One Year Later
...and they both lived happily ever after.
It was Iris’s favourite ending to write, she absolutely loved it. It filled readers with hope, it gave people happiness, it reminded her of her very own happy ending. She got Ewan, she got the lovely home in the quaint American town, she got it all. She got the prince charming, and the castle, even if it did not look exactly as she envisioned.
Mostly she got to take her stories to the hospital to read them to the patients in there. Seeing them with a blissful happy expression on their faces for just a few moments made everything worth it. She loved cheering people up, it made her feel special and worthwhile.
In a way, it also helped Iris to come to terms with losing her mother. She still hated that she was gone, but at least she was no longer suffering. Iris had been too young to see how much pain her mother was in at the time, but now she got it. It was awful, but she would not have wished agony on anyone. Least of all her wonderful mother.
If you can see me, Mother, I hope that you are happy for me. Iris assumed that she would be, she hoped that she had not disappointed her by defying her father’s wishes. But surely it was obvious now that she had made the right choice. After all, she was happy every single day with Ewan. He meant everything to her.
“How are you feeling this morning, sweetie?” Ewan looked unusually concerned as he stared at his wife. “You are not sick today, are you?”
Her face was a little pale, and she had a redness to her eyes. Ewan could not help himself, he needed to make sure that she was alright.
“No, I am not.” Iris forced herself up off the seat to join her husband. The rounder her belly got, the harder it was to do everything. Luckily, it would not be long until the baby would be born and life would go back to normal. She hoped. “I am feeling fine. I hope you have not forgotten what today is?”
She circled her arms around her husband’s waist and pressed her lips gently against his neck. She loved the sweet taste of his skin, some days she felt like she would never stop kissing him. The year together as husband and wife had done nothing to dull that feeling. If anything she fell deeper in love with him every single day.
“You are not about to give birth, are you?” Ewan sounded panicked as if he could barely breathe anymore, He had been planning for this moment for as long as he could remember, but now that he was here he felt very unprepared.
“Maybe,” Iris chuckled. She did not share his worries; she could not wait to meet their child.
Ewan had become a mad person ever since he discovered that she was carrying his child. He worried about her all the time and made every effort to take great care of her. He was much more involved than any man Iris had ever known before, which indicated that he was going to be a very good father... if not a huge worrier. Iris could not wait to show him that everything would be fine.
“Oh my goodness, are you serious?”
“I do not know,” Iris rolled her eyes. “But that is not what I was referring to. I am talking about the date. It is our wedding anniversary. One year ago today we were reciting our vows and declaring our love to the world.”
Ewan clapping his hand noisily against his forehead. "I cannot believe it," he announced sadly. "I have gotten so wrapped up in getting the business in order, I have been so busy worrying about our child that I forgot.”
He turned and rubbed her belly, which caused the baby to kick violently against his hand. Ewan had the theory that they had to be having a boy because he spent so much time thrashing about inside of Iris, but she thought differently. Iris felt certain that they were having a very feisty little girl. All the Warwick girls, but Amy had that streak. Some of them needed to have it dragged out of them, but it was there all the same.
“I cannot believe that I forgot about that wonderful day, it was also the day we met Mr. And Mrs. Rushmore.” The elderly couple had gone on to become very good friends of theirs. Their first American friends. "I cannot believe I did not check the calendar every single day."
“It does not matter,” Iris insisted. “If I wanted to make a big deal of the day I would have mentioned it sooner. I know how busy you have been; you have a lot of journeys to coordinate which is challenging. I understand. I just want you to remember how far we have come over the last twelve months. We have achieved more than most people ever do in their entire lives.”
She could not get over it. Every now and again it would hit her, she had come all the way from her bedroom to America, and once there she had gone on to carve out a genuine, happy existence for herself. She had many friends, she attended many things, she even had attention on her every now and again and she did not mind. She was a brand new Iris.
Iris Oakley was her favourite person of all time to be.
“It is just lucky that I have this for you.” Ewan pulled a small box out of his pocket and he presented it to Iris. “I have been saving it for a special day, such as this one.”
Iris narrowed her eyes at Ewan, she knew him too well to fall for his lies. “You did not forget at all, did you?” she accused. “You were fooling me all along.”
She snatched the box from him and she tore it open quickly, just to see the most beautiful ring staring back at her. She gasped and trembled, almost dropping the box in her shock.
“I did not get you a ring for our wedding day, which was very wrong of me.”
“But everything happened in such a hurry...” Iris jumped in to justify his actions. She understood exactly why things had gone in that way, and she did not mind at all. She had Ewan, who cared about the ring? Their love was never about anything material.
“I know, but I have always wanted to get you one,” Ewan continued with a loving smile. “Because it came so late, it had to be the right ring, and because we have put a lot of money into getting ourselves started, I wanted to be smart. But now I have this for you, and I hope that you like it.”
Iris slipped it onto her finger with tears shining brightly in her eyes. It fit her perfectly and it made her hand shine brightly. She had not minded not having a ring, but now that she had one, it made her feel even more anchored to Ewan. That was the only way she did not mind sacrificing her freedom, but that was because she had used her freedom to get to Ewan. She had chosen him using her own mind.
“Oh my goodness, it is wonderful.” She held her hand towards the window to examine it in the sunlight. “It looks so lovely; you did not have to do this. Now I feel very silly about the monogrammed stationary that I have brought for you.... oh!”
All of a sudden she clutched onto herself. Ewan stepped back, at first assuming that she was joking. He had gotten her the ring, so she was giving him their child.
“Oh right, it is alright,” he joked. “The stationary is enough.”
