Sunday, September 15, 2013

Knightley, Orb's Year 933-936


Orb's Year 933

"I have nothing to say to you," Bradshaw said after Deanna had begged for an audience.  He saw her daughter hiding behind Deanna's skirts and glancing warily at him.

Deanna took a deep breath.  "It's past time that I told you the truth," she said shakily.  "Fatima is not your brother's daughter."

"Then whose..." Bradshaw stilled.  "She's mine?" he asked.

Deanna nodded. 

"Are you sure?" he demanded.

Deanna nodded once more.  "I never... you know... "  Deanna kept her eyes pinned to the floor. "He said it because he thought he was protecting you and saving me.  It's never sat right with him.  He was going to tell you..."
Bradshaw reeled from the revelations.  "You let me believe my brother betrayed me and carried your child.  And all along she was mine?" he asked.  "How could you do that to me?  I loved you!" he said, his voice breaking.
"I didn't mean for it to happen!  You were sitting there, about to choose a life with a princess and I was faced with being banished to the Abbey!  Camelot offered me a chance to escape!"

"Oh and you just took it and ran! Never mind that my mother cried for years knowing that the rift between my brother and I was too deep to cross!"

"I'm sorry!" Deanna cried.

"Sorry isn't good enough," he said, crossing his arms.  "So what do you want? Has Camelot sent you away?  You want to leave your child here? Or do you need money?"

"No, Camelot is moving on with his life because I could not love him the way he deserved.  Yet another brother is marrying someone other than me," she said bitterly.
Before he could say anything scathing in reply, Bradshaw glanced down and saw the little girl... his daughter...
Biting his tongue, he knelt down in front of the little girl.  "Do you remember me?" he asked, searching her face for a sign that his blood ran through her veins. 
"You're not my father!" Fatima yelled as she kicked the odious man in the leg. 

Bradshaw stood up abruptly and rubbed his sore leg. 
Fatima threw herself into her mother's arms.  "I'm sorry, mama!  Please, let's go back to papa!  Don't take me away!" she cried.

Deanna wrapped her arms around her daughter and hugged her tight.  She felt so powerless and weak.   Glancing up, she met Bradshaw's eyes.  "Perhaps we should come another time," she said as she gathered her daughter in her arms.
Bradshaw watched them walk towards the door.  "Wait! Where are you going?" he demanded.  If she wasn't staying with his brother anymore, had she found a new protector?

Deanna glanced over her shoulder sadly.  "Where I should have gone all along... the Abbey..."
Bradshaw couldn't believe it.  He was a father... all along... 

Turning, he saw Daphne standing there with tears in her eyes. 
When he took a step towards her, she hurried away, furiously wiping at her eyes.
With a few strides, he'd caught up with her and spun her around.  "I didn't know..." he said, attempting to erase the hurt he'd seen in her eyes.
"I don't care, Bradshaw!  I suppose it's too bad you didn't just marry her when you'd had the chance! You would've done us both a favor!" Daphe said, so angry that she was shaking.  She would never be rid of that awful woman!  Now, not only would Bradshaw hold a light for her in his heart - he would be connected to her by blood!

When Bradshaw reached out to hold her, she slapped his hands away and hurried from the room. 

 ***

"I hate to see the two of you fight," Breanna said.  The tension in the house had been thick.  She knew that Daphne had been hurt when she found out that Bradshaw had an illegitimate child, but the child had been conceived before they had married. "You cannot hold it against him forever, you know."


Daphne sighed.  "I know, Mother.  I just wanted him to love me..." she trailed off, sighing wistfully.


"Give it time. Love can still bloom! You just have to be willing to listen to him!"

Daphne kissed her mother-in-law's cheek.  "Yes, Mother," she promised.  "I will see you in the morning."


***


"I don't know what she wants from me!" Bradshaw said, seething with frustration.  "I cannot change the fact that I fathered a child before I wed her!" he said, pacing in the music hall.
"I know, dear. But, she has been hurt in all of this, as well.  Give her time.  Talk to her.  Woo her."

Bradshaw scoffed.  Easier said than done when the lady took great pains to be as far from him as possible!











Orb's Year 934
"My, it's good to see you again!" Prince Scott Trottier said. 


Princess Daphne glanced at the hand Scott had laid familiarly on her arm. 


"Invite me in to catch up," he winked.

Even though Daphne knew it would anger Bradshaw if he found out, Daphne invited the bounder in.  But, after an hour of listening to him prattle on about how superior he was, she was nearly at wits end.  Besides, it seemed infantile to exact revenge on her husband by fraternizing with someone he disliked.
A farewell had been on the tip of her tongue when she felt him behind her.  Guiltily, she glanced behind her shoulder.  He did not look happy...

"I thought I said that you were not to associate with this poppinjay!" Bradshaw said curtly.


Scott bowed low in greeting to Bradshaw. "The name is Prince Scot Trottier," he said, emphasizing his royal lineage. "And I was just reacquainting myself with your lovely wife."


Bradshaw took a threatening step closer.

"Now, now," Scott said, waving Bradshaw away.  "I was just on my way out."  Winking at Daphne, he said, "I will see you again soon, my dear." before he sauntered from the castle.

"You will not see him again." Bradshaw ordered.


Daphne saw red.  How dare he order her around! She thought angrily.  Even though she'd already decided to keep Prince Scott at an arm's length, she bristled at her husband's order.  "I will keep the company I please!" she hissed.  "Who do you think you are?!"


"I am your husband!" Bradshaw yelled.

Daphne scowled and turned her nose up at him.  "A fact which I regret daily," she sniped as she left the room, leaving him behind.

Bradshaw's shoulders slumped.  How had everything gone so awfully wrong, he wondered sadly.
That question plagued him through the long, lonely night.  There had to be some way to break through the armor around Daphne's heart...

***


"A rose?" Daphne asked, wondering what her husband was up to.

Bradshaw grinned.  "And that is not all..."
Daphne gasped with wonder.  "A kitten?!" she asked when she heard the soft mewling.  "For me?!"


Bradshaw smiled as he watched Daphne's face light up with joy.  "I noticed that you were quite taken with Thadius..."

Daphne glanced up from the kitten to her husband.  He had noticed her, she thought with wonder. 

Drawing him close, she gave him an innocent kiss on the lips.  "Thank you!  I love her!"
Bradshaw cleared his throat and nodded tightly.  "Right. Well. Good day," he said, hurrying to the carriage.

But nothing could stop the grin from lingering on his face...

 Orb's Year 935
"I was wondering when I would see you," Bradshaw said dispassionately to his brother as they sat next to one another.

Camelot tersely nodded his head.  "Deanna said that she would come by and speak with you."

Bradshaw shook his head.  "How could you do that to me?  I mourned the loss of a child I thought could never be mine... And the loss of my brother..."
Camelot winced.  "There's no excuse, I know.  But, I was young. Righteous and in love." Glancing down, he shoved his hands through his hair.  "But she never loved me."

"And your new wife?"

Camelot sighed, "Love does not factor into that equation, either.  I married her for an heir. Although, I do admit I am fond of her.  I will not make the mistake of falling in love once again."

Bradshaw scoffed.  Love.  Love had not done any favors for either brother!

"Can you ever find it in your heart to forgive me?" Camelot asked.
Bradshaw only waited a moment before pulling his brother into a hug.  "You are forgiven, brother."

***

Bradshaw stared at his wife as she washed the dishes from the dinner meal.  Perhaps Camelot was not the only one that needed to seek forgiveness...

"I'm sorry," Bradshaw said, simply.

Daphne turned around in confusion and glanced around.  "Whatever are you talking about?" she asked.

"I'm sorry I've made such a mess of things.  It was never my intention," he found the words falling from his lips.  "I'd like it if we could start fresh..."
Daphne hesitated just a moment before shyly nodding.  "I would like that, as well," she said.

Bradshaw stepped closer and pulled her to him and gave her a sweet kiss. 

His heart beat faster when she glanced up and smiled.  "I liked it when you kissed me like that after you gave me Valkeryie. 

Bradshaw laughed.  "You named a kitten Valkeryie?" he asked with amazement.

"Why not? It's a beautiful name!" she argued.
Bradshaw groaned and nuzzled Daphne's neck.  "Will we ever be able to talk about anything without arguing?"

Daphne wrapped her arms around Bradshaw's broad back and sighed.  "Perhaps one day we might find something small..."
Bradshaw gripped Daphne's dainty hand in his larger one as they finally succumbed to sleep in the wee hours of the morning.  

She'd gifted him with a fresh start and he would never allow her to regret it!

 Orb's Year 936
Bradshaw followed his mother's advice and wooed his dear wife.  Slowly, they were able to rebuild their relationship. 

When Bradshaw discovered he was soon to be a father, he was elated.

But, it made him realize that he'd been remiss in his fatherly duties to another child. 

After making sure it would not cause Daphne any pains, he invited Fatima over for the afternoon to get to know her better.
Cursed Orb, the girl was a handful, he thought.  If he said that sky was blue, she argued that it was pink.  If he said he liked fish, she said she hated fish.  She had qualms in letting him know that she didn't consider him her father and resented being anywhere near him.

 ***

Daphne rested in bed next to Valkeryie and daydreamed about her husband.  It was funny how quickly she had come to love him.  She had been so angry and blind to all the good he'd done in the early years of their marriage. 
"Have you seen Mother?" Bradshaw asked, opening the door wide.

Daphne glanced at him, "I'm sure she's around.  Have you checked the music room?" she asked.  Breanna loved playing the piano.

Bradshaw shook his head and hurried from the room.
Bradshaw tapped on his mother's door and opened the door a crack.  He dropped to his knees with a hoarse shout when he saw her crumpled by the bed.

Rest in Peace Breanna Knightley, Orb's Year 891-935

 ***

Daphne missed her mother-in-law so very much.  Breanna had been a companion and a confident, always urging her to think things through.  The house seemed so empty without her...
Soon, Valkeryie had little kittens underfoot, though.  Daphne named the little coal-black kittens Thor, Freyja and Edda.
And her little one?  She named her little beauty Eleanor Knightley.

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