Sunday, July 29, 2012

A glimpse into "The World"

Most people know I work at WDW, but some have asked for specifics about what I do, so here is the lowdown. I hope you like the pics! :)


Here is a map of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida...

This is my store, located at Downtown Disney...

Our store is the largest Disney retailer in the world. We have 13 rooms, and this is the center room, called "The Rotunda..."

This is the centerpiece of our store. It is quite lovely when lit up, but because that only happens during the day, I only have this image to show...

These two pics are a birds-eye view from our employee catwalk.
You don't see us, but we can see you from up here... :)

This is our Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boutique. Little girls can become the princess of their choice with the help of our "Fairy Godmothers in Training..."

This is my location, called "Belle's Basement" (Even though it's actually on the second floor)
Here, we process the clothing that comes in each night. All of those clothes on display? They begin here, with me. When the store opens, they are on the floor and ready for purchase...

The process is simple, but the volume is enormous. What you see here is only a fraction of the clothing we carry...

Here are a few other sights around the marketplace, beginning with the entrance to our "Adventure" room...

This is the Ghiardelli store, located across the way from World of Disney...

Fulton's Crabhouse...

The T-Rex Resturaunt...

DisneyQuest - an indoor amusement center and arcade...

Downtown Disney has several other diversions, including an AMC Dine-In Theater, Planet Hollywood, House of Blues, and Cirque De Sollei, among other things. On weekends, there is hardly a parking place to be found, so if you ever plan on visiting, I would suggest trying a weekday.

I hope you've enjoyed the little peek into my world! :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Prayers are needed...

Our family is going through a difficult time right now, as we have just learned that my Aunt Edith has been diagnosed with lung cancer. We are not sure yet what stage the cancer is in, but we know that she will be undergoing chemotherapy instead of an operation, as she is not in good health to begin with. Prayers would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A "mobile" experiment...

I've been quite blue lately.

I'm not quite sure what it is. Perhaps it has something to do with a recent dream I had. It was quite vivid - one of the kind of dreams that feels so real, it's hard to believe that it was just an imagining. I was wandering a familair old road in the I cherished in my childhood, because it led to a place of comfort and joy. I could smell the grass and feel the sun on my face. But what affected me most were the people I saw and heard. Loved ones, long lost, were alive again. A family was not fractured. The sound of laughter was not forced, nor were the smiles. Now, just as then, there was no where else I wanted to be.

It wasn't to last, of course. I woke up to the reality of the present. But I haven't been able to quite shake the images - the effect of being in that wonderful place again. Somehow, it has envoked in me a disdain for the present, including the technology that we have all come to rely on so heavily. With all of this on my mind, I've decided to try an experiment.

Can I leave my mobile device at home for just one work-week? Can I put my mind to things besides Twitter and other social media?  I don't plan on cutting off all communication with the world. As a writer, that would be nearly impossible. But maybe I can find happiness in something other than the internet. Nothing will ever compare to those idylic days of long ago. But there is still much joy in the world. It's just a matter of finding it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Baron's Lady - Chapter 16, Part 1

The second part of this is not quite done, so here's what I have so far. More to come soon...

The gathering of white doves fluttered into the air, released at the conclusion of the wedding vows, and applause quickly followed. A happy light was in Isabella’s eyes as she looked at Owen.

“I have not been to a gathering in a very long time,” she said. “I forgot what a joy they can be.”

Owen smiled. “It pleases me to hear it.” As they moved towards a table laden with wine and fruit, her smile faded slightly.

“Gilbert was not fond of romantic occasions. But he was quite fond of celebrations, although I was not his preferred company. He much rather preferred the company of his fellows.”

“Let us not speak of such a fool as he,” said Owen. “Let us enjoy ourselves.”

She could not argue with the suggestion. On such a happy occasion, when the day was so fair and the mood so bright, she was glad to think of more pleasant topics than her husband.

