Orb's Year 933
He'd been lounging right in this same spot when Alibaba's mistress had gotten the jump on him...
"Aw, I didn't know you cared," he'd taunted.
"Why are you always painting this ugly shite?" he yelled, grabbing the canvas and tearing it apart, then throwing it on the floor. "It's worthless! You're worthless!"
"Are you okay, Mommy?" Elyssa asked, glancing up at her with eyes far wiser than her tender 6 years should've been.
"I'm okay," Celeste said, desperately trying to get her racing heart under control. "I just wanted hugs from my two best girls!"
Elyssa stood up and wrapped her arms around her mother and hugged her as tight as she could.
Geoffrey reacted as though she'd slapped him. "You can't tell me no!" he said incredously. "You're my wife! And it is your duty to give me an heir!"
Geoffrey leaped out of bed and pointed his finger at her angrily. "You'll regret that, you ungrateful wench! The only reason I would attempt to bed you at all is to get an heir!"
Turning on his heel, he stalked from the room, slamming the door behind him.
All Celeste could think was, Blessed Orb, he left me alone!
Abbey shyly nodded.
"Where are you hurrying to, dear wife?" Geoffrey asked. "I thought you'd want to hear all about the peasant girl I'd bedded. That is what you wanted me to do, isn't it?"
"Don't touch me," Celeste said with a wavering voice. "You're a monster!"
"Tsk, tsk," Geoffrey admonished. "Is that any way to speak to your husband?"
This time when Celeste tried to walk around, Geoffrey stepped out of the way.
"I love it, Mommy!" Elyssa said happily.
They loved playing with the little prince and princesses, often playing for hours.
It was such a happy time...
"Pl...pl...playing knights..." Faith said, standing up.
Elyssa ignored him and continued to play.
"I asked you what you were doing!" he roared to Elyssa. She jumped up and looked at the floor, scared to say anything to him.
"When I ask you something, I expect you to answer!" he yelled.
She struggled with him and pushed him off, checking to make sure that the girls weren't watching. "Not in front of the girls," she hissed.
Geoffrey pushed Celeste out of the way and stormed from the room.
Orb's Year 935
Celeste tried to look as innocent as possible. "I'm sorry. I didn't realize I was quiet. I was just coming down to check the larder." She busied herself with straightening the room, all the while covertly watching him.
When she'd finished reading it, all the blood had drained from her body. Senses tingling, she'd dropped the scroll back in the box and then locked it again.
Oh God, she thought. He really was a monster!
...except when he'd crushed the castle toy.
"Mom?" Elyssa asked, confused.
Celeste smiled, hoping Elyssa wouldn't ask too many questions. "Come, let's get breakfast," she said quickly.
Orb's Year 936
Geoffrey scowled. "I hate going to those bloody things!"
Celeste strove not to appear too eager. "Well, I can make your excuses if you like..." she offered. Damn, she thought when Geoffrey began to look suspicious. She did her best to appear cool and distant, "I figured you wouldn't want to come. There will be so many children..."
Geoffrey scowled even more and crossed his arms. "Tell the Queen that I am tied up with work."
Celeste shrugged as though it didn't matter to her and moved to pass her husband again.
Benedict smiled at Geoffrey and announced, "We're here to arrest you."
"For the murder of the peasant Debbie Diebin and for treason against the King." Benedict smiled and held up the scroll Geoffrey had hidden in the box.
It had surprised her to realize her husband was capable of such malice. She could only thank the Blessed Orb that he'd never raised a finger against her or their children.
Now that he was gone, it was time for a fresh start...
How could she have been so blind all these years? What was she going to do?