It was early spring the evening before the wedding feast, and while most of Grimstead had begun to thaw out after the winters snow, the log cabin in the mountains still lay under a white blanket.
Kaitlyn nervously followed Lar’s up the stairs to her sleeping quarters. All day she’d wondered if Lar’s was ever going to explain what was going to happen the following day, which of course had sent her mind reeling what was he trying to keep from her, was he and Henry somehow trying to trick her?
However shortly after dinner he’d bid her to follow him. Settling down on the bed he motioned for her to join him. Kaitlyn nervously sat beside him folding her hands neatly in her lap she looked at him expectantly.
“I promised I’d explain everythin that’s gonna happen tomorrow” Lar’s said “I’ve bin putin it off but I think this is as late as I can leave it”
Kaitlyn nodded nervously “Go on then” she replied softly.
“Well ye know there’s gonna be a feast?” he asked abd she nodded ” Well what happens is we all gather me, Wolf, Raeann and all our family and friends and we have a abit of a party in yer honour so to speak.
“In my honour?” she asked.
“Aye, well technically yer’s and young Raeanne’s now Wolf’s stolen me thunder” he replied with a chuckle. “Anyway towards the end of the meal, I’ll stand and I’ll ask permission to be yer husband, don’t be expectin anything fancy mind ive never bin good with me words”
“Do I answer right away?” she asked.
“No, it’s more for me to let yer know me intentions and so yer know that I mean right by ya. At that point anyone at the feast who might hold an objection can butt in, usually it’s the woman’s father or another suitor perhaps. To be honest its all a bit old fashioned, most ask fer permission from the girls pa before they go to the expense of a feast. Anyway in yer case I’m sort of askin Henry’s permission I guess”
“So what happens if no-body objects?”
“Well then we carry on feastin and havin a good time, eventually when ya get tired, or whatever you’ll come up here and get ready for bed”.
“So that’s it? When do we get married”
“Well a bit later when I’ve give ya time to ready yerself ill follow up to here and I guess I’ll sorta be askin fer permission to be yer husband agin” he replied seeming a little uncomfortable.
“And if I say yes?” she replied boldly not at all sure she liked where it was leading.
“Then you’ll let me in, and we’ll spend the night together” he replied, “an in the morning, we’ll be man and wife”.
“You mean to finish off the ceremony I simply have to let you share my bed?” she replied looking shocked.
“Aye love, that’s about the sum of it”.
“And if a say no?”
“Then I’ll go back downstairs, back to the party to drown me sorrows” he replied, with a smile.
“And you’d just do that? She asked unconvinced “You wouldn’t try and force your way in??”
“No” Lar’s replied “it ain’t no kinda man, that forces himself on a woman. Besides the first night sets the way for those that follow, I wouldn’t want our marriage to start that way”.
“You’d go back down stairs in front of all the other men at the feast” She asked in disbelief ” wouldn’t you feel humiliate being turned away by a woman?”
Lar’s shook his head “What’s to be ashamed of?” Kaitlyn fell silent not quite sure how to respond, she came from a world where men’s rule over woman was absolute and certainly in marriage women rarely got a say on who they married never mind had the right to turn him down in the bedchamber.
“im expectin to be turned away” Lar’s quickly added, ” So don’t be worryin on it too much, I’ll knock all you do is need ter do is answer and say no”
“What about after that, is that the end of it?? There’s no marriage if I turn you down?”
“Not exactly, it’s like the offers open, ye can choose to invite me into your bed at a later time and that will bind us. I don’t promise Henry will allow it to stay open indefinitely, while you’re his ward he’ll be looking to close the deal, but it will buy ya time to decide what to do one way or the other”
Kaitlyn nodded silently, a few stray tears rolling down her cheeks “What ya crying for lass” Lars asked, pulling her head onto his shoulder.
Kaitlyn stayed silent for a moment or two allowing herself to be comforted, despite the screaming in her head that told her to pull away. “I just feel trapped” she replied softly “If I don’t marry you then I feel as though Henry will just find someone else for me, perhaps someone who won’t take no for an answer”
“Aye perhaps, I’ll admit it crossed my mind too, still I think this is the best plan give ya more time than say no straight up, I recone it’ll be a few months before he’s askin too many questions” he replied, leaning back onto the bed he pulled Kaitlyn down with him, surprised that she didn’t resist he put his huge arms around her and held her close.
Kaitlyn cried softly accepting his embrace, she didn’t love him, nor did she think she ever could after Alistair, however perhaps this was the lesser of two evils. Perhaps she should accept the inevitable before things took a turn for the worst.
However sitting outside a third figure watched the pair’s tender embrace from his position perched in a nearby tree, growling quietly to himself Alistair did not like what he saw.