Camelot fought the urge to reach out and stroke her cheek... to ask her to marry him one more time...
Sighing, he shook his head slightly, "That's it then."
Deanna fiddled with the hem of the sleeves for a long moment and wiped a tear from her eye. "I guess this is goodbye then. Fatima and I can't stay here."
"Do you need a reference? Angus Laird has expressed an interest in hiring a serving maid, but he seems shady to me. Perhaps the Consuls? I could put in a good word with them..." Camelot trailed off.
Deanna shook her head. "No, it's time I came clean with Bradshaw and go where I should've gone in the beginning... the Abbey..."
"This is so... lovely..." Eryka said. The castle was nice and spacious, but it was quite dark and dreary! It was depressing!
Wait, she thought unhappily. What about her big, lavish wedding? What about the gowns? What about the servants?
Eryka slipped the ring on Camelot's finger and it was done...
Eryka sighed. It hadn't been at all like the fairytale she'd imagined, that was for sure!
Orb's Year 934
"I'm sorry, my lady. I don't know how to dance."
Eryka moved her hips. "Just swing with the music!" Camelot cautiously began to mimic Eryka's movements. And then she reached out and grabbed his hands.
Abruptly, he pulled away.
No use worrying about it now. Hurrying, she dispatched a letter to her family inviting them over for an afternoon. It had been too long since she had seen them all!
"Are you well, sister?" Baji asked.
Eryka smiled cheekily, "How could one possibly be sad in this lovely castle with a maid and gardener? I don't have to lift a finger if I don't want to!"
Baji shook his head. "Ah, but are you happy?"
It felt harder for Eryka to keep her smile. "Of course!" she said brightly. "Now go mingle and have fun yourself!"
He suffered from so much guilt that sometimes he felt he would drown in it all. Guilt for misleading his brother, guilt for falling in love with Deanna, guilt for taking Deanna from Bradshaw, guilt for breaking his niece's heart when he told her he was not her true father, guilt that Deanna went away with his baby in her belly...
...and guilt for desiring his new wife...
"What are you talking about?" Camelot asked, glancing down to his empty hands.
Camelot heard the vulnerability behind those words and felt more guilt toppled on that he'd made his wife feel unworthy through his continued sulking.
"You are more than enough. I'm sorry I have been struggling with my own demons and have not paid any attention to you," he said sadly.
Eryka shook her head with a mischievous look in her eye. "I'm afraid I won't be happy unless we consummate the marriage again tonight!"
"Bold Imp!" Camelot laughed as he got ready for work. He caught himself smiling long after morning had faded.
"Oh! I certainly love your surprises!" Eryka cooed.
Camelot gave her derriere a love-tap. "Not that kind of surprise," he said with a laugh.
Eryka pretended to pout. "You got my hopes up and then cruelly dashed them, Sir!"
"Look on the bed," Camelot said excitedly.
Orb's Year 936
"Hold a moment, Sir. You've forgotten something!"
Camelot stopped mid-step and glanced back at Eryka with confusion. "What is it?" he asked.
"This!" she said, pulling him closer for a proper goodbye kiss.
He left whistling.