“ Yes uncle?”
“ I would rather you change.”
“ I would rather not. I feel if this war is going to continue I want to feel it as they do. They don’t get the pleasure of clean and well pressed cloths when theirs become dirty. Please stop asking.”
“ I have other things to discuss with you.” Jerold said looking at her. Isabelle turned her blue eyes in his direction.
“ And that is?” She asked. Jerold shook his head, Isabelle was no doubt a Richardson threw and threw.
“ Your father has developed an infection.” Jerold said calmly.
“ Yes I know, Dianna told me. They are treating it, and his fever came down this morning.”
“ As long as his fever is down and he is well enough, his trial will begin this afternoon.”
“ Uncle are you serious?”
“ Yes Isabelle I am. It is the law, and I must follow it. I will promise your father a swift and fair trial.”
“ Fair? How can he get a fair trial? These people feel he has done something wrong.”
“ He has in their eyes. Honey believe me if I could stop this I would.”
“ No you wouldn’t. You’re going to be there with everyone else waiting to see him hang.” Isabelle spat angrily at him. Jerold couldn’t believe his niece. He stood there shocked for a moment the slapped her hard across the face.
“ I would never. And you damned well know that young lady.”
“ Like hell. You where always gone. If my father dies I swear to you I will die with him.” Isabelle screamed, turning on her heal she headed back into the infirmary.
Dianna looked at Kevin and smiled.
“ How are you feeling?”
“ Terrible. But better than yesterday.”
“ I am glad it’s better than yesterday. You where running a pretty high fever there. We where worried that we where going to lose ya for a while.”
“ Where is Isabelle?” Kevin asked looking around the room. Several soldiers where looking worse than he did others where better and talking to some of the other nurses.
“ Out in the garden.”
“ Yes, Commander Richardson decided that since it’s hard to get supplies around here we can grow our fruits and vegetables. Last I saw Isabelle she was working on picking some strawberries.”
“ She was never hands on as a child.”
“ Seems like she misses her parents a lot.”
“ I know she misses her mother. Her heart nearly broke when her mother died and then losing James and then me. I am actually surprised my daughter kept her sanity.”
“ Your alive that’s all that seems to matter to her. I over heard Father Brian speaking to the commander.”
“ About what?” Kevin asked.
“ Isabelle received a letter from James. It was dated last month.”
“ Well then the lad is still alive. I am sure she is happy about that.”
“ Dated last month of last year.”
“ Oh goodness. Did she see that?”
“ No, but it was written in the hand of a dying man. I heard her crying the other night. I wanted to hold her and tell her things would get better but it’s not my place.”
“ You’re her friend. It is your place as much as it is mine. If I could comfort her I would.” Kevin said taking Dianna’s hand in his own. Dianna looked down into Kevin’s green eyes and smiled.
“ She loves you a lot.”
“ And I adore her. She is my only child, but it seems I may have room in my heart for another.”
“ But what of your wife?”
“ I can not grieve forever. My daughter has told me that much.”
“ But it has only been a few years.”
“ Nearly four years since my dear Kristin was lay to rest. And god bless her soul I do miss her dearly, but I will not live my life grieving her loss, she wouldn’t want that.”
“ She sounds like a spectacular woman.”
“ She was that indeed.” Kevin said remembering his wife. A soft smile plays on his face at the memory.
“ I bet the two of you would have been the best of friends.” Kevin said.
“ Yes, You have the same spirit and fire she did. And it seems my Isabelle likes you.”
“ And I like her. She’s a sweet girl, and one that misses her mother a great deal.”
“ She misses her mother’s friendship. Maybe you can fill that void, like you do with me.” Kevin said with a smile. Dianna blushed and began to giggle. She couldn’t believe that a simple phrase like that could get her to giggle like a schoolgirl. Kevin was a fine man and her father would approve of him instantly.
“ We have only known each other for such a short time.”
“ A month and during that month I’ve grown rather fond of you Dianna. If it where under better circumstances I would court you.” Kevin said holding her hand.
“ I know.” Dianna said quietly. Kevin reached his hand up and brushed away a stray tear that rolled down her cheek.
“ Hey now, don’t cry. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.” He said softly. Dianna looked at him, she knew better than that. Once he was healthy enough he would stand trial for treason and for that the punishment was death. She wouldn’t let her heart get broken like that; she was starting to care deeply for him but wasn’t sure if she would allow him into her heart if she knew he’d die.
“ Father.” Isabelle’s voice said as she entered the infirmary.
“ Are you crying?” Kevin asked as he still held onto Dianna’s hand.
“ Uncle says that when you’re well you’ll be facing a trial.”
“ I know.” Kevin said. He could see the pain in both their eyes as they looked at him. Two of the most precious things to him right then and he could lose them both in a mere instant.
“ He is healthy enough to walk?”
“ I would rather he not, but yes he is.” Dianna said.
“ Then Kevin, come with me.” Jerold said stepping forward. Kevin slid from the bed and stood on shaky legs. Jerold steadied him for a moment before Kevin shrugged him off. Kevin moved away from Isabelle and Dianna and stepped towards the doorway.
“ When does it begin?” He asked facing his brother.
“ When we arrive in my office. I’m sorry brother.”
“ Leave him alone.” Isabelle spat moving to her father’s side. “ Your not sorry. You took up your side he took his. Both are fighting because you wanted to save your families. Instead you’re tearing them apart.” Isabelle said
“ Isabelle this is no concern of yours.” Jerold said.
“ Yes it is. The minuet you take my father away it is my concern. As I told you in the garden uncle, he dies so do I.” Isabelle said shoving past them and into the courtyard. She mounted a horse and tore off into the open wilderness.
“ Damn it not again.” Jerold said.
“ Sir, what do you want done?” A young soldier had asked.
“ Follow her. Bring her back unharmed.”
“ Yes sir.”
“ Jerold just let her be. I’ve seen Isabelle in fits like this. Let her be, she’ll return.”
“ She’ll return unharmed.” Jerold said watching the soldier leave the camp.
“ Jerold quit being so hard headed.”
“ Kevin, I nearly lost her the last time she took off and she was on foot that time.”
“ Damn it.” Kevin said as Jerold led him to his office. “ I’m going to die aren’t I?”
“ I don’t know little brother. I am trying everything I can to keep that from happening. Even if Isabelle can’t see that.”
“ I believe you and in time so will she.” Kevin said. Jerold sighed and faced his younger brother, he held out some shackles.
“ I understand.” Kevin said holding up his arms. Jerold placed the shackles on his wrists and then led him into the office.
“ This hearing will begin.” The judge said.
Isabelle rode the horse as hard and fast as she could. She didn’t care, all that mattered was getting away from the camp, and away from everything that was making her life miserable. She hated her uncle, she knew he was right but she hated him for it. She knew that he’d try and save her father but there was no one that could save him now. She stopped the horse and slid off it and dropped to the ground sobbing. She didn’t hear the other rider that had approached and dismounted.
“ It’s all right Isabelle.” He said gathering her sobbing form into his arms.
“ I am going to lose my father.” She sobbed.
“ You don’t know that. Hey look at me.” He said putting his finger under her chin and made her look up at him.
“ Your father has done everything he can to protect you. And so has your uncle, both are fine men. Give them both a chance.”
“ My uncle wants to see my father die.”
“ No brother wants to see their brother die. I watched mine die a year ago. I hated that feeling and I know that your uncle is a caring and gentle man.”
“ I guess.” Isabelle sniffled.
“ I’m Jeremy. How about we go back to the camp?”
“ Thanks I think that would be a good idea.” Isabelle said. Jeremy helped her stand and then helped her back onto the horse she had taken.