Chapter 26

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AN - Just a little moment to say, Happy New Year, hope you have a good one wherever you may be! Enjoy the chapter! Az x

Chapter 26

               

                There was an awkward silence that no body wished to break first. The more uncomfortable the situation became, the less likely anyone seemed to want to rectify it. Artair, on the other hand, could not have cared less how anyone else felt at that moment, all he wanted was to get out of it. It was at that moment when he had just managed to think up a plan of action to do just that, when Lord Douglas decided to step up to the mark. Clearing his throat, every eye in the room switched to their direction. “Artair MacKay, may I introduce my daughter, Caroline Douglas, your betrothed.”

               

                He switched his gaze once more back to the girl before him. Her altogether superior expression, he thought, was not something she thought about, it really must have been her natural expression. Shaking his head, he gave her a once over and nodded in her direction. Her smile took on what he thought must have been a supposed alluring quality, and her mother suddenly appeared at her side. Hissing unbecomingly into her ear. Artair really did start to feel for Lord Douglas. For this male to have two such women in his household. It must have driven him to distraction.

               

                Taking pity on the male, he looked away from the shrews before him. “Shall we retire to your study Lord Douglas? I do believe we were about to have a discussion on the betrothal?” Raising an eyebrow with his words, he knew he meant something completely different to what Lord Douglas would believe he did. With a swift nod and a sweep of his arm, Artair pulled on Kendrick’s arm as he passed, silently letting him know that this was not over, not in the slightest.

               

                Without a glance sideways as he passed the hissing women, though he supposed they were actually whispering…or what they classed as it. Clear of the room, he felt a weight lift from his shoulder, and he could breathe for the first time in hours. He could finally voice what he needed to say, and in a few minutes, he could actually be walking out of the door a free man, and taking the chance with the rest which was forming in his mind. Slowly but most assuredly well. Even if he did say so himself. All he had to do was convince Caroline Douglas’ father that he was not the match for her.

               

                The stuffy room they were shuffled into was overly warm, and Artair could feel the sweat popping on his brow and upper lip. He could see the flames in the hearth roaring, the spitting logs making the flames leap a little further once more. His breathing in the warm room was a little difficult, and he looked towards the window longingly, before Lord Douglas graciously waved him over to a comfortable looking chair by the hearth. With a grimace he took the seat, thinking over Douglas’ penchant for waving instead of talking.

               

                “Can I get either of you a drink?” Douglas’ raised a bushy brow, and Artair declined politely, not that he thought the Lord would get the drink himself, it would most likely be some hapless serf that was already overworked by the ladies of the house. Kendrick sat opposite him and it was hard to even look at him, but Artair needed him to know that they would need a very long and possibly painful talk after this. And it was not going to be avoided. Artair would not find himself devoid of the chance to let Kendrick know just how much emotional pain he was going through…but he would show him in a practical demonstration.

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