With the conclusion of the ceremony, there was more to delight in than the sumptuous feast. It was an outdoor wedding, complete with games and competitions of all sorts. Sebastian had remained still and obedient during the ceremony, but now, he was restless with anticipation. Isabella could feel it in him as he walked by her side. She could see it in the way he looked from one place to the next, his eyes wide with curiosity. But as young as he was, he knew his place. He was waiting for permission to be granted, and knowing how excited he was, Isabella gently gave him a little push of encouragement.

“Allez,” she said. "Tu a permis. mais ne promenez pas trop loin."

Go. You are permitted. But do not wander too far away.”

He dashed away, his words trailing off behind him. "Merci, Mère! "

“Thank you, mother!”

Watching him go, Isabella and Owen both smiled, and Owen remarked, “He’s a fine boy.”

Isabella’s face lit with pride. “That he is. I am so very proud of him. His intelligent mind and obedient nature will serve him well in the years to come.”

“And his boldness will add to his qualities as a knight. I have seen him in action. His aggressiveness is impressive for one so young. And he is quite an able rider.”

It felt so wonderful to hear such praise for her son. But she knew that the warm words were not meant for Sebastian alone.

“You flatter him, my lord. And so in turn, you flatter me.” Daring to look at him, despite a sudden feeling of shyness that had come over her, she saw a crinkle of amusement in the corner of his mouth.

“My plan is a success, then.”

He was doing so much to convince her of his sincerity. And how could she doubt him, after the lengths he had gone to? For a few moments they walked along, saying nothing. Then, he plucked a golden flower from a bush, offering it to her.

“I am very fond of him,” he softly said. “I am fond of you.”

Taking the flower, she lowered her eyes, feeling the warmth of a blush on her cheeks.

“When you say such things, I find myself on unsure footing.”

He sighed, but his words were gentle. “I am aware that you are unused to such kindness. But I will not cease. One day soon, you will learn to trust again.”

There was such a tender gleam in his eyes. It moved her deeply, causing her heart to quicken.

Is he moving closer to me? She wondered. Is his face really so near mine as I think it is?

For a moment, the world around them seemed to disappear. A kiss was but a moment away, and heaven help her, she longed for it.

But the sound of Sebastian’s voice interrupted them. He came running, his words rushing with excitement.

"Mon seigneur, mon seigneur! Vous devez venir! Ils ont besoin d'hommes forts! "

“My lord, my lord! You must come! They are in need of strong men!”

"Qui besoin de? " Owen asked.

“Who is in need?”

"Les villageois, à jouer au tir à la corde! "

“The villagers, to play at tug of war!”

Isabella smiled at Owen. “Go and play, my lord. You have been summoned.”

Sebastian did not wait for an answer. He clutched Owen’s arm, pulling him along, and with a grin, Owen followed. Isabella fell in step behind them, thinking what a sweet pair they made together. For a moment, she allowed herself the foolish thought of imagining them as father and son. But just as quickly as the thought came, she pushed it away, even if it was a most pleasant scenario. It was never to be. And she knew it was best not to indulge in such fantasies. It was enough that she was allowing herself to enjoy such a lovely day as this, and for the moment, she would not allow more than that.


The game, as it turned out, involved a most stunning element – men and women, divided into two teams. Isabella was standing nearby with Sebastian, watching, when a woman suddenly approached her.

"Viens, viens!" she said "Nous besoin un autre!"

“Come, come! We are in need of one more!”

Isabella’s mouth fell slightly open in surprise. Smiling, she shook her head.

“No, I could not.”

Sebastian begged her to reconsider, and it was tempting, to be sure. The mood of the day was so very merry. Still, she hesitated. “I should not indulge in such silliness.”

Tugging at her arm, the woman dismissed Isabella’s reluctance. She asked again, and Isabella looked over at Owen, who was grinning at her. With a sigh, she consented.

“I suppose there is but one life to live.”

The woman pulled her along, a grin on her face.

"C’est l’esprit, ma dame."

“That is the spirit, my lady.”

