Eryka snorted, quite unladylike, and tossed her hair. "I'm surprised you even know my name! Mother says all Taveryns are wicked!"
Brand rocked back on his heels, jamming his hands in his pockets. "Is that a fact?"
"That's a fact," Eryka had said.
Eryka's eyes shot up to Brand's and she grinned. "For me?"
Brand smiled. "Of course. I always send money to your mother to give you. Don't you receive it?"
Eryka's brow wrinkled. "No, never. She's never mentioned it."
Brand made a mental note to get to the bottom of that. He'd been more than generous and he didn't need Alana Marchant spreading malicious gossip about him around town. He had a reputation to protect!
Spending a few more moments chatting amiably with Eryka, he sent her on her way before Deb happened to notice who he was talking to. It was one thing for illegitimate children to exist, but a whole other matter for them to exist in her sphere of living!
It meant he couldn't inherit anything.
It meant he lived her at the whim of the current heir, which would soon be his pleasure-loving brother Brand. He worried that when his Dad died, Brand's wife, Deb, would send them all away. She'd made no secret of disliking them or their influence on her precious children!
Throwing his failing report card down on the ground, he headed inside, anxiously awaiting a visit from his love.
Caira Marchant grinned widely. "I didn't think she'd ever go to sleep!" Resting her head on his shoulder, she sighed. "I can't wait until we're adults and we don't have to see each other in hiding!"
Dirk rubbed her back. He knew that Caira's mother hated him because he was related to Brand. And because he was a peasant, born with the wrong color hair. It was his curse.
Debbie awoke from slumber with her face down in the plate. She looked around, wondering why she felt so tired.
Orb's Year 922
Aidan Taveryn, Celestial Orb Years' 874-922
Orb's Year 923
He hadn't listened to her, so she chose to ignore them instead.
They in turn, ignored her.
"So, what plans do you have for after school?" Brand asked his half-brother Dirk. "I see that you've been spending a lot of time with Shanna Marchant. Be careful with that one. Her mother is crazy!"
Dirk nodded his agreement.
Brand slammed his fist on the table. "Enough Deb! You promised to hold a civil tongue in your head!"
Deb glared right back. "Well you promised that you would stop romancing women, so I suppose we both lied!"
Connor's heart sunk. He hadn't meant to make his folks fight. Sheepishly, he glanced at Dirk and shrugged.
But, he definitely didn't want that for his wife and kids!
Orb's Year 924
She was interrupted by her mother calling her to lunch.
She smoothed her hair and skirts and walked into the room composed and lady-like. Mother didn't like it when she rushed in like a "Baker." Devon hated that her Mother was so cruel, but there was just no arguing with her these days. Since Grandpa had died, Deb had done all she could to make everyone's life miserable!
Deb motioned to the food. "Go ahead and eat. I've been thinking that you are of age now and we can begin to plan your wedding festivities. Do you find that exciting?"
Devon sputtered a bit, but recovered quickly. "My... wedding? Why... of course!" Devon bit her cheek. "What about it?"
"I've arranged for the matchmaker to come by this evening and select the perfect mate for you! I want you to be cordial and engaging!"
Camelot had told her of his unrequited love and she'd told him of her increasingly demanding mother. Both had consoled the other that things could only get better.
Finally, he'd asked her to stay at home and take care of Edrick and said that he would take care of the "boring" stuff.