I didn't go down for dinner. I changed into a nightgown and curled up in my bed. I stared into the fireplace. It was empty and I was getting cold.

"I'm coming in," Elvira said from the other side of my door.

I didn't react as she unlocked my door with the master key Bryant had given her. She went over to my fireplace and started a fire for me. Then she walked to sit beside me but I didn't budge. She sighed and lifted me by my shoulders so she could get in the bed and I could put my head in her lap.

"Tell me what happened, Megan," she whispered.

"No," I said.

"Tell me. Thomas is most upset. Ewan Kinsley came by to speak with him. He said you attacked him for no reason. He is threatening to go to the Constable."

I shook my head. "He wouldn't let go of my hand," I said. "Then he kissed me. He-He wouldn't let me go, Elly! He took my hair out of the bun. I thought he would- And then I got the dagger out and hit his shoulder with the butt of the dagger." I shut my eyes as she ran her fingers through my hair. "I got so scared."

She sighed. "I was afraid something like that had happened," she admitted.

"I'm sorry I yelled at you," I said as tears fell. "He just seemed like such a kind man."

"You are a very beautiful young woman, Megan," Elvira said. "There are men who will pursue you in earnest and there are men who won't. Just because two men have done something inappropriate, it doesn't mean they all will."

I shook my head again. "I'm done, Elly. I can't."

"You may realize you are going to change your mind," she whispered. "For now, let's go tell Thomas what really happened."

"Do I have to?" I mumbled.

"Yes, sweetheart."

I sighed and got out of bed, following her downstairs where Thomas was standing still, his arms crossed. When I told him, he pinched the bridge of his nose. He didn't say anything for a few minutes then he hugged me.

"I'm sorry I hurt him," I muttered and, to my surprise, he chuckled.

"No you're not," he said and I smiled a little.


The house was buzzing. Bryant and Lauren would be returning and we wanted everything to be perfect. At noon, they walked in and Elvira threw her arms around her brother. I hugged Lauren.

They both had gotten tanner and looked as if they had the time of their lives. I picked up Lauren's suitcase and took it up to their room, Thomas bringing Bryant's.

"So?" Bryant asked me at dinner. "Have you-?"

"Not now," Elvira interrupted and he looked confused.

"How was London?" I asked and Lauren beamed.

"Oh, it was beautiful, Megan! You'll have to go one of these days! They have the most exotic foods and the people are... interesting."

Bryant laughed. "In other words, they were terribly rude."

I laughed, too. "What was your favorite part?"

As they recounted their tale, I smiled. It was nice to have them back. It was even better to hear of the good time they had. After all they went through to get married, it was about time they enjoy themselves. Suddenly, Lauren cleared her throat at Bryant.

"What?" I asked when Bryant shifted uncomfortably.

Lauren smiled sheepishly. "We-" She cleared her throat. "Well, we're pregnant."

My jaw dropped and Elvira squealed. She jumped out of her chair and hugged Lauren so tightly I was afraid the poor woman would burst. Thomas grinned and reached over to shake Bryant's hand.

"Congratulations," I said, hugging them both. "What are you hoping for?"

Lauren smiled and put her hand on her belly.

"I want a boy," she said and Bryant shook his head.

"No," he said. "I'm telling you. It's going to be a girl and she's going to be as beautiful as her mother."

I giggled. "This is wonderful!"

"Megan has some exciting news, too," Thomas said and I turned pink.

"I'm going to be the new principal at the schoolhouse," I said in a rush and Bryant laughed.

"I knew you'd do it!" he said. "It was either that or the forge with Thomas."

"Someone beat me to it," I said with a pout.

We spent the rest of the evening celebrating their pregnancy. Elvira and Lauren chattered away about babies while Bryant confided in Thomas that he was scared out of his wits. I sat in silence, poking at my cake. I wanted to join in but this last week had been miserable.

The Constable had come by twice to talk about what happened with Ewan. Finally, he believed my side of the story. However, Ewan was trying to keep Morgan from visiting. She was just as upset as I was. He was pulling the family card, though. I told her to listen to her brother. Family was more important.

