The Chosen Bride

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A Lady is Never in a Rush

Katherine felt her heartbeat stop as she opened her eyes to new surroundings.

She was in an entirely different estate then Lady Eleanor’s- with gray walls and bold red carpets instead of airy, marble halls and light pastels.

Her hand brushed across the thick wall as she caught a glimpse of the people in front of her.

A young girl, with dirty blonde hair and soft brown eyes dressed in a frilly pink dress, leaned against what looked like a window. Her eyes were sunken and sad.

The small girl whimpered at the sound of a crash from the interior of the walls.

Angry footsteps followed the loud crash lead by the sounds of a slamming door, “I will not stand by and watch my child be denied everything she has a right to just because her mother is dead.” A tall man, with dark hair and large muscles, shouted, his fist balled tightly.

Another man followed suit, “There is not much more you can do for the child. Sh, in fact, a bastard child. That is not something you would want to bring in to the royal marriage.”

The man with dark hair practically growled in response, “She is my daughter and if the damn Queen and her advisors cannot accept her into their family then they will have to forget about the marriage altogether because she is my daughter and I will not allow her to be treated otherwise.” He turned on his heel and stormed closer to the girl, “Come, Mary. You and I have a riding lesson to attend.”

The little girl walked after the dark haired man willingly, glancing back every so often at the other man who watched from a distance as they left.

The little girl looks up at the man as they walked further away from the palace, “Daddy, are you going to marry the Queen?”

The dark haired man sighed, “I do not know, my darling.”

The silence grew louder between them as the continued on their very fast pace walk.

“Am I am bastard because Mama died?” The little girl asked once more.

The man stopped. He didn’t answer at first. His face hardened, his blue eyes tightened with pain. And finally, he answered, “You are not a bastard, Mary.” He sunk down onto a knee and placed his hands on her shoulder, “Listen to me, Mary. You are my daughter and you are the rightful heir to my inheritance. Do not let anyone tell you different. Just because your mother died does not mean they can take your rights away. Understand?”

The little girl nodded vigorously and then her brow crinkled, “Do you love the Queen, Daddy?”

The man sighed and stood, “I do not love her like I did your mother, Princess. And I certainly do not love her as I do you.”

The little girl nodded once more and grabbed his hand. They continued to walk away once more.

Until a smooth, elegant voice called out, “Drake!”

Katherine gasped as the man spun around.

She saw it.

Those piercing blue eyes, the broad shoulders and dark curls.

And suddenly she was sitting up in her bedchambers, her chest heaving up and down.

She pushed the covers away and flew out of bed. Her heart was racing and her head spinning.

She felt betrayed. Like Drake was hers and hers alone. She could feel the jealousy burning in her chest and the pang of pain.

She flung the door open, desperately wanting fresh air, but instead found herself face to face with Lady Eleanor, whose eyes were burning holes through Katherine.

“Do you simply enjoy keeping me awake? I believe our next lesson may have to be on beauty sleep and the importance of it.”

Katherine nodded, “I am sorry. I am not sure what has a hold of me, mademoiselle.”

Lady Eleanor pushed her way into Katherine’s bedchambers, “I am sure you do not, but I sure do. It is Drake, is it not? He wants to court you but you, feeling like you would betray me, are afraid to accept.”

Katherine rine closed the door, and pressed her back to it, “I feel as though I should apologize for not telling you earlier.”

Lady Eleanor waved her hand with a snort, “Nonsense.”

Katherine fell back into her bed and sighed, “I do not know what to do? He gets to you, in your head and heart and soul. And then you do not know what to do. Should you marry him or play hard to get?”

Lady Eleanor shook her head, “Darling, all I can say is that a lady always takes her time. Do not rush your decisions or you will regret them later.” Lady Eleanor closed her eyes and took a deep breath, “You know, I was in the same situation you were in long ago.”

Katherine tilted her head slightly, “What did you do?”

Lady Eleanor laughed, tucking a dark curl behind her ear, “Oh that was so long ago I can hardly remember. He was the Duke’s son then. Tall and handsome he came into my father’s house and seduced me. Not that it matters for my father’s mind was made up before the man even walked into our house. Childhood friends— that’s what we were. He was always so kind and gentle. We did everything together. I was his princess and he was my knight in shining armor.”

She got a faraway look in her eyes as she continued, “He had those enchanting green eyes and sweet smile and those large muscles. I was so in love and so was my father. He wanted us to marry.”

Katherine’s smile faded, “What happened?”

Lady Eleanor sighed and stood, smoothing her pale nightgown out, “That’s the moral of my story. I rushed too much and when the time came, I was scared. I ran and I have to face my mistake nearly every day.”

Katherine breathed in deeply, “So I guess I should take my time. After all, a lady always takes her time”

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