AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the end. And I want to thank everyone. My betas: Eolivet, Scarlet Angel and Slynn6776. I'd not gotten through it without you. And then my reviewers. I had no idea what it felt like to have so many enjoy the story. I'm so grateful to you for reading and reviewing. Maybe I'll continue this one. But for now, I end it here.
Mary walked into Crawley house and was met by Moseley as usual. It was the weekend, so she knew her husband would be home. Usually he enjoyed a walk around the village on his day off, and she would try to join him. But today, she went to Downton, to find out about her mother's condition.
Her mother was pregnant! Doctor Clarkson verified it and everyone, most of all Papa, was shocked. Mama was beaming, excited about the promise of a new child. Mary couldn't blame her. In all honesty she had hoped she'd be making such an announcement soon. Instead, Mary was a little worried she hadn't become pregnant yet, given the frequency she and Matthew were together.
Inside the sitting room was where Mary found Matthew. He was trying to read a book and act as normal as possible, but by now Mary could tell something was amiss. When she entered, he looked at her expectantly. He started to get up but she waved him back down but he was not going to be able to relax. Waiting a beat, Mary nodded, "Yes, she's with child."
"Oh," Matthew said, trying to cover the real meaning of it all. Instead he focused on the positive, "Well, good for them. Robert must be thrilled. He may get that son after all. And you shall have a new sibling! What do you think of that?"
Walking to him, Mary felt the urge to put her arms around him. He was very white and those beautiful eyes of his were filled with worry. He had nothing to worry about. Sitting down beside him, she placed her hand on his arm and rubbed it. "I hardly know what to think, honestly. I really thought anyone making an announcement about a baby would be us."
He looked away, blushing. Mary was used to evoking his blushing when she talked of their intimate moments, Matthew never felt comfortable discussing it when they were in a public room of the house. This was different though. "How do you feel?" she asked.
He didn't look at her at first, Slowly he turned his head and his face was unrecognizable to her. "I guess, I'm thinking of...what this means for me...and you."
She moved her hand into his and squeezed it. "It will be alright. You're acting like we will be kicked out of the house!"
"No, I know he won't do that..."
"And I suppose now that you insisting on having that job was a good idea after all. You've proven yourself a valuable asset to the firm..."
"Oh, Mary," he said standing up now. Mary was surprised at this side of him. She expected him to be nervous but not so agitated.
"It's not that. I was used to living on my wits before coming here, so that's not my concern. Not really."
He still wasn't looking at her and Mary wasn't sure what to think. "What?"
"It's just, you are no longer married to the heir! That this marriage you were forced into has now removed any chance of your place in society. Being just a solicitor's wife..."
"Just a solicitor's wife?" Mary said, a flush of anger flowing through her. Is that how he saw himself? Standing up she walked over to him. "If the baby turns out to be a boy, he will be the heir, that's true. But that doesn't change things between us! My God, Matthew, you see everything in black and white."
"Mary, it does change things. At least the circumstances. Mary, I loved the idea of being able to provide for you, that the day when I became Earl meant you would become Countess of Grantham. You were born to play that part. And if not that, another title that's even better. My God, what if she got pregnant two years ago? We would have not married at all..."
"Matthew," was all she could say. Watching her husband struggle with such concerns was difficult to watch. Plus he was so caught up in his argument he seemed to forget he was speaking to Mary now, as if he was just voicing the concerns and worries out loud.
Then his tone shifted. "And not to mention, how guilty I feel. Guilty you were forced to marry a simple middle class lawyer from Manchester."
This had to be stopped. She placed her hands on his chest, which stopped his tirade. Moving forward, she kissed him. Her hands went to his face, cupping it. She poured as much love and tenderness in the kiss as she could and his arms went around her body. Soon, they were pressed up against each other. Her hands moved to behind his head, tangling in his hair. One of his hands found that place on her lower back that could make her moan almost instantly. He massaged that spot and Mary forgot in the next few moments whatever concerns were on their minds.
Eventually, they pulled apart to catch their breath. When she regained her ability to speak, Mary said, "Now, I think it's obvious that there is nothing that will make me regret marrying you. Not now, not ever."
Matthew started to say something but emotion overtook him and he hugged her. In his arms, Mary closed her eyes, breathing in his scent. No, whatever happened with the new baby wasn't going to change how she felt about him. It just couldn't.
Stepping back, she looked into his eyes, smiling, "You should have more faith!"
Now he looked sheepish. "Well, I still remember the words you used to say...I guess this news brought all that back, everything. Fresh as the day they were spoken."
"Oh," she said, tears welling in her eyes. How she wished she could remove the memory of that stupid cow of a girl. "I wish I could take it all back, but I can't. But I can let you know that whatever happens, even if it means moving to..." She willed herself to be strong in saying it, "Manchester, as long as we are together."
Now at this he laughed. "Manchester? You really do see it as a stop on the way to hell, don't you?"
