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.


20. Chapter Twenty: Reuinted

Chapter Twenty: Reunited



December 31, 1890

The journey up to Wellington, Ohio back to my hometown has gone quite smoothly. We took the express train so the trip has only taken just under six days and had minimal stops as compared to the cheaper one that had stops at every train depot along the way. The children have been excited to meet my family and during the whole train ride they have delighted in all the sights and sounds. Mikey is now fascinated with trains, and has been talking to the conductor several times during the journey where he is asking so many questions that I fear he will overstay his welcome. But the conductor seems to have a knack with children and has patiently allowed Mikey to sit with him at the head of the train while he explained the inner workings of being a conductor. 

We are due to arrive shortly, and the anticipation of seeing my family and friends is intoxicating as Travis puts it. Because of my overt enthusiasm, he and the children have been almost as eager as I am to arrive. Yesterday, while we had a stop in Kentucky, the children had a chance to see snow for the first time. They did not get to touch it yet as it was just a short stop to only allow passengers to board or get off the train. My stomach is getting very hard to conceal now, as it's beginning to grow larger with each passing week. Thankfully I have plenty of layers on to keep warm and help hide my pregnancy until I can surprise my family with the news. I have been keeping my promise to Travis, Mrs. Cox, and my doctors about resting as much as possible, but some days I feel frustrated because I just want to go back to my normal routine and not be so dependent upon everyone. Just last night as I felt the baby moving and kicking within me, I placed Travis's hands upon my belly and watched as his eyes lit up in surprise and joy when he was able to feel our baby move under his touch. Ever since that first moment, he has now been constantly feeling my belly. I loved being able to see the profound joy in his eyes. Even though he's already been a father, it's almost as if his reactions are that of a first time dad. Perhaps Rebecca had never allowed him to feel her own belly as she carried both Mikey and Hope? I must remember to ask Travis about that sometime as I confess that I am most curious to know. Since we are arriving very shortly, I have already packed up all of our belongings and the bags are waiting quite nicely by our personal compartment door. As a matter of fact, as I write this, one of the train workers just yelled that we are about to arrive at our stop in Wellington. At last! I will finally get so see everyone that I have been missing so much over the last six months.


     Sophia quickly closed her journal and stuffed it inside her traveling reticule, along with the bottle of ink that she plugged up with the cork in order to prevent it from leaking. She wrapped up the quill so the wet tip would not stain the contents of her bag and put them inside. The children, after hearing the now familiar whistle of the train which meant it would be stopping, eagerly began to put on their new jackets, hats, and mittens to keep them warm from the colder temperatures that they had never been exposed to before. Sophia gently shook Travis in order to wake him up by saying, "We're arriving my dear. It's time to go." "C'mon Papa! Get up! We're here in Wellingtucky!" Hope chimed in while jumping up and down in excitement. "Wellington." Sophia corrected her as Travis sat up yawning. "Alright, alright!" Travis laughed as he got out of the small bed. He stood up just as the train lurched into its stopping position at the train station, almost causing him to fall over. The kids both laughed as Travis held out one arm against the wall in order to prevent his fall. Even the baby inside her seemed to sense their excitement as it kicked her multiple times. Sophia handed Travis his winter coat and he slipped it on along with a knitted hat that Mrs. Cox had made for him which was similar to the ones she had also thoughtfully knitted for Sophia and the children. Travis looked over at Sophia and gave her a quick kiss, "I bet you're beyond excited to be back here!" he expressed as he picked up some of the bags near the door. She nodded her head yes as Hope took a hold of her hand in order to hold it tight. Hand in hand, Sophia and Hope walked to the nearest opened door and headed outside onto the snow covered wooden platform, followed closely by Mikey and Travis. "It's so cold!" Hope exclaimed as a sudden gust of icy wind hit them. "Look!" Mikey exclaimed loudly, "Snow!" Hope released Sophia's hand as her and Mikey ran over to a nearby snow pile. They grabbed handfuls of the white stuff and took pleasure in the new experience. Playfully, Sophia grabbed a handful of the white powdery snow and balled it up inside her hand, then threw it at the children who cried out in surprise and delight. Just as quickly as she had done that, a second snowball was formed and thrown at Travis right in the chest. "You little minx!" he squealed. The children laughed uproariously as they, too, made snowballs to throw at each other. For just a tiny bit of time, Sophia almost forgot their purpose of being there as she got lost in the moment of fun that they were all experiencing. She adored seeing the children delight in the snow and even Travis seemed merrier than usual. 


