Josef had gone straight to the hospital after dropping Michaela and Sully off at the train station. He'd worked all day and night until it grew too late to concentrate. He'd slept in his office and then risen to work again the next morning. Now it was late, and he'd just arrived on the front porch steps of his home on Beacon Hill. He knew Elizabeth would be angry, demanding to know where he'd been. He hadn't the energy to argue with her. He was too angry to argue with her. How could she just let her daughter leave without trying to make amends? He knew they hadn't reached any type of reconciliation when Michaela had come down to the carriage looking on the verge of tears.
He walked into the dark house, knowing that it was far too late for even Harrison and Martha to be roaming about. The only sound was that from the ticking clock on the mantle in the parlor. He put his coat, hat and medical bag in the closet and started his ascent up the stairs. Bracing himself for a confrontation, he opened up the bedroom door and walked in. It was completely dark, so he struck a match and lit a bedside lamp. He was surprised to see the bed made without a wrinkle in the sheets. There on his pillow lay a single piece of paper.
Adjusting his glasses on his nose, Josef sat down on the edge of bed and began to read.
I've gone to my sister Lucy's home in North Carolina. I don't know when I'll be home. I feel as if I need to stay away for a while. I know you're angry with me for the way I've behaved, but I stand by my reluctance to accept Michaela's marriage to Mr. Sully. She's my daughter, and I want what's best for her, but I do not see how this marriage is going to bring anything good into her life, especially with her going out into the middle of nowhere with him.
I know you've always taken her side, and I know that was your way of showing support, but Josef, I would appreciate your being on my side just once. It hurts to know that I'll never be first in your life. So, I will write when I've arrived in North Carolina. I can't make any guarantees about the timing of my return. You'll hear from me soon.
Michaela lay wrapped in the bed sheets, her sleepy gaze directed at Sully's face. He had fallen asleep an hour ago. It was late, and she was certain they wouldn't get a full night's sleep. But it had been worth it. For a while, she'd forgotten all about one of her biggest reasons for leaving Boston. She'd been completely happy wrapped in the arms of her husband, finally able to show her love for him, and in turn, let him help her discover how wonderful making love could be.
She closed her eyes, remembering how amazing Sully had been. He was patient and careful, but he knew how to make her feel so wonderful. The way he looked at her; the way he moved around her body, kissing and caressing her, had encouraged her to explore him. She'd found a sensitive spot on his neck that drove him wild when she kissed him there. She had blushed at first at the moan that had escaped him, but soon, she realized it was something he really enjoyed, and she was beginning to understand what made him tick; what drove him to the edge and encouraged him to return the favor.
Chewing on her lower lip, she thought about a lot of things. She thought about the child she was carrying and about what was going to happen when they finally settled down. She knew Sully was going to make an incredible father, and she hoped that that would make up for her own insecurities about being a mother. Something felt odd, however. It almost didn't feel real. It felt as if being pregnant was all this was ever going to amount to. She still couldn't visualize this child. She couldn't see herself as a mother just yet. She knew the shock had worn off already, but it didn't feel that way. It was all very foreign to her.
The smile returned to her face when Sully's eyes opened slowly. He smiled in return when he saw her gorgeous grin.
"How long you been watchin' me?"
"Oh, about an hour," she whispered, her fingertips gently tracing his jaw line. Sully chuckled, taking that hand in his and pressing it to his lips. She blushed, as he softly suckled her fingertip.
"You look beautiful," he whispered.
"I feel beautiful," she breathed. She felt a little silly, but he made her feel so light and carefree. She couldn't help it. She wasn't going to feel bad about being so happy anymore. She was going to embrace it. She had something to truly live for now, and she wasn't going to let anything get in her way anymore.
"Yes." She nodded and rolled onto her back, stretching out. The sheet slipped down her, and Sully gazed at the swell of her breast for only a moment before she covered herself and smiled, blushing again.
She turned back to lie facing him. Sully held his hand up, and she linked her fingers with his. Smiling tiredly, she scooted closer to him. He leaned his, kissing her forehead softly.
"Good," he breathed. "I always want ya to feel happy."
"I do right now," she promised. Sully nodded, leaning his forehead against hers.
"If ya ever start to feel scared, or…or somethin' like that, you can always talk to me." Michaela sighed, nodding.
"I know. You're so good to me." She rewarded him with a kiss. He smiled against her lips, moving his hands under the covers and around her back, sending a thrill of excitement through her body.
"I still can't believe it, Michaela. I can't believe we're here…"
"In this hotel?" she asked.
"No," he chuckled into her hair. "I mean…us…right here…together. I never thought it'd happen. I mean, I…I thought about it, but I didn't think a woman like you'd ever want a man like me."
"I proved you wrong," Michaela replied, snuggling up against him.
"Ya sure did."
