Mended by Laura Lovelock (A Tethers Fan Fiction)

I used to be a bit dubious of fan fiction, but I have to say that I’ve completely changed my mind about it. It’s utterly fascinating to see what people do with other writers’ characters and worlds (as long as it’s not gratuitous, offensive or designed to make money of course).

So, this week I wanted to post a piece of Tethers fan fiction written by talented romance author, blogger and lovely lady, Laura Lovelock. Being a romance author, Laura has expanded on a very particular aspect of my trilogy and she’s done a great job of mimicking the characters’ voices. Mended (originally posted on She Loves To Read) was written before Torn was released but it’s set eight years after that book, so I have to admit that I changed one tiny little thing (there was a character involved that dies in Torn!) But, other than that, it’s all Laura’s excellent work. (Contains Tethers Spoilers)

Mended

Shadows danced across the ceiling as Karl lay perfectly still in bed, the rhythmic pitter-patter of hooves outside calming his mounting nerves. Today was the day he would marry Esther Emerson, the girl, now woman, he had fallen in love with so many years ago. He’d known that he loved her as soon as her life had fallen into jeopardy, back when the Viniculum had loomed large in their thoughts. He could remember the way Esther had tended to him after he’d been injured, he remembered the jealousy she’d displayed in front of Shona Turing. Karl’s eyes stung at the memory of the brave young Scot whose life had ended so cruelly. But he remembered Esther’s words as if she were whispering them in his ear: ‘You can’t save someone from their own decisions.’

A smile spread across his lips at the thought of his bride. So feisty and smart was she, that Karl felt inadequate whenever he stood next to her. Her skill with a blade was rarely matched and her passion for life was truly unrivalled. Karl couldn’t wait to call her his wife.

*

‘Here you go, summat new,’ Esther’s mother said, fastening a silver necklace around her daughter’s dainty neck.

‘Gosh, thanks, mam,’ Esther said, staring into the mirror. ‘I really hope he likes it …’

‘Don’t be a fool, sweetheart, course he will.’

A knock on the door pulled them away from Esther’s reflection. Mr Cauldwell poked his head tentatively around the door.

‘Alexander!’ Esther burst out. She ran towards the ageing man and threw her arms around his neck the second he entered.

‘My dear girl, just look at you.’ He stepped back and surveyed Esther lovingly, admiring the splendid white gown clinging tightly to her slender frame. He’d known Esther for more than ten years but never had he seen her look so beautiful. ‘You’re a vision,’ Mr Cauldwell said gently, ‘I’m so proud.’

Esther simply replied, ‘Ready?’

‘As I’ll ever be.’ Mr Cauldwell offered her his arm.

Esther took hold of it and, together, they made their way through the pub’s lounge and out into the blazing sunshine. She felt the warm sun caress her shoulders and smelt the fresh, fragrant air. Esther’s mother sidled past them, placing a kiss on her daughter’s cheek as she did so.

‘See you in a minute,’ she grinned, running ahead to take her seat in the ceremony.

Mr Cauldwell squeezed Esther’s hand tightly and adjusted his top hat. Esther smiled gloriously and placed an excited kiss on his gaunt cheek. As they rounded the corner of the Lazy Badger, Esther gasped at the sight before them.

There was a short path lined with pale flowers and guests were seated on straw bales either side, gossiping and waiting for the arrival of the bride. But Esther’s eyes were drawn only to Karl. He stood with his back facing her and he wore a fine grey morning suit complimented by a large top hat. She felt her stomach somersault and she had to refrain from running straight into his arms.

A merry round of applause accompanied Esther as she made her way down the aisle. Mr Cauldwell was once a spritely man but, now age had caught up with him, he usually relied on a walking stick to get him from place to place. Not today though. Today he strode unaided next to the woman he’d come to know as family.

As they neared Karl, he finally turned and glanced in Esther’s direction; his beautiful eyes locking firmly with Esther’s. She smiled, she had never felt happier in all her life.

Slowly, Mr Cauldwell passed Esther’s hand over to Karl. The bride and groom stood holding hands and staring longingly into each other’s eyes as words of love, promises and forevers were shared.

As the ceremony drew to a close, the guests began to cheer and throw rice at the newly wedded couple. Esther noticed Tommy the horse waiting for her at the edge of the pub garden. She opened her mouth to shout a greeting in his direction but was rendered speechless as Karl swept her up and carried her over to the waiting steed.

‘Tommy,’ Esther cried in delight, ‘you beautiful boy.’ She stroked Tommy’s muzzle and gave him a firm kiss on the head.

‘Let’s get you on there,’ Karl laughed. He gave Esther a leg up so she could straddle Tommy. Karl took Tommy’s reins and led the once mighty horse out of the pub garden and into the busy street. Passers-by cheered and waved as the couple and their guests made their way along the cobbles.

*

‘I always knew I’d marry her,’ Karl said, standing in Mr Cauldwell’s back garden, nursing a glass of champagne and addressing all present.

‘You never did!’ Esther shouted, goading him for all to hear.

‘I did! I saw it in the Viniculum. I knew. I knew ten years ago that I had a chance of making you my wife.’

Esther drew in a deep breath.  ‘But – how – why didn’t you tell me you sod?’ She scowled theatrically at her new husband.

‘Not everything the Viniculum promised came to pass, but it turns out some dreams do come true.’ He raised his glass and then his voice. ‘Please, ladies and gentleman, will you all join me in a toast to my beautiful wife, Esther Scheffer.’ The garden broke into a tumultuous cheer as every one of the guests obliged.

Esther grinned at her new husband and felt blessed to be surrounded by so many people she loved. But not everyone was there. ‘I miss you, Harland,’ she whispered, running her hand along the length of the curved sword resting beneath her dress. ‘I’ll always miss you.’

‘Oh, and one last thing,’ Karl said. ‘Before we start dancing, I just want to let you all know that Esther and I have some wonderful news.’

Esther couldn’t believe Karl was about to tell everyone, she didn’t know if she was ready.

‘We’re having a baby,’ Karl grinned.

Screams of delight and shock rang around the garden, and, as a small string quartet started to play, Karl took Esther into his arms and held her close to his chest.

This was where Esther belonged. This was where she had always belonged.

Awesome, right? Let me know your thoughts and, if you ever fancy trying your hand at some Tethers fan fiction, do make sure you send it my way!

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