Chapter 1: Felicity Expecting

Ben paced back and forth outside of the bedchamber he shared with his fiesty wife Felicity, whom he had found unconscious in the barn- in her horse's stall, of all places. He trembled lightly, his insides a mass of nerves twisting and turning with the tormnet of waiting. What was taking the doctor so long? If it was something small he would have been out by now, wouldn't he? It must have been something awful, he decided, running a hand through the top of his hair. It hurt to inhale. He felt like the entire world was pressing in on his heart.

Nothing else mattered, nothing was worth living for if Felicity was not well. He had long ago decided that in the even that something terrible happened to her, he would follow her into death. There was no remaining in this sorry world without her. She was his heart, and a man could not survive without a heart.

In his panic, he had sent Blissful to the Merriman house to fetch , or any Merriman that was able to come back with Bliss. He didn't care who. Even if it was Nan, who was merely civil to him and nothing more. He rubbed his sweating hands together, then shoved them into his waistcoat pockets.

After what seemed like years (but in fact had only been half an hour), the bedchamber door squeaked open and the doctor-a middle-aged man by the name of West-stepped halfway out of the room and said with a pleasant face, ", you may come in now if you'd like."

It only mildly registered that the rear door of their house opened and sounds of shoes on the hardwood floor meant Bliss had returned with whomever, but Ben strode right into the room, just barely grazing 's sleeve with his own on his way to get to his wife. Felicity was sitting up in their bed, her face set as if she had just woke up from a long night's sleep. She half-smiled at Ben as he rushed to her side, taking her lace-gloved hands into his own.

"My God, Felicity, are you all right?"he demanded shakily, his fear plain on his face.

"She is simply fine, Ben," said Doctor West with a smile, as he picked up his coat, tricorn and medical bag from a nearby chair. Seeing the beffudlement on the younger man's face he chuckled and added, "You should be pleased to know that your lovely wife her eis now expecting."

Ben turned back to Felicity and gulped, his brown eyes wide with surprise. "Really, Lissie? We're going to have a child?"

"Yes, Ben," Felicity said softly, unable to keep from smiling at the awe on Ben's face. "We knew this was likely. Now it has been confirmed." She inhaled deeply, a little shakily herself. "I'm pregnant. Really, truly."

"Oh Lissie! We're foing to have our very own family!" Unable to help himself, Ben squeezed her to him and kissed her as hard as he could. The he rememberred that the doctor was still standing there, blushed and inquired, "Uh, she is all right, right?" He looked back at Felicity again. "Right?"

The docotor laughed. "Ben, she is going to be fine, as far as I can tell. Fainting is usually a sign of pregnancy in women, in my experience in the matter. A little adjustment to her diet should help remedy that. I suggest you rest for the remainder of the evening and take care not to do anything strenuous until after the baby is born. Ah, it appears you have company."

The bedchamber door swung the rest of the way open to admit a worried-looking Martha Merriman, with Blissful Jpones right behind her. "felicity!" cried in alarm! "Oh Lord, you are so pale! What has happened?" She swooped down to Felicity's other side and imemdiately began feeling her daughter's forehead for fever. "Ben, what happened?"

"Mother, I'm fine, actually. I just fainted, that's all."

"Fainted? But why? You do not feel feverish-what is it?"

Ben and Felicity were looking at each other and grinning.

"Now what is that about?" Martha demanded, looking confused. "Fainting spells are never to be taken lghtly-" Seeing that the doctor was grinning, and Bliss, who had already sensed it just by observing the young married couple, was grinning as well, Martha momentarily looked about as bewildered as a person could get, then realized what 'it' was about. She gasped, her eyes widening with realization.

"You're pregnant! Oh my goddness-gracious! You are finally with child! Oh LIssie!" She flung her arms around her daughter and hugged her so hard Felicity saw stars. "Oh my dear daughter, you're expecting! Your father is going to be so happy! Oh this is wonderful, Felicity!"

Felicity and Ben exchanged another look: Now it begins!

"Missus Lissie's going to be a Momma!" marvelled Bliss delightfully, hands on hips and looking happy herself. "How about that!"

"Believe it or not, stranger things have happened," said Doctor West good-humoredly, and everyone laughed. He doffed his hat to the ladies and headed for the door. "Apparently, there is a celebration in order, so I'll leave you good people to it. Again, my congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Davidson. I bid you all a good day!"

