She had to admit she was a little hungover when she finally reached the dining room for breakfast. Correction she was a lot hung over and feeling like she’d been trampled by a herd of rampaging cattle.
However the sickness paled in comparison to the shame she had felt as she’d snuck from the guest quarters half way across the house to her own room. She’d passed at least four of the household staff on her journey, her hair a mess, last night’s makeup smeared across her face but worse of all last night’s dress badly done up and crumpled from where it had been flung to the floor.
Her lady’s maid had not dared speak a word, nor would she but Raeanne knew she knew and maid had known she knew. Instead she’d silently helped clean her up and re-dress with a small and none to discrete smile.
She didn’t know what was worse the fact the by now the rumours would have already reached the kitchen’s or that she herself could scarcely believe what had happened herself.
Regret was a strange word, but not one fitting for the situation. Did she regret what had happened? Regret was simply impossible when all she could think of while her maid had pulled her corsetry tighter was when the next opportunity Orion would have to take them off again.
Entering the dining room her stomach lurched, wether it was alchol induced at the smell of the food or the fact that Orion sat at the table enjoying Breakfast with her brother it was hard to tell.
The large man smiled appreciatively in her direction as she managed to sit down at the table and place a napkin on her lap while her food was bought out.
“So how did you too get on after I went too bed, found something to talk about I hope?” her brother smiled.
“We managed to find something to keep ourselves occupied” she agreed, “Where is Maegan his morning?”
“She’s with the horses” Christopher replied “You know how she loves them. So what aout you orion plan’s for the day?”
“I’m going to have a look around your estate if im permitted, see if I can find any sign’s of your ‘visitor’”
“Visitor” Raeanne queried.
“Yes I think there might be a wild cat somewhere on the estate” Christopher replied. “Orion’s going to look for it”
“I didn’t realise your where a hunter” she replied, chuckling at the irony of it
“You’d be surprised at me talents” Orion chuckled, giving her a knowing look.
“Im sure I would” she blushed.
“Alright will you to behave!” Christopher scolded, allowing his cutlery to drop heavily onto the table with a clatter “the whole house is talking, for goodness sake you could at least try and be discreet”
Raeanne felt the colour drain from her face and looking across the table it seemed that Orion’s did too.
“Im not bothered” her brother added, “what you pair get upto is your own business but lets not pretend that its anything but the worse kept secret in the house…. Even Skye knows you didn’t sleep in your chambers last night”
“Oh no… what does she think?” Raeanne asked utterly mortified.
“Maegan covered for you” Christopher chuckled.
“And Maegan?” she asked, knowing the young girl was somewhat naive at the best of times.
“Well … she’s a little confused I must admit, I tried to explain it but I’m afraid somewhat disappointed. At least she was when I explained there wasn’t going to be weddings and babies”
Reaenne managed to nod, understanding that Christopher was being diplomatic Maegan’s first reaction was not likely to have been about weddings and babies, but more about Orion’s class she was after all royalty and like it or not Kaitlyn still had enough Hamdun left in her to teach her daughter to approve of only fitting matches.
“Well I suppose it should git chase yer Cat” Orion smiled at the both having seemingly completely recovered from the shock of everyone knowing about their indiscretion. Draining his mug he stood, “Will I see you both this afternoon?”
“Im not sure” Raeanne admitted, “I leave for my father estate today, I may have left already”
“Then if I don’t see you, have a safe journey” Orion nodded, before turning to Chris “Seeya later”
“See you later” her brother agreed watching Orion leave.
Raeanne tried to focus her attention on her breakfast but a deep rooted sickness made eating impossible. That coupled with her brothers eye’s burning a hole into her skull. “What?!” she finally snapped.
“I was wondering if you were intending to tell me what happened. Is this the beginning of some sort of relationship?”
“Don’t be absurd!” she scolded.
“So what then? My sister had a fling a one night stand?”
“Something like that” she agreed, “Is it so terrible?”
“Not terrible. Surprising perhaps”
“We were drunk” she explained. “It just sort of happened”
“Is it likely to happen again?” he queried.
“I don’t know” she replied.
“So you haven’t ruled it out?”
“Oh for heaven’s sake Christopher I can’t tell if your angry or amused”
“Neither im simply concerned” he replied.
“Oh you’re a fine one too talk, I didn’t do anything you haven’t done”
“You have more to lose than I did” Christopher reasoned.
“Like what?” she dared “Will father kick me from his home, refuse to let me mind my sisters. Or perhaps your thinking that heaven forbid the other noblemen may find out and stop inviting be to those drole parties where everyone looks down upon me because I married a commoner”
“That’s not what im thinking at all” Christopher reasoned. “what if you get pregnant”
“Well truly worried you can get me some of those herbs woman take” she snapped.
“What makes you think I know where to get them?”
“Surely one of the many women you’ve slept, with over the years must have used them”
“That’s woman’s business” he protested, “I never got involved”
“Well I dare say you’re a resourceful man, I’m sure you could find out!”
“Anna it’s more than just that” her brother reasoned, she knew he was trying his best for her but she was sick and tired of everyone else thinking they knew what was best for her. “You didn’t lose Wolf that long ago and Orion …. He just isn’t ready not for a relationship”
“Does this look like a relationship?” she scowled. “It’s sex Christopher that’s all”
“I guess not I just don’t want you either of you getting hurt, you both lost someone and I don’t think either of you have really had chance to mourn”
“What so you think were just comforting one another?”
Suddenly losing her bluster she sighed. “What if we were?” she reasoned “Pray tell me what exactly be wrong with that?”
“Anna I just don’t want to see you hurt”
“Chris I am thirty years old, till last night I had laid down with a man precisely once…just once. Last night may not have been decent or proper but for the first time in …. A long time I felt alive and didn’t feel totally completely and hopelessly alone” she reasoned, feeling herself welling up “there is not a night that go’s by where I do not regret almost every action in my life that bought me to this point”
“I know” Chris nodded.
“No you don’t know” she replied, her voice breaking as tears began to begin to stream down her cheeks. “Everyone expects me to move on and I can’t, everyone treats me like some poor widowed woman, but I’m not am i? I can’t be because I wasn’t married to Wolf when he died… he divorced me when I tried to kill Skye”
“No-one needs to know that” Christopher reasoned, “Wolf still thought of you as his wife, he loved you”
“I know he did” she sobbed, “but he never knew I loved him too”
“Im sure he knew”
“No he didn’t” she replied, “I know he didn’t and it’s all my fault”
“Oh Anna” Christopher sighed, standing from the table and kneeling beside her chair to embrace her. “You know you don’t have to be brave all the time”
“Yes.. yes I do” she sobbed leaning into his shoulder “If its not Skye, it’s Maegan or Anya… now I have to go and sort out Emily”
“Anna it’s alright to take some time for yourself” Christopher reasoned, stroking her head.
“No it isnt’ she sniffed, “Father expects me to re-marry, it’s like everyone assumes I should be done with it. I know what happened last night wasn’t right, but it didn’t feel wrong”