Raeanne felt herself blushing as she entered the lounge to find Christopher and Orion sharing a bottle of brandy, heading to the drinks she peered at the remaining dreg’s at the bottom of the heavy crystal decanter.
It had only been filled that morning evidence that the pair had been taking their fill. Pouring the remains’ into a third glass she sniffed it before taking a sip, enjoying the burn as it slid down her throat.
Not many noblewomen enjoyed such things but during her time with the Karogar’s she’d learned to enjoy many things many noblewomen did not. Saying that she imagined there where not many merchant men who enjoyed it either, or at least not many that could afford anything more than the watered down imitation served in the local Tavern’s. Still Orion seems to have accumulated quite a taste for the stuff.
Turning around to face the men, her brother grinned with the drunken look on his face she was getting quite used too. “Anna come join us” he offered.
Finding herself blushing again, she felt suddenly self conscious.. “If im going to join you, your going to need more Brandy” she replied.
“Under the counter” Christopher grinned.
Finishing the glass she knelt reaching under the counter where it seemed her brother had indeed stashed another bottle. Reaching for it she carefully decanted into the Crystal decanter before pouring herself another glass.
“My sister leaves us tomorrow” she heard her brother explain to Orion, “She only stayed to help Anya and now she’s married and settled she’s going off to play nanny to my younger sister’s”
Finding herself as nervous as she could ever remember she took a seat as far from Orion and her brother as she could muster a twing of guilt hitting her as she found herself gazing at soldier.
Wolf would want her to move on she decided, in fact if anything wolf had taught her not to wait around for things to happen stall or delay. Games could and often did lead to disappointment she decided, she’d had every opportunity to tell Wolf how she felt and she let every opportunity pass her by until eventually it was too late and he never knew how much she had cared for him.
Yes Wolf would approve she decided, well perhaps approve of everything bar him being a hunter…… yes she knew…. She was not a fool or and idiot it was simply impossible to live in the Karogar house without piecing some things together.
Granted she hadn’t quite worked out what the pieces meant until after she’d left, but then again Skye never has been good at keeping secrets. It had been Skye’s reaction to the Dacre house that had finally slotted the last piece into place.
Till then she’d assumed her daughters fixation on games of wolves and vampires had been nothing more than childish fantasy’s, but then again Lars always did play those games with her so well.
Once she’d pieced together the tangle of half truths she’d been told over the years, she quickly realised Christopher was in on the secret as was the Baron Dacre. From there Orion’s involvement was a given, the solider had spent far too much time hidden away with her brother in locked rooms for him not to be and a quick shuffle though that large bag her always carried with him had revealed all manner of strange objects that had led her to her current conclusion. The question was who or what where he and her brother hunting?
The conversation passed from one mundane topic to the next brandy was poured and drank and eventually Raeanne found herself feeling quite merry. Standing, she picked up Orion’s glass and then moved to pick up her brothers.
“No more for me” Christopher urged, “In fact I should get to bed, Im taking Maegan out riding in the morning and she’ll never forgive me if im not fit to ride”
“Coward” Orion chuckled, “We can see who wear’s the pants in this household”
“But she wears them so well” her brother agreed beginning to stand, “It’s those doe eye’s they get me every time”
“Get out of here then” she laughed pouring two large measures for her and Orion and passing a glass back to the solider.
“I should drink with this one more often” Orion grinned, just as Christopher was about to leave. “Her measure’s are far more generous that yours”
Her brother chuckled, “Just watch she doesn’t drink you under the table”
She grinned, “I thought you were going to bed”
“I am… I am” Christopher nodded, “Good night”
Watching as her brother disappeared, with alcohol fuelled confidence she ventured to take the seat he’d vacated next to Orion.
“How many sister’s will you be taking care of back home?” Orion asked.
“Just three” she replied, “which I don’t doubt sounds like an easy job after looking after your gaggle, but I dare say Skye counts as three children by herself and that surely brings us even”
Orion nodded, “I dare say it does… she’s a feisty one”
“Yes she is” Raeanne agreed, “So when I go home will you come and visit me?… I mean bring your girls to visit Skye” She added hurriedly.
“Im not sure your father would approve” he replied, suddenly seeming on edge.
“He wouldn’t mind, I could explain that it was just for the girls to play”
“Perhaps I will then” he nodded none committal “Are you looking forward to going home?”
“Yes and no” she replied “I love my father and the girls… they surely need me after my step mother’s death, but I can’t say im looking forward to my father’s insistence on trying to find me a husband”
“You don’t want one?”
“Wolf hasn’t been dead all that long, just over a year really … I suppose I haven’t really felt ready to consider another…Last time I was home he tried to match me with Sir Shieldsmith… he’s a knight im not sure if you’ll know him?”
“I know him” Orion nodded, “He’s a fine man, he would have been a good husband surely”
“Yes but it was far too soon to be considering such things. Surely you feel the same way? Your wife died quite recently also didn’t she?”
“She did” Orion agreed, “Unfortunately I need a wife to watch the girls, it’s too much work for Hannah alone”
“Hannah is your eldest?”
“She is” he nodded.
“So what are you looking for in a wife then?” she dared, “Perhaps I know someone”
“Hard worker” he replied “Someone capable of running a house, taking care of the girls, but most of all I guess someone who won’t expect too much from me”
“Surely you have a lot to give” she reasoned, finding herself shuffling closer.
“Im away a lot and I don’t think im much cop as a husband ter be honest”
“Someone who’ll understand your not ready to love them?” she guessed.
“Aye I guess so” he nodded.
Suddenly she found herself kissing him, she knew she was drunk and that she shouldn’t be doing it but she didn’t care she’d lost Wolf because she’d never taken a risk, perhaps it was time to take risk’s.
Greatful that he didn’t push her away they kissed for a moment but eventually it drew to it’s own conclusion.
“Im drunk” he admitted, his face still painfully close to hers.
“Me too” she agreed, before finding his lips on hers again. This time the kiss was longer and substantially more involved.
Breaking away for the second time he seemed to try and focus himself. “I should go to bed” he decided, moving her aside so he could stand.
Following him she reached out and caught his arm. “I should go with you” she insisted, “I mean I should take you… as in show you to your room”
“Lady Raeanne” he replied as though trying to remember her station. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have kissed you”
“I believe I kissed you”
“Oh well that’s alright then” he chuckled half heartedly before getting serious again “I’m sorry if I gave you some impression”
“You didn’t” she insisted.
“Good” he replied looking relieved. “I should go to bed”
“I’m going to make this simple for you” she replied hurriedly “We are two grown up people and I for one have been sleeping on my own for far too long, Stay with me tonight”
“Please… no strings” she insisted before he had time to protest. “Leave in the morning and act like it never happened if you wish”