Kenna looked down the long table at the feast that night. Lola and Julien were talking to someone she had never seen before. Catherine was sitting at the head of the table with Mary and Francis who were conversing with a diplomat. The three of them were doing their best to fill the King's role in his absence and keep down suspicions about his mental state. Bash was listening to some nobleman talk about a recent hunting trip. That conversation bored her after about a minute. She turned to the young lady beside her, a duke's sister, she was informed earlier, and attempted to start a conversation.
"Is Pierre your only sibling? um-"
"Elaine," she introduced herself, "Ah, no I also have an older sister. I don't see Anna very often though because she lives with her husband in Spain. All settled down and pregnant with her second child. She can still be fun sometimes though. What about you? Any siblings?"
"No, no siblings," Kenna answered. How she had wished when she was younger that she had a sister to talk to or a brother to protect her from father. She envied Bash's relationship with his siblings despite their differences in status.
Elaine leaned in and whispered, "Your husband is very handsome, no? You got quite fortunate with him."
Kenna wasn't sure how to respond, but Elaine just winked and smiled.
"I'll probably have to marry some ugly, old man who my father picks for me because it's a good business deal. I'd rather marry someone my own age, someone handsome. I mean sure I like jewels and pretty houses but I also want a husband who's more than just a wealthy benefactor for my father. Why can't I have someone who's rich and young and handsome? Oh and not dreadfully boring. I've met plenty of men I would be perfectly happy with, but every one has been not a good business connection, not from the right family, etc etc. Father only let me along on this trip because Pierre promised to keep me out of trouble. The last time I went to visit Anna there was an incident with a stable boy, a very attractive stable boy, I might add, and father was not pleased. I was just having some fun, I wasn't planning on running off with him, I'm not foolish," Elaine finished with a roll of her eyes.
Kenna stared wide eyed at Elaine. The girl reminded her quite a bit of her when she was younger.
"Well, my father certainly wasn't pleased that I married the royal bastard. He had a business deal, arranged marriage for me but luckily I was able to evade it," Kenna replied.
"How did you even come to be married to the royal bastard anyway?" Elaine asked, curiosity shining in her eyes.
Kenna took a deep breath. Well, this would at least provide an interesting way to pass the time at this less than thrilling dinner and she didn't feel the need to preserve her reputation to this girl who clearly wasn't too concerned about hers... She launched into a slightly toned down version of her time at French Court. From her affair with the King to her marriage to Bash.
"No way," Elaine replied when she had finished.
Kenna nodded, "Not that I advocate replicating any of my behavior, but everything worked out alright for me."
"Wow. Does the King have any more bastard sons he could toss me off to? I would totally sleep with him to get myself a husband like yours," Elaine joked.
Even though Kenna knew she was joking, she felt unease in her stomach. Had she made her time with the King sound so glamorous? It had certainly started out like something like a fairy tale but with the King in his present state, no one should be sharing his bed, especially not the young naive girl beside her.
"No, there are no other bastard sons. And there are much better ways to go about finding a husband," Kenna said quickly, "Who knows? Maybe your father will end up finding you a good man. The one my father tried to set me up with was young and handsome and quite nice, but I had already married Bash and he was engaged as well-"
"It's a long story..."
"Oh, do tell. You're the most interesting person at this party Kenna."
Kenna told Elaine about Lord Davenport, avoiding some of the details, like her kidnapping.
"Hmmm. Maybe my father will find me a good match," Elaine said after listening to Kenna.
Bash reached for her hand and turned her towards the nobleman he was speaking with. Bash introduced her and Kenna learned that the man had spent a few years in Scotland and she spent some time talking to him.
"Perhaps we'll have to take a trip to Scotland," Bash commented.
"After the children are a bit older I would love to take them there," Kenna replied. Talking to the man had brought back fond memories of her homeland and she would love to share it with her children when they were old enough to appreciate it.
Bash and Kenna were walking back to their chambers for the evening when they heard a commotion. Familiar, raised voices prompted them to pick up the pace.
When they rounded the corner to their room they saw Henry standing outside their room shouting at Emilie, "I am the King and this is my castle, you can't tell me which rooms I cannot enter!"
Bash could feel Kenna tense next to him and he strode forward to confront his father, "What's going on?"
"What's going on? I, the King of France, is being told what I can and cannot do by some nobody. If I want to see my grandchildren, I will," Henry shouted at Bash.
"Father, we told Emilie that no one was to enter the room until we had gotten back. She was following orders. If you wanted to see Andrew and Carolyn you should have waited until we had returned," Bash explained as calmly as possible. He had a feeling his father had chosen to come to the room when they weren't there on purpose. Kenna wasn't exactly keen on letting Henry near the children and neither was he. However, he was their grandfather... He put a hand on Kenna's arm to reassure her that he wouldn't let anything happen to their children.
"Come in father," he instructed, opening the door. He walked into the room and walked over to the bassinets where the children had already been put to bed by Emilie. Kenna hovered over the children with a nervous look on her face. Bash knew his father's behavior could be erratic but he hoped seeing the children might bring back a glimpse of the father who doted over him as a child. Henry reached a hand forward and Kenna flinched. He gently ran a thumb along each child's forehead and sighed.
"It seems like only yesterday that you were this small, Sebastian," Henry commented before turning around and walking towards the door.
Before exiting he turned and with a puzzled look on his face said, "You actually love each other."
"Stranger things have happened father," Bash replied before Henry exited the room.
When he had left, Kenna spoke up for the first time since they encountered Henry, "That was... odd."
"Yeah, he seemed confused, but not out if his mind," Bash replied, "I think seeing the children made him realize that our marriage isn't just a cruel joke. That he doesn't have complete control over us. And maybe good memories, like of when I was born, help to tether him to his sanity. He was certainly a lot calmer in here than he was in the hallway."
"I'm just glad he didn't hurt the children," Kenna said with a sigh.
Remembering that Emilie was still standing in the corner, he turned to her, "Thank you for all your help this evening Emilie. You may go back to your room now."
Emilie nodded and slipped out of the room.
After she left Bash pulled Kenna to himself and started loosening her corset strings, "I saw you talking to that young woman at the party, where was she from?"
"She's the visiting duke's younger sister. Reminded me a lot of myself when I was younger and foolish. She was a bit jealous of me I think," Kenna answered.
"Because I married the most handsome man in France," Kenna replied turning to face him with a smile. She put a hand on his cheek and he leaned into her touch before lifting her up and carrying her over to their bed.
"And you have him all to yourself," Bash whispered into her ear.
The sound of Carolyn sneezing startled them and Bash added, "Well, I suppose you have to share me with the babies too."
Kenna laughed and he ducked his head back down to kiss her.
Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoy! I'm so sorry it took this long to update, I had a ton of work to do to finish up my school year but I'm basically done now so I should have some more time. Also, I want to ask you guys what you think of some ideas I had for this story so please leave a review and let me know. So far I've been mostly keeping the story centered around Kenna and Bash and have only included the minor characters when they've interacted with one of them. However, I'd really love to add some more dimension to some of the other character's stories (especially the ones I made up like Emilie, Elaine, the kitchen ladies, etc.) so while I would keep the story mostly focused on Bash and Kenna there would be more subplots. Let me know what you think!