“I thought we were going straight home?” she asked, feeling slightly disappointed that she’d have to wait another day to see her new home even though the prospect of spending the next few hours in a coach didn’t really appeal to her.
“Shhh, minx, it’s fine,” he said, shifting her in his arms so that he could hold her closer. “Everything will be fine.”
* * *
“Well? What’s wrong with her?” Robert demanded in a hushed whisper as he looked up from his sleeping wife to the elderly doctor that looked confused and somewhat amused.
“You say that two different doctors have examined her in the past two months?” the doctor asked as he adjusted Elizabeth’s nightgown and pulled the covers up and tucked her in.
“Yes,” Robert bit out, doing his damndest to keep a rein on his temper, but it was difficult right now when he was scared out of his mind that he was going to lose his minx.
“Remind me what they diagnosed her with again,” the doctor said with a patient smile as he sat down on the edge of the bed by Elizabeth’s side.
Praying that he could get through this without grabbing the elderly doctor by his shoulders and demanding that he fix his wife, Robert took a deep breath before he answered. “The first doctor said that she’d miscarried our child. The second doctor told me a combination of things. Sometimes he said that it was all in her head, that she was just doing it for attention. Then he would say that she had liver damage, the flu, migraines even though she never once complained of a headache and the last time,” he started to say when his voice broke, “the last time he said that she most likely had cancer.”
“I see,” the doctor murmured, reaching up and pulling the covers back that he’d just adjusted. “How did he explain the weight gain?” he asked, placing his hand over the slight curve of Elizabeth’s stomach that was becoming more noticeable with each passing day.
“He said it was from her overeating to compensate for her illness.”
“I see,” the doctor said, his lips twitching as he gestured to Elizabeth’s chest. “And have you noticed a difference there?”
Her br**sts appeared to be bigger and a hell of a lot more sensitive. He’d actually made her come just from licking her ni**les last week. It had turned him on so much that he’d-
The doctor chuckled, bringing his focus back where it should be. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’,” he said as he pulled the covers back up.
“Do you know what’s wrong with her?” he asked, desperate for an answer. He really didn’t know what he’d do without her. He didn’t want to live without her. He-
“Your wife is pregnant.”
-was going to be sick.
“W-what?’ his asked, trying to make sense of what he’d just heard as his head began to spin and his legs stopped working.
With a chuckle, the doctor helped him sit down in the chair next to the bed. Then without a word, he gave Robert’s shoulders a gentle push that had him bending forward as he struggled to take in his next breath.
“If I had to guess, I would say that your wife is around four months along,” the doctor calmly explained.
Robert shook his head as he struggled to grasp what was going on. “No,” he said, forcing himself to breathe, “that’s impossible. She lost the baby two months ago.”
“I’ve been doing this for over fifty years, young man, and I can tell you without any doubt that your wife is indeed pregnant.”
“She bled,” Robert said, moving to sit up, but a fresh wave of dizziness had him dropping his head right back where it was.
“Mmmhmm, some women do that early on. It doesn’t mean that she lost the baby. Has she bled since?”
“No,” he said numbly as he did his best to wrap his mind around what the doctor was saying.
“What was the reason the doctor gave for the lack of bleeding?” the doctor asked, thankfully giving him something else to focus on.
“He said that it took months for a woman’s natural rhythm to return.”
The doctor released a snort of amusement. “That’s a first.”
“I should bring her back to London,” he said numbly even as he realized that he couldn’t afford the passage back for both of them.
Well, that wasn’t completely true. He could afford third class passenger tickets, but he didn’t like the idea of his wife being forced to share a room with strangers. He also didn’t like the idea of his wife being forced to rest on those hard cots that the third class accommodations were famous for. There was no way in hell that he was sending his pregnant wife back to London by herself.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” the doctor said even though it hadn’t been a real possibility for them. “She’s obviously having a tough time with this pregnancy. I also wouldn’t recommend placing her on a ship where the passengers could carry God only knows what diseases. It’s not good for her or the baby.”
“Oh my God,” he muttered as dread crawled up his spine when he realized that he’d done just that.
“I wouldn’t worry too much about her being sick,” the doctor said, obviously reading his mind. “She looks very healthy to me, just tired. Make sure she gets plenty of rest.”
“I will,” Robert promised, turning his head so that he could look at his minx. “I’ll take good care of her.”
“So, what do you think?”
“What do I think?” Elizabeth repeated numbly as she slowly turned around, taking in the large room covered in dust, cobwebs, the peeling wallpaper, dull floorboards, covered furniture and ruined rugs.
“I know it’s not much,” Robert began, but she didn’t let him get far before she was throwing herself in his arms.
“I love it!” she said, giggling excitedly as she wrapped her arms around his neck and covered his face in kisses.
“Are you sure?” he asked, sounding pleased as he wrapped his arms around her and stopped her kissing assault by pressing a swift kiss against her lips.
“I’m sure,” she said, grinning hugely as she wrapped her legs around his waist.
“It’s going to take a lot of work.”
“I know,” she said, sighing with pleasure as she looked around the large sitting room, already running ideas through her head.
“We’re going to have to do most of the work ourselves,” he explained, giving her an apologetic look.
“Can I be in charge?” she asked teasingly. She truly didn’t mind getting her hands dirty, especially if it meant that they had a home of their own, but also because she knew that he was embarrassed that he couldn’t afford a houseful of servants.
“Yes, minx,” he said, pressing a quick kiss against her lips as he turned them around and headed through the open door that led to the dinning room that needed just as much work, if not more, as the sitting room.
“I asked Higgings this morning if he could find us a live-in maid,” he announced, surprising her as he walked over to the windows that were covered in ratty old curtains that were definitely going to have to go.
“Can we afford that?” she asked, nibbling on her bottom lip as guilt once again surfaced.