Orb's Year 933
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.
"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..."
"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.
Bradshaw stood up abruptly and rubbed his sore leg.
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.
Deanna glanced over her shoulder sadly. "Where I should have gone all along... the Abbey..."
Turning, he saw Daphne standing there with tears in her eyes.
When Bradshaw reached out to hold her, she slapped his hands away and hurried from the room.
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!"
Bradshaw scoffed. Easier said than done when the lady took great pains to be as far from him as possible!
Orb's Year 934
Princess Daphne glanced at the hand Scott had laid familiarly on her arm.
"Invite me in to catch up," he winked.
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.
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.
Bradshaw's shoulders slumped. How had everything gone so awfully wrong, he wondered sadly.
Bradshaw grinned. "And that is not all..."
Bradshaw smiled as he watched Daphne's face light up with joy. "I noticed that you were quite taken with Thadius..."
Orb's Year 935
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..."
"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.
"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..."
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.
Daphne wrapped her arms around Bradshaw's broad back and sighed. "Perhaps one day we might find something small..."
She'd gifted him with a fresh start and he would never allow her to regret it!
Orb's Year 936
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.
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.
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...