It had been a long journey up to the castle and Christophers coach had arrived in the early evening, dinner had been prepared for everyone who’d arrived, it had been a meal of light pleasantry but Christopher had clearly noted the mood and tone of the meal.
The Hamdun’s both Gabriel and Abel had been seated near Daniel a clear indication of who was truly now in power of the throne. Moving down the table those now out of royal favour seated at the far end. Christopher nor Orrick had been surprised to find themselves their accompanied by Vince Bendett.
Arabella had been present along with her mother and Baron Dacre, Maegan had understandably seemed both nervous and intrigued by her presence. She’d clung most fearfully to his arm as Arabella took the seat on his opposite side, undoubtedly Daniel’s ‘little joke’ to sit him with his wife to one side and the woman he’d betrayed her with to the other.
Christopher suspected the seating an attempt to draw out a reaction from Maegan, perhaps Daniel was trying to ascertain if she knew, either way it didn’t matter if he had because other than perhaps being a little more clingy than usual Maegan had acted admirably and hadn’t let her obvious distress show to the company. What exactly he’d done to deserve such a noble woman?
Arabella however had spent a great deal of time trying to get his attention, so much so that she practically ignored her meal, mostly small talk but by her manner he gathered she was less concerned about what Maegan thought and felt, seeming only interested in flirting with him in such an open matter that Christopher and and everyone up at that end of the table had clearly noticed.
As dinner drew to a close the men started to gather as was customary. The gentlemen would retire to one room while the women to another, glancing across at Maegan she seemed fretful, hiding it well but he knew her enough by now that she was nervous of letting him out her her sight even for a minute.
He was just about to suggest that they pass on the drinks and have an early night. When Anya came bounding over with the energy of a large Labrador and whispered something in her ear.
“Everything alright?” he asked.
Maegan nodded not very convincingly “I promised Anya I’d help her with something”
Christopher nodded “I was going to suggest an early night” he replied “It was a long coach ride, im quite tired” hoping Maegan took the invite as it was intended. Simply as a way of letting her know that she was his priority and that he’d spend the evening with her to make her feel more comfortable.
Maegan nodded, though he couldn’t tell if she understood “I really need to do this with Anya first” she replied “Will you meet me in short while, perhaps just have one drink?”
He nodded and watched her leave, following the other men into the drawing room. Then it happened, just as he reached the door he found himself turning and heading in the opposite direction not the way that Maegan had gone but towards the door he’d seen Arabella head though, but he couldn’t tell you why. It was as though something suddenly drew him to her unable to explain it in any other way than a ‘need’ to go to her.
A hand landed on his shoulder “where are you going?” the voice asked calmly but firmly.
Spinning he found himself face to face with Baron Dacre “I don’t know” Christopher answered honestly.
“Best stay with us then” the tall gentlemen smiled.
“Yes” he agreed the need to follow Arabella fading as quickly as it had arrived.
Heading into the lounge the men settled, disturbed by what had just happened Christopher took an uneasy seat next to his father. Drink’s where poured and small talk ensued no-one in the mood for talk of politics most of the conversation revolved around family and the plan’s of various noblemen for their estates.
Suddenly the door swung open “Did you miss me” Peter grinned making a grand entrance.
“Peter!” Gabriel called in greeting “We weren’t sure if you’d make it?”
“Bah miss a party?? Never!” Peter grinned “though I will say Daniel that new pass is a utter blighter .. a week its taken me on the back of a rickety little wagon, just to see you crowned in, you better have some good wine in because im in dire need. Good job I left Brianna and the kids behind they’d have never made it”
“You know where it is” Daniel laughed and Christopher watched as the nobleman made his way to the drinks cabinet.
Pouring himself a drink Peter came and settled down in between Christopher and his brother “So Chris what’s this I hear tell?” he asked cutting straight to the point “Word is you and Maegan are ‘waiting’?
“Waiting for what?” Christopher asked.
“Well Daniel here says your waiting to have children.. does that mean your not even banging her?”
Christopher almost choked on his mead, Peter had such a way with words “Well I wouldn’t have put it so crudely” Christopher retorted “But we are waiting, yes” glancing over at his father. Orrick shook his head in disbelief. He didn’t need to read minds to know it wasn’t something his father would have admitted.
“Yes … but I mean you did her on your wedding night I assume?” Peter continued.
“I fail to see how that is any of your concern”
“Well, one man to another I’m just concerned that some little slut is holding out on you!” Peter grinned “You know Sometimes you just have to take what’s yours.. besides having seen the goods on the way in, there’s no way I’d be waiting on payment.. she’s not a bad looker your girl I’d certainly give her a go”
Christopher froze in disbelief, looking around the room to where everyone was by now watching the engage with interest. “If you call my wife a slut again” he growled unable to contain his rage “I’ll cut your filthy tongue from your head, and if you so much as look at her in that manner, i’ll kill you”
“Calm down Chris” Peter laughed, taking a mouthful of wine “I’m not going to touch her… are you always so serious?”