This is just a thought I had. Hope you can make something out of it ;) Bit of a dark story to begin with; hope to get a lighter tone in later on. I do have a beta now, so many errors will be gone I hope. Remaining ones are mine.
William Chapter 1
Never had she been so glad to arrive home; she needed time to herself before she would rejoin the rest of her family. Her eldest son, William, helped her out of their carriage before the rest of her children came out. He had shed curious and worried glances her way the entire journey home from Brighton, but had asked nothing, for which she was extremely grateful, as he was the one who was always astutely aware of her disposition. She was sure he had not seen her this discomposed in his entire life. Maybe she should tell him? Does he need to know?
When they entered their vast townhouse she retreated directly to her rooms, claiming indisposition. When her personal maid came to see if she needed something, she asked for a bath - nothing more soothing then a nice warm bath.
Sinking into her bath she felt herself relax and let her mind drift to the reason of her distress. To see him there, after almost one and twenty years, had left her shaken. She had done her best never to encounter him again after being willingly seduced by him, and being left by him the same day. They say love is blind, but infatuation is just as blind she had found out that day. Good god, she had been so naïve in those days.
Bless her late husband, he had been her salvation. As a business associate of her uncle Gardiner he had met her often when she came to visit her relatives in her youth. He had been an amiable, distinguished and still handsome looking man, who was twenty years older than herself at the time. Now she could only aspire to become the age he was when he was called to his heavenly reward.
When she came to London to escape her mother's wrath of refusing Mr. Collins, and the aftermath of her utterly stupid and thoughtless liaison with him, William Lloyd had saved her. William Lloyd had been recently widowed without having any children, and had wanted a wife to build a family. When her predicament had become clear, he had asked her to marry him and rear the child as his own. She accepted but never told her husband who had fathered their first born, she could not.
Marrying him was the best decision she had ever made. They had been blissfully happy and blessed with three more children. William was twenty now, Thomas eight and ten, Lauren seven and ten, and Alexander five and ten. All her sisters married well, Jane to the second son of the Earl of Sussex. Mary married Uncle Philips' successor. Kitty and Lydia had also married men in trade. They all were cared for and reasonably happy with their spouses and children.
William Lloyd had left her a very wealthy independent woman when he had passed two years back. Their sons received a gentleman's education and all a part of his business if they desired it; their beautiful daughter was on the verge of coming out in society. In her marriage she had avoided high society like the plague. Moreover it had not been much of a problem before to do so, but in recent years the line between trade and the higher ranks were blurring. Therefore when she would accompany her sweet Lauren and William to balls and visits it would be difficult to avoid him if he chose to be in society.
After her debacle and the years progressed, she heard much gossip about him. He was inclined to be mostly on his estate, and when he had wed a woman of the Ton, she was mostly in Town before she had died while giving birth to his second child; she had heard he had a son and a daughter and never remarried.
She shivered at the thought their children would meet each other, especially her eldest. The look he gave her, after studying William for-it felt an eternity-was not friendly at all. It made her want to leave Brighton that moment, and she had. To her it was clear to see William was his son, and she had only to guess what he had seen while observing him. Well she would pray he could not see William was his, but from the look on his face when watching William, she highly doubted that. And how was he entitled to be angry? He deserted… her!
Dear Lord was she glad she had escaped a lifetime of hurt and humiliation. William Lloyd had had many associates who gossiped as if they where Ladies; those tales he heard were retold to her. Many of those tales were about him, about the scandalous behaviour he exhibited, he had a mistress on his estate and supposedly he did not care who knew. His sister seemed to raise his children with her own, purportedly because he did not care about them. He was reported to drink to excess regularly, though she did not put much interest in those stories about him, she did feel somewhat sorry for him.
For after her marriage she had learned that the man had been reported on as an honourable gentleman in the years before he visited Hertfordshire with his friend Charles Bingley that fateful autumn of 1811. Shame she never had the pleasure of meeting that honourable part of him.