The teams had aligned themselves on either side of a mud pit, and Isabella felt herself considering the idea of backing out. But it was too late then, as she was sandwiched in between two villagers, and there was nowhere to go. Before she could prepare herself for it, the tussle back and forth began. Her hold on the rope was light, as her strength was not great, but it was the force of the crowd that moved her forward, and then back, and then forward again. Suddenly, she felt her feet losing traction. The rope gave as the players all tumbled forward, and before she could catch herself, she was falling with the crowd…right into the filthy pit.

The crowd was roaring with cheers and laughter, and looking down at herself, she was stunned by the sight of most of her dress covered in mud. It was in her hair, even, and she could feel it on her face and neck. She knew she must have been a ridiculous sight. And she began to a laugh. It was impossible not to, when everyone around her was laughing too, sharing the same filthy state of presence but having too much fun to care. At first, she hardly noticed when Sebastian and Owen came to stand nearby, she was laughing so. Sebastian was thrilled by what he saw.

“Mère!" he said, "Tu est un vision horrible!"

“Mother! You are a horrendous sight!”

Feeling very bold, freed by the moment, she reached out and snatched him by the arm, flinging him down into the mud. He squealed with delight, and she threw her arms around him, happier than she had ever been before.


Friday, July 13, 2012

In light of recent events in the fandom...

Out of respect for Richard, whom I greatly admire as an actor, I have decided to remove any and all references to him from Twitter and my blog from this point forward. Reflecting on recent events, it made me think of a similar situation that occured in the fandom a few years ago. As Richard said to fans at that time, if it stopped being fun, it should be stopped altogether. It's sad that there has been this rift in the community in recents days, but hopefully in time, we can find peace again and remember what joy and friendship Richard has brought to all of us.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Favorite Things

Thanks to Annie V. for inspiring this post! :)


Favorite Song
"Rock Me Gently" by Andy Kim

Favorite Movie
"The Godfather"

Favorite Muppet
(It's not easy being green. Ain't it the truth?)

Favorite Animal

Favorite/Lucky Number
(It IS a magic number)

Favorite Actor
"Richard Armitage"
Who else would it be?


The Baron's Lady - Chapter 15

Isabella was sitting in a corner, a piece of stitching in her hand. As she worked the needle in and out, she listened to the quiet sounds around her. Blended among the sweet sounds of birds and the rustling of the leaves in the trees, she could hear the distant sound of children playing nearby. They were happy noises, and they helped to encourage her peaceful mood.

Other things contributed to her state of mind as well. A certain young baron, for one. She sighed as she thought of him…a sound of confusion and slight frustration. Against her better judgment, she knew she was softening towards him. It was a most difficult thing, wanting to trust him – but fearing the painful consequences that would surely follow if she was wrong. But each time she told herself that she was strong enough to resist him, she would think of the wonderful gesture he had made in returning Elinor to her. And more than the gift, she would think of the look in his eyes when she had seen him in the barn, watching her. His lovely blue eyes had been so full of expectation and hope. There was, in a way, something boyish about that look, as if he was truly and deeply eager to please her. Both fear and pride had forced her to put him at arm’s length. But what had he done then? Looking at her with an expression that was quite the opposite of boyish…one that seemed to be an illustration of manly determination…he had declared that he would not be swayed.

Too distracted now to continue with her work, she put the stitching aside. She was quite alone, as William was in the garden. Leaning back in her chair, she allowed herself to think.

Perhaps it would be just as well to make peace with him. After all was said and done, whatever relationship they managed to have could not go far. Despite his declarations of love, it was likely that he was suffering from infatuation, and nothing more. In time, perhaps she could ease her way out of his obsession, and somehow, make him see that he was better off knowing her as just a friend. It would be a challenge, to be sure. He was a Gisborne, after all. Just thinking of it, she began to smile.

But the smile slowly changed to an expression of curiosity. Something about the noise outside the window, particularly the sound of youthful chatter, caught her ear. At first she thought she might be imagining it, but the sound seemed to be drawing closer. And as it became more distinct, she felt her heart leap into a maddening rhythm. The childish voice, soft and sweet in its tones, was spoken in a dialect of French native to the north. Native to Calais.

