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“Willow, I can’t change the rules but I can tell you that you won’t have to rely on me except if we are in public. Everywhere else you can be you. And independent and everything. I won’t force anything on you.” He told her and took both her hands as he watched her.
He kissed her fingers and sighed.
“Anything you need or want, I’ll do it for you.” He promised and that was because he wanted to, not because society dictated he must. He adored Willow with all his heart. He wanted them to be like Jobe and Anastasia, with a love that conquered everything but they were both adjusting to this new life. It would take time.
“I’ll wait, for as long as you need and as long as you take to be ready and adjust, Willow. I’m not going anywhere.” He promised her quietly and released her hands gently.
Anastasia could see there was sadness on his features and she hated it.
“No mother can deny grandchildren. Give her some time, Jobe.” She said to him and rested her hand in the back of his gently.
“It’s bound to be a shock and maybe that is all it is, a shock.” She said quietly to him.
Anastasia moves her hair from her eyes and she just hoped that his mother would cone around to her because Jobe cared for them both. She knew it would make him miserable if his mother stopped contacting him.
“We will get through this, Jobe, together.” She assured him as she watched him. She couldn’t take his sadness away no matter how much she wanted to right then, but she would support him and be there for him always.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow sighed as she lowered herself back into her seat, knowing that she probably did not need to try and intervene but she cared about them both so much she wanted to at least try to help. She nodded with Justin when he told Anastasia how well she had done and the four of them settled for dinner. It was quieter than usual but they still enjoyed each other’s company to the point that she had almost forgotten that Justin wanted to talk to her.
When he excused them both from the table and led them out to the gardens she felt an anxiety rising within her. A part of her wondered if he was about to tell her he had made a mistake in kissing her and that her behavior that morning had put a permanent rift between them. Her eyes focused on his as he spoke and her brows knotted as she shook her head.
[b “You misunderstood me Justin.”] She said as she took hold of his hands. [b “I don’t want to find someone else. I care about you a lot, I always have. I just…got scared…about how much I am going to have to rely on you. I’ve [I never] had to rely on anyone before.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe nodded and took his seat so that the four of them could eat. While he was sad that his mother had reacted in such a way, he had been expecting it so he had guarded himself from it. It was not a choice he had to make and he did not plan on giving up on Anastasia, not even for his mother. After dinner he was left alone with her and he offered her a smile, only with a hint of sadness.
[b “I will be.”] He said honestly. [b “I expected this but as Justin said, given time she might come around. I will still invite her to the wedding but if she is adamant she is not going to be in attendance then it will not matter. Our children will still be surrounded by people who love them.”]
Justin sighed and watched Willow ho to try and chase down Jobe’s mother and he shook his head, smiling when she returned.
“It’s alright. I think these two managed perfectly on their own. Your mother might come around in future, I suppose it is a lot to handle.” He aid to Jobe and smiled to Anastasia.
“And you were like a politician and a lion.” He said to her, laughing a little.
“It was good to see you find your voice.” He said and looked to Jobe. They had done so very well not to get completely lost on their anger and he was glad. He looked to Willow,
“Let’s eat. No use letting food go to waste.” He commented and smiled to Willow. They would need to talk later and figure out what the Hell was going on between them.
After dinner, Justin looked to Jobe and Anastasia,
“Excuse us.” He said and lead Willow out of the room and out into the gardens.
“Willow-“ he sighed and thought of how to start everything.
“I don’t want you to feel like you have to be with me because we got stuck here. I meant everything I said last night but I understand if you want to spread your wings and find someone else.” He said and watched her carefully.
“I will never force you to stay or to do anything.” He promised.
Anastasia watched the woman go and looked to Jobe. How awful for him and she felt her heart sting sadly for her husband to be. He deserved so much more. She held his hands when he said he was proud of her and could not wait to marry her.
“I would Mary you anywhere at anytime, Jobe. I am sorry about your mother.” She murmured to him and gave his hands a comforting squeeze.
Anastasia are some dinner with Justin and Willow before watching them go outside to have a conversation.she smiled a little, glad they were at least properly communicating and she looked to Jobe as she took a drink of water.
“Are you alright?” She asked now that they were by themselves. She did worry that the upset with his mother would upset him also. She had expected this and she did feel guilty about it but she had made a promise to stand by him as his wife and she would not break that promise for anyone. But she did want to make sure he was alright.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow watched with apprehension as Anastasia stood and made her way towards Jobe, taking hold of his hand for the strength that she needed. She was surprised to see that she found the confidence to speak out against his mother and she felt a sense of pride starting to rise up within her. While she was not completely over the fact she had once been a servant, she now saw herself worthy of Jobe’s love and it was beautiful to see the two united in strength.
