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Second Chance Series 6: Avalon Part 2

Second Chance Series 6: Avalon Part 2

Автор Paul Green

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Second Chance Series 6: Avalon Part 2

Автор Paul Green

Длина:
816 страниц
8 часов
Издатель:
Издано:
23 июл. 2011 г.
ISBN:
9781466039087
Формат:
Книга

Описание

The ultimate battle for good and evil requires the ultimate sacrifice. But can innocence remain? And if so, will the sacrifice be enough? Find out in the incredible conclusion to Part Two in the world of the Second Chance.

Издатель:
Издано:
23 июл. 2011 г.
ISBN:
9781466039087
Формат:
Книга

Об авторе

Winner of the 1927 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Paul Green (1894-1981) taught philosophy and drama at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was a native of Harnett County, North Carolina.


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Second Chance Series 6 - Paul Green

Second Chance Series • Book Six

AVALON

Part 2

paul green

Table of Contents

Cover Page

Title Page

Copyright Notice

Second Chance Series

Reader Recommendation

Acknowledgements

Dedication

Cover Page

From the author ...

~ Reunions ~

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

~ Decisions ~

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

~ Invasion ~

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

~ Revenant ~

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

~ Nevermore ~

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

~ Resolutions ~

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

~ Continuum ~

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

~ Hunters ~

~ Letters From Home ~

~ Knights in White Satin ~

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

~ Forever Young ~

~ Epilogue ~

~ Family Tree ~

~ Notes to the Reader ~

Preview of Book Seven: TRIBE

Second Chance Series

Tales From Camelot Series

About the Author . . .

Copyright Notice

Second Chance Series

Book Six: AVALON - Part 2

Copyright © 2011 by Paul Green. All Rights Reserved.

First Printing: July 2011

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.

For further information, contact info@paulgreenauthor.com

www.SecondChanceNovels.com

Second Chance Series

Part One

Book 1: BEGINNINGS

Book 2: AWAKENING

Book 3: PROPHET

Part Two

Book 4: REVENANT

Book 5: PRODIGAL

Book 6: AVALON - Part 1

Book 6: AVALON - Part 2

Part Three

Book 7: TRIBE

Book 8: SEED

Book 9: ENDGAME

www.SecondChanceNovels.com

www.TalesFromCamelot.com

Beginning 2013

Prophet Chronicles series

For further information contact info@paulgreenauthor.com

Reader Recommendation

Due to the unique subject matter, this series will appeal to a very broad audience: teen to elderly, male and female alike.

Although some parts may be considered to be too intense for pre-teen or younger readers. Ages 13 and up recommended.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to all my reviewers. Your input has been invaluable.

Thank you to my son Christopher for his help in designing the covers.

And extra special thanks to the One who gave me the desire to write.

Dedication

Dedicated to . . .

All those who have given their lives

in order that we may live and enjoy ours.

I stand in awe.

From the author ...

Well, here it is. Book Six and the conclusion to Part Two.

This book will include the largest amount of characters of all of the books in this series; for this is where all of the characters from both past and present come together for our story.

I know it can be a little overwhelming at times, so we have created a nice colorful Family Tree in Adobe PDF format for you to view or print out (it is has turned out to be much too large to try and fit inside a book or view on an e-book). You can download it by simply going to:

www.SecondChanceNovels.com/supplements/FamilyTreeBook6.pdf

This Family Tree includes almost everybody, up to and including Book 6: AVALON - Part 1. It should be legible on a standard sheet of paper, which you can fold in half and tuck inside the book, if you wish.

An even more fuller version of this Family Tree will be available AFTER you finish this book. (And please don't commit sacrilege by looking it up in the back notes! It'll give away way too much of what happens!)

I'm going to give you a little heads up on something ... I like long endings. Of course, you learned that from the end of Part One (Book 3: PROPHET). You see, as a reader, I have this pet-peeve where I hate spending days and weeks and months becoming intimately involved with characters, only to come to a sudden and abrupt ending. For example, take the immortal line: And they lived happily ever after. I don't want to read that ... I want to see that! I want to SEE how they lived happily ever after! Do you remember that l-o-n-g ending in Peter Jackson's third and final 'Lord of the Rings movie? I know some people didn't care for that. Me? I loved it. We got to see what happened to everybody!

