The Double LifeBy: Nia Wilson
Epilogue-Two years later
I watched Tatiana sit proudly on her short Shetland pony as the instructor lead her around. Her tiny breeches, pink helmet, and miniature English saddle killed me every time she rode. She had to be the cutest little girl on a wild-haired pony, but I was admittedly biased.
Pasha rode his horse over a low fence, patting the gelding’s smooth neck when he stopped obediently when asked. In the two years we had been on the farm, Pasha had found his calling on the back of a horse. He rode for hours each day, dutifully checking the property line for any damaged fencing and spending hours exercising any number of the twenty horses that called our farm home.
We had decided against the bed and breakfast, instead turning our farm into a camp for underprivileged city kids. Every year, we weeded through scores of applications, picking through them to find deserving kids for each session from May to October. Each group spent two weeks on the farm, learning how to care for and ride horses. All expenses were paid, and the children learned how to cook and set up camping gear in the field reserved for campers.
When the weather got rough, they either pitched their tents in the barn or bunked in the house with us. And every night for dinner, our house was filled with fifteen little guests, so grateful to be at our farm that I never had to ask anyone to clear the table or do the dishes.
I was glad that Pasha had come up with the idea. It was already mid-April, so Pasha was busy exercising horses and getting everything ready for the first group of kids that would arrive in a few short weeks.
Alexey stood beside me, arm resting on my waist as we watched our children move around the arena with bright, smiling faces. Tatiana called out to us and we waved at her.
“Have you given any thought to my proposal?” Alexey asked. I held up my hand, admiring the beautiful diamond on the platinum band that rested heavily on my finger.
“I have.” I had turned Alexey down twice already, not wanting to get married while I was pregnant, nor immediately after giving birth. I didn’t care if other people thought that Tatiana was the reason we married, but it was important to me that I knew without a doubt that Alexey was marrying me for me and not out of some sense of duty.
I knew this was ridiculous, but I never claimed it was rational.
“And?” His voice was light, his ego unaffected by my rejection. He knew that I loved him, and he knew that a piece of paper wouldn’t change our lives.
Not his at least. As soon as the ink was dry, I was a billionaire by marriage. I knew it wouldn’t change me, but I couldn’t wrap my head around that, which was why I was hesitant. I wanted to make sure that he knew that marrying him wasn’t about the money for me.
But I had a surprise for him, and it was time to quit pushing off the inevitable. I wanted to marry him and he wanted to marry me. It really was that simple.
“I think that you should hurry up and marry me before all these kids come for the summer.”
Alexey whooped quietly under his breath, excited but not wanting to spook the pony that trotted slowly around on a lead line with our youngest on his back.
“I'd better hurry then,” he whispered into my ear.
“That’s what I said. I’m not going to fit into my dream gown for long and I want to have wedding pictures done before I start to show.”
Alexey turned me towards him and searched my eyes. I waited, a devilish smile spreading across my face. He kissed me deeply and wrapped his strong arms around me before setting me away from him so he could look at me when he asked his next question.
“Are you serious?”
Who jokes about these things? I wondered.
“Yes. I’m pregnant.”
He pulled me close and buried his face in my neck, happy tears dampening my cheek as he silently rejoiced. I knew, at that moment, no matter what life threw at us, that we would live happily ever after.