The Bridgertons Happily Ever After - By Julia Quinn
Have you ever wondered what happened to your favorite characters after you closed the final page? Wanted just a little bit more of a favorite novel? I have, and if my conversations with readers are any indication, I’m not the only one. So after countless requests, I revisited the Bridgerton novels, and gave each one a “2nd” epilogue—the story that comes after the story.
For those of you who have not read the Bridgerton novels, I would caution you that some of these 2nd epilogues might not make much sense without having read the accompanying novel. For those of you who have read the Bridgerton novels, I hope you enjoy reading these short stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.
The Duke and I
Midway through The Duke and I, Simon refuses to accept a bundle of letters written to him by his late estranged father. Daphne, anticipating that he might someday change his mind, takes the letters and hides them, but when she offers them to Simon at the end of the book, he decides not to open them. I hadn’t originally intended for him to do this; I’d always figured there would be something great and important in those letters. But when Daphne held them out, it became clear to me that Simon didn’t need to read his father’s words. It finally didn’t matter what the late duke had thought of him.
Readers wanted to know what was in the letters, but I must confess: I did not. What interested me was what it would take to make Simon want to read them . . .
The Duke and I:
The 2nd Epilogue
Mathematics had never been Daphne Basset’s best subject, but she could certainly count to thirty, and as thirty was the maximum number of days that usually elapsed between her monthly courses, the fact that she was currently looking at her desk calendar and counting to forty-three was cause for some concern.
“It can’t be possible,” she said to the calendar, half expecting it to reply. She sat down slowly, trying to recall the events of the past six weeks. Maybe she’d counted wrong. She’d bled while she was visiting her mother, and that had been on March twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth, which meant that . . . She counted again, physically this time, poking each square on the calendar with her index finger.
She was pregnant.
Once again, the calendar had little to say on the matter.
No. No, it couldn’t be. She was forty-one years old. Which wasn’t to say that no woman in the history of the world had given birth at forty-two, but it had been seventeen years since she’d last conceived. Seventeen years of rather delightful relations with her husband during which time they had done nothing—absolutely nothing—to block conception.
Daphne had assumed she was simply done being fertile. She’d had her four children in rapid succession, one a year for the first four years of her marriage. Then . . . nothing.
She had been surprised when she realized that her youngest had reached his first birthday, and she was not pregnant again. And then he was two, then three, and her belly remained flat, and Daphne looked at her brood—Amelia, Belinda, Caroline, and David—and decided she had been blessed beyond measure. Four children, healthy and strong, with a strapping little boy who would one day take his father’s place as the Duke of Hastings.
Besides, Daphne did not particularly enjoy being pregnant. Her ankles swelled and her cheeks got puffy, and her digestive tract did things that she absolutely did not wish to experience again. She thought of her sister-in-law Lucy, who positively glowed throughout pregnancy—which was a good thing, as Lucy was currently fourteen months pregnant with her fifth child.
Or nine months, as the case might be. But Daphne had seen her just a few days earlier, and she looked as if she were fourteen months along.
Huge. Staggeringly huge. But still glowing, and with astonishingly dainty ankles.
“I can’t be pregnant,” Daphne said, placing a hand on her flat belly. Maybe she was going through the change. Forty-one did seem a bit young, but then again, it wasn’t one of those things anyone ever talked about. Maybe lots of women stopped their monthly courses at forty-one.
She should be happy. Grateful. Really, bleeding was such a bother.
She heard footsteps coming toward her in the hallway, and she quickly slid a book on top of the calendar, although what she thought she might be hiding she had no idea. It was