Scarlett spent the first few days married to Rhett both confused and excited. Confused because of Rhett's behavior and excited because she was getting treated to new things. He sent her to Mrs. Lowe's where he let her pick out a handful of dresses for her to wear until they got to Savannah and could have some made. Scarlett was aware of the glances Mrs. Lowe bestowed upon her. Though Scarlett didn't care, she was used to people looking at and gossiping about her, she noticed that Rhett made no attempts at informing anyone that they were husband and wife. Those at the hotel knew she assumed, but otherwise it was almost as if Rhett didn't want anyone to know. She wondered briefly if his purchase of the simple gold band was intentional. After all, she realized, no one would take notice of a new gold band on a finger she'd had one on for years. She wondered slightly how the town could not know, it seemed like anything they had done in the past whether it be together or separate was known about the minute it was done.
But, she reasoned, Rhett was attentive, polite, and complimentary. He saw to her needs, bought her new clothes, let her order the finest food, allowed her the indulgence of the most lavish bath soaps and oils, and generally seemed content with taking care of her. He was even polite in his advances towards her, almost acting as if she had a choice in whether or not to accept them. The morning after they had wed he had initiated lovemaking, which she had tried to stop more due to the time of day. But he had persisted and she had given in, yet he had stopped short of making love to her anyway which made no sense to her.
That had been the way of it thus far, she fell asleep in his arms and woke to his displays of affection sometime in the early morning but he would always stop short of making her truly his wife. And outside of their room he gave no outward displays of affection, and this was what brought her confusion on. It was almost as if he was two different people, and she wasn't sure which of the two she liked best.
In their quarters it was as if he cared for her he was always gentle and passionate, outside their room he seemed to care about her as he always had, casually. He liked to call her his pet, and that's exactly what she felt like at times - a pet. But at least she had some new things, and more to come. New things to wear in front of Ashley and make him realize how wrong he had been in choosing Melanie over her. She imagined she could deal with being his pet if it meant new things and never having to worry about food on her table again.
Rhett on the other hand spent their first few days together trying to figure out exactly what it was he was doing. What he had done. He'd laugh at himself later if it turned out Scarlett was not pregnant, he had been more careful than he needed to be given that she was his now wife always stopping short of making love to her. He had to know, and on their wedding night he had willed himself to put off taking her until he knew for sure. But when he woke the next morning as the sun was rising he realized that was not going to be possible.
Having her there next to him was far too delicious a temptation for him to resist. But he found it was interesting to explore her body, though not nearly as satisfying. While he had taken the time to please her that first night, he had not taken the time to really look at and touch her. And now that he had the right to do that, he enjoyed being able to do it. It wasn't easy getting out of bed every morning knowing it was his own doing subjecting himself to the torture of celibacy albeit brief. But he needed to know. Once he knew whether or not she was with child the period of celibacy would end and he would never have to subject himself to such a thing again.
A week after they were married they arrived in Savannah. Scarlett hadn't been there since she was quite young, and though Rhett had indicated he'd be willing to accompany her to her grandfather's she had no desire to see the man. She hadn't told Rhett before now that she had gone to her grandfather for the tax money and he had refused to help his kin. She knew when her aunts found out she had been in Savannah and hadn't seen him she would catch hell for it, but she quite frankly didn't care. She was quite relieved that Rhett wasn't going to push the issue, though she was admittedly touched that he had even thought to go. Had the situation been reversed, she didn't know if she would have.
The view from their suite was amazing, Scarlett mentioned to Rhett more than once the ability to see clear into South Carolina across the river when the day was clear. She was disheartened when Rhett mentioned they could spend only two weeks in town, but she understood that he had business matters that needed tending to. She was frankly impressed he was willing to take two weeks away and she was anxious to get started on their house.
