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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.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] [b “Bigger than I realised.”] She said admitted defeat. [b “When we came here, it was with the intention of me learning more about the time, so I could write my book. Three days Anastasia, we were supposed to be here for three days and we are stuck and I thought I was okay with it.”] She sighed and looked up at Anastasia.
[b “I have no money, no home… I can’t own my own home or even have any wealth for myself.”] She listened to her for a moment and glanced towards the house. [b “And I cannot ask Justin to give up his freedom for me. Nor can we ask you to keep providing us with a roof over our head.”] Right now she felt like an idiot and she wanted nothing more than to go inside and apologise to Justin for being too darn stubborn.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] [b “But she could do everything by herself in your time.”] He reminded him. [b “You have not had to give up your freedom to work, to own property…she has.”] He spoke carefully, not trying to make Justin feel guilty, just for them all to understand what she was going through.
[b “I do not want either of you to worry about where to live or money. When I asked you both to stay the offer was not temporary. Maybe I should have made that clear. As for money, you will have a good wage for being our doctor at the factory and I know Willow was a teacher back home. I was making arrangements this morning…I commissioned for a building to be added to the side of my factory where some of my workers can be educated and I want Willow to run that.”] He said softly. [b “Perhaps if she feels like she is working to pay her way here, she will not feel so bad.”]
Anastasia looked to Willow and sighed.
“I understand.” She said to her quietly.
“This must be a huge adjustment for you.” She said and she felt really guilty she had not been more caring towards her friend.
“Willow- What are you worried about? Please I can see if we can help and don’t think of it as charity. You helped me and Jobe so much, both of you. And we would be glad to help you in return.” She said to Willow and honestly she would be sad if the woman left her.
“I know our time is confusing for you, especially because we are women and Justin is going his best but he cannot possibly know. No man knows what us women go through. Nor can they understand.” She said to them and sighed softly.
“But we can try to make it bearable by accepting compassion and care, and standing together.” She said to Willow. Only women seemed to understand what they went through.
“No no, she never said anything to me either. I thought she was alright but this morning she was worried about our living arrangements and money and everything in between. I know she is a strong woman Jobe, but I fear she thinks she can do everything by herself.” He confessed to the other man.
“And she cannot. I would never pressure her nor would I ever control her but I want to protect her because she needs it, especially here. And she’s so worried about dropping the mask and admitting we need help that she pushes everyone away.” He said and ran a hand through his hair, looking worried now.
“If she will not speak to me or thinks I’m mithering her then I’m worried about what the future will bring.” He mumbled and looked to Jobe.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] When she spoke, she had no intentions of sounding ungrateful or seeming like she did not need him, but it seemed like that was how it took it. She saw the wounded look he gave her and she felt guilty in an instant.
[b “No…Justin, I didn’t…”] With that he was walking away from her, leaving her standing alone in the garden, staring at the space where Justin had been standing only moments before and she wanted to kick herself. She closed her eyes and turned away from the house and started to walk away from it until she heard Anastasia.
[b “I pissed him off.”] She said with a shake of the head. She wasn’t usually one to curse but she was so angry with herself. [b “I’m just…I’m finding it hard to adjust. Back home I relied on myself. It’s all I knew and here…I can’t do that and I told him that and I must have said it wrong because now he is angry with me.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] [b “Perhaps we should have asked her.”] He said thoughtfully as he took a sip of his tea. [b “I definitely do not want them to leave but I see what you mean about Willow. She is from a time where she is able to stand on her own two feet.”] He looked up when Justin came in a rose from his chair, nodding towards Anastasia who told him that she would deal with Willow.
[b “Is anything the matter?”] He asked as he lowered himself into a chair next to him. [b “I feared that we had assumed Willow was coping alright…were we wrong?”]
Justin looked to Willow and sighed.
“I’m not protecting you because you need it, I’m trying to... because I want to. Did I not make it clear yesterday?” He sighed and let go of her hands.
