Audra feared Faye would respond with disgust or contempt, but she had done neither. In fact, other than Rory—who was understandably furious—the few people to whom Audra confessed offered nothing but support and compassion. Would he own son eventually come around? And did she deserve his compassion?
When Audra and Faye separated, the maid stared out the window. “This happens more often than you think, my lady. Besides, yours was not a careless affair. You loved Maxen and you’re your child was conceived in love. Little in life is more beautiful than that.”
“Is that what you think? Or are you trying to spare my feelings because of your affection for me?”
“It is precisely what I think.” Faye’s gaze returned to Audra. “We women don’t have the same choices men do. I don’t blame you for seizing true love where you found it.”
“But by definition, I am an adulteress.”
“And your husband was an adulterer. I mean no disrespect to King Carlton’s memory, and I adored him, but again, women are held to unfair standards. I know you loved your husband, my lady, but the fact you loved Maxen, too, does not make you an awful person. It makes you human.”
“You are wise, Faye. I will remember those words when I am low.”
Faye gave a watery smile. “I’m not wise. I-I have also made mistakes.” She strode toward the window and rested her hands on the ledge. “Years ago, when Elen was little and Cian a baby, Vaughan grew distant. He was exhausted from his duties and travels. I felt alone, caring for the children and vying for his attention on the rare occasions he was awake in our bedchamber.
“One of the knights, years younger than I, started paying attention to me. He listened to my complaints. Told me how beautiful I was. I even ...
... middle of paper ...
...dra’s hand, and kissed the back of it. “Faye and I shall take our places. Keep the riot at bay, if necessary.”
Faye playfully slapped his arm. “Vaughan! There will be no riot. The people will be thrilled; I am certain of it.”
“As long as they’re fed, true.”
Audra appreciated the levity Vaughan added to the situation. And ever since Faye had shared the story of how he conducted himself with grace and humility after discovering his wife’s kiss with another man, she respected him even more.
“If food quells anarchy, I shall offer weekly feasts,” Audra joked.
Vaughan and Faye dipped into the Hall, leaving Audra and Maxen just outside the doors.
“Take my hand,” said Audra, wiggling her fingers at Maxen.
“I’d love to, but I must enter the Hall behind you. There’s only so much change we can foist upon the people at once. Otherwise, we’ll have, what did you say, anarchy?”
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