Confessions of Lady Tabitha – Extended Epilogue

One Year Later…

Tabitha could tell Jeremy was nervous. It wasn’t so much in the outward gestures but his extended silences. Her gaze slid to the side, observing her husband as he gazed out of the carriage window. Meeting the Prince Regent was no small deal, and the fact that he got to do it a mere year after entering politics showed just how far he had come. Tabitha was proud of him and wished he could enjoy the evening more than fret about what the Regent might say to him.

Taking his hand, she stroked his palm until he shivered and turned to her. Jeremy bent his head and laid a soft kiss on her lips and palms.

“You’ll have me blushing before we reach our destination,” she half complained.

“I’ll tell the driver to take a longer route,” said Jeremy and wiggled his eyebrows.

Tabitha laughed, drawing her hands away. “I was trying to comfort you, Mr Gibbs. I fear you’ll take it too far.”

“Your touch is both a calming breeze and a raging volcano, Mrs Gibbs. There is no telling which way it may go.”

“Let’s try for calming breeze tonight,” she insisted.

He chuckled, sending shivers down her spine. “Very well. Why do you wish to comfort me? Do I look worried?”

“Maybe not worried but concerned.”

“That means the same thing.”

And so it did. Tabitha didn’t want to draw too much attention to the way Jeremy was feeling, but she also wanted to offer some encouragement and comfort without being obvious. Goodness, but it was a tricky feat to pull off.

“You are thinking too hard, my love,” said Jeremy, smoothing the lines between her brow. “This is supposed to be a wonderful night for us. Just enjoy it.”

“I will if you will,” Tabitha countered. “I don’t want you to worry about anything but having a lovely time this evening. We have been invited to the Brighton Pavilion for a ball by the Prince Regent himself.”

“That’s precisely the point, isn’t it? The ruler of this land and many others has personally invited me to one of the biggest balls of the year. How does a humble man like myself cope with that? I wasn’t born into this world.”

Ah. Tabitha could now see what the problem was. Jeremy didn’t think he was adequate enough to stand before the prince.

“Do you recall the conversation we had some time ago? About one’s title or birth being the only dividing line between the upper and lower classes?”

Jeremy nodded. “You said that it didn’t matter. All that mattered was how you treated people.”

“More or less. You are as much a gentleman as any other man at the ball, and even more so because you understand perspectives from both sides of the Great Divide. You have more to offer the world than a mere title that is passed from son to son. You will one day leave a legacy that will go beyond what any upper-class gentleman can ever imagine, and it will come through hard work and determination. I’m proud of you, and so is everyone who loves you. You deserve this recognition.”

Jeremy gently took her face in his hands and gazed into her eyes. “What would I ever do without you?”

Tabitha covered his hands with her own and put as much confidence as she could into her smile and voice.

“You’ll never have to know that. I’ll be by your side for as long as the good Lord allows it.”

Jeremy kissed her once more and released her. “I feel better. I really do.”

“I’m glad to hear it. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad to finally leave London and be by the coast. A bit of sea air can really work wonders for a person. Perhaps it will brighten my complexion.”

“If you get any brighter, you’ll be beaming like a full moon, my love.”

“So, you’re saying that I have a round face like the moon?” she asked.

“No,” Jeremy answered carefully. “Only that your luminescent skin reminds me of the moon.”

“That was a good save, Mr Gibbs. Next time you might not be so lucky.”

Jeremy coughed, hiding his chuckle. Tabitha had become a little rounder lately, and he had noticed. What he didn’t know was that Tabitha suspected that she was carrying their first child. She wasn’t confident of it yet, but as with all things, time would tell.

It took another forty minutes or so before they arrived at the ball and were led into the ballroom. Tabitha immediately recognised Lady Windbatten and went straight to her.

“My Lady!” Tabitha exclaimed, hardly able to hold her excitement.

The dowager turned her attention on them, her eyes narrowing for just a moment before they lit up.