“Alright. So you can sort everything and do everything and I’ll just, watch from the sidelines and do nothing. If that’s what you want.” He murmured and he was frustrated but he didn’t want to get angry at her.
He walked back inside and sighed, slumping on one of the chairs in a side room and rubbing his eyes. Willow was stubborn but she of all people should know how difficult it was for him to show any form of care or compassion and whether she liked it or not, in this era she did need it.
He took a drink of water and he had never felt so helpless before. He couldn’t magic away their concerns or come up with all the answers no matter how badly he wanted to. He wanted to take away all her worries and somehow make it so that she was happy again but he couldn’t. It was impossible.
Anastasia suddenly felt awful.
“I just presumed she was alright.” She said and sighed. Presumptions were always a bad thing to commit.
“I don’t know what to do. It’s not unheard of for couples and families to live together but- Willow would find it a charity and wouldn’t accept.” She murmured.
“Besides, they don’t know these times like we do, it would be dangerous for them to live alone- who knows what could happen?” She mumbled quietly. People would call them witches and she knew how that turned out. She saw Justin come storming in and she got up.
“Oh my.” She breathed and looked to Jobe,
“I’ll make sure Willow is alright. I’ll sort this. Don’t you go getting stressed.” She said to him quietly and kissed his cheek before going out.
“Willow? What is the matter? Justin looks quite upset and you look... the same.” She mumbled.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow walked within him and listened to him carefully. She knew he was right but there was something that was acting as a barrier stopping her from accepting help from others. Adapting to this time was harder than she expected and she hated feeling like a charity case, even though every else did not see their situation in that way.
She was made to stop, and she sighed as Justin kissed her hands. [b “I don’t need someone to protect me.”] She said as she looked him in the eyes. [b “I’ve been looking out for myself my whole life. This is just…harder than I thought.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]]
Jobe laughed as he sipped on his tea and shook his head. [b “Oh, I promise that you will have a husband to look after.”] He said as he smiled towards her. [b “I know Justin doesn’t have any family to go back to…perhaps because Willow has seemed so strong we have not considered what she might be missing at home. Have we even asked her how she is getting on?”] He asked, suddenly feeling guilty.
[b “We do need to figure out this housing arrangement. I do not want anyone to worry about overstaying as you say. What do you think we should do?”]
Justin watched her and sighed,
“We can figure it out. I won’t let us go homeless and neither will Jobe. I don’t think Anastasia would want you to go, for sure. She adores you. She sees you like a sister.” He said and linked his arm with hers as he walked with her.
“And honestly, it’s a big house, and they are going to be married and start a family. It’s not uncommon for people to share a house as big of this, especially seeing as Anastasia would claim you as a sister all the time.” Justin said to her and sighed, moving some hair from her face as he stopped.
He took her hands in his and kissed them,
“It’s going to work out just fine, Willow. I won’t let you down, I swear.” He said to her and looked over to the house,
“You just focus on being excited for Anastasia and a wedding, alright? Leave formalities to me.” He hopes she would agree to that much. He would figure it out for them.
Anastasia sat with him and smiled,
“Just don’t work yourself too hard, I would like to have a husband to get married to.” She murmured with a joke in her voice.
“She has not said anything, but she seems distant.” She murmured as she looked to Justin and Willow.
“I will ask her, when the time is right. It cannot be easy for them being far from home and trapped here.” She thought for a while.
“If it were me, I’d be worried about perhaps family from home if she has any and overstaying my welcome. Perhaps that’s what plagued her?” She said to him and sighed. She hoped it wasn’t because Anastasia was incredibly fond of Willow and she didn’t want her to feel like she wasn’t welcome here.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow had been so lost in thought that she barely noticed the sound of footsteps walking towards her. It wasn’t until she heard Justin’s voice that she was pulled out of her own thoughts. She was startled by him, but she laughed it off as he neared her and forced her lips into a smile.
