*-The only character that is mine is Henry Eyre. The rest respectfully belong to Miss Bronte.
It had been five years since he had seen her. Their one night of marital bliss was more than he could ever imagine. She was unschooled, but a willing pupil. The morning it was over. Briggs was pounding on his door; the truth had come to light.
Their marriage was annulled, when questioned if the marriage has been consummated; Jane denied that it has happened. She then fled Thornfield, for parts unknown, the letter waiting for him was short and to the point.
“Do not search for me, I do not wish to be found. If God sees fit to reunite us, it is known to him. J.E.”
He would have searched for her, for Janet was the only woman he had ever truly loved. But his wife, the madwoman he had been duped into marrying set fire to Thornfield before his search could begin. He was lucky to escape with his life, his only injury were minor burns which healed in a matter of months.
In these five years, he sat alone at Ferndean, his hunting lodge, hoping and waiting for her to return. That was until he read a letter from Adele, who was in school just outside of London.
“Miss Eyre is in London, she often visits as a benefactress”.
This was his chance; he had waited five long years to know her location. This time he would locate her, set things right and do as they should have done, marry properly, without any censure.
“Monsieur, you have come”.
“I have, Adele”.
“What a pleasant surprise, Mr. Rochester, I hope you have not come to bring Adele home” the headmistress greeted him.
“No Madam, Adele will stay, I have come only to observe her, as well take care of business while I am in town”.
“Will you join us for lunch….” The headmistress continued on when he heard a familiar voice.
“Miss Eyre, you are leaving?” Adele pouted, turning her attention to her former governess.
“I must Adele, my uncle will expecting us within the hour”.
“Us?” he asked himself.
“Mama, mama!” the boy ran up to her and jumped into her arms.
“There is a ghost, I have seen it” the boy’s eyes were wide in fear.
“Henry, you must not tease the young ladies, they were only playing a prank on you, there is not such things as ghosts”.
“Miss Eyre” he said pointedly.
The tension was broken by the servant’s announcement.
“Your carriage is waiting outside for you, miss”.
“Thank you, come Henry” taking her son’s hand she led him away.
As the carriage rode away, she breathed a sigh of relief. That was the end of their reunion, her heart could move on.
Five years ago, he broke her heart. Leaving Thornfield was the hardest decision she had ever made. Traveling for days on end, she was taken in by St. John Rivers and his sisters. For a short time, it was as if they were family and it was to her great joy to discover that they were related.
A letter had then arrived for St. John. Mr. Brigg’s the solicitor for their uncle, John Eyre, had been searching for Jane. His health was in decline, before his death, he wished to name Jane as his heir.
Without a second thought, she traveled as fast as she could to Madeira. His recovery was slow, but in time, his health did return. She grew to love him as if he was her father.
They were in London due to her uncle’s business, in addition to his health. His health had taken a bad turn, and it was the physician’s recommendation that town might be a better location.
“Mama, who was that man?” Henry asked.
“Never mind who it was” she replied. What she didn’t know that their short reunion ignited his heart and he would not take no for an answer.
Two days later, the housekeeper announced a visitor to the townhouse Jane shared with her son and her uncle.
“Miss Eyre…” he was searching for the right words when Henry ran up to her.
“I am sorry, miss, he seems be quite active today” the maid apologized.
“Mama, will you read to me?” Henry asked.
“I shall be there in a minute” the maid took Henri’s hand and led him away.
She seemed to read Edward’s mind and explained “He is a foundling left on our doorstep. I could not leave him to the streets, nor would I tempt his fate to a charity school. I am raising him as my own, he knows of nothing else”.
“Then you are not married?”.
“Pardon me, miss, your uncle is asking for you”.
“Please, excuse me, Mr. Rochester”.
“Uncle John, the physician warned you stay in bed” the old man leaned on the banner as he came down the stairs; Jane met him at the bottom of the stairs and guided him to his favorite chair in the study.
“Nonsense, child, I have lived this long, besides, it is time I started to move around again. Now fetch me my brandy and my book”.
Jane sighed; she had learned that stubbornness was an Eyre family trait. Acquiescing to her uncle’s wishes, she removed the book from the shelf and poured the brandy from the bottle.