Their first day in town was spent at a dressmaker's, Scarlett had no idea how he had done it or when but somehow Rhett had arranged for gowns, chemises, nightgowns, and a coat and hat to be started before they had even arrived. The woman, Mrs. Ecklove, was a polite older lady who admitted to being hesitant to make so many gowns to the measurements specified by Mrs. Lowe unwilling to believe someone with so tiny a waist truly existed. This endeared her to Scarlett further and Scarlett noticed that for once Rhett seemed out of place in a situation as he sat idly by in a chair watching the older woman pin and unpin, take up and let down hems. She knew, however, that Rhett was more observant than he cared to let on. She wondered if Rhett had ever had the experience of actually watching the process of fitting a woman for gowns before. When Scarlett had finished she was famished; her eyes reflected her happiness when she asked Rhett where they were going to eat, hoping it would be some place other than the hotel.
Rhett didn't know if a more torturous procedure existed than what he allowed himself to witness that afternoon. Here was this woman he had coveted for the past five years of his life who was now his wife but he couldn't touch her, yet anyway. Watching her change in and out of frock after frock, chemise after chemise, stocking after stocking it was almost enough to make him tell the older woman to leave them be and take her right there in the dress shop.
He said little as the two woman discussed alterations and ideas for a dress or two that Rhett had not already ordered, Rhett distracting himself by thinking of other things was all too willing to agree to anything in order to get him out of there quickly. He did, however, put a stop to the fitting process when Mrs. Ecklove suggested she be fitted for nightgowns. That was more than Rhett was willing to bear at the moment, and without appearing rude he said they would take care of that another day. When they left the store over four hours later, Rhett was startled by her request for food. It was the first time since they'd been married that she'd really requested food. He turned his full attention to her and taken in by the bright look in her eyes kissed her boldly on the lips, not giving thought to where they were.
After their dinner, they returned to their suite where Scarlett allowed Rhett to lead her to their bedroom and disrobe her down to her chemise. She had grown accustomed to this ritual over the past couple of weeks, they would lie in bed and talk or Rhett would read to her or sometimes he would spend what to Scarlett seemed like hours kissing and touching her.
Scarlett was still baffled by his actions; it seemed almost as if he was avoiding her because she knew that he desired her. Even had she not been aware of how to tell he was aroused, she could tell by his breathing and the increasing intensity of his kisses. And in some ways it bothered her, perhaps she had done something wrong that night he had made love to her and he no longer wanted to. Perhaps now that he had her he no longer felt she was desirable.
Almost as if he was able to sense her self-doubt, tonight he didn't stop at kissing her. She knew something was different in his intentions after he had brought her release and returned his attentions to her breasts. Normally he let her lay against him, but tonight he didn't. Even had she not known what his intentions were when he moved on top of her, she would have known from the look in his eyes. It was unlike the look he had their first night together, but it was easy for her to recognize desire when she saw it. She bit her lip lightly when she felt him enter her expecting it to hurt as it had the first time. She was surprised when it didn't, at least not like it had that first night. She obeyed his request to put her arms around his neck and she actually found herself feeling a twinge of regret when he had finished.
She kept her eyes closed as she felt him kissing her upper body, the warmth of his lips and moistness of his tongue pressing against her skin. She let him take her hands in his, placing them on the pillow on either side of her head. His kisses to her fingertips sent shivers down her spine and she opened her eyes to see him watching her. She smiled hesitantly. "And here I was beginning to think you wanted me as your wife in name only, Rhett."
Rhett hadn't meant to make love to her, but after watching her most of the day stand partially naked in front of him and the way she responded to him he was unable to hold back. He reasoned to himself that it had been over four weeks since that night anyway, surely if she was pregnant they'd know soon enough and there would be little doubt as to the fact that she already was before this night.
He could tell that she was expecting it to hurt, and knew that no amount of words could assure her to the contrary and he was pleased that she responded to his gentleness and his prompts to touch him. He lay next to her, his fingers running through her hair gently. He chuckled lightly at her comment. "Nothing was further from the truth, my pet."
He paused slightly, not knowing how to broach the subject on his mind with her. If it had been Belle he could have come right out and asked, but this was Scarlett. "Scarlett, has it occurred to you that you could be in the family way?"
