Chasing the Chaperone (Extended Epilogue)

Two years later…

The carriage carrying Lavinia and Jonathan drew up to Viscount Marsham’s majestic castle. A light, misty rain fell from the sky, giving the day a dreary feel.

Jonathan thought back to the first time he came to this place. He had been just as somber then as the weather was now. However, this day, Jonathan’s mood was light, and he had a smile on his face.  A smile almost entirely due to the lady cuddled up at his side. His beautiful wife. He leaned down and placed a tender kiss upon her blond curls. She looked up at him and smiled, then gasped when she realized they had reached their destination.

“We’re here!” Lavinia squealed as the carriage drew to a halt.

A footman opened the door with a bow. Lavinia scrambled out and rushed up the stairs to greet Amelia, who was standing in the doorway, with her arms outstretched and a beaming smile on her face.

Jonathan smiled at the joy of the two friends as he emerged from the vehicle with his one-year-old son, George, clasped in his arms. He followed the ladies inside and looked around the entrance hall. It was just as luxurious as he remembered.

“I trust you had a pleasant journey, my Lord, my Lady,” Brooks intoned, bowing to Jonathan and Lavinia.

Jonathan chuckled and said, “Oh, do drop the formalities, man. We’re about to be practically brothers.”

“Indeed. You must call us Jonathan and Lavinia, and no stiff bowing!” Lavinia echoed, moving to Jonathan’s side to take her squirming son into her own arms.

“You’d better listen to them, my love,” Amelia said, coming to Brooks’s side and threading her arm through his.

Brooks smiled down at Amelia and patted her hand as he said, “Of course, Melly. I will endeavor to obey. But it may take some time.”

Amelia smiled lovingly up at her betrothed. She was so luminous, about to be wed, and her dearest friend had returned to stand by her side.

“You both look happy,” Jonathan said as he looked upon his former valet and his once-fiancée.

“And you have you to thank for it, Jonathan,” Amelia replied.

Jonathan smiled at the recollection of Brooks and Amelia’s first meeting. It had occurred when Amelia was helping the Dowager Countess and Lavinia with wedding preparations two years ago. Lavinia had rung for Brooks to ask him what color jacket Jonathan would be wearing for the ceremony so she could have flowers made for his lapel to match.

Brooks had entered the drawing-room and stopped dead when he saw Amelia. She looked up and widened her eyes at the handsome valet. Lavinia was sure that it had been love at first sight and helped Amelia see Brooks in secret.

Jonathan remembered the uproar that had ensued when Amelia announced that she wanted to marry a common valet that was even louder than the commotion that occurred when Amelia told her father that she would not be marrying Jonathan, that the Earl would be marrying her companion instead. The Viscount had raged for days that he would cut Amelia off and never see her again if she persisted in her mad plan. But Amelia would not be swayed. She was in love with Brooks and would accept no one else as her husband. Amelia told her father she didn’t care if she had to work as a housemaid for the rest of her life. As long as she had Brooks with her, she would be happy.

That declaration had struck the Viscount when no other argument did. Lord Marsham would not countenance having his daughter go into service, so he capitulated with conditions. Amelia and Brooks would be given a monthly allowance. It was enough for them to obtain a modest house in a nice neighborhood in London and live comfortably. Amelia had to agree to limit her time in society while the Viscount still lived to keep him from the embarrassment of having a valet for a son-in-law. If she complied, she would gain her entire inheritance upon her father’s death. The Viscount had no idea that his stipulations were more than Amelia could have hoped for and she readily agreed. She’d never had any use for the ton in the first place.

“Well, I owe you my thanks as well, Amelia. Without you, I would never have found Lavinia again,” Jonathan said, smiling fondly at his wife and son.

Amelia laughed and reached for George. “All’s well that ends well, as the bard said.”

The company laughed at Amelia’s quip, and they all walked to the drawing room to greet Lord and Lady Marsham.

Later that afternoon, Jonathan was on the floor of the parlor on his hands and knees, chasing after his toddling, giggling son, and making growling noises.

Lavinia laughed and scooped up her son to save him from the rampaging bear. George giggled, and Jonathan stood to snatch the boy away and hoist him high into the air, eliciting another round of sweet baby laughs.

“You’re growing quite big, my boy,” Jonathan said. “Soon, Papa will not be able to lift you.”

Lavinia smiled and took George to give him to the waiting nursemaid. “Time for your nap, Georgie,” she said, kissing his soft brown hair.

Jonathan flopped down upon a sofa and pulled his wife down into his lap for a kiss of his own. When he had succeeded in making her breathless, he broke away and said, “Is it me, or is George growing more energetic by the day? I vow I won’t be able to keep up with him much longer.”

“Well, then you’d best get your rest, Jon, or you’ll certainly never be able to keep up with George and his little brother or sister,” Lavinia told him, a shy smile on her face.

“Do you mean…”

“Yes. I am again with child, but don’t tell anyone yet. I don’t want to take attention from Amelia and her wedding,” Lavinia said.

“It will be our little secret,” Jonathan whispered as he placed his hand on his beloved’s still flat belly.

Lavinia leaned into him and kissed him sweetly, silently thanking fate. She had been given more than she had ever thought to have, and her happiness was now complete.

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  • Love epilogues! Readers are sometimes breathless after finishing a wonderful story. With an epilogue we get to see how are favoured characters have faired in there first years. Thank you

  • All’s well that ends well, for sure. Sweet story with a delightful ending. Thank you, MS Ross, for sharing your thoughts with us readers.

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