A/N: Greetings! I'm so sorry that it's been almost twenty days since I originally posted chapter one...but, if you've been following my other ongoing Mary Poppins story, you'll know that I've just started university and I'm very busy with all of my studies. I really don't get that much time to write, but I'm really enjoying writing these stories so I do try and write for a few hours each week.
As I've said so many times before, thank you so much for your patience. I'm trying to write as much as I can because I'm really enjoying writing these stories...but please understand that my studies have to come first. But I'm definitely going to keep writing, so fear not! :P
Anyway, I really hope you enjoy this chapter! xxx
A Life Worth Living
Bert was stirred awake when he heard what he always claimed was the most beautiful sound known to man…Mary singing. It had accidentally brought him out of his slumber, but it did so in the most delicate way – it felt like he had woken up atop a cloud, or perhaps on a beach with the softest sand and most soothing waves. It was a tranquil sound and a unique experience that only Bert seemed privileged enough to know. But his mind was still holding on to the remanences of sleep so when he rolled over to pull his wife close to him, he panicked for a few seconds as he found her side of the bed cold and empty. But once he was fully awake he was greeted by the hypnotic darkness of the room and realised that Mary only sang at this time of night for one reason…
His bare chest became cold as he slipped from under the bedsheets and his feet made contact with the cool wooden floors. He crept out of the bedroom – something else he'd gotten rather good at – and, as he'd expected, found the source of the singing in their daughter's bedroom. With only the moon as a light, Mary cradled Evelyn in her arms as her sweet melody filled the air - and filled the space with an endless and soothing warmth, like the air was thick with comforting silk. It was picture perfect. The way Mary looked down at the delicate bundle with such care and adoration – the true look of a mother that was overflowing with protection. Evelyn was two months old now and seemed to be growing up so fast. Bert briefly recalled the first lopsided smile she had given him and how his heart had swelled with love and pride.
He felt something similar in this moment as he watched Mary sing their daughter back to sleep. He seemed to love them even more with each passing second and he could see the love that Mary had in her own eyes: the strongest kind of love, a mother's love. The kind of love that could part the oceans and make the earth's very soil shift. It was the kind of love that could clearly be seen by all, but it the kind of love that could only be felt by a parent. It said a million different words and it said that as a mother, Mary would do anything for her child. And it was a love that was so wonderfully euphoric to witness. Bert was sure he'd never seen anything so heart-warming and wonderful. He could feel a consuming smile spread across his cheeks and his heart ached – but it was a good ache, an ache of such adoration for his wife and child. For his family.
Eventually Mary let her lullaby come to an end as Evelyn's wriggles and coos subsided and her daughter slept soundly in her arms. The absence of his wife's voice had pulled Bert from his reverie. With the same motherly smile, she bent down and feathered a kiss on Evelyn's forehead.
"Goodnight, sweetheart" she said in a barely audible whisper.
Then Bert finally spoke and alerted Mary to his presence. His voice was no louder than hers.
"Y'know, I didn't think it was possible for me t' love you any more than I already did…but it seems you're full of surprises, Mrs Alfred"
Mary let out a small, content sigh and smiled warmly.
"How long have you been standing there?"
"Not long" he replied as he made his way into the nursery.
He snaked one arm around Mary's shoulders and pressed a kiss to her cheek before gently caressing his daughter's cheek with the back of his finger. She was looking more and more like Mary with each passing day.
"I didn't ever 'ear 'er wake up" Bert admitted – his eyes locked on his daughter's soft features.
"Well, luckily I did" Mary teased.
"You should've woken me – you already do so much around 'ere"
"As lovely as that offer is, dear, I'm afraid that Evelyn was hungry, so I don't think there was much you could've done" a smirk played on her lips.
"Fair point!" Bert replied with a whispered laugh.
Bert gave Evelyn a sweet kiss on the forehead before she was gently lowered into her crib.
"I'm sorry if I woke you, dear" Mary said softly as they left the nursery.
"Don't apologise, if I'm gonna be woken up in the middle of the night, I'd rather it be because of your singin' than anythin' else"
A slight blush played on Mary's cheeks.
"You really are lightheaded" she teased as she stepped ahead of him and moved into their bedroom.
Bert took a large stride and captured her in his embrace.
"Because you make me that way, Mary -" he laughed, "—you've been makin' my mind into a muddle since the day I met ya!"
"Oh, honestly!" she tutted – but she couldn't hide her smile or the gleam in her eyes.
Bert kissed her forehead lightly.
"Come on, you can sing me to sleep now" he teased.
"As if!" was her response.
"Evening, sweet'eart!" came Bert's voice as he entered his home.
He kissed his wife sweetly as he found her in the drawing room – Evelyn wriggling in her lap.
"Welcome home, dear -" Mary eventually greeted as she broke from his kiss, "—how was your day?"
"Marvellous" he said softly – sitting next to her as he did so, "And yours?"
"Just splendid" she answered truthfully.
