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Darlene Hamilton

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Darlene closed her eyes and leaned back on the swing, enjoying the flutter of sunlight falling through the leaves playing lights upon her eyelids. Nearby a pair of boys played making mudpies, while a little girl sat under a blanket-come-tent pouring make believe cups of tea. "Henry, James it's time for tea!" Elizabeth peered out of the tent and called.


It was a fine summers day in Oakham upon the eve of Thomas' 30th birthday. Heather and John Sheffield had arrived the week before with Henry, who was best of friends with Darlene's son James that the pair of dark haired boys even seemed to look alike as they worked. Thomas and John were out hunting in the fine grounds of Oakham, while Heather napped, heavy with their second child, and Darlene watched over the children in her own way. Every servant in the house was busy in some manner preparing for the next day, along with half of the town itself. Darlene had been planning the event for months, and had dedicated the entire west wing to the festivities. Thomas had been banned from that side of the house for some time now...


She smiled, coming to rest with a relaxed expression as she watched the children. The birth of Elizabeth had completed her life, how she enjoyed seeing her daughters stubborn Hamilton streak, her large heart, and grand sense of justice that had her lecturing her wayward brother daily. She was so much like Thomas, and was the apple of her fathers eye. While Thomas had allowed their reunion when Darlene had told him that she was pregnant, and that he was the father, he had housed doubts that had kept him aloof - that was until Elizabeth arrived, proof at last that his wife had reformed, and was true. Thomas seemed to show her more physical fondness after that, and although she did not need his affirmation, he was often to say, that she was the only one for him. Darlene had never been happier. "Come now children..." she stood and called the children to come inside with her, "Your fathers shall be getting back soon, we cant let them see you so grubby as that."


Inside she took them, blithely walking past the full gun rack in the hall, never imagining that the men were anywhere other than where they claimed to be.

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