Truce: The Historic Neighbor from Hell, Page 56R. L. Mathewson
When he ran out of the barn and into the yard, terror shot through him as he watched a man hover over Elizabeth as she curled up on her side as she screamed his name over and over until he found himself running towards her and tackling the bastard.
“What the hell did you do to my wife?” he demanded as he shoved the smaller man to the ground and raised his fist, ready to kill him with his bare hands when recognition hit hard. “James? What the hell are you doing here?”
“Besides getting my ass kicked and having your wife scare the living hell out of me?” James demanded as he shoved Robert away and got to his feet. “I came to talk to you. ”
Elizabeth’s screams brought his attention back to where it belonged. As happy as he was to see his brother again and that he was talking to him again, James was going to have to wait.
“Minx?” Robert asked as he crawled over to where his wife lay, curled up into a ball and panting. “What’s wrong?”
Instead of answering him, she squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head.
“Is it the baby?” he asked, praying that the answer was no. It was too soon for the baby. They had another month before the baby was supposed to be born.
Reluctantly, she nodded as a sob escaped her.
Please don’t let us lose the baby , he prayed as he carefully picked her up and carried her into the house, because he didn’t think that either one of them would be able to survive the loss this time.
* * *
“He’s coming to,” he vaguely heard James say.
“Huh?” was his only response as he struggled to figure out how he ended up lying face down on his bedroom floor.
“I did tell him not to come in here,” James said, sounding amused as he helped roll Robert over onto his back.
“This is why men don’t belong in the labor room,” Mrs. Brown said, sounding put out as she tossed a wet cloth at him. It hit him in the face before falling off and landing on the floor, leaving Robert even more confused.
“What happened?” he asked numbly as he struggled to sit up, but a wave of dizziness had him lying right back down.
His answer was the beautiful cry of a baby. Actually, it sounded more like-
“Twins,” James said with a huge grin as he helped Robert sit up.
“Twins?” Robert repeated, not understanding what James was saying.
“Twin boys,” James said, chuckling as he reached down and dragged Robert to his feet. “That’s why your wife was so huge. ”
“I was not huge!” Elizabeth said, not sounding very mad at all as she drew his attention towards the bed where she was curled up onto her side, smiling down at two wiggling, but healthy looking, babies.
“W-what happened?” he asked, struggling to remember what the hell happened.
“What do you remember?” James asked, dragging him over to the bed where his family was waiting for him and helping him carefully lie down next to the most beautiful babies that he’d ever seen.
“Not much,” he admitted, trying to shake his head clear.
“Well, after you carried Elizabeth in here and sent for the doctor, your formidable maid Mrs. Brown kicked us both out. While we waited for the doctor, you and I had a long overdue discussion where you apologized profusely for being a selfish bastard and begged my forgiveness,” James said, sounding amused and drawing Robert’s glare.
With a roll of his eyes and a few muttered words, James carefully sat down at the end of the bed and reached over so that the baby nearest him could grab onto his finger. “Fine. I apologized for being a bastard and not saying goodbye to you. ”
“That’s all?” Robert asked with a frown as he reached down and softly caressed his son’s head.
“Well, you did apologize for everything,” James said, sending him a smile. “I’m sorry for not realizing that you were in love with her, Robert. Our parents are sorry as well. They should be here in a few weeks to tell you themselves. I should have realized that something was going on. ”
“There’s nothing to apologize for,” Robert said, giving him a reassuring smile before he returned his attention to the baby who was pulling his finger to his mouth.
“Oh, yes there is!” Mrs. Brown said, stepping up the side of the bed to smile down at the babies. “You gave the doctor and me heart failure when you came running in here like that!”
“I ran in here?” Robert asked, wracking his brain, trying to remember, but it was all a bit fuzzy.
James chuckled. “As soon as Elizabeth started screaming you broke free, ran into the room, caught one look at your wife giving birth and promptly passed out. ”
“I don’t remember any of that. ”
“And I doubt that any of us will ever forget,” James said with a wink that had Elizabeth laughing softly as she leaned down and pressed a kiss against the squirming baby’s foot that kept lightly kicking at her.
He looked at Elizabeth, noting the exhaustion and pure joy in her eyes as she looked down at their boys. She looked so damn beautiful, and he couldn’t help losing his heart to her all over again.
“Twins, minx,” he said, gently pulling his hand away from his son so that he could push a damp strand of hair behind Elizabeth’s ear.
“Twins,” she repeated with a pleased smile.
He leaned in, careful of the baby now trying to grab onto his shirt, and brushed a kiss against his beautiful wife’s lips. “I love you, Beth,” he said, using the name that she hated to tease another smile out of her.
“And I love you, Robert Lemonade. ”
Four and a half years later…. .
“Did you bring it?” Robert demanded as soon as the coach door opened.
James chuckled as he stepped out, his eyes dancing with amusement as he held up a dark grey rock. “You mean this rock that you so kindly asked for? The one that I had to travel to London for in the middle of the night and search the park for six hours in the freezing rain, because it was a matter of life and death?” he asked dryly as he tossed the rock to Robert.
“Thank God,” Robert sighed, catching the rock and barely sparing his brother a glance as he headed for his shop.
“What? No, thank you, James? I missed you, James?” James asked, veering off to go greet Elizabeth and the children, who were playing by the garden.
“Keep Elizabeth busy for an hour or two,” was all he said as he pulled his shop door closed behind him, praying that he didn’t accidentally break this one as well.
* * *
Elizabeth released a sigh as she leaned against the tree and watched as James played with her babies. He was such a wonderful uncle and from what she’d heard from the rest of the family, a wonderful father as well.
He was so kind and sweet, she thought, laughing when the twins tackled him to the ground so that they could show him how to give a proper bear hug. Her lips twitched with amusement when James pretended to turn into a bear and chased the twins all while cradling her youngest giggling son carefully in his arms. Her smile turned watery as she looked down at the folded parchment in her hands.
James had turned her dreams into a reality.
About a year ago he’d been looking through the estates old ledgers and had come across her plans. Not sure what to make of them at first, he’d questioned Mary and Anthony who were only too happy to finally tell him what they thought about Heather burning through the fortune that was meant to help the poor.