Breena wiped a tear from her eye and threw herself into Arthur's arms. For such a fierce warrior, he had such a way with words!
"But, Lady Knightley! I haven't encouraged them! I promise!" she said nervously, her cheeks flaming. What must Lady Knightley think of her?!
Breena nodded, satisfied that Deanna was being truthful, patted her shoulder and went upstairs to retire.
With Lady Knightley's back to her, Deanna sighed a huge sigh of relief. If she were sent home, everyone would assume it was because of her character! She'd probably be sent off to the Abbey to atone for any transgressions.
But, she was being honest! She hadn't had anything to do with the brothers since her mother struck fear into her heart by reminding her of Aunt Debbie. And Aunt Carrie, destined to live as her love's serving wench without the benefit of his name.
Since then, she'd resisted the urge to even speak to the brothers!
...it was her little secret...
Orb's Year 926
He knew that Bradshaw was still infatuated with the serving girl. And he knew that she was still enamored with him.
There was one certain way to end it immediately.
Arthur nodded. "King Alexander would like to see our family line linked to his own. It's a privilege and an honor."
Bradshaw gulped. He knew how important his marriage to Princess Daphne would be! The dowry alone would be impressive!
But... marriage... to Daphne?
...not like Deanna...
Shaking his head, he tried to rid his mind of the traitorous thought. Deanna was not meant for his future. He had an obligation to his family. And he knew it would be in his best interest to accept that as quickly as possible!
Orb's Year 927
Suddenly, he couldn't stand it anymore...
"Right now it's just you and me... nothing else matters," Bradshaw said, kissing her again.
When Deanna fell on top of him, Bradshaw felt as though he'd died and gone to heaven. Stroking her hair from her cheek, he said, "I can't promise you any more than tonight."
Deanna smiled sadly down at him. "I know. I'll treasure tonight more than you'll ever know!"
Deanna giggled and pushed on his chest. "That's what you said last time, Bradshaw!"
Bradshaw rested his forehead against hers and sighed. "I know! But, we need to stop! I'm bound to Princess Daphne!"
"It's not his fault! It's my fault!" Deanna interjected, worried that Lord Knightley would disown his son.
Arthur's gaze went straight to Deanna. "I promised your father that no harm would come to you in my house. This is how you repay our kindness?!" Arthur's voice raised.
Bradshaw stepped in front of Deanna, he saw her hands on her hips and he attempted to intercede. "I'm sorry Father! I fully intend to marry Princess Daphne. This liaison with the serving girl is over. Come, let us retire to the study and make plans."
Bradshaw left Deanna standing there alone, fuming with shame and anger.
Orb's Year 928
Bradshaw's plans were in place, he had petitioned King Alexander for his intended to come stay at their castle and he was making every effort to oversee the preparations.
Princess Daphne was such a sweet soul! "And, as I was saying, if you need anything, feel free to let me know! I'm sure you will love it here as much as I have! I've set you up in Danica's old room until the wedding!"
"Oh thank you, Breena! When can we begin planning the wedding? I would love it to be a grand celebration!" Daphne asked excitedly.
Breena glanced over as Deanna walked from the room and paled. "I...I'll be right back, dear..." she said faintly before following the servant.
Fighting back a sob, Deanna hurriedly gathered the dishes in hopes that she could rush from the room to avoid seeing them together.
All of a sudden, there was another reason altogether that she had to hurry from the room! A wave of nausea caught her off-guard and she quickly set the plates down on the table before gagging and running from the room.
She never saw Bradshaw turn to worriedly watch her as she went.