“Lord Hamdun, may I speak with you?” Gaelen asked. He’d been so sure this had been a good idea when he’d left his mother but now he was in front of the lord he was no-longer so sure.
His mother was sure the lord cared for her, that he wanted what was best for her so really a talk between men should be nothing to be nervous of.
“Earl” the older man corrected, “I’m an Earl now”
“Im sorry” Gaelen nodded “Lord Earl… may I speak with you?”
Watching as the older man nodded he began to relax. “It’s about my mother… I know what happened last night”
“Yes.. sir.. your lordship… I wanted to ask for it not to happen again?”
“And why is that?”
“She’s not ready sir… she’s mixed up and she didn’t mean for things to occur the way they did”
“She didn’t seem to be complaining last night?” the lord replied smugly.
“Perhaps not” he agreed, “but I don’t think you were much for listenin”
“Don’t you really? You think I forced her?”
“No milord, but I think you didn’t give her much option… she thinks you care fer her, an im askin that if you do. You’ll leave her alone till she’d ready fer courtin”
“Courting is that what we’re doing?”
“Yes milord, it is isn’t it?”
“I wouldn’t have put it in those words” the lord conceded.
“It doesn’t matter” Gaelen reasoned, “but can you please leave her be?”
“No I don’t believe I can”
“Please Milord, she’s grievin … it isn’t fair to push her so. She doesn’t know how to say no to you”
“That’s as it should be” the lord replied.
“Milord and if your carin at all fer her at all, you’ll let her be”
“You think I care for her?”
“Yes Milord, So she says”
The lord nodded accepting the notion “If that is what she believes, then I see no reason’s to shatter the illusion”
“You don’t care for her then?” Gaelen demanded his heckles rising.
“Your mother is like all of them… a whore” the lord decided, “however she happens to please me”
“She not a whore” Gaelen growled, “She is a grieving woman…. What exactly are your intentions?”
“What do you think they are?” Gabriel reasoned.
“I don’t know” he muttered, suddenly feeling very out of his depth he wasn’t accustomed to dealing with nobility’s and there was something suddenly cold about this man. He had come under the assumption that the Lord cared for his mother that his interest was perhaps a little misguided but was meant with the best of intentions.
“What did you think? That I loved her intended to marry her perhaps??”
“i…. “ Gaelen mumbled.
“Look im going to be blunt your mother is here to keep me happy.. If she does, I will give her a good life. A better one than your father offered her at any rate”
“My father gave her the best life he could” Gaelen reasoned feeling defensive his anger rising. The realisation slowly dawning that whatever this man and his mother had once it was gone, he no-more cared for her now than he cared for some dug he may have stepped in. “I still think you should leave her alone” he dared bravely.
“Did she tell you I’d bought her?” the lord asked. “That she was now my property?”
“No milord she didn’t” he replied as the sickening feeling in her stomach grew.
“Well I did, your sisters too…. So I dare say whatever you may think is now irrelevant”
“I…. and what about me?” he stuttered his thoughts selfishly suddenly darting to Hannah. Aealmead was a long way from her.
“You still belong to Lord Baeumont” he replied, “You will return to your home in the new year”
“And my mother will remain here…. As what? Your mistress?”
“That’s about the jist of it” he smiled.
“What if I tell her …. What if I tell her you don’t care for her?”
“That would be unwise” the lord reasoned, his face stern. “I did mean what I said… as long as she continues to please me I will take care of her”
“What if I don’t think it’s better?” He retorted angrily, “What if I tell her?”
“That would be unfortunate” the lord replied coolly “Did you know in the east, noblemen have haram’s full of women… not a single mistress as is the western practice. The trick is Gaelen, your mother belongs to me now. She will provide for me regardless of what either of you want. However that privilege could easily be extended to your sisters…. Gayle is of age now isn’t she?”
“No she is not!” he growled.
“That’s a shame “Gabriel purred “Then again, I was never much one for rules”