Summery: Five women Simon Tam never married. For better or for worse.
It was an advantageous match. The Tams were a well regarded family, and Simon was a doctor.
She was to be a doctor's wife. It had been set by their parents when they were but children.
He was rather boring and quiet, but once they were married, she would have a house to decorate and parties to give.
Needless to say, Victoria was mortified when it happened. Her own fiancé, arrested! And with some trumped up excuse about his sister.
Her parents were furious.
She took pains to look particularly lovely at the Winnow's ball that night. She made plans to snub him publicly. Linked her arm through young Sean Brown's and flirted with Owen Mills.
He was beneath her very notice, for all that her eyes strayed too often to the door. Several girls tittered as she passed by, but she ignored them.
Simon's mother and father attended. Her smile was strained. His father was pale.
Simon never came.
She spent two days crying in her room after he disappeared.
Her mother knocked on the door and held her.
Her father went over to the estate and demanded to know why the Tam's had allowed something like this to happen. He said they had some feeble excuse of Simon going to visit their daughter at some special academy.
A stack of elegant envelopes edged in gold still sat on her end table.
They had each been addressed by her own hand.
She only came to Simon's mind briefly, and that was much later, after he had already left.
She had laughed when Simon proposed. Teased him about how proper he was, and how the engagement had been arranged by their parents months ago.
She remembered that he had smiled shyly, and told her that he still needed to do things the right way, even if they were they only ones who knew about it.
She wore the ring (an heirloom from his mother's mother) happily, for all that it was a half size too small, while their parents smiled and shook hands and made arrangements for her dowry and his inheritance.
He told her where he was going, and why, and she wished him luck.
She never told her parents, even when they asked why she was crying.
She kept the ring hidden, and sometimes she would put it on when she was alone. It was easy to hide, even after she married Colin.
She hoped he had made it through.
He thought about writing her, but couldn't find the words.
Elsbeth was wicked, and made him wait a whole week before accepting his proposal.
His father didn't approve, but Simon loved her, and that was enough.
She accepted because the Tams were a respected family, and she knew that Simon would rarely be home.
She had never met River, but he asked her to come with him. She shook her head, and asked if she could keep the ring.
She was already engaged to someone else by the time he left.
He kept her handkerchief in his jacket pocket for months, until River traded it for some candy.
She knew he was busy. Important. A doctor.
She knew he had River to care for, and that he spent a good deal of time trying to find the right medications.
She smiled when she saw him, and sometimes he smiled back, even when he said the wrong thing.
She never brought up marriage.
Simon never thought to ask.