The Final Goodbye By: J.L. Jacobs © 2015 (Full Length Book)

Out of sheer desperation, Sophia Lancaster flees her small town of Wellington, Ohio in order to become a mail-order-bride. Naive and full of hope, her world is shattered once again as she is quickly wed to Travis Ewing who seems to despise her from the moment they meet.

Over time, they fall madly in love with each other but Fate has other plans in store for them. This is a suspenseful and very emotional love story that is set in the 1890's where history comes alive. You will laugh and cry over Sophia's journey through hell and back as she fights for the only thing she truly believes in: Love.

*I love to hear your comments and feedback but please DO NOT POST ANY SPOILER ALERTS OR GIVE AWAY STORY INFO. This ruins the reading experience for others.* This is a rough draft version. This book is for mature readers over the age of 17 only. It does contain some profanity and a few graphic love scenes. The synopsis will be re-written, and I will be updating the book with edits.

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1. Chapter One: Love Hurts

 

Chapter One: Love Hurts

June 1, 1890 in Wellington, Ohio

 

If only she had known what was going to happen this day, she would have gladly remained in bed. 

 

     Sophia Lancaster paced inside a tiny room in the back of the church, feeling as if tiny small butterflies invaded her stomach. It was almost the appointed time where she would walk down the aisle to marry the man of her dreams, Dr. Jeremy Thompson, and she couldn't have been more excited about it. This was the day, nay nearly the moment, she had dreamed about her whole life, and it was finally about to happen!

     Only minutes before, Sophia had asked her younger sister Rachel, her best friend Maybelle, her fiancé's sister Josephine, and her mother Lucinda, to wait out in the narrow hallway while she took a few precious minutes to be alone before the wedding ceremony began. From beyond the heavy wooden door she could hear them tittering away in excited voices.

     Sophia smiled. She felt so blessed to be surrounded by all the people she loved and who loved her back. Life just couldn't get any better than this.

     Her nervousness was not a bad thing; She was genuinely looking forward to saying her vows to Jeremy in front of their most cherished friends and family. She had never felt so content in all of her life. She walked over to a large oval mirror that was attached to a nearby wall and stared at her own reflection. Her veil was already in place and it covered her face, as per tradition. Even through the veil, Sophia could hazily see that her aqua-colored eyes were wide and shining brightly with happiness. Her mother had painstakingly taken her time in order to create a classic chignon hairstyle. Even though several strands of loose curls had escaped from their pins, she still looked quite lovely. Her cheeks were rosy, and her lips were covered in a pale rose lip tint that her mother had generously ordered from Paris just for this special occasion. Sophia surmised that she had never looked, nor felt, more beautiful in all her life.

     In just a few short minutes her life would change forever; She would become Mrs. Jeremy Thompson. Mrs. Jeremy Thompson!

     Sophia smiled at her own reflection in the mirror and couldn't help but to imagine her wedding night this evening when she and Jeremy would finally merge their bodies to become one. She could not wait to begin a new life and start having children with him.

Perhaps even tonight would be the night that she conceived their first child!

     A small shiver ran through her body with anticipation that tonight she would finally discover the mysteries of the marital bed herself. Of course, her mother had pulled her aside the evening before to tell her what she should expect on her wedding night. However, Sophia was not exactly a stranger to the facts about the "birds and the bees" as her mother phrased it.

     When her sister, Rachel, was married a few months back, she had returned back from her honeymoon excited to share with Sophia and Maybelle what her wedding night had been like, sparing very few details. Maybelle already knew what intimacies occurred in the marital bed since she had been married now for over year, so she had gladly shared her own details on what Sophia should expect. It was one thing to hear about such sordid topics, but quite another entirely to actually have them happen between herself and Jeremy. She felt giddy just picturing what Jeremy would do to her body. Her cheeks flamed from embarrassment.

     She was wicked, indeed, to be thinking of such things! After all, it was considered highly improper that any woman discuss such scandalous topics like the intimacies between a man and a woman, and if one was actually caught doing so, it could ruin one's reputation. But Rachel, Sophia, and Maybelle had all grown up together and were as close as any young women could be so they told each other practically everything.

     A swift knock at the door startled her out of her reverie. Sophia heard her mother's voice from the other side of it saying, "You cannot go in there! It's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding!"

     Then the door opened. It was Jeremy.

     He quickly closed the door behind himself and locked it. Sophia's knees weakened at the sight of him and she nearly swooned on the spot! He looked so devilishly handsome in the bright white tuxedo he wore. His dark brown hair was a bit disheveled, but it only made him look even more appealing to her. As a smile lit up Sophia's face, she rushed into his arms, unaware of the gloomy look in his eyes.