“Edward Rochester, sir, how do you do?” Edward walked over to the older man and promptly introduced himself.
John begrudgingly shook the younger man’s hand.
“You are the man whom employed my niece as the governess?”.
“Indeed I was”.
“You were also the one who attempted to marry her, despite the fact that your wife was still living at the time”.
“Uncle please, do not over exert yourself” Jane stepped into the conversation, not liking where it was going.
“I am simply asking the man a question, you cannot begrudge me that”.
“Mama” Henry’s voice was heard from the nursery.
“I am sorry, Mr. Rochester, my uncle needs to rest”.
“Of course, I have business I need to attend to” he was led out by the housekeeper.
Later that night, Jane left the nursery, she heard her uncle calling her name.
“Jane, do you still have feelings for him?”.
“No uncle, I do not”.
“I only want to see you and Henry happy, my dear, whether it is with him or any other man”.
“My feelings are not what they once were”.
“I am happy to hear that, good night, Jane”.
“Good night Uncle John”.
As she climbed into her bed, she closed her eyes, wondering what it might be like to feel him sleeping next to her. But that was what might have been, not what was.
He would never know how much she still loved him, nor would he know of the child she had once carried.
Across town, as the sun dawned three days later, Edward woke from a pleasant dream.
They had not made love, as was their custom most nights, they just slept. He awoke to find her sleeping against him, his face bathed in a waterfall of dark hair.
His lips traveled up her face until they met hers.
“Good morning, Mrs. Rochester” she turned to face him.
“Good morning, Mr. Rochester”.
When he opened his eyes, he was alone. But that would not be the case for long. Their first reunion was cool and polite, far from the heated embraces of their short month of engagement.
There had to be a way to break from the controlled façade she put up. Then the boy’s face floated into his mind.
The boy, Henry, who Jane referred to as her son. He was not sure if the boy was made of their union, but he would be the key to open her up again, to see the love he once saw in her eyes.
As he approached the townhouse, there was a skip in his step and a whistle in his tune.
The housekeeper opened the door to near chaos.
“Henry, I am sorry, your uncle needs me at the moment, we can go out this afternoon”.
“Mama, I want to go out now” he pulled on her skirt.
“Mr. Rochester to see you, miss”.
“I am sorry, Mr. Rochester, I am quite in the middle of something at the moment…” she started to explain.
“Perhaps, I can take something off your hands?” he offered.
“Mama” Henry again tugged on her skirt.
“Henry, that is enough, I told you we can go out this afternoon, but I must finish what I am doing. If you cannot sit quietly, I will send you to your room. Do you wish that?”.
“No mama” his eyes grew wide.
“Perhaps this will help” Edward pulled out the toy sail boat that was hidden under his jacket. Henry eagerly grabbed for it.
“Henry John” Jane scolded.
“May I?” he unhappily handed the sailboat back to Edward.
“Of course lad, why else would I have brought it?” the sailboat was returned to the boy’s willing hands.
“Mr. Rochester, that was really not necessary”.
“I saw in the toy store and I know Adele wouldn’t appreciate it. So I thought your boy might enjoy it”.
“Mama, can we take it to the park?”.
A small lake in Hyde Park had been designated for toy boat races; many a young man could be found with their father on a warm day eager to join the races.
“Perhaps, Miss Eyre, if I could take the boy for the day, allow you to complete your tasks”.
“Thank you, Mr. Rochester, but I will be done shortly”.
“Mama, please” Henry begged.
“Fine, but you must mind Mr. Rochester and do not make bother of yourself” Jane agreed as she bent down to help Henry with his jacket.
“What time shall I have him home?” Edward asked.
“Uncle John likes to have dinner by six”.
“Six it is, come lad, before the day disappears”.
“Mr. Rochester, why have you done this?” Jane asked as the carriage appeared.
“For you, Janet” he whispered in a tone only she could hear. If they were alone, he would kiss her soundly and properly, but they were not alone and he knew it would much more than one kiss to once again secure her trust and affection.
He didn’t see her cheeks color.
Exactly at six o clock, the housekeeper let them in.
“Well my boy, I hear you had quite the afternoon”.
“I did, Uncle John”.
The path leading to the lake was crowded and Henry eagerly held onto Edward’s hand.
