Orrick looked out over the balcony, it wasn’t that he couldn’t have bedded the girl, It was merely that he didn’t want too. She was pretty enough, beautiful even. The truth was any man who said she wasn’t was lying to himself… but here in this house it felt wrong. He had built this house for Nicole, every beam and brick had been chosen for her and every room bore her mark.
Still the young girl he had left back in her chambers was not the only one to have a responsibility to their vows. He had pinned her down so tightly in a marriage contract that afforded her no room for maneuverer, if she did not provide him with children on his death she would get nothing.
So… with that said the least he could do was give the girl chance to fulfil her side of the bargain. He would go back to her shortly he knew he would, he would do his share of the task at hand and even he knew he would enjoy it once it got going. Part of him enjoyed having her around, having someone to lie in his arms but the guilt of that enjoyment would overshadowed the pleasure itself.
“Damn you are an old fool” he declared to the blackness that seeped into the hallway though the narrow windows across the hall.
Suddenly a knock at the front door beneath him , froze him in his place. It was late almost unsociably so while one would now expect a family asleep at the hour it was neither the time for calling nor visiting.
Though the window he could see a shadow but before he could decide if he should descend the stairs he heard the door to the parlour open and the blond soldier came into view. Shrinking into the darkness he watched as the soldier opened the door and heard an exchange of recognisable voices as a woman asked for him.
“It’s late” the soldier reasoned, “His lordship has retired”
“You arnt the steward” the haughty woman replied, “Let me speak with the steward”
“The steward isn’t here” the solider explained.
“In thirty years of knowing the man, I have never known the steward not be here” the woman retorted, “Where is he?” she demanded. The voice was oddly familiar and yet Orrick could not place it, finding him strangely straining to peer through the glass and get a look at her despite with clouded glass and the darkness making the task was impossible.
“Madam may I ask who you are?” the soldier asked his turn now to make a demand. It couldn’t be a noblewoman Orrick realised, the soldier was a brash one that was certain, still he couldn’t imagine the man referring to anyone but a commoner as madam.
“Im his wife! Who the hell are you?”
Orrick paled, he suddenly realised where he knew that voice. “Lynette is that you?” he called down the stairs.
“Yes of course… who else would call upon you this late?”
Rounding the top of the balcony he pulled his robe around himself firmly, “Well truth be told, you haven’t called here in fifteen years” he dared, although his voice did nothing to hide his unsettlement of the situation. To his knowledge Lynette had never once stepped foot in this house. After he and Nicole married the woman did everything in her power to avoid him, this place and most of all his wife.
“Sixteen” she corrected, “But it’s important and I didn’t know who else to call upon”
“Your wife milord?” Orion queried, still seeming unsure as to whether or not he should let her in.
“My ex-wife” he corrected, “You might as well let her in”
“Pah! I only ever had one man to call my husband” Lynette informed him, as she came into view “I guess his lordship needs to re-name us once finished save he gets confused. Rumour has it you’re on your third already?!” her glower accusing.
She was old now her silver hair neatly tied into a bun at top her head, while her eye’s still flickered with the defiance they always had. Those eye’s had been the thing that had attracted her to him all those years ago and even now they still made him tremble at the knee. Oddly he couldn’t help but wonder in that moment if any man had ever had those eye’s look upon him with warmth and love.
“I see nothing gets past you” he grumbled trying to ignore her glare. Damn and blast the woman even after all these years she managed to unsettle him.
“Rumour has it she’s quite the young lady, barely a child?”
“Damnit Lynette did you come here for no other reason than torment me?” he hissed.
“I’m sorry” Lynette apologised “Bailey came home this evening with two young girls… I need your help”
“Bailey.. isn’t he the one that managed to convince Anya to run off with him?”
“Yes but this time it’s different”
“What? He got one of them pregnant this time i guess.. Got an angry father after him have you? Think I can reign him in stop your lad becoming a bloodied mess on the food”
“No Orrick it isn’t like that at all, how dare you suggest…”
“Then what?” he demanded, he could not begin to explain how the mere appearance of the woman always riled him. Once or twice a year he’d lay eye’s on her out in the village, usually as his coach rode past the street upon which she walked. Every time he found himself wanting to burst from the coach and give her a beating for nothing more than existing.
Still the truth was after they had parted she had at least had the decency to leave him and Nicole alone. While he knew all three of their children together kept close contact with her the only time she bothered him was by letter and those occasions where few and far between. In fact he couldn’t even remember the last time she had written…. Even at Christophers funeral, she’d not intruded.
“The two girls are runaways from Hamdun castle” she explained, “They had a sister but she didn’t make it… I know… I mean Raeanne tells me that your relationship with the Hamduns has degraded somewhat, but I thought if anyone could separate them from their indenturment it would be you”
“They are servants from the castle?” he queried.
“Yes… well at least their mother is.. or at least was Gabriels mistress. She ran with them, but got re-captured. I don’t know if she’s still alive”
“Gabriel isn’t likely to sell them to me” he reasoned.
“I understand that, but if I keep them here and they are found….. “ her voice trailed off. She didn’t need to finished harbouring runaways was a serious crime one from which even Orrick could not save her if Gabriel found out.
“There is not much I can do bar return them” he decided, he didn’t want that to be the answer but there few other options.
“Oh Orrick!” the old woman exclaimed, “They are girls.. and after you know what he is doing to Maegan, how can you stand by?”
“What do you know of it?”
“My girls still talk to me” Lynette reasoned, “While you may not pay any attention to my life, I pay heed to yours”
“I’m sorry I’m not sure what else to suggest… I could possibly get audience with Daniel, but I doubt he will do anything but return them himself”
“Orrick they are just girls… they have been though unspeakable things. Please don’t do this”
“Damnit Lynette what do you expect me to do?”
“Be a man!” she retorted.
Suddenly he found his hand coming around in a wide arch to slap her, but before it reached its mark the solider moved catching his wrist before it landed. “Sorry Milord, I can’t have you hitting a woman” Orion explained apologetically. Orrick’s anger flared momentarily facing off against the big man and his impudence, but only until the realisation hit that the man was right.
Damnit the woman always infuriated him.
“Leave it with me, I’ll think on it” he decided turning to leave. “I’ll call on you in the morning”
“Thankyou” she replied genuinely.
He’d only got a few steps away when he suddenly turned a question burning within him. “Lynette … I didn’t see you at Christopher’s funeral, you would have been welcome you know. You where his mother”
She smiled grateful and nodded her head. “Thank you… but I didn’t need a funeral” he paused momentarily confused. “I wasn’t saying goodbye to an empty box” She explained “When I can hold him then and only then, will I say goodbye”