When she watched his mother leave she let go of Justin’s hand and ran after her with the intention of trying to convince her once last time but the woman fast as the carriage was already pulling away from the house by the time she made it to the front door. She sighed in frustration and watched it until it was no longer in view. Now they would need to show support and strength for Jobe and Anastasia, having potential lost a mother.
She walked back inside and saw the two still standing there hand-in-hand. [b “I’m sorry I could not do more. She was already gone by the time I got to the door.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe looked over at Anastasia as she joined him and smiled as she took his hand. The strength and spirit she showed in this moment only made him love her more. Regardless of whatever his mother would decide after this, she was his and he was hers and they could weather any storm together.
[b “You told me only that I could choose whom I could marry. I have chosen.”] He tightened his grip on Anastasia’s hand and looked at his mother with a coldness that told her she was no longer welcome here. [b “You will not speak to her in that way. You have lost the respect of your only son today.”] He said as he watched her leave. He turned to Anastasia and took hold of her other hand and offered her a comforting smile.
[b “I am so incredibly proud to have you by my side. I do not think that I can wait until the week is out to be able to call you my wife.”]
Justin felt Willow’s right grip and he learnt over,
“Easy.” He was surprised at Jobe’s anger and impressed at how he stood up for Anastasia so readily. He raised an eyebrow- maybe they had this in the bag because honestly Jobe was like a fired up cannonball.
He watched Anastasia step up with Jobe and bit his lip. It was now or never for Anastasia and Jobe. Their first real trial to test how they failed and he prayed it went right as he gave Willow’s hand a reassuring squeeze.
Anastasia took Jobe’s hand and she looked at his mother.
“I will not pretend your comments do not hurt me. But I am marrying your son. My only goal is to make him happy and serve him as a wife in all aspects. Our children will be beautiful and are already devoid one grandmother as my mother has passed, I would not want them to lose another because she did not see me as a human being and a woman.” Anastasia said, her voice steadier than she had thought it would be as she held tightly to Jobe’s hand. His words had meant so much to her and she looked to his mother. She could tell she was confused and angry and upset. And she understood that but she would not have her loved ones insulted.
Jobe’s mother was taken aback.
“I knew what your father wanted. I did not agree with it. And she could just want your money, Jobe.” She remarked and looked shocked when Anastasia spoke from his side.
Never before had any servant spoken out of turn to her. She listened and looked at them both.
“I always said we should have arranged a marriage for you, the lovely Jane Winter would have adored you.” She scoffed and sighed.
“I’m sorry. Whilst I am not cold, I cannot stay in your presence. It causes me to feel nauseated to see my son slip so low.” She said to Jobe and looked to Anastasia,
“You will burn in Hell for this, girl.” She muttered before leaving and getting into her carriage, speeding away.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow looked to Justin for the strength to stay quiet. With every word she spoke she wanted to walk right up to her and give her a piece of her mind but she fought it for Anastasia. She knew that there were unaccepting people in the world when it came to class but to witness it first hand, and with such vicious words, it made her sick. She reached out to take Justin’s hand as if it were the only thing keeping her grounded. So far she had lasted a lot longer than she expected but she was sure that she was about to explode. Especially with her comment about their children.
Her nostrils flared and her grip tightened on Justin’s hand as she glanced towards Anastasia, giving her and encouraging nod. If Willow was not allowed to say anything that Anastasia needed to because she would not stand for this. She moved her gaze back to Justin and hoped that things would not get any uglier than they were already turning out to be. His mother was certainly a piece of work and she was determined to make sure that Anastasia came out of this unmarked by her words.
However, Jobe was so passionate about Anastasia and what he was saying that she did not yet feel the need to jump in. It only reaffirmed their love for each other.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe was appalled at his mother’s behaviour and words and he was quick to show that upon his face, anger slowly beginning to surface as she offended his wife to be.
[b “I implore you to hold your tongue mother. If you think that marrying Anastasia for love is making a mockery of my father’s name then you really had no idea what he stood for did you? He never saw the difference between Anastasia and I. I wish you didn’t either but if you are going to say such vulgar things about my future wife and children that I will ask you to leave do you hear me?”] He took a deep breath and glanced back at Anastasia holding his hand out in hope that she might join him.