Many were surprised to see the big climax of Book 3: PROPHET occur about two-thirds of the way through the book, rather than at the very end. But everyone I have heard from has told me how much they really liked all that stuff afterwards and how much they enjoyed learning about what happened to everybody. Remember, even after that climax you learned lots of cool and new things, such as George deciding to go back to Camelot to be with Julian, George's goodbyes to Maggie and 1977, George & Julian's wedding, learning about the Conflux in Jenny and Arthur's time in the present, George's diary and Fallow showing up, and of course, Merlin showing up in the present. All that stuff happened after the big climax and showdown. Because all that stuff helped set the stage for Part Two! So ... just so you know, I'll be doing it again in this book. (wink, wink)

I'm just saying.

You already know where the story has been, where it is now, and where it is going. Or do you? ;) I know you are anxious to dive in and find out what happens, so I won't torture you any further by delaying you.

I truly hope that you enjoy the conclusion to Part Two in the world of the Second Chance.

Paul

~ Reunions ~

Chapter 1

Husband! I do not understand! How could it be possible for Mordred to do such a thing!?

Because, Gwen. Sara answered. Mordred has been corrupted by Fallow; completely lied to and deceived. Who knows what Fallow told him? But whatever it was, Mordred believed him. He was so deceived and corrupted that he was willing to kill Arthur to get to the sword. George told me that that was what he was really after.

Then why not just take the sword!? George asked, angrily. Why bring in an army? Why kill everyone? Why ransack the castle and kill Gwen? If all he wanted was the sword...

I don't know, George. I have absolutely no clue as to why he did all of that. Except that he obviously has something against House Pendragon.

How do you know it was against our House? Arthur asked.

Because the very first people who were attacked and killed, quite brutally I might add, were you ... and Gwen and...

Our children!? Gwen cried out. They killed my children!?

I'm sorry, Gwen. I didn't want to mention that before. That's why I was glad when I heard you were keeping them with Accolon and Morgan. And please don't ask me to give you the details about how they died, because I'm not going to tell you. I still wish that I didn't know.

As Gwen began weeping for her children on Arthur's shoulder, Arthur was thinking to himself. They wished to bring about the fall of House Pendragon. said Arthur. Therein lies the secret. I must know why. he said, shaking his head. I must know why.

I'll tell you why.

The voice came from the doorway. And at the sound of the voice, everyone in the room instantly froze; many of them in horror.

Fallow wants the sword. said the voice. And he wants to destroy the line.

Sara's heart nearly stopped, as she was completely terrified to turn and look at the figure who was standing in the doorway.

But she slowly turned around and looked at him anyway.

The man was of medium height and build, with brown hair and brown eyes and with very average looks. There was nothing remarkable about his appearance, other than two significant things. One, he bore a striking resemblance to his relative, Arthur the King. The other remarkable thing about his appearance, was that his entire right side of his body appeared to have been horribly mutilated, with much of his skin sagging and drooping from paralysis. He was hunched over with a cane and barely able to stand.

Hello, Sara. Long time, no see.

Daddy! Sara gasped in horror.

And standing behind Ben were Michael and Jean Luc.

Sara? Daniel? You two are SO grounded! Ben teased.

DADDY! she screamed as she jumped to her feet, knocking over her chair. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU!!?

I'm fine, Sara. Please don't...

WHAT DID YOU DO!?

Sara ... there is only one door and only one way out of this room; and that is through me. So if you're thinking of making a run for it...

But Dad...

I've been looking for you, Sara. All I want to do is talk, that's all. Please don't run away again, okay? Just ... stay put for a minute; all I want to do is talk.

Daddy! Sara cried out, her eyes filling with tears. What have you done!?

It's not important, Sara. The only thing that matters to me, right now, is...

Oh, Daddy...

And then Sara Davison did the most amazing thing. With tears streaming down her face she bounded across the room towards the door, and straight into the waiting arms of her father. Oh, Daddy, I've missed you so much.

And as Ben held his crying and long lost daughter in his arms, he wept in relief.

Daniel? Son? You have two seconds to get over here.

Dad!

