"Love In Tara"
Author note: Thank you all for all of your support these past three to four years of writing this fanfiction. You all don't know how much each comment meant to me! I am happy and satisfied that Love In Tara is fianlly finished. My first fic I have ever completed. I hope all of you are happy and satisfied with the end result. I am in the process of starting another GWTW fanfic but until then... enjoy and please review.
It wasn't unusual to see Rhett Butler rushing home each day after his work at the bank.
"Why Dolly Merriweather there goes Captain Butler!" Mrs. Mead said, with grudging respect ringing in her voice and a little humor. "He rushes home each day to his baby and the mother."
"Such a fine gentleman," Mrs. Meriweather said. "You heard how he fought in the war? I was shocked myself. But Captain Butler has appeased himself in my eyes. He dots over that pretty child and Scarlett all though she don't deserve it none..."
Rhett gave the women a cheery hello, a disarming smile and tip of his hat as he passed by the Mead's home where Mrs. Merriweather and Mrs. Mead were sitting on the porch having tea. He didn't hear their talk or else he would have just laughed. He was still the same blackguard but reformed a bit to make a future for his darling Bonnie and salvage Wade's standing in Atlanta's eyes.
Racing up the porch steps he opened the front door and was met with the sight of Mammy hustling through the house, her voice in strict command, ordering Prissy to fetch Scarlett a shawl. Her voice rang out and Rhett laughed at the sound of her petticoat rustling and her dark, angry face.
"Don't worry about it Prissy," Rhett kindly said to the cowering girl. "I'll bring Miss Scarlett her shawl."
"Thank ye Mistha Rhett," Prissy quickly said, a huge smile on her face.
Mammy shot her an evil look and Prissy dashed from the foyer into the kitchen.
Rhett laughed uproariously.
"Mammy," he said, his voice dropping to a slight whisper. "How is my Bonnie?"
Mammy's face lost the angry look and beamed as they walked up the carpeted stairs. There was always a smile in the house since Bonnie was born just one month ago. Yet it seemed yesterday that Rhett had rushed in to see his little daughter with her bright blue eyes.
"Why Mistha Rhett, little Bonnie is outside with Miss Scarlett out on de verandah. Miss Scarlett dots over dat child so. Maybe more den ya but not quite. Miss Melly is comin' over with Beau and her sweet lil baby."
Rhett and Mammy parted as Rhett went into Scarlett and his room to grab her shawl. He quickly went outside without delay but gave a quick greeting to Pork. When Scarlett, Wade and him had moved into the house they had brought not only Mammy but Pork and Prissy. Prissy wasn't all too useful but he couldn't complain and was grateful for the trusted and efficient help.
The twin doors were open since it was a warm day and there was a gentle breeze. There he saw Scarlett, her back was facing him and she was sitting with her head bowed. She made little humming noises and laughed. He listened to her for a moment, his heart swelling with love.
Motherhood had agreed with Scarlett. At first he had been doubtful that Scarlett would take to motherhood again so easily. But immediately after her bed rest she was up again with Bonnie constantly in her arms. They often vied for Bonnie but he usually gave Scarlett the upper hand when she pouted and would say, "Fiddle-dee-dee, I'm the mother!"
She was less harsh with the servants lately and often hummed a merry tune. Her eyes had lost that hard look and had softened. There was days when they would light up with fire but more often they were peaceful especially when she looked at the small face of Bonnie.
Bonnie was such a beautiful little girl. She had lost the red skin and strained, squalling face of birth. Her skin was smooth and white with rose colored lips and Scarlett's dark hair. Her blue eyes were as blue as the bonnie blue flag as Melanie had said a week after Bonnie was born and her eyes had opened more. After that day the name Bonnie had stuck. She was a tiny replica of Scarlett which made Rhett love her all the more.
Rhett smiled as he heard Scarlett laugh again and didn't want to break the moment. Scarlett made cooing noises and he knew she'd shoot him a glare and blush if she knew he was listening. Scarlett often chided him for acting so foolish when she acted just as foolish when he wasn't watching.
"What a little hypocrite you are," he had teased her affectionately.
She would just stick her tongue out at him or roll her eyes. She always kept him on his toes and he loved teasing her. Seeing her delightful temper flare or that cattish look come into her eyes made him want to tease her all the more. In which Scarlett would loose her temper and stomp out of the room.
Yet, he loved her so much and took pleasure in holding her and staring into her green eyes. They would have to wait a little longer before they could be intimate once again but Rhett didn't mind. He missed those nights but more then that he loved holding Scarlett and talking late into the night with her about Bonnie, Wade and their future. They often talked about the past too, careful not to bring up painful subjects.
Rhett quietly approached her and laid the shawl on her shoulders. Slightly jumping she turned and saw him. A smile came to her lips and her eyes lit up with a devilish glint.
"We missed you," Scarlett said. "Bonnie and I were sitting out here and watching Wade ride his pony."