Bert gave Mary another warm smile before moving his gaze to his daughter.
"An' what about you, sweet'eart? Did you 'ave a good day?" he asked sweetly.
Evelyn gave him a toothless smile before gargling happily as a sort of response. Mary and Bert found themselves smiling uncontrollably – especially when Evelyn reached out towards her father with a faint giggle. With a warming look of love in his eyes, Bert took her into his arms and held her in front of him. She was only three months old but he couldn't believe how much she grown in that time, her face had developed and she was practically the spitting image of Mary and she had a few dark wisps of hair. Evelyn brought a fist to her mouth as she smiled at her father.
"'ow's my beautiful girl then?" he cooed, "'ave you been good for mummy?"
"She's been just wonderful…" Mary commented as she gently brushed her hand across her daughter's hair, "…she caught a glimpse of her reflection today and she was utterly enthralled!" she chuckled.
"Well, that's just 'cos she's realised 'ow beautiful she is!"
He lightly brushed his lips against Evelyn's forehead and once he pulled away she began to smooth her semi-closed fist across his cheek. He gave Mary a cheeky smile,
"Are all women this affectionate?" he laughed.
She shot him a playfully stern look.
"No. You're just incredibly lucky!" she teased.
"Well, remind me never t' take it for granted"
"Oh, don't worry, I won't!"
As he spoke with Mary, Bert failed to noticed Evelyn's fists getting closer to his eyes – that was, until he felt one of them jab the sensitive area.
"Careful, sweet'eart –" he laughed softly, "—Daddy's eyesight might already be in danger"
Mary raised an eyebrow at him – silently seeking an explanation.
"Just some joke we were 'aving at work today…you see, I seem to be the only illustrator there that doesn't 'ave glasses! It's quite a sight!… apparently the job starts to make yer eyesight go after a while" he chuckled.
Mary leant closer to him and her eyes studied his features with an almost promiscuous intensity. A slight smile graced her lips.
"Hmmm, I think you'd look quite handsome of you wore glasses" she hummed.
Bert caught her gaze and raised his eyebrow at her slightly.
"Oh, so you're sayin' that I don't look handsome now?" he said – feigning offense.
"Perhaps" she teased.
They leaned towards each other and kissed thoroughly and for a moment everything seemed to melt away…that was until the tiny fist of their daughter clonked Bert on the nose.
"Ow!" he whined as Mary tried to stifle a laugh.
Evelyn's next move was to take a firm hold of Bert's lower lip.
"Oh, I see, you don't like it when daddy kisses mummy!" he mumbled.
Evelyn let out another gargled laugh.
"It might be funny for you, missus, but I 'appen to like kissin' mummy!" he laughed as he pried his daughter's hand from his lip.
"Well, mummy happens to like it when daddy kisses her too -"
Bert leaned in for another kiss, but his lips were met with Mary's index finger instead.
"—unfortunately, it seems that your daughter has taken a rather strange grudge against the act…so I suggest you listen to her"
"—Never rebel against a woman's authority, Bert" she said sweetly as she rose from the sofa and made her way to the kitchen.
Bert looked back at Evelyn – who smiled cheekily.
"You 'appy now?" he teased, "Because of you, I don't even get a kiss when I come 'ome"
Evelyn giggled again and Bert couldn't help but smile uncontrollably.
"Oh, I love you, my beautiful girl" he whispered as he kissed her forehead again, "What did I do t' deserve you, eh? What did I do to deserve such a beautiful little girl and an amazin' wife?"
Evelyn reached out for his face again.
"I guess we'll never know the answer, huh? Not unless you've got any ideas?"
She dribbled slightly.
"No? Nothin'?" Bert chuckled.
"You talk as if you think you're not good enough, darling" Mary said softly as she made her way back into the drawing room. She sat next to him and ran her fingers through his hair – an old habit that she still hadn't broken, "I'll tell exactly what you did to deserve such a beautiful daughter…for as long as I've know you, you've been the kindest, sweetest and most generous man I've ever known…this is just the world's way of repaying you for all the joy you've given to others"
"You can be so sentimental sometimes" he teased.
She let herself smirk at him – but a slight blush rose in her cheeks.
"Only for you, dear" she admitted shyly.
"There is one bit you forgot, though" he said – his tone slightly playful.
"You forgot to mention my beautiful wife"
Mary's cheeks managed to turn an even brighter shade of red and Bert leaned in and capture her lips with his own and they were finally able to lose themselves in their love for each other…until Evelyn swung her fist into Bert's nose again.
A/N: I really hope you enjoyed that! I know it was mostly fluff and cuteness, but there will be a bigger plot development soon - I promise!
I have an important question, do you think I should have this story focus on Evelyn between the age of 1 month - 1 year, or do you think I should focus on Evelyn when she's older (For example, up to 5 years old maybe, or something like that?) - I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Anyway, once again, I hope you enjoy that and I'd love it if you left a review :) xxxx