As each day passed I began to get more and more worried. What was taking Jon? Had he not been able to find Lukas? My husband hadn't gone and done something stupid like try to avenge our deaths had he? Even Mary could sense I was worried, she kept assuring me that they would arrive any day now, surely it wouldn't be much longer.
I tried to distract myself with the children. Now that I was up and about I was able to spend more time with them, even if the bandages still on my arms meant I could not touch them. My arms were another source of worry for me, they had taken the worst burns it seemed. And yet Mary assured me that beyond some scarring they would be as they were. The scarring also caused me anxiety. I could see the effect of the fire everytime I looked in the mirror. My hair hung limp and short around my face, barely longer than a boys, the singed ends finally having been cut off. And my face had lost some of the youth it previously had. The fire had aged me, and added other marks to my skin. How would my husband be able to look at me the same when I looked like this? With these marks marring my face and stealing my previous beauty, and marking much of my skin.
Somehow the days passed, though slowly. Until one morning there was the sound of horses, more than one in the yard. I rose to my feet at once, excitement building within me. I didn't know what I would do if it wasn't him out there, or at least news of him. Even my changed experience was pushed out of my mind.
A familiar voice reached my ears as I hurried outside. "Are you sure this is the place?" the voice asked, the words like music to my ears. I would know that voice anywhere.
Somehow my feet carried me outside, though I do not recollect moving after hearing my husbands voice. And then he was in front of me, leaping running across from where he had just dismounted from his horse. I barely had time to notice the smile that lit his face, while tears filled his eyes, before he swept me into his arms, lifting me off the ground and bringing his lips to meet mine.
"You're alive," he said finally, putting me down, his arms still around me. "I thought I would never see you again."
He seemed unwilling to let me go, and I was just as unwilling to lose hold of him. Eventually he stepped back to assess me, his eyes frowning as he took in my burns. "I didn't hurt you?" he asked, concern in his voice as he took in the bandages I still wore.
I shook my head, unable to speak, too great was the relief that filled me. Somehow I noticed Mary ushering Jon Hanway and Harry Matthews into the house. Lukas was still examining me, as if he couldn't believe his eyes.
"And the children? Did they survive as well?" he asked once he had looked his fill.
I smiled. "Oh yes, they're both fine. They'll be so happy to see you," I told him, my voice still hoarse, watching as joy filled his eyes, replacing the despair that previously seemed to fill them. "Come, let's go inside and see them," I urged, placing my bandaged hand in his. He gently took my hand, as we stepped together into the house, our family back together once more.