned and swiftly scooped up the child, who was now almost eight. He held him, turning him to face Teresa as she reached her hand up to her son.
“Is it time, Mama?” he asked, his face glowing with excitement. He had long since been excited about being a big brother, and Teresa guessed that was the reason he had fled from Mrs. Eston.
Teresa nodded, squeezing her son’s hand gently.
“Yes, it is, honey,” she said. “Now, I need you to go with Mrs. Eston and behave. You can see the baby as soon as it gets here.”
Alex frowned, but he eventually nodded.
“All right,” he said. “But I want you to send for me the very minute it is born.”
Teresa giggled, turning her face to hide another wince of pain.
“One of us will, darling,” she said.
As Alex and the housekeeper were leaving the room, the butler arrived with the physician. Simultaneously, the dowager reached the doorway, her face bright with joy.
Edward rose, bowing to the physician as he entered the room. He kissed his wife gently on her head, hating that he had to leave her.
“I will be right outside, my love,” he said. “I love you more than anything in the world.”
Teresa gave him a smile through another pain.
“I love you just as much,” she said.
The dowager embraced her son, giving him a reassuring smile.
“Mrs. Eston and I will be right here with her, dear,” she said. “Do not fret.”
Edward nodded, and Teresa saw the proud, new father grin on his face.
“Take good care of my darling,” he said, making Teresa’s heart skip. A year later, she was more madly in love with Edward than she had been on the day he proposed.
The labor was a little easier for her than it had been with Alex. She was relieved, especially when the physician finally held up the small life she had been carrying inside of her for so many months. Mrs. Eston and Susan worked quickly to clean up the baby while the doctor finished with Teresa. She was anxious to know the sex of the child, but she willed herself to wait.
When her mother-in-law brought the baby over to her, she was beaming with joy.
“It’s a girl, my dear,” she said, stroking Teresa’s sweaty cheek.
Teresa smiled down at her new daughter. Edward needed an heir, and their firstborn was a girl. He had mentioned the possibility of a girl, but Teresa wasn’t sure how he would truly feel, now that it had come to pass.
She didn’t have to wait long to find out. Mrs. Eston had just opened the door to her bedchambers and started to speak when Edward rushed into the room. He went straight to Teresa’s side, looking down at his daughter.
“A girl,” he breathed, laughing with pure delight. “Oh, heavens, she is beautiful.”
Teresa looked up at her husband timidly.
“You are all right with having a girl first?” she asked.
Edward kissed every inch of her face before doing the same to his fussy newborn daughter.
“Are you mad?” he asked. “You have given me the most precious gift in all the world. I have always wanted a daughter, and you gave me one. I couldn’t be happier.”
“I have a baby sister?” Alex cried from the doorway. He rushed to his mother’s side while Edward took the baby from her and sat in the bedside chair, turning so that Alex could see his new little sister.
“You certainly do,” he said, beaming at his stepson with gleeful pride.
Teresa rested against the pillow as the physician finished her care and began packing up his things. Edward overwhelmed him with words of gratitude, and Alex was solely focused on doting on his sister.
“Can we name her Rose?” Alex asked, looking from Edward to Teresa. “She is just as pretty as a rose, so I think that should be her name.”
Teresa looked at Edward, whose smile got bigger still. He nodded to Teresa who, in turn, nodded to her son.
“Rose, it is, then,” she said.
This is the end of my novel “The Widowed Governess of Aldhury 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 these difficult days!
Please do not forget to leave your review here