Chapter 45

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Edward smiled as he turned away from the parlor window, where he had been watching Elizabeth and Miss Amelia walking the garden pathways. He couldn't help himself from taking a quick glimpse as the sisters sauntered away from the house arm in arm. In the wake of so much turmoil, he was happy to see them sharing laughter and spending time together.

Edward had been in to see his father that morning, and he had greatly improved from the previous day. Father had noticeably perked up at the mention of Elizabeth agreeing to speak with him, and Edward had promised to bring her to see him at some point in the afternoon. The apparent change in him made Edward smile.

Sighing as he paced the length of the room, Edward turned over thoughts of what his father's future held. He had given Edward the responsibility of contacting his lawyer so that arrangements could be made for the days ahead. Still, he was not entirely sure of what fate would befall his father, though it was a certainty that at the very least he would be imprisoned for some undetermined length of time. Edward didn't want to consider the grizzly possibility of the worst case scenario. In spite of all the things his father was, no man wanted to lose a parent in this way; Edward decided he would take the news as it would come, do the best he could do with it, and take advantage of the time he had with his father right now.

Details still needed to be hashed out, but he intended to talk with Mr. Montgomery about working on the plantation in some capacity. While he was set to inherit the Stanton banking business, and his education had trained him to handle accounts and investments, Edward realized that he had much interest in running the plantation. Seeing as Mr. Montgomery had no son of his own to leave the farm to, Edward hoped that he would want to teach him how to oversee it. Besides that, Edward could think of no better wedding gift to offer his bride than the possibility of residing at the childhood country home she loved so much.

With his father potentially being incapacitated for some time or indefinitely, Edward wasn't sure how he would handle the bank business as well as to learn the ropes of the plantation life simultaneously. His brother William still lacked a year of completing his education, and therefore he would not quite be ready to take over for their father at the bank in Edward's place, in the event that he could begin working the Montgomery Plantation.

William... I need to write to him of the situation with our father, and soon.

It was a letter Edward wished he didn't have to write.

While William was not particularly close to their father either, he was somewhat more indifferent toward his belligerent behavior, seeing as Edward had always borne the brunt of their father's wrath and dictating ways. As the eldest son, all the pressure had been on Edward to take control of the business and make it prosper, and to marry well, taking a wife of wealth, as well as good breeding and social standing.

To society's standards, his Elizabeth would not be considered to be among the 'who's who' of the social ladder. As a banker, Edward would be expected to participate in the vanities of the wealthy to an extent, he had spent more time than he had cared for around these so-called socialites, and he was quite glad of the fact that Elizabeth was far removed from the social pressures of the elite. While Edward could manage the charm and empty flattery required to run in such circles, even if he did find it to be bothersome and generally boring, Elizabeth, with her reserved nature, would find it difficult and uncomfortable to be sure. She was well suited to the quiet country life, and Edward was finding that he was, as well, more so than he could have ever imagined.

The situation being what it is, he'd find a way to work all the variables out. He needed to begin by writing his brother; Edward hoped that William would be able to come right away, who knew how much time they would have with their father.

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