"But you are my family, Megan!" she argued.

"We should pack up to head home," Thomas said suddenly.

Bryant frowned. "No. Stay another night."

"I'd like to go back," I muttered.

"Megan, what's wrong?" Bryant asked and I kissed their cheeks.

"Now I'll never get to marry you," I said and he laughed.

I waved goodbye to everyone and packed up quickly. I left before Elvira and Thomas. They knew I wanted time alone, though. Between the Constable, Morgan, and a few people who heard of the incident, I didn't get a lot of time to myself.

I put my cloak on and shouldered my bag. I walked slowly. It had begun to snow and I lifted my face to the sky.

"Miss Buckley?"

I squeaked and slipped on the ice, falling to the ground with a heavy thud. I groaned, rubbing my back.

"I'm sorry!" Silas said, running over to me. "Oh jeez. Are you all right?"

"Yes," I panted, the wind having been knocked out of me. "I just wasn't expecting anyone out at this late hour."

He laughed. "Yes, the same could be same for me."

He helped me to my feet and I rubbed my butt.

"Goodness," I said. I cleared my throat. "Well, thank you for helping me up."

"Are you walking to your house?"

I nodded. "Bryant and Lauren have returned."

"Where is your brother and Elvira?"

"They're staying another night," I shrugged and walked off.

"Well, let me walk with you," he said, hurrying to catch up with me. "There's a rumor that Ewan Kinsley is upset with you."

I rolled my eyes. "Don't worry, Mr. McGregor. I made sure Mr. Kinsley knows that he can't attack me."

He smirked. "Oh yeah? What really happened?"

I told him and he threw his head back and laughed.

"I'm sorry," he said, chortling. "It's despicable that he did that without your consent, but it would have been a sight to see you beat him."

I shrugged. "I guess now it's humorous."

We got to the house and I smiled.

"Thank you for walking me home."

"Of course," he said. "Good evening, Miss Buckley."

"And you, Mr. McGregor."

I walked into the house and immediately started a fire. I shivered and stood in front of it until I warmed up. The house felt strange, being so empty. I kept the door unlocked in case Thomas and Elvira decided to come back tonight and went to bed.

"I'm going to kill her, Megan," Daniel taunted.

"You can't kill Miss Elly!"

Elly's throat was bleeding. She looked at me, her arm reaching out to me. Her eyes were terrified and I tried to run to her. The more I ran, the farther away she got. I started to sob more. I couldn't reach her. Then Daniel appeared in front of me, a bloody dagger in one hand and the paddle in the other. He was smirking.

"Pretty little Megan," he said. "Come to my lap. You've been a bad child."

I screamed as he advanced.

"Jesus Christ, wake up!" a voice said. "Ow!"

I opened my eyes, panting. I had slapped whoever was touching me. Silas stumbled back, rubbing his cheek.

"I'm so sorry," I breathed. I covered my chest. "How did you- What are you doing here?"

"I heard you screaming again," he said, still rubbing his cheek. "Good Lord. Where did you learn to hit so hard?"

"I'm sorry I woke you again," I mumbled.

"You didn't," he said slowly. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," I said. "I'd walk you to the door but I'm not very...." My eyes widened. "Oh Lord," I groaned, covering my face.

He laughed a little. "Your body is still a secret," he said. "But are you all right, Miss Buckley?"

"Yes, I'm fine," I sighed. "Thank you for waking me up."

"Do you want me to go get your brother?" he asked.

I ran a hand through my hair.

"No. He'll just feel responsible and I don't want that. I'll be okay."

He didn't look convinced. "Okay," he said. "But I'm right next door if you need some help."

I smiled a little. "Thank you," I repeated.

He just nodded. "Do you want me to leave the door unlocked?"

"Please. Just in case Thomas and Elvira come back."

He did that salute and left. When the front door shut, I groaned and fell onto my back.

"Damn nightmares," I grumbled.

The End

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