Christopher sat at the dinner table, his father had invited Baron Dacre for dinner to discuss Anya’s possible future with the nobleman. Somewhere however an invitation seemed to have slipped over to Sir Shieldsmith as well. Raeanne un-amused with her fathers meddling sat glowering across the table at him.
Christopher was struggling to understand what was going on in his younger sisters head. Anya seemed unsettled and while she wasn’t being openly hostile, she wasn’t exactly working hard on endearing herself to the baron.
Cupping Maegan’s hand in his he lent towards his young wife. “what’s the matter with Anya?” he whispered “I expected her to be tripping over herself trying to impress him, instead she just seems to be getting in her own way”
“She’s been though alot” Maegan explained “she’s scared, not every girl can have a husband like you” she smiled. Christopher nodded, It made sense he supposed still if Anya was going to stand any chance at all she needed at least to crack a smile.
“So Baron Dacre, have you not considered marrying sooner than this?” Christopher ventured.
Vincent smiled “I was married, my wife died of a sickening” he replied “It’s taken a while to consider another wife”
“You loved your wife?” Maegan asked. Christopher cursed that wasn’t the sort of question, one asked a man at dinner.
“Yes I did, very much” Vincent admitted, and Christopher suddenly understood why she’d asked, she was trying to determine the nature of the man, for herself and for Anya. Menfolk asking menfolk questions when discussing the possibility’s of marrying off loved ones, often focused on money and power but Maegan in her innocence had mearly wondered if the Baron was capable of love.
As dinner drew to a close it, the Orrick, Christopher and Vincent withdrew to the study in order to discuss things, While the ladys where left to entertain Sir Shieldsmith.
“So Baron Dacre, I have to admit I’m intrigued as to your motivation” Christopher pressed “Anya’s not the best breeding and with recent events I would have thought you would have looked else where for a wife”
“There is somewhat a shortage of eligible women” Vincent replied. “Besides, breeding is what you make of it and recent events where not her fault. Are you trying to talk me out of considering her?”
“No not at all” Christopher replied noting the annoyed glance from his father. “but you understand why I ask?”
“I understand” Vincent replied “buts a tactical move as much as any, my land borders yours it makes sense to forge a friendship don’t you think”
“I have younger sisters” Christopher pointed out.
“I like Anya” Vincent smiled. “Is It wrong for a man to purse a woman he finds physically appealing? Not that your other daughters aren’t beautiful” he nodded towards Orrick “But Anya has a way about her, I find attractive”
“She’s been though a lot” Christopher retorted, his heckles rising though he could not explain why.
“Christopher” Orrick snapped, “Enough!”
“Its quite alright Lord Vaux, your son is mearly protective of his younger sister.. I find that an admirable trait, especially when so many men in Grimstead seem to be pushing young girls into the arm’s of the highest bidder. Rest assured Im aware of her situation and im not eager to cause her more distress”
“May I ask how quickly you plan for a wedding to take place?” Orrick asked, settling back in his chair. Leaving no doubt in Christophers mind his father had already made a decision “I’d need time to organise her dowry”
“How much time?”
“A month of so at least” Orrick replied “but expect the situation the way it is you might want to wait until after the winter ball? Save us all some embarrassment, if the event’s have more consequences than we’d hope for”
“I’m not concerned with that” Vincent smiled “I think with Lord Hamdun’s colouring any child of his would be obvious”
Christopher’s jaw dropped had he just said he wasn’t concerned?? Even though it seemed Maegan wasn’t ready for a physical relationship he had already accepted there where certain steps that would not be taken till he was sure she didn’t carry Peter’s child. “And if it’s not?” he demanded.
“If it’s likely to take your father a month to arrange the dowry, and add a few weeks to organise the ceremony your sister deserves. Then we are looking at mid October before I get her to my chambers. I suspect the time delay evidence of the origin’s of the child even if the colouring is not? Don’t you agree?”
“Yes but what exactly would you do with such a child?”
“Raise it, what exactly do you expect me to do?” Vincent replied “Well unless of course Anya found it too difficult, then I suppose I’d find a willing family on my estate”
“You seem to be an unusually understanding man” Christopher glowered, unable to shake the feeling that something was wrong.
“Perhaps” the Baron agreed. “but wouldn’t you do the same for your wife should the worst become evident?”
“Yes of course” Christopher snapped “but our situation is entirely different we where already married”
“Not that different really” Vincent replied. “Unless of course you count the fact that I am likely to remain faithful to Anya”
“Right then, everything’s decided” his father quickly cut in before Christopher had chance to respond.
“Yes I believe they are” Vincent replied, lifting his glass “A toast.. To mutual protection and a lasting friendship”
“To mutual friendship” Orrick agreed taking a mouthful of wine.
“Now if it’s not to presumptuous, I’d like to spend some time with Anya before I leave”
“I’d rather you didn’t” Christopher interrupted “I’d like to give her the news myself”
“Christopher!” Orrick snapped “If Baron Dacre wishes to spend time with your sister, then I trust you’ll make it happen”
“Yes Of course” Christopher grumbled “I just thought she should hear the news from us first”
“Nonsense” Orrick smiled “I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to hear she’s be married before Christmas”