Never Tear Us Apart
by Jackie Pena
Archie continued to hold Morgan in his arms. She took in the warmth of his body, enjoying the feel of his arms around her and the strength of his body against her.
"Archie, I will be a good wife, I promise. Oh my darling, I cannot think of anything that would make me happier than I am right now, other, perhaps having our children around us."
Archie chuckled. "I know you will, I've never been happier than I am at this minute, Morgan as I promise to be a good husband and father."
"I will get you a ring." He said.
"I don't need one Archie, I just want you."
"Wait," he said pulling a signet ring from his pinky. "Please wear this, it is just a simple gold ring engraved with the Kennedy coat of arms." He placed it her finger. "When you are my wife, you will have as much right to wear it as anyone bearing the Kennedy name."
"Archie it is lovely, if it makes you happy for me to wear it, I will."
"It will make me very happy."
"I love you so much my dear Morgan, I want to tell the world!" He picked her up and swung her around making her giggle.
"Let's ask the Carringtons to make an announcement." He said.
"Not yet." She said.
"Why?" He looked at her confused.
"Maybe we should wait for another time. Not tonight. This being the Carrington's holiday party and all."
"Alright. As you wish my darling, but it is going to be difficult to conceal my happiness." He said.
Morgan laughed. "Yes, I know that anyone looking at us will guess our secret."
He took her by the hand. "Come. We should return to the party before Becca thinks we've run off."
After the party ended, and the guests were gone except Morgan who stayed at Archie's insistance, promising her he would take her home later on.
They waited for Charles and Rebecca in the drawing room.
"I can't wait to see you walk down the aisle on our wedding day and become my wife."
"I've dreamed of that since I was a little girl." She said with a warm smile.
Charles and Rebecca entered the room.
"Thank you for inviting me. It was a lovely party." Morgan said.
Rebecca noticed the familiar looking ring on Morgan's finger and smiled the directed Charles to notice it also with her eyes.
"Is there something you would both like to tell Charles and I?"
"How do you mean?" Archie asked.
Rebecca approached Morgan and took her hand. "This ring looks very familiar.
"We wanted to tell you, but" Archie said.
Rebecca interrupted. "Is this what I think it is?"
"Yes. I asked Morgan to be my wife and she accepted."
Morgan shyly bowed her head.
Rebecca put her hand over her mouth and gasped in excitement. "This is the most wonderful news! I am happy for you both!" She hugged both Morgan and Archie.
"Most wonderful news it is!" Charles shook Archie's hand and kissed Morgan on the cheek.
"This calls for a toast." Charles asked one of the servants to bring a bottle of one of his vintage wines. Within minutes, the bottle had been fetched and glasses produced.
Both couples raised their glasses to the toast Charles was about to make.
"To my dear friend Archie and his most lovely bride to be Morgan, congratulations and best wishes to you both."
They clinked their glasses and drank to the future happiness of them all.
In the following weeks, Morgan made her wedding plans in her spare time with Becca's help. She was also working in Mrs. Harris' dress shop for a few hours per week as payment for her wedding gown.
Archie wrote to his parents about his upcoming betrothal, and was planning on taking his future bride to Scotland to meet them.
On an usually warm February day, Archie and Morgan decided to go in one of the local parks for a picnic.
Morgan was sitting on a blanket she had spread out on the ground and was resting her back against a tree. Archie was lying down on it with his head resting on her lap.
"Would you car for another sandwich my love?" Morgan asked.
Archie chuckled. "After two of them and a piece of cake, I cannot eat another bite! I think you want to make me fat!"
Morgan giggled. "You did say you were famished."
He looked up at her angelic face. "Oh by the way, my parents answered my letter to them. They are very anxious to meet you."
Morgan cracked a nervous smile and bowed her head. Archie knitted his brow on her reaction.
He sat up beside her. "What is the matter my love?"
"Morgan, I know you well enough to know that look. Something is worrying you."
