AUTHOR'S NOTES: I'm not addicted to writing Mary Poppins fanfiction! Don't be ridiculous...SEND HELP!
Haha! Hey, everyone! I'm still alive and surviving university (just) and this little oneshot is just an idea I had one day - not really sure how it came about - but I rather like it (if I do say so myself). I have been working on the next two chapters of "A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever" so they should be published within the appropriate times - I tend to publish one a week.
As for "A Life Worth Living", I have a huge chunk of the story planned out, but I haven't actually written it yet, the main reason for that is the fact that those chapters tend to be longer and contain a more slow moving story, "A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever" is easier to write because the chapters are shorter and I'm only picking out important events. However! That doesn't not mean that I've lost my love for "A Life Worth Living" - far from it! I love writing about that little universe I created for Bert and Mary, it's just that I have so much work to do that I don't get a chance to write as much, so when I do write, I tend to go for something short (although, this oneshot contradicts that). Anyway, I promise that I will be working on the next chapter of "A Life Worth Living" and that it'll hopefully be up sometime next week.
So, once again, thank you for your patience and support. I really hope you enjoy this story!
When Winifred awoke that morning, she was greeted with a sight that she had grown accustomed to over the last few years: her husband's side of the bed empty and cold. It was a sorry sight – she'd admit that much – but what she'd never admit (at least out loud) was the way that very sight shattered her with each new day. George – as always – had risen before her, not bothering to even acknowledge her presence and had no doubt gone to breakfast without her. She sighed heavily – as she almost always did – and wished with her whole heart that she could have something more, that they could go back to how they'd been when their children were younger…perhaps even to when they were newly-weds.
Of course, Winifred wasn't wishing away the presence of her children – she would never do such a thing – but she couldn't deny that her heart longed for the easy romance that she once shared with her husband; she craved the days when he used to be so attentive, when he used to actually show her how much he loved her…it seemed to her that such thoughts no longer occurred to him. She wanted – perhaps more than anything else – to go back to that days before the bank, before all that mattered to him was money…when she was all that mattered to him. For a while she wondered if she was jealous, but she shook away that thought and asked herself if it really was unreasonable to desire the affection that her husband once gave her; after all, they had promised to love each other until the very end of their days and Winifred couldn't help but feel that perhaps that promise was beginning to slip. She wondered how much this would go on…and how much more she could take.
They hardly spoke over breakfast, instead they just looked at each other occasionally; Winifred managed to smile whenever he caught her eye, but he could never return the favour…she wasn't even worth a smile. He didn't speak to Jane and Michael either, instead he just ignored their excitable chatter and the only words he uttered to his offspring before leaving were harsh ones, warning them not to cause trouble for the nanny they had hired only recently. It's strange, Winifred thought, how he never told the children to make life easier for their mother, only their nanny. Perhaps it was because he didn't pay his wife? In fact, he'd have more money if he were without her, one less person to provide for…Winfred despised herself for thinking such things, but sometimes, she just couldn't help it. And as she left the house that day – a purple and white sash hung sadly over her shoulder – the fate of her marriage was the only thing on her mind.
When Mary stirred awake, she could've sworn that she'd never felt so wonderful; she was warmed by the gentle rays of sunlight that fought their way through the thin drapes and by her husband's arms wrapped lovingly around her. She stretched out her legs and allowed herself to wake up gradually – enjoying the freedom of it all, how her entire body felt soft with relaxation; whilst she loved her work, she always treasured these lazy mornings with Bert more than anything. On these mornings she could wake up slowly and in his arms, she wouldn't have to worry about her charges, her duty or propriety…they wouldn't have to hide their marriage and they could spend their time doing what they most wanted to do: love each other.