     "Sophia!" a familiar voice happily screamed from somewhere nearby. Sophia looked over in the direction of the sound to see her sister bouncing up and down as much as her over-encumbered stomach would allow. Her husband, Joseph, was standing by her side with a cheeky grin on his face. Next to her sister was her Father and Mother, and just behind them was Maybelle and Hank. All of them had huge smiles on their reddened faces from waiting outside in the cold. Sophia was about to burst into a run until Travis took a hold of her arm to stop her, "Whoa there darlin', no running now!" he playfully chided her. She was barely able to contain herself so she practically pulled Travis along with her to greet her family. Rachel was the first to engulf her in a long hug as she cried tears of joy. "I cannot believe you're finally here! It's seemed like an eternity since I last saw you!" she said, half-laughing and half-crying. Sophia began crying in earnest herself; part of it was because her pregnancy hormones were getting the best of her, and the rest was because she truly had missed her family. "Oh my goodness!" Sophia declared, "You're belly is huge!" Rachel stepped back out of their embrace so Sophia could get a better look at her. "You should see how big it is once I don't have this big coat on me!" Rachel laughed, "I am as big as a cow!" "Rachel, quit hogging up your sister so she can come over here and give the rest of us a hug!" Sophia's mother called out. Sophia took a few steps over to the waiting arms of her mother who held on tightly. "Welcome home daughter! I cannot tell you how good it feels to see you again. You look positively radiant! It seems as if life in Texas really suits you." her mother whispered loudly in her ear. Sophia was once again overcome with a wave of tears as her Father wrapped her in his arms next. "Father! Oh how I have missed you!" Sophia exclaimed emotionally. Even he was crying tears of happiness as he held his first born daughter in his arms once again. Sophia was then grabbed by her best friend in the entire world, Maybelle. "Married life must be treating you well. You look so lovely!" Maybelle declared. Her cheeks were rosy and as the two hugged, Sophia swore she could feel a noticeable swell of Maybelle's stomach. "Oh my goodness! Are you--- are you pregnant?" Sophia asked her friend quizzically. "I wanted to surprise you, that's why I didn't mention it in my letters." Maybelle gushed, "I am just over seven months gone now. Due sometime in February." Sophia took a moment to compose herself before she accidentally let her own little secret slip out, but she was absolutely amazed that Rachel, Maybelle, and she were all expecting at the same time, just as they had always wished as little girls. Hank took the opportunity to give her a quick hug and chime in on his wife's good news, "I am to be a first time father, can you even believe it?" he chuckled. Sophia's tears were overflowing with happiness. Hope walked up to her side and latched on to her right hand while looking curiously up at all the new people who were her new family. "Oh Lordy!" Sophia laughed, "I almost forgot! This is my step-daughter Hope. Hope, this is Hank, Maybelle, your Aunt Rachel, your Uncle Joseph, your Grandmother Lucinda, and your Grandfather Louis." Hope, upon seeing the out-raised arms of Sophia's mother, went running into a hug. Lucinda wrapped her arms around the little girl in joy. "I have heard so much about you Hope!" Lucinda said warmly, "Thank you for coming to visit with us." Hope beamed at her which instantly made Lucinda fall in love with the child. As Hope was receiving hugs from everyone else, Sophia took a hold of Mikey's hand as he was acting more reserved and shy. "Everyone, this is Mikey. Mikey, you have already heard me introduce Hope. This is my family that I have been telling you all about for all these months now." Mikey managed a weak smile as his shyness increased. Travis finally stepped forward to shake her father's hand formally, "Sir, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." he said while looking Louis straight in the eyes. "Likewise son. I am glad to meet the man who has stolen my daughter's heart." Louis chuckled loudly. Another gust of wind hit them all with full force and the children's teeth both chattered from the cold. "Let's get these kids back to the house so they can warm up to some mugs of hot chocolate in front of the fireplace." Lucinda suggested.



