And here we go, the final push.
Reviews are the pearl in the worlds osyter.
It seemed, to Dorcas Lane, that nothing had ever happened in her life until this day. The rest paled in comparison to the dramatic, life-affirming incidents that were continuing to be thrown at her, and she found herself quite exhausted by them. As Gabriel advanced into the room, she backed off towards the table, gripping it's edge. She was so tired, so done with drama that she would have given anything for life to go back to it's usual wonderful normality. And yet here was Gabriel, clearly having seen her and James, which could only mean one thing. More drama.
'Gabriel, please..' Dorcas began. But she could not continue. She crumpled to the nearest chair, and laid her head on her arms, resting on the kitchen table. Gabriel was instantly at her side.
'Dorcas, what's wrong, what is it?' he implored, all thoughts of anger vanishing at the sight of her helplessness. They looked at each other for a moment. Dorcas reached up and touched his cheek.
'I love you.'
The words they had both waited and longed for, both wanted to say, now said in unison. They smiled, then leaned in together. They did not kiss, Dorcas merely rested her head against Gabriel's chest. They stayed like that for a moment, and she began to speak.
'Don't think I do not love him. I do, but not in the way I love you. I need you, and only you. James knows this, and he is gone. I will not condone having any secrets from you.' Gabriel nodded his understanding.
'But now, I think you need to sleep, my dear.' He told her. She didn't object, and allowed him to accompany her to the door of her private rooms. He kissed her on the cheek once, chastely, then watched as she went through the door. It was only at this point that he remembered his anger at her. But all that seemed insignificant now, because he would wake up in the morning as the luckiest man in the whole of creation.
Three months later, Gabriel Cochrane and Dorcas Lane were married on a beautiful summer's morning. It was a wonderful occasion, one that was remembered fondly by the residents of Larkrise and Candleford alike for many years. Dorcas Lane wore her mothers wedding gown, the lace having been expertly repaired by the Pratt sisters, and took the most unconventional step of keeping her own name. The day was a celebration of life and love, epitomised in the radiant couple who went on to run the Post Office and Forge as husband and wife.
James Dowland fell in love with the Elizabeth, young woman he had been casually courting just enough to live happily without Dorcas, though they did correspond on occasion and he continued to send money for the care of Sidney, who visited him three times a year. James and the Elizabeth were married that winter, and had two children, a son called Edwin and a daughter called Dorcas.
Gabriel Cochrane never stopped visiting the grave of his first wife at least once a month, she had, after all been his first love, even if he had not been hers. He was, however, a devoted husband to Dorcas, and a loving father to their son, James.
Dorcas Lane was finally happy. She had Sidney and baby James, and she had Gabriel. Life was good, and continued to be so for the rest of her life.
I realise now that this was fairly short, but I think it worked.
Thank you all of my lovely, patient readers (: