Orb's Year 929
Daphne folded her arms across her chest and began to argue, but Bradshaw interrupted her, "Not another word!" he said hotly before he turned and slammed from the room.
Bradshaw cleared his throat, bringing her attention to him. Silently, she willed him not to say what his parents had coached him to say.
"We all agree that the Abbey is the best place..." he trailed on, but Deanna stopped listening.
Bradshaw's gaze lingered on Deanna... perhaps...
A gasp followed from everyone in the room.
Bradshaw looked at Deanna, jaw tightening, "Is that true? Could it be my brother's child?"
Deanna hedged, trying to figure out what Camelot was doing. Apparently her silence was damning.
Camelot shrugged, "I love her, too."
The color drained from Bradshaw's face, seeing it as the truth.
Camelot smiled wistfully, "There's no other choice, Father."
Arthur put his hands on his wife's shoulders. "There's nothing we can do now. He's made his decision."
He would marry Princess Daphne. He would just know better than to involve his heart...
Orb's Year 930
Daphne stuck her tongue out at the back of his head. "Come on Thadius, let's go where we're appreciated!"
Scott stuck his nose in the air. "I probably shouldn't be here at all. Your intended is quite rough and low-class!"
"Oh, he is no such thing!" Daphne argued. What a perfectly snobby thing to say!
"He nearly trounced me within an inch of my life!" Scott whined.
Scott yelped and held his hands up in front of his face, "Don't hit me!"
Bradshaw watched her go and felt a prick of guilt. It wasn't her fault that their parents had struck a marriage bond. Hell, it wasn't even her fault that he couldn't be with Deanna.
Every now and then he wondered what could've been...
But, before she could open her mouth, Bradshaw had walked off with his shoulders slumping.
Orb's Year 932
Bradshaw held up his hand to stop her rambling. "That's all. Let me know when it's time."
Breena shook her head. She hated to see her eldest so torn up. He'd lost a lot of weight since Deanna had left with Camelot and there were dark circles under his eyes. She hadn't seen him smile or laugh in ages!
She wished she knew what to do to bring joy back to his life!
"I fell in love!" Breena smiled. "To this day, I can't imagine a life without Arthur!"
Daphne sighed, crestfallen. She'd been hoping for a fairy godmother or a magical potion that would make him love her... not Deanna...
Shyly, she glanced up at him under her eyelashes. He looked so handsome and charming. She couldn't help but dream that he would finally see her and fall deeply in love with her!
The crowd chuckled in response.
Blushing, she pulled away as their friends and family cheered. Blessed Orb, Bradshaw knew how to kiss!
Breena smiled. There was light and laughter in the Great Hall again!
She wished Bradshaw would hurry up and get it over with!
He hadn't expected his brother, but it hurt nonetheless that he didn't come.
Prince Barron laughed until he fell to the floor. "Oh, Cursed Orb," he said, staring at the ceiling. "Daphne is going to kill us!"
"Most assuredly!" Bradshaw agreed, grinning. Wobbling he made his way up to his room where she was sure to be waiting for him....
What a fool she was thinking that he would feel anything for her other than obligation!
With his body tilted down, he clearly saw Daphne's foot tapping with irritation.
Glancing up, he clearly saw her face twisted with anger.
Oh Cursed Orb, he thought, he'd gotten so blitzed he'd missed their wedding night!
"Oh shut it!" Daphne said, stomping. "It's obvious you're still in love with Deanna! And until you're over her, you can't love me!"
Bradshaw held out his hand, "Now wait, I never said anything about loving..."
Daphne laughed angrily. "Oh isn't that the truth! You don't have to remind me! You never said anything about loving me! This is a marriage of convenience! Why pretend it's anything other than that!"
She'd yelled about him being in love with Deanna. Which couldn't be further from the truth now! Too many years had gone by for him to still be mooning over his brother's woman!
But he's my warty frog! she thought sadly with a fresh burst of tears.
He figured that she would come to him when she was ready to talk.
But life is ever-changing.
No, he would never win against the brute using strength. He had to beat him using his brains.
Crossing his arms, he smiled, imaging Bradshaw out of the picture and Princess Daphne on his arm...