The first night i ever spent with Declan was nothing short of amazing. Okay so at first i was nervous, i mean i didn't even like to look at myself in just my underwear so i had no clue at all what he would think. But i soon learned that i had nothing to worry about. Declan was as thoughtful and patient in bed as he was out of it.
Yes i could definitely get used to this!
Oh wait. Where are my manners? Of course you are thinking right now that I've lost all of my morals and beliefs about having sex before marriage right? Well don't worry, because i most definitely have not. I guess i should really fill you all in.
When i graduated High School i knew that things would have to change. I knew that Declan and I could no longer have the same relationship we had shared for most of senior year. We were young adults now and i realised that Declan would want more. But i wasn't ready to share that side of me with him, not yet anyway.
My biggest fear was that this would be a deal breaker for him. I guess it's not particularly modern to wait until you are married to have sex but it was something that i truly believed was right for me and i hoped he would understand.
I was so nervous at the thought of his rejection that the only way i could bring myself to tell him was by whispering it to him. He seemed a little surprised at first but Declan being Declan made me feel instantly at ease when he said that he understood.
From that moment on i knew i had found my special someone, the someone who i hoped would one day be all mine.
As it turned out Declan shared a lot of my values and he was happy to continue to take things slowly. We would spend most of our time out and about in Bridgeport.
Declan would always take me to the most romantic destinations.
But the butterfly garden was my clear favourite.
Our dates would always end the same way with him looking deep into my eyes before stealing a kiss from me on the front porch. As i returned his gaze and lost myself in his sea green eyes I wondered how it could get more perfect.
And then, Declan surprised me again.
I knew something was up that day as he arrived for our date at the butterfly garden dressed rather more smartly than usual and immediately dropped to one knee producing the most beautiful bouquet of flowers i had ever seen.
I closed my eyes and took in the sweet aroma of the petals and when i opened my eyes i realised that Declan was still on bended knee. This time offering me something even more exquisite.
"Morgan." He began, "When you asked me if i was happy to wait until we got married before we took things to the next level i had no hesitation in telling you yes. Because i knew then as i know now that you are the girl for me and you are worth waiting for. It would make me very happy if you would agree to be my wife."
My hand flew to my mouth trying to cover up my amazement both at the perfection of the ring and the heartfelt speech he had recited.
And just as Declan had, had no hesitation in answering my question i found that there was none to my reply. I of course said YES!
And so here we are, two years after graduation becoming husband and wife!
Sounds pretty perfect right? I wouldn't blame you for thinking that i had a charmed life but then that's because i have conveniently brushed over the bad events of the past two years. I do that sometimes just to let myself make believe that all is well.
But the truth is that i have endured my fair share of heartache too.
The day i told my Mom that i planned on visiting my Father in jail was one of the worst. I had waited until all of the paper work regarding my visit was through before i dropped the bomb shell, in case i was tempted to change my mind after she had made her feelings known. Lets just say that my Mom has a knack of getting her own way, usually by shouting the loudest, but i knew that my mind was set. I was sure of what i wanted.
It was Jackson i felt most sorry for. He just stood there as she ranted and raved that i was making a mistake and that i was a foolish girl for making the choice i had.
Then, when she could see that her accusations weren't having the desired effect she began with the threats.
"If you go through with this Morgan i will cut you out." She began, "I mean it, no inheritance nothing!"
So i guess Josh had been right about me being the next one she would get rid of, the only problem being that i had already inherited the house on my 18th birthday the fortnight earlier so her threat was useless.
The part where i pointed this out to her was a particular low point of which i am not proud.
"The house is already in my name!" I yelled in reply, "So YOU can't take it away from me like you took my Father!"
I have never heard my Mom be so silent before and believe me when i tell you that her silence was way more gut wrenching and terrifying than her yelling.
"Maybe so." She hissed eventually, "But all of the money is still in my name and you won't see a single simolean of it. And all of this." She said gesturing to the house, "Can be yours alone because i will not stay under this roof while you continue to throw everything i have ever done to protect you back in my face!"
"Ladies please!" Jackson interjected at one point, but even he could see that it had gone way too far. I couldn't even bring myself to look my Mom in the eye and she was beyond livid.
She and Jackson moved out shortly after and true to her word she took every simolean she had saved with her and i was left with a huge house that i couldn't possibly afford.
Howie, God bless him, offered to move back in to help me cover the bills. He had been staying at the accommodation provided by the science lab that he was now working at across town but i told him no, i couldn't let him pay my way.
I decided to sell a lot of the furniture that my Mom had left behind and it made me a tidy enough sum to get by on. I also bagged myself a part time job at the library which kept me ticking over. Besides i wasn't about to let anything get in the way of my visiting my father, i had waited too long.
Declan of course accompanied me. He had been a pillar of strength throughout everything with my Mom right through to the last minute wobble i had over my visit.