     Thirty minutes later they were all sitting in Sophia's old home as the children warmed themselves by the fire. Sophia had yet to take off her coat, claiming she was still cold. She wanted to get Nellie in the room before she made her big announcement. While her family and friends were listening to Travis describe the ranch to them, she took the opportunity to slip out of the room unnoticed. Sophia walked down the long narrow hallway to the back kitchen where she found Nellie standing over the stove top range as she was stirring another pot of hot chocolate. "I hope you aren't letting that stuff burn!" Sophia said as she entered the kitchen, which startled Nellie enough to lose her grip on the wooden spoon which then fell into the pot of hot liquid. Paying no further mind to it, Nellie jumped in delight when she heard Sophia's voice. The two embraced in a warm hug. "Oh Sophia, it is so good to see you again! Things just ain't been the same with you gone!" Nellie cried out. "I feel the same Nellie." Sophia concurred, "Life is just so different down in Texas. Right now it's still so warm outside down there and the weather and land is just so beautiful. I wish you could come see it sometime. Maybe I shall stuff you in one of my pieces of luggage and smuggle you out of here when it's time for me to go back there!" Nellie's cheeks took on a deep blush, "Awww heck Mrs. Sophia, I might just let you!" she laughed. The two women caught up on things for a short while until Sophia quickly took a pot holder that was sitting on the counter near the stove. She placed it on the iron handle of the pot of chocolate that Nellie had been stirring and put it on the flat part of the stove so that it wouldn't burn. She then grabbed a hold of Nellie's arm in order to pull her into the drawing room where everyone else was at, explaining to Nellie that she wanted her to meet her new husband and step-children. 


     Once they were inside the drawing room Sophia waited for everyone to stop talking before she made the introductions between her new family and her beloved Nellie. "So this is the woman who sent you that recipe book." Travis said as he smiled down at Nellie, "My wife has used just about every recipe in that book. I think I have gained at least ten pounds since we've been married." he joked pleasantly. Nellie's cheeks once again flushed a deep hue of red at the compliment. "Sophia, for the love of God, please take off that heavy coat already! You're making me hotter just looking at you in that heavy thing!" her Father's voice boomed fondly from across the room. Sophia gave Travis a knowing look and smiled, "Oh for the love of God, Father, I think I shall!" she boomed back playfully at her father. Hope giggled at the playful exchange. One by one, Sophia unbuttoned each of the large buttons that held her coat closed. Before she undid the last one, she turned around in order to face Travis. He gave a quick wink at her as he helped the coat off of her. While he held onto the coat, Sophia turned around so that her burgeoning belly was now exposed. "Oh my word!" Rachel exclaimed as she scrambled to get up out of her chair, "You're pregnant too?" Her sister waddled over to Sophia as quickly as possible as she took in the sight of her sister's protruding stomach. Sophia could hear happy exclamations of delight being shouted throughout the room from everyone else. Louis walked over to shake Travis's hand as he used the other one to pat him soundly on the back while saying, "Congratulations son! This calls for a toast! Nellie, would you please bring out a bottle of the bubbly and give a small glass of it to everyone?" Nellie nodded her head as she quickly left the room to do his bidding. Lucinda got up from her own chair and hurried out of the room, exclaiming that she needed to set up her camera so they could get a few photographs taken. The first picture was taken of Rachel, Maybelle, and Sophia as they were posed slightly at an angle where all their pregnant bellies could be seen. Then there was one taken of Rachel and Sophia. Another of Travis, Sophia, Mikey, and Hope. Then the whole family squeezed in tight so that Nellie could take one of them all.


     After the photographs were taken, Nellie began to pass out the flutes of champagne at Mr. Lancaster's previous request. The children giggled when they were handed their own glasses that had a couple sips of the bubbly inside. Louis Lancaster solemnly raised his glass in the air as he began his toast in a booming voice which was his trademark, "Let us all be thankful that we are all reunited on this fine day. Let us rejoice in the miracle of childbirth that my two daughters and their best friend will be experiencing in the very near future. And last of all, let us welcome Sophia's new husband and children whom we all have been eager to meet and welcome into the family!" Everyone chimed in a "hear ye-hear ye!" as they clinked their glasses with one another. Hope and Mikey eagerly took their very first sips of champagne with delightful little giggles. A loud belch escaped Hope's mouth that made everyone laugh at her. Sophia noticed fondly that Hope was loving all the attention. She looked over at Travis and smiled lovingly at him as they clinked their champagne flutes together in a silent toast. "I love you." Travis whispered to her as she was taking a sip of her bubbly. "I love you more." Sophia whispered back to him, "Thank you for being here." Travis took one arm and drew her closer to his side, but not before giving a little pinch at her bottom which made her slightly jump in surprise as a little squeal escaped her lips. She blushed after noticing that her father had been watching their exchange. But when he became misty eyed and smiled over seeing his oldest daughter's happiness, it almost made Sophia come undone. Hope must have noticed too because she just rolled her eyes and said, "Oh, don't worry. Daddy does that to her all the time. You'll get used to it!" Everyone in the room laughed uproariously at Hope's cute display of bluntness, while she ate up every last second of the attention by smiling and giggling.