I've missed you, son. Please let me hold you again.

Dad!

And so it was that Ben Davison's prayers had been answered, as he now finally held both of his two children in his arms.

Chapter 2

Well, well; look what the cat dragged in.

Ben smiled and lifted his head. With his good left hand he wiped his eyes, kissed Daniel and Sara one last time, and then looked over at the table. Hello, George; I guess it's been awhile.

Ya think?

Gwen. Arthur. Julian. Ben said with a nod.

Arthur held up his hand before anyone could reply. I think ... before we offer greetings, perhaps it would be best if we allow each of you, time to yourselves.

Thank you, Arthur. I appreciate it.

You are, of course, most welcome to join us for evening meal. Until then, please feel free to visit and ... enjoy whatever hospitality we may offer.

Thanks, again.

It was a quiet departure for Arthur and Gwen, George and Julian; the only sound being that of an occasional sniffle from both parent and child alike, as four children remained within the tender embrace of their fathers. After the others had gone, things continued to remain quiet for a time, as no one really knew just where to begin. Except for the obvious...

So. Ben said finally, looking intently at Sara and Daniel. On the way here, Elias told us ... I mean he tried to prepare us ...for ... how ... much you have grown. I have to say, I was not ... wow.

He certainly didn't prepare me enough. sighed Michael, looking at Jenny.

Ben? said Jean Luc. Why don't we...

Yeah, good idea. Daniel? Sara? Let's go outside and talk.

No, Ben. said Michael. You need to sit; you've been on your feet too long. We'll go outside.

I would like to go for walk with Adrien. said Jean Luc. If that is alright?

Of course. Ben replied. We'll all meet up again at dinner, like Arthur suggested.

Works for me. said Michael. Jenny? After you.

Jenny gulped and gave Daniel and Sara a brief look of panic, before stepping out the door into the afternoon sunshine, with her father following in closely behind her.

Adrien also gave Sara a long look of concern as he followed Jean Luc out of the room.

Now left alone with Sara and Daniel, Ben looked once more at Sara with a pleading look. We're just talking, Sara. That's all we're doing. Please don't...

Dad, I'm not leaving. Sara replied. I promise.

You're not?

At least for a little while. At least ... until I find out ... what happened to you. After that ... I can't make any promises.

Well ... thank you for at least being honest with me. Then Ben slowly limped over with his cane and sat down in the nearest chair with a sigh.

Daddy?

Believe it or not, your old man got himself mauled by a ... cave wolf.

WHAT!?

Think of it as an overstuffed tiger.

ARE YOU SERIOUS!?

Yeah, I'm ... kinda paralyzed. On the right side.

DADDY!

Listen, Sara, I don't want to talk about that. That's not why I'm here.

But...

Sara ... no. It's not important to me, right now.

It's important to me!

Me too! exclaimed Daniel.

I really don't want to talk about it, okay?

Daddy! I can't believe you!

You're one to talk.

Sara sighed.

Dad? asked Daniel. How's mom?

Your mother is fine. So is your sister.

My sister! Sara gasped.

She was born five days ago. As was your new cousin.

Really!? exclaimed Daniel Aunt Alana too!?

Yup. Same day; just like last time.

Sara was looking at her father in wonder. What ... what...

Your sister's name is Rebecca.

What!? Really!? Daddy! I love that name! That's a beautiful name!

Your mother picked it out. It means 'Secret'.

Oh, Daddy... Sara said, as her eyes began to fill with tears. I never thought...

You never thought what?

I never thought I would ever know my sister's name. Thank you, Daddy; you don't know how much this means to me.

Ben sighed again and closed his eyes. After a few moments he opened them and reached into his shirt pocket. Here. I want to show you both something. Then Ben pulled out an envelope and opened it. I can do even better than tell you her name. And from the envelope he removed several pictures. How would you like to actually see your sister?

*** *** ***

So when are we going to talk about it?

Ben sighed as they watched the sun set behind the mountains. It was just the two of them sitting on the grass together, just outside the walls of the castle courtyard. It had been over three hours of playing catch-up on everything that had happened over the past year. Daniel had just left to go in search of Jenny and her father, Michael.