She took a deep breath and let it out. "What if they do not approve of me?"
Archie gave her a sympathetic look and caressed her cheek. "Darling you worry too much, they will adore you! How could they not!"
"I love you Archie."
His lips came closer to her. "And I you my sweet."
She was not completely reassured by his words, but did not want to upset him with her fears. She leaned toward him to return his kiss.
One week later..
Archie decided taking a ship to Edinburgh would be quicker than a carriage.
Morgan was both anxious and nervous. She has never traveled outside England.
Archie and Morgan strolled around the deck of the small passenger ship. It was very cold, but she was very interested in the ship and how she sails. She hoped that it would give her some more understanding of her darling Archie's love of the sea and allow her to share that with him.
"This is most fascinating Archie."
He smiled. "Yes, but this ship is nothing in size compared to the fighting ships I've been on."
"Come my love," He said. "let's go see if dinner is being served."
Taking her arm, they made their way down to the passenger's dining room.
They arrived safely in Scotland. It was a mildly cold day. When their baggage was retrieved, Archie and Morgan headed toward the carriage that was waiting for them.
"Good morning Master Kennedy. " The coachman said. "It is great to see you again Sir."
"Thank you Mr. Wallace. May I introduce to you my betrothed, Miss Morgan O'Connor."
He bowed. "Pleased to make your acquaintance Miss, and may I say she is quite a pretty one Master Kennedy."
Morgan blushed. "Thank you Sir."
They climbed the carriage, and Morgan quickly snuggled up to Archie for warmth.
"It shant be a long trip. Just a few miles." Archie said. He pulled the warm lap robe over them both as they rode along.
They were soon to arrive at the Kennedy home. Morgan was admiring the beauty of Scotland during the trip.
"We are almost there." Archie said.
The carriage had to stop in front of the gates to wait for them to be opened by the caretakers. Morgan was surprised at the large size of the gates.
The carriage slowly made its way towards the house. Morgan was not able to catch a glimpse of it yet, until they were close to it.
She became wide eyed and pale. The house did not look like an ordinary house, it looked like a stately home!
She was trying to say something, but the words were not coming out of her mouth.
The carriage made its stop in front of the house where all of the servants were patiently waiting for their young Master Kennedy.
"Archie, is there something you failed to tell me about you and your family?"
"How do you mean?"
"Being called Master Kennedy? An elegant carriage ride? A home the size of a palace? Servants?"
"Oh I do believe I did leave out a small detail. You see, I am the third son of Lord Edward and Lady Jane Kennedy."
"What? Oh no, I cannot go in there!" She said with panic in her voice.
"Don't be silly!" He said. "Yes you will go in there even if it means carrying you by force! I want my parents to meet the woman I love and will spend the rest of my life with."
She swallowed hard. "Alright, but before we go inside, do I look presentable?"
"You look lovely." He took her hand and led her out of the carriage and up the large front stairs with the smiling servants looking on.
He realized that she was trembling with fear caused by her
insecurities and put his arm around her waist to give her some
of his strength. Together they approached the front door.
They made their entrance into the grand house. An elegant woman with blonde hair and a hint of gray and great poise approached them. It was Archie's mother.
"Welcome home my son."
"It is wonderful to see you again Mother. May I introduce my betrothed, Morgan O'Connor, Morgan, this is my Mother, Lady Jane Kennedy."
Morgan did a proper curtsey. "Pleased to make your acquaintance m'lady."
Lady Jane acknowledged her with a nod. "I've been so looking forward to meeting you my dear. I've wondered who it would be to catch the eye of the wastrel of mine. Well, you both must be hungry from your trip. Lunch is prepared. Let's go to the dining room for tea, shall we?"
Archie put his arm around Morgan's waist, and both followed his Mother.
"Where is Father?" Archie asked.
"He had some business to attend to, but he will be arriving shortly."