Scarlett rested her hand on his chest and turned to look up at him. How different this was from the first time he had made love to her. Though he had held her, he was more possessive this time about keeping her close by. She found it slightly endearing as if he truly cared for her, but then she thought about his question and suddenly got angry. She hadn't thought about that, but now that he had mentioned it she wondered if it was possible. Of course it was, or he wouldn't be mentioning it. And then it dawned on her why he married her.
"No, Rhett, it hadn't."
Suddenly she got scared. She didn't want children, didn't want to ruin her figure, didn't want to get fat, and didn't want a screaming brat at her breast for hours ever day.
"God's nightgown, Rhett, I don't want children. That's why you married me, isn't it? You thought I might be pregnant."
Rhett showed no emotion to her question. His fingers still working their way through her hair.
"Don't be silly, Scarlett. You're certainly not the first girl I've taken to bed, and obviously there's the chance every time that's happened that the girl could get pregnant. And as far as I know, you're the first Mrs. Rhett Butler. You of all people should know better than to question me."
He looked into her eyes, hoping he had satisfied her curiosities about his reasons for marrying her. In truth, he still didn't know for sure why he had, but his response was true enough. He wouldn't have married her simply out of obligation. He cleared his throat slightly, "So I take it you've received no indication that you're not with child. Should you have by now?"
She thought for a moment, staring at the canopy above them. "I don't know, Rhett. I hadn't really given it any thought. I suppose I should have by now. I mean of course I should have thought of the possibility, but I guess I don't hear you talking about having a dozen bastard children so I didn't."
He was silent, listening to her. He wasn't so sure she'd want to hear the fact that there was the possibility of one said bastard child, so he kept this fact to himself. "Well, I imagine when we get back to Atlanta if you haven't received the evidence that you're not we'll have to wait a while to call on Dr. Meade. A month or so." He chuckled lightly as he turned onto her side to run his finger along her arm lightly. "The good citizens of Atlanta are really going to think you've reformed me. First I marry you, we're going to have a house to live in, and then we have a baby right away. Maybe I should get a real job. My reputation will fall to pieces."
"Your reputation, Rhett. Honestly. Won't they know? I mean won't it be obvious? How could you do this to me, Rhett?"
"They might suspect, Scarlett, but as long as we maintain it was conceived after the wedding and you're careful so that the baby doesn't come too soon no one will be the wiser. And believe me, Scarlett, it wasn't intentional. If I had it to do all over again, I'm not sure that I would."
"Such flattery, Mr. Butler. If you talk this way to all the girls in your life it's no wonder you haven't been married until now. It must not have been too awful an experience for you if you came back a short while later and asked me to marry you."
Rhett sighed heavily as he ran his fingers through his hair.
"That's not at all what I meant, Scarlett. I meant that if I had to do all over again I would have turned around and left the minute I saw that you were alone. I was going there to warn you about impressions your friend might have had about you being a widow and all. He wouldn't be the first man thinking a pretty widow, who happened to be left a fair amount of land that now that the war is over stands to make her some money, would fall into bed with him. I'm certainly not suggesting I regret making love to you." He had just hoped after five years of coveting her he would have been able to enjoy the experience a little more than he had.
"I don't know why you thought it was your place to look out for me, Rhett." She turned to look at him realizing that if he hadn't she would have lost Tara. "But I had nothing to fear from Boyd, I suppose you didn't recognize him he wasn't at the Wilkes' that day you and I met. I've known him for years."
Rhett scowled slightly wondering if Scarlett realized how unsettling that statement was. There was one man she had known for years that Rhett was quite aware he needed to fear if not Scarlett. "Well, there's little use discussing it now is there. We're here and we can't very well get the marriage annulled now, I'm not going to lie about whether or not we had relations, Scarlett and if you're pregnant it will be rather obvious. Unless you're going to claim it's someone else's."
"Rhett, don't be silly. I don't want an annulment." She stared at her stomach for a few minutes wondering if it was possible that she was with child. She was twenty-one - years older than her mother was when she'd finished having her babies. "I'm just not ready to have children yet. I wouldn't know the first thing about being a mother, Rhett."
