Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Taveryn, Orb's Year 941-944


Orb's Year 941


"Don't worry, Giselle.  Everything's going to be okay.  Papa's got a plan," Connor Taveryn told his toddling daughter.

***

Connor smoothly greeted Deanna Farmer when she arrived and quickly told her his plan.

"Come on, what do you say?" he cajoled.
Deanna crossed her arms and frowned.  "You want me to move in to take care of your children?"

Connor smiled winningly.  "It's the best situation I can think of.  You're pregnant with my child.  You could move in and care for all the children at one time and tidy up around the house while I'm running the pub!"

Deanna scowled.  "What's in it for me?"
Connor reached for Deanna's hand and kissed her knuckles in a grand gesture.  "Why, you would have me!"  Connor answered glibly.  But, the truth was also that he would sleep much better knowing that the mother of his growing child would be well taken care of in his home.  The thought of the upcoming birthing scared him to death!

***

"Children, this is Deanna Farmer," Connor said, introducing his children to his mistress.  "She's going to help take care of all the kids."

Ferguson wasn't impressed.  "But she's pregnant herself! How is she going to take care of Giselle and Heaven!"

Deanna raised an eyebrow.  "I've raised three other children. I can raise another three."

Connor clapped his hands together and said almost too cheerfully,  "Alright then. Well, I'm off!  I'll leave you guys to get acquainted. I need to get over to the pub."
Ferguson eyed Deanna distrustfully.  "He'll never marry you," he said mutinously.  "In case you're hoping that'll be the case."

Deanna rolled her eyes at the indignant youth.  "I could care less about marriage about propriety.  I do care about a warm, safe home to stay in.  And that's what I have now.  If you don't like it, then you may make yourself scarce while I care for your sisters."

Ferguson snorted, but thankfully left without another word.
Deanna picked up the little girl and sighed.  "Well now, missy.  What are we to do with you?"

***

Connor glanced around.  Taveryn's Kitchen had succeeded far better than he had ever imagined.  They stayed quite busy.
Thankfully his half-niece, Gretel Cook, was eager to follow in her parents footsteps.  She took over serving the tables and cleaning up spills while Fanny took over seating the patrons that came in looking for food or ale.
Which left Connor doing what he loved best - talking to his customers while he manned the bar.

Orb's Year 942
Connor had been on his way home one day when he'd run into Balin.  "What are you doing way out here, Balin? Did you follow me to work?" he asked as he'd crouched down.  The door sniffed at his hesitantly.

"Ah, I see you're not Balin!" Connor said wryly, on closer inspection.  "Perhaps we'll call you Sophie! I'm sure Balin would love to make your acquaintance!"
Ferguson was excited that they were adding a new female friend for Balin.  "Did you hear that old boy?  You're going to get a girlfriend!"  Ferguson carefully stroked the aging dog behind his ears. 

***

Deanna tried to keep a smile on her face as she tended to the girls.  Little Heaven was easy to care for, even while she was pregnant! 
And now that Giselle and Heaven were getting older, it made it even easier.  They could just amuse themselves.
Leaving her time to impress Connor. She stayed in the home by his grace and she didn't want to give him cause to turn her from his home.
"How do you like the turkey?" she asked with a practiced smilesmile over dinner.
"Daddy? Why does Miss Deanna eat dinner with us?  Ferguson says that she should be eating in the servant's quarters.

Connor shot his son a disgruntled look, then turned back to Giselle.  "As Ferguson knows, we're not too worried about class lines here.  We welcome all family and friends at our table!"  Connor glanced down the table and was dismayed to see Deanna studiously regarding her plate.

He cleared his throat and added, "The turkey is delicious, Deanna! I haven't tasted anything this fine in years!"

Ferguson glanced sharply at his father, feeling that the compliment was a slight against his mother and then glared down the table at Deanna.

Giselle studied everyone at the table and tried to understand what was going on...

***

Connor watched Deanna walk in and felt the tingles of attraction course through him.  Even heavily pregnant with their child, she was desirable.
"Connor," she said coming up to him and stroking his cheek.  "I miss you in my bed," she began to say.

Connor quickly looked around as he put a finger to her lips.  "Deanna, remember. We agreed!  The children are not to know about us! Not until they're older."

Deanna rolled her eyes and said angrily,  "As if they weren't aware, Connor!  Ferguson hates me for replacing his mother and Giselle suspects something is not quite normal!"

Connor crossed his arms stubbornly.  "Well, it will remain speculation.  I just want to protect them..."
"Protect them?" Deanna hissed.  "From what? My low-class... oh!"  Deanna stopped and grabbed her belly.  "Damn you, Connor!" she seethed.  "The baby's coming!"
Connor watched helplessly as Deanna struggled to bring their child into the world.  There was a part of him that worried that he would lose her, like he lost Christa.  "Are you okay?" he asked incessantly, attempting to pat her back or stroke her hair.  All the while, Deanna shoved his hands away, glaring at him and cursing the moment she had ever met him.
By the time his newborn daughter was born, Connor was a wreck.  Unfortunately, Deanna's cries had brought Ferguson in the room.  When the girl was born, Connor had been torn between shouting out his relief that he had another daughter and his desire to keep his children from knowing he had fathered a child with someone other than their mother.

Deanna hadn't even given him a chance to see little Imogene before she whisked her away to the servant's quarters with a glare.
"Deanna?" he called quietly as he padded into the servant's quarter well after all the children had gone to sleep.  "Are you awake?"

