A/N: I'm sorry this took so ridiculously long and that it's so short... I have no excuses... I'm a bad updater. Oh well- here it is now! (Apologies for the perhaps overly fluffy nature of this chapter)
Reader, I married her.
Our union was small and quite: Jane and I were the only ones present, save the people required to perform the marriage. Neither of us had anyone anymore, no one but each other and it was magnificently lonely. No, lonely was not the right word. Lonely, I thought, implied that sadness accompanied the solitude; I was anything but sad that day. Perhaps the syllables I was searching for did not exist: perhaps society, in its narrow, confined mindset, refused to acknowledge that we do not always need a great multitude of people to love us. I believe it takes only one.
As we rode home in the carriage after the wedding, my Janet wrapped in my arms, I reflected on my life: thought about all I had been before my little fairy crossed my path, felled my horse and stole my heart. I came to the stunning realization that throughout my entire existence, all my mistakes and mistresses and false pleasures, I had never been truly happy. I smiled and kissed my wife on the forehead, silently thanking her for changing that.
No longer did the words my wife inflict pain the way they had before, when they brought a madwoman to mind instead of my innocent Jane. I had nothing to hide anymore, no dark secrets, and it felt as if a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders: it had been crushing the very life out of my soul and I had never even realized it.
I was not a deeply philosophical man. I found myself, however, experiencing sentiments and ideas much more profound than I imagined myself capable of. I remembered what I had asked Jane, lifetimes ago it seemed- whether she thought that my hard India-rubber exterior could ever be softened; I wondered then if I could change. I had rather thought I could not: I had neither the energy nor the inclination, and in a way I had been correct.
I did not change. She changed me. My piquant Jane found her way past the sarcastic, demanding shell that had been my whole self and taught my stubborn heart to love again. I remembered my harsh demeanor and the demanding way I ordered everyone- including her- about, and was retrospectively shocked that she had not been offended and rather irritated: certainly the manners I had used with her were not the same as those I (with great effort) had maintained in high society.
I repressed a shudder at the thought of the people whose company I had had to frequent before. I was fairly certain that there was no need for Jane and I to be a part of society anymore: we did not want them and they did not want us.
"Of what are you thinking, Edward?" Jane asked suddenly.
I smiled and my lips sought her forehead again. "Of all the good you have done me, beneficent spirit." I heard her laugh softly at the reference to the night she had returned. It seemed like lifetimes ago.
"There cannot have been so much good done. I am nothing but your plain, Quakerish governess- as I am sure I have told you before."
"Ah, but it is there you are wrong: you are now my plain, Quakerish wife."
"It is a title I hope to do great honor to, sir," said she.
"You mock me, my dear."
"Of course I do; but never mind that: there is something I wished to ask you."
"And what is that, my fairy?"
"Are you happy?" she inquired with hesitation that was extremely rare for her.
"Yes, Jane, I am happy." I had never spoken anything more true in my life.