"Al, Mat, get back here!" you shouted trying to call back your five year old twin sons.
Alfred and Matthew had run ahead on the beach, and out of your sights. "Ma! Ma! Look what I found!"
Alfred and Matthew soon came back within sights, Alfred holding in one hand, his brother's hand, and the other a sea shell. "It's beautiful Al."
"It's for you," he said putting it in your hand. Matthew let go of his twin's hand and grabbed onto your skirt.
"Mama, I wanna go home," he yawned, "I'm tired."
You looked up at the sun, "Well it does seem time for your nap."
Alfred jumped up and down, "I don't need a nap!"
Matthew reached up for you to carry him. "Mama…"
Making sure he had his teddy bear you picked him up and held him on your hip. With your other hand you took Alfred's hand, "Time to go Al. The beach can get mighty scary if you don't have someone to protect you."
"I'm not tired," he complained.
"You still need to get a nap while I make dinner," you said.
On the way back to your small cottage in the woods all Alfred talked about were his friends.
"And Lily told me her big brother can shoot a bottle off the top of her head!"
"That sounds very nice," you said.
Matthew was resting his head on your shoulder, "Mama, can you shoot?"
"Yeah Ma, you have that pistol under your pillow, but can you shoot i-mmph," you covered his mouth with your hand.
"Don't ever touch that gun, understand?"
"That gun is to protect you, without that gun there is very little chance that we would be able to protect ourselves."
Once inside the cottage you locked the door. Sighing you said, "Go lay down, and when you wake up dinner will be ready."
"Ok Ma, let's go Matt."
Alfred's wide eyed curiosity reminded you so much of his father. It was uncanny. It seemed only yesterday that the two of you had been married and living happily in high-class London.
He was the privateer gentleman.
You were the naïve stupid child who didn't see when she was being led on.
After the marriage he left, that's when the bills came in. You were left to deal with everything, you nearly lost the twins.
Now you lived alone on an island with your sons. The town nearby was small enough that people wouldn't know you if you lived too far away.
"Arthur," you whispered holding the small silver locket in your hand, "where did you go?"
Dinner was soon made and served.
"Mama," Matthew whispered, "could we have brown sugar apples for dessert?"
"Sure hon," you said and started to prepare the treat.
"Ma, look at the lights," Alfred said pointing out the window. You turned with horror.
Grabbing Matthew's hand you called to Alfred, "Get in the room!" There were only two rooms in the house, the bedroom and the kitchen/dining room, with one bed. You grabbed your pistol and locked the boys in the room. "Don't come out until I come and get you."
You sat in the chair and pointed the gun at the door. The moment anyone came into the house, you'd shoot.
Noises were heard outside the door. Taking a deep breath you were ready to shoot.
"OPEN UP!" someone shouted. You said nothing, if they thought no one was home, maybe they'd go away.
Finally the wood broke and a man barged into your home. You shot the gun, and missed by an inch.
Your eyes widened, "W-who are you?"
"It's me Arthur! Love, I can't believe I finally found yo-." The anger from all the years of abandonment burst through as you threw one of your chairs at him.
"GET OUT!" Another chair.
Arthur restrained you by grabbing both arms, "___________, I found you. I can't believe you left London, but we're here together…and we-."
"I told you to leave," you hissed. "I want nothing to do with you. You left me. I thought, no…hoped you were dead. At least if you were dead then I knew there was a reason you never came back. Do you know what I had to endure?"
"It doesn't matter," Arthur said pulling you to his chest. "I'm here; I've retired two years ago. I've been looking for you. Now you and I can go back to Lon-."
You pushed him away, "What part of 'no' don't you understand. I'm happy here, I finally am happy."
"Ma!" Alfred said. "Let us out! Let me help!" The door was soon broken.
'Seriously Al, again,' you thought. "Alfred, I told you to stay in the room."
"But Matt really has to go," Alfred said with Matthew in tow.
"Mama!" Matthew cried running for you.
"M-mother?" Arthur stuttered. "Yo-you're a mother?"
You held Matthew close to you, "Yes Arthur."
"Ma, whose this?"
Words wouldn't come. You knew that if Arthur knew the twins were his he would eventually convince them to return to England with him. But you couldn't lie to your children.
"Papa," Mattie said.
Everyone turned to look at him.
"You're the man that Mama always looks at in her locket. You're our papa."
Alfred's expression turned sour, "He's pa?"
"Tell him to leave," Alfred said and walked back to the room, "tell him to leave and never ever ever come back!"
"Th-they're mine?" Arthur asked in wonder.
You nodded. "I found out shortly after you left, I couldn't take it anymore in London and left."
Arthur reached out with a hesitant hand to touch Matthew's soft curly blonde hair. "I'm a…father…"
He looked at you, "_____________, I'm so sorry. I do love you, just give me a chance. I'll do whatever you want if it means that you and I can be together again. I'll make this up to you, I promise."
You took a deep breath, "Alfred is going to be much harder than I will be."
"I'll make it up to him too."
Matthew walked over to Arthur and held onto his leg, "Papa."
"I've come back _____________, and this time. I'm staying.
You smiled, "I'm going to hold you to that."
Arthur leaned towards you and kissed you gently on the lips.