The Pocket Watch(13)By: Ceci Giltenan
As they approached the gate in the wall, Maggie could barely contain her awe.
A man who appeared to be on guard duty at the gate called, “I was just about to send out men looking for ye, sir. I didn’t expect ye to be gone so long.”
“We had a little mishap. Lady Margaret was thrown from her horse.”
The guard lifted an eyebrow, looking almost pleased. “Was she? Is the beast injured?”
Maggie grimaced inwardly, remembering the things the man had said to her, Ye’ve made it painfully clear that ye would prefer to have nothing to do with Clan Carr in general, and me specifically. Ye have shown us nothing but disdain. Embarrassed, she avoided looking at the guard.
Her companion answered, “Nay, the horse is well but Lady Margaret was injured. Would ye send for Bearnas?”
“Certainly,” said the guard. He didn’t show the remotest bit of concern for her.
As they rode into the bailey, her companion called, “Broc, see to our mounts please.”
“Aye, sir.” Broc approached, taking Robin’s reins.
Her companion dismounted. He stood beside the horse, looking up at her. “I’m going to lift ye down now.”
Maggie nodded but stiffened, bracing herself. His hands encircled her waist. He was exceedingly gentle, but pain shot through her ribs nonetheless. She clenched her teeth to keep from groaning.
He stood her on the ground but didn’t remove his hands. “Are ye all right?”
“Aye, I’m fine.”
“Margaret, ye don’t lie well.”
“I…my ribs hurt, but I’m fine.”
He looked at her with what seemed to be a mixture of concern and confusion. “Well, let’s get ye inside.”
They entered the keep and it was all Maggie could do to keep from staring in wide-eyed amazement. The walls were stone, but the ceiling and floors were wooden. The hall was bustling with activity. It looked as if they were preparing to serve a meal. She smiled to herself, remembering a “medieval banquet” she had attended on a vacation to Ireland. It had been fun, but nothing like this—although a cup of mead wouldn’t go amiss. Her ribs were throbbing.
A beautiful older woman who seemed to be directing things looked in their direction. “Oh, son, ye’re back. We were growing concerned.” She swept across the room towards them.
“I’m sorry ye worried, Mother. We were delayed a bit. Lady Margaret was thrown from her horse.”
“Oh my. Margaret, dear, are ye injured?”
“I’ll be fine, my lady, thank ye.” My lady? Where did that come from?
The woman’s eyebrows shot up in obvious shock. She looked at her son as if seeking an explanation. Perhaps that hadn’t been the right way to address the woman.
“She has broken ribs, Mother. I’ve sent for Bearnas.”
His mother looked concerned. “Broken ribs? Margaret, ye must be in pain. Bearnas will have a potion for ye. The best thing ye can do now is go to yer chamber and rest.”
Her son nodded. “Aye. We’ll send Bearnas up as soon as she arrives.”
“Ye’re worried for nothing. I am fine,” Maggie assured them.
“Nay, lass, ye really do need to rest,” said the older woman. “Go to yer chamber, and I’ll be up shortly.”
Well, it looked like Maggie was going to have to pretend to have amnesia after all. She stood still for a few moments before saying, “I’m not sure where it is.”
Logan stared at Margaret in disbelief. “What do ye mean, ye’re not sure where it is? It hasn’t moved.”
His mother jumped to the heart of the problem, asking, “When ye fell, did ye hit yer head, lass?” her tone was laced with concern.
Margaret gave a small nod. “Aye, my lady.”
His mother frowned. “Do ye know yer name?”
“I’ve been calling ye Margaret. Do ye know yer clan name?” asked Logan.
“I’m not a Carr?”
Logan was dumbfounded. “Nay, lass, ye aren’t. Do ye know my name?”
She shook her head.
His mother gasped, her hand flying to her mouth. “Blessed Mother. She’s lost her memory. I’ve heard of it happening with a blow to the head.”