“What a charming son you have, sir” an older woman commented as they passed by.
“Thank you, madam” Edward replied, his pride swelling. It didn’t matter if the boy was made of them; Henry was meant to be their son.
“Are you going to marry my mama?” Henry asked, if as reading Edward’s mind. The boy was astute as much as his mother.
“I will tell you something, my boy, but only if you would keep a secret. Can you keep a secret?”.
“I can” the boy’s eyes grew wide.
“Your mother is very important to me and while I have made mistakes, I intend to make up for them. Would you help me?”.
“Yes, sir” Henry eagerly agreed.
“Good, now lets see what she can do” placing the boy on his shoulders, Edward walked to where the boats were launched.
“Mama, I think you should get married” Henry declared, entering his mother’s room.
“And who, my love” she drew in him into her arms “shall I marry?’.
“Mr. Rochester!” she declared “Of all of the men in England, you should like me to become Mr. Rochester’s wife?”.
“Yes, mama, I would” Henry concluded.
“Perhaps that shall come to pass, but in the mean time, you must go to bed”.
“Good night, mama” she tucked him in and kissed him on the forehead before leaving his room.
Two days later, the maid delivered a post.
“Miss Eyre, I have an invitation to the Lawrence ball next Tuesday. You and your uncle will be my honored guests, if you have no other engagements for that evening”.
While Jane’s status as an heiress assured her place in society, attending balls was seldom occurrence, as she was still unsure if she would be accepted.
“I think we should go. It has been quite a while since I have been out and I think it is time that you should find that boy a father”.
“I meant what I said. If your heart has turned to him, then I will not interfere if you wish to marry Mr. Rochester. If you do not, I am convinced there will be other men. You are young Jane; I do not wish you to regret your decisions. Your son needs a father and you deserve to be happy”.
“If you wish us to go, we shall go”.
“Good; you shall get a new dress. It is time to live the heiress you are”.
“Mama, you look pretty” Henry wrapped his arms around Jane’s neck as the maid finished preparing Jane for the evening.
“Thank you, my love”.
“Can I come?” he asked.
“When you are older, you may attend all of the balls you like. Until then, you will go to bed on time and tomorrow I shall tell you all about it”.
An hour later, they arrived at the Lawrence ball, where Edward eagerly waited.
She walked in on the arm of her uncle and his heart stopped.
His Janet was a beauty and now, all of London would know how beautiful she was. The dark green dress was a perfect foil for her dark hair.
“Miss Eyre, Mr. Eyre”.
“Well my dear, I believe I shall be in the library with the gentlemen. I will leave you in Mr. Rochester’s capable hands”.
“You look beautiful, Janet. Tonight I shall share you with no one”.
A slight blush came over her and he led her to dance floor.
“Where did you learn to dance?”.
“Uncle John thought it was appropriate for me to learn, though my dancing master often left quite frustrated”.
“Then your dancing master did not do his job properly”.
The orchestra completed the last set as he led her to an empty couch.
“Mr. Rochester, had I known you were in London, my husband and I would have surely come calling. Miss Eyre, had I known you were an heiress, I would not have treated you as lowly governess”.
The former Blanche Ingram, now Lady Leighton approached them as she had during her stay at Thornfield. Her words for Edward were honey, but to Jane, they were vinegar.
“I have not been in London for a fortnight; I had no intention of staying beyond the completion of my business”.
“Well, then, perhaps we will call before you leave town”.
“Please excuse me, Mr. Rochester” Jane got up and quietly made her way to butler.
“Please inform my uncle that I have a headache and I should like to return home”.
John Eyre walked out from the drawing room where he was enjoying brandy and cigars with the other gentleman and walked over to his niece.
“You should stay, Uncle John, I will be fine”.
“Shall I send for the physician?” John asked.
“No Uncle, I think perhaps sleep will help”.
“If that is what you wish, my dear” he indicated for their carriage to be brought around.
“Miss Eyre, is there something I can do?” Edward watched helplessly as once again, he foolishly did not stand up for the woman he loved as Blanche Ingram mercilessly attacked her.
“It is nothing you can do, Mr. Rochester, but thank you for the invitation”.
