Happily Ever After

Extended Epilogue

There was a brief silence after Neill finished reading. 

“Well,” Cailin said eventually. “Clayton wants to make amends.”

“It doesn’t sound as if he needs money. It’s good to hear that he’s married. Perhaps with someone to love him, he’ll be happier,” Neill observed, glancing over the letter again. “What do you want to do?”

Cailin drew in a breath. “I want to see him. I’ll write back and tell him he can visit. He can meet Dot!”

Neill smiled, reaching out to take her hand again. “That is one thing I truly love about you, Cailin. You are so forgiving.”

Cailin dimpled. “Thank you very much, my dear. Is that because I forgave you for putting a snowball down the back of my neck last Christmas?”

Neill threw back his head and laughed. “You say you’ve forgiven me, but here you are bringing it up again!”

“I said I would forgive you, not that I would forget it,” Cailin shot back. “Well, I’d better write a reply to Clayton as soon as I can. I daresay it’ll take months for him to get the letter. What are you reading, by the way?”

Neill turned the cover for her to see. “Emma, of course. I’ve been dying to read it ever since you piqued my interest all those years ago. I’m only sorry it’s taken me so long, the book is quite amusing.” 

“Ah, then I have a book of my own to recommend.” Cailin bounced up from her seat, moving over to the bookshelves and taking out the newly printed volume. “This one is hot off the presses, and the ladies in my social circle are all talking about it.”

Frankenstein,” Neill read aloud. “What’s it about?”

“It’s about a young nobleman who becomes . . . a deranged scientist of sorts . . . well, I think you’ll have to read it for yourself. I’m sure there’s never been anything like it, and it’s certainly not a romance like Miss Austen’s. There’s no happy ending, but I positively devoured it. There is one part  . . . oh, I better not tell you. I shall ruin the twist. Needless to say, however, I gasped aloud.”

“Hm. Well, now I’m intrigued. I’ll read it once I’ve finished Emma.

Cailin sat down beside her husband with a smile, both of them clutching their books. She reached out, stroking his cheek. 

“Are you happy here?” Neill asked, just as he’d asked countless times before, both before and after Dot was born. 

“You know I am,” Cailin replied softly. “I love you, I love our daughter, and I love my life. And I have it all because of you.” 

Neill chuckled. “I think I have said before that you are a duchess, and you can have anything you want.”

Cailin laughed at that, sliding her fingers into his hair. “And I believe I said in response that I already had everything I wanted. It’s sitting next to me.” She paused thoughtfully. “And running down the hall from the nursemaid, screaming.”

“Who is screaming, Dot or the nursemaid?”

Cailin snorted. “Definitely the nursemaid.”

She leaned forward, and Neill met her halfway. Their lips met in a kiss, every bit as sweet and loving as the day they’d sealed with marriage at the altar. 

“I love you,” Neill whispered. 

Cailin smiled against his cheek. “And I love you.”

I hope you enjoyed “Cinderella’s Happily Ever After”.  I would love to know your opinion!