[b “I’m sorry. Was I supposed to miss you?”] She teased him and shook her head when he noticed the worry in her eyes. Had he always been so observant or able to read her so easily? [b “I was just thinking about what happens when they get married.”] She said simply before elaborating. [b “They cannot house us here forever. When they are wed they will want to start their lives as husband and wife and we cannot be here for that. We don’t have money here…I can’t own my own house even if we did have money. Where are we going to go? What are we going to do?”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe shook his head. [b “It really is not necessary. The girls will be perfectly fine.”] However, Justin did not leave him time to argue as he noticed Willow outside and went to her. He laughed and looked down at Anastasia as she reached for his tie. [b “I think you might be right. I will talk to him. Willow has known freedom and he cannot cage her up because he is afraid of what might happen.”]
He nodded slightly. [b “I have been working hard but it is nothing I cannot take a break from for you.”] Jobe took the tea from her hand and took a sip grateful. [b “Let’s sit shall we?”] He asked as he looked out of the window and observed Willow and Justin. [b “Has Willow said anything to you this morning? She looks particularly worried or upset about something.”]
Justin smiled a little to Jobe.
“Nice try.” He laughed a little.
“We can go to town tomorrow, instead of the ladies.” He remarked and folded his arms. He didn’t like the idea of Willow being out without some sort of escort whilst she was unmarried because she was gorgeous and other men could get weird and flirtatious and he didn’t like that.
He sighed and looked to the ladies,
“I guess I slept the latest huh?” He caught sight of Willow and smiled a little. He went out.
“Did you miss me?” He asked and watched her.
“You look worried. Your forehead gets wrinkles when you look worried.” He pointed out and smiled a little.
“Talk to me.” He said quietly.
Anastasia watched Justin and laughed a little.
“He will never stop worrying for that woman.” She murmured and looked to Jobe. She straightens his tie ever so slightly and looked up at him,
“Have you been working too hard in your study?” She asked him and knew the man had an affinity for working hard.
“You could have used that extra sleep.” Anastasia said as she looked him over. He did look slightly tired but she figured they were both worried about his mother coming to visit too.
“Would you join me for a cup of tea or is work particularly hectic today?” She asked him. She was happy either way.
“I can’t remember how often you’d take dinner in your study when you first started working. I don’t think you even slept.” She said to him softly as she poured him some tea.
“If you can’t stay with me, then take it with you, so I at least know you’re drinking.” She said to him.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow had a much better sleep that night knowing that everything was turning out the way it was supposed to be. She was glad that Anastasia had come around to their deceit and that it had not affected their friendship. If anything, she felt as though their friendship had strengthened somewhat. Now they had the wedding to plan and she was over the moon that they would be here to witness it all. Not just their wedding but them raising their children and being a part of their lives too. She had not even thought about the fact that they were stuck in a time that was not their own. Willow was surprised at how little she missed it.
The next morning, she arose with determination, ready to take on Jobe’s mother and help Anastasia through what could be a very difficult day for her. She just wished that she knew more about this moment so that she could ease it. However, Willow had to accept the fact that she could not control everything. She ate breakfast with Jobe and Anastasia whilst Justin slept, not wanting to interrupt his sleep. When they were done she decided to go for a walk around the gardens and that was where she was by the time Justin arose from his sleep.
She enjoyed the landscape and found herself falling more and more in love with the grounds here, but she could not help but wonder what was in store for her when it was time to move on from here. They could not stay here forever and any money they did have was stuck in a bank account 200 years in the future. It was quite a predicament and she was too stubborn to admit that she was worrying about all of that.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe enjoyed his breakfast with the ladies but realised that he had some work to catch up on in his study so let everyone to their own devices whilst he wrote out some documents needed for work. He also had several letters to write to different business partners so that he could rearrange the gathering and use it as an engagement party to celebrate. Anastasia deserved such a celebration, but he decided to keep it to himself so that he could surprise her.