There had been a time (an incredibly brief time) where they had feared that their marriage would not work, that the demands of their jobs and the occasional secrecy of it all would be too much, but on days like these, where Bert's first action was to press a kiss to her – often – bare shoulder, they knew that nothing could ever come between what they had; that they were strong enough to overcome it all. As her mind drifted lazily away from the realm of sleep, she became so thankful for all that she had, she was married to the most wonderful man in the world; a man that looked at her with so much love – looked at her as if she were the only woman in the world. A man who would sweep her off her feet every day if he could, a man who would go to the ends of the earth just to be with her. A man that she was so desperately in love with. She thought of all the things that Bert would do for her, and she knew that she would always return such actions. She turned within his arms so that she could face him and smiled slightly when his warm breath trickled across her cheeks. She snuggled against his bare chest and sighed contently.
"Morning" she whispered.
"Morning" he whispered back before kissing her forehead – his eyes still closed.
Mary really did love it when she was between jobs – more than she would ever admit – but she decided that she couldn't be blamed for adoring her alone time with her husband, after all, Bert wasn't just the man that she loved, he was her best friend, her equal in everything they did and her perfect match.
It wasn't long before Bert's lips eventually made their way to her own and the morning began fully in the most perfect of ways. His kisses were delicate and loving and let her know just how much he adored her…sometimes she was still amazed at how deep their love ran. For Mary, the morning was a slow one, it was something she would normally be opposed to, but when she was held in Bert's embrace, she simply couldn't say no.
They chatted happily over breakfast and they pondered the possibilities of how they could spend their day; Bert never worked as much when Mary was between jobs, in fact, he worked as little as he could just so that he could truly value his time with her…and he would make up for it once a new family needed her. Still, neither of them thought of that, instead they thought only of each other and how they could make the most of their time together and how they could savour every second of it; so, with yet another love-abundant kiss, they left the apartment to find their own little adventure.
Winifred felt distant for the entire day, she was spending it in the park with her fellow Suffragettes, but she just did have the heart for protesting – that's when she knew something was wrong (and he friends knew it too). If there was one word to describe Winifred Banks, it was passionate and there were few things she was more passionate about than women's suffrage. On any other day Winifred would've been a leader, she would be initiating proud songs and bold marches through the street; she would not leave anyone unspoken to and she would protest until she simply couldn't stand. But this day was different.
On this day Winifred's shoulders were slumped, her eyes absent of that well known spark and her voice could not be heard. She hardly spoke that day and when she did it was little more than a mumble. Whilst she would normally be consumed by her fight for freedom, all she could think about was her fight for her marriage – a fight that only she seemed to be a part of. She wondered why she was fighting for her freedom out on the streets when she didn't even have it in her own home? Why should she try and do more for women when she herself didn't even have the basics? Her friends were married and happily so, not a day went by where Winifred didn't hear of the way her friend's husbands treated them with such affection. Sometimes it made her sick with jealousy (not that she'd ever show it, of course).
So, on this day, Winifred felt her chest feel heavy – as if her heart were little more than a neglected weight; and she couldn't hide it, not anymore. Her friends cried with joy and passion and encouraged passers-by to join their fight, they sang songs and seemed go get a thrill form each passing second…but not Winifred. No, on that day Winifred left the protest early, she sat on a park bench, alone and slowly cracking.
For Mary, though, her day was only just beginning. They had walked to the park hand-in-hand – a feeling that seemed to make Mary's heart skip every time - it was almost as if Bert's hand had been made to fit perfectly with hers. He gave it a slight squeeze – like he always did – as they strolled leisurely, feeling utterly in love with the time they had together. Mary truly wondered if it were possible for her to feel any happier, after all, her heart seemed to do flips every time Bert so much as smiled at her…how could anything be better than that? It was something she asked herself constantly and she was almost certain that she'd never truly understand the answer.
Bert stopped her just outside of the park and grinned at her – his gaze bouncing between her own and the pavement beneath them - Mary followed his eyes and saw a single chalk drawing at his feet. It wasn't one of Bert's, she could tell. She eyed him suspiciously, but there she could also feel a flutter in her stomach – that flutter that only Bert could put there; it was the flutter that she'd felt long before their marriage and she was so grateful that it hadn't died. She wondered how he could make the most ordinary and mundane things so magical. Bert winked at her and that told her all she wanted to know.
