Early that morning shortly before the sun rose, Lady Abigail, Jason and Mathew appeared at Griffon’s house to fetch Sarah. Griffon, Bear, Martha and the boys all turned out to help. Or at least wish her well, though the youngest were bleary eyed.
Ralph leaned against Martha’s front while her arms hung around the shoulders of Trevor and Travis. Both of whom looked to be sleeping while standing up. The elder boys gave Sarah a polite hug, while Griffon and Bear kissed her cheeks.
“Don’t get yer hopes up too high,” Bear whispered to her, “Phoenix ain’t had the best of luck in love.”
“I know,” Sarah responded quietly,
She wondered if there was anyone who wasn’t going to warn her about Jason. Really they ought to be warning him about her. She turned to Martha. The woman was near tears.
“I know ye haven’t been with us long, but I sure will miss all yer help.”
Sarah hugged her. “I’m sure I’ll come back and visit. You were all so kind to me.” Sarah bent down to give the three boys hugs. She looked around. “Where’s Ryan?"
“Couldn’t get him out of bed,” Martha shrugged.
“Oh,” Sarah frowned slightly before smiling at them. “You all take care okay?” They nodded.
“Come now child,” Lady Abigail called from the carriage.
Jason took Sarah’s hand to help her into the carriage. Just as Sarah was about to step up Ryan appeared in front of her.
“Jesus!” Sarah’s hand went to her heart.
“Good Gods child!” Lady Abigail exclaimed.
Ryan turned beet red and faced Lady Abigail. “Sorry, My Lady” he said before turning back to Sarah. “Sorry,” he said to her, “but I had to get it just right and,” he held out piece of bark on which a picture had been scratched.
Sarah took it and examined the drawing in the early morning light.
“It’s a Willow tree,” he explained, “because well that’s how you got here and how he got here,” his little hand indicated Jason, “and the Gods asked me too. And,” he paused and looked up at Sarah, “you do like it don’t you?”
His puppy-dog eyes and pleading tone would have melted ice. “I love it,” Sarah assured him. “I will cherish it forever.”
Ryan beamed. He leapt at Sarah to hug her. As she caught him Jason placed a hand to her back so she wouldn't fall over. Ryan gave Sarah a big wet kiss to the cheek before clambering down. Looking seriously up at Jason he extended his arm. Amused Jason gripped the boy’s arm as scout to scout.
“You take care of her. I’ll be at your betrothal,” he stated in a very matter of fact manner.
“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of her as much as she’ll let me.” Sarah smiled as Jason winked at Ryan.
Ryan ran to his father, who immediately placed the boy on his shoulders. Jason helped Sarah into the carriage, where she sat opposite his mother. Once he and Mathew were mounted on their horses Lady Abigail knocked on the carriage roof.
“Hiya!” The carriage driver cracked his whip.
The carriage jolted into motion and began to rumble on its way. Sarah leaned out the window and waved to everyone.
“Fare ye well”
Turning on to the main road the carriage picked up speed. Sarah sat back and looked at Lady Abigail. She had nearly forgotten Jason’s mother was there. Sarah’s face flushed under the woman’s gaze, but the Lady Abigail said nothing.
Jay? Sarah’s mind reached out to him, wishing it was Jason inside the carriage with her.
I am here was his soothing response.
Have you always been able to hear my thoughts? She questioned, uncertain what to make of this new bond between them.
No, only those you direct at me and only since, his thought faded.
Your mother doesn’t hate me does she? Sarah changed the subject. Lady Abigail was still studying her without saying a word.
Highly unlikely, he responded.
“Now,” Lady Abigail clapped her hands together. “As we have a plethora of time on our hands I think we ought to use it constructively, do you not?”
“Um,” Lady Abigail frowned ever so slightly at the word. “Yes I think we ought to,” Sarah sat up straighter and looked at Jason’s mother. What have I gotten myself into, she wondered.
Jason’s chuckle echoed in her head. Tutorage.