     Later that night, after Sophia and Travis put the children to bed in the room next to theirs, they lay in their own bed with Sophia wrapped in his arms. Travis had one of his large, strong hands placed on top of her belly, using his fingers to gently push down in order to get the baby to respond. It didn't take very long as a fierce kick soon followed. Travis's smile grew larger, and feeling the life of his unborn baby under his hand like that absolutely melted his heart. "Did you not ever feel Rebecca's stomach when she was expecting?" Sophia inquired softly. Travis gave a little sigh, "No. Not even once." he replied in a melancholy voice. Sophia couldn't help but feel despair for her husband when he said that. "May I ask why?" she questioned him. Even though it was fairly dark inside the room, she could feel his body stiffen up. "I'm sorry." she said apologetically, "I didn't mean to intrude on your past with her." He remained quiet for several moments which made her think that he may have fallen asleep until she heard his deep southern drawl reply in a loud whisper, "Her and I, well, we weren't exactly as loving towards one another like you and I are. She.... she... hell, she was very different. Reserved. If you want to know the truth, she never even wanted to be married to me. Our Pa's sorta forced the issue. They had arranged our marriage when we were just children. She was in love with someone else when we were forced to marry once she turned eighteen. Hell, I tried real hard to provide for her and to be a good husband but she was always so detached. She did her duty. I sure as hell can't complain about that, but living on a ranch with me was never what she wanted out of life for herself. I know she loved me in her own way, but things were just... well, she did her duty and I did mine. We had always been close since we grew up together and all, but our friendship changed after we got married. It shifted. I just don't know how to explain it any better than that." Sophia laid there in shock which quickly turned to sadness for Travis. She was well aware that for him to actually talk about that had been a pretty hard thing for him to do. Her heart grew heavy. She rolled over onto her side so that she could look at him, "That's all in the past now. I am sorry that she had to die but I cannot say I am not sorry that I am your wife now. I hope I can be a better wife in every way possible so that you never have to feel such a void in your life like that ever again." Sophia said solemnly. She then kissed his chest as she laid her head upon it so that she could hear the beating of his heart. His fingers began to stroke her hair softly. Just as she was drifting off to sleep, she could hear him say, "The only void you ever have to worry about leaving me with is if you go off and die on me. That I couldn't possibly handle."



January 5, 1891

After eighteen hours of labor, Rachel's baby girl has finally arrived! I stood by Rachel's side, holding her hand, as she pushed out little Jocelyn Rose who is such a precious baby! I cried tears of such happiness when I held my new niece in my arms that I swear I felt this tightening sensation in my breasts! Then it began to feel wet there which had alarmed me. Sure enough, after I passed off the baby for Travis to hold, I went into my mother's bathing room to check and there was some weird creamy fluid coming out of my nipples! I must have screeched or something because soon after my mother knocked on the door and walked in on me as my dress was halfway down my waist, and my bare, leaking breasts were fully exposed to her. When she jumped in shock at seeing my state of undress, it caused a little scare in me as well and we both screeched out loud at each other. I scrambled to cover myself with my arms as Travis peeked his head inside. I suppose to him the scene must have been comical for he let out such a laugh as I have never heard from him before. He closed the door leaving me alone with my thoroughly embarrassed mother, and his laughing could still be heard by us as he walked back down the hallway. "Wh-what are you doing?" I demanded of my mother. Her face was flushed scarlet as she looked up at the ceiling in mortification, "I heard you scream. I thought something was wrong! My motherly instincts must have taken over. I am so sorry to have barged in on you like this!" she cried out with chagrin. I instantly felt a wave of laughter erupt forth from within me and I gave into a fit of giggles which made my mother start laughing in return. I honestly cannot remember the last time I have laughed so hard. It honestly felt quite refreshing. After our laughter ceased, I ended up confessing to my mother why I had come in there in the first place. I told her about the fluid coming out of my nipples (which was utterly humiliating I might add!) and she was quick to assure me that it was all perfectly normal. She said the fluid was called colostrum and it was my body's way of preparing milk for my growing baby. I am so glad she was able to give me that bit of information because I would have been even more embarrassed if I had went to the medical clinic over my bit of ignorance in regards to that matter. Be that as it may, I learned something this day which ended up being a source of comfort. Pregnancy sure has its wonders even if my feet and back have started to ache all the time. Now I understand what Rachel was talking about in some of her letters as she complained of that as well. She also confided to me just the other day that it only got worse the bigger her stomach got. I still have three more months to go.... I cannot even imagine it hurting worse than it does now. I must remember to ask Rachel what labor pains feel like so I am more prepared. Even though I was there for the delivery and could see she was in quite a bit of distress, perhaps she can describe it to me better. 

