Orb's Year 945
Crystal glanced between her husband and the servant he had brought into their home. "But, Ryker already cleans..." she began to argue. Even though she was fairly certain her husband was now faithful to her, there was no reason to bring temptation into their household. She glanced at Suzie again. Although, Suzie was certainly older than the typical lady-friend that Angus had enjoyed...
Angus waved his hand dismissively. "Ryker can find another household to clean. I never liked him anyway. He always looked at me funny."
Without waiting for Crystal to say anything else, he strode away.
"I can find my own way around," Suzie snapped sourly. "If you've cleaned one lord's home, you've cleaned them all."
Crystal wrung her hands and watched her leave, wondering where in the kingdom Angus had found the bitter, old woman.
Crystal opened her mouth to respond when Suzie Baker entered the house, slamming the door shut behind her. "They don't need you anymore. They have me."
"Look at that arm!" Angus said proudly as he tossed the ball back to his son. "Throw it again, just like that!"
Callum grinned as he caught the ball. Winding up, he lobbed it back at his father, twisting it to put a spin on it.
Angus grunted as he caught it against his chest. "Give it a few years and you'll have all the girls fawning over you in the sports arena!" He couldn't be more proud of Callum - a chip off the old block! "Come on, let's go in. Suzie should have dinner made by now!"
Suzie grumbled under her breath as she gathered the dirty dishes from the table some time later. "Lazy bunch of lords and ladies," she said, her voice filled with bitterness. "Probably need help wiping their tushes!"
"Nonsense!" Angus protested. "She's your servant. She can't ignore you!"
"Yes, but.." Crystal started to explain.
"But nothing. She stays."
Tears pricked at her eyes and Crystal wondered why she couldn't seem to speak up for herself...
Orb's Year 946
BJ laughed. "You've grown yourself!"
Crystal rubbed her hand down her burgeoning belly and laughed self-consciously, "Yes, well, babies do a lot of growing!"
Suzie grumbled darkly in response.
BJ snickered. "I do well enough on my own. Besides, I'm itching to adventure! I'll have a woman in each port!"
Crystal admonished, "BJ!"
"But what about Francine Royale? I've heard you're courting her!" Crystal said with surprise.
BJ winked. "Don't believe everything you hear, dear Aunt." As Crystal floundered, something else seemed to occur to BJ. "By the way, Aunt Crystal. While I'm gone, will you be able to watch my dog for me? Scottie's a real sweet dog!"
Crystal glanced across the table at Angus, who merely shrugged. Taking his action as assent, Crystal nodded. "Of course, BJ."
Crystal hugged her growing nephew goodbye. "Take care," she lectured. "I worry about you!"
BJ chuckled, "There's no need to worry! Everything's going to be fine!"
Florence fluttered her eyelashes. "I'd love to!"
Orb's Year 947
Crystal held her daughter, Elizabet, in her arms. Secretly she was so pleased to have her own child now to care for and love. She knew that Angus would have no interest whatsoever with a girl...
Chandler barely smiled, though. It looked like he had something heavy to discuss. "Can we go down to the Kitchen?" he asked. "I need some advice..."
Angus clapped him on the back. "We'll drink some ale! It usually helps the advice go down more easily!"
When he came back, Angus had quite a bit to drink. Chandler's own misery had settled over his own mood. If Chandler, the hopeless romantic, couldn't keep the light in his own marriage - what hope did he have of staying faithful?
Seeing Suzie standing there, he felt his pulse start to beat erratically.
He approached her from behind and whispered in her ear.
It took a bit to convince her, but promising her a night off seemed to work well enough.
Afterwards, he brushed the hay from his clothing and left Suzie to enter his home. He laid down beside Crystal, satisfied and surprisingly not guilty in the least!
Suzie walked into the master bedroom to start the early round of cleaning. She saw Angus and his wife looking quite cozy in their bed.
She scoffed. Her ladyship wouldn't be that cozy with him if she knew what he'd been doing to her last night!
She had been set to turn Angus down because she was through with men and their filthy desires. He'd offered her some jewelry and then, in exasperation, asked what she wanted.
That was when the idea came to her - a night off. And she knew just what she was going to do!
A pounding on the door woke Angus and he stomped to the front door to throw it open.
"What do you want with him?" he asked defensively.
Angus glared. "My son wouldn't be stupid enough to do that."
"Go. Get. Him." Bradshaw growled.
When they weren't able to find Callum, they set off together to search for him.
"I'm sorry, da. I've learned my lesson," Callum promised.
Orb's Year 948
"But Da!" Callum protested as he stalled at the seat by his mother. "I always sit by you!"
"Sit down!" Angus said, banging his hand on the table, glaring at his eldest.
Callum's mouth dropped open with disbelief. "Duncan?!" His little brother was replacing him in his father's favor!
Crystal headed upstairs when the boys began bickering and hoisted Elizabet up into her arms. Singing softly to her daughter, she snuggled her close. Elizabet would never be like, she thought happily. Elizabet would always be hers.
He roughly grabbed Duncan by the neck and began tousling his hair. "Call uncle, you baby!"
Duncan struggled to get out of his brother's grip, punching him hard on the leg. "Let go, Callum!" he said angrily.
Duncan rubbed his sore head and glared at his brother. "What was that for?!"
Callum shrugged. "You're such a big man now, I thought I'd see how tough you were!" He laughed scornfully. "But you're not very tough at all."
Duncan clenched his fists, longing to punch his brother square in his face.
Callum could tell Duncan itched to strike at him and clenched his own fists in response. "Do it!" he goaded.
Knowing his brother was much stronger than him, Duncan glared one last time and walked away.
Angus watched from nearby and chuckled at the boy's competition.
Eddie nervously tugged his ear. "If Da finds out, he's going to kill me!" he said, glancing around.
Eddie stepped to the side and Suzie turned to face Eliza. "Aren't you going to give your ma a hug?" she asked.
Eliza looked up at Suzie suspiciously. "You're not my ma!"