Morgan nervously looked around the large home while they made their way to the dining room. Many portraits of Kennedy ancestors hung on the walls. She noticed Archie had a uncanny resemblance to his Great-Great Grandfather, Lord Phillip.
"You have a very lovely home m'lady."
"Thank you Miss O'Connor." It was obvious that she knew this.
"Please call me Morgan."
"Mother took charge of redecorating the house as soon as she married Father."
"Your taste is most impeccable Ma'am."
Archie's Mother grinned at Morgan's compliment.
"I had to do something, it looked like a haunted castle from the middle ages in here. I felt frightened every time I entered this place!"
Morgan giggled. She now know from whom Archie inherited his sense of humor.
Archie seated Morgan in one of the elegant dining chairs.
"Morgan, where did you go to school my dear?" Lady Jane asked.
"I was schooled in St. Agnes, just outside London Ma'am."
"Oh yes, I have heard of it. A very fine school it is."
She continued with questions. "Where are your parents?"
Morgan put her teacup down. "My Father did before I was born Ma'am, and my Mother died when I was twelve."
"Oh so sorry to hear that, but I am sure they would be very proud of you."
"Thank you Ma'am for your kind words."
"Morgan has an excellent literary mind. She can recite Shakespeare word from word."
Morgan smiled shyly as she always did when complimented.
"I would expect no less from a young woman who has your heart, my darling."
One of the servants entered the dining room.
"Lord Edward has arrived Ma'am."
The tall, proud looking aristocratic man entered the room. Morgan and Archie rose to their feet.
"It is nice to see you again Father."
Both men shook hands. Morgan was puzzled at the look of awkwardness between Father and Son. Lord Kennedy did not even crack a smile at seeing Archie.
"You look well Archie, all recovered I assume?"
"Yes Father. May I present to you my betrothed, Miss Morgan O'Connor."
He took her dainty hand and kissed it at the knuckles like a proper gentleman, but barely looked at her.
He seemed"cold and it made Morgan uncomfortable to be next to him.
It was a bit quiet during lunch. Lord Edward made glaring glances at Morgan during the meal. She could almost feel the coldness and disdain coming from him.
Then he finally spoke.
"Where did your family come from Miss O'Connor?"
"From Dublin, Ireland m'lord."
"Yes I know. I did some research, and no one in the noble society seems to know who you are."
Archie pursed his lips but kept quiet.
"My family is not titled Sir."
"Yes I know." He coldly said.
Morgan became uncomfortable.
"Why are you marrying this girl Archie?"
Archie stood on his feet and his face became red with anger.
"Because I love her that is why!"
Lord Edward looked at Morgan. "Are you pregnant? Is that why my Son is marrying you? You people are all the same!"
Morgan stood on her feet in disbelief. "No I am not."
"How dare you insult her like that Father!"
Lady Jane tried to intervene.
"Edward please, you promised."
"Hold your tongue woman! I did not seek your opinion in the matter!"
"You leave Mother alone!" It was apparent that Archie was often in the position of defending his Mother against his Father.
"Don't you speak to me like that boy!"
"I will speak to you the way I want. You have not noticed since you never doted on my like you have my oldest Brother, I am not a boy, but a man!"
"If you marry this girl, I will disown you!" Lord Edward angrily said. "I will not have some common chit at my table as though she has a right to be here among her betters, and you can mark my words on that, boy!"
"Then so be it. Farwell. I will miss you terribly Mother, I do not know how you have tolerated Father for as long as you have. If you will forgive me, Mother, you are worth ten of him and always have been."
Lady Jane was in tears, but was afraid to say anything.
Archie took Morgan by the hand and proceeded to leave.
"Get out and never return to this house!" Lord Edward shouted.
They were making their way to the front gates when they heard someone calling them.
"Archie, Morgan, wait!" It was Lady Jane running towards them.
"Oh Archie my dear Son!" She threw her arms around him.
"Your Father, he - "
Archie interrupted. "Is the same thick headed, closed minded fool he has always been."