“No,” Iris gasped, seemingly clinging onto the rouse. “You do not understand.”
“I think I understand just fine...”
But then he spotted the puddle forming at her feet, and he realised that this was really happening. His heart stopped dead in his chest, a large ball of fear curled up in his throat, Ewan realised that he needed to snap into action now. Even if they were not expecting the baby to come today, it was. Now he needed to prove his worth to Iris. To his unborn child.
But first, he needed to steady himself on his feet.
“Oh my goodness. Our baby is coming.”
“The baby is coming?” Ewan knew it, but he needed it confirmed. “Are you sure?”
“I’m definitely sure.” Iris was in agony as the contraction rolled through her. “I mean, my stomach has been twinging on and off all morning, but it has not felt like this yeah.” She paused for a second to scream out in agony. “Yes, the baby is coming.”
“What do I do?” Rationally Ewan knew, but his mind had gotten all scrambled up in the heat of the moment. Thoughts kept floating through his mind but they did not stay for long enough for him to focus on any of them. He needed to calm down, he tried breathing deeply, but nothing seemed to work. He was a terrified mess.
“Call a doctor. Get me some hot towels.” Iris was not sure herself, but she felt certain that a medical professional and some warmth would help her right now.
Ewan took Iris’s hand and he led her over to sit her down. She needed to relax, to focus on what was happening within her body. He had to take care of the rest, that was his job.
“I will take care of everything, you stop worrying.”
Stop worrying, Iris almost sneered. Yes, sure, that shall be easy enough. All of a sudden her brain was filled with all the horror stories that everyone had ‘helpfully’ told her and she felt scared that she might not be able to do it. She loved the being within her, she had done ever since she realised that she was pregnant, but now she felt afraid. Find that inner strength, she commanded herself. If you can move to the other side of the world, you can do this.
Iris clutched the small, pink bundle of joy in her arms feeling overwhelmed with love. It was boundless, deep, endless. She had never known a love like it, it consumed her even more than Ewan did. Iris did not think it was possible, but it had happened. This little girl was her everything, and she would be forever more.
Birth had been a bloody, painful, terrifying experience, just as she feared it would be, but now that she had her little baby Iris knew that she’d do it all again in a heartbeat. This love made everything worth it.
“She is so beautiful,” Ewan half sobbed next to her. He was an emotional mess, also very much in love with the little girl before him. He thought he wanted a boy, he assumed life would be easier with a boy, but he hadn’t accounted for how much he would love a little girl. “She looks just like you. Same hair, same shape face, she is just as beautiful as you.”
“Oh, I do not know about that. I think that she looks like you.”
Iris could see a green colour to her daughter’s eyes, and she could tell that the blonde hair would eventually turn raven like her father’s. Soon she would look exactly like him, and Iris loved that. She was going to be the most beautiful girl ever.
“What are we going to call her?”
Iris had been thinking of names for weeks. Months, even, but she had not managed to settle on one. Now though, as she looked at her daughter, she knew exactly what she wanted to call her.
“Can we name her Ava Daisy?” She loved the name Ava, and looking at her baby’s face she could see that the name really suited her. “I want her to have a bit of Daisy within her. It’ll remind us of how everything between us started.”
Every now and again, Iris would forget about everything that had happened in England, and she did not want that to happen permanently. She wanted to honour her friend, and since Daisy was a big part of what brought them together it seemed only right.
"Ava Daisy Oakley sounds perfect to me." Ewan stared at Iris, trying to work out what she needed now. Usually, he was very good at detecting her needs before she even had to vocalise them, but this was a strange situation for all of them. They had never been here before. “Would you like to get some fresh air? Maybe show our little girl the outside world?”
“But it is too sunny for Ava Daisy,” all of a sudden, Iris turned into the worrier which was a surprising turn of events. “What if her skin gets burned?”
“She will be alright for a few moments,” Ewan smiled reassuringly. “You cannot keep her indoors forever more.”
Iris nodded and allowed Ewan to take Ava off her while she stood up. It had been a week or so since Ava had been born, but still, she felt a little shaky on her legs as she stood. It was as if a lot had been stripped from her when she gave birth to Ava. Not that she minded, of course.
As they stood outside their small, white house and they stared out across the wonderful American town that they now called home, both Iris and Ewan stared happily out into their home.
“We are a family now,” Ewan practically whispered gleefully. “It is no longer just me and you. We have a whole other life depending on us.”
Iris smiled down at her daughter and she stroked her cheek lightly. “At least we will not make the same mistakes that our parents made, at least we know how to do a much better job.”
Iris did not say it aloud, but she also felt utterly convinced that their love would help their child grow up in a much more stable environment too. They did not have the mansions, but they also did not have the coldness between them. Having not been forced into a marriage, they shared something deeper than either of their parents ever had.
“We can make our family much bigger too,” Ewan continued. “Any time you like, we can have more. Up until this point, I have been very worried, but now I know that we can do it. We should have lots of children.”
“Not right now!” Iris laughed. “Let me recover from this one first, but yes. I would like to have more children.” After all, being a mother was a useful life. The most useful of all, if done right. “I love Ava Daisy, and I love you too.”
“I love you too,” Ewan replied as his eyes misted up with emotion. “I love you very much, Iris.”
With that they shared a look, communicating all their deepest inner thoughts. They had everything now, even more than they dared hoped wish for. It had all started with the switch, but everything that had come after was them. They had earned this happiness, and they’d embraced it well too.
Iris and Ewan truly deserved their happy ever after.
Ah, before you go...
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