It was early the next morning when Mary was stood at the stove in the kitchen with a warm smile upon her deep red lips as she continued to cook breakfast for she and Bert, knowing that they still had a few hours until he would have to leave before her parents returned home from wherever they had stayed the previous evening. She was used to making breakfast for herself, considering she'd been doing it since the age of seven, but cooking for two people was different in a way. She didn't feel so alone. She started slightly when she felt a pair of strong arms snake slowly around her middle from behind, a gentle kiss being brushed against the creamy skin of her shoulder as she settled in Bert's embrace and he brought her back against his chest. 'Morning, beautiful.' He smiled as he nuzzled his nose against the warm skin at the side of her neck. 'I don't know 'bout you, but I slept better last night than I 'ave in weeks.' She hummed in reply as he began to trail his lips along her neck, her head leaning to one side as she smiled.
'I have to admit,' She started as she carefully turned the bacon over in the frying pan. 'It was quite nice to wake up with your arms still around me. When I woke up I thought last night had been another one of my dreams until you kissed my neck, Bert. I've been left alone so many times, it wouldn't surprise me if it had been a dream.' He didn't answer her in words, choosing instead to turn off the stove and turn Mary around to face him before he drew her close, his arms slipping back around her waist as she rested her hands upon his chest. 'I love you.' She blessed him with the side-smile which was something he'd always adored about her, her gentle blue eyes sparkling with love and tears and happiness as she brushed her thumbs against his torso through his open shirt. Smiling down at her in sheer wonder that she'd soon be his in every sense, he captured her lips in a kiss that was both tender and deep. Mary couldn't help but sigh softly into his mouth as she ran her fingers through his hair, his hands resting on her hips.
They continued to kiss languidly for several long moments as he brushed his thumb against the small of her back through her slip, one of her hands moving to cup the side of his neck whilst her other tangled gently into his thick dark hair. Bert soon began to slow their kisses down as he reached his hand up to rest upon the sharpness of her jaw, their hungry open-mouthed kisses becoming warm caresses of their lips as Mary allowed her hands to come to rest upon his shoulders. 'Looks like we got a little carried away.' Bert chuckled lovingly as he held Mary's waist and the two of them allowed their gazes to fall on his shirt as it lay in a sorry state upon the kitchen floor, the two of them dissolving into giggles before he brought her to cuddle against his chest. 'I don't want to wait for months to make you my wife.' He spoke gently into her chocolate brown hair, her arms tightly around her waist as her cheek was pressed to his chest and her eyelashes fluttered delicately. 'I would gladly take you to a registry office and do it now.'
Mary pulled away from his chest after a few moments and gazed up at him with a loving smile for a few moments, her arms still around him as her hands rested upon the base of his spine. 'There's no reason why you can't.' She spoke softly as he brushed several errant strands of hair back behind her ear, her heart racing at his touch as she stepped closer to him. 'All we need to do is go out and buy a licence and then I could be your wife by the end of this week if you wanted that, Bert, I mean think about it,' She ran her hands up his chest before lacing them loosely around his neck, a perfect smile tugging on his lips as he brought her flush against him. 'The sooner we marry and you make me your wife legally, we can start trying for our baby. We can start our family.' He kissed her forehead lingeringly with a loving sigh.
'Where would we live?' He raised an eyebrow. 'I don't know 'bout you, but I don't have the money for a 'ouse just yet.'
'We'll need parental consent from both of our families, but if my parents say no then I can ask my Aunt Cora and my Uncle Albert for permission. We could live with them, Bert, just for a time.' She admitted.
'What if I can't find a secure job?' He continued. 'I don't want you our our children - if we 'ave any - to suffer just because I can't find proper work.'
'I can easily start working as a seamstress until we get a substantial amount of money coming in; until we find our own house to live in and raise our family. It wouldn't be too hard to find work.' She replied.
'But what if-'
'Bert Alfred, are you going to get a licence and marry me or not?' She groaned in teasing exasperation, a beautiful smirk upon her lips.