Martha Merriman was in such ecstasies that she had forgotten to get up and curtsy. She was hugging Felicity again and crying tears of joy. Ben gave Felicity's nearest hand a squeeze and grinned. Over her mother's shoulder at her windpipe, Felicity grinned helplessly. Ben mouthed the words "I love you," and she mouthed them back as best she could.

Martha felt her daughter's need to inhale, so she released her daughter and beamed at her proudly. "My first-born daughter, going to be a mother! And I, a grandmother! Yet I feel as though I were thirteen again!' And she giggled uncontrollably. "Oh forgive me, darling, I am just so happy for you-for the both of you! This is the most blessed thing to happen in such a long time!"

"Even more blessed than Nan's upcoming engagement to Lucien?" Felicity asked of her mother with a teasing smile.

Immediately Martha blushed. "Oh! Well, that is cause for celebration, too, of course!I am just so happy that you and Ben are now expecting your first child! a baby is always a miracle!"

"That is is," agreed Ben, gazing at Felicity with admiration. Then he remembered what it was he had been in such a big hurry to see Felicity about earlier. "And speaking of glad tidings, I had been looking for you, Lissie, to tell you that Arthur came by the store just before I closed to tell me that Elizabeth is expecting, too!"

's mouth dropped open, as did Felicity's simultaneously, both women looking at each other and then back at Ben in amazement. "Elizabeth, too!" exclaimed Felicity, instantly wanting to jump out of the bed and go to her friend and rejoice. "I cannot believe it! We-we had confided in each other we believed that we both might be expecting, but I never thought it would really happen! And it is!"

"Oh goodness," said Blissfull, shaking her head and smiling playfully. "The two o' you, havin' babies at the same time! There aint nowhere safe in this town!"

Ben nudged her hand and grinned. "Remember Elizabeth prophesizing our children gorwing up together? Looks like it may actually happen after all!"

Felicity laughed nervously. "At this point, I don't want to say anything is impossible. I must go see her at once, Ben, I want to tell her-"

"Oh no you don't, pretty Lissie," Ben interrupted gently, scooting closer to her on the bed so that he could take her shoulders and force her to ease back against the pillows, with objecting to her getting up so soon as well. Ben held her hands again. "You are getting rest tonight. You can see Elizabeth tomorrow, all right. I was quite ready to die when I saw you unconscious in the barn, so please allow me to spoil you tonight, will you?"

"Yes, yes," Martha chimed in. "Listen to Ben, Liissie, he has your best interests at heart! I can stay and help Bliss here with anything you need-"

"Mother," Felicity inserted with a soft sigh, "I know you are excited and you want to help with everything now, but tonight, please? I will definitely be needing your help in the near future, and I will be ever so grateful. More than you know. But Ben and I just found out. I would like to spend the evening alone with him."

"Oh yes! Yes, that would be nice, wouldn't it?" felt no offence at all, not with Felicity smiling so warmly and looking so at ease. "When your father and I found out I was expecting, we wished for the very same thing, he and I. Your grandfather wanted to invite guests right away and begin toasting to our good news! But Edward and I wanted to celebrate alone for awhile, first and thenwe would-would you just listen to me, chattering on like a magpie! Ah, Lissie, I will be quite prepared to guide you through this, your first birth. There is plenty of time for fussing over you!"Felicity smiled gratefully as her mother kissed her forehead.

Martha patted Ben's shoulder and removed herself from their bed, unable to keep from beaming. "In the mean-time, am I to tell only the family about your expecting for now?"

Both Felicity and Ben could see she was just itching to tell anyone and everyone about it, so Felicity gave her mother a sly smile and said, "Mother, I would love it if you and Father would go to Elizabeth and Arthur's house and tell them, and let them know I am so happy for them, too. Would you?"

"If you insist!" said gleefully, plainly thrilled to death to be sharing the news as soon as possible. "And you know your father, my dear; he will want to rush over as soon as I tell him! I will rein him in for tonight, but when morning comes, I cannot be responsible for his banging on your door before he even goes to open the store. He will be so excited!"

"We are looking forward to it, ma'am," Ben said, trying to keep from laughing. It took obvious effort. While Martha Merriman giggled, Ben looked over his shoulder at Blissful Jones, who was watching them all with a twinkle in her eyes, and said, "Bliss, if there is anything you would like to go do this evening..."

She definitely got the hint. ", I don't know why you two pay me at all for the many times I'm-hee hee-'dismissed'! My Momma got a job in town as a washer-woman, so I s'pose I can go see about her. See you at breakfast, then?"