-- S. A. Ewing



     Exactly one week later, Sophia and Rachel decided to spend some alone time with each other while their father, husbands, and the children all went ice skating. Nellie had agreed to watch the baby while Lucinda stayed behind due to a migraine headache, so she was up in her room getting some rest. Rachel suggested they go to The American House Hotel for lunch. As they were seated at a two-top table, Rachel looked in horror at something behind Sophia. Curious to see what made such a look take hold of her sister like that, Sophia looked behind herself and gazed into the brown eyes of her former fiancé, Jeremy Thompson. Instantly, Sophia's heart began to race as she noticed that Angelique Milton, er, Thompson, was sitting across from Jeremy; her back was turned to Sophia. When Angelique noticed that Jeremy was staring at something quite intently, she then turned around to see who it was that had his attention so raptly. Her eyes narrowed at Sophia as she gave her a menacing look. Still in shock, Sophia quickly turned her head back so that she was staring at her sister with a stunned expression on her face. Rachel, herself, seemed horrified and felt a moment of regret that she had suggested coming there for lunch. It never even occurred to either of the women that they might run into Jeremy like that. In fact, Sophia had quite forgotten about him with all the events going on in her life. A waiter appeared at their table with two small menus in hand and a pitcher of water. "Here are your menus Madam's, may I pour you a glass of water while you peruse the menu?" he said pleasantly. Sophia stood up abruptly and quickly donned her coat. The shocked waiter stood there in surprise as he watched her rush out of the restaurant portion of the hotel, with Rachel hot on her trail. 


     Once she was safely outside, Sophia leaned against the outer wall of the hotel as she was breathing in and out quite rapidly. White tufts could be seen with each breath in the crispy cold air. "Oh good Lord Sophia!" Rachel proclaimed the second she got outside and seen her sister, "I honestly had no idea he would be in there. I guess I just didn't thin----" Sophia cut her sister off mid-sentence, "It's not your fault. Let's just get out of here! Did you see the look that Angelique gave me when she saw I was there? If looks could kill!" Just then the door opened and Jeremy appeared. He walked right over to Sophia whose pallor became quite pale. "Sophia." he said, his voice was edged with... what was it? Remorse? Anguish? He continued to inch closer to her as he spoke up in an emotional voice, "I cannot believe it's really you! I never expected to see you again." Rachel gave him a scathing look as she said fiercely, "You best forget you even saw her to begin with after what you did to her! Now bug off! She's got no business with you anymore!" The hurt look on Jeremy's face was doubled but he was persistent, "Sophia, please, if we could just talk privately for a moment...." He was once again cut off mid-sentence as his wife came barreling through the doors after him and she was sure in a tizzy! "Jeremy Thompson!" she screamed in rage at him, "We're going! NOW!" Then she grabbed his shirt sleeve and shoved his coat at him while forcibly dragging him away. "I-I'm sorry Sophia!" he yelled back to her.


     Rachel grabbed Sophia's hand and the two of them began walking hurriedly in the opposite direction. They got up into Rachel's carriage and as the driver began to take them back to their parent's house, Sophia looked and her sister and said, "What in the world was that all about?" Rachel laid her head back against the velvet lined seat and rubbed at her now throbbing temples. "I don't even know where to begin with any of that." she replied honestly, "I never did explain that situation in any of my letters." Sophia looked curiously at her sister. She knew that Rachel was hiding something from her and did not like it one bit. "Since when do we keep secrets from each other?" Sophia implored. Rachel opened her eyes and gave a wary look at Sophia's protruding stomach which made Sophia wince a little. "Hey," Sophia said defensively, "that doesn't count. I told you I kept that a secret so I could surprise you with it. That's a whole lot different than what just happened back there. What is going on?" Once again Rachel closed her eyes. She felt like she was about to open a can of worms with what she was about to reveal. "Sophia, I don't know about this... why you don't just let the matter rest is beyond me. It's no longer important. You made a wonderful new life for yourself and---" Sophia cut Rachel off as she began to grow quite irritable, "GAWD DAMMIT RACHEL! Out with it already!" Rachel winced at hearing her sister cuss at her so harshly. "Okay, fine. Just calm down! You have the baby to think about after all!" Rachel shot back. Sophia glared intently at her sister with her lips puckered tightly together as they tended to do when she was being obstinate about something. 


