A Duke’s Unexpected Match – Extended Epilogue


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Six years had woven prosperity and joy through the tapestry of Rutherford Court, transforming it into a picture of success that any duke would envy. The once struggling farms now flourished, a testament to the stewardship of Duke Simon Maddox and his indefatigable advisors, Cecil Ballard and Patrick Gleason. On a day drenched in sunlight, the trio stood surveying the fields, a scene of golden wheat swaying gently in the breeze.

“I must say, Simon, the turnaround you’ve managed with these lands is nothing short of miraculous,” Cecil remarked, his eyes gleaming with a mix of pride and amazement.

Simon, his gaze fixed on the horizon, smiled. “Cecil, without your counsel and Patrick’s unyielding support, Rutherford would hardly be the beacon of prosperity it is today. I owe a great deal to both of you.”

Patrick, leaning on a fence post, nodded in agreement. “It’s been a collective effort, surely. But your vision has been the guiding light.”

Their conversation meandered from crops to tenants, each exchange reinforcing the bond of mutual respect and shared triumphs that had knitted them closely together. It was during these reflective moments that Frances, Simon’s mother, approached, her steps light and her expression warm with news.

Simon noticed her first, his face lighting up with a son’s affectionate recognition. “Mother,” he greeted, his voice infused with warmth as he turned to welcome her into their circle.

“Simon, a letter arrived from Georgiana this morning,” Frances announced, her voice carrying a note of cautious neutrality. The mention of Georgiana, a figure from Simon’s past, might have stirred old shadows, but Frances’s demeanor remained serene, reassuring. Her news was not a harbinger of turmoil but a message of closure and new beginnings. “She’s well. Married an earl three counties over and has just welcomed a baby girl.”

A brief silence enveloped the group, the mention of Georgiana sparking a flicker of nostalgia in Simon’s eyes. Yet, there was no shadow of regret, only a serene acceptance of paths diverged.

“I’m happy for her, truly,” Simon finally said, his tone sincere. “Georgiana and I, we were never meant to tread the same path. But I am glad to hear she has found her happiness.” His eyes, reflecting a mature understanding that only years and experiences can bring, turned briefly towards the horizon, as if acknowledging the vast tapestry of life’s possibilities that lay stretched out before them all. “Life has a way of leading us exactly where we need to be,” he continued, his voice carrying a reflective note. “And it seems it has done just that for both of us. I wish her all the joy in the world.”

Cecil placed a hand on Simon’s shoulder, a silent gesture of understanding and support. “The past has a way of shaping us, but it’s the present that truly defines who we are, Simon. And from where I stand, your present, our present, is filled with promise and joy.”

Their attention was drawn back to the estate as Harry, Simon and Hannah’s spirited young son, came running through the fields, laughter trailing behind him like a playful breeze. His presence, bright and effervescent, was a living testament to the joy and renewal that had blossomed in Simon’s life since marrying Hannah.

“Father, Grandfather, Mr. Patrick! Look how fast I can run!” Harry exclaimed, his cheeks flushed with excitement and his eyes sparkling with the unbridled joy of youth.

Watching him, Simon felt a surge of gratitude for the life he had built, for the family that surrounded him, and for the love that anchored him. Rutherford Court, with its thriving lands and happy tenants, was more than just his legacy; it was a home teeming with love.

The day of Hannah’s art exhibition dawned clear and bright, a perfect backdrop for the unveiling of her latest collection. The gallery, nestled in the heart of the bustling town, was alive with anticipation as the doors opened to reveal Hannah’s masterpieces to the world. Simon, Hannah, and young Harry arrived, hand in hand, their faces alight with excitement and a touch of nervousness.

As they stepped into the gallery, they were greeted by the sight of Cecil, Elizabeth, Frances, Patrick, Emmaline, and Mary, all gathered to celebrate Hannah’s triumph. The walls were adorned with Hannah’s art, each piece a window into her soul and testament to her talent. The more avant-garde works, bold in color and form, drew clusters of admirers, their animated discussions filling the room with a vibrant energy.

Cecil, usually reserved, could barely contain his pride. He moved from one painting to another, his eyes shining with admiration and awe. “Hannah, my dear, your talent knows no bounds,” he said, turning to her with a broad smile. “To think, this all started with you sketching on the margins of your notebooks.”

Hannah, her cheeks flushed with pleasure, looked around at the gathered crowd, her heart swelling. “Thank you, Father. Your support has been my anchor. I couldn’t have done this without you, without any of you,” she gestured to the family and friends surrounding her.

Elizabeth, always the doting mother, added, “We knew from the start you were meant for greatness, my love. This,” she gestured to the room filled with Hannah’s art, “is only the beginning.”

As the afternoon waned, several collectors from London approached, their interest in Hannah’s work evident in their eager discussions and the quick signing of cheques. The more avant-garde pieces, in particular, garnered the most attention, a fact that made Hannah’s heart soar even higher. Simon, ever her steadfast partner, stayed by her side, offering quiet words of encouragement and beaming with pride at every compliment thrown her way.

Emmaline, holding Mary’s hand and gently patting her growing belly, leaned in to whisper, “You’re an inspiration, Hannah. Not just to me, but to Mary, and to this one on the way. You’re showing them that dreams are worth chasing.”