As if Wade knew his parents were speaking about him he stopped his black pony, jumped off the saddle and ran up the steps to give Rhett a huge hug. He babbled excitedly where Rhett would give the occasional nod as if Wade were an adult.
Rhett ruffled his hair. "I missed you, son. Do you like your pony?"
"Yes, Uncle Rhett," Wade said, his brown eyes dancing. "Mother and Bonnie were watching me ride. And someday when Bonnie is bigger I can teach her, can't I?"
"Of course. You're her big brother after all."
Wade beamed and ran down the steps as if he were flying. His world was full with a new home, pony, baby sister and parents. Scarlett tried everyday to bridge the gap in between her and Wade. She included him with the raising of Bonnie and it made Wade feel special.
Scarlett grabbed Rhett's hand.
"You're so good to him," she said a smile on her face. She leaned against the chair and looked so content and happy.
He was glad he made Scarlett happy. That's all he had ever wanted to do. His life was complete with his new family and a home filled with laughter. Scarlett amazed him everyday and still he desired her like a starving man. He wanted to hold her, make love to her, spoil and cuddle her. He still found time to sneak away with her and have her all to himself.
He loved the changes that Bonnie had brought to her. Her eyes were softer and her face had a glow about it. And her body was more full, her thighs and well... she was fuller in all the right places that he had a trouble keeping his hands off of her. All though he would never admit it, he loved the changes in her body but she would just glare at him and take it as an insult.
A mewing sound grabbed his attention and looking down at Scarlett's lap Bonnie lay there her blue eyes open and looking at him. For a moment he couldn't speak as he placed his hand on his daughter's small head. Her hair was soft and someday would be like Scarlett's, flowing down her back.
His eyes misted and met Scarlett's.
"Thank you, Mrs. Butler. She's the most beautiful gift you have ever given me."
Scarlett's hand laid over his and she looked at Bonnie then at Rhett, her lips smiling and a pleased look on her face.
"She is beautiful, Rhett. The most beautiful baby I have ever seen. I never thought..." she stopped abruptly.
"What is it my pet?" he asked encouragingly.
Her eyes met his. "Well that you'd be the kind of man that would love your child so much. Most fathers are aloof but you love Bonnie and show it."
He touched her cheek gently and smiled as she rubbed her cheek against his hand and gently kissed it. Scarlett was so much more open to showing public displays of affection. It surprised him but pleased him none the less.
"I do love her, Scarlett," he whispered, looking down at his small daughter. "She's a part of us you know. And the first person that has ever belonged to me completely."
She grabbed his hand and kissed it and brought his hand to her cheek with a sigh.
"I belong to you, Rhett Butler. I always have as you belong to me," she declared with conviction.
He leaned over. "Do I?" he whispered as his lips captured hers. So lost were they in this simple kiss they didn't hear Melanie, Beau and the small pink bundle in Melanie's arms approach them. Finally the pair pulled away and Rhett tried not to laugh when he saw Melanie's embarrassed face.
"Melanie! It's so nice to see you," Scarlett said. "And Beau come here and give your Auntie a kiss and see your new little cousin Bonnie."
The boy quietly approached Scarlett and timidly touched Bonnie's forehead. He jumped back when Bonnie moved and with a nervous laugh he scanned the yard and saw Wade who was waving anxiously for Beau to join him.
"Come on Beau!"
Beau looked over at his mother pleadingly. "Can I mama?"
Melanie nodded with a smile and watched lovingly as Beau disappeared.
Rhett gazed at the small baby in Melanie's arms and saw that Melanie looked almost faint. It would be much longer until Melanie got to a semblance of herself. She was forbidden to have anymore children after this labor nearly killed her. If not for Scarlett's pleading and tight reign on Melanie's welfare she might have died.
Scarlett had been six months along, all ready showing and having her last burst of energy before she would have been confined to the house. Rhett had tried unsuccessfully and couldn't deny her the right in venturing out of the house to the Wilkes' temporary home down the street.
Scarlett had stood in the room through Melanie's whole labor, trembling and pale.
"Oh Rhett," she had sobbed. "It's a nightmare just like the day Sherman came through Atlanta and Beau was born."
She had buried her face in his chest and Rhett had held her tightly to him. His hand had went on her enlarged stomach, feeling the baby's kick.
"Shh... my baby. You must calm down," he had soothed. "Think about the baby. You wouldn't want anything happening to her would you?"
Her tearful eyes had met his and her mouth had become a watery grin.
"Our daughter? But I'm hoping for a boy that looks like you."
"Heaven forbid," he had said laughing.
Melanie's cries had summoned Scarlett. After sixteen hours of labor Charlotte Scarlett Wilkes had come into the world. She had became known as Lottie that day. A weary but content Scarlett had returned home with Rhett carrying her up the stairs and letting her get much needed sleep.