     "You shouldn't see me just yet! You heard my mother, it's bad luck!" She playfully admonished him.

     Jeremy unwrapped her arms from around his waist and took a few hesitant steps backwards. Sophia peered at him. Noticing his somber demeanor, she immediately sensed that something was wrong with him. This was not the look of a man who should have been happy about being wed very soon.

     "Jeremy my love, what is it?" she softly whispered.

     Sophia had never seen that particular look on his face before and it alarmed her. His dark brown eyes were red and swollen as if he had been crying. That's when she got a sickening feeling in the pit of her abdomen as it tightened up almost painfully.

     He sucked in a deep breath as if he was willing himself to speak. Sophia knew that what he was about to say would be bad news.

     "Darling, there is something that I must tell you." He said.

     His voice had betrayed the slightest hint of a tremor. She pulled her veil up and over her head in order to see him more clearly. He looked downright miserable.

     Giving her a tentative smile he whispered, "Oh my Lord Soph, you look so incredibly beautiful." He gently took her hand, then led her over to the red velveteen settee, sitting both of them down upon it. Sophia carefully readjusted her position so as to avoid wrinkling her bridal gown.

     "Soph, I have a confession to make." Jeremy said in a choked up voice. His eyes, now filling with tears, looked so sorrowful. She stared at him intently, as to give him her full and undivided attention.

     "What's happened?" She questioned.

     His each of his eyes spilled out two single tears. Sophia knew in that moment that their wedding would not be taking place this day. Her abdomen, still clenched tightly, now began to hurt. She ignored the pain and continued to stare deeply into his eyes. Even though the one window in the room was open wide to let in the fresh air of the late Spring morning, she began to feel slightly suffocated.

     "As I was leaving my house to come here a short while ago, I was approached by Doctor Milton, and his daughter, Miss Angelique Milton. He claims she is with child. My child." Sophia's mouth gaped open as she looked at Jeremy, feeling complete and utter shock. He remained silent as she sat there for several minutes as his confession seeped its way into the inner recesses of her brain. She tried to speak but the words would not come out. Jeremy took hold of her left hand which caused her to suddenly jerk it away as she become overwhelmed with a myriad of emotions; anger, sadness, confusion... then right back to anger once more.

     "Oh my God!", she finally managed to choke out as hot tears stung her eyes, "Y-you had intimacies with that woman? She's carrying your baby? I just...I just cannot believe it! No Jeremy, please tell me that this is some sort of a cruel jest! This is our wedding day! There are people sitting out there waiting on us. If this is your idea of a prank, Jeremy Thompson, I do not find it the least bit humorous!"

     "It's no joke Sophia. This news is regrettably true. I c-cannot marry you my love. I have to do the right thing and marry Miss Milton. She's carrying my baby."

     Never one to cry much in her life, Sophia felt betrayed by her own body in its desire to allow her tears to flow freely. A red, hot, boiling anger took over her and she had to forcibly restrain herself from smacking him across the face. The only thing that prevented her from taking such an action was how wretched he looked.

     Sophia flashed him a look of pure anguish and cried out, "How long have you been unfaithful to me Jeremy? Have I not loved you enough? You knew I was saving my virtue for you, and you alone! Why couldn't you have waited for tonight? I just don't understand how you could do such a thing. D-do you love her?"

     There was a soft knock at the door. Sophia vaguely heard her mother's steadfast voice on the other side of it saying, "It's time for the ceremony to start. What's going on in there?"

     Sophia and Jeremy paid her no attention, nor bothered with a response; They were both too wrapped up in what was happening to them in that moment of time.

     "I don't know exactly how to explain. I am still trying to make sense of it all myself." Jeremy said in a quiet voice. "It only happened once and I can tell you that I do not love her. You are the only woman I have ever loved."

     Sophia's heart pounded wildly in her chest as beads of sweat dotted her hairline at the base of her forehead. It was getting harder to breathe. Perhaps the corset she had on underneath her wedding dress was tied too tightly? No, that wasn't the cause of her sudden shortness of breath. It was because Jeremy's perfidy. Tonight he would become a husband, and in the distant future, a father. Those thoughts left Sophia's mind reeling as she tightly gripped the velveteen covered edge of the settee she was sitting on. She felt sick and was on the verge of fainting.

     Jeremy once had intimate relations with Angelique Milton of all people? The daughter of Doctor John Milton whom was the co-owner of the medical clinic that he and Jeremy owned together as equal partners? The thought of the two of them together seemed truly bizarre. Angelique is such a quiet and plain-looking woman. How could this have possibly happened?

     "When did you have relations with that... that woman? Why would you have relations with her? I just do not understand!" Sophia choked out.

     Jeremy took his hand and ran it through his hair out of frustration, causing it to become even more disheveled. He didn't respond right away.