“Tabitha! Is that you?” she asked.

“It is, My Lady. I’m so glad to see you again. It has been too long.”

The dowager held her arms out. “Well, come here, dear. Let me put these frail arms around you.”

There was nothing frail about the woman as she squeezed Tabitha and whispered in her ear:

“Who is that gorgeous man beside you?”

Tabitha threw her head back and laughed, pulling away so she could draw Jeremy to her. The dowager had a good eye for handsome men, but most importantly, she could tell a person’s character just by looking at them.

“May I present my husband, Mr Jeremy Gibbs?” said Tabitha. “My love, this is Lady Windbatten. Our families have known each other for years.”

“How do you do, My Lady?” Jeremy greeted, kissing the woman’s gloved hand.

“Oh, I do like him. Handsome and charming, and not a stitch of deceit in his eyes. Not like the other one who came sniffing around you.”

Jeremy frowned, and Tabitha mouthed, ‘Lord Bazeley.’ Understanding dawned in his eyes.

“Let’s just say I got rid of the bad dog, My Lady,” said Jeremy.

The dowager roared with laughter, coughing towards the end. “I really like you, Mr Gibbs.”

“Call me Jeremy, My Lady. Anyone who loves my wife is worthy of my first name.”

The older woman raised her eyebrows. “You’re a fresh one, aren’t you? But I like it. Tell me, what do you do, son?”

“I’m in politics, My Lady, but I was the Duke of Storping’s steward for many years before that.”

Jeremy didn’t mind talking about his background because he was proud of where he started. He always said that if he had not been a steward, he would not have met the love of his life.

“No wonder I sense something humble about you. I don’t normally like politics, but I believe that you will be a success, Jeremy. You mark my words.”

They didn’t have time to process the dowager’s high praise because it was time to meet the Regent and the ladies of his court. Tabitha felt Jeremy’s grip on her hand grow firm as they made their way forward. Everyone’s eyes were on them as they walked what seemed to be a long way to get to the Regent. Oddly, meeting them went by in a blur, probably because Tabitha’s ears felt a little blocked. She just recalled smiling and saying who knew what before Jeremy led her away. She had told him to be comfortable, yet she was the one who had needed the encouragement!

“How did it go?” she whispered to Jeremy.

“Better than I imagined,” he said, hardly able to keep the excitement out of his voice. “The Regent seemed taken with you.”

“He did?”

Jeremy nodded. “I had to jokingly ask for your hand back from him. He didn’t seem to want to let go.”

“Really? I didn’t notice. I did not expect to catch his eye.”

“Perhaps we should leave before he asks for a dance.”

Tabitha glanced at her husband, surprised to hear a note of jealousy in his voice. “Do you think that’s necessary?”

“To be honest, I would rather not have the Prince Regent stare at my wife all night. We’ve met them, and that should be enough. We’ll stay a little bit longer, but I would like to go home.”

He was jealous! Tabitha wanted to tease him, but he seemed a little too serious right now.

“At least let us speak to the dowager a little more, stay for the first dance, and then we can leave. I’m sure he will not ask for the first dance knowing that you’re my husband.”

That seemed to set Jeremy at ease. “That sounds fine. Let’s get out of the Regent’s view.”

They spent the rest of the evening hiding from the Regent because Jeremy was jealous of the man’s attention. Tabitha still couldn’t recall a thing and decided not to say anything about her lack of memory. Jeremy would only tease her for it.

Later that evening, they sat curled up on a couch with some lovely warmed and spicy wine. The evening had turned a little chilly, and the breeze coming from the sea had made the night colder.

“I was thinking that I would like to go to Surrey when the Season ends. I know that you still have some things to do with Parliament, but I’d love to see the countryside again.”

Jeremy raised his eyebrows at that. “I thought you wanted to travel the world before going home. Have you had a change of heart?”

“I don’t think so. I’ve loved our journey so far and have seen more of England in one year than the nineteen years I’ve been on this earth.”

