Stop Growing Up

It's been 12 years since Elvira Rivers married Thomas Buckley. It's also been 12 years since Megan Buckley witnessed a man almost kill both Elvira and Thomas.
Now, as she graduates from her schooling, Megan's heart for men is ice. Three gentlemen, however, have expressed interest.
Can one of them melt the ice wall Megan has built?
**Sequel to 'When Two Worlds Collide'**

I woke at the crack of dawn, yawning widely.

"Wake up!" my brother sang and I groaned. "It's graduation day! Wake up, Meggie!"

I cringed at my childhood nickname. I got out of bed and tiptoed to the door.

"Wake up!" Elvira joined in and I smiled a little. I loved Elly. "Come on! We have a- Oh!"

I threw the door open wide, taking them by surprise. When that passed, they both laughed and hugged me. Thomas was shaking a little so I kissed his cheek.

"Why so early?" I complained, rubbing my eyes as Elvira made breakfast.

"We have a surprise coming," Thomas answered, grinning at me and sitting to my left at the four person table.

"Ooh!" I said. "What kind of surprise?"

"The good kind," Elvira winked, putting toast, eggs, and tea in front of me.

She kissed Thomas and sat across from me. I smiled as I watched them interact. They were teasing each other while I ate my breakfast. I loved both of them with everything in my heart. They were made for each other. Then Elly moved her hair and I saw the scar. My smile fell.

"Oh, Megan," she sighed, putting her hand over her neck. "I'm sorry."

i shook my head and took a large bite of toast, stalling. Thomas ran to their room and came out with one of Elly's scarves. She wrapped it around her neck then beamed.

"Better?"

"You were fine before," I said. "I just...." I cleared my throat. "Will Mr. Pink still be hosting?"

Thomas sighed as he buttered some toast. "That man. I swear. How many times have we told him it's okay to retire?"

"He's just worried he'll run into another Daniel," Elvira reasoned and we all went silent at the mention of his name. "Well, I'm just ruining such a lovely morning," she huffed and I smiled.

I leaned over the table and kissed her cheek. "You're absolutely fine, Elly. Now, I need to get dressed before-"

Then someone knocked on the door and Elvira's eyes brightened.

"It took you long enough!" she said, hugging her brother as he came in.

I blushed. Bryant Rivers was a very handsome man. I had grown up with the hugest crush on him and Thomas read about it in one of my diaries. He panicked, not sure what to do about it. Thankfully, he talked to Elvira first before going to Bryant. She assured him it was normal then she and I had a long conversation. It didn't stop how handsome he was, though.

"And there's the woman of the hour!" Bryant said, scooping me into a hug and I smiled. "Here."

"What's this?" I asked, accepting the large black bag.

"Well, Lauren has had some time on her hands and she made this for you in honor of your success," he said happily.

I frowned at him, unzipping the bag as I did.

"Time on her hands?" I repeated. "You're getting married in two weeks! There's no way she has time on her hands!"

"Just look at it," Bryant said, rolling his eyes with a smile.

I finished opening the bag and gasped, my hands jumping to my mouth. Thomas beamed at my reaction.

It was a honey colored dress. When I touched it, I saw it was velvet and the sleeves were long but silk.

"Oh, this is beautiful!" I gasped. "Where is she!? I must thank her!"

He laughed. "She's still in bed. I didn't subject her to Thomas's insane schedule."

"Oh, shut up," Thomas grumbled and I giggled, standing on my toes to kiss his cheek.

"She'll be at the ceremony, though," Bryant finished. "I need to get back to the house. I'll see you at noon!"

We waved and, when the door was closed, I clapped happily, yanking Elvira over.

"Look at it!" I gushed, running my fingers along the bodice. "Ugh. It's gorgeous!"

"You really like it that much?" she whispered and I nodded.

"Are you kidding me!?"

"That's good because I'm actually the one that made it," she mumbled, looking away, and I gaped at her.

After their marriage, Thomas spent a few months teaching Elvira how to sew. Elvira grew up in a rich family until her father died. Then her mother, who favored Bryant over Elvira, did her best to marry her to a horrible man named Daniel March. When Elvira and Bryant both denied him, Daniel raped poor Elvira and her mother hoped she had actually become pregnant! She wasn't, though, and sought shelter with Thomas and I until the trouble passed.

It didn't, though, until it resulted in Elvira's life in danger. Daniel locked us out and grabbed Elvira. After being attacked my Thomas while I ran for help, Daniel cut Elvira's throat. It wasn't fatal but I could still see all the blood and it gave me chills. She also still had the scar. Daniel had stabbed Thomas twice in his side and seeing a dagger sticking out of my brother's side gave me nightmares for years. His scars hadn't healed, either.

So, once everything passed, the blacksmith's wife, Candace, finished teaching Elvira to sew. She was very self-conscious about it which must be why she was so nervous about me knowing it was her who actually did the dress.

I hugged her and put my head on her chest. I stared pointedly at Thomas and he nodded, slipping into their bedroom and I sighed, looking at Elvira.

"I know," she said. "I just.... After my mother...."

"It's beautiful, Elly," I said. "I would have said the exact same thing if you had told me it was you. In fact, it's even more beautiful that I know it was you who made it for me.

She was red as she kissed my forehead. "You're a sweet young woman, Megan," she whispered.

I smiled. "I had the perfect role model."

She looked down. "Do you really think that?" she asked.

"Yes," I said immediately. "Now, help me into this beautiful dress!"

She giggled and took it from the hanger. We went into my bedroom and I stripped down and put on a slip. I didn't have a corset. Elvira had given me the option when I turned 18 ten months ago, but I couldn't stand having one on.

"It fits perfectly," I sighed happily. "Tommy!" I said, running to his door and knocking. "Tommy, come look!"

He opened the door and his eyes went wide. He held out his hands and I took them, beaming. He spun me on the spot and I giggled. Then he hugged me so tight I could hardly breathe.

"You've grown up to be such a beautiful young woman," he said and I smiled.

"I... can't... breathe," I gasped and he quickly let me go.

"Sorry! It's just so hard to believe you're almost 19 now! And about to graduate from your schooling!" he finished, shaking his head. "Stop growing up!"

I laughed and hugged him again.

The End

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