After the Duke of Bradford relented, telling James and Susan they could marry before the one-year time period he originally insisted upon, the young couple was thrilled…initially…
The whole purpose for their time-traveling back to 1815 Regency England was to marry and start a new life together…one without the heartbreak and strife of their previous life back in the future.
But when suddenly faced with the reality they would soon be wed, doubts began to settle upon them.
The abiding love they felt for each other had not waned, and their passion and physical chemistry was as strong as it had ever been in their previous lives together.
So why the doubts?
James knew he wasn’t perfect. He knew that he sometimes made mistakes and that he had a jealous nature and trust issues. He was sometimes moody and maybe just a bit overbearing. But his love for Susan was deep and all-consuming. He was faithful, loyal, and would do all within his power to make her happy. He didn’t understand why she interpreted his caring as being bossy or controlling. Didn’t she realize the era in time where they now lived was drastically different for women? Why didn’t she appreciate that it was his responsibility to protect her…care for her…and, yes, guide her? After all, she had agreed to come here. Surely, she knew that going over two hundred years back in time would not include the Women’s Liberation Movement! Which he always thought was bullshit anyway.
No…if they were to have a successful marriage here in the past, Susan must accept that he would be the one in charge. She must acknowledge that he knew what was best for them and their future. Constantly bucking up against him…such as wanting to wear trousers or going out unattended on her own…would not and could not be tolerated. The fact that his mother wore trousers was inconsequential, and going out unattended was a matter of safety. It was as clear as night and day that if Susan continued her independent woman bullshit unchecked, he most certainly would lead what was known as a cat and dog life with constant quarrels and disagreements.
He couldn’t allow that to happen. If they were to lead a happy and peaceful life, Susan must be made to see sense.
But Susan had a different point of view…
She knew her shortcomings and could tick them off on the fingers of one hand…she was impulsive and jumped to conclusions without first thinking…she had an out-of-control jealous streak, was stubborn, and fiercely independent.
It was the last one, however, that she did not necessarily consider a shortcoming. She considered it one of her strengths. Having a free-thinking mind and progressive ideas in this era where women were relegated to nothing more than broodmares and slaves to men, she saw as an advantage. Having experienced the freedoms of the future, she did not see how she could ever become a simpering miss with feathers for brains…a woman who kowtowed to the male sex, who sat demurely in a straight-backed chair with an embroidery hoop on her lap…or one who painted watercolors and played the harp at musicales.
No…if she and James were going to make a happy marriage, it would have to be based on compromise, not a dictatorship. While it was true James’s bossy ways had won out most of the time back in the future, she at least had a say in matters, and James did, on occasion, back down and allow her to have her way.
He needed to understand she was an individual and free-thinking woman with opinions and ideas of her own. If they were to have peace in their marriage, he must acknowledge that she was an equal partner and accept the self-governing person she was…and had always been.
Thus, as each of them warily looked at each other and tip-toed around the subject of their pending nuptials, Lady Emily, James’s mother, remained in her coma from hitting her head in the garden. And instead of discussing the subject of marriage, both James and Susan waited for the other to broach the subject while watching for Lady Emily to recover.