It's been a year already. Unbelievable. If I could have that bottle filled with time now, I know what it would say: 'Year One'.
One year ago, I thought this day was going to be the happiest day of my life. Well, it was. I got married to the man I loved. It had all been so fast. We had only known each other for a couple of days. And although I had liked him very much, I knew he and I would never have a future together. He was double my age and we were too different. Yet, I accepted his proposal. A rather unromantic and unexpected proposal that was. As unexpected for me as for him. If I had only known what I had said 'yes' to by then. Oh god, all those things that had happened in that first year. Many things I never hoped to remember. Like the disaster with the fancy dress ball. Or the inquest. Or when our home, Manderley, burned down. But the worst thing of all and yet the one thing I cannot stop thinking about: his confession about murdering his first wife Rebecca. I have accepted it, I suppose. After all, I love him. And although he has never said so, I know he loves me, too. He shows me. In his own way. He's not a man a many words when it comes to those things. He's a man of actions. A little gesture here, a little smile there. That's how he shows his emotions. Like now, when he's taking my hand into his across the table and smiling at me.
„What are you thinking about?", he asked, looking into my eyes.
„Nothing. Just about what happened one year ago.", I said.
He smiled still, locking my eyes.
„Well, at this time one year ago, I'd say we were on our way to the hotel."
Thinking of this I blushed a little. God, how nervous I was about that first night with him. I had locked myself in the bathroom to get ready for bed.
„I'm still sorry for that bruise.", I said.
His smile turned into a wide grin. „You made up for it. It's already forgotten and forgiven."
Now I blushed even more. When I had locked myself in, I must have checked myself ten times in the mirror, making sure he would not see my nervousness. Then he knocked at the door.
„Are you all right in there?", he asked.
I started to panic a little, there was no way back now. „Yes.", I lied.
I opened the door, too quickly, and hit it against his knee.
„Oh I'm so sorry!", I almost cried.
He took me, gave me a kiss on my forehead and smiled. „It's ok, I'm gonna survive."
He must have read in my eyes that I was nervous and afraid and overwhelmed by this whole situation. So, he kissed me, gently. Soon his kisses moved on, away from my lips down my neck.
„Relax.", he whispered, when he had reached my shoulders. He slipped down the holders of my nightgown, making me almost faint. I felt very sick in that moment. Not because I didn't enjoy what he was doing. It was because I was too nervous and afraid I would do something wrong. After all, he had done this before.
„Rebecca.", I said.
He looked at me, shocked. „What?"
„I'm sorry. I was just...", I stumbled.
He stepped back, looking me up and down. „Are you sure you want this?", he asked.
„Of course I do. Maxim, please. I'm really sorry. It's just, I...", I didn't get to finish my sentence. I wouldn't even have known how. All that mattered now was that he was kissing me again.
„Well then, relax now. And don't worry. I'll be gentle."
And he was, he really was. It didn't even hurt as much as I thought it would. My best school friend's oldest sister had taught us about the facts of life when we were about thirteen. She was just after being married and she had told us that it would hurt a lot and that we should be careful not to get married on a full moon night if we didn't want to have a child in our first year. Every blue moon there is a child conceived, she had said. Well, I now know better. It was a full moon night but we did not conceive a child. I wanted children. And until a while ago I thought he wanted them, too. He needed them. He wanted a son. Someone to inherit Manderley one day. Well, now Manderley was gone and there was nothing to inherit. Maybe I should talk to him about children again. But for now, for tonight, our first wedding anniversary, it would only going to be the two of us.
„Are you coming?", his voice brought me back to reality.
„Yes, I'm sorry.", I said, standing up from the table. He had already paid and was waiting for me.
„What were you dreaming about there, all lost in your thoughts?", he teased me, putting his arm around my shoulder when we left the restaurant.
„I was just thinking of this bottle filled with time. I think, I have opened it."
„As long as you get it closed again, that should be fine. You will need some of those happy times when our little ones keep us awake all night."
„Talking of little ones, Maxim I need to talk to you..."