The Chosen Bride

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A Lady Is Always Tasteful in Speech

Katherine stood in the mirror, a hand resting on her quickly growing belly, “Do you think they will notice?”

Drake looked up from their bed, a wide grin plastered across his face, “What, how big my son has grown? No, not at all. If they ask, though, you tell them that we breed only the highest quality of children. They have to grow to meet the high expectations.”

Katherine glared at him through the mirror, “Thomas.”

“Kat, we have already been over this. Eleanor has come up with a story. No one will dare question it as long as you stick to the story.” He reminded her, rolling out of bed and placing a kiss on the side of her head.

“Yes, Yes.”

He reached over her to open a drawer in her vanity, “I bought you something, Kat.”

She smiled at him, “You shouldn’t have. Money should not be wasted on me.”

Drake opened a small, velvet box for her to see an elegant collar of rubies and diamonds, “I cannot have my wife look bare on her first appearance since our wedding.”

He was right, after all, for they had spent a great deal of time in Spain after their wedding. They had not even had the chance to go to his estate before they were beckoned to the palace once more. The Queen had taken Katherine under her arm whilst the King borrowed her husband. She was lucky enough to have him returned for the ball.

“Thomas, I love them. Truly, thank you.”

She placed a small kiss on his lips, “You have to get dressed though, my love. A good husband will not allow his young wife to go to a ball by herself, will he?”

Drake grinned, “Not at all.”

“You’ve grown so quickly!” A friend of Lady Eleanor’s cried, gesturing at Katherine’s belly.

“My dear, ” Eleanor laughed, “You have to remember that my dear cousin married before the ceremony. She and Lord Drake were married back in France and then they wanted to celebrate here too. So, I, feeling very honored to do so, created the ceremony just for the two of them so that they could celebrate with their English friends too. One wedding is simply not enough!”

Katherine smiled softly at her friend. She was glad Eleanor was good at spinning an elaborate story because there was no way Katherine could have done that.

“Oh, I wish I could have had two weddings!” A young lady cried, looking accusingly across the room at her husband.

Katherine laughed nervously, “Yes, it was quite an adventure.”

“Anything is an adventure when it comes to your husband, Lady Katherine. Oh, I remember when he was just a wee babe... So sweet.” The woman to her right, a Scottish woman, said.

Another pursed her lips together for a second before saying, “’Tis a real shame what happened to his mother.”

“Aye.” The Scottish woman agreed, shaking her head.

“Nearly destroyed the whole family and estate.” Eleanor remembered, shrugging.”

Katherine’s hand circled around her bump, soothingly. She did not know what the ladies meant for she and Drake had never talked about his side of the family.

“Oh, your poor dear! Do you have any idea what we speak of?” The Duchess of Brandenburg cried, touching her arm.

Katherine looked at Eleanor with a raised eyebrow, “My husband and I had left the past out of our marriage. It did not seem to matter to me the things of the past.”

Eleanor nodded, “Ladies, I believe that is the way to go. If I had known all the things my husband had done before I came along, I surely would have to burn my...” She covered her mouth with her fan and giggled.

Katherine blushed a deep rose.

“Aw, my darling child, have we embarrassed you?” Lady Elisa asked, reaching out to touch her.

Katherine shook her head, “No, not at all. But, if you do not mind me asking, what happened to Drake’s mother?”

“Oh, she had an affair!”

Eleanor glared at the girl next to her, “Please, do not be so kind as to call it an affair. My dear, some marriages, you must understand, are not meant to last.”

“Such as mine.” The Scottish lady scoffed, crossing her arms.

“Drake’s father was... difficult.” Eleanor continued.

“Possessive and demanding.” A lady spat, shaking her head.

“Yes, as many men are but... There was something different about him. They only had one child— your husband. Once he was born and established as the heir, his mother began to stray from her husband.” Eleanor started, resting her hand on top of Katherine’s.

“Well...” The Scottish woman giggled, “’Tis only natural to explore your options.”

The rest of the woman nodded in agreement, “Just not in public.”

“Sooner or later, you’ve got to explore the world outside of your husband.” The Duchess of Brandenburg whispered into Katherine’s ear.

“Anyway...” Eleanor interrupted before Katherine could question the Duchess, “It was a rumored pirate— Spanish, was it? Drake’s Father was livid. He tore the house apart, searching for his wife and her lover. He was going to put her to death for adultery, by decree of the late King but...”

“But is was too late.” A deep voice said.

All the women gasped and looked up at a man, his arms crossed over his chest, “Did I scare you, ladies? I suppose you deserved it for telling this young woman this story that is none of your business. You have scared her half to death! What would her husband say if the baby was harmed or if you scared her out of his bed.”

The man took Katherine’s arm and lead her out of the room.

“I hope they did not scare you, m’lady. It was rude of them to go into so much detail in front of a woman who obviously were alarming you.” The man said, looking her directly in the eyes.

“I was fine, thank you. I had asked them to tell me of it.” She said, raising her chin.

The man was obviously handsome, with light brown hair and hazel eyes, but he was different to her. It wasn’t that he was threatening, though Drake would have said otherwise, but he still gave off a feeling that put her at unease.

“Oh, then forgive me for interrupting then. I only thought to do some good today but it seems I have only brought another great misfortune upon yourself.” He shook his head, “And, of course, I have forgotten my manners. I am James Magali of Turoch Manner, madame.”

His lips brushed the tops of Katherine’s finger tips as he dipped into a low bow.

“Turoch Manner? Isn’t that...”


The two of them turned to see her husband coming towards them with a face full of anger, “Katherine, where have you been! I asked you to stay at the side of Eleanor and when I go over to see her, I find you gone! Do you know what kind of scare you have put me in?”

Drake gathered her in his arms, pulling her away from the new acquaintance. He checked her over, as if looking for injuries, “What are you doing here?”

Drake had turned his attention to James, who had now began to take a more hostile look to him.

“Thomas, you have to know that I did not know she was your wife. I was simply looking to...” James started but Drake beat him to it.

“Trying to take another man’s wife? Can you not obviously see that she is with child? She is obviously married and not your problem. James, in the future, please remain with your common whores and not my wife.” Drake spat, pushing Katherine behind him.

Katherine gasped at the severity of his tone. It was not very often that she had the privilege to hear a man’s unfiltered talk, let alone her own husband’s.

James grabbed Drake by the shirt and pushed him up against the wall, “Don’t you dare lecture me about common whores, brother! You don’t think I realize what your bonny little lass is? A street rat? A whore? Tell me, dearest brother, how it is that you are able to bed your wife and have her looking so far along now? Have you some sort of supernatural being growing within her?”

Drake shoved him off, “You do not call my wife a whore, your slithering bastard!”

“Oh, I did no such thing!” James claimed, raising his hands in surrender. The drawing crowd was now watching their every move.

“I want a duel.” seethed Drake, his fingers balling into a tight fist.

“What was that, brother?” James asked, arching his furry eyebrow.

Katherine’s heart stopped. She knew exactly what a duel was. It was outlawed in France but it was still used in England. She knew not of her husband’s abilities but she was not going to risk it.

So, Katherine did the only logic thing.

She fainted.

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