My God, she quietly gasped. It cannot be.

Flying to the window, she leaned out to look. Oh, God! She cried aloud, and she made a mad dash for the door. In a heartbeat she was outside, running, and before he could even dismount, she eagerly snatched her son from his seat.

"Sebastian!” she cried. “Mon bébé!"

She felt his arms around her neck, hugging her as tightly as she did him, and she wept with joy. He was heavier than she remembered…more grown up, it seemed. Setting him on his feet, she knelt before him so they were eye to eye, and she placed loving kisses on his face, laughing and weeping all at once. She hugged him again, pressing her cheek to his.

“Oh, mon amour! Tu m’as manqué tant! "
“Oh, my love! I have missed you so!”

She released him for a moment, looking at him. She stroked his blond hair and touched his cheek, as if to convince herself of his substanace. He smiled at her, his hazel eyes bright with happiness.

“Tu m’as manqué, Mère. Tu m’as manqué beaucoup.”
“I have missed you, mother. I have missed you very much.”

As the elation turned to stunned delight, her mind began a desperate search for answers.

“Comme est-ce que tu est ici?” she asked. “Est-ce que tu n’avais été à Calais?
“How did you come to be here? Have you not been in Calais?”

"Ne plus, Mère. Je suis maintenant avec la famille du Baron. "
“No longer, mother. I am with the baron’s family now.”

She could hardly believe it.

"C’est vrai ça?
“Are you?” she asked Sebastian, who nodded.

Turning her head, she looked up at Owen, who was watching from his place on his horse. Had he done this thing for her ? Had he gone all the way to Calais to fetch her son for her ? The thought of it was overwhelming. Turning her attention back to her son, she heard his sweet words of admiration for his benefactor.

"Ils vont me former. Seigneur Gisborne est un bon gentilhomme. "
“They are to train me. Lord Gisborne is a nice gentleman.”

"Il est, en effet," she replied, her voice soft with wonder.
“He is, indeed.”

She wanted to go to Owen’s side. At that moment, if had been standing nearby, she would have thrown her arms around him and kissed him without a second thought, so happy and grateful was she for what he had done. But he seemed content to remain where he was, sitting on his horse, just observing. For a moment, she was deeply distracted by the sight of him. But when she felt Sebastian’s hand on her arm, begging her attention, she remembered herself and where her priorities lay.

“J'ai faim, Mère,” he said. Quand pourrai-je avoir quelque chose à manger?
“I am hungry, mother. When may I have something to eat?”

She lovingly smiled at him, kissing his forehead. It felt wonderous to have him so close, and she relished the chance to mother him. She took him by the hand, speaking gently to him as she took him into the house.

“Ce sera dans un temps encore avant le diner, mais allons-nous à la recherche de quelque chose pour vous dépanner.

“It will be a while yet before supper, but let us go in search of something to tide you over.”

She fought the impulse to look back at Owen. She owed him the world for what he had given her, but the time for thanks would come later. Sebastian, her son, had been returned to her, and all she wanted at that moment was to know the joy of being his mother.

But she could not ignore the conversation between Owen and William. She heard their voices as they came near the house.

“Have you something to say?” Owen inquired, and after a pause, William replied.

“I merely wonder at your motivation. Have you done this just to win her favor?”

“I have done this to make her happy. Nothing more.”

William sounded skeptical. “I think in doing this, you have other motives. And the prospect of it troubles me.”

As she listened, Isabella heard the defensiveness in Owen’s voice.

“So you have said, brother. And I will not hear more. I know very well what my motivations are, and you need not fear for me, or yourself, or the family reputation.”


“Be a man of God, William. A good man, as you are. And take comfort in the blessed reunion of a mother and her son.”

A blessed reunion, she thought. It was indeed that. As she prepared a bowl of pottage for Sebastian, she felt an incredible happiness flowing through her. Owen had given her that. And somehow, some way, she would repay his incredible kindness.