I was wanting to put it off as long as possible, Sara. I was hoping that I could just keep holding you in my arms and pretend that nothing has ever happened. Or ... ever will happen.

We have to talk about it, Dad.

I know. Can't we put it off for another hundred years?

Sara smiled. I wish.

Very well. Sara, mind if I start?

That would be good. Since I don't know how to start.

Then let me start by saying ... thank you for not running off and for letting me talk to you. And for letting me hold you once again.

I didn't want to run away, Daddy.

I know, Sara. I know. I know why you did what you did ... and why you had to do it the way that you did.

Do you?

I've had some good long talks with Elias. I understand a lot better, now. Doesn't make it any easier, though.

So does that mean that you're not going to try and stop me?

I didn't say that.

Well. At least you're being honest with me, too.

Sara, I knew that if I was ever fortunate enough to catch up with you, I didn't want to spend what precious little time we had together, lying to one another.

Are you going to try and take the sword from me?

Yes.

Wow. I ... guess you weren't kidding about the honest part.

Okay, I have to confess. I was planning on trying to trick you. I certainly knew you wouldn't just hand it over to me. Uh ... would you?

Nope.

Eh. It was worth a shot.

Dad, you know why...

Sara, I know; you don't have to explain it to me. I understand the 'what' and the 'why'.

But by the shedding of innocent blood, can Death be overcome. Sara quoted.

I know, Sara. And I know exactly what that means.

It means that you can't do it. It means that only I can do it.

I know what it means, Sara.

But you're still going to try and take the sword from me?

Yes.

I see.

Like I said; I won't lie to you.

Will you tell me how you plan to take it from me?

Actually ... I'm not planning on taking it by force.

How then?

After talking to Elias, I've already decided that I can't trick you or take it from you against your will. That only leaves one way.

What's that?

I'm going to ask you for it.

What!?

When the time is right, I'm going to ask you to hand it over to me. Willingly.

That's not going to happen, Dad. I'm sorry, but you know why I can't give it to you.

I'm hoping I can get you to change your mind.

Like that's ever going to happen.

At least I'm being honest with you.

And why are you doing that, exactly?

You know, Sara? You don't even talk like a little girl, anymore. I have to say that it's very disconcerting. Not to mention that you're ... uh ... you know ... not a little girl anymore. You have REALLY changed.

Don't change the subject, Dad. I asked you a question.

I wasn't. You really have changed and I'm really having a hard time with it. But if you must know the truth, I am being honest with you because I trust Elias. He told me that truth is always the better way to go. So ... I've decided to believe him. And to have faith.

Faith? What does that have to do with anything?

Just ... something that I have been learning a little about, lately.

Well ... maybe that's good for you. But I can't have faith. I can't afford to be thinking that way. I know what I have to do, and I know that I have to do it. Period; end of statement.

You're set on following through on this, no matter what.

I have to! There's nobody else who can do this! Even though I know you don't agree with that.

Actually, Sara, I think you do have faith.

How do you figure?

Do you think that what you are doing is the right thing?

No.

You don't?

No, I don't 'think' it's the right thing - I 'know' it's the right thing.

That sure of it, are you?

Sara nodded.

Then according to Elias, that's faith.

It is?

When you KNOW what is right and true ... and you choose to act accordingly ... against all odds of success or foreknowledge of how things may turn out ... that is faith.

I'm not sure I understand.

Well, according to Elias, faith requires that you KNOW what is right and true, and what is to be done. There are no guesses in faith. Only acting in accordance with what you already know to be true.

So ... what I am doing ... is based on ... faith?

I'm no expert, of course, but that's sure what it sounds like to me.

Wow. I've never thought about it like that, before. That's ... different.

Actually, neither had I. Until just now.

Really?

Yea, I think so. I really do.

Okay. So ... does that mean that you aren't going to try and get the sword from me?

Oh, no; I'm still going to try.

Oh.

Of course, like I said - when the time is right, I'm going to ask you for it. I'm not going to try to trick you or take it by force.

Are you lying to me?

No.

Promise?

Sara, I'm not lying to you.

What happens when you ask me for it, and I refuse to give it to you?

Then I guess we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there, won't we?

Dad?

What, sweetie?

Thanks for being honest with me. That means a lot.