The hard kiss that he caught her in answered her question.
It was later that afternoon when Mary was sat in the sitting room of her cottage with her parents as she continued to sew slowly, her father sat in his armchair as he smoked his second cigarette since coming through the door; her mother working on some mending. Bert had left just five minutes before her parents had come home, giving Mary just enough time to clean up their breakfast dishes and straighten the kitchen back up so that nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Her parents knew about her friendship with Bert, of course, but they didn't know just how strong their feelings were towards each other. Mary had never spoken to her parents about how she felt. What was the point? They would only brush her off anyway. 'Mary.' She looked up from her sewing at the rather gruff voice of her father.
'Yes, father?' She replied as she met his gaze.
'Your mother and I have something that we've been meaning to discuss with you.' He admitted, the look on her mother's face telling Mary that she wouldn't like what she was about to hear.
'What is it?' She swallowed the lump in her throat, setting her sewing down momentarily.
'Considering nothing that the doctors are doing for you is appearing to be having any effect; nothing is appearing to cure you, we think it would be best if you spent some time in a Sanatorium.' Mary's face lost all colour as her heart sank and she tried to process her father's words. He was sending her away from home. Away from Bert. 'The nearest Sanatorium is in Yorkshire, and you'll leave here tomorrow.' Mary tried to compose herself a little to stop herself from losing her temper, but the pain that her father's words inflicted on her was too great for her to ignore and she was unable to ignore her emotions.
'I'm not sick!' She exclaimed as she stood rather abruptly from the settee and her heart pounded within her chest, the tears burning in her eyes as she looked directly into her father's eyes. 'I know I'm not the perfect daughter that you both wanted and I know you think I'm ill, but I'm not! Just because I'm different than the two of you and you can't accept that, you think I must be ill. Would you make me go away from home if I had a birthmark? Would you think I was sick if I didn't develop as quickly as other girls my age? You've never understood me, and you've never tried to, father! You think you know me better than anyone else in the world, but you don't know me at all, surely you must see that. The only person that truly knows me is Bert, which is why we've agreed to marry this weekend.' She trembled.
'What?' Her mother gasped.
'You can't marry him.' He father barked. 'I won't allow it.'
'You don't have to allow it, father.' Mary scoffed through the tears that were now streaming down her cheeks. 'Uncle Albert and Aunt Cora have given Bert and I their full permission and support.'
'Of course it'd be your brother that lives down the street and not mine.' Mary's father growled to his wife.
'So this is my fault is it?' Her mother hissed.
'You're too soft on her!' He chided. 'If you'd been firmer with her then maybe she wouldn't act like such an immature schoolgirl!'
Unable to breathe with the tension in the room at that moment, Mary made her way to the front door in order to make her way to the park where she knew Bert would be working. 'Mary Eliza Poppins, if you take one step out of that door then don't even think of coming back!' She took a deep breath before turning back to her father and offering him a small smile, her eyes red and sore from her crying.
'Then goodbye, father.' She shrugged.
Then she was gone.
Bert was knelt down on the ground as he put the finishing touches to his latest sidewalk sketch, his brow furrowing when he heard the sounds of sobbing. Standing up and brushing his chalk-covered hands on his trousers he saw Mary hurrying over to him, tears streaming down her face before she ran into his chest and he wrapped his arms tightly around her. 'What's the matter?' He asked, the concern clear in his voice as he cradled the back of her head and she hid her face in the side of his neck as she gripped his shirt desperately. Her sobs were loud and heartbreaking as she trembled in his arms, her tears hitting against his skin as she choked through the intensity of her sobs. He didn't know how long the two of them had been standing there before Mary finally began to calm herself down, her head upon his shoulder as she continued to grip his shirt and he ran his fingers soothingly through her chocolate brown hair. 'Do you want to tell me what's 'appened?' He hummed into her hair, kissing her temple softly.