[b “People can say what they please. People can be angry. But together, Anastasia and I will continue what father started and that is to prove that class is nothing by a glass window that is meant to be smashed through. We are going to be married and we are going to have children who will one day continue our name and we will be remembered for all the good that we have done. If you do not want to be a part of that then you know what to do.”]
Justin watched and his breath was caught as he stayed quiet and decided to let things pan out. They couldn’t get involved this time, Anastasia needed to face this fear head on and with vigour and boldness because if she didn’t then she would shy away forever.
He looked to Willow to see if she would hold her tongue also. He wanted to so badly call the woman out on her nonsense but he shut up and let this be dealt with without his intervention as he glanced to Jobe’s mother, wanting to know her response.
Anastasia looked to Jobe’s mother and she paused when she looked to Jobe and heard his stern tone. It wasn’t often he used that tone and she had to admit, it was unnerving to her from his usual soft and gentle ways.
She looked to his mother as she spoke and sighed, looking to Willow and Justin. They had both been right. She needed to be strong. She let Jobe’s mother say her piece and she did not want to disrespect the woman but she would also not be disrespected or allow for a Jobe to be disrespected either.
Jobe’s mother eyes Jobe like he had three heads.
“It isn’t fun to play jokes on old women, Jobe.” She remarked and then peered at Anastasia.
She realised Jobe was serious.
“Well- I suppose if you want to make a mockery of your father’s name then you go right ahead.” She said and watched them.
“I cannot stop you from marrying but I will not accept her as a daughter by marriage, Jobe. Have you no thought for the family name? And what if children, do you want little half breed mongrels running around the place?” She sucked in air through her teeth.
“People will talk. People will be angry at what you are doing!”
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] [b “As have you.”] She reminded her. Was it not her who had managed to convince her back to sanity this morning and forgave her for lying about who she was? They were more than friends and as she had said many times, they were becoming more and more bonded as sisters. Willow watched as she left the room and followed closely behind her, seeing the nerves radiating from her.
She looked towards Justin and offered him a smile as he spoke. [b “I promise I will be on my best behaviour...as much as I can be.”] She added. If this woman was going to say something that might hurt Anastasia or Jobe she was not sure she could stay quiet but she would try because this wasn’t about her. Willow kissed him on the cheek and she took hold on Anastasia’s hand lovingly, leading her to the dining table and sat opposite her, with Justin by her side.
[b “We are here for you. Don’t forget that.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe looked up as his mother walked in and he offered her a smile. While she could be a handful he cared dearly for her. He rose from his seat and greeted her in his arms and placed a kiss on her cheek. [b “It’s lovely to see you as always mother.”] He said as he motioned towards the table, to encourage her to acknowledge all the people who were also waiting for her arrival.
When he mentioned the engagement he nodded and wondered if the woman would this he had chosen Willow as his wife and that Justin might be her brother, escorting her to dinner. He sincerely hoped now because that would make things all the more awkward in the long run. It was then she finally acknowledged the fact that Anastasia was sat at the table and he suddenly became nervous.
[b “Mother please.”] He said, equally as stern with his tone as she had been. [b “Anastasia is no longer a servant here. She is going to be my wife.”] The room was deathly silent the moment he spoke and he waited with anticipation for her reaction. If she was going to get angry it was best to do so while they were stood and he could block her from view if needed.
Anastasia looked to Willow,
“You have been such a wonderful friend.” She said to her and heard the knock on the door. She drew in a very deep breath and got to her feet. She seemed to lose all faith in herself.
She scurried downstairs and looked to Justin and then the door as she tucked herself momentarily out of view. His mother would know who she was at a glance. It didn’t matter how different she dressed, she had been a servant here since she was seven years old. She took a few very deep breaths, as if trying to be strong like Willow, steeling all of her nerves together as she finally made her way out to wait.
When his mother was inside, she sat at the dining table with them and looked to them all. She didn’t dare speak.
Justin heard the door and he knew what that meant. He waited for Willow and smiled,
“Now, we must remember our manners. No matter how awful this woman can be.” He said to Willow quietly and looked to Anastasia who looked about ready to run for the Hills.
“Keep breathing.” He encouraged her and he thought it was such a shame she was so nervous.
He looked to Willow and thought on what Jobe had said. She did seem the sort that would be very compassionate with children but he would wait and see.
He sat at the table by Willow’s side and took a drink of water.
A greying woman stride in, handing her coat to one of the butlers without a sound. She looked for her son and smiled,
“Ah, my son!” She beamed and didn’t seem to notice anyone else as she sat at the dining table.