The evening spent with Sebastian was such a happy one. After supper, he contented himself with a wooden peg game while he chatted away, telling her about all manner of things. She smiled often and even found herself laughing at some of his vivid tellings. He had been excited, he said, at the prospect of returning home, and the journey back had been filled with all manner of incredible sights and sounds.

As he became more engrossed in his puzzle game, her attention slowly turned to the other occupant of the room. William was away, tending to an ailing neighbor. It was only she, Sebastian, and Owen, who was sitting in front of the fire, occupied with sharpening his dagger. He was turned away from them, probably to allow them privacy. It gave her the chance to observe him. What she saw, she found she liked very much. Just as she always had.

It was clear to her now that her attraction to him was as strong as it had ever been. But now, looking at him, she saw before her the picture of a man. No longer did she see him as a boy. He was, in truth, more masculine in ways that Rene and Gilbert had never been. They did not possess such nobleness. And as her eyes roamed over Owen’s rugged features, she felt a slight quickening of her senses. She recalled what it had been like to be in his arms, and the way he had looked at her. Then he had kissed her, and for a few brief moments she had felt a wildfire of hot desire between them. A soft sigh escaped her as she thought of it. As she longed to know it again.

The suddenness of Owen’s voice startled her.

“You are watching me, my lady. Is there something you wish to ask of me?”

She shook her head, attempting to compose herself, and gathering her hands in her lap, she tried to maintain a quiet and collected aspect.

“I hardly know what to say. I have no adequate words to express what I am feeling at this moment.”

Owen’s reply was a quiet one. “No words are required, my lady.”

The time had come to settle matters between them. Thinking of all that he had done for her, she was prepared to grant him whatever he wished. And she was quite sure she knew what he longed for. There was a certain softness to her words. A sound of acceptance and submission.

“I am deeply indebted to you, my lord. I shall agree to whatever terms you declare to pay my balance.”

He nodded. Putting his dagger aside, he turned his chair so that he was facing her. As he leaned back slightly, she felt a strange thrill at the feeling of his eyes looking over her.

“My terms are in place already,” he said.

A slight knot formed in her throat, but she swallowed in order to overcome it, preparing herself to accept whatever demands he intended to make of her.

“Name them, if you will,” she replied.

She waited for him to say that he wanted her as a mistress. And truly, she could not find reason to fear such a prospect. What other position could she hope to achieve in her life now? At least she knew that he would treat her well. He would not be cruel, like Gilbert, or self-centered, as Rene had been. She readied herself for his offer.

“There is to be a wedding in the village tomorrow,” he said. “You will accompany me.”

Shocked, she looked up at him, her eyes wide with disbelief. “I beg your pardon?”

“Tomorrow there is a wedding in the village, and you will accompany me as a guest. Your son is welcome as well, of course. I think it will please him very much to attend a celebration.”

“You do not require more of me?”

“Presently, no. This is all I ask.”

His pleasant invitation was a great surprise…and one she could not turn down.

“I shall be pleased to accompany you,” she said. But suddenly she felt a sense of sadness come over her. She was silent for a moment, and Owen seemed to notice.

“Why do you look forlorn?” he asked, and she sighed, a despondent sound.

“I have not attended a public event in quite some time. I fear I have no suitable clothing for the occasion.”

“You are perfectly suitable as you are.”

The compliment caught her off guard. As she fought to find a response, she saw the troubled expression that came to Owen’s face.

“Forgive me if I am being too forward,” he declared. “I see by the color in your cheeks that I have embarrassed you.”

Quickly, she shook her head. “No apologies, my lord. I am merely unused to compliments.”

A slight smile came to his lips as he spoke.

“Well then, that is something we shall have to remedy.”

For the first time in a long while, they smiled at one another. There was no anger between them. No tension. Just a lovely sense of peace…and the growing warmth of a mutual attraction. The feeling between them was intense, and it was growing…until Sebastian hurried to her side, brimming with excitement.

