Orb's Year 909
Carrie had put her fork down and informed Deb that perhaps she'd like to take the matter up with Aidan.
Deb couldn't believe her ears! Servants from where she lived never spoke back! Oh, she knew that Aidan was carrying on with the servant, as evidenced by the baby lying on the floor and the swelling of her belly with pregnancy again.
But that didn't mean Carrie should be allowed free reign!
He stopped in his tracks. "Debbie, is that you?" he asked.
Debbie giggled, "Well who else would it be?"
"Well, I'll say you've grown up quite fetching!"
"Whatever did you expect, you rogue?" Debbie lightly swatted at him. "I should mad at you, you know."
Brand clutched his heart. "Whatever for?" he asked, leaning closer.
"You snuck into my bedroom and stole a kiss and then never showed up again." Flirtatiously, she lowered her eyes. "I dreamt of you every night..."
Brand felt everything in his body heat up. "Well that's something I can rectify immediately. Go back to your place..."
Debbie laughed and swatted at him again. "You rogue! I'm here for my sister! You wasted too many years and you'll just have to wait."
Finally, annoyed by the tension, Carrie slammed her spoon down on the table. "Just because Aidan didn't marry me does not lessen what he feels for me! I have lived her for far longer than you and my place is more settled! I will still be here long after Brand has tired of you!"
Deb shrugged as she set aside her dish. "Perhaps. Perhaps not. The important thing is that no matter where I go, I will still be a class above you, peasant." Deb walked to her room, stopping to wave at the dishes. "Do clean up before bed."
If looks could have killed, Deb would have dropped in the spot she stood.
Deb sighed. The poor child didn't even have a blanket to her name. That was no way to treat any child, she thought sadly. She would see to it that the child had at least a sleeping mat.
Orb's Year 910
Aidan shook his head firmly. "No, he's my heir. This is his home, his heritage."
"What of your children with me?! What of Caitlyn? Of this unborn child? Are they nothing to you?"
Aidan sighed. "Of course not. They are precious to me. But I have nothing to give them. I will arrange for Caitlyn to enter either the service or join the abbey when she's of an age."
"And this unborn child? What if it's a boy? What will you do then?" she persisted.
Aidan snapped, "Well then, why don't I just set him up as the king?! I tell you, Carrie. I will take care of my children, according to their station in life! That is all I can do! Just because I care for you and the children doesn't mean that I can paint their hair brown and give them a different life! Now cease your arguments!"
Carrie nodded, knowing he spoke the truth. Absently, she stroked her belly. She just wanted more for her children...
"Well it took you long enough to ask!" Deb had fumed. "I was about to leave to return to my father's in shame. For it would be better to live there in shame than to continue living here in sin!"
Brand massaged her hand. "I had every intention of marrying you, woman. I just had to find my mother's ring."
"Your mother's ring? Truly?" Deb was touched by the romantic gesture.
"It's too small!" she complained.
Brand was exasperated. "Well I can see that! I hadn't thought that my mother was younger when she and dad were first married," he said lamely.
"Why did she not have it re-sized?" Deb demanded.
Brand gazed at the little gold ring and frowned. "Because she died in childbirth... with me..."
"Oh.." Deb muttered, momentarily speechless.
"Well, let's just handfast and get on with it," Brand said with jerky movements. "The baby will soon be here and I want him to be a Taveryn."
Carrie cuddled the baby to her chest and went in search of Aidan.
Orb's Year 911
Carrie watched her daughter give Deb a huge hug without sparing her a glance before skipping away. It was enough to cause her to boil over with anger.
Carrie fumed, "It's not fair! Oh how I wish I'd never agreed to come here! You've ruined my life!"
Aidan felt guilt and pity swirling in his chest. Perhaps Carrie would have had an easier life elsewhere... with someone that could have loved her as she truly deserved. "Posh, you've met tons of interesting people, lived in my home as an equal in most things. Don't throw yourself a pity party just yet!"
Carrie swiped a tear from her eye. "Promise me that you'll take care of me and the children before you pass, Aidan. Promise! I don't want her to be able to kick us out before your grave is even cold!"
Aidan nodded. "I promise. I'll talk to Brand about my wish for you and the children to stay here. Now quit picking fights with Deb and go see about lunch. I'm hungry!"
Orb's Year 912
They were just two boys... raised together... brothers!