     "Angeliqueas you already know, helped out at the clinic from time to time. Mostly when Martha was away delivering babies."

     Sophia knew Martha quite well. Heck, the whole town knew her. She was a well-respected midwife whom was quite beloved by everyone. Known for her bright red hair with its mass of unruly curls, Martha was a loud-spoken woman with a gentle soul. She had gifted hands and was often called-upon by the women in Wellington to deliver their babies. She also worked part-time as a nurse at the clinic, assisting both Jeremy and Dr. Milton.

     "I already know Miss Milton helped out at the clinic! What does that have to do with any of this?" Sophia yelled as tears continued to stream down her face. The pain in her lower abdomen gradually heightened.

     Jeremy removed a small satin handkerchief from an inside pocket in his white tuxedo jacket, then handed it to her as he nervously began his explanation.

     "The day I delivered the Miller twins a couple months ago, I had become very distraught because I was losing Missus Miller. She began to hemorrhage a large amount of blood right after her twins were born. Mister Miller was very angry thinking that I had done something wrong during the delivery. He had threatened to kill me if I didn't save her life."

     Jeremy paused for a brief moment and allowed a deep sigh to escape from his mouth. The memory of that day was not one he liked thinking about.

     "I did everything in my power to save her but she...she... just faded away and died. She had lost too much blood after the babies were born. It didn't help matters that she had already birthed seven other babies in the past twelve years. She had a fairly rough delivery from the start giving birth to those twins and it must have just been too much on her poor body. I did everything that I could to save her! But she died. Mister Miller was so angry with me. So very angry! He accused me of killing her! Then he threw me up against a wall and said that he was going to sue me for causing her death!"

     Sophia silently watched as tears poured down his face. She could see the amount of emotional pain he was in, and it pained her to see how wretched he looked.

     This wasn't the first time she had heard this story though.

     Sophia vividly recalled the night a couple months ago when Jeremy had told her all about Mrs. Miller's death. It was the following evening after it had happened. The two of them were sitting in a hired carriage, and while on their way to a dinner party, she had commented on Jeremy's weirdly quiet demeanor. That's when he had broken down and told her everything that occurred the night before at the Miller residence. He had been so shaken up that they never did end of going to that dinner party.

     "What I haven't told you about is that after I left the Miller's house that day, I was a wreck. I went to sit in my office at the clinic, feeling so horrible for Mister Miller. There was an old bottle of whiskey in my desk drawer and I began to drink it. I don't recall how much time had gone by when Miss Milton came into my office to let me know that she was leaving for the night. She must have seen that something was wrong with me because she took a seat in one of the chairs across from my desk and inquired after my mood. After I explained to her about Missus Miller's death, I remember Angelique poured herself a glass of my whiskey as she consoled me."

     Jeremy rubbed at his temples for a short moment before continuing. "One drink led to another, then another. The next thing I remember is when I woke up the next morning. I was alone, but I was, well, in a complete state of undress. I suspected that something inappropriate might have taken place between her and me, but I was never quite sure on the matter. I hadn't seen her at the clinic since that night or around town now that I think of it. I suppose I should have sought her out to see if anything improper had taken place between us. Soph, I honestly do not remember a single thing after we drank that damned bottle of whiskey and you know that I rarely drink."

     Sophia stared at him in disbelief. He claimed to have very little recollection of what had occurred that evening, but it was now more than obvious something had happened! He, himself, just said that he had woken up in a state of undress! Sophia began to feel so damned disgusted with him as bile crept up her throat. How could he have let that happen? It was already highly improper of him to have let Miss Milton drink with him alone in his office! The moment that woman came in there, he should have been man enough to ask her to leave.

     With eyes full of guilt and remorse, Jeremy said, " Just a short while ago when I walked outside my house to leave for our wedding, I was feeling like the happiest man in the world. Then after Doctor Milton and Miss Milton confronted me, I had to come here to the church knowing full well that two hearts would be broken today. I am just as devastated by this news as you are my love. With that being said, I have to do what is right and take responsibility for my alleged actions. I cannot allow Angelique's reputation be ruined so I'm going to marry her. I really don't have much of a choice. She claims I am the father of her child. Doctor. Milton informed me that he is procuring a special license so that Angelique and I can be married tonight. I cannot express my sorrow enough. This is something I shall be burdened with for the rest of my life. Hell, I don't even want to marry her! I want to marry you. Shamefully I cannot undo what has already been done. I can only say to you that I am so very, very sorry."

     He sounded genuinely upset, as he should have been, and looked even worse.

