The Pocket Watch(16)

By: Ceci Giltenan

Maybe she was lady-in-waiting or something to Lady Carr, but that seemed unlikely too. Surely she wouldn’t be out riding with Logan if she was meant to be a companion or personal assistant or—whatever a lady-in-waiting was—to his mother.

Lady Carr also said it would be disastrous if something happened to Margaret while in their care. What did that mean? Maggie would feel terrible if the Carrs suffered some serious consequence as a result of Margaret’s irresponsible behavior.

Perhaps it would be best if she stayed here long enough to know exactly what would happen to the Carrs when she did leave. There might be a way to make sure her death couldn’t be blamed on them.

~ * ~

That evening, Logan sat at the head of the table brooding. He was having trouble grasping todays turn of events. Margaret, the woman he dreaded marrying, had nearly gotten herself killed and had lost all her memories in the process. He offered up a prayer of thanksgiving that she wasn’t hurt, and perhaps it was churlish of him, but he also thanked God for the change in her personality for however long it might last.

His grandmother, who sat on his right, said, “Logan, what has ye so preoccupied this evening? Has the shrew soured yer mood again?”

His grandmother was not one to mince words and frankly, for the last few weeks if he was out of sorts, Margaret was nearly always the cause. However, this evening it wasn’t her nasty disposition that had him brooding. “Did ye hear what happened today, Grandmother?”

“Aye, the lass nearly killed herself and her mount, but wound up only being thrown on her arse.”

“That she did, but she can’t remember anything now and…well, she’s changed.”

“A thump on the head couldn’t possibly bring about enough of a change to make her tolerable.”

Logan’s lips twitched as he tried to hold back a smile. “Grandmother, please.”

“Please what? I have no idea why ye tolerate her. Burn the betrothal and send her back to her da with the ashes.”

“Ye know I can’t do that.”

“Can’t do what?” asked his mother, who sat on his grandmother’s other side.

“I told him he should have done with that mean-spirited, wee shrew, and send her back to her da.”

“Nay, Agnes, he certainly cannot do that,” said his mother. “The betrothal was signed years ago. It would be a terrible insult to the Grants.”

His grandmother frowned. “My son signed those papers before meeting the lass. If he were still alive, and could see the kind of woman she is, I’ll warrant he’d agree with me. We don’t need the Grants as allies that badly.”

Logan shook his head. “Grandmother, while we may not need them overmuch as allies, we don’t want them as enemies. Mother’s right. Failing to honor the betrothal would likely result in a feud we can ill afford.”

His grandmother harrumphed. “Well, if that brainless twit goes and gets herself killed it will be worse. He won’t just be insulted, he’ll seek immediate retribution. Yer grandfather never trusted the Grants.”

He smiled indulgently at his grandmother. “I know, but that’s why Da sought the betrothal—to limit the threat they posed.”

His mother nodded her agreement. “So there will be no more talk of breaking the betrothal and we must ensure her safety going forward.”

Logan frowned. “Mother, do ye think I would have risked her life intentionally?”

“Nay, of course not, but if she isn’t going to heed ye, she mustn’t be allowed to ride.”

He shrugged. “I don’t think we have to worry about that until her memory returns. She seems terrified of horses now.”

His grandmother harrumphed again. “Well, if she has indeed changed, and the good Lord is smiling on us, her memory never will return.”

As unkind as it might be, Logan prayed the same thing.

Chapter 5

Maggie woke very early the next morning. For a moment she thought it had all been a dream. Then she opened her eyes. Canopy, carved bed, stone walls—not a dream; she was definitely in the thirteenth century. She stretched and groaned at the painful reminder of being thrown from a horse yesterday and breaking her ribs. She climbed out of bed gingerly to avoid another sharp stab of pain.