“Mama, regardez ! J'ai conquis le puzzle!”
“Mama, look! I have conquered the puzzle!”

Smiling, she drew him to her side and kissed his cheek, lovingly praising his accomplishment.

“C'est merveilleux, mon doux ! Vous êtes tel un garçon intelligent!”
“That is wonderful, my sweet! You are such a smart boy!”

“Oui, je suis,he replied.
“Yes, I am.”

His self-assured answer surprised and amused her, and she laughed, hugging him again, remarking on his words.

“Il semble que le cours en présence d'un Gisborne vous a influencé.
“It seems that being in the presence of a Gisborne has influenced you.”

Again she laughed, until she remembered that Owen was sitting right there, watching and listening. She offered an apology.
“Forgive my boldness. ‘Twas not intended as an insult.”

Owen smiled and shook his head. “On the contrary. We Gisbornes take pride in our abilities. And it is a known fact that we find no shame in voicing our confidence. Some may call us arrogant, but that has no bearing on us. We make no apologies for who we are.”

She smiled back, wishing she could linger in these happy moments forever. But when Sebastian yawned, it was a reminder of the late hour and her duties as a mother, which now took presidence over her own wants and needs. She rose to her feet.

“I must see Sebastian to bed.”

Before she could pass by him, Owen stopped her with a question.

“You will be my guest, then? You will not change your mind?"

She gave him a pleasant look, and nodded. “I will be your guest.”

He nodded in return, his voice warm. “Good night, my lady.”

“Good night, my lord.”

She left him then, leading Sebastian to her room. As she put him to bed beside her, she brushed aside the many questions that swirled around her. How had this miracle come to pass? Was Gilbert aware of Sebastian being brought to her? How long would he stay? She shook off such mysteries, content just to rest in contentment and peace, and anticipate a wonderful day to come.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Baron's Lady - Chapter 14, Part 2

Sorry this is short, but I haven't had much time on my hands. More to come soon...


Owen could see it so vividly expressed - the fast flickering of emotions that passed over Guy of Gisborne’s face. Surprise and disbelief. A flash of anger. That was followed by the familiar raising of an eyebrow and a ticking of a cheek muscle, which indicated a suppression of volatile feelings. Owen had spent the afternoon and evening preparing his words, and before Guy could utter a response, he presented his case.

“We have housed many a youngster over the years, have we not? We have trained young lords in their knightly responsibilities. Young Sebastian is a prospect for schooling with us. And it will please his mother to have him nearby.”

Guy scoffed, leaning forward in his chair. “And you believe Gilbert LaCroix will allow such a thing? You think he will willingly concede to his son being relocated?”

“He is unaware of Lady Isabella’s whereabouts,” Owen said. “With his mind not on that concern, I do not believe he will find a problem with our offer. And if we take on the responsibility of the transfer, the expense of moving him from one location to another, he will not dwell on the matter for long.”

A brief silence followed. After several moments, Guy finally spoke, and Owen could see that his father was doing his best to contain his emotions.

“You have given this considerable thought, it seems.”

Owen replied with a determined lift of his chin. “I have.”

It was a challenge of sorts. The last thing he wanted was to goad his father into a fight, and it troubled him to think that it would come to that. But he was a grown man, with his own desires and his own opinions, and if an argument was required to have his voice heard, then so be it. He watched, anxiously, as Guy rose to his feet and took to making his customary walk back and forth.

“Why do you do this?” he asked. “Why are you suddenly so eager to be of aid to Isabella? Before I departed for court, you were quite adamant about being shed of her. Upon my return, you have found a sudden sympathy in your heart? Such a conversion leads me to believe there is something more to all of this.”

As Guy came to a pause, Owen met his gaze. For just a moment, he thought to refute the charges. But it seemed so cowardly to remain in denial of what he truly felt.

“There has indeed been a change. One that I cannot deny.”

No words were said between them. But none were needed. And reading his father’s expression, Owen could see the frustration building. Guy took a step away, as if to distance himself. His words were sharp.

