Helena’s head reeled he’d gone quite mad. He stood looking at her as though the whole thing made the most perfect sense. Bought and paid for he intended for her to stay.
“Gabriel …. I…. this its utter madness… what would people think?”
“Who cares what they think?”
“I… this is all too much” she mumbled “I need to think”
Nodding he seemed to accept it, “I did it for the right reason’s you know” he added, “I didn’t buy you like an object, I did it so I could take care of you”
“Yes” she nodded “I know that… I need to go back downstairs. It’s Christmas morning the girls they will wonder where I am”
“Understandable” he agreed and no sooner than he had, she hurried out of the door.
She had hoped, no prayed that the boy’s had not yet ventured out of the room they had been given, but as she arrived at her room she found all of the children waiting for her.
Only Gaelen showed any sign’s of knowing what had transpired. Her hair a mess there no point trying to deny it, her eye’s fell to her feet and suddenly she felt like the child.
“Ma its Christmas!” Gayle chattered excitedly, “Where are the presents?”
Composing herself she managed as smile trying to avoid Gaelen’s icy glare, “In my bag, she replied. They were only simple things, homemade was all she and Stephen could afford but still as her ma always told her it was the thought that counted and she knew the children didn’t expect anything more.
Heading to the bag she reached in, and pulled a few items out handing them around until the only one left was the one for her eldest. “Merry Christmas Gaelen” she whispered handing it to him scarcely brave enough to look up.
Gaelen took it, un-wrapping it roughly to reveal his father’s knife. “Thank you” he replied.
“It was your Da’s he would have wanted you to have it” she reasoned.
“Da would have wanted a great many things” he reasoned cooly, “judgin by the state of you, he ain’t getting many of them”
Unable to bare it she burst into tears.
“Gaelen!!!” Gayle hissed, “Yeh great ninny, why did you do that?”
“It’s alright Gayle” Helena interrupted, “let’s not fight on Christmas”
“I aint” he glowered, turning and thundering away.
It was several hours before she managed to corner her eldest alone, “Gaelen can we talk?” she asked watching as the young boy turned his father’s knife over in his hands.
“Why?” he growled.
“I understand your upset… I didn’t mean for it to happen”
“Then yer shouda kept yer legs closed” he hissed venomously.
“I tried… but things got… complicated, you’re a young man… you don’t understand”
“I understand plenty” he retorted.
“I didn’t mean for it to happen, I didn’t even want for it too….. but he wasn’t listening”
She watched as her son’s face suddenly changed. “Did he force ya Ma?” he growled.
“Well no not exactly”
“Did you say no ma? Pa always said if a girl said no or stop or the such like yer always should. I tease Hannah sometimes but she always know I’ll stop when she means it”
“I told him I wasn’t ready” she reasoned the tears suddenly flooding down her cheeks, “He’s a good man Gaelen but he … I guess…. He just needed me”
“Did you tell him to stop ma?”
“I pushed him away… I told him I didn’t want too… but he was so… and I didn’t want to hurt him” she mumbled.
“I’ve heard enough” Gaelen hissed, standing he tucked his father’s knife into the belt of his pants and headed purposefully towards the door.
“Gaelen what you doing” she panicked, knowing that look on her sons face she raced after him and caught hold of his arm.
“Ma get off me” he growled shaking her free. “Let me deal with this”
“Gaelen please don’t” she begged “He didn’t mean anything by it, he loves me that’s all he always has… “
“Ma, Da would want me to take care of you, now let me deal with this. I ain’t gonna hurt him… just gonna straighten out a few things”
“You can’t!” she retorted, “Your still just a boy and im still your mother”
“No Ma, I’m the man of the house now” he reasoned “His Lordship said that himself”