“I trust this good news is of an engagement so we might finally be done with all of this trouble with your father’s will?” She asked him, voice rather stern but there was a touch of motherly kindness mixed in. She glanced to Willow and Justin when they joined her and then to Anastasia. She took a drink of red wine.
“You allow servants to share your table now, Jobe?” She asked and eyes Anastasia over before looking to Jobe. She already had a feeling of dread dropping in her stomach.
“Or is she going to pour the wine personally at the table?”
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] [b “And who is to say that you are not best for him? Anastasia it only takes someone with eyes to see how happy you make Jobe and if she loves him as much as you say she does, she will see that too. I’m not saying it’s going to be instant or easy, but I can promise you that there is no denying what you two have.”] As she spoke she started to weave her hair, pinning up parts of it while she worked on the next.
[b “Nonsense, we are here to support you and you have nothing to apologise for. People surprise you all the time. You can’t predict how things will turn out in the end.”] She said with a sigh as she started to finish up her hair. [b “Although I do wish I had some knowledge about this matter so I could put your mind at ease.”]
Willow placed her hands on the woman’s shoulders to indicate that she was finished with her hair and smiled at her reaction. [b “You [i are] a proper lady.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe laughed as the man started to choke on his water, realising that it was starting to become a common occurrence with him. [b “I’m sure Willow would enjoy the honour. She seems like the type who would excel with children. Hard exterior with adults and a heart of gold with children.”] He said with a smile.
[b “It’s an expectation really. When you are wed and you share a bed, as I’m sure you are aware, things happen. It’s not like we can do much to prevent a pregnancy anyway but we have both accepted that will be something in our future.”] Jobe laughed at Justin’s remark about keeping Willow quiet and they both knew that was a fool’s errand.
The two of them then went their separate ways so they could prepare for the evening and as soon as he finished getting dressed there was a knock at the door.
[i “Your mother has arrived.”] Great. Let the fun begin.
Anastasia looked to Willow and she smiled a little.
“Maybe.” She mumbled quietly.
“I remember Jobe’s mother being very old fashioned and strict. She adores Jobe of course, the way any mother would her son. But- with that comes wanting the best for him.” She said to Willow.
“I’m sorry you and Justin have to see this, you know? I’m not sure this woman is going to be very pleasant and Jobe’s mother can be rather... harsh.” She said to Willow. It wouldn’t surprise her if the woman launched for Willow as well but somehow she figured the woman would take a heart attack at the news of her and Jobe.
She let Willow fix her hair and she smiled,
“I look like a proper lady.” She said and she seemed ecstatic and like there was new confidence instilled within her.
Justin nearly choked on his water.
“Willow would probably drop if a heart attack on the spot if she heard you talking of God-parents!” He laughed and could only imagine Willow reaction to such a request. He wasn’t even sure if he and Willow would have children, it seemed like such a long time away. It was a scary thought but Jobe seemed to love it.
“I’ll do my best to keep her quiet in case your mother is uh... a little offensive in her approach. I cannot make any promises though.” He scoffed slightly. He couldn’t stop Willow if he wanted to in all honesty.
He sighed and made sure he was presentable enough for dinner with Jobe’s lovely mother and sighed. He hoped this wasn’t a complete disaster in all honesty because they deserved a break. He doubted things would be shouting and such, after all this was the Victorian era. There was some amount of class involved.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] She was glad to see that Justin was not going to push her away. He took hold of her hand and pulled her closer and she smiled with relief as he spoke, and she shook his head. [b “You have nothing to be sorry for. I was out of line.”] She said simply as she watched Anastasia leave. She did not want to leave her alone for too long. Willow would have to put her own issues aside to help her through a really important day to her and she was going to do everything in her power to keep her calm and happy.
She nodded and let out a sigh. [b “Yes alright, we can talk.”] She promised herself that she wasn’t going to worry about that now. She squeezed his hand and followed her upstairs and knocked on the door before entering.
[b “I’ll put it up for you.”] She said with a smile and she approached her and ran her fingers through her hair before picking up a brush. [b “You are going to be just fine you know. You are stronger than you know.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe laughed quietly. [b “Apparently so.”] He said with an affectionate smile. [b “I will see you shortly.”] With that he watched the woman leave and waited a moment for Justin to return after his brief encounter with Willow.