     Sophia's anger only increased though. He was worried about Angelique's reputation? What of her own? Did that not occur to him at all? So now she had to pay the price for Jeremy's carelessness? How was any of this fair to her? She'd surely be the talk of the town once word of this got out. Obviously the guests sitting in the church pews that were waiting on the wedding ceremony to begin would find out very soon that there was to be no wedding today. At least, not one that was between her and Jeremy!How could Jeremy have been so... so damned stupid? Oh hells fire, what a fine mess indeed!

     Sophia yanked off her solid gold engagement ring with its brilliant cut red ruby, which had been his grandmother's ring, and threw it at him, then watched as it bounced off his chest and fell to the wooden floor below. He didn't even bother to pick it up. He just stared down at his lap as he sobbed openly. She almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

     More knocking sounded at the door. "Sophia!" her mother shouted, "I demand that you open the door this instant!" Sophia sat on the settee glaring at Jeremy through narrowed eyes as she struggled to breathe. He had betrayed her in the worst possible way and there would be no forgiveness for his perfidy. Ever!

     "Sophia! Open this door NOW!" Lucinda shouted again, this time so loudly that the whole church had surely heard her. Then Maybelle jokingly called out, "The honeymoon is after the ceremony. Let's get this wedding started already!"

     Sophia stood up, briskly walked over to the door, and unlocked it. Immediately her mother, Lucinda, walked inside.

     "What in God's good name is going on in here?" Lucinda demanded to know. It didn't take her very long before she noticed that something was very wrong.

     "What is going on with you two? The wedding should have already started. It's rude to keep your guests waiting like this." Lucinda remarked. There was a veritable amount of concern edging her voice.

     Ignoring Lucinda's question, Jeremy cast one last look at Sophia before he fled the room. Rachel, Josephine, and Maybelle entered after witnessing Jeremy's sudden departure. Josephine looked torn between staying in there or going after her brother. She quickly decided to go after her brother and left the room in a hurry to do so.

     "There is not going to be a wedding between Jeremy and me. Today nor ever!" Sophia bellowed as she tore off her carefully pinned wedding veil from her hair and threw it harshly towards the floor. She ran from the room, leaving three very shocked women standing there in her wake.

     Taking a deep breath, Lucinda looked at Maybelle and calmly said, "Please inform the guests that there will be no wedding today. I will take Rachel with me to find out what has happened."

     Maybelle nodded her head solemnly in a silent confirmation that she would do as she had been asked, then watched as Lucinda and Rachel hurried from the room.

     By this time, Sophia had already bolted from the church and was running towards the Lancaster's family carriage which was parked on the road out front. The confused driver, Stevens, had been standing next to the stately carriage smoking a cheroot. Shocked to see that Sophia was clambering into the carriage, alone, he threw down his smoke and got up onto the driver's seat as Sophia yelled for him to take her home. Just as he pulled away, both Lucinda and Rachel had come running from the church and were forced to stop dead in their tracks as they watched the carriage leave.

     "What's happened?" Rachel questioned.

    Lucinda looked over at her youngest daughter, and while shaking her head, replied, "I am not sure but we shall find out soon enough. I suspect your sister is going to be needing us though."

#

     Even though Stevens was driving the carriage at a fast clip, in Sophia's mind it had felt as if the ride home was taking forever. Her thoughts were plagued by Jeremy's confession as it replayed itself over and over in her mind. She felt sick to her stomach and still had that pronounced pain in her lower abdomen from the stress of the last half hour or so. Her wedding day had been ruined and she felt ashamed, embarrassed, and despondently heartbroken. She began to sob uncontrollably.

     This was not how she had pictured this day to have been like! Jeremy would be Angelique Milton's husband tonight and the father to her baby in the distant future! How could this have happened? On her wedding day nonetheless!

     She cried like she had never cried before as she balled up fistfuls of her wedding dress in her hands. Once Stevens had pulled the carriage up to the cobblestone sidewalk in front of her home, she didn't even wait for him to open the door and help her out. Instead, she impatiently flung open the door and jumped down from it, not giving any care to the expensive, custom-made wedding dress. Grabbing the sides of her dress to keep herself from tripping over the massive amounts of silk and lace, she ran towards the front door. After she was safely ensconced inside her bedroom, Sophia began to scream and cry from the top of her lungs.

     "Damn you to hells fire and beyond Jeremy Thompson! You cheating, heartbreaking, lying bastard! Have fun with your new wife and baby while I positively die from the shame of it all!"

#

 

(This chapter was updated on 4/16/2016. Please vote and comment. Thank you! Keep in mind that the formatting doesn't copy over well from the actual manuscript itself. This whole book will be a work-in-progress until it's ready for publication. )

(This chapter was updated on 4/11/2016. The formatting did not copy over well from the original manuscript so please keep that in mind when reading. Please feel free to vote and comment! Thank you!)

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