Bella Bryce's latest blog posts
I have nothing to say about book V right now. It's frustrating. Taking WAY. TOO. BLOODY. LONG. and my characters are literally dragging their Mary Janes and brogues THROUGH the mud at the back of Waldorf Manor (with me holding onto the rope and getting completely covered in muck along the way). There's me being raw.
So, in celebration of my anger, let's have an snippet more from book V.
“You’ve written her.”
Alice nodded. “You can read it if you like.”
“Perhaps I shouldn’t,” he folded his hands in his empty lap. “I know you can write an honest and respectful letter with the right tone, even if you are hurt.”
“That’s just it, father, I’m not anymore.” Brayden turned inward slightly on the window seat. “And, I’d like to give the letter to her myself.” Alice’s tone wasn’t overly confident, but confident enough that Brayden understood she was serious.
He inhaled and met his daughter’s eyes. “Sweetheart, I realise you’re prepared to work through this part of your life, but I won’t allow her back in this house.”
“Can’t Jude take me to see her, then?”
“No,” Brayden replied, calmly. “I don’t want to think of you being alone there with her.”
“Come with me,” Alice deduced, frankly.
“I will do no such thing. This is a lot more complicated than you might understand, darling. Wellesley can post the letter.”
“I don’t want Wellesley to post it,” she folded her legs under her dress. “I want to watch her read it.”
“Darling,” Brayden’s tone was firm but understanding, “she will not come to Waldorf, and I will not allow you to return to that house. Aside from meeting in town or another appropriate, public place, the option is to post the letter. In this instance, I will let you decide.”
“Have you seen the way my mother reacts to situations?” Alice nearly chuckled, as if Brayden’s suggestion was ludicrous. “The way she behaved when she was here is exactly how she behaves in public. I’d much rather deliver it to her at home, so if she wants to shout the place down, at least we won’t be humiliated in front of other people.”
“That house is not your home, and I won’t have you going back there.” Brayden stood up from the window seat.
“I thought you wanted me to forgive her properly. Doesn’t forgiveness require that I at least make eye contact with her?” Alice’s hands were palm-side up as if waiting for an explanation to fill them. After a moment of no reply, she stood up from the window seat. “Father.”
Brayden faced her. “Do not speak to me as if we are equals, young lady. You are a twelve year old child, my child, and you live here. Now, you will address an envelope and leave the letter with Wellesley, or tell me you wish to give it to her in person and I will sort the arrangements. Those are your options. My word is final, Alice.” He watched her intently to be sure the message was received.
Alice didn’t verbally reply, only looked away and shook her head a few times. She was in slight disbelief at his conclusion, having assumed Brayden would have supervised a visit to her childhood home.
“I will see you at dinner,” he finished, with raised eyebrows. She watched Brayden leave the room, and then decided against standing there, staring at the back of the closing door.
“Father!” her voice carried into the corridor, causing Brayden to turn around. Alice had come out of her bedroom and was a good ten feet from where he stood. He didn’t look entirely amused at being called after in such a manner. “Why don’t you trust me?”
Brayden closed the space between them by walking toward her with a serious expression, one which made Alice want to take back her question. He was indeed, not amused. Not in the least.
“This is not appropriate conversation,” his voice was low and abrupt.
Alice stood before him with furrowed eyebrows and hands made into fists at her sides.
“You will not use your chronological age to question me,” he pointed a finger at her. Alice swallowed. She had, indeed, used a certain tone to question him. She knew she had. In all the time living at Waldorf, she’d never even tried to act her age and Brayden never treated her as such. Hearing her young adult tone was extremely uncomfortable for him.
“The answer is no.” With that, he turned and left Alice standing in the corridor. She watched him walk past the break in the corridor where the grand staircase and balcony were on the left, and continue on down the nearly half a mile long corridor until he went into his study. Brayden wanted nothing more than for Alice to reconcile with her mother, so that she could continue living at Waldorf without the scars that interrupted her new life.
A brandy was the calm after the unexpected tone of their conversation. Alice had grown in many ways since becoming his daughter, but not nearly enough if she didn’t understand his reservation in allowing her to be put back in range of Sally Oliver’s volatile manner. He’d done it once, because she needed to stand before her mother and show her that forgiveness and a stiff upper lip were often very necessary. Alice had done everything Brayden told her to do; to be respectful and polite, but firm and honest. He wouldn’t put her in that position a second time. It wasn’t necessary to do it again. What was more, Alice seemed to be the one to want to put herself back in that position. He wouldn’t allow her to be repeatedly rejected. Clearly, she was still very naïve to the behaviours of her own mother. Brayden was not so naïve. If he weren’t a complete gentleman, he would have led Sally out of Waldorf by her ear that morning, and not without a few choice words. Then, he revoked that thought, keenly aware that the dwelling of such ideas was the start of a very lonely and bitter lifestyle, such as the one Sally Oliver so blatantly displayed. Nobody really wanted to be miserable, but it had probably started with unkind and vengeful thoughts that were entertained, rather than discounted.
Brayden considered ringing Bennett to get his thoughts on the matter, because he’d always been a very involved, very dedicated uncle. In fact, most of the difficult conversations or situations he’d encountered in his fatherhood to Alice were brought to good conclusion after seeking wisdom from his best friend. He also had Anabelle to consult now, too. Afterall, she would be living at Waldorf as Brayden’s wife and Alice’s mother in the near future. Perhaps it was time to start involving her, rather than seeking advice from his best friend and leaving Anabelle to catch up on things that would put her at a disadvantage later on. It would only make things difficult if Anabelle wasn’t completely involved from an early stage.
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