“You talk as though you come from another planet.”

Tabitha gave him a withering look that made him laugh. “You know what I mean,” she said. “I have lived in Surrey all my life, and now I’ve seen so many places that I’ll always cherish. Some more than others, but all my experiences have been good.”

“I think it would be good to go back to Surrey,” Jeremy agreed. “I know your parents and Mandee will be anxious to see you.”

“I’m anxious to see them, too. We can continue our journey after we’ve caught our breath back home.”

Jeremy pushed back a heavy tendril from her face, sliding his finger down her cheek. “You have not begun to grow bored of me, have you?”

“Are you asking this because the Regent took a liking to me?” she teased.

Jeremy’s eyes flashed, but he quickly simmered down. “I’ve only just realised that I’m a jealous man. Do you think any less of me?”

“Do you think any less of me for liking that you’re jealous?”

Jeremy chuckled. “I’m not sure. As long as neither of us makes it a habit. It’s not that I don’t trust you, but I feel protective whenever a man looks a little too long at you, especially when I’m right by your side. Those looks should end when a person is married.”

Tabitha moved closer to him to tuck herself under his arm. She always marvelled at how perfectly she fit against her husband and always told him so.

“We’ll never make each other jealous,” she said. “I know that I don’t need such games because I’m happiest whenever I’m with you. I don’t need anything else.”

“You always have the right words, my love,” said Jeremy, sighing against her head. “I hope that we always remain like this. I want nothing to change.”

“Nothing? Not even a child?”

“I would love a child or children, but I’m happy enough with it just being us. We’re a family all on our own.”

“I like that. Some people think that you need children to make a family, but we are a family, aren’t we?”

“Yes, my love. We don’t need anyone else, but a little you or me running around would be appreciated. But let’s not think about that now. Let me hold you until one of us falls asleep.”

That would probably be her, but she didn’t mind. What was better than falling asleep in her husband’s arms?

Tabitha was so happy to be home that she immediately ran up to the front door and flung it open before the butler could open it.

“Mama! Papa! Mandee!”

Jeremy slowly followed, grinning at her. “I think you have woken up the dead, my love.”

“I would agree if I were a necromancer, but I don’t have that ability, and it’s not sunset yet. Wouldn’t I need a chicken or some sort of blood sacrifice to summon the dead?”

Jeremy widened his eyes. “Why do you know so much about this?”

Tabitha shrugged. “I read. You’d be amazed what you can find in old libraries. Lady Windbatten gave me free rein in hers, and I found some interesting books. I think the Church would burn them if they ever found out about them.”

“Should I be afraid?”

“Don’t be silly, Jeremy. I have no reason to use what little I know of the dark arts. I’m not a practitioner, and I have no desire to do so. Would you damn my soul to hell? Mama would surely see it that way. Where are they?” she said, looking around. “I’m sure I called out loud enough.”

It took a moment or two before she saw her mother rushing down the stairs. “Tabitha!” she cried. “We didn’t know you were coming.”

Tabitha ran towards her, enveloping her mother in a hug. “I wanted it to be a surprise. Is it a good one?”

“So good that I can hardly believe my eyes.” The duchess looked behind Tabitha and smiled. “Dear Jeremy. How are you?”

“I’m well, My Lady,” he said, bowing.

“Oh, come now. There is no need for such formality. Call me Trina, or perhaps Mother if you like.”

Jeremy coloured but nodded. “I would be honoured … Mother.”

This was such a big moment that Tabitha felt tears spring to her eyes. “This is so lovely. We’re one big happy family. Where is Papa? And Mandee?”

“I’ve been keeping an eye on your father after what happened last year and influenced him into doing puzzles. He is busy with one right now and is almost dead to the world until he completes it. Although I do think he’ll set it aside once he sees his beloved daughter.”

Tabitha was glad to hear that her father had not resorted to his old ways again. Puzzles were far better than gambling and losing money in the process.

“I would love to see him. Where is Mandee?”

