Chapter 13

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The cool bright morning caught the Keep in its normal bustle, as it's people attended  to their daily work. Breakfast was served and as always the greathall was buzzed with all of its occupants. Aidan sat with his father and his men and broke their fast.

"And Duncan?, is he not eating with us?," Ardolf  questioned Aidan.

"He ate early and left, milord" Moira said as she came close to serve them.

Looking at each other it was odd that he would miss the morning meal with them.

"Do you know why he ate early, Moira?" Aidan asked.

"Nay, he was in quite a hurry this morn." Moira turned towards the kitchens with an empty tray.

Thinking to himself, Ardolf continued eating in silence listening to Aidan.

When they were all nearly done , Moira came back out of the kitchens and refilled more trays with food and picked up empty plates.

"And Tara? Moira, How does she fare?," Ardolf asked with concern.

"Her fever has gone, milord twas fever probably from getting wet in the horrible storm, the poor lass was wet to the bone." Moira clucked.

"Do you think Duncan could be avoiding Tara, Father?" Aidan grinned.

"I was getting to that notion." Ardolf pointed out.

The fact that his brother was all out of sorts because of a mere girl, brought a mischievous smile to his lips.

"Whatever it is you are conjuring up, you best not do it or think it," Ardolf pointed at Aidan with a warning tone.

Aidan's innocent looking face stared at his father. "What ? I am not conjuring up a thing."

" I am off to see what my brooding brother is up to." Aidan stood and gave a quick bow to his father, picking up a piece of bread from his bowl he turned and left the greathall  with his men following.

☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

It was morning, she breathed.

Today was the one day out of many that she refused to meet the morning with a happy smile. She refused to even let the idea of getting up cross her mind . The intrusive rays of sunlight gleemed through the window making her close her eyes tighter to keep out the light. Turning she faced the other direction turning her back to the intrusive light .
"I must find a way out of here." she thought.

The simple idea played in her head .

Last night was the kind of a blur, all she remembered was Duncan that brute and how they fought. The aggravating pig was the last person on earth she wanted to see today the sheer thought of his kiss made her want to scream.

He was an unbearable , arrogant jackass.  She could not understand what made him tick , definitely not a heart.

Her very thought and plans for an escape were interrupted by a knock on the door. Not willing to see anyone, Tara bored deeper into the sheets and turned her head the other way.  The door creaked opened as Moira walked in with a tray of delicious sweet smelling food.

Humming softly, she walked over to the window and opened it.

Soft chirps from bird along with the morning fresh smelling air tinged the room with early morning dew passed her.

A second knock at the door was Erwina along with two other girls toting a bath along with pails of warm water.

Kneeling over the bath Moira dipped a  finger in the water testing it for its warmth,  with an approving nod, the girls turned and walked out leaving  Erwina to help Moira with the rest of the chores.

The water was perfumed and waited for Tara.

Slowly Moira walked over to the bed and gently pulled over the covers.

" Lass are you awake?"  she whispered.

Gently touching Tara's   shoulder she leaned closer.

" Please I don't feel like getting up," Tara pleaded with a soft voice.

" You must child , t'is   morning and I brought something for you to eat. "  Moira urged.

" I'm not hungry,"
it was a lie . she berated  herself

she was starving to death .but ,she did not want to be bothered.

"There is a warm bath waiting for you lass,"  Erwina chimed with a sweet convincing voice.

No answer came from Tara as she ignored them.  It was hopeless they thought with more than a sigh, Moira placed a light beige color gown on the bed.

" Very well we, will bother you no more."  Moira assured her.

The women left Tara with the last of a click of a shutting door

"Do you think she will at least eat something Moira?"  Erwina looked at the her saddened eyes.

"I do hope she does , she has not eaten a meal since last night,"  Moira noticed.

They descended into the Great Hall blending into the rest of the servant girls and helped along with their chores.

☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

Steel clashed with steel each of them battle the other. Loud claps of steel and go to cross the field as the remaining on-lookers stood and watched their fellow men practice. far on the other side of the field gray eyes were hooded looking at every move of his men. Duncan's mine was not only on the training of his men, but on the girl that would not leave his mind. His every turn and thought since last night could not forget her. Rubbing the very spot where she smacked him brought a dangerous smirk to his lips.

"She did have strength for a little chit,"  he nursed rubbing his cheek in thought.

Those eyes spoke of a promising, yet troublesome future between them.  he thought.

Her lips were so soft, untouched by no other. he wondered at the way she stiffened in his arms.  He unnerved  and he loved it. 

Her unskilled response to his kiss told him that much.  He chuckled to himself as he touched his fingers to his lips.

But, she loathed him like no other which is a danger.

He shook his head he needed to stay far away from her . He thought.

" How dare she be so tempting ," he fumed tightening his fists.

He was entirely grateful for his sense of control and willpower.  Because, without either he would have done the unthinkable. His jaw clenched and his body stiffened to the vision of her surrendering to him.

"Are they bad?"  Aidan interrupted thoughts with a mischievous smile. He knew his brother was thinking of Tara.

Looking towards his brother he saw the smirk on on Aidans face.

That impish smile infuriated him.

Shaking his head, Duncan sighed.

"What do you want now Aidan? do you plan you days out to frustrate me?" Duncan turned to walk off. He was frustrated both mentally and sexually and his brother did not help the situation.

"No, not every day, just some of my days," he grinned following at Duncan's heels.

"And if there is a good reason," he added.

"Dont pester me," Duncan turned giving Aidan a warning glare.

Leaning up a nearby post with crossed arms he watched his brother continue to walk off.

"She is a tough one is she not?" Aidan called out.

Duncan brushed off the question and continued to walk off.

"She certainly hits very hard for a small lass," Aidan grinned and stood silently staring at Duncans back as he stopped mid stride.

Duncan turned to face Aidan with a sharp glare only to be met with an impish triumpant grin from ear to ear.

With a sharp oath, Duncan turned and stormed off.
The jackdaw heard them.

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