"Well, I reckon most people don't, Scarlett. Don't get yourself all worked up over it. It's not good for you, and there's little we can do about it." He kissed the top of her head. "Whatever God dishes out we can handle it. We've managed to do that divided for a long time; I imagine together we'll make an even stronger front." Rhett sensed Scarlett was tired and watched as she fell asleep. Sleep overcame him not too much later.
They spent the next two weeks in Savannah trying to enjoy themselves and not talk about babies. Rhett enjoyed showing Scarlett some of the sites from the war, the war was a different picture outside of Atlanta and Rhett imagined Scarlett hadn't really understood the true harshness of it. Sure she saw the wounded and the dying, but Savannah was a port city. It was, like Charleston, a city the Union wanted under its thumb right away to bottle up its harbors. Blockades that Rhett had managed a time or two during the beginning of the war to get around.
They kept busy, Rhett even taking Scarlett out on the water convincing the captain of a small ship to take them out for a few hours. After their first night of lovemaking, Rhett more than willingly discontinued his brief stint with celibacy figuring it was going on a month since that first night anyway. Scarlett's new clothes were finished just in time for them to return to Atlanta. Rhett could tell that as much as Scarlett enjoyed getting away from Atlanta, she was anxious to get back.
They had been gone for three weeks by the time they returned to Atlanta. To Rhett he wondered if it had been long enough, though he knew he had business to tend to. He had been serious about wanting Scarlett's help with the paperwork he had to go through, he promised her she could be given a week of reprieve from her duties as his secretary to first take care of her duties as the decorator of their house. Rhett tried for the most part to stay out of her way, tending to business and aspects of the house that he could without her.
Though it was rather apparent to the citizens of Atlanta by now that Rhett and Scarlett had married, Scarlett still found it bothersome that he didn't seem to tell anyone they were married. Nor did he treat her any in public with anything but polite casualness, as if they were on an outing similar to courting rather than married.
It was almost like he was unwilling to admit that they were married. In Savannah he had been warmer to her, and she found herself after a few days of his aloofness wishing to be back in Savannah. She spent the first week ordering furnishings for the house, Rhett had been right when he said as long as they both had the bedroom furnishings they needed, a place to eat, and a place to entertain the rest of it could be done at another time.
She didn't care to spend months and months at a hotel, so she limited her things to making the house livable for the time being and left it at that. Scarlett grew more and more convinced every day that she was in fact with child. She had bouts of nausea, was tired and no matter how much sleep at night it didn't seem to help, and the most damning evidence was that she was late for her monthly flux. She hadn't told Rhett yet, somehow she believed by not telling him it would keep it from being true. Besides, he had said she should wait to see Dr. Meade for a month or so after their return. She thought back to that night at the hotel, counting back and realized that she'd be over a month along now, close to six weeks. So it was with this thought that Scarlett had ordered, without Rhett's knowledge, baby furnishings as well.
It was one afternoon when she was walking through Rhett's house she still had difficulty calling it hers for some reason, that Ashley called on her. They had no servants yet save Prissy and Manigo, but Manigo was with Rhett and Prissy was downright useless, so Scarlett was left to answer the door. She didn't know whom exactly she was expecting, but Ashley was the last person on her mind.
She wasn't dressed to receive him; she had been in the back parlor taking sheets off the furniture and trying to figure out what to do with the room. Scarlett was glad that she had only ordered furnishings for the main parlor because what was in this room was nice. She wondered briefly who had owned this house before and how all this furniture had come to withstand the pillaging of war.
If Rhett bought it, it was probably some blackguard Union associate of his Scarlett thought. She smiled at Ashley, her smile genuine though her surprise was evident a glimmer entered her eyes that was reserved only for Ashley. She stammered for a moment, his name on the tip of her tongue but she got tongue tied at actually seeing him standing there before her. Finally realizing she must appear quite the ninny, she stood back from the door. "Come in, Ashley."