"Really, Bert? It isn't even your drawing" she told him sternly – but she couldn't hide the playful streak within her voice.
"But I know who's it is" she chuckled.
"Uh-huh, it's Joseph's, so 'e won't mind"
Although she would never admit it, Mary was a lot more carefree when she wasn't working and even more so when she was alone with Bert…so he it didn't take much convincing and before they knew it, they had leapt straight into the chalk masterpiece. Mary gasped as cherry blossom petals began to rain down on them – surrounding them like a veil for two. He gave her that look again, that look that made her feel utterly weak (but in a good way), the look that could make her knees buckle within seconds. Mary looked around and realised that a crowd was beginning to form around them and each chalk figure looked upon them with eager and expectant eyes; then she noticed their change of clothing. Bert was dressed in the most dazzling dark suit and she, well, she was in a beautiful blue flowing gown and seemed to bellow around her delicate frame. She blushed slightly as she saw the tiled floor beneath their feet and realised what was happening…they were expected to dance.
Bert stepped towards her and Mary swore she forgot how to breathe. He held out his hand. Mary was never one to turn down an offer (manners cost nothing, after all) and so, with a giddy grin painted across her features, she let him sweep her into his arms and spin her gently in front of the crowd. Their eye contact never broke. As she danced with her husband, there was only one thing on Mary's mind…what on Earth did she do to get so lucky? It was yet another question that she was sure she'd never find the answer two…but she was okay with that, as long as she had Bert. He had this amazing ability to make her feel so free; to make her feel like she could fly (but in more of an emotional sense, she had the literal sense covered). In fact, when she was with Bert, Mary truly believed that love could set a person free, that loved was a gateway of endless possibilities – and she wanted to explore each one.
Bert kissed her lovingly when their dance was over, and she let him since it was okay in this world…besides, there were few things she loved more than the feeling of his arms around her waist and his lips against hers. So, she kissed him back and part of her wished that it would never end.
At some point it began to rain – not that Winifred noticed – no, she simply sat alone on the park bench, too deep in thought to be aware of anything around her. She didn't notice how everyone around her had gone home or left the park to find shelter; she didn't notice that, for the longest time, she was the only one sat in the park. She didn't notice anything. Her mind was too fixated on her sombre thoughts and she was lucky that the rain covered the few tears that dripped onto her cheeks. It's funny, she thought, that her only luck should be that no one could see her pain. After all, isn't that how she lived her entire life? Not telling George that she felt neglected, not telling him that she was witnessing their marriage slowly crumble…not telling him that her heart was breaking and that she just wanted him to show her that he loved her.
She felt a small surge of anger move through her, why should she have to stay quiet and just accept her fate? Just because her husband was (seemingly) happy with the way things were, doesn't mean that she was, she deserved love too, she deserved happiness – why should she have to be dominated by her male superiors? Why should she be forced to suffer in silence? She loved her husband, she knew that, and surely she deserved to be loved in return? She had hoped that the campaign would be enough to distract her, but it was evident that that was not the case…so she continued to ponder how much longer she could carry on with these suffocating doubts.
She wondered if she could talk to George about it? Surely it wouldn't do any harm to simply mention – maybe just in passing – that she had noticed how busy his work had made him; how he seemed to have less time for her and the children. She contemplated it whilst the icy raindrops continued to soak her dress. She shook her head lightly, he probably would listen, she thought, and even if he did, he would simply dismiss her feelings and tell her that she was just being stupid and overly emotional (as most women seemed to be in his eyes).
For a moment she wondered if she could kick start their romance again, but she knew that wouldn't work, he'd only shove her away an insist that she stop bothering him – especially when he's had such a stressful day at the bank. Winifred was one of the lucky women who actually married a man she fell in love with and she knew that that part of George was still very much alive…she just hoped that she would see that side of him again soon…before something irreparable happened.
