A/N: Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement. If you like this story and haven't already, please read Sebastian & Therese by eyrianone, it is wonderful!
The scene she walked in on in the dining room could melt any cold heart. It was a scene of family, friends, laughter, and love. Seeley caught her movement in the corner of his eye, and as he was about to remove Caledonia from his lap and stand, Bren put her hand out in front of her and said,
"Please, there is no need to get up. Remain seated and continue with your meal and conversation."
All eyes were on her as she made her way to the only open chair at the table, the chair next to Lord Seeley.
Seeley had been looking forward to this moment all morning, seeing what true beauty she possessed beneath the dirt and grime. He was taken aback at how stunning and perfect she truly was. Before he could break the silence and begin his well thought questions, Caledonia turned to Lady Bren,
"Good morning Lady Bren. My name is Lady Caledonia, but you can just call me Caledonia. I'm five years old and I love to draw. I want my own pony for my birthday, but my papa says I'm not old enough yet. You are very pretty and your dress looks just like one my mama has. Do you like Lord Seeley? Is that why you are staying in his house? How long will you be here?"
As all the adult faces at the table flushed, Angela signaled to the maid and informed Caledonia it was time for her to go back upstairs to finish getting ready for the day. With a well practiced pout, Caledonia asked,
"Do I have to right now? I want to talk to Lady Bren some more."
Angela smiled at her sweet innocence but was persistent,
"Yes. You have said plenty already and will have more time when you, Lady Bren, and I take a walk in Hyde Park and then get ices afterward. How does that sound?"
Caledonia excitedly removed herself from Seeley's lap, and turned towards Bren. With a little curtsy she said,
"It was very nice to meet you Lady Bren."
She then took the maids hand and made her way upstairs.
Once she left the room, they all looked at each other and let out a tension releasing laugh. Angela looked at Bren and said,
"I do apologize for all her questions and if she made you feel uncomfortable. She is extremely inquisitive and has not yet learned when to stop."
Bren took a sip of her tea and then looked back at Angela,
"Please do not worry. She did not upset me at all. She is a delight and can ask me as many questions as she wishes. I may not be able to answer, but she may ask."
Then, just like that, the inevitable awkwardness of the morning is gone and Bren was content at listening to Lord Seeley, Lord Jack, and Lady Angela converse. After a few minutes, the conversation steered back to Lady Bren and her predicament.
"Lady Bren, if you do not mind, Lord Jack and I plan to go to the part of town where I found you and ask some questions. I promise to be discrete."
Bren looked at each member of the table and tears began to pool in her eyes. These strangers were willing to walk around town and ask vague questions, and walk with her in the park and take her for ices. She blinked rapidly, willing the tears not to fall.
"Thank you my lords, I do not mind, and am ever so thankful that you all are willing to help a stranger such as myself. I only hope that I will properly be able to repay your kindness."
At that moment, seeing her eyes redden and her lip slightly quiver, Seeley wanted to rush to her and gather her in his arms. He wanted to make her feel safe. Of course that wasn't an option at this time, so he remained in his chair and placed his left hand over her right, which was resting on the table.
"Please do not worry so, or feel indebted to us. We want nothing but to help you determine your identity and wish for nothing in return. As long as you remain here, I will remain your humble servant and will do all that is in my power to help you."
As soon as Seeley said the words, he regretted them. Not because they were untrue, but because they may have been too much for Bren to handle so soon.
"As I said, Lord Jack and I will ask questions around town while you, Lady Angela, and Caledonia enjoy your noon walk in the park. We will meet again at supper time and hopefully will have relevant details for you."
Breakfast was completed without anymore heartfelt declarations or promises and each person retired to their rooms to prepare for the rest of the day.