I bet you were nervous when I showed up today.

I still am.

You don't trust me?

In anything else, yes; I trust you. But not in this. Sorry, Dad.

You still think I might try and trick you?

Yes.

May I ask why?

Because it's what I would do.

*** *** ***

Mommy had the baby!?

Yes, Jenny. Michael smiled. Congratulations, you officially have a new brother.

Really!? And mom!?

She's doing great. Your mom and Aunt Susan, both. Everything went smoothly and relatively easy with no complications. We waited until we got them both safe and sound back at the ranch, before we came here. Frank and Kiyoko are watching over them. Stuart and Zagnut are also there with the girls.

Do they know that you're here?

Uh ... they all think we went to the grocery store to pick up some diapers.

Oh.

There's no way that Susan would've let Ben go in his condition. But ... with any luck, we can still return home in time and follow through on those diapers.

So ... what's my new brother's name?

You do remember that it was your mother's turn to pick the name?

Uh huh. She picked something Hawaiian, didn't she?

Michael grinned. Of course! Your mother has named him: Kalani.

Kalani!? That's a ... strange name for a brother.

So is the meaning.

Why? What does Kalani mean?

It means 'Turning Point'.

Really?

Don't ask me why she chose that name. When I first asked her, she hinted that she would have to reveal some things about our future.

Jenny smiled.

And as you well know, daughter of mine, your dear old dad wants nothing to do with knowing his future. So ... we sort of dropped the subject.

Hmmm ... turning point. It sounds ... foreboding.

Maybe, maybe not. I try not think about it much. Here, I brought you some pictures.

Really Daddy!?

Here ya go; you can keep these. Ben also brought some for Sara and Daniel. There's some pictures of your new cousin in there, too.

Thank you, Daddy. How come you're being so nice? I thought for sure you were going to be angry with me.

I've been preparing myself for a long time, Jenny. I'm trying very hard to be calm and mature about this. You've been gone for nearly a year! You've been to 1947 Okinawa and who knows where else. I think we're all well past the angry part.

You're starting to cry again, Daddy.

I know, I can't help it, Jenny. I've been so worried about you for so long.

I'm sorry I worried you so much. We were just trying to find Sara.

I know you were, Jenny. I know you were.

You're starting to shake.

I know, sweetie. Do you mind if I put my arm around you?

I was really hoping you would.

*** *** ***

Adrien, was I that bad of a father?

No, Dad!

We were not doing so bad, were we? I know we did not have much, but...

Dad, please! It's not your fault! You didn't do anything wrong!

Adrien, when you left ... my whole world fell apart! I could not eat; I could not sleep...

I'm sorry, Dad; I really am. I didn't mean to hurt you.

You are all that I have left, Adrien! Do you understand that!?

I know, Dad. I'm sorry.

When I lost your mother, I thought I had lost everything. But then ... holding you in my arms as I did in the hospital ... and caring for you all of these years ... you gave me what I've needed to continue on. That is why I am still here, son! I would have left this life long ago if it had not been for you. And then ... when I thought I had lost you...

Dad, I am really, really sorry.

I just need you to know, son. I need you to know how important you are to me. Because without you ... I have nothing left. You are everything to me.

I'm sorry, Dad. And you're important to me, too. And I love you! And you've been the best dad, ever! I honestly didn't meant to hurt you like that. I just needed to find Sara!

I know, son. I know the reasons why you left. I am not angry with you. I only wanted you know how much I love you. I was not certain I would ever have another opportunity to say these things to you. So I am saying them now.

I love you, Dad. Very, very much. And I've really missed you. A lot.

Chapter 3

Hello, kind sir. May I welcome you to Castle Camelot?

Well, well, well. I had not expected to see such beauty among my first hours of visit. Who might you be, lovely lady?

Thank you, kind sir. My name is Katelyn. I am the Queen's personal attendant.

And a beautiful name to match. Might I inquire as to the meaning of your lovely name?

My name is of Gaelic origin. It means 'Pure'.

Yes, you certainly are.

I ... I am sorry? I do not understand.

Pretty lady, your deep green eyes seem to be as the color of jade! It is as though I am looking though pure glass. I can most certainly see why you have been named 'pure'.

