Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Knightley, Orb's Year 921-924

 Orb's Year 921
Deanna Farmer gathered the dishes that were sitting on the table from the prior night.  Such waste! she thought.  Food like this was hard to come by in her household!  It was clear that the Knightley's were in need of a servant to help clean this place!
Hours later and her chores were done.  Deanna sighed, shoulders slumped.  She wished she was back at the farm!  At least her older brother Braden had never made her work the fields unless she wanted to!
Feeling restless and bored, Deanna walked into the upstairs hall and admired the piano.  Such lovely keys! She bet it sounded beautiful!  She'd never seen something so grand before!  
"Ah!  There you are!" Arthur Knightely said kindly from behind her.  "I bought that piano for Lady Breena after we were married.  She so loved playing on one at the King's castle."

"Oh, it's beautiful, Lord Arthur!" Deanna said, bobbing quickly in bow.

Arthur laughed and held out his hand.  "No need for that formality! We are glad to have you here! Please consider this your home!" Arthur began to walk away. "Oh, one more thing," he said, turning.  "Lady Breena would like to make sure you remain in instructional school.  Your chores may be done in the morning or the afternoon.  But, please do not neglect your learning.  She would see every child reading, if she could!"

Deanna nodded enthusiastically.  "Yes, sir. I understand."

She breathed a deep sigh of relief after he'd walked away.  Still, she stood and stared at the piano, wondering if she dared touch something so expensive and beautiful.
And that is where Bradshaw first saw her.  She's so beautiful, he thought.  
He slid up behind her and whispered in her ear, "You know, it's best to play using your fingers rather than your eyes."

Deanna startled and looked back.  "Oh! You scared me!" she accused him, feeling her heart pick up a beat at his nearness.  She'd heard he was a handsome devil, but goodness!

Bradshaw leaned in again, "I just wanted to let you know that you could play the piano if you wanted. Although, we could always find other things to do..."

Deanna resisted the urge to fan herself.  A handsome devil with a slick tongue!

Hastily she backed away, "I have chores to do!" she blurted out, hurrying away before he could addle her senses completely.
As Deanna prepared dinner for the Knightley family, she replayed the scene in her head, wishing she'd taken the opportunity to lean in and feel his strength.  Now he probably thought she was a silly ninny!
"Did you meet the new servant?" Camelot asked cheerfully, "She's beautiful! I'm going to marry her when I'm older!"

Bradshaw glanced down at his younger brother.  "Don't be dense! She's a peasant!" he said more sternly than he had intended. He felt bad when Camelot's face fell.

Danica laughed, "Why would you want to marry her? She burned our meal! You should at least marry a woman who can cook!"

Bradshaw was driven to defend Deanna.  "Perhaps she'd never cooked before! I'd like to see you try, Danica Knightley! Mother did not raise you to speak ill of people!"  He avoided looking at Danica's crest-fallen face.

 ***

 "Ah! I'm so glad to see you doing your homework, Deanna!" Breena said when she stumbled upon Deanna attempting to work out a problem.  She shouldn't have been surprised to find Bradshaw close-by.  The boy seemed infatuated with the new serving girl.  "It's a habit I wish my children would mimic," she said loudly, addressing Bradshaw.

"Me?!" Bradshaw yelped, annoyed at getting caught in the cross-fire. 

"Of course, come get your papers and your quill.  It is time you caught up and learned from Deanna's example!"
Bradshaw grumbled, but did as he was bid.  It was a long evening for Bradshaw was ever so far behind.
As Deanna served a hot meal, she leaned closer to Bradshaw and whispered, "I'm sorry about that.  I did not mean to make your Mother cross at you."

Bradshaw glanced up and smiled.  It had been an afternoon well-spent if only Deanna would lean in closer again and smile!
"What did she say?" Camelot asked, leaning closer.

Bradshaw waved his pesky brother away. "Nothing."

Camelot watched Deanna walk away.  It didn't seem like nothing had transpired for Bradshaw was grinning like an idiot and Deanna looked quite pleased with herself.
Down at the other end of the table, Breena chatted with Danica.  "Are you ready for your birthday?" she asked.

Danica smiled. "Oh yes! Do you think Father will get me a pony?"

Breena laughed.  "Maybe not this year, but you never know!"

