Orrick rolled over sunlight was streaming through the back window and onto the bed, where Ailana still lay naked beside him. He had to admit he had half expected to find her gone or at least dressed a pottering around in the other room and with that thought admission of guilt leaked into his mind.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t very gentlemanly last night” he apologised. He had as he’d intended returned to her and as he’d intended he’d lain with her. What was not as intended was the manner of the event, still furious with his ex-wife he realised he’d been a little more rough with the young woman than he’d planned.
He could scarcely believe how that that woman still got under his skin, sixteen years with Nicole and he’d barely thought of her but the moment she reappeared his sensibility fell apart.
“It wasn’t so bad” Ailana replied, reaching out and touching his chest. “Is that how you like it?”
“I like it many ways” he admitted, “I guess it depends on my mood, but I am sorry if I hurt you”
“You didn’t, im not so fragile” she replied, “You seemed upset?”
“Lynette was here…. “ his voice trailing off as he realised ‘Lynette’ was before the young womans time and chances where she didn’t know the name. “She was my ex-wife”
“I know who she is” Ailana smiled, “She was my mother’s sister, she used to visit her sometimes before she died”
Orrick nodded feeling even more foolish, of course the young woman knew her. While he did like to think Lynettes life had ended when they divorced the truth was if hadn’t and it made sense that she visited with family.
“She hurt you didn’t she?”
“Yes” Orrick nodded, “In ways a young girl like yourself would not understand”
“I’ve had my heart broken” she disagreed.
Remembering Danson he nodded “Perhaps you have”.
“It still hurts after all these years?”
“I guess it does” he admitted, “I don’t know why, I was very happy with Nicole”
“I was hoping the hurt would fade” Ailana replied weakly.
“Let us change the subject” he decided, not wishing to dwell on broken hearts any longer, least of all those that involved that blasted woman.
“Perhaps we could find something to take our mind from it” Ailana replied nervously, her hand slipping down his chest to his hip.
Orrick paused, understanding enough to be confused, he tilted his head as though to get a better reckoning on it.
“Perhaps you can show me another mood” she pressed, her face doing little to hide her embarrassment at what could only be described at her attempt at a direct suggestion of a carnal nature.
Orrick chuckled, it was actually quite endearing thought he couldn’t yet tell if the suggestion was made out of a desire for children and fulfilling obligations or of actual lust, though he suspected the former “Alas my dear, you have bedded an old man.. it takes time for my energy to return so I am going to have to decline. However if you are willing, I will return tonight and perhaps this old man can make effort to find what takes your mood”
Now it was Aliana’s turn to look confused,
“Bless you girl, I fear the only men in your life have been selfish cads, I will endure to rectify that situation this evening” He chuckled, climbing from the bed. He knew she didn’t really understand what he was saying, but he said it anyway.
Grabbing his robe he pulled it on, grateful to hide what an old wreck he was from the girl. Before heading out of the door and into the hallway. The house was painful quiet, he had never known it this way in its sixteen years of existence, even when most of the family where away enough servants ran back and forth to keep it busy.
Heading towards the kitchen he suddenly considered thoughts of food, but with no servants in the house who would be there to cook it. The faint waft of toast lingered on the air and he let out a sigh of relieve, at least someone had got the oven going, because he was buggered if he knew how to do it. Pushing open the door to the dining room he froze to find it not as he expected, Orion sat at the table three dark haired men beside him.
“Lord Vaux” Orion smiled standing and bowing slightly as the other three did the same. “I hope you didn’t mind but I asked some friends to come and help.
Orrick looked past the men at too the table where the men sat tucking into what looked to be toast and egg. “I don’t if there is some food to spare” he smiled.
“Yes of course” Orion smiled, “It isn’t much im afraid, just eggs and toast”
“No matter” Orrick grinned, taking the plate he was past and settling down besides them “It looks fine, I dare say I’ve eaten worse in many a roadside tavern.. is there some for my wife?”
“I can have a tray sent” Orion agreed.
“No rush she isn’t dressed, I dare say she needs a few minutes” he replied, turning to look at the three men. “Now you two I recognise.. from the tavern am I right?” he asked looking at two of the men.
“Yes Milord, I’m Forrest and my friend here is Deonte” the older of the two replied “But of course you’ll know him since he’s raising Chris’s boy’s”
The younger man suddenly shot his friend a harrowing glare and Orrick found himself momentarily stunned. “The maids boys?” he asked, when he finally found sense to do so.
“Yes Milord, We didn’t think you knew” Deonte ventured.
“Oh I always knew” Orrick sighed, “It’s why I arranged the big house on the corner for you. How are they?”
“Their grand Milord, Just grand.. they are good lads”
“Good” Orrick nodded, “Well now we have the uncomfortableness out of the way, you make sure you see me if they ever need anything. It seems Christopher’s bastards are all I have left, so I would see them taken care of”
“Yes milord, of course sir.. but we manage well enough”
“I know you do” Orrick smiled, “Your rent is never late… so Forrest which estates do you live on”
“And you?” he asked the third “Also a name if you have one”
“Gadrick” the man smiled, “I’m between estates right now, just going where Orion sends me”
“Don’t let him fool you” Orion chuckled, “He’s barely been out of the mountain since Chris disappeared, bin lookin for him you see”
“Has there been any sign?” Orrick asked hopefully.
“Not yet Milord, but there’s no sign he’s dead neither so I’m not for giving out hope”
“Lar’s has scoured those mountain’s, none know them the way he does”
“No offence sir, but none know Chris like I do and he’s too fucking stubborn to die”
Orrick found himself taken back, how was it this man claimed to know his own son better than he did and he didn’t even know his name. “And who are you to know my son so well?” he demanded.
“I met him on the mainland” Gadrick replied, “We fought together… When he came back, I came back with him… doing odd jobs and the like”
“I take it by that you doing mean fixing the plumbing?”
“Not exactly sir… He had me watching Baron Dacre for a while, making sure he was fit to be marrying his little sister…. That sort of thing. I guess you could say I stay did the jobs and Chris didn’t want to publicly admit too”
Orrick frowned, but Orion cut in. “There was no man more loyal to your son sir. Gadricks a good sort … a bit cloak and dagger for the tastes of many but he gets jobs done”