Its been a while, hasn't it?
My muse has been running away with me lately on other stories. Seriously this whole Rilla and Ken thing won't leave me alone!
But I did manage to get a small short chapter of this out of me over the past little bit.
I hope you enjoy it.
"Pa?" Gilbert spoke up in the dark of the night.
"What is it, Gil?" She heard John roll over at the sound of his son. Or was it their son now? No, he was Laura and John's son. She cared for the boy of course, but still, it was strange to call him hers even if the marriage said he was.
"I had a bad dream," Gil blubbered as both adults sat up for a moment to look at the boy holding a stuffed bear in one arm.
"Come on," Marilla spoke softly." Before you catch a chill," she added as Gilbert climbed over his father and sank in the middle of the large bed. They fixed the blankets around each other and settled against the pillows once more.
"I was going to have a baby brother or sister," Gilbert mumbled. "Mama told me it was a secret," he yawned as his eyes closed. "Then she got sick…"
Marilla turned her head to look at John. Who nodded solemnly in reply, it came as a surprise much like Gilbert himself. They were both getting older in age, even if Laura was a few years younger than Marilla herself.
Having children at her age, was unlikely. She just turned forty-four, and while some women have been able to have children later in life. It was always was a dangerous thing to go through. Even the young Mrs. Barry barely made it through her own confinement. They had welcomed a dark-haired baby girl who they named Diana. Childbirth was always a risky business. She herself had been to her own share of births around the small town over the years.
"How far along was she?"Marilla asked him as they sat milking the cows.
"She was just nearing her second term. It had been tough with the sickness and Gilbert having the measles. It wasn't the first miscarriage we had experienced," he admitted to her. "She up and about not long after. The only thing the midwife could discern from the event was that her womb hadn't been cleared out entirely. As the next thing we knew she had lost so much blood, and her fever spiked beyond control. Blood poisoning is what the doctor and midwife told us."
"John, there is still a possibility for you to have more children," Marilla offered to him. "It's not totally uncommon for women my age to have a child. I know the chances are slim but at this moment its still technically a possibility."
"I should be the one asking you that question," John looked up as if he wondered the same thing. They never approached the subject until now and he wasn't entirely sure how he felt about it yet.
"I was never one to ever imagine children," Marilla told him as she sat straighter on her stool. "I suppose the thought crossed my mind over the years. But then again I was never married so it was not something I gave much thought when it did."
There was no definitive answer in their questions, both knew their ages were a key factor. In the end, they left it be. If they had been younger, then it might have been different.
"Do you remember when we would sneak out to the woods?" Marilla asked him one night. "Trying to escape my siblings and all the school children?"
"How could I forget?" John chuckled, " Your hair was always down, and you had that tartan shawl. Your mother would constantly tell you to behave like a lady."
"I was a lady," Marilla retorted with a sly smile as she drank her tea. "You just had enough charm to make not want to be one."
"You were the one stealing kisses," John contradicted her playing her game. "Not that I minded and all."
Everyone expected her to marry him back then. It was the talk of the town, the ladies church group. Then her mother got sick and she didn't want to leave home just yet knowing her father needed her. Something that he never understood at the time, she needs to be at home with her parents. The fight hadn't necessarily been about her need to be at home. It was the accumulative rejection of her being too busy at the time for him.
"You can't ask me to choose John!" She pleaded as she wiped the tears from her face. "They are my family, they need me!"
"I have waited for Mari! Years! Every time I try and talk about our future you clam up and make excuses. Your too young, your mother isn't well, I'm mourning my mother, my father isn't doing well, I just want to marry you!" John spat out loudly.
"I can't help that you are four years older than me! Marilla shouted back. "I can't just up and leave them right now John! It would ruin father!"
"What about me? Why are you never afraid of hurting my feelings, Mari? Its the one thing you've always been good at."
"I hurt your feelings? You keep ignoring mine! What's another year? Why can't you just wait another year? Are you that desperate to have me in your bed that you can't wait?"
"Because do you know what will happen, you will find another excuse to stay at Green Gables," John shook his head. "I can't keep doing this Mari!"
She never meant to let them quarrel for so long. It was Matthew who originally talked her into forgiving John. Telling her agreeing to finally get married didn't change her family. In the end, it had been too late and John had left Avonlea. By the time John came back, there had been so much animosity between them. They never fully recovered from their quarrel without starting another.
"I should have never asked you to choose between your family and myself," John spoke out loud. Gilbert had been put to bed, and Matthew went off to his own room leaving them alone. "I was so stubborn and selfish about the whole thing. I understand now why you refused to forgive me for trying to make you choose back then. How could I ask you to choose between your family?"
'We were young and foolish," Marilla responded. "We still ended up here after everything did we not? So let us not worry so much about our past selves?"
"Sounds like a wonderful plan," John nodded as he looked towards the clock. "Shall we retire?" He asked with a crooked smile.
"Let me throw out the dishwater?" Marilla nodded in agreement.
They finished their last minutes' chores before they both ascended the stairs. A small weight lifted from each of their minds. They had become rather familiar in their nightly routines. Dressing and undressing in the sight of one another had become second nature. He knew the small sigh of relief she gave when she finally felt her corset droop from her body. While she knew just how he clicked his tongue as he counted undoing the buttons from his shirt.
Washing her face, she tied her hair into a long braid. She tidied the clothing. Tossing them aside into the laundry basket that was ready to be washed tomorrow. They settled into the bed, John reaching for the bible like he did most nights.
"Any requests?" He asked, they always spent a few moments before going to bed, reading and praying with each other.
"Hmm, 1 Corinthians?" Marilla hummed after a moment. It was always something she enjoyed since a child.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away." John read out loud. He remembered reading her the same passage when they were young. She with sigh dreamily, leaning against him stealing kisses.
He wasn't disappointed as he looked down at her when he finished. Somedays it was like no time had passed, and almost twenty-five years. She kissed him once more like she always did. Catching him by surprise like the first time she kissed him.
The Bible fell abandoned, it had served its purpose for the night. Bringing them together for the first time as man and wife. They weren't thinking of any potential children, they both knew deep down that the chances were slim. This was about them and the twenty-five years that took them to get to where they were.
I'm still sticking to my guns, and saying don't get too excited for babies. Marilla is practically 45 and while yes a woman can have children. The leading cause of death in woman back then was childbirth. Even in today society, it is extremely hard to get pregnant in your forties, without medical help. Let John be able to enjoy marriage without constant worry that he will either lose another child or spouse. Queen Victoria was actually told after Princess Beatrice her ninth child, at age 37 to stop having children-sadly Prince Albert passed away three years later.
I'm not saying she may not want children, but we also have a little redhead coming into this story at some point... We need a reason for her to want to keep the redhead do we not?
But anyways I hope you enjoyed this shorter chapter!