Lord Robert Hawley walked briskly through the doors of his home his mind on one thing and one thing only: his wife and child. The missive had reached him hours ago while he was still in London, stating quite plainly that his wife had gone into labor with their first child.
He took the stair two at a time in order to reach the bedroom door quicker. The door was blocked by his most trusted butler, George. "George, let me in." Robert demanded his stark blue eyes etched with worry.
"I'm sorry your grace, but the doctor ordered me to keep everyone out, including you. He said it was for the best." George said his voice shaking with fear.
Suddenly, Robert's wife cried out in pain causing Robert to nearly break down the door, but a few seconds later small cries could be heard. Robert quickly pushed George aside and rushed into the room. His gaze reached his wife's oddly gray eyes and a relieved smile broke out on his face.
Lady Amelia sat among what seemed like a mountain of blankets, her brown hair in a mess of curls around her face. In one arm she held a small bundle of blankets and with her other arm she beckoned her husband to join her on the bed. "Come dear; come meet our dear Richard Hawley." She said proudly know how much he desired a son. She knew even if it had been a girl he would have loved her too, but she wanted to please her husband.
Robert came to her bedside and looked down into the innocent face of his beautiful son. The future Duke of Amsden.
8 years later…
"I think it would be most advantageous if both of our families were united in marriage, but which of our children?" Lord Hawley sat behind his desk stroking his chin as he stared down the man before him, Lord Byron Ravensdale, a most respected Duke from the county of Darwin.
"Well my eldest daughter, Jane, is 13 years already, perhaps our newest born, Grace?" He said sitting forward hoping that at last all this work would not be for nothing. Robert sat mulling it over for at least the next ten minutes, making the other Duke in front of him start to sweat. Finally, Robert gave a swift nod and reached his hand forward over the desk to shake on it. Byron swiftly signed his name on the papers that sat on the desk in front of him and passed them over to Robert. "How old is your eldest son now, Byron?" Robert asked conversationally as he walked over to a small table to pour a glass of brandy for the both of them.
"Nearing 15 now; and he is just as headstrong as his father is." He said as he graciously took the glass from Robert.
"Well you must all come and visit us during this fine season we are having." Robert said as he took a seat in front of the fire place gesturing for Byron to do the same. Byron nodded thoughtfully and took another long sip his blue eyes staring into the fire his thoughts drifting off to his wife.
Lord Byron made his way up the grand staircase of his beautiful home with a heavy heart. He reached the bedroom and quietly pushed the door open to find his wife slowly rocking their new baby daughter to sleep. He smiled and walked over to them placing a kiss first on his wife's cheek and secondly on his daughter's. "You're home." His wife, Lady Judith said with a soft sigh in her voice.
"I have news to share with you, why don't you let Sarah put Grace down and come sit with me on the bed." He said softly so as to not wake his sleeping daughter. Judith nodded and handed Grace over to her hand maid, Sarah. She moved gracefully over to the bed and set down next to her husband.
"I met with Lord Robert this evening, and we came to an agreement. His son, Richard is now betrothed to our Grace." He said waiting for his wife's reaction. Her lower lip quivered as she let the news slowly sink in. "Are you sure this is for the best?" She asked softly.
"I'm not sure of anything in this life, but this is what is expected of us. He knew we had a newborn daughter, as well as Jane. Also, he knew it would be a great advantage for our families to be joined." Byron gently stroked his wife's soft cheek his heart breaking for her.
"I just don't like to think of our little Grace never knowing true love before she is joined in marriage, it breaks my heart." Judith sniffled and laid her head against her husband's chest, his heartbeat slowly reaching her ears and calming her nerves.
"I know my dear, but everything will work out for the best. We will do our best to raise them together and hope that they fall in love before they even find out they are betrothed." He then laid her head down on the soft pillow and softly kissed her forehead. "Rest easy my dear, I will see you in the morning." He moved away from the bedroom then and went to his office to mule over the last few hours. He sat in front of the large fireplace, a glass of brandy in his hand, his thoughts racing through his head of how he would break the news to his dear Grace. He sighed heavily and set his glass down on the small table next to him, his hand coming up to rest against the side of his head as he continued to stare into the fire late into the night. He finally made his way to bed, but stopped by the nursery to see Grace one last time. He smiled as he watched her sleep and knew in the moment that she was meant for great things. He went to his own bed and laid down finally feeling at peace knowing that his daughter was one day going to be very well taken care of.