Alexandra had never dreamed of having this many people to call her own. She had not only Chase, Rosamund, and Daisy—John, Elinor, and little Charles were her family now, too. As godmother to Richmond, she would always be connected to Emma and Ash. Nicola and Penny couldn’t be rid of her if they tried.
And then there was Marigold the goat, who had more than justified her attendance at the event by “accidentally” consuming a hamper’s worth of Penny’s sandwiches. And half of the hamper itself.
“Even if it is just a smudge in the sky, at least it has a grandiose name,” Nicola said. “Though I must admit, it doesn’t quite trip off the tongue. ‘Mountbatten-Reynaud comet’ is rather a mouthful.”
“‘Rather a mouthful,’” Chase repeated, musing. “People are always saying that like it’s a bad thing. What’s so terrible about mouthfuls? I like mouthfuls.”
“I enjoy a good mouthful myself,” Ash declared. “Emma does, as well. Don’t you, darling?”
Alexandra and Emma exchanged a look. It was lovely that their husbands were becoming a grudging sort of friends, but the two men were difficult enough to manage separately. Together, they could be exponentially incorrigible.
“You can blame my husband for the name.” Alex had insisted they share the naming of it. After all, he’d been with her that night in the garden, and then when they confirmed the discovery. “I wanted to call it Reynaud’s comet, since I’m a Reynaud now, too.”
“Yes, but you weren’t when you discovered it,” Chase pointed out. “We discussed this. You can insist on sharing the credit, but you are not allowed to hide your accomplishment behind my name.”
The irony of a husband dictating how his wife expressed her independence seemed utterly lost on him. Nevertheless, Alex let it pass without comment. There would be a more important naming conversation in the coming months, and she had to choose her battles.
She put her hand on her belly, and the tiny smudge growing within her. She’d kept her suspicions to herself thus far. She hadn’t wanted to tell Chase until she could be absolutely certain. What if she raised his hopes—and her own—only to be disappointed?
Now she found herself reconsidering. Any hopes or disappointments belonged to Chase, too.
Perhaps she’d tell him tonight.
Emma handed off the baby to Ash. “I want another turn at the telescope. It’s not every day one has a chance to view her friend’s very own comet.”
“No, indeed,” Alex said. “Take a good look now. According to Mrs. Somerville’s calculations, after this summer it won’t be visible again for a hundred and forty-seven years.”
“You had better leave a detailed note for the great-great-grandchildren,” Ash said.
“That would require them to have children first,” Emma pointed out.
“Excellent observation. We’ll get on that right away.” Chase clapped his hands together. “On that note, good night and good-bye. All of you.”
Her husband was such a terrible rogue.
Perhaps Alex wouldn’t tell him tonight after all.