It was nearly a week before he called on her again, his business and his pride, expecting a tongue lashing for his callous behavior at the ball kept him away. When he arrived, he was led to the back of the house, where Henry played with the boat and Jane was immersed in her drawing.
“Mr. Rochester to see you, miss”.
Tentatively he sat down beside her, not knowing what she would say.
“Mr. Rochester, can we take out the boat again” Henry promptly plopped himself on Edward’s lap.
“Henry” Jane scolded.
“Please, I had ever so much fun”.
“If your mother approves, my boy, I don’t see the harm”.
“Mama, I’m hungry” Henry declared, turning to his mother.
“Ask cook to make you something, but not too heavy. You don’t want to spoil your dinner…” before Jane could finish, he was already headed to the kitchen.
“He is a charming boy, Jane; you have done well by him”.
“He is my life; I cannot image what I would do with him”.
“Did you ever, that is…when you left Thornfield…”Edward’s tongue suddenly seemed to be glued to his mouth, unable to ask what he truly needed to know.
“I carried a child, but I bled while I was residing with my cousins at Moor House and it died. When Henry was left on our doorstep, I looked at him and I knew could not leave him to whatever fate had planned for him”.
He knew her well, her heart was still broken and he knew the blame lay solely in his hands, he could only make things right. He took her hand in his, it felt comfortable; it felt right.
“I want to marry you, Janet, properly, take you back to Thornfield. I know you love your uncle, but I cannot spend the rest of my life without you”.
“What about Henry? I cannot leave him”.
“Of course not, you are his mother and I would be his father. That is all he would know and that is what matters”.
“Edward, you need a son and heir made your flesh and blood, not a boy left on the streets”.
“We will have other children, Jane, that I am confident of. But what I want is to marry you”.
“What of Lady Leighton?” Jane asked, the remarks still fresh in her mind.
“Her society is not where I want to be. Had I known she was going to be there, I would have not attended. She is as she ever was and I am sorry for her comments, but you are twice the woman she could ever be”.
“What’s Thornfield?” Henry returned his hands full of crumbs.
“Thornfield is my home; it was my home until it burnt to the ground. However, I would like to rebuild it”.
“Can we go visit, Mr. Rochester?” Henry asked eagerly.
“I will do you one better, lad. My goal is to rebuild Thornfield, marry your mother, should she accept me and one day leave Thornfield to you, if you wish”.
“Yes, please, Mr. Rochester”.
“Well, Janet, what do you say?” Edward asked.
She looked at the pair of them, Henry and Edward. The truth was that Jane did miss Edward and if he had not sought her out, she would have remained single for the rest of her life. These two were her life; she could not see her life without either of them.
“Yes, Edward, I will marry you”.
Their kiss, was sweet and short, interrupted by Henry running into the house, announcing to all that his mother was to marry Mr. Rochester.
In his study, John Eyre studied his niece and her fiancé.
“Well, my dear, I cannot pretend that this is a surprise. I saw it in your face the moment he walked in” he then turned to Edward “My niece has been through much in her short life, I only hope sir, that you can provide her with means for happiness and of course, the opportunity to visit”.
“There will be a room waiting for you, sir, whenever you wish to come”.
They were married in the little church in Hay six weeks later, with only Henry, John, Adele and Mrs. Fairfax as witnesses.
As the years passed, they had three more children, buried both Mrs. Fairfax and Uncle John and watched as Adele married.
“What do you think, mother?” Henry entered his mother’s study some twenty years later. Today was his wedding day, the young lady who was to be her daughter in law was the niece of the local magistrate.
You look very well, Henry”.
“Janet, the carriage is arrived, we cannot have Henry be late for his own wedding” Edward walked in on the cane that had become his walking companion since his knee gave out two years before.
“We are ready, Edward”.
Henry listened to his parents as they walked behind him.
At age sixteen, his parents had revealed his true parentage. His reaction surprised them.
“I have always known that”.
“You are not upset?” Edward asked.
“No, you and mother have treated me as if I was made of you. I do not know the reason why I was abandoned, but providence chose you to raise me and for that, I am forever grateful”.
An hour later, Jane’s arm was tucked in Edwards as their son repeated his vows. It was Henry that had brought them together, but it was their undying love that would keep them together.