The Pocket Watch(19)

By: Ceci Giltenan


“Why would ye do that?”

“I don’t know, Logan. Why would I ride my horse flat out on unfamiliar ground when ye had warned me not too? I can’t explain it. From where I stand now, it was pure stupidity and hiding the fact that I understand Latin is equally as stupid. It serves no purpose that I can see.”

He considered her for a moment, but appeared to accept the explanation. Maggie was thankful for that, but it was clear she needed to find out why Margaret was living at Castle Carr and what the consequences for the Carrs would be if she were to die. Maggie wanted to get home before she made another major gaff and they began to suspect her of being a witch or something.

When they had reached the keep, Logan let go of her arm and gave her a little bow. Not sure of what to do, she gave a slight nod of her head and stood there.

He frowned. “Do ye need something?”

Yeah. Breakfast.

His mother and grandmother had entered the hall behind them. Lady Davina said, “Margaret, dear, I’m glad ye felt able to attend Mass, but ye should return to bed and rest until dinner.”

Dinner? She hoped that meant lunch, but had they all had breakfast? Maggie thought people fasted from midnight until after Mass even up into the twentieth century. “I…well…I suppose I missed the morning meal.” She could manage without breakfast if she had to but she had hoped to find out more about why she was here.

“Nay, ye haven’t,” said Lady Davina, “but ye aren’t in the habit of eating a morning meal.”

“I’m not?” Evidently no one told Margaret that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

“Nay, ye aren’t, dear. But I will have something sent up to ye if ye wish.”

“I don’t want to be a nuisance. I can eat down here with everyone else…or in the kitchen.”

Logan’s grandmother couldn’t contain her laughter. “Well that would set the kitchen staff on their ears. The high and mighty Lady Margaret, who can’t suffer to take her meals in the great hall with everyone else, deigning to eat in the kitchens.”

Maggie was shocked. Had she understood correctly? Margaret was a guest but didn’t dine with them? “I’ve never eaten with ye in the hall before?”

Lady Agnes said, “Not since yer father left after bringing ye here.”

The heat rose in Maggie’s face; she was acutely embarrassed on Margaret’s behalf. “How long have I been here?”

Logan answered her. “Ye arrived on the Eve of Pentecost.”

That told her very little. Depending on when Easter fell that year, Pentecost might have been anywhere between two and six weeks ago. “How long ago was Pentecost?”

“Ye’ve been here for three weeks, dear,” said Lady Davina, gently.

Maggie gasped. “I’ve taken all of my meals in my chamber for three weeks?” All three Carrs nodded. Once again Maggie found herself apologizing for Margaret’s poor behavior. “I can’t imagine why I was so exceedingly rude but I am sorry.” She had never been so embarrassed and she simply wanted to escape. “I’m very sorry. Please excuse me.”

Maggie started to leave but Logan’s mother put a hand on her shoulder, stopping her. “Margaret, don’t be so hard on yerself. It has been a difficult adjustment. Ye just needed a bit of time.”

“Three weeks is rather more than a bit of time and exactly what have I been adjusting to?”

Logan arched an eyebrow. “Me.”

Him? What did that mean? It only took a split second for her to land on the possible explanation. And to her chagrin less than that for it to fly out of her mouth. “Oh, dear God, are we married?”

Logan gave a mirthless laugh. “Betrothed. But I’m pleased to learn ye’ve forgotten everything but how much ye hate me.”

~*~

From the moment Margaret had fallen off the horse the previous day, Logan had been puzzled. He accepted that a blow to the head might cause memory loss, but Margaret’s entire personality had changed. How was that possible? Still, if her reaction to learning they were betrothed was a glimpse of the old Margaret, her response to his callous comment was not.

“Nay, Logan, I’m sorry. That isn’t what I meant at all. I was just surprised. I guess…I thought…well, yesterday it didn’t seem as if ye liked me very much. I didn’t imagine we were betrothed. Please forgive my disrespect, I truly meant no offense.”