“Have you considered the consequences of such feelings?”

“I have," Owen declared. "But feelings such as these cannot be ignored. They cannot be denied.”

Guy turned suddenly, looking at him, speaking in a controlled but bitter tone of voice.

“You will lose this game if you continue to play it. She is no longer of your station. She is a criminal. There is a long list of faults against her. Must I name them every one?”

Owen took a step forward. He felt a slight flicker of tension at the awareness of what he was doing – confronting his father, whom he had always respected…and feared. But with each word spoken, he felt his confidence growing.

“I am well aware of the wrongs she has done. I am also aware of the matter of forgiveness. Is it not a right belonging to one and all?”

He expected the first stirrings of an angry tirade. Instead, Guy’s voice was calm, his hand raised slightly in a gesture of attempted reason.

“Owen, you must hear me. What you feel for her is one matter. How the world will react to such a revelation is something else entirely. You cannot form a romantic attachment to such a woman.”

The fatherly wisdom, well intended as it was, struck an angry nerve in Owen.

“Am I not permitted to love?” he demanded. “What right has anyone to forbid it?”

“The law will not allow you to marry an adulteress!”

Guy’s shout was furious…and Owen retaliated with equal passion and fury.

“I am well aware of the fact!”

“And yet you will have her as your wife, the consequences be damned?”


“What then? You intend to make a fallen woman your mistress?”

“She will not have me!”

His own words fell back on him then, his rage quelled in an instant by the confession. Turning away, his voice softened as he made the admission aloud.

“She does not love me.”

The tone between them quickly changed. All of the bitter tension evaporated. Guy’s voice, as dark in tone as it had been before, softened considerably.

“Why, then, do you go to such great lengths for her?”

With a shine of emotion in his eyes, Owen looked at his father.

“Because I want to see her happy. She is desperate to be with her son, and I intend to see her wish fulfilled.”

He looked away again, hoping that he would not be thought a fool for revealing such sentiment, and yet feeling that he could not help himself.

“There was a moment between us when she might have dared to love me. But fool that I am, I let my impulsive nature get the better of me. Now I fear I have alienated her forever.”

Hanging his head, he feared that he would now hear some lofty fatherly advice, and he was prepared to scoff at such an offering. But his father’s words were quite unexpected.

“I know something of unrequited love.”

Owen was stunned. Looking up, he saw that his father was not in jest.

“How do you know of it?” he asked.

Guy hesitated for a moment. Owen could see that his father was having difficulty, perhaps regretting the mention of some dark part of his past. But he was surprisingly calm when he began to speak.

“Before your mother, I was enamored of a beautiful woman. One who cared not for me, but for a man I utterly despised. Even after I learned of her true feelings, I was certain I would never love again.”

“Until Mama?”

Guy nodded. “Once I met her, and came to know her, I found that she was all I desired in a woman, and more. She was, and still is, the greatest gift ever bestowed on me.”

“So you think I should forget Isabella?”

With a sigh, and a shake of his head, Guy replied. “Try as I might, I cannot tell you what to do. You are a man, and you will make your own decisions. I only pray that they will be wise ones.”

After a moment of silence, he started to walk away. But Owen had not been so distracted as to forget his purpose in all of this. Taking a step towards his father, he called out to him.

“Will you permit me to bring her son?”

It was several moments before Guy answered. “If you can manage the negotiations,” he said, “I will allow it. But you must wait until after your sister’s wedding. There is much to be done, and we all must be of aid.”

Suppressing his growing feeling of gladness and relief, Owen replied in as calm a voice as he could manage.

“Thank you, Papa.”

He watched his father go. Then, he rubbed his hands over his face, letting out a breath that he felt he’d been holding for hours. If all went as planned, Isabella would be granted a measure of happiness that no one else could give. Only he could make it happen. Despite the knowledge that she did not love him, he felt that with this gift, they might find some measure of peace between them. And that, for the moment, was enough.