"That you are."
She sighed. "You might have lied to spare my feelings and told me that I'm not so very big. Women in my condition are very emotional, you know." She walked over to a chair near his desk and put her arms on the armrests to ease herself down into it.
Turner jumped to his feet immediately to help her into the chair. "I believe I like you big."
She snorted. "You just like seeing tangible proof of your own virility."
He smiled at that. "Has she kicked today?"
"No, and I'm not so sure he's a she."
"Of course he's a she. It's perfectly obvious."
"I suppose you're planning to open a practice in psychic midwifery?"
His brows rose. "Watch your mouth, wife."
Miranda rolled her eyes and held out a piece of paper. "I received a letter from your mother today. I thought you might like to read it."
He took the letter from her hands, idly pacing the room as he read the missive. He had put off telling his family about his marriage for as long as possible, but after two months, Miranda had convinced him that he couldn't possibly avoid it any longer. As expected, they were shocked (with the exception of Olivia, who'd had some inkling as to what was going on), and had rushed immediately to Rosedale to inspect the situation. His mother had been heard to murmur, "I never dreamed…" a few hundred times, and Winston's nose had been put a little out of joint, but all in all, Miranda made a smooth transition from Cheever to Bevelstoke. After all, she had practically been a part of the family before.
"Winston has got into a bit of trouble at Oxford," Turner murmured, his eyes quickly moving across his mother's words.
"Yes, well, that is to be expected, I imagine."
He looked up at her with an amused expression. "What does that mean?"
"Don't think I never heard about your exploits at university."
He grinned. "I'm much more mature now."
"I should hope so."
He walked over to her and dropped a kiss first on her nose and then on her belly.
"I wish I could have gone to Oxford," she said longingly. "I should have loved to listen to all of those lectures."
"Not all of them. Trust me, some were dismal."
"I still think I would have liked it."
He shrugged. "Perhaps. You're certainly a deuced sight more intelligent than most of the men I knew there."
"After having spent nearly a season in London, I have to say that it is not terribly difficult to be more intelligent than most of the men of the ton ."
"Present company excluded, I hope."
She nodded graciously. "Of course."
He shook his head as he moved back to his desk. This was what he loved most about being married to her- these quirky little conversations that filled their days. He sat back down and picked up a document he'd been perusing before she came in. "It looks as if I will need to go to London."
"Now? Is anyone even there?"
"Very few," he admitted. Parliament was not in session, and most of the ton had vacated town for their country homes. "But a good friend of mine is there, and he needs my support for a business venture."
"Would you like me to go with you?"
"There is nothing I would like better, but I will not have you traveling at such a time."
"I feel perfectly healthy."
"And I believe you, but it seems ill-advised to take unnecessary chances. And it must be said- you've become rather…" He cleared his throat. "Unwieldy."
Miranda grimaced. "I wonder what you could possibly have said that might have made me feel less attractive."
His lips twitched, and he leaned forward and kissed her cheek. "I won't be gone long. No more than a fortnight, I should think."
"A fortnight?" she said forlornly.
"I'll have at least four days' travel each way. With all the rain recently, the roads will certainly be dreadful."
"I shall miss you."
He paused for a moment before answering, "I shall miss you, too."
At first she did not speak. And then she sighed, a tiny, wistful sound that squeezed around his heart. But then her demeanor changed and she looked a bit more brisk. "I suppose there is plenty to keep me busy," she said with a sigh. "I should like to redecorate the west parlor. The upholstery is dreadfully faded. Perhaps I will invite Olivia for a visit. She is so good at these things."
Turner smiled warmly at her. It gave him great joy that she was coming to love his home as much as he did. "I trust your judgment. You don't need Olivia."
"I should enjoy her company while you're gone, though."
"Then by all means, invite her." He glanced at the clock. "I say, are you hungry? It's well past noon."
She rubbed her stomach absently. "Not too hungry, I think. But I could have a bite or two."
"More than two," he said firmly. "More than three. You're not just eating for yourself now, you know."
Miranda looked ruefully down at her swollen belly. "Believe me, I know."
He stood up and strode over to the door. "I'll run down to the kitchen and get something."
"You could just ring for it."
"No, no, it will be much faster this way."
"But I'm not- " It was too late. He'd already run out the door and couldn't hear her. She smiled to herself as she sat and curved her legs underneath her. No one could doubt Turner's concern for her and the baby's welfare. It was there in the way he fluffed the pillows for her before she crawled into bed, the way he made sure that she ate good, wholesome food, and especially in the way he insisted on putting his ear to her stomach every night to hear the baby moving about.
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