He then received confirmation from his mother to say that she would attend dinner that evening and that she hoped its purpose was to bring her good news. Jobe couldn’t think of a better way to describe it. It was the best news. When he finally had enough of the study he rose from his seat and made his way towards Justin and Anastasia.
[b “We all know there is only one way to stop someone snatching a treasure from under one’s nose.”] He said, injecting himself into the conversation as humour laced his tone. [b “I am sure you have nothing to worry about. It is just a trip into town.”]
Justin looked to Willow and sighed quietly. She was right, best to not dwell on it. He looked to her room,
“Have a good night.” He said to her softly and kissed her cheek. He bid her goodnight before going to his own room.
It was probably all coincidence, he told himself as he got into bed. He sighed quietly and finally got some sleep.
He woke with a start, he must have slept late and he sighed. What time did they all go to bed last night? He rubbed sleep from his eyes, it was almost midday! Oops! He sighed and threw on some clothes and went downstairs.
“I don’t remember ever sleeping so long. Did we go to bed late?” He asked as he sleepily rubbed his eyes.
“Oh.” He just remembered what today was. Jobe’s mother was visiting. That was going to be fun.
Anastasia had a good night of sleep. She did not sleep late, used to early mornings. She had tea in the conservatory and of course at a little something. She looked to Justin and smiled,
“No matter.” She said to him politely. She was wearing a lovely dark ruby dress, she was sure she had heard Jobe’s mother say her favourite colour was red. So she was trying.
She took a drink of tea,
“You missed breakfast but I can ask the kitchen to put something on for you?” She offered but it seemed Justin wasn’t too bothered. She hoped Willow could do her hair later and make sure nothing was wrong with her appearance because she was truly worried.
A butler approached,
[b “We need some supplies from town.”] he said and Anastasia smiled,
“Myself and Willow will go to town tomorrow and pick them up.” She said and Justin shook his head. Anastasia looked to him and sighed,
“We’ll be perfectly safe. I won’t let anyone snatch away Willow.” She giggled but understood his worries.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow thought for a moment and looked at Justin with an inquisitive look. [b You’re right. There is every chance that I subconsciously thought of those names because I had read it.”] She said with a shrug, trying not to think too hard about everything. Time travel was far to confusing and it threatened to make her brain hurt.
She smiled towards him now since he commented on the fact she would make a wonderful aunt and she laughed. [b “I’m sure they will enjoy their time with their Uncle too.”] She said with a laugh. [b “I won’t say anything. She does perfectly fine after birth. They had a wonderful doctor it seems and she recovers well and they live a long and happy life together.”]
Willow listened to him and she narrowed her eyes when he spoke of the gunshot wounds. [b “It’s Jobe. He survives it though. Lord knows how. But…you are right we should forget about the book and what we know.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe laughed and nodded in agreement. Everything he had heard about the future have unnerved him entirely, but he would not live through such times, so it did not matter to him. He listened to her words carefully and smiled at her.
[b “I do not expect you to forget. Your past is what made you who you are.”] He brushed her cheek gently and took her hand. [b “Come now, we must get some rest.”] He led her towards the stairs and showed her to the room she had slept in the night before. [b “I hope you sleep well.”] He said before kissing her forehead and heading back to his own room.
Justin watched her and raised an eyebrow,
“You’re kidding right? Fletcher and Juliet Hughes?” He gaped and laughed. It was actually really sweet.
“Wait does that mean- maybe it’s just chance, those are common names.”
“A boy and a girl, eh? Well, I’m sure their wonderful aunt will enjoy looking after them.” He remarked and watched her carefully.
“I’m actually flattered. But best not to say anything. Anastasia does alright after the births though? I know this time period can be difficult.” He murmured. There were no vaccines in this time, nothing to help women and it did worry him. He did know that Anastasia had suffered a massive haemorrhage but he was sure otherwise she did well enough.
“Perhaps we should forget the book, Willow? And just focus on the here and now.” He murmured to her and smiled.
