Epilogue for A Tailor-Made Bride
Intro – A Tailor-Made Bride was my debut novel. The original manuscript included an epilogue that one of my editors recommended that I cut. I followed her advice, yet I hated to see that epilogue go forever unseen, so I decided to post it here for your enjoyment.
So without further ado, the deleted epilogue from A Tailor-Made Bride.
18 months later…
Hannah sat at her worktable, whipping her needle through the gold braid trim that would finish off the new polonaise Mrs. Paxton had ordered. Another dull pain stretched across her stomach and settled into the small of her back. She shifted her position in the chair and rubbed her oversized belly.
"I need you to wait just a bit longer, little one," she whispered, not wanting Tessa to overhear.
The girl had taken to her sewing lessons like butter to bread, and these days, Hannah couldn't imagine running the shop without her. Her hand stitches were not yet professional quality, but she could run straight seams on the sewing machine and cut patterns with precision. Thanks to her experience in the laundry, she also knew exactly how to press each type of fabric they used, which saved Hannah from having to stand at the ironing table, making her back ache and her ankles swell. Tessa's assistance had made it possible for Hannah to cut back her hours and only work in the afternoons, which had been a tremendous blessing during this pregnancy.
She counted six more twinges by the time she tied off the thread. She set the garment aside with satisfaction.
"Tessa, I'm going to head home a little early today." Hannah levered herself up from the chair, bracing one hand on the table and the other at her back. There was nothing like having a stomach the size of a watermelon to make a woman feel graceful. She couldn't wait to start her exercises again. "After you press Mrs. Paxton's ensemble, please lock the shop for me. I won't be starting any new projects for a couple weeks."
"All right." The girl collected the polonaise and started shaking out the folds.
Hannah had waddled as far as the counter when the door swung open. Cordelia breezed in, waving a piece of paper. "A telegram came for you. From your mother."
Pausing to lean against the half-wall, Hannah grinned. Ike always let Cordelia deliver the Tucker telegrams, although Hannah wondered why they bothered writing them down. Cordelia never held the news in long enough to pass along the paper.
"She's on her way with a trunk full of baby clothes your sister's children have outgrown. She should be here tomorrow."
Hannah rubbed a circle over her distended abdomen then bit her lip when the muscles contracted beneath her hands. She pushed out a breath as the pain passed. "Just in time to meet her grandchild."
The telegram dropped from Cordelia's fingers. "Now?"
Cordelia stood motionless for a moment then whirled around and dashed from the room, yelling her brother's name.
In a matter of seconds her husband's thudding footsteps echoed on the boardwalk, and his blurred form sped past her window.
Jericho burst through the gaping doorway. "Hannah?"
His eyes met hers, and in a flash she felt his fear, his protectiveness, but most of all, his love. She smiled and stepped toward him. "I think our little Megiddo is getting impatient."
"Now's not the time to be teasing me with that name." He strode to her side. "You promised. Remember? No crazy Canaanite names for our kids."
She crossed her arms over the shelf of her belly and tipped her chin coyly at him. "Actually, I promised no Canaanite names for our sons. What if we have a daughter?"
A mulish look came over Jericho's face, and she nearly laughed.
"Hannah…" The warning in his voice was unmistakable.
As usual, she ignored it.
"Bethel's not too bad. Although, I've become quite fond of Megiddo. The name reminds me of the first day you told me you loved me. That's a good thing, don't you think?" She batted her lashes at him. He frowned.
She was about to let him off the hook when a contraction hit with greater force than any of its predecessors. Hannah winced and grabbed Jericho's arm. He promptly vowed she could name the kid whatever she liked if she'd just let him get her home.
Eight hours later, Jericho became the proud papa of a beautiful baby girl. After seeing the doctor out, Jericho stood in the doorway watching in awe as Hannah nursed his child. Love nearly burst the seams of his heart. Then Hannah looked up at him and smiled, drawing him to her side. Easing himself onto the bed, he kissed her forehead then stroked his daughter's tiny fist as it flailed erratically in the air between them. The babe's tiny hand twitched open and latched onto Jericho's finger.
"She loves her papa," Hannah said quietly.
"Her papa loves her." Jericho turned to gaze at his wife. "And her mama, too."
Hannah caressed the baby's cheek with the back of her finger. "She's so beautiful. And I have the perfect name for her."
"We are not naming our daughter Megiddo, Hannah." Jericho stiffened his neck and glared at the woman beside him.
She smiled, her eyes sparkling like they did whenever she teased him. "Of course not. I thought we'd shorten it to Meg."
He arched a brow. "Meg?"
She nodded. "Mmm hmm."
"Meg," he murmured, glancing down at his daughter's pink face, now relaxed in sleep. "It fits her."
"I thought so." Hannah lifted the baby to her shoulder and patted her back.
Jericho tucked a loose strand of hair behind Hannah's ear then gently kneaded the back of her neck with his fingers until she sighed in pleasure. "I hope Meg grows into as great a beauty as her mother."
Hannah lowered the babe to lie in her lap and tilted her head to consider her daughter's features. "I don't know. I like seeing her father in her. She has your chin, and there's something about her brow that reminds me of you."
Jericho touched his wife's jaw and turned her face toward his. "That's not what I'm talking about. I would love for her to resemble your physical appearance as well, but it is the beauty of your spirit that I want her most to emulate. Then maybe one day, she'll make some hard-headed man just as happy as you've made me."
Hannah covered his hand with one of hers and leaned into his palm. "I love you, Jericho Tucker."
A half-grin tugged at a corner of his mouth. "Good, because you're never getting rid of me." He pulled her toward him and pressed a tender kiss to her lips—a kiss that tasted of forever.
© Copyright 2010 by Karen Witemeyer