“With her husband in Jeremy’s old house.”

Tabitha’s eyes grew wide. “Her husband? When did she get married? And why didn’t I know about it?”

“You were travelling so much that we hardly knew which address to send a letter to, dear. Mandee wished to tell you but didn’t want to bother you. Tell you what: we’ll have a lovely dinner this evening, and you can meet our new steward and his wife.”

The steward and his wife? Tabitha wanted to see Mandee! “Will Mandee be there as well?”

“Yes, dear,” her mother affirmed. “Now, come along so your father can see you both. He has missed you more than he cares to admit.”

Jeremy happily trailed behind them as they spoke about what new things that had happened in their lives over the past year. Dinner was a surprising affair later that evening. The estate’s new steward, Bennet Rowe, was none other than Mandee’s husband. Tabitha was delighted for her friend, and even more so when Mandee spoke about her babies.

“You have children?” Tabitha gasped.

“Twins,” said Mandee, grinning. “They’re only a few months old but are already learning to crawl. You can meet them tomorrow.”

“I would love to!”

Tabitha felt a little pang at the thought that her friend had married after her but already had two babies while Tabitha and Jeremy were childless. She wasn’t jealous, but knowing that Mandee had her own children made Tabitha long for her own.

Jeremy accompanied Tabitha to her old swing the next day to meet Oscar and Belle. Mandee and Bennet stood waiting for them and introduced the twins, bundled up in warm clothing. Tabitha immediately put her hands out to take Belle, rubbing her nose against the baby’s soft skin.

“She is beautiful, Mandee. Oscar looks a lot like you, but I can see Bennet in his eyes.”

Mandee leaned closer to her. “Don’t tell my husband that. He is convinced that the twins look like him.”

The women laughed and left the men to handle the babies while they took a little walk to catch up. Tabitha looked back and saw how well Jeremy seemed to cope with Bella and Oscar. She knew in her heart that he was going to make a wonderful father.

“So, do you have any plans to have children?” Mandee asked.

“I haven’t told anyone this yet, but I believe that I am with child. I need a few more days to be certain, but I feel almost confident.”

Mandee squealed and embraced her. “Oh! I’m so happy for you!”

“Shhh,” Tabitha begged. “Jeremy doesn’t know yet. I want to be absolutely confident of my pregnancy before I tell him. Why don’t you let me know what has happened since I’ve been away?”

Mandee was full of stories and spoke about Lord Bazeley fleeing England and settling somewhere in Canada. Some believed Ellie was hiding in the Americas, but Mandee was almost certain the woman was with her husband.

“Well, as long as they are not here. I do not know what Jeremy might do if he ever saw Leo again.”

It would be too soon if she ever saw the man again.

Confirmation of her pregnancy came sooner than Tabitha expected. She was so excited that she pulled Jeremy to the side straight after breakfast one day to deliver the good news.

“What has you glowing with excitement, my love?” Jeremy asked.

“Well, there was a reason why I wished to return to Surrey.”

“I already know the reason. You missed your family.”

“That is true, but there was something else that I wanted to be certain of before I told you. I wanted to give you the news on the very estate that we met and fell in love.”

Jeremy looked confused. “What news is this?”

Tabitha put a hand over her slightly rounded belly and smiled. “I’m carrying our first child.”

She watched her husband still before a flurry of emotions passed over his handsome face. Tabitha shrieked when he lifted her into the air and spun her around before clasping her close to him.

“You’re carrying my child,” he said in wonder.

“Our child,” she reminded him.

“Our child. You do not know how happy this makes me, my love. I was prepared to wait, but knowing that you carry proof of our love in your belly just makes me want to shout. Not even meeting the Prince Regent can compare.”

Tabitha pulled her head back to see her husband’s face. “I can push you on the swing, and you can shout as loud as you want to.”

Jeremy grinned, lowering his face to nudge her nose before kissing her. “I think I should make that swing an honorary part of our family.”