"Here Miss Melly sit down and let me hold the baby," Rhett offered.
Melanie looked grateful as she sat down next to Scarlett and he took three month old Charlotte in his arms. She was different from Bonnie with light hair and dark brown eyes but she was a beautiful baby.
Pacing, he rocked the small bundle and suddenly Bonnie let out a shriek as if she knew her father's attention was stolen from her. Rhett chuckled.
"Hand her to me, Scarlett. I have one arm left for my favorite girl."
Scarlett gently picked up her daughter, bundled in her yellow blanket and handed her to Rhett. He held both tiny girls with ease.
"There my Bonnie," Rhett soothed in a song like voice. "Daddy wouldn't let his little girl be neglected."
"I swear Melanie," Scarlett suddenly said with an amused smile on her face and rolling her eyes. "If I gave Rhett a son he would be the happiest man in the world."
Rhett's eyes met hers and he shared in her amusement.
"But of course!" Melanie cried with a smile. "Why babies are a blessing. My little Lottie is so darling and Bonnie why she's an angel. I don't know how we ever got along without them. And just think, Scarlett, they'll grow up to be like sisters just like us."
Beau and Wade's laughter filled the air. Their voices carried and the trio shared a smile. It was like the good old days before the war. Smiles and laughter now filled the air instead of death, weeping and canons. For a moment the old civilization was captured and rang on like a sweet melody. One that Scarlett, Rhett and Melanie would hear for a long time and come to reminisce how bittersweet it was.
"Supper time!" Mammy yelled in a booming voice.
"You must stay for supper," Scarlett told Melanie, rising to her feet.
Melanie nodded as Wade and Beau rushed into the house. Melanie took Charlotte from Rhett's arms and followed the eager boys. Mammy scolded their running through the house but the boys couldn't be disheartened today.
"Oh Mammy they're just boys!" Melanie said with a smile.
"I don't care dey won't be white trash Miss Melly. Dey will be proper suthern gentlemen. They shore will."
Rhett still stood with Bonnie in his arms as Scarlett rose to her feet.
Her lips sweetly met Rhett's as she took their daughter in her arms and began to walk towards the door.
"Scarlett," he suddenly said. "I love you."
She turned back, a huge smile on her face. Her eyes were dancing but filled with a deeper emotion.
"I know and thank you," she slowly said, "for loving me even when I was a fool."
"But what a pretty fool you are," he said with a grin. He was rewarded with a smile and an arch of her brow. Now was the perfect moment to give her the gift he had been waiting all day to give her. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a note.
Handing it to Scarlett he said, "It is a present for you."
Her eyes lit up but she shot him a saucy look. "Really Rhett? Another present I do declare you are spoiling me horribly as much as Bonnie."
He laughed. "And I intend to spoil you all the more. Especially tomorrow night."
Her eyes met his with longing but she quickly looked away with a sigh. Tomorrow night would be the night that they were able to make love again. Both longed for the pleasure and burned with passion at the thought of it. He would have taken her up to their room that moment but he held himself back, knowing he wanted her to be ready. Even Scarlett's seductive smiles and pleas of last night he had ignored with great difficulty.
Rhett smiled as she scanned the note with Bonnie in the crook of her other arm.
"Oh Rhett!" she choked out. "Robert is really coming back?"
"I knew how you missed him and pride kept you from writing him, my dear. So I took the liberty of writing him about our marriage and Bonnie."
"I really do love you Rhett Butler," she softly said. Bonnie let out a coo and Scarlett held her closer to her chest with a smile.
"Well aren't you coming? I'm starving to death and I must tell Melly, she'll be thrilled and Carreen too."
Rhett let out a long chuckle and strode over to Scarlett, putting one arm around her and pulling her to his side. With the other arm he took Bonnie's tiny hand in his but his eyes never left Scarlett's.
Her eyes were on his too and their gaze couldn't be broken as they walked into the house. The family was waiting for them and friends that had been a part of their life even when the war had ravaged the land.
Now the war was over and the land ready to be restored. They could live again and Rhett suddenly knew there was nothing he'd rather do then live. With Scarlett and his Bonnie. Loving Scarlett hadn't been easy, Rhett thought, but well worth the risk. He followed the steps of the woman that had held his heart captive with a smile on his face.
When her eyes met his across the table once they were seated, Rhett Butler knew this was where he was meant to be. Finally he had found peace none other then in the love of people that accepted him and in the arms of his beautiful and feisty wife with her green eyes that he would never tire of looking at.
The former blockade runner was home with the Southern belle that had stolen his heart years before. Only this time he had her heart also. Rhett Butler sat back with a contented sigh. It was a good thing that he had believed in lost causes for the cause he had fought for was the best of them all and the most sweet. Scarlett and him shared a smile again, her eyes sparkling. The best time was now with Scarlett and he intended to savor every moment of it and hold on to it forever.