"Yes!" Felicity and Ben said together, making burst into laughter anew.

"Come, Bliss, let us leave them in peace," she said with the largest of smiles, gesturing for the young dark woman to accompany her. "While there is time for them to still have it!"

Bliss tee-heed right along with Felicity's mother, the two of them bidding the young couple a good evening as they quit the room. Ben and Felicity grinned at each other as thye listened to the sounds of excited feminine chatter all the way down the stairs. The chuckled, giving each other knowing looks. After a moment Ben commented, "I have never seen your mother so enthusiastic in all of the time I have known her."

"That's funny. Nor have I," said Felicity. Ben was eyeing her thoughtfully, so she patted the pillow beside her. "Come to me, husband."

"I thought you'd never ask!" Eager for as much physical contact as possible, Ben swiftly removed his boots and situated himself in the bed beside her, turned toward her so that he could pull he rinto his arms, to his chest, and look down into her bright green eyes. Felicity helped out by unbuttoning his waistcoat. He removed her mobcap and pulled the pind from her red hair so that the waves of it could fall about her shoulders. Arousal was immediate, but he was going to do his best to ignore it. After all, she had only recently fainted.

It was as if she knew what he was thinking, she knew him so well. "We can still be intimate, you know, for awhile. I do know that much about pregnancy, having learned a lot just by listening to MrsTrent."

"Ah yes, I recall the ever-knowledgable . What else did you learn?"

"That there will be nausea for awhile, especially in the morning. My feet will swell, my back might hurt, my breasts will get a little bigger, I will want to eat the most bizarre-"

"Wati, wait, wait," Ben interrupted, "Wait there a minute. Did you say your breasts will get bigger?"

"Yes, that is what I said." Seeing the look of awe on his face, she snickered wickedly.

"Magnificent!" said he.

Felicity leaned back some so that she could see his face clearer. She cocked an eyebrow amusedly, "So I assume that is not repulsive to you?'

"Goodness no!" His lusty brown eyes dropped to her cleavage irresistably. "You have, without a doubt, the most beautiful, seductive, enticing of feminine forms that man has ever seen, and I have no greater pleasure in being the only man in the world who gets to touch and kiss this most heavenly of bodies...(He grinned at how she laughed at him sounding so poetic) "But to think that a pregnancy can make what is physically beautiful even more beautiful? Pray God, let me have the decency to refrain from bedding you continually!"

Sher threw her gorgeous red head back and laughed as hard as any sailor.

"I mean it, Felicity. You know I must have you as often as possible already, as it is."

But that only made her laugh harder, until her eyes had teared up. She patted his chest finally and laid a palm upon his warm cheek. "You know, Ben, they say a woman who is expecting is prone to unusual cravings right up until the child is born...and that those cravings do not necesariloy have to be for food, either."

Ben stared at her, spell-bound. After a moment he found his voice and said firmly, "You are in serious danger of being ravished, woman."

"I do not think of it that way," Flicity replied to that with an air of casual mock indifference. "But rather it is you who is in passionate peril, my handsome husband." Seeing how this awed him all the more, she added as if it were a playful hint, "If I were to be in the back, doing the book-keeping, and I suddenly have a craving for my husband's attentions and I came to get you? Wuld you deny me?"

"I would close the blasted store. I never could deny you anything. Not then, not now. I am at your mercy."

"Excellent." She fiddled absently with the buttons of his shrt. "Do see that you remain that way."

He gulped again, feeling ever so aroused. The room was getting shadowy what with evening getting on, so he kissed her hard, then reluctantly withdrew to get the tinderbos from off his bedside table. "Um, do you want the candles lit along with the fireplace. or just the fireplace, or maybe just candles-"

"Ben," she spoke softly and low, "A fire will suffice. I would like to get out of this corset, then."

Instict screamed at him to go rip it off, as he had become accustomed to doing in the heat of passion, but he merely nodded as he got a fire going in their room's cozy fireplace. She moved carefully off the bed to reach back and start unlacing herself, so he hurried to help. He took off his waist coat just in time for Felicltiy to turn about to him and begin pulling his shirt tails out of his breeches' waistband.

"Hey now, I was supposed to be helping you," he said, but quite enjoyed being undressed by his wife immensely. "Aren't you exhauseted after having fainted?"

