Her stomach cramped down violently with that last announcement. All of her and Mary’s plans for the future, gone. There would be no schools, no donations to the poor….nothing. She’d lost it all in one night. So many lives that were never going to have a chance, because of her.

She’d ruined everything because she’d fallen in love with the wrong man, she thought numbly as she struggled to stand up on trembling legs as her head spun, making her increasingly dizzy.

Fresh air, she needed fresh air, she decided as she somehow managed to stand up.

“Elizabeth?” Robert said, sounding uncertain as she struggled to step out of the tub.

“J-just leave me alone, Robert. You’ve delivered your blow so just go,” she said just before her legs gave out and she fell forward.

* * *
“Elizabeth?” Robert said anxiously as he cradled his unwanted wife in his arms.

She’d gone deathly pale on him. Her cold body trembled in his arms even as she tried to push him away.

“Leave me alone,” she mumbled, pushing weakly against him to gain her freedom, but he simply ignored her attempts as he carried her to the bed and laid her down.

She was just playing a game, he tried to tell himself as he pulled his arms away so that he could stand up. She was simply upset that she’d lost a fortune, he told himself, doing his damndest to build up his anger at her once again. She was just trying to manipulate him so that he would….so that he would….

“ Oh, God ,” he choked out as he slowly stood up, his eyes locked on the blood that stained her pale thighs.

“I-I don’t feel very good,” Elizabeth mumbled, whimpering as she turned onto her side and curled into herself.

He swallowed his fears for his unborn child and wife as he took a step back, stumbling on unsteady legs. He blindly reached out and grabbed the silk rope hanging by her bed and pulled on it, again and again until he was sure that there was a small army of servants racing to their room.

Once that was done, he dropped down onto his knees next to the bed and covered Elizabeth’s cold hands where they rested over her womb with his own. He gave her hands a gentle squeeze as she quietly sobbed, no doubt realizing that she’d just lost their child.

* * *
“I’m going to kill him!” Lord Norwood shouted as he was once again dragged back by the servants that were desperate to save their employer from murder charges.

Robert barely heard his father-in-law or cared for that matter. His focus was on the door in front of him as he waited for it to open and the surgeon to tell him that his wife would be okay.

He wasn’t sure how long ago the surgeon had demanded his removal from the room. The only reason that he’d agreed was so that Elizabeth would be granted some privacy, but he’d also thought that her mother would have dragged her ass out of bed and comforted her daughter. When it became obvious that Lady Norwood had no plans to comfort Elizabeth, Robert had asked for his mother to help.

His mother hadn’t hesitated in offering her daughter-in-law some comfort. As upset as his mother was, and he had no doubt that she was distraught over their situation, she’d hurried from her room and straight into Elizabeth’s room without sparing him a glance. She truly loved Elizabeth and he thanked God for that.

He couldn’t stomach the idea of Elizabeth being alone right now. As furious as he was over the fact that she’d lied, he realized something important. He truly did care for her, more than he ever thought possible. He didn’t want to lose her, not yet, not before he could tell her how sorry he was for causing her to lose their child.

As much as he’d once hated her, he’d had no right to torment her the way he had. She’d been carrying his child and he should have given that some consideration instead of acting like a child and giving into his anger. He’d never regretted his temper more and, as God was his witness, he would never treat her that way ever again.

All he needed was a second chance to make her happy, to take care of her and earn her forgiveness. He’d move heaven and hell for another chance with her. Just the thought of never seeing her again had him struggling to take his next breath. He couldn’t live without her, didn’t want to because-

Because he loved her.

He was madly in love with his wife and he’d allowed his rage to eat at him. How many times had his father or brother taken him aside and lectured him over his temper? How many fights had he started simply because he couldn’t control his temper? There’d been too many to count and now his child and wife were paying the price.

“I will kill you for this, you bastard!” Lord Norwood shouted as he was finally dragged from the hallway.

“Robert,” his father said softly as he stopped by his side, looking like he’d aged a decade since this morning, “I need to know what happened.”

Grinding his jaw, Robert shook his head as he looked at his father. “It’s my fault,” he managed to choke out.

“What happened?” his father demanded tightly.

“I lost my temper and made her lose the baby,” his said, his voice hoarse with emotion as he allowed himself to mourn the loss of his child, a child that he would never see.

“Did…..did you strike her?” his father asked quietly.

“I would never hurt her,” he bit out between clenched teeth.

“Then how did-” his father started to ask, appearing both tired and confused.

“I said things that I shouldn’t have said. I was angry with her and I…..I let my temper get the better of me,” he said, rubbing his hands over his face, wishing that he could do this day over again.

If he could do this day over again, he would do it right. He’d kiss her and tell her how much he loved her before he dropped down on one knee and begged her to marry him. If she said no, then he would have courted her and proved to her how much he cared for her. He should have-

“You should have never married her,” his father said, sounding disappointed and shaking his head in disgust as he walked away.

He didn’t argue with his father, but simply let the man walk away, because his father was right. He should have never married her, but he had and now he was going to be the husband that she needed him to be, he decided as he pushed away from the wall and walked towards the bedroom door.

When a footman tried to step in his way and stop him, Robert simply punched the man in the stomach, dropping him to the floor and stepped over him. He opened the door and quickly shut it behind him.

“Robert? What are you doing in here?” his mother demanded when she spotted him. “You don’t belong in here.”

“I belong with my wife,” he said, his eyes landing on Elizabeth’s sleeping form and remaining there as he walked to her.

She looked so peaceful, he thought as he leaned over her so that he could gently push a strand of hair out of her face. “How is my wife?” he asked the surgeon, never taking his eyes away from Elizabeth.

“Perhaps we could speak in the hallway?” the surgeon suggested, no doubt uncomfortable with his presence since being in the sickroom with your wife was simply not done.

“We’ll talk here,” Robert murmured as he leaned down and pressed a kiss to his wife’s cool forehead, ignoring his mother’s startled gasp.

After pressing a second kiss to her forehead, simply because he was relieved that she was alive, he carefully sat on the edge of the bed and took her hand in his. He looked up at the stunned surgeon and gestured for him to begin.