Epilogue - Rebirth - David
The sun is setting. It's getting darker earlier, now. As a child, I used to stay up late in the summer to watch the sunsets. I didn't think I would ever stop, but I haven't liked sunsets since what we like to call 'The Turner Affair'. I move from the window to my chair by the fire. The fire in the sky is very similar to the one that night, so long ago, now. It feels like a lifetime away and yet I remember every detail so vividly I can almost believe it only happened yesterday. I can still recall everything from the moment I first saw the manor, to the dying sigh of Miss Turner. Oh, the look in her eyes! She didn't feel a thing. It was fast and painless for her, which is more than I can say for the rest of us. But she was happy in the end, I think. I have thought this all over so many times, I suspect Christine gets a little jealous at times, but she understands. I love Christine so much. She has an unlimited supply of love and understanding. That's why I married her. She doesn't get upset when I call out for Miss Turner in my sleep and she wasn't at all perturbed when I so obviously despised her love of the name Fiona.
Lydia runs in just as I'm starting to doze off. She climbs on to my lap and presses her toy, James-doll, against my face, telling him to kiss daddy goodnight.
"Goodnight James-doll. Goodnight Lydia, love. Sweet dreams." She smiles brightly at me, not at all tired, then hugs me as tightly as her little arms can manage.
"Goodnight daddy! I love you! Mummy's taking me to bed tonight, but can you take me up tomorrow night and tell me the story of the clockwork girl?"
"Oh, but my darling, I always tell you that one. How about a fairytale, or a short story instead?"
"But Lydia Turner is my favourite! I like to pretend that I am her and James-doll is my daddy. Besides, you are the one who named me after her."
"Alright, Lydia, love. The patchwork daughter it is." She cheers joyfully and hugs me again. One kiss on the cheek and she's running off again. Up the stairs she goes and I hear her hurrying in to her mother's arms on the landing. I smile after her. Happy and painless. It still hurts to think of her every now and again, but I am happy now. Happier than I have ever been.
My mobile phone alerts me to a text and I retrieve it from my pocket. It's from Jacob. He says thank you for the presents me and Christine sent over for the little one. Grace is almost six months pregnant now and we sent over some of Lydia's old stuff. They would have had a child sooner, but Luke was always demanding all of Grace's attention. He really didn't want to lose his big sister, but he finally moved in with Amy, Theo and Ted. Ben and Blake stayed at the old town, as did Sophie. They had nothing to run away from and no one to run away with. We still meet up there, sometimes. Every now and then we all group up together with the families at the old town. Lydia insists on a tour of the manor every time, of course, but we only ever go to the ballroom and the bed chambers. You can't really avoid the entrance hall. We go through the gardens and the chapel sometimes and Lydia climbs every tree and smells every flower and sings with every bird. She reminds me of how Miss Turner must have been when she was alive. I think that Lydia must knows the story almost as well as I do, by now. She has all the facts, she just doesn't have all the images and memories, luckily for her. I do have some photographs of Miss Turner and an old painting of her and her father that was painted just before she got ill and died. It hangs over the fireplace rather stereotypically. I will never forget her. Even if the pain of her passing has faded with time, her memory will always remain.
I must have fallen asleep for a time, because the next thing I know, Christine is gently shaking me awake. I smile up at her.
"Come on, David. Bedtime." She smiles back at me as I get up. She kisses me lovingly and we share a moment of comfortable silence in one another's arms. Happiness bursts inside of me and I can't seem to stop smiling. As she leads me to the bedroom I recall our first meeting. She was lost and I gave her directions. She was still worried, though, so I showed her the way. When we arrived she looked up at me like I had married her, rather than just stayed with her. I haven't left her side since. Metaphorically, of course.
As we pass Lydia's room, we stop for a moment outside to check on her. We can hear her talking to James-doll in her sleep. She's telling him that she will help him protect Miss Turner. Me and Christine roll our eyes at each other and go to bed. The last thought on my mind before my consciousness slips away, is how happy I am. Lydia and Christine are all I could ever want and all I will ever need.
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