With a faint blush, Katelyn gave Jean Luc a slight smile. Thank you, kind sir. I was sent to seek you, in order to escort you to Evening Meal.

I would be escorted by you anywhere, pretty lady.

You are the father of Adrien? The one they call Jean Luc?

I am, pretty Katelyn. You and I have found each other at last. Has anyone told you what pretty eyes you have?

What of your son? Is he not here?

He has gone to his room for a change of clothes and to wash. He should be back shortly. Until then, it is just you and I, pretty lady. Would you care to watch the sunset with me?

If I am not mistaken, I believe the sun has already set.

Ah, but not for us! For us, pretty lady, there is always time to appreciate...

Please, kind sir; you should know I already belong to a man.

I know; that is quite obvious. But it does not mean I cannot appreciate the sunset in the company of one as lovely as yourself.

How ... did you know I belonged to another man?

Oh ... I can always tell.

Truly? Can you see into others as does His Majesty?

I ... am not sure of what you speak of. I have not even been introduced to ... 'His Majesty'. But I could see in your eyes that your heart does indeed belong to another.

You are most perceptive.

And you are most alluring.

Katelyn smiled again. And you, kind sir, are most persistent.

What can I say? I am French.

Do you speak of your origins?

I speak of whatever you wish me to speak of, pretty lady.

Sir Julian is also of French origin. You share the same likeness. Have you met him?

Yes, I ... have heard this comparison, often. Unfortunately, I have only had a brief glimpse of the man, earlier. At the time, my mind was more on my son, whom I hadn't seen in quite some time.

Sir Julian shall be at Evening Meal. Perhaps you may become better acquainted at that time.

I look forward to that. Tell me, will his wife also be in attendance?

Yes, Sir George shall also be sharing Evening Meal with us.

Excellent! I have heard many stories about both of them. I am very much looking forward to meeting them; especially the infamous Sir George. I understand that I may possibly be a descendant of theirs. That I may be ... of the same blood as Sir George.

I am sure they are desirous of meeting you.

Katelyn, may I ask you something?

Of course. How may I be of service?

It is about my son, Adrien.

I do not know your son, well. They have only been here for a day and a night.

I know this; he has been telling me of all the things that have happened since he had first left home. All things, except for one.

Oh?

You are a woman. A lovely woman, to be sure. But I also thought you might perhaps have some ... inclination ... as to how my son looks upon Sara. Do you know of what I am referring to?

Katelyn smiled at Jean Luc. I understand. As you are his father, according to our customs, it is for you to know.

Yes, I have heard about your customs. So what do you see, pretty lady?

As it seems to me, kind sir, your son Adrien ... has chosen.

I see. Well. That is ... as I had suspected. Would you know of Sara's mind on the matter?

Mistress Sara ... cannot choose. It is not for her.

I understand. According to your customs, it is not for a woman to choose a man.

No, sir. That is not of what I speak.

Then what do you mean?

She cannot choose. That is her choice.

Sara has chosen ... not to choose?

Yes, sir. As you have said.

I suppose I can understand that. If Sara believes that she does not have this option, then I can certainly understand that. Tell me, pretty Katelyn. What if ... Sara did actually have a choice? What do you think she would choose?

I have only known Mistress Sara for a day and night.

I understand. But you seem to know my son's mind on this matter. What do you think is in Sara's mind?

If Mistress Sara did have a choice, she would choose ... your son.

Thank you, Katelyn. You have been very, very helpful. I needed to hear this confirmation.

May I show you the way to Evening Meal, sir?

I would follow you anywhere, pretty lady.

Chapter 4

Jenny? Would you mind if your old man sits here beside you for dinner?

Oh. Uh ... okay, Daddy.

Michael... George warned from across the table. I think you already know who was planning on sitting there.

I know. I just thought...

Knock it off, Michael; you've already had all afternoon with her.

But she's my daughter!

Michael, I said knock it off!

But...

You want me to come over there and spank you?

Michael chuckled and raised his hands in surrender. Fine, Mommy. I can take a hint.

I don't mind, Daddy. Jenny offered.

It's okay, baby; I'll sit across from you, that way I can still watch you.

Michael... George warned again.