"Where will you go? It is going to get cold outside." She asked. "Darling, please don't do this. You know that he'll calm down and come around in a while. He always does. You know that, darling. Please."
"We are going to walk into town and try to find a place to lodge."
"You both cannot walk into town, it will take your hours!" She said with great worry. "I will have one of the stable hands prepare a horse and a small cart for you, but please, reconsider - ."
"Mother, if Father finds out - "
"I do not care if he does. You cannot expect for this poor young girl to walk in the cold for hours do you?"
He looked at Morgan. "I suppose you are right."
"And here take this." She handed him a small bag of money.
"Mother I can't take this."
"Why not? If you don't I will be upset and my heart is breaking at this moment as it is. Please take it."
He took it from her. "Thank you."
She then turned to her attention to Morgan.
"Please take care of him."
"I will m'lady, I promise."
Lady Jane placed her hand on Archie's cheek. "I wish you both well and have my blessing to marry. And, please, tell me that you'll come back to see me. I couldn't bear it if you were to leave and never return. Please, Archie."
Archie took her hand and kissed it. "Thank you dear Mother. I love you. You know I'll always be a part of you as you are of me. I promise, Mother." He embraced her and kissed her cheek before turning back to his intended.
"And I you my sweet Son. Now, for that horse and cart."
Archie and Morgan bid Lady Jane goodbye one last time before leaving.
The horse led them through the gates and away from the Kennedy home.
It was a quiet ride into town in the small open carriage. Snow was falling, and the road quickly became covered with it.
They found a nice little tavern for a bite to eat and inquire about to stay for the night or until the next passenger ship sets sail to England. The hot beef stew was most welcome to their cold bodies.
"Anything else for you?" Asked to polite tavern owner.
"Yes Sir." Archie answered. We require lodging until the next ship leaves for London, is there a place you can recommend?"
"With the inclement weather, I doubt if there is a vacancy anywhere in town. I do have a room on the third floor in the attic. It is yours if you accept. It's not much, but you're welcome to it."
Archie thought for a moment. He was sure the man was telling the truth. The falling snow was becoming heavy with strong winds. He would not risk his Morgan's life to take a chance and look for a vacancy somewhere else.
"Thank your for your graciousness. I, well, we will accept your offer, Mister?"
"It's Connery, William Connery, at your service."
Archie shook his hand, and introduced Morgan, but did not tell him her last name to conceal the fact that they were not married
"I will have a trundle bed bought to your room, can make sure your beautiful horse is in the barn for the night."
"Thank you, you're very kind, Sir."
Archie and Morgan were shown to their room after their baggage was collected, and the trundle bed was bought to the room. They were given extra heavy blankets if it were to get too drafty.
Archie looked at Morgan. "I will sleep on the floor."
"No." She said. "I will. You will not be comfortable sleeping on the floor due to your previous injuries."
"Morgan, a gentleman as myself will not let a woman sleep on the floor, especially the one I love."
Morgan responded with a shy grin and her emerald color eyes welled up with tears.
"I thought you were angry with me." She said.
He gave her a puzzling look. "Why would I be?" Archie approached her and placed his hands on her shoulders. He hadn't the faintest idea what could be troubling her now.
"From what occurred between your and your Father. You were quiet during the trip here and barely said anything during supper."
"Morgan do not blame yourself for my Father's ignorance. I will not allow it. I was quiet only because I felt relived in standing up to him."
"I felt as though your Father was right in treating me as being beneath him."
Archie became angry. "Why would you say such a thing! Individuals such as him thrive on it."
"Archie I..." Sobbing took over.
"Morgan, what is it?" Archie's angry turned to concern He has never seen Morgan so upset.
She took a deep breath to calm herself.
"I did not come from a stable family Archie."
"It is alright Morgan, as you witnesses today, neither did I." He said while gently wiping away her tears with his thumbs. He was smiling gently at her.
"No it's not. What I am about to tell you is going to be difficult."