Ashley stood in the doorway of what was now Scarlett's home and waited for her to lead him somewhere. When she gestured to the parlor he went and sat on a finely upholstered chair, a package in his hand. He was admittedly nervous about seeing Scarlett. He hadn't a chance to talk to her before she so suddenly married Rhett and Ashley couldn't help but feel somewhat responsible for her needing to marry. That's what he thought it was at any rate, it didn't take a genius to figure out who Scarlett had acquired the money to pay for Tara's taxes from. He hadn't bargained for her marrying the man. He cleared his throat as Scarlett asked Prissy to bring them some tea and stood to hand her the simply wrapped package.
"It's from Melanie and myself. A wedding present if you will, we weren't able to give it to you before you left for Savannah."
"Oh, Ashley, you didn't need to."
She unwrapped the present to reveal a leather bound book of Shakespeare's sonnets. She looked at it then up at Ashley with her best smile, just like Melanie and Ashley to give her a book. She set it on the table next to her when Prissy brought in their tea.
"I'll be sure to show it to Rhett tonight. He's more of a reader than I am, but you know that." She glanced from her teacup to Ashley, a slight blush creeping to her cheeks when she realized he had been watching her.
Ashley was unable to look away fast enough, nor was he able to make his glance appear discreet. He hadn't seen Scarlett in almost a month, and he wondered how she enjoyed marriage to Rhett. He knew she must be thrilled to have this house to make into her own from top to bottom. A sense of worthlessness washed over him as he thought of Melanie and the fact that they lived under her aunt's roof, sharing a bed in her childhood bedroom.
He had been watching Scarlett because up until today he hadn't ever seen Scarlett look disheveled, excluding at Tara after the war but that was different. He knew from the gossip about town that Rhett had provided her with quite a wardrobe, ordering dresses for her both here and in Savannah.
So to see her dressed to work, to see that spark of determination he recognized so well in her eyes when she set forth to accomplish something brought back so many memories. He wondered briefly where they would be had he taken her up on her offer to run away together. Would Melanie miss him? Of course he knew she would, but it was more for Beau that he stayed. He couldn't dishonor Melanie and leave a child fatherless in one act.
"What have you been doing today, Scarlett? I'm surprised Rhett doesn't have people here to help you." His gaze fell to the ringlets of hair that had escaped her coiffure and he had to fight back the urge to wrap one around his finger.
Scarlett smiled; pleased Ashley had asked what she was doing. Scarlett loved to talk about herself and the things she was doing, nothing pleased her more. She set her teacup down and stood gesturing for Ashley to follow her, as she led him to the back parlor without a second thought. She wanted to show him the furniture, still unable to believe how nice it was and that the set was intact.
Their tea forgotten, they spent the better part of an hour in the back parlor talking, Ashley doing his best to catch Scarlett up on the gossip she missed without seeming the gossip himself. Scarlett didn't mind what Ashley talked about, she would have sat there for the rest of the day listening to him talk about sonnets, poetry, or whatever silly book he was reading just to hear his voice. A voice she was destined to only dream about speaking intimate things to her.
She stood quickly and left the room as she heard Prissy scream shrilly from upstairs. She laughed at the girl, scolding her for scaring her so. A stray cat had found its way into the house unknown to the two of them and had scurried across the floor. Scarlett descended the stairs, the crisis settled and returned to the rear parlor only to find it empty. She hoped that Ashley hadn't left; surely he wouldn't have without saying good bye. She turned to walk to the main parlor only to walk right into Ashley. Startled, she blushed slightly at the contact. He hadn't touched her since that day at Tara when she'd asked him to run away with her, and she'd almost forgotten how much she liked his touch.
"You startled me, Ashley." She made no effort to move her arm from under the grasp of his hand.
Ashley realized the time when Scarlett had gone upstairs, and decided it was time to leave. He had been there far longer than he had anticipated. As expected, he knew Scarlett hadn't been thrilled with the book of sonnets but he hoped one day she would actually open the book and appreciate it. It had been his mother's, a book that Ashley had actually read to Scarlett a time or two when they were younger. Scarlett had been even less interested in books and sonnets then than she was now. But he hoped she would open it and remember, and appreciate the gift.
