Highland Echoes:Fated Hearts 02(127)

By: Ceci Giltenan


As the cheering died down again Laird Sutherland said, “We will begin the meal shortly and while, very technically, this is Bram and Grace’s wedding supper, we will formally celebrate their union         and our alliance with Clan Sinclair with a great feast on Lammas in just over a fortnight.”

A roar of appreciation rose from the crowd.

“Wiww you be hewe then?” Kristen asked Annice.

“Aye, pet, we are staying here until then. We have only just found ye, we aren’t ready to leave ye yet.” Annice gave the wee lass a hug.

Michael was inordinately happy to learn that Annice Sinclair would be at Castle Sutherland for a while longer.

*

Grace leaned over and whispered, “Did ye know he was going to do that?”

“What? Apologize or announce a celebratory feast?”

“Both, I guess.”

“I had a suspicion there would be a feast, particularly in light of our new bond with the Sinclairs. I didn’t know he was going to apologize, but I’m glad he did.”

Grace appeared to become less ill at ease as the meal progressed. When the sweet had been served, she glanced to the end of the table where a very sleepy Kristen sat with Annice. “I need to take Kristen home and put her to bed.”

“Grace, this is yer home now. We can put her on a pallet in our chamber until we sort everything out.”

“But my grandmother—”

“Will have a place here too. Don’t worry.”

He reached around her, tapping his father’s arm. “Da, please excuse us, we need to put Kristen to bed.”

“Ah, now I’m glad ye mentioned that. Yer mother has been busy all afternoon. Rodina, my love, it is time.”

Grace looked a bit confused. Bram whispered, “Don’t worry so,” and kissed her. “I’ll get Kristen.”

He lifted Kristen from her chair. “Say goodnight, my sweet wee lassie.”

“Good night, but I’m not tired,” she said, resting her head on his shoulder.

He smiled. “I can see that, but Gran has a surprise to show us.”

They followed his parents from the room and up the stairs to the living quarters. Instead of stopping on the first level, where his chamber was, they continued to the second.

His mother explained. “I wanted ye to feel at home and I know Kristen has been in the habit of sleeping near ye. Innes and I discussed it this afternoon and decided it would be best to give ye adjoining rooms. One has been prepared for Innes and Kristen and the other for ye and Bram. Ye’ll have privacy but still be close.”

She showed them to the richly appointed chambers. “I had all of yer belongings brought up from the cottage. Yer loom has been moved to my solar, it gets excellent natural light. And Bram, I had yer belongings moved as well.”

“Thank ye, my lady. These rooms are beautiful,” Grace said.

“Ye are very welcome Grace, and ye needn’t call me ‘my lady’. Rodina is fine, or even Mother if ye wish.”

Bram kissed his mother on the cheek. “Thank ye, Mother.”

She smiled, clearly happy that they were pleased. “Now, Eanraig, we need to give them privacy. Good night, my darlings.” Kristen was almost asleep in Bram’s arms. His mother kissed the child’s cheek, gave Innes a quick hug, and took both of Grace’s hands in hers, kissing her on each cheek. Turning to her husband, she said, “Eanraig, I said we need to go.”

“Aye, Rodina, whatever ye wish.” He nodded to them. “Good night.” He called over his shoulder as they walked away, “oh, never fear, I had Father Damian bless the bed.”

Bram laid a sleeping Kristen on the bed and kissed her forehead. Grace removed the child’s shoes and outer dress before tucking her in. “Grandmother, are ye sure this is all right with ye?”

“Grace, lass, of course it is. I can think of nothing better than spending the rest of my years helping to tend my great-grandchildren and being pampered a bit myself.”

Grace hugged her grandmother. “Then we’ll say goodnight.”

Bram kissed Innes on the cheek, making her smile and blush.

When they reached the door of their chamber, he scooped Grace into his arms, capturing her lips with his.