“That’s a good idea,” she agreed. “But we might need more than one since our family is growing.”

Jeremy clasped her close to him again, rocking her side to side as he murmured words of endearment in her ear. Her parents found them like that moments later and were elated to hear that they would soon be grandparents. Tabitha stood back for just a little while and watched the joy in her family’s face. This was what she never knew she had always wanted, and Tabitha was happy that she had found it with a man who loved her as Jeremy did. Life was indeed beautiful and worth living.

THE END


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48 thoughts on “Confessions of Lady Tabitha – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Another extremely captivating story, with a really tumultuous set of trials that Tabitha and Jeremy needed to negotiate to overcome a nasty pair of con artists. I found this book to be impossible to put down. I loved the extended epilogue which is a great rounding up of their lives.

  2. A very fast-paced book, I could not put it down. I did not see any typographical errors and the reading was smooth and exciting. I loved every minute. Thank you for another enjoyable book. The extended epilogue was great also and so unexpected.

  3. You’ve done it again, another delightful story of love.
    Really enjoyed it and the characters.

  4. A very enjoyable story of two people from different classes. The descriptions were so I could envision the scenes. I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story. Well written and I appreciated the extended epilogue.

  5. What a wonderful journey of trial and conflict bus joyful ending. Amazing and beautifully written and well rounded end. I truly enjoyed everything about the story. The characters were wonderful and interesting and the story line as well. Thank you for the the opportunity to enjoy your amazing writing.

  6. Enjoyed reading Tabithas and Jeremy’s story. They had to go through a lot of twists and turns to have their happy ending but I’m glad they finally made it. I’m glad Mandee also found her happy forever after too. You did not disclose how Leo and Ellie were getting all Tabithas plans from and it would have been nice to know who it was so no loose ends were left open. The extended epilogue completed the lives of all the characters but again it would have been nice to include Tabithas baby s gender.

  7. It was a very lovely Book! I did like the extended epilogue where it told had well Jermey was doing and that Tabith was pregnant.

  8. What a wonderful and exciting book. I could not figure out how Jeremy and Tabitha would ever get away from Leo and Ellie. I loved the Extended Epilogue too.

  9. This was a great read. I had a different time putting it down right up to the end thank you so much.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was well written and kept my attention. Both characters were so likeable and the reader was so happy with the outcome.

  11. I love reading hour books what’s best about them is ,I don’t have to goo looking for your extended epilogue, it’s frustrating when you’re reading at midnight you can’t find the glasses now you to go looking all over the internet to find them.

    Thank you for been so smart and considerate

  12. A delightful, poignant Romance. Enthralling, entertaining, and sure to please lovers of historical romances. Heartily recommended. Enjoy !

  13. Another great book. I enjoy all of your books. They always have lots of twist and turns. It is hard for me to put them down until the end.

  14. Absolutely delicious story, I couldn’t put it down! Enjoyed the characters, both the sweet and the rotten ones. Plot was intriguing and kept my interest from the first chapter to the last.

  15. Found this book hard to put down. It kept my interest and like it when there is an extended ending. When you read a story and the characters characters become like families. Thank you.!

  16. Yet again another story that I could not put down. Really enjoyed reading this story and I am going to recommend it to my mother and her friends. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading some more of your books.🤗😀😀🤗

  17. Yet again another story that I could not put down.Really enjoyed reading this story and I will recommend it to my mother and her friends. Keep up the good work and look forward to reading some more of your books 📚.🤗😀🤗😄

  18. I love Bridget Barton books have read them for years but this one surprised me with it’s twisty turn but I must confess I guessed she was his wife I felt sorry for Mandee but she found her happiness which was lovely it was good to see Jeremy rise in politics and Tabitha was happy at last but what a journey she had to travel the brave girl thank you for a lovely few hours of the pleasure tthis story gave me

  19. Such a wonderful story. Had me disturbed and entertained but ended even better than ever. The EE is a very nice ending.

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