Danica clapped. "I would be so happy for a pony," she said dreamily.
After dinner, Danica gathered the bowls and put them in the sink.  Mother saw her carrying the large stack and cautioned her not to drop them. 
"Father, I was wondering if perhaps you would show me a few of your moves," Camelot asked, interrupting a game of chess.  "I wish to be as fine a swordsman as you are!"
"My dear, if you will excuse me," Arthur said to his wife.  He gladly showed Camelot a few moves and then watched closely as Camelot practiced.

Breena smiled.  Camelot was growing up so fast!
Later that evening, Arthur kissed his daughter as she slept.  Soon she would feel too old for kisses and hugs from her father!

 Orb's Year 922
Deanna sighed as she finished scrubbing the tubs.  If not for Bradshaw, this job would be too much to bare!
But, when Bradshaw smiled at her or leaned in close to flirt with her, it made it all worthwhile.  He was becoming more bold in his advances, but still hesitated to lean forward and kiss her. 

She was dying to know what it would be like to kiss him!
So, she took matters into her own hands and placed a chaste kiss on his lips.  Feeling smug, she'd gone back to her duties.
She'd felt confused when she found him chatting with Christa Anderson, a merchant's daughter.  Had her kiss been so repulsive that he'd forgotten he pined for her?

Dejected, she hurried away before he saw her.
Camelot had come upon her looking glum and plopped in the seat next to her.  "What ails you?" he asked cheerfully. 

Deanna sighed. That was Camelot - always cheerful!  "Nothing..." she grumbled.  "Just feeling a bit sorry for myself."

Camelot nodded. "Ah, I do that myself some times when what I want is out of reach," he said.

Deanna looked at him surprised, "Do you?!" she asked.  "I've never seen you looking unhappy! What do you want that you do not have?!"

A strange look came over Camelot, but was gone in an instant.  Grinning, he laughed, "What indeed? I suppose I misspoke!"

Deanna shook her head, "You are so silly, Camelot," she said, lightly tapping his knee with good humor.
Camelot snuck into Deanna's room and watched her sleep, warring with himself whether he should say anything or not.

She'd asked him what he wanted that he couldn't have and for an instant he almost told her.  He was in love with her and he saw the glances she shared with his brother!

It had killed him not to grab her hand when she'd touched his knee.
But all bets were off for he had seen Bradshaw making the moves on Christa Anderson just this very night after speaking with Deanna!   A man did not love one woman and carry on with another!
Feeling quite silly, he sat down by Deanna's bedside and began reading her a tale of two brothers and one true love...

Hopefully, he would be the hero in this tale...

***

"Camelot," Deanna said exasperated, "You don't have to help me with my chores this morning!"

Camelot laughed.  "What else would I be doing?" he asked.  "I find it quite nice in here!"

Deanna rolled her eyes and continued on with her work.
And Camelot trailed behind her until she was quite ready to burst from annoyance. 

Being typical Camelot though, he caught her off-guard with some silly story and made her laugh.  Lightly tapping his shoulder, she grinned, "You are so funny, Camelot!"
Camelot couldn't stop himself.  He leaned forward and stole a kiss from Deanna.  She'd looked too beautiful grinning at him.
"What are you doing?!" Deanna had demanded.  "I'm not some floozy to be man-handled that way!"

Camelot stepped back. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean any offense.  I just... I wanted you to know how much I like you...  My brother doesn't deserve you!"

Deanna stared at him a moment, thinking what he could not tell.  Finally she nodded.  "But you can't tell Bradshaw... this has to be our secret..."

Camelot nodded quickly.  "I promise, I swear on my honor! No one will know!"
Deanna stepped a little closer and leaned in, "That's good. So perhaps you could tell me again how much you like me..."

Orb's Year 923
"I'm telling you, Arthur, something needs to be done.  Those boys follow Deanna around like little puppies."

Arthur shook his head, "It can't be! They're nobles! Why would they have such a strong reaction to a raven-haired peasant-girl?  I'll allow that she will be quite beautiful when she's older, but they know their responsibilities!"

Breena shook her head, "I'm afraid the heart does not follow such logic."

Arthur argued, "But the head should!"

Breena smiled.  Men clearly had no sense when it came to love.  She would need to enlist some help from another woman.