Mary and Bert's al fresco ballroom began to melt away with the sharp raindrops and the pair were soon back in front of the park that held so many of their memories. With giddy smiles, they laced their hands together and briskly made their way through the park, however, their journey was interrupted when Bert – with a mischievous grin on his face – stepped in front of Mary, brought a hand to the small of her back and pulled her into yet another waltz. She let out a minute squeal as he spun her around him. She rolled her eyes and almost scolded him, reminding him that they had danced only a few minutes earlier, but he just beamed at her as they waltzed underneath the raindrops. Mary had to admit that she found the public nature of it all rather exhilarating and since the park seemed to be empty, she let it go…just this once.
To dance with the man she loved in a place so special to them, underneath the free falling weather and within the fresh breeze, well, there was something so mesmerising about it all; something so freeing. She found herself laughing – a beautiful, birdsong sort of laugh that stole Bert's breath away from him. But Mary did note the loving gaze that was seemed to be permanently painted across Bert's face, the look he always gave her, the look that, after so many years of knowing each other and being together, seemed to never die. They had not been married long (little more than two years, in fact) but she hoped that that look would stay forever.
Winifred could barely see the couple through the seemingly endless streams of tears, but she kept watching and as her vision became clear, she felt her heart shatter even more (if that were possible). Even from her spot on the bench and through her teary gaze she couldn't deny how much love was in their eyes, how everything around them seemed to melt away when they were together…how utterly in love they were. She wished – more than anything – that she could have that, after all, that's what things used to be like for her and George; there was a time when they too were carefree and still in the greener days of their marriage. She'd give anything to go back to that, to be able to kiss her husband when he came home, to be able to talk with him, perhaps even cuddle with him at night…she missed the easy intimacy they once had – the same easy intimacy that the dancing couple in front of her clearly possessed.
It's funny, she thought, why should she feel such tightening jealously over two people she didn't even know? – Two complete strangers! – But she couldn't ignore the way her stomach knotted, the way her chest ached and the way her breath was hitched from her sobs. She couldn't deny that seeing two people who had what she so desperately craved was killing her. But no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't tear her eyes away, in a sense, she was utterly enthralled by their romance, the way that they looked at each other as if they were the only two people in the world. If there was one thing Winifred was sure of, it was that she'd never seen two people more in love.
When their dance began to slow and fade, Bert brought his lips down to Mary's and she could feel her knees buckle as he kissed her with all the strength he could muster, simply reminding her of how much he loved her (not that she eve needed to be reminded). And even though the rain continued to hammer down onto them, they felt warm in their embrace and endlessly happy within the realm of their kiss; Mary swore that nothing had ever felt so blissful than being so carefree with her husband and she swore further that nothing else matter to her in that moment. When she was with Bert, everything else was white.
His lips moved against her so fluidly and she couldn't help but deepen this kiss as she laced her arms behind his neck – pulling him closer. She felt light – like she was flying – or perhaps like liquid fire was filling every limb until she was utterly breathless. But she wasn't thinking about her physical state (she never could keep her mind focused on such trivial things when Bert's lips were against her own).
They eventually broke the kiss and she felt Bert rest his forehead against hers as their breaths mingled.
"I love you, Mary -" he whispered, nuzzling their noses together gently, "—so much"
"I love you too"
But as he kissed her again, there was something she did find herself thinking about…the future, how she was certain that her future with her husband would be oh so blissful and how she was forever grateful that she got to spend the rest of her practically perfect life with her more than perfect husband.
All Winifred could do was cry. Her heart feeling like weighted dust. Her mind conflicted with childish hope and melancholy realism. She just wanted happiness, surely that wasn't too much to ask? In fact, technically, she wasn't asking for happiness per se, no, she was really asking for her husband back; she knew that the love and happiness that their marriage once held was alive, but it was buried beneath her husband's love of the bank. How she wished his love of her would come first.
But as Winifred watched the couple lose themselves in their passionate kiss, she hoped with her whole heart that she could someday be like them, that she and George could regain their happiness. Of course, Winifred never knew that Mary Poppins – the very woman she was crying over – would be the one to grant her wish. But, then again, why would Winifred think such a thing? After all, the two seemed to be worlds apart.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I really hope you enjoyed that! Please let me know what you thought!
I'll see you soon! xxx