She nodded slowly against the side of his neck as she released a trembling sigh and he ran his palm slowly along the curve of her back, Bert taking her hand warmly in his own before he led her over to the bench and allowed her to sit in his lap as he slipped his arms around her waist. It took her a few moments before she could find the words to say, Bert wiping the tears from her cheeks and leaving soft and slow kisses to her lips until she composed herself and leaned against his chest. 'Father and Mother came home after you left this afternoon and everything was fine in the beginning, I made them both their cup of tea as I usually do and then I sat down on the settee and started sewing. Then he told me that I'm being sent away from home to be treated in a Sanatorium in Yorkshire for my supposed sickness.' She nuzzled into the side of his neck. 'I lost it with him and started shouting, which I hadn't meant to, telling him that I'm not sick. When I walked out on them, he told me not to bother going back home.'
Bert brought her slowly away from him a few moments later in order to gaze into her eyes, her gentle blue irises holding tears as her arms were draped loosely around his neck and she rested her forehead against his own. 'I'm sick of 'ow you're treated, Mary.' He admitted as he ran his hand slowly along the curve of her back and she shifted in his lap, a small smile ghosting her lips. 'I promise you that when I make you my wife I'll never 'urt you. Not intentionally, anyway. I love you so much, y'know that?' She nodded tearfully before he brushed several dark strands of hair back behind her ear and brushed his lips against her cheek. 'I know what'll cheer you up a little.' He smiled, kissing her lips gently before going into his jacket pocket and pulling out an envelope. 'Open it.' He instructed, nuzzling into her neck. Lifting the flap of the envelope and removing the folded piece of paper from inside, Mary gasped as she unfolded the paper and read the words in front of her. '9:00am on Saturday morning you'll be mine.'
'I love you.' She giggled softly before kissing him deeply and brushing her fingers through his dark hair, his hand resting upon her waist through her pale blue dress as they sank into each other. 'So much.'
'I love you too.' He murmured against her lips.
'I want you to draw a picture of me on Saturday.' She sighed as they pulled away from their kiss just a few moments later. 'I know Uncle Albert will take pictures, but I want you to sketch a picture of me.'
'Nothing would give me more pleasure.' He leaned into her, the kiss that he left upon her lips proving to her that he meant every word.
Mary and Bert were sat together on the settee in his sitting room later that evening once his mother had brought some pillows and a blanket down for her, his arm wrapped loosely around his fiancee whilst her head lay cushioned upon his chest and the only sound to be heard was the gentle ticking of the clock on the wall. 'Are you sure you'll be warm enough down 'ere, darling? You can always 'ave my bed, I don't mind.' She pulled sleepily away from him at his words and rested her hand upon his torso through his shirt, a beautiful smile upon her lips before she kissed him tenderly upon his mouth with a sigh.
'Mmm, we could both sleep down here.' She suggested. 'I know there isn't as much room on the settee as there was in my bed last night, but you could always spoon me.' He chuckled at her perfect smirk.
'You're going to get me into trouble with my mother, y'know.' He teased as he stroked the backs of his fingers along her cheek. 'But you're worth it.'
The two of them then shared a soft kiss before they slipped beneath the warm blanket that was spread out over the settee, their heads resting upon the same pillow as Bert draped his arm around her tiny waist and brought her back into his chest with a warm kiss to the back of her neck. 'Bert?' Mary sighed as she played with the fingers on his hand, his gentle hum serving as his reply. 'I'm not being sent to the Sanatorium tomorrow, am I? I couldn't bear it if I lost you now.' He heard the worry in her voice as she laced their fingers on her stomach, the cool metal of her engagement ring pressing into his skin.
'I would 'ave to be dead and buried before I let anyone take you away from me.' He whispered into her ear. 'You ain't going anywhere, Mary, I swear. Now close your eyes and try and get some rest, love.'
'I love you so much, Bert.' She looked back at him over her shoulder, accepting his long goodnight kiss.
'I love you too, Mary.' He reassured her as he buried his face into her neck and stole several warm kisses. 'I ain't ever going to stop, either.'
Author's Note: Please review! xxx