The next morning, I walked Megan to school since Thomas was needed at the blacksmith’s for a large order early. Megan skipped beside me and told me all about her friends. She was happier after telling Thomas everything she had been feeling. I was glad they had been able to talk about it openly. Whether they realized it or not, her silence about her feelings was wearing on their relationship.

I hurried back to where I was staying with them. I felt nervous being out there on my own. I wasn’t sure if Daniel was out of jail yet but I didn’t want to take any chances. I locked the door behind me and looked around. It was pretty messy from Megan’s breakfast. She had insisted on making it herself so I started clearing it up.

A few hours later, I heard the doorknob jiggle. I jumped to my feet, gripping the back of my chair, and gulped. I was ready to attack if I needed.

“Did I lock this before I left?” I heard Thomas mutter. “Damn. I left my key behind.” He sighed and knocked. “Elvira? Are you in there?”

I ran to the door and opened it. I sighed in relief and let him in. I smiled a little.

“You frightened me,” I admitted and he chuckled.

“Sorry.” He rubbed his eyes. He was covered in soot. “We got the order done and so he sent me back early. I guess Bryant told him I’m keeping an eye on you. Meggie get to school okay?” he added as I got some water for him.

“Yes. She was very excited and wants to introduce me to her friends when we go to pick her up.”

He smiled. “That sounds like fun. What have you done while I was gone?”

I sat beside him and rested my elbow on the table.

“Well, Megan was adamant about making her own breakfast and it was a disaster,” I said and he laughed, nodding.

“She’s been wanting to do that lately. If it’s not her breakfast then it’s her dinner. What did she make?”

“Eggs and toast,” I answered and looked at him. “How was work?”

“Exhausting,” he groaned. “Apparently, this important order was a bunch of doorknobs that the client didn’t really need until next week.”

I smiled sympathetically. “Would you like to rest before Megan gets out of school? What?” I added.

He was watching me with a weird look. He blushed and looked away, clearing his throat. I frowned as he put his cup away. He ran his hand through his hair and I stood up.

“Thomas? Did I say something wrong?” I whispered.

“No,” he said quickly. “No, it’s just that I’m not used to this.”

“To what?”

“Having someone help me,” he sighed. “It’s been just me for four years and now….”

I smiled and kissed him. He hesitantly wrapped his arms around me, kissing me back. The longer we kissed, the more I realized that he needed something more. And so did I. I pulled back and looked into his eyes. He was obviously confused why I had stopped kissing him. I was struggling inside with what I wanted to do. I was scared but, at the same time, I really wanted it.

“What’s wrong, Elvira?” he whispered.

I sighed and made up my mind. I kissed him again but, this time, I pulled gently on his shirt.

“Elvira,” he gasped. “What are you doing?”

“I know you want-”

“It’s not about me, Elvira,” he said.


“If it’s because I’m taking care of you-”

“Thomas,” I interrupted and he looked at me uncertainly. “Just kiss me.”

He looked between my eyes before finally pulling me as close to him as he could. He kissed me enthusiastically as I grabbed his shirt and pulled him gently towards his bathroom. After shutting the door, he hurried to the curtains while I struggled with the tie on my dress. I took his shirt off for him and marveled for a moment at his chiseled body.

Then he was on top of me and I moaned quietly.

“Wait,” he panted. “I don’t want to be like-”

“You’re not,” I promised, kissing him gently. “I’m giving you my consent.”

He hesitated again before giving in. I gasped quietly as he moved and I closed my eyes tightly. At first he went slowly until he got used to it and then he moved more naturally.

As I gripped his back as I reached my peak, I didn’t realize that we were being watched.


“Wake up, Elvira,” he whispered in my ear and I rubbed my eyes.

I smiled at him and he smiled back.

“Hey,” I breathed.

“Hi,” he said. “It’s time to go pick up Megan. Do you still want to come?”

“Definitely,” I nodded and sat up.

I covered my body and Thomas chuckled, kissing the back of my neck.

“Does this mean we are-?” I began and he nuzzled my neck.

“I certainly hope you plan on marrying me,” he whispered. “Because I certainly plan on marrying you.”

I blushed and looked at him. “Even after everything?”

“Even after everything,” he confirmed. “What do you say?”

I grinned. “Yes. Even if you didn’t ask Bryant first,” I added with a wink.

He chuckled. “I was going to ask him today and then you….”

I smiled and kissed him. “Let’s not tell him,” I whispered. “Not yet.”

“Okay,” he nodded. “Get dressed my love.”

I blushed at his term of endearment and pulled my undergarments on followed by my dress. We walked hand-in-hand to the schoolhouse. I frowned and looked over my shoulder while we waited.

“What is it?” Thomas asked.

“I feel like we’re being watched….”

He looked behind us. “Have you spoken with Bryant lately?” he asked and I shook my head.

I bit my lower lip. “Do you think he’s out yet?” I whispered as the kids came running from the schoolhouse.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Let’s…. While I’m helping Meggie with her homework, you can go talk to Bryant.”

“No,” I said quickly. “I-I’ll help her. I don’t feel safe on my own,” I mumbled.

“Okay,” he said.

“Tommy! Elly!”

I smiled as Megan came running out, a big smile on her face. She launched into Thomas’s arms and I kissed her cheek.

“How was school?” I asked.

“Really fun!” she said. “I learned how to add and subtract. It’s hard but they used grapes and we got to eat them after!”

“That sounds wonderful,” Thomas said and shut the door. “Do you have homework today?”

“Nope,” she said happily. “I was a good girl so I didn’t get any! Mr. Pink was real nice!”

“Do you want to go see Bryant?” I asked, thinking we all might as well go.

“Yeah!” she said, jumping up and down. “Let’s go now!”

I smiled at Thomas who nodded.

“Let me just lock everything up here,” I said, “and I’ll meet you outside.”

Thomas looked nervous but nodded again and walked out. I went into his bedroom and looked under the bed for the bonnet he had discarded.

“Did you have fun?”

I screamed and turned around. Daniel was climbing through the back window, smirking at me. I backed into the wall.

“What are you doing here?” I asked and heard Thomas shouting.

“I thought I’d come see my fiancée,” he said darkly. “But it seems she is entertaining someone else.”

“I am not your fiancée,” I snapped. “I am Thomas’s.”

He smirked. “He can’t provide for you, Elvira. Only I can.”

“Miss Elly!” I heard Megan shout. “Are you okay?”

“Just leave,” I said when he smirked at the front door. “Leave her alone. You’ve done enough-”

I cried out in pain as he grabbed my hair and pulled a dagger from his boot.

“Time to make a point,” he snarled and dragged me to the front door.

“Don’t,” I sobbed. “She doesn’t have to see this. Just leave them alone!”

“No,” he snapped and threw the door open, putting the dagger to my throat, and Megan screamed.

The End

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