Summary: This story is based on the novel “Emma” by Jane Austen as well as movies of the same name.
Word Count: 963
When Mrs. Emma Knightley née Woodhouse sighed for the thirty-sixth time, Mr. Knightley glanced at her from over the top of his newspaper.
“My dear wife, whatever is the matter?” he asked.
She turned to face him, a rather pretty green ball gown clutched to her chest. “My dress does not fit.”
A single eyebrow rose. “And this is reason enough to make you sigh so? Such a thing is easily remedied; take it to Miss Milford and have her see if it can be altered.”
Emma pouted, her full, bottom lip sticking out in just such a way that made Mr. Knightley wish for nothing more than to take his lady into his arms and kiss her soundly. However, he managed to restrain such a daring impulse…barely.
“But I wished to wear it tonight to the ball, and if I send it off to be altered now, it would never be ready in time.”
He returned his attention to his paper. “Then chose another. You will still be just as lovely to me no matter what you choose to wear.” Mr. Knightley, thus engrossed once more in his morning news, missed the effect his words had upon his young wife. If he had been looking her way, he would have seen a most becoming blush staining her cheeks. But, alas, he was not.
Her fine eyes gleamed with mischief and she sashayed across the chamber, moving closer towards her husband. “I fear I cannot do that either. None of my gowns fit at present.”
“Well, I cannot help you, dear. As you have already stated, there is no time to make another or alter the ones you have within your closet.”
She trailed her fingers over Mr. Knightley’s arm. “What do you think should be done?”
“I would suggest consuming less food at dinner,” he said, and turned the page.
“For shame!” Emma exclaimed in shock, and the corners of her husband’s mouth twitched upwards the slightest bit.
“It says here that Mr. Latimer has lately been married to the lovely Miss…”
“Do not try to change the subject, George; you will not succeed.”
“I fail to see what else there is to discuss. If none of your own clothing fits, you must simply borrow something from our nearest neighbor, Mrs. Allen.”
“Mrs. Allen! You cannot be serious. Why, she is three times my size!”
“At the rate your waistline is increasing, I dare say you shall soon be able to swap gowns with the good lady.”
Slapping him playfully on the shoulder, Emma let out a huff. “Hateful man,” she grumbled before trying another tact. “Maybe I should not go at all. I have been rather tired and ill of late; I may not be up to spending a night socializing with the inhabitants of Highbury.”
He folded the paper and set it aside along with his spectacles. “Of course. You must do whatever you feel is best,” he said passively, pressing a chaste kiss to her cheek before heading towards the bedroom door.
“Honestly, George! For professing to have such a brilliant mind, you really are the most unobservant man in all of England!” she cried, tossing the dress onto the bed and stomping her pretty little foot in a fit of temper.
He turned and looked at her. “Clearly you are expecting me to guess whatever is in your thoughts at present, but I am ill-suited to such a game as our Lord sadly did not bless me with the gift of reading minds. You will have to speak plainly and leave off dropping me obscure hints.”
“Why must you be so difficult?”
Tears filled her eyes, and he stepped forward, wrapping his arms around her. “Because it is part of my charm, and it is what you love most about me, dearest.” Pulling back, he gently wiped the wetness from her cheeks, and cupped her chin in his hand. He smiled sweetly at her. “Now come, dry your tears. All is not quite as lost as you have imagined. I had our housekeeper order several gowns made specifically to your new measurements and they have just arrived this morning. After all, I cannot have my wife unable to attend a ball simply because our first child has prevented her from wearing her favorite dress.”
Her eyes widened comically. “You already know?”
Chuckling, he tweaked the end of her nose. “Of course I do; I know you better than you know yourself, remember?” His eyes softened and he placed a hand on Emma’s steadily expanding waist. “You will be a wonderful mother, Emma.”
A flush once more colored her fair features. “And you a perfect father,” she murmured.
The chiming of the clock brought their intimate moment to an abrupt end, and George cleared his throat, letting his hand slip away from his wife’s belly. He offered her his arm, which she took with all the dignity of a princess.
“Shall we go down and see what the housekeeper has purchased for you?” he inquired.
“Yes, I believe I would like that very much.”
As they stepped from the room and made their way towards the staircase, another thought appeared in Mrs. Knightley’s mind and she paused mid-step. “George?”
“How did you discover my new measurements? I have yet to have my maid take them.”
A devilish grin nearly split his face. “Well, my dear, it just so happens that you are a rather sound sleeper and I was able to procure the use of a very fine tape-measure…”