The closer that Breena and her father got to Knightley's estate, the more nervous and unsure Breena seemed to feel. Aragon had to drag her from the coach and lead her up to her new home.
Aragon tried to give her a hug goodbye, but she pulled away. "Never!" she repeated. Sadly, he turned to leave, promising to return the next day for a visit.
"NEVER!" she shouted at his retreating back.
"Good, I see you've found your way around," Arthur said, startling her. Gasping, she dropped her knife and cursed.
"You might give someone warning that you're moving about," she grumbled as she stooped to pick up the knife. "I could've killed myself!"
Arthur seemed unsure of what to say, sensing that Breena was on the edge of an explosion. He racked his brain for something to say to an upset teenage girl. Tentatively he started, "I know this must be hard for you..."
"This must be hard for me?" Breena demanded, interrupting him. "Why, that's the understatement of the year! Unbidden, tears sprang to her eyes, which only served to make her angrier. She did not want to cry in front of him.
Orb's Year 906
She'd demanded that she be allowed to continue seeing Vincent Huerto, her proclaimed first love, despite the fact that she was promised to him. When he'd pointed out that they were practically engaged, she argued that they weren't engaged yet because of her age. While she had a good point, he knew no good would come of her forming an emotional attachment to a boy that she could never be with.
The food was never tasty enough, his rules were too strict, and she never wasted an oppurtunity to declare that he was a thick-headed lout if he disagreed with him.
Rolling his eyes heavenward for patience, he thought that old man Aragon might have been playing an evil trick on him, tying him to such a bundle of sass!
He briskly walked to her room to discover what he'd already known. Breena had gone. And it was unclear to him whether it was the night or forever.
Pacing around the room, he tried to fight down the impulse to ride after her and break the weasel Vincent's neck and return the bossy girl to her father.
Casually, he queried, "Did you have a pleasant time last night?"
Breena squeaked, "How did you know?" She'd been disappointed that Vincent had been less than chivalrous and she'd had need of the self-defense moves she'd read about in the ancient texts. She didn't think that Arthur had been awake when she snuck back in the house.
Arthur merely raised his eyebrows. "Perhaps there is more to me than being just a 'thick-headed lout'."
Breena felt uneasy. "Are you going to tell my father?" she asked.
"No, this is between you and I," he told her.
"I trust that there will be no more rebellion on this matter," he asked.
Breena hung her head. "No. I'm sorry."
Nodding decidedly, he clapped and then stood, "Good. Good day," he said before he walked away.
Orb's Year 907
She sorely regretted calling him a thick-headed lout, especially because she could tell that it hurt his feelings.
But, he had forgiven her for her childish behavior and gone on as though nothing had happened.
Orb's Year 908
Breena blushed. "You are awful to bring that up, sir!"
Raising his glass, he announced, "I had thought to marry for love once upon a time and then Aragon tricked me into this arranged marriage." He saw Breena start to narrow her eyes at him.
Arthur smiled at her tenderly, "But in all honesty, I must profess to all before us today that I have come to love and respect you for the smart, lovely woman that you are today! Cheers!"
"Cheers!" the crowd called as they raised their glasses in celebration.
Breena stared down at the ring on her finger and felt elated. It was funny how life worked out sometimes. To think, at one point she had railed against her father for bringing her here and now she couldn't imagine not having Arthur in her life now.