He knitted his brow. "Please tell me. Whatever it is, you can tell me."
She took another deep breath. "I have no knowledge who my Father is, neither did my Mother. You see, she was a... prostitute in Dublin. Her name was Eileen O'Connor. She was quiet successful in her trade and when I was old enough, she sent me away to St. Agnes to be educated. Her letters were so encouraging. She always said how proud she was of me because I was at the top of my class. I still have her letters to this day. One day while I was doing my studies, I was called to see the Mother Superior to inform me of my Mother's death from consumption. When my tuition ran out, I was treated horribly by some of the sisters and the students, so I ran away, wandering the streets, cold, hungry, and afraid. I begged for money, food, sometimes stealing it from the market when no one was looking. Then I learned how to pick pockets. I did whatever I had to do to survive. One day, I picked the pocket of the person who would save my life, Mr. Cummings. He was quick to grab my hand as soon as I robbed him. Naturally, I became very afraid, but he looked at me, and said to come home with him. There was something about him that made my fear subside as quickly as it came. His dear wife was still living, and was sweet as him. They fed me, clothed me, and loved me as their own. No matter what I do to try to repay Mr. Cummings, it will never be enough and will always be loyal to him."
She looked into Archie's eyes. "I should have told you sooner, but I was so ashamed and afraid to lose you. I decided to tell you now because of you being disowned by your Father and if you feel as though you now cannot be with me because of the truth, I will understand if you turn around and never look back."
Archie became angry again and stood on his feet. "Do you think of me as being that vain and shallow?"
Morgan also stood up. "No Archie, I..."
He interrupted and grabbed her upper arms gently shaking her as he spoke back, "Dammit woman! How many bloody times do I have to tell you no matter what that nothing or no one will never tear us apart!"
"Archie you're hurting me!"
He was surprise and let go immediately. The last thing he wants to do is to hurt her in any way.
"Oh God, Morgan forgive me I didn't mean to."
Archie became upset and backed away embarrassed and ashamed at what he had done.
Morgan approached him and threw her arms around him. "I know you didn't, I am the one who should apologize for doubting you. I am sorry." She started to sob again.
He embraced her. "I forgive you. No more tears, is that understood?"
She chuckled a bit. "Agreed."
They looked into each others eyes.
"Morgan I love your so much, so much that you will never know."
"Archie I love you more than life itself."
Their lips met for a kiss, a kiss of burning passion, different than the other ones.
Breathing became heaving, moving their hands up and down their bodies.
Their eyes met once again.
"Archie, will you make love to me?"
"I would love to, but we are not married my love."
"It doesn't matter," She said passionately kissing him. "we are to be, and I want to Archie, I love you so much."
"Morgan, are you sure? I do not want you to have regrets afterwards."
"Have you ever done this before?" He asked.
"No, does that disappoint you?"
"No of course not." He said while tucking a lock of her hair behind her ear.
Archie was afraid to hurt her. He has never been with a woman who has never been with a man. He deeply felt the responsibility to not hurt her or to frighten her in any way.
They helped each other take off their clothes. Morgan enjoying untying his queue.
Archie smiled. "My God, you're beautiful."
Morgan shyly looked away. "So are you."
Passionate kissing resumed. Morgan quivered from his touch. He then swooped Morgan off her feet and carried her to the bed.
Archie was as gentle as he could be. He has had sexual relations with women, but this is the first time he has ever made love to one, and it was the best feeling in the world.
Afterwards they lay in each others arms. Archie nuzzled Morgan's rosewater scented hair while she played with his chest hair.
"Morgan how you feel?" He asked concerned.
"Wonderful. I have never experienced anything so beautiful my love."
He smiled and held her tighter. He felt her body shivering. "Are you cold my love?"
"Yes a little."
He pulled the covered past Morgan's shoulders.
"How is that?"
"Better, thank you."
A peaceful sleep followed for them.
To be continued.....