Chapter 1 – Jackson & Laurel
“What are you doing Martha? If you help him do everything then he won’t ever learn to do anything at all!”
A large burly man wearing a hemp dark green shirt over his burgeoning beer belly was pleading with his wife as he felt he was at his wits end. He was wearing hemp pants of the same color with a belt that was trying its hardest to reign in the man’s gut. He was wearing an aggravated and wronged expression as he repeatedly argued with his wife who was coddling their only son.
This man was a moderately wealthy man. He’d begun as a merchant after taking over his father’s trade at a very young age. Then the war came and instead of staying put, he decided to expand his trade by joining the military and fighting for the King of their land. He did so in the hopes of making more money while catering to those in the battlefield. His father had long told him that times of war bring both death and opportunity and he was an opportunistic man.
Interestingly enough, he was also a brave man and instead of flourishing as a merchant he exceeded his own expectations by becoming a local hero. He saved the lives of more men than could be counted by fighting with a veracity he’d never known he possessed and carrying wounded soldiers back from the battlefield to their camps. On one such day he happened to save a Duke son’s life. He had no place being on the actual battlefield but the Duke looked at this man who’d saved his only son with a gratitude he could not return with words alone. The Duke put his name on the line and spoke with the King of this man’s bravery.
When the war was over and done, this man named Jackson was deemed worthy of possessing a noble title. Shockingly, instead of being dubbed a Knight (a title of honor rather than nobility) he was granted the title of Baron. He was made the City Lord of his small town of where he lived. An honor he never imagined he would ever possess in his life time.
After he’d returned home from the war, title in mind and honor in hand. He was greeted by cheering all around. He’d always been well liked, and now that he’d become a success story that inspired his former fellow commoners he was greeted like a King by these people. He was an inspiration to them, increasing his families merchant trade by leaps and bounds.
The man was only 20 but he’d already accomplished more than most people ever would. He’d learned a trade, participated in a war, gained the acknowledgment of his peers, became nobility, and returned home to make his family prosper. Even with his current achievements he was not content to laze around and do nothing more. Instead he dreamed of expanding the Sheen name through the entire continent! He wanted to expand his business to the point that they had a stall and connection in every town. It was an ambitious dream, but Jackson had always dreamed big. He refused to let himself be limited by the reality of his common birth.
On one such journey while expanding his business into a third town north of his home, he came across a beautiful woman who had caught his attention and caused him go slack jawed at the sight of her.
‘She’s stunning’ was his only thought as he gazed upon her golden blonde hair that came down in curls to her lower back, her voluptuous figure, kind blue eyes and wonderful smile that gave the impression he was staring at a princess. In fact it was one of the first times in his life he thought himself to be before a wall. An unsurpassable wall, because he suddenly found himself thinking for a brief moment inferior to this princess before him.
Then she spoke. “What the hell are you staring at you god damn pervert!?”
This was the beginning of this man’s hell.
This woman with looks that could stun any man to death was already 19 and unmarried. Unmarried because every man she was introduced too was put off by her domineering personality and dominating nature. Whatever she wanted she got, and whatever bothered her she personally destroyed. She was a princess in mind not body. She was born a baron’s daughter but never saw herself as one. She wore fairly common clothes and never bothered with her appearance and yet she looked more stunning than the beauty’s who expended hours of effort. She was born a baron’s daughter but saw herself a queen amongst her peers.
The moment she laid eyes on Jackson Sheen’s manly physique, leering eyes and slack jawed expression she knew she wanted him. A spark was ignited. She’d never met a man who so blatantly leered at her, so she told him off almost immediately. In fact she yelled at him from across a crowded road with people who were shocked and stared at her. Despite her telling him off, he just continued to leer at her, and it was clear to her based on the mischievous grin that was spreading on his face exactly what kinds of thoughts he was having while still leering at her! ‘By the gods! How dare this fool stare at me like this!’ even as she was telling him off in her mind (and then immediately voicing her thoughts out loud… Loudly…) she was turning more and more red. Like a beet.
Despite her words, Jackson didn’t care a single bit. This stunning woman in front of him was not only beautiful but feisty. Even if he wanted to walk away he would never have been able too. It was a form of love at first sight. These two were attracted to one another at a glance, and learned more from one another from how they reacted to their first meeting with one another than a lot of couples gain from getting to know each other over weeks at a time. This was due to how frank and straight forward they both were. They wore their personalities on their sleeves and wanted what they wanted when they wanted it.
Unfortunately for Jackson, he got what he wanted. He got the beautiful Laurel. Within months they were betrothed to one another. Laurel’s family, especially her father cried in joy when he heard that his daughter had found someone who wanted to be with her. He wept for an entire day and night in happiness that his most beautiful daughter would no longer be fated to die a lonely spinster who had no one but beast cats to care for her.
His dowry out of gratitude even included extending his own network to Jackson allowing him to further flourish in his merchant trade extending his two and a half network of towns to over 11 towns in that one year alone.
They were wed within the year of their first meeting and were not seen for a month after their wedding. Not because they went somewhere… Simply because immediately after the wedding, Jackson had hoisted his bride into his arms and jogged straight for their new shared bedroom. Ignoring the guests, the toasts, the party and their guests. He went for their bedroom, opened the door, threw Laurel non the bed and shut the door.
One month later…
The servants and workers in their mansion were terrified and worried for the safety of their baron and lady. The family and friends, even guests were slightly insulted by Jackson’s actions but soon began to laugh it off to youthful exuberance. The laughter turned to jokes. “How long are they going to stay in there? That Jackson sure takes the expression ‘going all and all night’ to a whole different level! It’s been almost a week now!” Those jokes turned into reverence from the men and unending blushes from the women as that week turned into two weeks and then three weeks.
The servants had delivered food to their doors for weeks and bit by bit the jokes had turned into concern. Instead of jokes about Jackson’s manly vigor the men themselves had grown mortified by the sheer length of time they’d spent in there… The women were worried and had begun to think the lord of the house had lost his marbles and and “loved the fair lady to death” and then been struck with grief that he now withered away within their bedroom.
When they emerged from their bedroom, the people who saw Jackson were terrified. Even more terrified were the people who knew Jackson before the wedding and who now saw Jackson’s body after he’d emerged from their bedroom. He looked like a skinny haggard man. He’d lost an immense amount of weight, had a a beard, and his eyes looked hollow. It was the unending smile that hung on his face that made every body shiver. The man smiled and smiled. Joy evident on his face despite the condition of his body.
Lady Laurel emerged right after looking exhausted but radiant. A glow on her face with a smile just as wide as Jackson’s. Their clothes as pristine as the day they’d entered their bedroom after the wedding. Almost as if they’d been worn once and only once.
Eight or so months later…
Laurel who had gotten almost pregnant almost immediately after they were wed gave birth to a beautiful little boy. They didn’t leave their bedroom for a month after getting married… It was not shocking to anyone who found out about the joyous news of the young lord’s birth.
Looking at the beautiful baby in her arms and her husband laying in a chair by her bed, Laurel could not help but thinking about her child growing up wonderful and ambitious like his father and strong and outspoken like his mother.
One day Laurel planned on telling her son this story. She planned on telling him the story of ‘How I met your father’.