"Nay, I am fine. I just want to be close to you." She forced his shirt off of his shoulders and kissed his neck. "I can tell by looking at your breeches that you want the same thing, too."

"Oh indeed, do I ever!" While kissing her, he helped her push her dress and shift off, then lifted her clean off the floor into his arms and took her right back to the bed, laying her down gently. She gazed up at him with hungry eyes as he removed hi sbreeches. The sight of him fully erect and fully prepared made a sound almost like an approving growl come from her throat. The grin that spread across his face and the blushing of his cheeks was so like the Ben he was at seventeen, that Felicity's heart skipped a beat. He was so beautiful without clothing!

"Are you sure you feel up to this, pretty Lissie?" he asked, his having gone husky. His eyes flicked over her naked form eagerly when she flipped the covers "I don't want to hurt you or the baby. I could never forgive myself if-"

"Shush," she commanded. "You will be doing nothing of the sort. Now come here to me."

He slid in beside her then turned to her immediately. "You know I'd tear through anything and anyone to make love to you, sweetheart, but are you completely sure you feel well enough so soon after a faint?"

"Will you just shush! " She grinned as she said it. "I will be furious with you if you don't take me here and now!"

Never could refuse her.

When he was deep inside her, with ehr legs and arms wrapped tightly about him, kissing her as hard as he could, he was in heaven. There was literally no where else he wanted to be. Following the fiery, sometimes aggressive erruption of passion that always left the both of them gasping for breath and utterly drained of will to move or speak, there was a peace and happiness that could be found no where else for them. Ben couldn't believe that just a few hours ago he was deciding to take his own life in the event that he should lose Felicity. Incredible. Now he lay holding her protectively in his arms as they both regained breath and voice in the aftermath of such e fierce love-making.

"Did...did I hurt you, Lissie?" he ventured to ask after several moments of quiet.

She groaned, half-sleepy and half in irritation. "Not that again? Ben, you didn't hurt me. You never hurt me."

He pressed his lips to her forehead and murmured, "The bruises on your body tell me differently."

"You speak as if you do not have bruises of your own. Can you even feel how scored your back is right now? Seriously. Do you want to see your blood beneath my fingernails?"

He grinned. "No, I guess not."

"Then let us speak of something else. What do you think we are having, a boy or a girl?"

"I doesn't matter," Ben told her gently. "As long as you are all right."

"Oh do give me a guess!" She sat up, turned to him so that she could look into his soft brown eyes.

"Very well, then. I will say we are having a girl."

"Truly? I think we are going to have a boy."

Ben hugged her to him and laughed. "Seems we have a differing of opinions! Hey, are you hungry?"

"Actually yes! We completely missed supper."

"Well, we were quite busy, my beauty." He kissed her firmly on the mouth. "Allow me to go and fetch us something?"

"Certainly!" Her smile was one of delight as she watched him grab his breeches to put on and then his shirt. She liked watching him move around naked, he was such a masculine sight, so tall and well built. She settled back into the covers with a sigh of contentment. Content for now, but not so much looking forward to the experiencing the signs of pregnancy. The fact that women had been going through this for many many ages did ctoss her mind, but Felicity retorted menatally that she was one woman who had yet to go through it. Knowing herself, it would probably be an abnormal pregnancy. Her hand dropped to her stomach again, and she tried to imagine herself all big and round with a baby growing inside of her. Aye, it would be amazing, all right.

A very happy Ben returned with, of all things, the cherry pie she and Bliss had made earlier, before she ha decided to go out to the barn and groom Penny. He handed her a fork and the pie pan. He was all enthusiastic grins. "You start on this and i will get us some milk!"

"Ben, wait!" she called just before he went out of the room again. He paused, looking back at her with his face so eager to please. Felicity felt her heart swell with love for him all the more. "thank you," she saig warmly.

"What for, love?"

"For being the best husband in the world, that's all."

His grin went even wider, his heart pounding joyfully in his ribs. "I will be right back!"

Felicity adjusted the covers beneath her armpits and studied the pie int he firelight. It was a nice-looking pie, perhaps not as perfect as one of her mother's, but then again, Felicity wasn't her mother. She believed her pie to look just right. Ben didn't seemed to care that the top crust was a bit lop-sided. She'd seen him practically dive right into her pies time and time again, each time ending up full, satisfied and content in a post pie-daze, complementing her over and over.

She was going to be a mother. Mothers were supposed to be the makers of fantastic pies.