"Sully, there's no other man in my life who can do what you've done for me. You just know me…here." She placed her hand over her heart. "I would have been a fool to have not recognized the strength you've given to me."
"You're just as strong without me." She shook her head.
"No. You've given me something…something very powerful. It's freedom, Sully. It's the ability to love and trust and be with somebody when I didn't think any of that would ever happen for me. I owe you so much."
"No," he assured her. "Ya don't owe me nothin'. I'll just be happy if I can spend the rest of my life makin' you happy." He looked down. "That's all I want."
"Really?" She bit her lower lip, grinning.
"Yep," he said with a nod. "I wanna build you the nicest house there is. I wanna grow old with you. I wanna watch you nurse our babies. I wanna watch them grow and play." Michaela's heart melted at Sully's dreams of the future. He made everything sound like a dream, and it made this journey feel almost magical, despite the circumstances that had brought them together. "That sound alright?"
"It sounds amazing, Sully," she whispered softly against his lips, kissing him again. When she pulled back, she let out a soft yawn, and Sully chuckled, shaking his head. "We should sleep." Michaela nodded, kissing his cheek.
"I know," she whispered. But instead of pulling away and rolling over to sleep, she kissed him again, this time with more passion than before, and Sully hungrily opened up to her once again.
The next morning, Michaela and Sully settled into their new compartment. Sully put Michaela's medical bag under their seats, as well as the rest of their carry on things. They'd checked with the station, making sure to account for all of the things they were bringing with them. They still hadn't settled on a destination, but at the depot, they'd heard of supplies being in great need out in Colorado Springs. They'd both considered it silently to themselves, but neither had brought it up to the other yet. They would keep going until they'd found the place that felt the most right to them. Neither knew quite where that might be, but they were eager to continue on.
"You comfortable?" Sully asked her, as he closed the compartment door. He and Michaela sat across from one another, both propping their legs up on the opposite seat. Michaela just smiled at him, her eyes shining happily.
"Yes," she replied, her face flushed. Sully smiled back at her. All he wanted to do was take her into his arms and kiss her, but the train lurched forward and started off, and the compartment car wobbled a little before a steady speed set in on the tracks.
Michaela stared across at her husband, grateful for everything he'd shown her; everything she'd learned from him. It wasn't hard to see a bright future. She wasn't naïve enough to think that she was suddenly cured of all fears and worries. She was going to live with what had happened to her for the rest of her life. But having Sully there was like a sign from God that life went on. There was happiness at the end of what had been a dark, terrifying spiral toward self-seclusion and loneliness. Sully had always been there for her, and she knew he'd stay. This was no longer a marriage of convenience. The more she thought about it, the more she realized it never really had been.
After a little while, Michaela was tired of staring out at the land as it passed by so quickly, so she pulled the shade and moved across the compartment. She stumbled as the train jolted, and Sully quickly caught her before she could fall.
"Michaela, are you alright?"
"Yes," she assured him, holding her stomach. She sat down next to him, placing her feet up next to his. Sully had just pulled out his little book of poetry out.
"Would you read to me?" she asked. Sully tensed a little, remembering the last time he'd read her a poem. But she just smiled at him. "Anything," she said quietly.
"Really?" he asked, concerned.
"Anything," she repeated. She lay back against the seat, as Sully paged through the book. He glanced at her once in a while to see her closing her eyes, a beautiful smile pulling at the corners of her mouth. He took her hand in his.
"Alright," he said, clearing his throat. "How about this one?" He began to read, and Michaela watched him with fascination, studying the way he smiled when he read a line he especially liked, frowning when he read something that didn't make much since to him. His blue eyes were mesmerized by the fluidity of the words, and his curiosity about these poems made her love him even more, if it was possible.
She stretched out in her seat, watching him as he read, the softness of his words soothing her to the point of complete relaxation. With one hand clasped in Sully's, her other moved to the faint bulge of her stomach. She closed her eyes, and soon, his voice lulled her into a peaceful sleep.
A pair of brown eyes watched from three compartments down. They were no longer visible, as the shades had been pulled, but he could imagine what was going on behind those doors. He could imagine her weeping in his arms after he read her a sappy poem. He could see her falling into his embrace, letting him try to wash away the memories of that one night.
Smiling to himself, he remembered. Yawning, he shut the shades to his compartment too, insuring he wouldn't be accidentally spotted by his beautiful little project for the entirety of the journey. He smiled, shaking his head, as he opened up his journal and began to write.
I long to feel her body against mine again. I long to hear her screaming, begging me to stop. She's a fighter, but she's too strong for a woman. She needs to be taught a lesson. I want to teach her. I want her to know she'll never escape me, no matter how far she runs. I'll always be there. She's mine.
The End of Part 1
Part 2, coming soon
Author's Note: Thank you all for your continued support and feedback! This is the end of Part 1. Look for Part 2 coming soon!