“I read a while ago, one of the Hughes suffers a gunshot wound whilst in town- was that Jobe?” He sighed quietly and shook his head. Best not to know. They couldn’t change it.
Anastasia shook her head,
“The future sounds terrifying.” She said to Jobe and heard his words.
“I will not forget what I was though, Jobe. And I will serve you a different way, as your wife and your lover. I will stand by you on all things and if you are in pain then it is my pain too.” She said to him quietly.
She looked up at him,
“I’m not sure what I did do deserve the grace of you love, Jobe. But I will cherish it, every day that I live.” She said to him and smiled softly, leaning up to kiss his cheek. She always wanted him to be happy and safe. As long as he came through the door every morning then everything else could rot.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/R9bcGpC.jpg]] Willow laughed and feigned shock. [b “Do you really think that I am one of those women who become blinded by the glitz and the glam of weddings?”] She shook her head and turned to face him. [b “I care than a friend is happy. If she is excited about that side of the wedding, then I will be excited with her, but I promise I will not talk your ear off. I have ever been excited by the notion of the ceremony before.”] Their walk slowed until they eventually came to a stop outside of her bedroom door.
Willow shook her head. [b “No, his book doesn’t mention anything about his mother. I don’t think it matters all that much though. It’s so strange…that I know so much about their future. I promise I won’t go putting any ideas into her head. I won’t screw anything else up. I will not tell them that they are supposed to have two children. Fle---“] She stopped dead as she spoke and stared up at him.
[b “How the hell did I not see this before?!”] She said and laughed as she spoke but lowered her voice so no one could hear here. [b “Their children, they name them Fletcher and Juliet.”]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/gb7q260.jpg]] Jobe smiled and took the woman in his arms, showing her all the affection he could afford, whilst also being careful not to overstep and show too much affection. That could and should wait until they were wed. He let out a laugh and shook his head gently.
[b “Now do not go and start scheming.”] He was humoured by her comments. [b “You realise that where they are from they share each other’s bed and spend years together before getting married? I’m not so sure we will have another wedding. Although, I must admit that I fear for Willow in the world of men if she does not marry someone and I hope to God that it’s Justin.”]
He looked down at the woman when she changed the conversation and he brushed a piece of hair out of the woman’s face. [b “You worry too much. You are no longer a servant Anastasia, remember that.”]
Justin looked to Willow.
“Oh, I know that. And you know I can’t wait for you to chatter my ear off over talks of weddings and dresses and jewellery and whatever else women talk about.” He said sarcastically and laughed a little.
“I don’t suppose your book on Jobe told you anything about how his mother reacts to the news? I can’t imagine anyone would be happy to see their child marrying below their ‘station’” he said and looked to Willow as he paused outside the room.
“They do make one Hell of a couple though. And don’t go getting any ideas Missy.” He said and prodded her playfully,
“And don’t go putting ideas of babies in their heads, I know what you women are like.” He smirked and watched her.
How could he not fall to his knees before her? She was beautiful and she was working wonders on this era. She didn’t even realise what she was doing half the time, but everything was much more beautiful and wonderful when she was around.
Anastasia got up and smiled to Justin and Willow as they left. She bid them goodnight and looked to Jobe.
“I cannot wait to be your wife, and call you husband.” She said to him gently and she just prayed nothing bad came of their relationship.
“I also have a very funny feeling ours will not be the only marriage in the coming weeks.” She said and gestures to where Willow and Justin has gone to and she smiled a little. If Jobe’s mother didn’t approve she would feel awful but she also would not allow herself to be walked over. And what was so bad about being a servant girl, anyways?
“When news gets out, Jobe, you must be careful. There are some terrible people on this earth, who would do terrible things if they knew they had not gotten their hands on your business because of a servant.” She said to him. Violent crimes were on the rise in London, guns even being fired now and then in drunken fights. Anastasia hated to think of Jobe being targeted.
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