I mean, 'see' her! Geez, George! Not watch 'them'! I mean 'her'! Give me a break!

George snorted.

Ben entered the room next, with Sara and Daniel holding each of his arms to help him walk. Wow, Michael. said Ben, looking at Jenny as he started to sit down. I still can't get over it. I still think I'm in shock.

Tell me about it. Michael sighed. The last time we saw you kids...

They are not our little kids, anymore. interrupted Jean Luc, now entering the room with Adrien. They are all grown up, now.

Excuse me!? Ben exclaimed. I don't think so! As far as I'm concerned, they're still only eleven. Or .... Twelve. I think.

Have you looked at your children, lately? Jean Luc grinned. They are not twelve. Your son has a beard! Nice beard, by the way, Daniel. It looks quite well on you.

Thanks, Jean Luc!

You are welcome. And, of course, your daughter Sara has...

NOT... Ben interrupted with a warning finger, ...going to finish that!

I was going to say her mother's figure.

Oh. Well ... still ... close enough. I don't want ANYBODY talking about my daughter's figure, got it?

Jean Luc chuckled.

Adrien!? Ben said, sharply. What are you looking at!?

What!? Uh ... nothing, sir! Nothing at all!

Then I would appreciate it if you would keep your eyes off of my daughter's ... uh ... figure.

Yes sir! Adrien exclaimed, blushing red. I mean I am, sir! I mean I'm not, sir!

Jean Luc winked at his son, Adrien.

How does it feel? Michael grinned at Ben. It's not so easy with a daughter, is it?

Ben sneered at Michael.

Isn't he cute when he blushes! exclaimed Sara, grinning at Adrien.

Sara... Ben warned.

Oh. Sorry.

You know, I just have to say... Julian started to say.

And George gave him the look.

What!? I was just going to give Adrien some advice!

Oh, this should be interesting. George smirked.

Julian grinned at Adrien. I was just going to say, Adrien ... that when they start to get a little bossy and order you around? All you need do is ... mmmmmmph!

Sorry, lover. George grinned with her hand over his mouth. Can't let you finish that one.

Julian quickly pulled George's hand away long enough to squeeze out three words to Adrien: We'll talk later!

Adrien nodded back with a 'thumbs up'. Then he looked at Ben scowling at him.

Then he stopped grinning.

As Daniel sat down beside Jenny, he noted that Michael was focused on laughing at Ben. Seeing his chance, Daniel quickly leaned over and kissed Jenny on the cheek.

I SAW THAT! Michael exclaimed, spinning around towards Daniel.

Saw what!?

WHEN DID YOU TWO START KISSING!?

I just kissed her cheek!

I swear, holding hands is one thing, but...

Oh, they started smoochin' back in Okinawa. teased Sara.

WHAT!?

MICHAEL SWAN! ENOUGH! George shouted.

But, George!

What do you think YOU were doing at their age!?

At eleven years old!? I was playing with Hot Wheels!

I'm talking about how old they are, NOW, Michael! They're sixteen or seventeen at the very least!

REALLY!? Daniel exclaimed. I thought I was only fifteen!

And trust me, Michael, George continued, ...you were interested in a lot more than just Hot Wheels.

Why? What else were you interested in, Daddy?

Jenny, stay out of this.

Okay.

In fact, Michael, said George, ...if memory serves, even at twelve you had already started to develop an interest in playing doctor with that little neighbor girl. Remember her?

GEORGE!

I remember I wanted to play doctor with Daniel. said Jenny. Back in Mammoth when he hurt his ankle. But nobody would let me.

Jenny, stay out of this.

Okay, Daddy.

Then Arthur and Gwen entered the room. Oh, dear! Gwen said in alarm. Does someone require a physician!?

I think Ben and Michael do. chuckled Jean Luc. You might want to check their blood pressure.

Ben and Michael both turned their scowls to Jean Luc.

Oh no! Gwen exclaimed. What has happened!?

You have happened! Jean Luc grinned, as he rushed to her side and kissed her hand. You can take my blood pressure any time!

Gwen raised her eyebrow. As did Arthur. As did George. As did Julian.

My queen, I have read many stories of you. Jean Luc said with a deep bow. May I just say that none of them have ever done you justice?