As the event drew to a close, the family gathered for a final look around the gallery. The success of the day was undeniable, but more than the sales and accolades, it was the shared joy and unity among them that stood out. Hannah’s pursuit of art, once a solitary journey, had become a beacon of hope and inspiration, drawing them all closer in a tapestry of love and support.

Leaving the gallery, the group walked back to Rutherford Court, their conversations light and filled with laughter. The sun was setting, and Hannah, walking beside Simon with Harry skipping ahead, felt a profound sense of contentment. Her art had not only found recognition but had also brought her closer to the people she loved most in the world.

“Look at him go,” Hannah remarked with a soft chuckle, watching Harry dash ahead with the boundless energy of youth. “He’s got your determination, Simon.”

Simon smiled, his eyes tracking their son’s joyful sprint. “And your creative spirit. He’s the best of both of us.”

As they approached the manor, the evening’s golden hues cast a serene glow over Rutherford Court, its beauty proof of the life and love cultivated within its walls. Upon entering, the familiar, comforting scents of home enveloped them, a prelude to the warmth and laughter that awaited inside.

About an hour later, the parlor offered a surprise. Harry, having momentarily disappeared, was now deeply engrossed in a game of chess with Simon, his small brow furrowed in concentration. Hannah leaned against the door, observing the quiet intensity of their match, a gentle smile playing on her lips.

“Go easy on him, Simon,” she teased, stepping into the room. Her presence seemed to break Harry’s intense focus, and he looked up, grinning triumphantly.

“Just you wait, Mother,” Harry declared, his youthful confidence undimmed. “I’m about to make my final move!”

With a flourish, Harry moved his queen, claiming victory with a jubilant shout of “Checkmate!” His delight was infectious, filling the room with warmth and laughter.

Hannah approached, placing a tender kiss on Harry’s cheek. “Brilliantly played, my love. Now, off you go to get ready for dinner. We’ll follow shortly.”

As Harry scampered off, his laughter echoing down the hall, Hannah turned to Simon, her eyes sparkling with mirth. “Did you let him win?” she inquired, a playful suspicion coloring her tone.

Simon chuckled, the sound rich and warm. “Perhaps I did. A little victory now and then can do wonders for a young man’s confidence.”

Hannah nodded, understanding and appreciation mingling in her gaze. “Well then, since you’re in such a generous mood, how about a game between us? I promise not to accuse you of letting me win when I do.”

“Is that so?” Simon raised an eyebrow, his expression a mix of challenge and amusement. “We shall see about that.”

The chessboard was reset, and they engaged in a spirited game, their moves thoughtful and deliberate. The room was filled with a comfortable silence, broken only by the occasional click of a piece being moved. In the end, Hannah emerged victorious, her strategy outmaneuvering Simon’s defenses.

Triumphantly, Hannah stood and moved to sit in Simon’s lap, her smile radiant. “It seems I have bested you, my dear Duke. And as for my prize…” Her voice trailed off, a mischievous glint in her eyes.

Simon, already enveloped in the joy of the moment, looked up at her, his heart full. “And what might that prize be?” he asked, his voice soft with anticipation.

Hannah leaned in closer, her words a whisper meant only for him. “I’m pregnant, Simon. We’re going to have another child.”

Simon’s response was instinctive, driven by the surge of affection and reverence he felt for the woman in his arms. He enveloped Hannah in an embrace that spoke volumes, drawing her into the circle of his arms with a tenderness that belied his strength. Their closeness in that moment, surrounded by the fading light of day and the intimate shadows of the evening, was a testament to the deep, unbreakable bond they shared. It was a connection forged not just in love, but in shared dreams, challenges overcome, and the joys and sorrows they had navigated together.

“This… This is the best news,” Simon finally found his voice, though it was laden with emotion, each word resonant with the weight of his feelings. His heart was full, brimming over with a happiness that was almost overwhelming in its intensity. To know that their family was growing, that the love between him and Hannah would soon manifest into another life, was a realization that filled him with an immense sense of purpose and joy.

“I love you, Hannah,” he murmured, his gaze locked with hers, a sea of emotions swirling in the depth of his eyes. “And our growing family… it’s more than I ever dared hope for.” Each word was a pledge, a reaffirmation of his commitment and love for her and for the future they were building together.

In the silence that followed, their shared embrace was a sanctuary, a haven where words were unnecessary. Their eyes spoke the volumes that lips could not, conveying a mutual understanding and an unspoken promise of unwavering support, love, and the excitement of the adventures that lay ahead with their expanding family.

The world outside could wait. In that moment, in the tranquil serenity of their home, Simon and Hannah reveled in the joy of their news, a beacon of hope and love that promised to illuminate their lives with even greater happiness and fulfillment. The promise of a new life was not just a continuation of their lineage, but a symbol of their love, a love that had already conquered so much and would continue to thrive, encompassing their family in its warm, unending embrace.

THE END


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4 thoughts on “A Duke’s Unexpected Match – Extended Epilogue”

  1. The editing could have been much better. Lady Carrington at times appeared as Lady Corrington and even once as Lady Connington. At one point, someone was said to “wonder” through a field rather than wander. There were sentences where the wrong gender pronoun was used, such as he for she. A few sentences were missing a verb. I’m sorry, but I do find all this distracted from your story.

  2. i really the book! I loved both both families anit was a happy readY! i am hooked on this period of English lifecand you did it proud Thank you!

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