    After many moments of utter silence, Rachel finally caved in and started explaining. "After you left on that train to Texas back in July, I saw Jeremy standing alone nearby watching the empty train tracks. He had broken down to his knees in tears and began hollering your name over and over saying he loved you and for you to come back. By this time Mother, Father, Hank, and Maybelle had already left. I stayed behind with Joseph because I was also watching the empty tracks, sad that you had left us. I actually had a fit of hysteria myself if you must know, so I just couldn't leave right away like the others had. When I saw Jeremy break down like that, I felt compelled to go over to him. He was such a pitiful sight! When he saw me he broke down even more. After a little while of us just sitting there, he finally told me that he had made a huge mistake by marrying Angelique. He knew he didn't love her, he loved you. He told me he was going to get their marriage annulled. I explained to him that it was already too late; that by the time he did anything that drastic you would already have been settled in Texas and married by then. He didn't seem to care nor understand. Joseph even tried getting through to him but it didn't help matters. Joseph and I ended up leaving Jeremy like that, and his little scene didn't go unnoticed by many people who were close by that day. Word about Jeremy's breakdown spread around town like a wildfire and pretty soon that's all anyone ever talked about. I'm fairly certain it all got back to Angelique. After a few more months went by, he came to see me at my house one day while Joseph was at work. He confessed to me that Angelique had lied about being pregnant in order to trap him into marrying her instead of you. He was devastated and yet determined to come find you. That was why he had come to see me, he wanted an address so he could go to Texas and win you back. He said he was going to annul his marriage to Angelique on grounds of fraud and entrapment." Sophia felt a bit sick at hearing those words, as she had went through a similar situation with Travis who was also wanting to dissolve their marriage based on fraud back then. Sophia suddenly felt very guilty over not telling her sister about that whole bit of news. There was another secret she had kept hidden from everyone. That and her cancer. Oh God, Sophia thought to herself, so many secrets! They just kept building up. It was getting to be too much to keep track of. She began to feel quite nauseous over thinking about all the things she had not been telling her loved ones. The cancer. Almost losing the baby. How Travis almost dissolved their marriage in the beginning. Her surgery. Hell, she had even kept her abdominal pains a secret from the first time she started getting them! 


     Oblivious to Sophia's internal turmoil, Rachel continued on, "I refused to give him your address of course. I knew that you were happily married at that point and told him he needed to move on. He ended up leaving that day not getting what he had wanted. After a couple more months the town was once again gossiping about his marriage to Angelique and how she had turned into such a harpy. Apparently they were overheard in the clinic while they were arguing. Over you. Jeremy kept yelling at Angelique that he didn't love her and how he was in love with you. He once again threatened to annul their marriage but she told him if he did that her father would fire him and he would lose his half of the investment in the clinic as well as his partnership. I hadn't heard anything else on the subject since then. It's more than obvious to anyone that he has been utterly miserable since you left town. And after today... and seeing how awful Angelique really is for myself.... well, I cannot help but to feel a tad bit sorry for the guy." Sophia had no idea that there were tears streaming down her own face. She just sat there in the cold carriage pondering over what Rachel had just told her. Rachel didn't say anything even though the carriage was parked outside their parents' home. She allowed Sophia time to process everything and sat there patiently waiting. Sophia took her hands and rubbed them over her eyes and forehead in order to ease some tension, then said, "Rachel, I need you to get out of the carriage." Rachel looked over at her sister in shock, "Why?" she asked, having a sinking feeling in her gut that she already knew the answer to that question. "Rachel, I am not going to say this again. Get. Out. Of. The. Carriage. NOW! Please!" Sophia shrieked at Rachel through gritted teeth. Rachel knew her sister well enough to know when she was fighting a losing battle with her, so against her better judgment, she exited the carriage and closed the door. Sophia called out to the drive to take her to the medical clinic. In seconds the carriage was once again moving away while Rachel stood there watching it go feeling utterly helpless. "Oh hell." she muttered bitterly to herself, "I just opened that damned can of worms!"


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