***

Deanna stopped in her tracks in the middle of her errand.  Dropping the bucket, she ran to her mother.  "Mama! I have missed you!  Did Papa come, too?"

Beth Ann Farmer grinned and held her daughter close.  Already she could see how much her sweet child had grown.  "No dear, it's just me this time!"

Deanna smiled, "I'm so happy you came to visit!"

Beth Ann folded her hands in front of her and sighed.  "Perhaps not so happy when you hear what I have to say," she began.
By the end of the lecture, Deanna was frowning.  "You came to tell me not to involve myself with boys?" she demanded.  "Who has been spreading lies?!"

Beth Ann shook her head.  "Nobody dear.  A mother can tell things, though.  Lady Breena has sensed her boys interest," when Deanna open her mouth to argue, Beth Ann continued louder, holding up a hand, "Real or imagined," she amended.  "And I, your mother, can tell when my girl is infatuated."

Deanna grumbled. 

Beth Ann sighed again.  "You do not wish to wind up like Auntie Debbie, do you know?  A child for each lover, spoken about in whispers and her children, objects of pity?"

Deanna blanched.  "No.." she said shakily.

"Then I advise you to cease whatever is between you and the young Lords.  They will marry within their class when the time comes.  And when you are of age, you may marry within yours.  Do not ruin your reputation for something that could never be."  Beth Ann counseled sadly.  Perhaps it had been a mistake to send her daughter here, to a home with young, virile boys.  She should have known her daughter's nature and sent her to the Abbey!

Sadly, she stroked her daughter's cheek.  "I love you and wish your happiness."

Deanna leaned into her mother's shoulder and let the tears drop.  "I know Mother.  I'm just so confused..."
Although Arthur did not see the disaster that his wife saw between the boys and the servant girl, Arthur did see that the boys needed more structure... more purpose.  They were growing up fast and it was time to acknowledge that.

"Boys," he called from across the room.  "Be ready in the morning before school for our daily lessons.  You'll be working under me from now on."

Bradshaw and Camelot looked to each other and shrugged, wondering what had come over their father.
Early that morning as the sun rose, Arthur and the boys were found outside, practicing their meditation & centering.
Then later, after their schoolwork was completed, they headed into the village for a training session with the knights.  They were now working in the military with their father and had less time for frivolous pursuits.

Orb's Year 924
"Happy birthday, dear!" Breena cheered as Danica blew the candles out on her cake.
Danica had grown up lovely, Breena thought.  She saw herself when she was younger and smiled at the lessons she'd learned through the years.
"You look beautiful," Hyun said nervously, smiling at Danica. "Happy celebration!" Bowing slightly, he went to join her Father in the other room at chess.  It would not appear honorable to spend too much time with his mentor's daughter!
As Hyun Knowles walked away, Danica fanned herself.  He'd always been at home in their castle and she'd always had a slight crush on him.  Perhaps it was time to let him know how she felt!
Meanwhile... elsewhere in the castle... Deanna took advantage of the knooks and cranny's that she'd discovered sneaking around with Bradshaw and Camelot.  If the high and mighty Knightleys weren't meant for her, then why should she waste any more time on them, she thought sullenly.
Bradshaw wasn't sure why Deanna was made at him.  He leaned forward to nuzzle her neck, only to be elbowed in the stomach.  "Come on, Deanna. What's the matter? It's only a kiss."

Deanna elbowed Bradshaw again to gain some space from him.  "I'm trying to cook dinner or can't you see that?" she snapped.

"What is it? Are you mad because I don't have as much time to spend with you?" he demanded.

Deanna rolled her eyes. "It has nothing to do with you!  I'm simply busy being your servant!" 

He reacted as though she'd slapped him in the face, jerking backwards and paling.  "Yes, well.. my apologies, Miss Deanna," he said, stepping back and executing a deep bow.  "Do not trouble yourself to set a plate for me tonight.  I find I am too tired to eat."

Deanna watched Bradshaw walk away and felt her heart drop.  What had she done? she wondered sadly. 
Later that night, she crept into his room and read to him, his favorite tale of a grand knight and a monstrous dragon.  After the tale was finished, she pulled her knees to her chest and rested her head.

Life was so unfair.  Bradshaw Knightley was not meant for her... but she ached to have him for her own...

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