The day started off with such promise, as had the day before and the day before that. Those had ended poorly for him, but Donal hoped that today might end differently. The lass in the kitchen was back and she’d agreed to meet him by the postern gate at sunset. If all went well, he’d be exactly where he wished to be, in the arms of a beautiful, buxom red-haired lass. The mere thought of it set his pulse to racing and his kilt to rising. He spun quickly leaning on the well to hide his more than obvious arousal at the thought of Bess… Beth… Oh, what was her name? He nodded to the few passersby who gave him curious stares as he ran names through his head determined to get it right. “Bethia!” he exclaimed out loud, slamming his palm into his forehead. How was it that he couldn’t for the life of him remember it.
“Donal? Did ye call me,” Bethia asked, approaching the well with an empty bucket.
“Och! Aye. Aye. I did.”
She smiled sweetly at him as she lowered her bucket into the well.
“Here. Allow me to help ye with that,” he said. No one would ever accuse him of nae being chivalrous. She moved out of the way as he hoisted the now filled bucket up and set it on the ledge of the well.
“What did ye want?” she asked.
“I wished to tell ye how beautiful ye…” Bethia didnae seem to be listening to him. He was trying to woo her a bit and instead she was glancing towards the gate.
Turning his head to see what was so fascinating, he noted an elderly couple speaking with the guard, who glanced around and upon seeing Donal pointed in his direction.
“Who are they?” Bethia asked, standing so close to his side that his arm brushed her breast.
He fought to control his erection as the couple approached. “I dinnae recognize them,” he said. He turned towards her and his arm again brushed her breast. Tonight was definitely going to be better than the last.
“Are ye Donal?” the elderly man shouted as he got closer.
Donal was startled at the man’s angry tone. He turned to give him his full attention, “Aye,” he answered. He looked from the man to the woman and back not recognizing these people.
“We’ve something for ye,” he said, motioning to the woman who was carrying something.
“For me?” What could it be? He hoped it was something good.
“Aye. ’Tis yers,” the man practically hissed at him.
The woman raised a plaid wrapped package with shaky arms and placed it into his hands. As soon as she did, it began to wriggle and shriek.
“What’s this?” he asked, a look of horror on his face.
Bethia peeked into the blankets.
“’Tis a bairn,” she said. The look she gave him was one he would never forget. Shock and something else rested there. Accusation.