"Am i doing the right thing?" I asked him, "What if after everything he's not the man i remember?"
"Morgan you have to find out." He told me, "It would be far worse for you never to know, to always have these unanswered questions." He explained.
That's not to say his little pep talk completely allayed my fears, the prison itself was by far the scariest place i had ever been, including the field trip we took to the mausoleum.
Its greying, mouldy looking walls were cloying and oppressive and blanketed by CCTV cameras which beeped tellingly to reveal that your every move was being watched.
The prison guard must have spotted that this was my first visit and took pity on me. "Don't worry." He said, "If you have any problems during your visit you can leave at any time, just give me a shout." he smiled.
He ushered me to an empty table and i sat in the cold, hard seat waiting for them to fetch my father, a man i hadn't seen in over ten years.
The prisoner and his visitor at the next from one table across were having a lively debate about her living arrangements.
"YOU MOVED IN WITH JOEY!" The man was yelling angrily.
"I got no choice, me an' the baby got ta have somewhere ta sleep." The woman drawled in reply.
"Keep it down Garcia!" The guard threatened tapping the table with his baton as a warning. But Garcia was not in the mood to calm down he was brewing for a fight and made it clear by shoving the guards baton away. That little move got him wrestled against the table and cuffed.
As he was being dragged away, back to his cell, his girlfriend was cussing out the guards calling them scum and pigs, which i didn't understand as they had just saved her from what looked like a violent exchange. As i stared at her in bewilderment she turned to me and yelled, "What the hell are you lookin' at?"
"Sorry you had to see that." A voice told me, a voice i assumed belonged to the kindly guard. But when i looked up it was him. It was my Dad.
He sat down opposite me, his face betraying no emotions yet his eyes seemed to be searching every inch of my face. Taking in my grown up appearance i imagined.
I bit my lip as my nerves began to filter through to the surface. I thought I'd had it under control but the oppressive environment and the hairy scene i had witnessed had jarred me beyond belief.
"I'm very please you decided to visit me." He said. As he spoke his voice was measured and soft still giving nothing away.
"I.......I........" Oh God i can't do this, was the thought swimming around and around in my head but i was here now and in truth i felt rooted to the spot.
"I understand that this must be....difficult for you." He said.
I smiled awkwardly and allowed all of the questions that i had stored for so long in the furthest part of my mind flood to the fore, and they attempted to leap from my mouth in a garbled mess of words.
"Why? What? When? How?" I stumbled over myself and rolled my eyes at my inability to form a sentence. That was when he reached out to me. His hand edged forward slowly and came to rest on top of mine.
"Take it slowly. One question at a time." He told me.
I took a deep gulp of air and blew it out slowly and then i began.
"Why did you take me away from my Mom?" I asked him. It was the one bad thing that he had done to me and the question that had most played on my mind over the years, if he loved me how could he take me away?
"I was angry with her." He replied carefully, "She hadn't told me anything about you. I didn't even know that you existed and i wanted her to know how that felt."
I stared back at his impassive gaze. I hadn't expected such frank honesty, usually people tried to sugar coat things but not him. I wasn't certain if i should be glad or afraid of that but i still pressed on.
"So when you told me that she was violent and unstable, that was all....."
"Lies." He interrupted, "Yes. I lied to you Morgan." He said it simply and plainly just as a matter of fact, without a hint of apology.
"Don't you care how that made me feel?" I demanded, "When i came back and found out that she loved me and missed me and had done nothing wrong!"
He sniffed and considered his reply, "I care about you Morgan that's why i wanted you with me."
"Are you sorry at all?" I asked quietly.
"I have my regrets." He replied.
"I shouldn't have come here." I said suddenly standing up from the chair, "This was a mistake."
"Wait!" He cried, finally showing a human side. "Ask me the other question."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"The other question you have for me. Ask it." He demanded.
"Why did you kill that lady?" I spat out angrily.
"There we are." He replied, smiling wryly, "Morgan i very much want for our visits to be a regular occurrence. But before that can happen you need to know who i am and what i did."
I swallowed, again both admiring and fearing his abruptness simultaneously as i realised that he would answer every question i had for him. He would leave no stone unturned, but then it occurred to me that i was no longer sure that this was what i wanted. It was one thing to have unanswered questions and quite another to live with the truth.
"I murdered Marcia because she betrayed me." He began.
"Why?" I pressed, almost breathless as i listened to his confession.
"She was a very successful woman." He said as though he had a bad taste in his mouth, "I felt that she was rubbing this in my face as at the time my own career was floundering. Then one day out of the blue she tells me that she knew all about you. That she had known all along. You see she worked with your mother back then." He informed me. "Understandably i was furious that she would keep such a thing from me, a man who had done nothing but love and support her."
I nodded now totally rapt with his story and it never occurred to me to question it.