He heard her descend the stairs; a slight smile met his lips at the way in which she descended the stairs. There was nothing wrong with it, but she wasn't exactly light on her feet either. He realized she was looking for him and returned to the back of the house when she turned right into him. He paused slightly at her statement, taking the opportunity of being so close to her to smell the hint of lilacs. Somehow lilacs only smelled this good on Scarlett. How long had he been standing there without responding, he wondered? Surely she thought he'd lost his tongue, but he wasn't sure he could put together a sentence when kissing her was on his mind.
It was the sound of the front door closing loudly behind them that broke the trance. His hand dropped from her arm but he knew he hadn't reacted quickly enough. He also knew without turning around who it was that had opened and closed the door. He didn't even need to see the startled look on Scarlett's face. He hadn't felt so dishonorable as he did the moment he turned to face the husband of the woman he had just had his hand on in a home without a chaperone. And of all the men's wives in Atlanta he could choose, he chose the wife of the man who was probably the best shot in the state if not the south. Ashley was surprised when he met the man's eyes to see not murderous anger or rage in them but instead saw humor and pity.
Rhett had spent the morning with his attorney who had come to Atlanta to bring the rest of the paperwork personally. The man had kindly gone to London himself and met with a barrister there and accumulated all the paperwork Rhett needed to get his information gathered. Rhett hadn't wanted anyone but his attorney to know why he was gathering this paperwork, he would deal with the men in his own way if he discovered who it was. He had left his attorney deciding to see if Scarlett wanted to join him for lunch. He had pretty much remained out of her way during the days recently, keeping his promise of allowing her the week before they started working on his growing mound of paperwork.
He hadn't been overly quiet in his approach to the house, nor in opening the door but when he saw Scarlett and Ashley standing in the hallway leading to the back parlor, he knew that they hadn't heard him. He actually stood for a moment and watched them, Ashley's back was to Rhett but Rhett could just imagine what the man was thinking standing so close to Scarlett. He didn't need to imagine what Scarlett was thinking. He closed the door loudly behind him, and watched as Ashley turned to face him. A slight smirk crossed his lips as he nodded in Ashley's direction.
"Mr. Wilkes," he said, turning his attentions to Scarlett who was watching him with the widest eyes he'd ever seen. "I came to see if you'd like to have lunch with me, Mrs. Butler. I have the next couple of hours free. It seems my attorney has another client in Atlanta that he promised to see while he was here. Mr. Wilkes you could join us if you'd like."
A wave of nausea washed over Ashley, he should have been relieved but instead he felt worse than if Rhett had called him out. The man was acting far too calm, and that was alarming. He had heard of people who had caused trouble at Belle's leaving town to never be heard from again, and many speculated that Rhett was behind those disappearances. He just hoped that Rhett wouldn't take it out on Scarlett, though for all the misgivings Ashley had about Rhett he couldn't picture him hurting a woman.
"Thank you, Mr. Butler, but I was actually about to leave. My wife is expecting me for lunch herself. Perhaps another time, I know we're both anxious to hear about the latest Savannah news." He turned towards Scarlett and nodded his head politely in her direction then left, closing the door behind him. He hesitated a moment, hoping he wasn't leaving Scarlett in harm's way but realizing that it was none of his business. As much as he'd like it to be, he had no right to interfere with Rhett and Scarlett's marriage.
Scarlett walked towards Rhett, suddenly feeling weak. She forced a smile, realizing it was probably because she hadn't eaten since breakfast. She hadn't realized how late it had gotten so engrossed with Ashley's visit she was.
"Ashley gave us a book, Rhett, as a wedding gift. You'd like it I'm sure." She started to walk to the parlor and lost her balance, her eyes grew fuzzy and suddenly she couldn't see in front of her. "Rhett," she called out with alarm her voice suddenly oddly distant as she felt herself begin to fall and then she saw nothing.
Rhett had his back to Scarlett as she started walking to the parlor, he heard her call his name but thinking it was just a ploy to get him to look at her he said nothing. When he heard her fall to the floor he thought his heart had leapt to his throat. He called for Prissy and receiving no response cursed loudly as he picked Scarlett up and carried her into the parlor.