Deanna rolled over in bed and sniffed, "Well I am now!"
Connor tumbled into bed atop Deanna.  "Don't be mad at me, Deanna, love," he begged.  "I'm not embarrassed of you or the class you were born to.  I just..." he hesitated, trying to find the right words. "I don't want my children to think I've replaced their mum."  He nuzzled her ear.  "Not yet..."

Deanna found it hard to stay mad when Connor nuzzled her ear like that.  Even harder when he shifted lower...

...It didn't take long for Connor to win his way back into her good favor...

Orb's Year 943

Despite the passage of time, Connor still wasn't entirely comfortable acknowledging the relationship he enjoyed with Deanna in front of the children.  They had such happy memories of their mother...

"It's not that I don't love you," Connor said in a hushed voice.  "Things are just fine the way they are! Why ruin a good thing?  You're happy here, aren't you?"

Deanna sighed.  She was happy here.  She just hated feeling as though Connor was ashamed of her.
As she opened her mouth to tell him that, Giselle ran into the house.  "Daddy! Daddy! Guess what!" she called excitedly.

Connor jumped up and ran to the beautiful little girl, pulling her into his arms.  "What is it, love?" he asked her.

"Ferguson said that Sophie just had puppies!  And he said that I could name the little girl! Isn't that amazing?"

"That's certainly exciting," Connor agreed.  "Come, show me those little puppies!" he said, carrying his daughter outside without a second glance towards Deanna.
The puppies were indeed adorable.  Ferguson named the yipping boy puppy Ballard while Giselle named the little girl Gypsy.  She had visited her uncle Edrick at the Gypsy Grotto and had been enthralled when Velma Gypsy had danced before the firelight. 

"Aw, look, Balin is nuzzling Ballard!" Giselle cooed with delight, clapping her hands.

Connor scratched Balin behind the ear.  "What a good papa you are, old Balin!"

***

"I don't like it when you ignore me when your children call you," Deanna said as they laid in bed together that night.  "I will not be your dirty secret."

"Aw, Deanna, love, you're not a dirty secret!" Connor said, stroking her hair.  "I just need time..."

"We're not getting any younger, Connor," Deanna said, pulling him into her arms.  "Prove to me that you love me," she said as she sought to prove to him how much he needed her.
Deanna weight heavy on his mind as Connor snuck back inside the house to sleep in his empty bed.

Ferguson shook his head as his father walked by, strands of hay tousled in his hair and clothes.  He didn't know why his father insisted on pretending that there was nothing between him and the servant woman when it was clearly obvious!

Orb's Year 944
Ferguson tried not to dwell too much on his father's love life.  He didn't like that Miss Deanna had replaced his mother so easily in his father's heart.  But, it wasn't as if there was anything he could do about it.  His father would see whoever he wanted to see...

Besides, he had his own conquests to worry about!
He'd been working on the incomparable Traci McArthur.
A little flattery went a long way!
He leaned in for a kiss and could swear that he felt his heart flutter.
 
***

Imogene Farmer played with the puppy, hurriedly clamping her arms around the struggling puppy before it could escape.  "Pup pup!" she giggled, trying to give it a kiss, then rearing back in surprise when it bathed her face with kisses.
Only a few short months later and Ballard and Gypsy were just as big as their mother, but still full of energy and play.   Sadly, Balin was not around to see the pups as they grew older.  He passed away from ripe old age before they were fully grown.

***

Connor cleared his throat as he approached Deanna and Giselle as they lunched.  "Deanna, there was something I wanted to talk to you about," he said cryptically, inclining his head towards the master bedroom.  "Could I steal you away for a moment?"

Deanna put down her fork and blotted her mouth daintily with a napkin.  "Of course," she said, laying the napkin to the side and rose from the table.

She followed Connor into the bedroom and then flew into his arms the moment the door was closed.   Between kisses, she teased him, "Oh, the master bedroom! And during the day time! Whatever will your children think?!"

Connor growled as he kissed her back.  "It's too damn cold outside to be traipsing around the snow and if you're quiet, the children will never know!"

Deanna shoved Connor onto the bed flat.  "Ach, be careful or your compliments will go to my head!"
Connor reached out and pulled Deanna down into his arms.  "Be quiet woman!" he said as he claimed her mouth for another kiss.
Heaven skipped into the room without knocking.  "Papa, Giselle said that..."  she stopped in stunned silence.  "Papa?" she asked with tears in her eyes before hurrying from the room to find Giselle.

Deanna stiffened as Connor stilled and then turned from her.  He sat up and stared at the now open door with an anguished expression on his face.

She wasn't surprised when he hurriedly got out of bed and began dressing without sparing her another glance.

***
Connor laid the cherry cobbler treats in front of his daughters and tried to think of what to say.  He cleared his throat and hesitated.

"Well, see, the thing is..." he stammered, trying to judge the girls expressions.  Heaven no longer had tears in her eyes, but Giselle was frowning fiercely.   He tried again, "Miss Deanna and I..."

"...Are lovers," a voice said from the doorway to the master bedroom.

All eyes jerked to Deanna as she lounged in the doorway, deceptively calm.  "Or perhaps I should say were lovers.  I have decided that I deserve more than a man that wants to hide me and his child away in the grungy servant's quarters."  Deanna stormed from the room, scooping up Imogene as she went.

Giselle and Heaven glanced back at their father with their mouths gaping open.  "Papa?" Heaven asked hesitantly.  "Is Miss Deanna leaving?"

Connor galvanized into motion, upsetting the chair as he stood in a hurry.  He was out the door before the girls could say another word.

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