Silent Vows (Page 43)

Silent Vows (MacCoinnich Time Travel Trilogy #2)(43)
Author: Catherine Bybee

Ian said nothing as he poured generous portions of Scotch in two glasses and handed one to him. One thing Todd knew, the impending conversation with Myra’s father would be the one where Ian would determine Todd’s worth. A quick comparison of meeting the parents in the twenty-first century didn’t hold a candle to this encounter. A spark of humor mixed with the tightly woven anxiety sitting on his chest. A slight grin tempted the corners of his mouth.

As Ian flicked a hand toward the hearth and the coals caught fire, Todd thought of it as the Druid way of flexing one’s muscles.

It worked.

Minutes ticked by while the men drank and stared into the flames. At first, Ian clearly wanted to intimidate him. Yet as Todd relaxed into his seat, he glanced and noticed Ian’s jaw lose its twitch and his breathing evened out.

What a bitch of a day.

Todd let the Scotch trickle a path of fire down his throat, thankful for its numbing effect.

“I didn’t want to send her to your time.” Ian broke the silence. “But when faced with her death in ours, we had little choice.”

“I imagine I would do the same if I had a child.”

Todd stared into his cup.

“The bruise on your eye, how did you come by it?” He had almost forgotten about Fin’s fist greeting him that very morning. It seemed so long ago. “Fin.”

Ian’s lips curved slightly.

“Would you like to blacken the other?”

“To serve what purpose?”

“Oh, I don’t know—make you feel better?”

Ian grunted, drank his Scotch. “It might be difficult for you to hit a target with that gun of yours if your vision is blurry.”

“Later, then?”

Ian laughed. “Maybe.”

They finished their drinks in silence, each coming to terms with the other.

Todd put his glass down and stood to leave, “Are we finished here?”

Ian held him up for a few more minutes. “Sir Blakely…”

“It’s Todd.”

“Nay, while you are here and looking at my daughter the way you do, you are Sir Blakely. I will not have Myra’s virtue questioned or your intentions.” He paused as if waiting for Todd to explain his intentions.

Truth was, Todd wasn’t sure what his intentions were. He was damn happy to be in the same century with Myra again, but beyond that, he hadn’t given it more thought.

Instead of talking of the future, Todd explained where he was at that very minute. “I am not ashamed of my relationship with your daughter, and neither is she from what I can tell.”

“But it will not continue here in this time, the way it did in yours.”

Todd wanted to argue, but thought twice before he opened his mouth. Instead, he nodded his understanding and let himself out.

Myra jumped to her feet when Todd walked into the room.

“Tomorrow will be a busy day.” Ian gave his orders for them both to seek their beds without using the words.

“I will show Todd to his chambers,” Myra stated.

Ian paused and looked at the two of them, pivoted and left the room.

Chapter Fifteen

Finally alone, Myra turned to Todd and offered him a smile. She looked different. It wasn’t just because the dress she wore swept the floor when she moved, or how her hair was piled up and folded between materials. It reminded him of a style he’d seen in movies, ones he’d reluctantly watched. No, here she seemed older. No, not older—more confident.

She looked confident because she was on familiar turf. He hadn’t seen this part of her at his home. There she was always uncertain and apprehensive. This was her time, her place, and it showed, from the way she addressed the servants, to how she spoke to her family. This was where Myra MacCoinnich belonged, not in some two bedroom bungalow in Orange County, California, but here, in a castle straight out of a fairytale.

In a castle befitting a Lady.

The tables had turned, and he now felt out of place, unsure of how he should act. Lady Myra MacCoinnich was way out of his league.

“How are you doing?” Myra nodded to the stairs her father had just used. “I pray he didn’t threaten you, did he?”

“Your father is only watching out for you.”

“And this?” She touched the bruise on his face.

“Is this Fin’s work?”

“Big brothers have a right to defend their sisters.” It was in the Codebook of Guy.

“But still…”

“It’s fine. Doesn’t hurt at all,” he lied.

“I missed you.”

He thought of the nights he didn’t sleep after she left. “I missed you, too.”

She moved closer. He pulled away. The hurt expression crossing over her face made him feel like crap. “I think we should get some sleep.” His eyes traveled up the stairs then back to her. The last thing he needed was to add homeless to his list of problems.

A small noise from above reminded them they were being watched. She frowned, looked behind them, then walked him to his room.

Duncan and Fin began Todd’s training between trips out of the Keep to investigate Grainna’s whereabouts. Snow dusted the ground, making their task harder. The tracks that once led into the forest were indiscernible, now. Grainna and Steel were nowhere to be seen. “It’s as if she’s disappeared into thin air.” Todd scrubbed his hand over his face as he walked to the bailey to train with the brothers. “Have all the cottages surrounding the Keep been searched, now?”

Although the brothers never treated him with disrespect, Todd still felt the weight of their disapproval. Forced into the situation as it was, they had little choice but to accept him.

“Aye. We’ve checked and rechecked over the past week to make certain Grainna didn’t occupy them.”

“There’s nothing to do. The villagers were told to report any strangers, especially ones matching the description we gave ‘em.” Fin added.

Todd took a practice swing with the broadsword.

He’d been relieved most of their training happened in private, away from the other knights. At first, he could hardly hold a sword in one hand, let alone use the thing. Within the first week, he wielded it with some skill, knowing he’d be dead in ten minutes in a true fight.

He grinned to himself as he swirled it over his head, because despite only a little more than a week’s training, he managed to wield it nonetheless.

His introduction to the other knights had been formal and vague. Apparently the MacCoinnich’s men were well versed in the art of looking past the family’s secrets.