Why hadn't he noticed how pale she looked?
Why hadn't he turned when she'd called out for him?
And she had called out for him.
Prissy finally made her way into the room and Rhett told her to run and get Dr. Meade and tell him that Scarlett passed out and that she might be pregnant. Ensuring she was comfortable on the couch, he went to the kitchen to find a bowl, some washcloths, and some cool water to apply it to her brow and neck.
He shook his head when he realized she was wearing one of her older dresses. She liked wearing them when she was working at the house she claimed. Rhett knew it was secretly that she thought somehow he was going to disappear and with him the new clothes would disappear, too.
He unfastened the first couple of buttons and applied a cool cloth to her neck and upper chest and one to her brow, speaking softly to her. He sat in the chair, not knowing what else to do until Dr. Meade came and glanced at the table spotting a book. A look of recognition passed over his face as he realized that Ashley had indeed brought her a book. He opened it; the book was obviously old. Ashley had good taste; he wondered why the man would give such a gift to Scarlett. Surely he had to know that Scarlett didn't care for Shakespeare. He set the book down as Prissy brought Dr. Meade inside and into the room.
Rhett explained to Dr. Meade what had happened, confirming with Prissy when the last time Scarlett had eaten was and reiterating his thought that Scarlett might be newly pregnant. Rhett had to mentally count in his head to be sure he didn't overestimate, coming up with three weeks to a month. They had been married for over a month now, so he felt safe in that estimation.
As Dr. Meade was examining her, Scarlett came to. She looked around the room curiously, still slightly dazed. She looked from Dr. Meade to Rhett, wondering if that worried look on his face was for her.
Why he looked as if he actually cares.
She answered Dr. Meade's questions, and admitted that she had experienced evidence of pregnancy. She also admitted that she had not eaten since her breakfast earlier that morning. She looked from Rhett to Dr. Meade, noticing the look on his face had changed from worry to irritation, assuring the doctor that she would take better care of herself and her unborn child. She watched as the doctor left, Rhett walking him to the front door as she sat up on the couch. She looked up at Rhett as he returned to the room.
"I'm so embarrassed, Rhett. What must Dr. Meade think of me?"
"I'd say he thinks you're a young woman working on her first pregnancy who is perhaps doing a bit too much. He's a doctor, Scarlett, he's seen worse than this I'm quite sure. Why didn't you tell me you've been feeling sick, Scarlett?"
Thoughts of the little scene he had walked in on earlier were fresh in his mind, but he could tell by Ashley's mannerisms that nothing had happened between the two of them. Rhett was quite sure Scarlett was disappointed that was the case, but he pushed those thoughts from his head. She was carrying his child, they were married, and there was no going back. He just wished he knew how to go about removing Ashley from Scarlett's mind.
"I didn't want to worry you, and I guess I was thinking if I put off telling you it wouldn't be true." She bit her lip, fighting back tears. She wasn't going to cry in front of him, not today. She looked down at her hands until she felt her voice steady. "Can we go eat now, Rhett? Didn't you come here to take me to lunch?"
Rhett walked towards her, offering her his arm as she stood from the couch. "Indeed, madam. And what say you we spend the rest of the afternoon in our rooms at the hotel. You need to rest, and I'm afraid when you spend time here at the house all you do is work. Perhaps I should hire someone to help you with the arranging of things. Maybe Mrs. Wilkes would help you."
"What does Melanie know about decorating a house, Rhett? No, I'll do it. I'll be more careful, I promise. I'll make sure Prissy has a sandwich made for me earlier than this every day. I want to be in our home soon, Rhett."
He handed her into their carriage, going over to the other side and getting in. "I know, Scarlett. It will be ready soon enough. And then you'll be wishing you didn't have the pressures of running a household on your shoulders." He chuckled lightly. "A baby, Scarlett. You're giving me a baby." He shook his head slightly in disbelief as he started the horse on its way to the hotel.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com