The Chosen Bride

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A Lady Always Has a Servant Nearby

“I am fine, Thomas.” Katherine sighed for the millionth time.

“How can you be fine, Katherine, if you fainted? I have to worry about two of you now. Our child and you are my first priority, Kat.” Drake whispered, smoothing her hair back.

The moment Katherine had fainted, the duel had been forgotten. Drake had scooped her up and rushed her to their bedroom, placing her gently on the chaise.

Eleanor had followed quickly behind her husband, worried about every move he made.

“Katherine, you really must be more careful in your condition!” Eleanor exclaimed as she fussed with the pillows behind Katherine.

“Eleanor, truly, we are fine. I was just overwhelmed.” Katherine promised, grasping her friend’s hand.

In truth, she was really overwhelmed. The thought of her husband participating in a duel scared her.

For one, it was highly illegal in France. The King would simply not stand for a duel.

Secondly, Katherine could not lose her husband. Not when they had only been together for such a short time. She wanted him to be around to meet their child and to help her raise it.

“I did not mean to upset you, darling.” Drake said, grasping her hand, “I let my anger get a hold of me. I am so sorry, Katherine.”

Eleanor sighed, “How could you be so foolish, Drake! I let you marry her on the terms you would protect her and you let me down!”

Drake glared at her, “I was protecting her honor. I will not have any man call my wife a common whore.”

Katherine sniffed, feeling her emotions grab a hold of her, “What if I am?”

Eleanor crouched down beside her, “No darling, you are no whore! Oh, please don’t say that. I could not bare to hear you say it.”

Katherine’s tears were falling freely now. She could not explain the emotions that were raging behind her. They were overwhelming.

“Katherine, you are not a whore. Do you understand me?” Drake hissed, clasping her hand.

“Our child...” She wept, closing her eyes.

“No, what happened that night was my fault. It was not your fault at all.” Drake promised.

He stood and placed a small kiss on the top of her head.

Eleanor also stood, her eyes growing wide, “Where do you think you are going?”

“I have to defend her honor. I cannot back down from a duel.” Drake said before walking out the door.

Eleanor chased after him, screeching in an unfamiliar language.

Katherine’s heart was racing from the panic she felt. She knew her husband would go down fighting for her honor and there was no way she would let him do so.

No matter what the risk.

Drake snuck into their bedroom late at night, hoping to avoid his wife at all cost. He knew she would be livid with him for challenging his brother to a duel.

He could not let James degrade his wife like James did his mother. His mother might have slept with someone besides Drake’s father, but she was only searching for happiness.

His father had already found another mistress after Drake’s birth, that being James’s mother. The day his mother found out was the last time he saw his mother truly unhappy.

The Spanish pirate King who had come to court had changed his mother’s demeanor completely.

He had made her happy.

His mother, though, disappeared a short while later, leaving nothing but the remains of a child. His sister, who had been born a few days prior to Drake’s mother’s disappearance.

James, though never declared the true heir to his father’s estate, took the place of Drake in his father’s eyes. James became the favorite son, receiving nothing short of everything they could afford. But, even with everything in the world, it was never enough for James. James always had to have what Drake had. Every girl he had ever set his eyes on, eventually ran into James’s arms.

The only girl James would never have, though, would be Katherine.

“Thomas, what are you doing? It’s late at night and you are just coming home?” He heard Katherine ask, sleepiness coating her voice.

He sat on the edge of the bed and cupped her face, “I am sorry, Kat. I had to finish something.”

She sat up, resting a hand on her growing bump, “You are not going to that duel.”

Drake sighed and shook his head, “I have no choice, Katherine. I will not let my brother have my wife. You are mine and only mine.”

“And you are mine. What about our child? If you get hurt or die, who will help me raise our child?” Katherine asked, a tear streaming down her face.

“Everything will be alright, my love. You just need to trust me.”

Katherine was woken up by the sound of a horse rushing away from the front of the house. Her heart stopped beating momentarily as she looked over at Drake’s side of the bed.

He was gone.

She pushed herself out of bed, with much difficulty and called out for help.

The nearest maid came rushing in and helped her get dressed. Another maid rushed down to order the carriage so that she could find her husband. She did her best not to fall down the stairs, feeling sharp pains explode across her abdomen.

“Where is my husband?” She asked a servant, grasping his arm as she doubled over in pain.

“M’lady, perhaps you should go back to bed. You do not look well.” He said, gripping her by the arms.

The tears welled up in her eyes as she shook her head, “No, I must find Thomas. He is in trouble and if I make it there in time I will be able to save him. Perhaps I can change their minds.” She cried.

Another pain overtook her body, sending her crashing to the floor.

“Madam, I would feel much better if you went back to your room. Perhaps I shall send for Lady Eleanor?” The servant suggested, crouching down to the floor.

“My husband!” She cried out, clasping her abdomen.

“Listen to me, M’lady. If you go back to bed and receive proper care, then I will go after your husband and tell him that the babe is coming. Surely he will come back to you.” The servant said, looking at her.

“What on earth is going on here?” Katherine heard Lord Jacque ask as he raced down the stairs.

“Go.” Katherine said, nodding at the servant.

Lord Jacque, by then, had scooped Katherine into his arms and began his journey back up the stairs, to her bedroom.

She could hear Eleanor shouting for a doctor as she chased after her husband. Katherine was taken over by the pain, crying out for Drake.

“He’s coming, darling. Just rest. Everything will be okay.” Eleanor hushed, draping a damp cloth over Katherine’s forehead.

Katherine shook her head, “I cannot do this without Thomas. I need Thomas. Where is he?”

Eleanor turned to Jacque, “Go get him. You know where he went, so go! Tell him she needs him, now!”

Katherine tossed her head side to side, “I cannot.”

Eleanor brushed Katherine’s hair to the side, “I know, my darling. I know.”

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