Kate stared into the fire as she sat motionless in front of it. All it's popping and snapping was mere background noise for her thoughts, she hadn't even heard Nelly enter the room.
"Time to dress my love. You do not want to be late for your own birthday party do ya?" Nelly asked.
"No I suppose not." She answered all the while gazing into the dancing flames. Clueless to how long she had been sitting quietly, she drew her gaze to the clock. Three hours. To Kate it had felt like mere minutes. She refused to entertain the thought of him leaving again although it was doing nothing but toying with her mind.
Kate stood up swiftly and walked to were Nelly was at her dressing table. Without a word she turned from Nelly for her to unfasten her dress. Last nights words, his words, replayed over and over in her mind.
"Your salvation and all the love you long for. It's never left you Katie. My heart has been forever and always yours to hold and keep alive for the both of us."
Romantic and breathtaking as they were, it left Kate wondering why he had not just revealed himself from the start. Why the disguise and charade of an identity? Who was he hiding from...me? Questions she did not get the chance to ask and now she was uncertain if she would ever get the chance to do so.
Before she knew it Nelly had her dressed and was now ready for the final touches. Kate sat down before the mirror as Nelly began on her hair. Her thoughts were still running ramp id with doubt. She couldn't bring herself to gaze at her own reflection. Maybe on some level she was scared to see what her own eyes would tell her.
"All done my love," Nelly said. She picked up a box lined with royal blue velvet and said, "Mr. Beckum had this sent over for you this morning."
Kate drew her hand up to her locket around her neck. With her eyes still focused on the dressing table she said, "Keep it for yourself. I don't care for it."
Nelly's mouth dropped open. "You must Kate. He is to be your husband and to refuse such a-
"He will not and I can refuse it!" Kate snapped. If she were honest with herself she was more snapping with herself then at poor Nelly. Closing her eyes tightly she said, "I am sorry, Nelly. You may keep it and do what you like with it. I have no need for the necklace."
Before Nelly could ask why a knock sounded on the door. One of the staff informed them Gary was asking for Kate's presence now. Nelly without a word walked over to Kate and kissed her about the forehead and gave her hand a gentle squeeze.
The room was now empty. Chimes of the small bell her cousin, Susana, insisted the doorman use to announce every guest, found it's way up the stairs, down the hall, and into Kate's room. She closed her eyes again. "Please don't leave me again. Be here tonight Jake, please," she barely whispered. Raising her head she opened her eyes and looked herself in the mirror. Fear, uncertainty, and hope filled her eyes. Kate slowly rose to her feet making her way to the door. With her hand on the door knob it took all the strength she had within her to turn it. The latch sounded and the door opened freely into the room. Kate took in a deep breath, wiped away a single tear that had fallen down her check and left her room for the party.
All eyes were upon her as Kate walked into the music room. Numerous candles lit the room. Extra lavish furniture was rented for the celebration. Kate did note the red velvet runner at the entrance and assumed Susana had everything to do with it. The old piano had been replace with a larger expensive piano. Family portraits had been freshened up as well as new deep blue drapes trimmed in gold on the windows. No expense was spared and she only assumed Beckum paid for it all.
Smiles, birthday wishes, and the occasional congratulations on the engagement were thrown about from all around her. Kate could not even feel her feet moving. A numb tingling feeling washed over her and seemed to sink it's self in the pit of her stomach were it sat like a rock.
The room appeared to be moving in a sluggish motion or maybe it was her own movements. Either way it left her feeling heavy as if she was dragging behind her the weight of the world. The weight of a dim unhappy world at that.
Twenty steps in front of her stood Gary and Beckum shoulder to shoulder. Both watching Kate's every move as a beast watches it's prey. She had not even looked for him in the crowd. if he was there she would have known it by now.
"Kate, are you okay?"
A welcomed voice rang out a song in her heart causing a small smile to form. "Better now that I have you here, Jagger." Kate felt the sudden comfort as he held her arm. "I believe all of London my be in attendance tonight."
Jagger chuckled. "I believe Susana sent out invitations and then two separate reminder invitations." He then gazed down to her with a smile. "Happy birthday, Kate." He pulled out a small box from his pocket.
Kate held out her hand and said, "Oh Jagger, you did not have to get me anything." She took it from his hand.
"I didn't," he said. Kate's eye darted to meet his. "Open it," he said.
Kate ripped at the white silk ribbon securing the red box. Her hands were shaking but she finally freed it. Taking in a deep breath she lifted the hinged lid of the small present. She didn't speak. She didn't blink.
The gasps and murmurs coming from the crowd around her began to echo throughout the room as word spread of what she held in her hand. She looked up to Jagger who was smiling a wide foolish smile for her. She watched his head turn towards the entrance. Murmurs turned into loud whispers as she watched the crowd begin to part at the doorway.
Kate's heart raced with hope and fear. Through the large gathering he emerged. Tall, well dressed, shaven, and just as she remembered him. He caught her breath at that moment just as he always had.
Beckum and Gary raced towards Kate shouting objection. Jagger reached out and grabbed both the men by the throats. "I believe we need a private word gentlemen." He dragged them into a side room and shut the door. Kate hadn't even taken notice. Her gaze was else where.
She wanted to run to him. To leap into his arms but she couldn't move. She stood waiting for him, for this, for two long years. A steady stream of tears cascaded down her face.
"Katie," he said when he reached her. Before her and before everyone he dropped down on one knee. Taking the brilliant engagement ring from the box in her hand, he held her other hand in his. The room drew so silent you could hear the carriages outside the estate.
"I need you to know within your heart I have always been yours, Katie. The vast distance of the ocean never stopped me from loving you, not for one single second of any day. The feelings I have carried for you since I was a child have only grown over the years and that night two years ago to this day, was the most amazing and scariest nights of my life. I realized how much I love you and when I left, the thought of living without you paralyzed me with fear. I was terrified to love you and at the same time could not bear the thought of living without you. I fought for two years to get back to you hoping every second you had not given up on me, and you didn't. Katie, if you take my hand I promise to be your salvation everyday from this day forward. Every breath I take...will be for you."
"You have always been my salvation, Jake. For me there is no other. I love you," Kate said.
Jake slid the ring onto Kate's finger and placed a long gentle kiss on it. Kate finally jumped into his arms and kissed him with a passionate flame that had always burned for him. Finally after two very long years, he was the birthday wish she had wished for a lifetime ago.
Kate and Jake were married one week later in a small chapel outside London. Kate gave birth to a health baby boy named, Jagger. Within five years time they had two more boys and a little girl. Jake paid off Gary's debts and then Kate cut all ties with her family. Once a week Kate takes her husband on a pic-nick in the gardens, weather permitting.
There loyal and dear friend "uncle Jagger" as he is known now, visits weekly and spends every holiday with them. Although, he missed Easter with them and last Sunday diner leaving them wondering why. But, that's a whole nether story....now isn't it.
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11
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A Forbidden Love