Ahem. Thank you. Kind sir. Ahem.

Jean Luc, at your service. he grinned, standing up straight. And may I also just say that you have a very lovely neck?

Excuse me!? Arthur asked incredulously as Gwen's eyes went wide.

George slapped her hand over her eyes. I don't freakin' believe it. You idiots brought a boni fide Frenchman back with you!? To Camelot!!?

Oui, oui, Madame! Jean Luc grinned, raising his eyebrows suggestively at George.

Wait a minute! exclaimed Julian. I'm a bona fide Frenchman!

No, you're a tame Frenchman, Julian. I think this one is a whole different animal.

Animal, you say? Jean Luc grinned. Madame, I need only one look at you to see you are a tigress! And a powerful, beautiful and sexy beast, at that!

Sorry, honey. George grinned. I appreciate the remarks, but I'm already taken.

Julian looked at her surprise. Excuse me!? You appreciate his remarks!?

Then Jean Luc surprised everyone further when he growled mischievously at George.

George laughed as she shook her head at him. Okay, you're fun; you can stay.

WHAT!? Julian exclaimed. GEORGE!

Oh relax, Julian; he's harmless. Trust me, I've been around plenty of Frenchmen. Besides, I think he's cute.

WHAT!? Plenty of Frenchmen!? Cute!?

"Wait ... Julian, don't tell me you're jealous!? Are you kidding me!?

George, why are letting him talk to you that way!?

Please! He looks just like you!

WHAT!?

Sara was right; he's obviously related to you! Of course he's cute!

Huh? Oh. Wait ... is that a compliment?

George laughed again and kissed Julian. Yes, baby; it's a compliment.

Oh. Well.

Sara giggled, and then looked at Adrien. See? Why can't you be more romantic like your dad?

What!? exclaimed Adrien.

WHAT!!? exclaimed Ben.

Oops! exclaimed Sara in horror.

Jean Luc chuckled. Now, now, Sara; fear not. I assure you, the hot blood of a Dupré still runs in his veins. It is only a matter of time before it boils to the surface and then ... watch out!

Jean Luc! Sara interrupted, shaking her head frantically and making a cutting motion across her neck.

WHAT!!? exclaimed Ben, now reaching his own boiling point.

Then Jean Luc grinned at George again. Ah, and this reminds me, my sexy tigress! Speaking of a hot blooded Dupré, is it true that you would be my ... 'grandmother' ... as it were?

WHAT!? Suddenly and before he could blink, George literally leaped over the table in a single bound and slammed Jean Luc face-first against the wall. WRONG! she warned in a threatening tone. NOT ... a grandmother!

Madame! Jean Luc exclaimed with his face pressed firmly against the wall and his arm twisted painfully behind him. Will you marry me!?

Are you freakin' kidding me!?

I think I am in love with you!!

George burst out laughing, instantly releasing her hold on a grinning Jean Luc. Okay, you can DEFINITELY stay. It's about time we had someone around here spicing things up. All this polite chivalry nonsense is getting quite stale.

GEORGE!

No, no, Julian; you spice me up just fine. I'm talking about someone giving Sir Louse-A-Lot a run for his money.

Jean Luc arched his eyebrow. Excuse me?

Then George pinched his cheek. The ladies are sure gonna love you, honey.

Especially the harpies. Sara teased.

WHAT!? exclaimed Ben, Michael and Jean Luc.

Oh, it was terrible, Daddy! exclaimed Jenny with her hand over her mouth. They captured Julian!

WHAT!? exclaimed Ben, Michael and Jean Luc.

Julian dropped his head on the table.

*** *** ***

Fortunately dinner began arriving right at that moment, before things got further out of hand. Delivered by two servants, everyone managed to quickly regain control and quieten down in front of the strangers.

All, that is, except for Ben.

I tell you, this is the LAST thing I expected to have to be dealing with. he growled.

Dad, please don't. sighed Sara. Nothing is going on.

Excuse me, young lady, but I have eyes! You don't think I can't see what is going on?

Dad, please! I'm serious!

Sara...

Dad, just listen to me for a minute!

Sara...

PLEASE!?

Fine.

"Believe me, if something COULD be going on?

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