"I shall be my own kind of mother," she affirmed aloud to herself. "I can be a good mother without sacrificing my spirit." She gave herself a curt nod and plunged the fork into the pie.

As predicted, Edward Merriman was pounding at their door just at the crack of dawn, bearing a holly wreath for their door and followed by an excited William. A sleepy-eyed Ben was the one to open the back door and get caught up in a hearty, holly-wreathed embrace from his father-in-law and former master. There were actually tears glistening in the older man's blue eyes as Ben let him and William in.

"I am going to be an uncle, here at age eleven!" William had exclaimed. The young lad was looking more and more like his father the older he got. "I will go wake Felicity and tell her you've come about the good news."

"I'm happy for you both, Ben," told him proudly. "You will be good parents, lad."

"I hope so, sir!" Ben flashed him a grin, then sprinted up the stairs to fetch his wife.

Felicity was greeted downstairs with hugs from her father and brother, "Oh my darling daughter!" Edward exclaimed, spnning her around in he hugged her. He put her down on her feet and beamed joyously. "You're going to be a mother! I cannot believe it! How do you feel?"

"Excited!" she replied, pink color flooding her cheeks. "Nervous, too! I've never been a mother before, its all so new!"

"Your mother will help you, Lissie, she is the best! We are all so happy for you both. You must come to dinner this evening, will you?"

Ben and Felicity looked at each other, smiling. Ben shrugged. "Certainly, sir, we'd love to!"

Felicity came down in her grey and white day dress, looking refreshed and happy to see her father, whpo swept her into his tight embrace, twirling her around and beaming through tears of joy. He put her back down upon her feet again and exclaimed, "My daughter, a mother! Its almost impossible to believe! Oh my Lissie, I am so happy! How do you feel?"

"Excited!" she replied, sniffing back her own tears. "And nervous and scared and happy-oh father isn't this incredible!"

"I'm going to be the uncle!" William wanted to remind them all, almost in protest-fashion.

"Oh yes, yes you are!" Felicity laughed, pulling her younger brother into another hug.

"I'm know your father will be just as equally proud as I am, Ben," Edward said, putting a hand on his former apprentice's shoulder. "Have you heard fromhim lately?"

"Yes sir. He will be coming to Williamsburg for Christmas with my brother. I will write them and tell them our wonderful news, and perhaps they will be here before that." Ben sounded pleased.

was about to tell them he had heard that Elizabeth and Arthur were expecting, too, but he did not get the chance: Arthur and Elizabeth were both pounding at the back door just then. Felicity went to answer, and was immediately embraced by a joyfully crying Elizabeth. There were hugs, handshakes, and laughter all around that sunny morning in early Decemeber. It was decided that the Coles, Pratts, and Merriman would assemble at the Coles for a celebrationary dinner. Elizabeth's mother had already been on her way to see Martha Merriman just after Edward left to come see Felicity and Ben. It was learned that since elizabeth had begun throwing up, Arthur had, too, simply out of nervousness.

But on this particular morning it was Felicity who went fleeing back upstairs to grab a chamber pot.

A/N: After all this time, I recently got my first really negative review of this story, and I have to admit-I laughed! The person, who is usually doing comments for Star Wars stories, thought that there was too much kissing in Part 1. So I'm going to repeat myself and yet again stress that this tale is named 'An American Girl ROMANCE', with stress on the word romance. not 'An American Girl HANDSHAKE.' I can't help but wonder why someone who is apparently very into Star Wars wanted to venture into this genre, anyway. But who the hell really cares, right? This person, he/she/it, also expressed that that if I put that many adult references in the part rated 'K' they hate to think what I've got further in. THEN DON'T THINK ABOUT IT! But I will go ahead and tell you because that's just how fucking generous I am: SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX! HA HA HA!

Look, if you find yourself reading shit that you don't like, know what to do? STOP READING IT! Just stop. I've said this so many times I'm as blue as a Smurf in the face. It won't bother me, offend me, or ruin any further postings down the line-and yes, oh hell yes, there is much more to come. Take that in any sense you wish. It concerns me not. What nags me is that I have to keep repeating myself over and over. This is a romance-a cheesy, bodice-ripping, hot-and-bothered, drug store-romance-novel-type story I started out writing to make only myself happy, and if people like it, that's fantastic, and if they don't, then that's fantastic, too. That said, on to Chapter Two of part freakin' FIVE!

Damn, that felt good to get out.