"I wouldn't say it like that," Mary said, worried maybe she had described it as such and he overheard her. "No matter; I've been wrong before. At least once before. And I freely admit how glad I was to be wrong about you."
He pulled her into him. "Good, because Earl or not, I'll spend my life making you the happiest woman in the world."
She giggled as he started kissing her neck. Very soon she wasn't laughing anymore and found herself wishing them to be upstairs. "Matthew, perhaps you and I should go see the flowers in the bedroom?"
He paused, recognizing their code phrase. Of course, the servants were not fooled any more than his mother was. But everyone kept up that pretense and honestly the couple began to care less and less what the household thought. "I'd love to - you lead on, darling!"
It was the day of the garden party and such a beautiful day for it. Unfortunately, Matthew thought sadly, the family was recovering from Cora's miscarriage. His eyes scanned to the large tent where she sat. She looked not herself at all and Matthew wished there was something he could say. Robert was a shell of himself too, as he walked around the grounds, trying to talk to his guests but never taking his eyes off his wife.
Matthew could relate. He worried how Mary was taking this news. She'd been really quiet at hearing it. Mary was hardly ever quiet. Matthew wondered if maybe she was taking this too strongly. He knew she missed being up at the house now, not being near her family, even if it meant seeing more of Edith. She wanted to be there for her mother and Matthew had told her maybe she should spend the night for a couple of nights.
For some reason, she refused. He then understood. She clearly was coming down with something. In the night she would become sick and she was so tired during the day these last couple of weeks. It was lasting much longer than a cold. He wanted to ask his mother about it, but Mary told him to trust her.
That morning she was being examined by Doctor Clarkson and he wanted to be there with her. But she told him he needed to come to the party. That if they were both missing, would cause too much attention and she didn't want to concern her parents. He agreed, but this did nothing for his own worry.
Suddenly, he felt a hold of his arm and he turned seeing Mary there. Relief came over him just seeing her. Then he could see the smile on her face and he knew whatever Clarkson had diagnosed, it wasn't a bad thing. Whispering, he asked, "What is it? What did the doctor say?"
Taking him to the side, they walked to a quiet area of the park. While they may have been in eyesight, their words could be spoken with privacy. "Darling, I need you to remain calm."
"Calm?" Now his momentary relief was gone now. "Calm about what?"
"Oh, Matthew," She wrapped her arms around him. "I'm with child."
"You're...you're what?" Realization dawning on Matthew, he felt completely foolish that he hadn't guessed himself. He was the son of medical professionals! How could he not recognize the symptoms?
"We're going to have a baby! Clarkson says I'm at least two months along."
"Two months? Are you sure? Is he sure?" The questions were pointless. Matthew knew it to be true.
She nodded, tears in her eyes. For a second she leaned up and kissed him affectionately. Then she smiled and hugged him.
"Oh, Mary! I'm so happy! You've made me the happiest..." Then he stopped. Stepping back, he glanced behind him at her family over with the rest of the crowd. "You've suspected for a long time."
She nodded. "Yes, a little while. I must confess I was scared at first, wondering what it would be like to be pregnant beside my own mother! But then, their tragedy scared me to death. And the fact that our joy will bring them pain, at least momentarily."
He took her hand. "Mary, I'm sure soon they will be happy for us."
"Yes, they will be," she said, some tears in her eyes. "But let's give them a little time. It's not a bad idea to wait to make an announcement anyway. The early part of a pregnancy is the riskiest so we should give it time, then tell them."
Taking a breath, he looked down at their hands. He never thought this day would come, where he and Mary were what he had hoped, no, prayed for. "I agree, we should wait a little while. But I do want you to know I'm so thrilled."
She laughed a little. "Of course you are. You're married to me."
He smirked but reveled over his wife's words. She really had no idea how true that was. Pulling her close to him, he said, "I love you!"
Her smile dropped as she grew serious. "I love you, too. So very much!"
They began walking back to the party when Mary pointed out her father. He had moved to the center of the group and was shouting. "Can I ask for silence?"
Matthew glanced at his wife, worry on her face at the sight of her father before her. There was no question he had something important to say.
Robert looked around, and then finished. "Because I very much regret to announce that we are war with Germany!"
Matthew's mouth fell open and he felt Mary squeeze his arm. Turning towards her, he saw worry on her face. Well, he hadn't expected this. The day he found out he was to be a father was the day that his country was to go to war.
He started to say something, but realized there wasn't anything he could say. Not to this. Just a moment ago, he was delighted at their future. Now with Robert's words, their future had a dark shadow cast to it. Mary moved closer to him, almost in a hug. He bent his head down to be closer to hers.
She whispered, "Together. We will always be together."
Involuntarily his mouth turned up to a smile. Mary was everything to him, and now carrying the greatest gift of all. This future was uncertain and was more than likely going to get worse before it got better, but somehow, he knew it would be alright. "Yes, my dear, together. Always."