“What is this all about?” Valdermar asked looking towards his wife across the dinner table. He wasn’t sure what was going on but he knew her well enough to know she was plotting.
She had been almost obsessive about trying to find him a wife and now both Orrick and Sir Bendett had refused to consider him as an option for their daughters she had begun to look further a field.
Honestly it was trying and humbling at the same time for the first time he’d had to face the consequences of his past. So many questions and many of them had been prying… it seemed none where quick to forget Marrisa or Lucy.
“It’s just dinner” his wife smiled.
“Then why are we both here?” he asked, swapping uncomfortable glance with Eadric’s nanny. He wasn’t sure what Holly wanted but Hannah wasn’t usually invited to dinner and that could only mean one thing. Holly had something to say.
“Oh al-right” she conceded throwing her napkin onto the table, “Perhaps there is a reason i wanted you both together”
“That’s better” he agreed, “So what is it?”
“Well I’ve been thinking about the future… and as you both know i won’t be here much longer”
“Holly don’t want to talk about this” he decided.
“We have to talk about it” she protested, “The thing is i won’t be here and there will be two baby’s who need taking care of…. and you both are the only family they will have”
“You know we’ll take care of them” Hannah interrupted, “I promise i’ll always be here”
“Yes, i know” Holly nodded, tears coming to her eye’s. “And that’s why i want to talk to you both, baby’s need consistency and love … and to know there will always be someone watching out for them”
“They will have that” Valdermar soothed. He hated to see how upset Holly got, she really loved Eadric and the baby that wasn’t even with them yet and it seemed to be her greatest fear that somehow he would fall apart without her and the baby’s would not be looked after as they should.
“Yes I know” Holly argued tearfully “But it won’t be the same, I know you both love Eaddie and that’s why im hoping you’ll hear me out”
“Holly whatever the matter?” Hannah asked, “Your not making any sense?”
“I want …. I want…. you to marry each other” Holly finally managed in a garble “I’ve been thinking about it and I truly think it’s best. Who better to be Eaddies new mother … than the one person who has been in his life since the beginning”
Valdermar’s eye’s widened, she was insane. Peering across the table he watched as the colour drained from the young nanny’s face.
“I can’t” the young girl argued, standing quickly from her chair accidentally knocking over her cup of wine as she went. “Im sorry… I mean… I can’t … I’ve never… we’ve never… you don’t think, we have been?”
“She doesn’t think that” Valdermar interrupted, understanding the young girls panic. He knew the thought that the pair had been involved hadn’t even entered his foolish young wife’s head. Holly wasn’t thinking, she just wasn’t thinking at all.
“What about Gaelen?” the young girl sobbed.
“Yes I know… but think about your future” his young wife reasoned, “Val can take better care of you”
The young girl didn’t hang around to argue, hurriedly mumbled something that sounded like some sort of thank you for dinner she ran for the door.
“Are you satisfied?” he asked once the young girl was gone. “You embarrassed her. You do know that don’t you?”
“Yes… but I…. its its a good idea Val”
“No it’s a horrible idea” he reasoned angrily, “I can’t believe you did that, to her or me!”
“Please just think about it”
“She is the nanny!” he exclaimed, “Not to mention a soldiers daughter… What where you thinking?
“I’m thinking that she really loves Eaddie” she reasoned, “Surely that is a better start than any other woman?”
“She has a sweetheart!”
“A boy who can’t take care of her, she earns more than he does already … It would never work”
“That is not for you to decide!” he proclaimed, “That is for her father to decide”
“I’ve already spoken to Orion”
“Oh so he’s in on this?”
“No… well … not really. I didn’t really ask him about you, but i know he’s not happy about her courting a boy who can’t take care of her”
“Holly you need to stop this, when you are gone you need to trust that I will damn well do my best for our children”
“I do… im just trying to help” she sobbed.
“Well enough is enough” he growled “I demand that you put a stop to this crazyness, stop trying to replace yourself… you arn’t gone yet for lords sake and frankly i want to enjoy what time we have left”
“I’m sorry, I was just trying to help”
“Well stop helping” he growled, “Now I’m going to find Hannah before she decides to quit on us”
Storming from the room he managed to fine Hannah sitting quietly in Eadric’s bedroom where the little boy played happily on the floor.
“Papa” he squealed seeing his father scrambling up onto his feet and rushing towards him.
“Eddie” he smiled, “Hows my boy?”
“Looksie horsey” Eadric grinned, eager to show his father the little toy horse he’d been playing with.
“What colour is it?” Valdermar asked.
“White” he grinned proudly.
“Cleaver boy, now let papa talk to Hannah”
“Han han cryin cause she’s sad” the little boy decided.
“Yes cause silly mommy upset her, but papa will make it better” he promised. Satisfied with the answer the little boy nodded returning to his toy castle and finding a knight to ride on the horse.
Heading toward where the young girl sat he settled down beside her. “Im sorry, for Holly she isn’t thinking straight” he apologised.
“I know… I just didn’t know what to say” the young girl nodded, her cheeks tear stained.
“She just wants to make sure Eaddie is taken care of, she didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable”
“She loves you very much”
“I know” he agreed, “And I love her… I just wish she’d stop worrying for me”
“She won’t do that till she finds someone for you” she smiled. “She’s been looking in the villages looking for a merchant woman”
He chuckled, but is wasn’t a happy chuckle. We was as undesirable husband as any woman could find. No nobleman would offer his daughter and it seemed not even merchant women would agree and the harder Holly searched, the clearer it became that he was a social pariah at least as far as being an eligible husband was concerned. “Well i just wish she would stop”
“She won’t not till she finds someone”
“Perhaps your right” he nodded, having an idea. “Unless … she thought she’d found someone”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean… if she thought you’d agreed to marry me, then she’d stop looking”
“Oh….” the girl paled. “You mean lie?”
“A little lie” he agreed, “For her own good, it isn’t right that she’s spending he last few weeks scouring the kingdom for a replacement. If she’s thought she’s found one, it would bring her peace it would let her enjoy her time left with Eaddie and me”
“I suppose” The young woman nodded.
“I mean you wouldn’t have to do anything, just let her think we’d agreed. She’s not going to expect us to act any differently. Just tell her that to give her peace? Do you understand?”
“I don’t think I can” she sobbed “Ii would be wrong to lie to her”
“It would be the kindest thing, don’t you think?”
“I …. I don’t know”
“Is it money? I can pay you? I’ll pay you to just play along, tell her you’ll marry me… You won’t have to do it. I promise”
“I suppose… if it would be kinder”
“It would be” he nodded “It would be”