[b “You have no reason to thank me. After dinner tonight, I will make it clear that I want you both to stay and Willow should then understand that we both want you here. Besides…Anastasia and I will be wanting children and I cannot think of better Godparents for them. They need to be around to help us bring the children up.”] He said with a wink as he took a sip of tea.
Anastasia smiled to her and nodded,
“If it makes you stay then yes, a nanny! And a teacher and a writer and everything else.” She said to her before looking to Justin and her as she went and stood with Jobe. He must have done something right and she kept quiet for now.
She watched them leave and looked to Jobe.
“Apparently relations and courting is much harder in the future.” She mused and sighed,
“I should get ready for your mother’s arrival.” She said to him and looked him over. He looked as wonderful as ever, she brushed her fingers over a stray fleck of dust on his jacket.
“I’ll be down soon.” She said to him and honestly shebwas more nervous than she let on right then because she knew how important a mother could be.
She went upstairs to the room and undid her hair, trying to think which Jobe’s mother would prefer in all honesty. She seemed old fashioned so perhaps fixing it up would be better.
Justin looked to Jobe and maybe he was right. Maybe they needed to have a proper conversation. He took Willow’s hand gently and pulled her close for a second.
“I’m sorry.” He said softly and shook his head.
“Perhaps we could talk later, after everything?” He asked and sighed.
“I have been an idiot.” He said to her and watched Anastasia go. She looked beyond worried, the poor thing and he looked to Willow.
“Go and help. We can talk after.” He said and kissed her on the top of her head as he inhaled her scent before releasing her. She could still be a free woman in this house who could speak her mind and everything else. He would never stop that. He looked to Jobe and straightened his own shirt.
“Thank you.” He said to him and relaxed somewhat.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] While she knew that Anastasia understood her predicament to some extent, she still did not know what it was like to have it and then have it ripped away from you. Still, she could not deny that there were many things she loved about behind stuck here. Jobe and Anastasia being part of the appeal and having Justin being so open about his feelings was just another benefit of being here. She just hoped that her stubborn nature had not pushed him away permanently.
Willow laughed slightly. [b “Are you asking me to stay so I can be your nanny.”] She knew that wasn’t the case but she found humour in it. She smiled as the woman started to lead her towards the house and she sighed softly. [b “I’ll make sure you look beautiful don’t you worry.”] When the entered the house, she glanced towards Justin and instantly held her hand out towards Justin.
[b “I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] [b “Well I won’t say anything just yet. I would not want her to feel like she is a damsel in distress who needs rescuing. Besides, we have my mother to worry about today.”] He laughed and watched as the two women started to walk towards the house.
[b “She is already happy with you, she just doesn’t know it yet. You kissed last night but there is still uncertainty there. Perhaps you both need a conversation.”] He said simply before the women walked into the house and he felt proud of Anastasia for being able to talk Willow around. If she could do that with a strong-willed woman, she would handle his mother fine.
Anastasia watched Willow and she nodded.
“I understand what it is to not have your own wealth or your own home. But Justin loves you, he is not giving up his freedom.” Anastasia watched her carefully.
“Justin could leave this place and become a doctor any time he wanted to. He has not. He wishes to stay with you, he wants to stay with you, Willow. I do not know his heart, but you do because it is yours.” She said to the woman and sighed gently.
“Jobe’s offer was not a quick fix. He adores your company and Justin’s and I know after marriage we will have children, God willing, and I would never want a stranger looking after them. I will need your help, another woman who understands. Jobe is wonderful and I love him with every inch of my being, but he does not know what it is to be a woman.” She remarked.
“Please stay with us. You needn’t rush off so soon.” Anastasia said to her and smiled a little.
“We want you here. You are not like others. And Jobe’s mother is coming shortly and I need a mountain to stand by my side when she passes her judgement.” She half laughed.
“Come inside. We’ll have tea and you can help me try to fix my hair so that I might please Jobe’s mother. We can talk with Jobe and Justin.” She said and started to guide the woman inside.
Justin knee Jobe was right and he sighed.
“I know. And I don’t understand it, I can’t imagine what it must be like to know that she will never have certain things.” He murmured and listened.
“I’m grateful. I’ll allow you to tell her of her offer and as for staying here, I want that more than anything. I am not a business man like you but I could be an in-house doctor which I’m sure will come in handy on certain things.” At least he hoped so.
He looked to the garden to Anastasia and Willow.
“I want her more than anything to be happy, and what if I can’t give that to her? The happiness she so desperately seeks?” He said to Jobe. He watched as Anastasia seemed to be able to get through to Willow and he wondered if he would ever have that ability.
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