"Back then i had a drinking problem." he revealed, "And i allowed it to cloud my judgement and influence my actions. I snapped. Everything went black for me and when i came to she was lying on the floor. There was nothing i could do to help her and so i ran. I ran and i found you and the moment i saw you sitting in the sand pit, while your mother paid you no attention i knew i had to take you away from her. I had to make her suffer the way i had suffered."
"So you didn't really want me at all?" I asked the hurt stabbing at my chest, "You just wanted to hurt my Mom?"
"At first yes." He replied, his voice returning to it's calm, soft beginnings. "But it didn't take long for that to change. The more i was with you the more i loved you, like i have never loved anyone else." His eyes sought out mine hoping, i imagined, to find some forgiveness maybe even pity. In truth at that moment i felt both emotions alongside anger in equal measure.
"It's time Colt, visiting hour is over." The guard informed us. I pulled out my chair immediately, thankful for his intervention.
"Will you come again?" My father asked me.
I froze with my back still turned to him and replied, "I don't know." before walking away. My head was screaming at me to turn back and look at him, this could be the last time you see him! it chided, but i didn't . I think even then i knew deep down that i would be back.
My visit had left me feeling conflicted over my relationship with my father and my argument with my mother. How had i let it go so far? Yet i knew that if i wanted to continue to see him i couldn't reconcile with her and so i allowed the time to pass between us.
Our fight had tore a great big divide in the family, with older generations like my Aunts Lilah and Lexie taking my Mom's side and my cousins Liz and Cat taking mine. My one wish when Declan proposed to me was that my family would reunite and put this whole drama to bed but as the night of my bachelorette party arrived, only Liz showed up.
"Sorry Morgan but Mom won't let Cat come, she's still not old enough to drink and my Mom thinks it will be a bad influence on her." Liz apologised.
"You mean I'm a bad influence on her." I accused, unfairly. Aunt Lilah hadn't ever openly expressed her opinion of my decision other than to say that she remembered how hurt my Mom had been by Robson and that she couldn't give me her blessing to reconcile with him.
"Hey come on, we'll have fun even if it's just the two of us." Liz claimed.
"I can't believe my Mom isn't going to be at my wedding." I sniffed.
"She still hasn't RSVP'd?" Liz asked.
I shook my head solemnly.
"Uh oh!" Liz replied, "Worst timing ever!"
"Huh?" I asked as Liz turned me around to face the visitor.
"Oh dear God Liz what did you do?" I whispered as the shirtless fireman approached.
"Well i didn't know there would only be the two of us here!" She exclaimed. Then we burst out laughing.
I must say it was quite a sad sight the two of us half cringing half watching the stripper work his magic, he did a couple of dances and left pretty swiftly, i think he got the message!
Of course Liz had ordered way too much champagne for just two of us but she soon put it to use.
I couldn't be too mad at her though, at least she had taken my mind off everything.
We even ended up dancing to Diva Doll, for old times sake.
The morning of my wedding arrived and Liz helped me prepare. As i smoothed down my gown i stared at the empty space behind me where my mother should be standing and sighed.
"She'll come." Liz promised me, but i was far from convinced. The silence between us had gone on for too long.
Just as i had planned years earlier at my Mom's wedding i was to be wed in the family garden, although as i stepped out onto the veranda i felt a certain sadness that my day would not be filled with nearly as much family as hers had. However when i looked towards the wedding arch and saw Declan standing there in his suit looking so handsome i couldn't help but smile. And as he saw me he returned my smile and stepped aside to reveal..............................
My Mom! Although she looked nervous standing waiting to see me i didn't care, all that mattered was that she was here to support me. And as i stepped into the garden to greet her i realised that she wasn't alone, my whole family were here, setting our differences aside for my special day.
As i reached her i simply opened my arms and she welcomed me in for hug. We said nothing and just allowed our joy at finally being together again to wash over us both.
When we eventually pulled apart she simply said, "You look beautiful sweetheart."
Declan and I exchanged our vows in a traditional Traytor style ceremony, one which i hoped the future generations would someday emulate.
1 year later................
I woke up that morning and stared at my gorgeous sleeping husband, it was how i started everyday. He was everything i could of wanted and so much more besides that. I counted my blessings all the time.
The first year of our marriage hadn't been plain sailing though. Our financial problems had returned as the wedding had wiped out the remainder of the money i had squirreled away and Declan's career as a writer had not exactly taken off the way he had planned. He had a steady job though writing the births, deaths and marriages segment of the Bridgeport tribune. It got us by and that was it.
However our situation wasn't about to improve anytime soon.
No you're not seeing things that is a huge baby bump sticking out in front of me!
Now you would be forgiven for thinking that I'm about to drop here but you'd be wrong, i still have a few more months to go. I know i look like a whale, but i guess that's how it goes when you're having more than one baby!