Poster: Joseph McDonough
Post # 2
The evening had gotten cooler, much cooler than the near summer day. The
day long with much work gotten done that needed to be. Some would say
this was the bewitching month, that of the harvest moon and the night
the spirits got to come back. To Joe, it marked the end of summer and
start of winter. A time when it was not really one or the other but
bounced back and forth indecisively. So when the days were sunny and
warm, they packed three hours of work into one. The days that were
windy, cold and spells of rain, they did more of the indoor chores.
Although there was always the cattle to see to, come rain, snow, sleet
and freezing temperatures. Some of their work was very dangerous but
they seemed to go through it like any other easier job. After all said
and done, and orders put in for lumber, Joe headed up to the Thistle to
chat with Alex, Matthew, Hazel and anyone else about he knew, or didn't
know. He also enjoyed a good meal and was finally relaxing in front of
the fire, glass of potcheen in hand that was well earned.
Marina had been planning a visit to Heathfield for some time but it
seemed that there was always things to be done, from dealing with the
day to day things at her brother's manor to preparing for winter. That
was why her brother Charles had finally chased her off, declaring that
he and the children would be fine. It was late when the carriage finally
arrived at the Thistle. She was hungry though luckily not cold. The
driver dropped her off at the front, while he took the carriage to the
back. Once the horses were unhitched and seen to, he'd bring in her
bags. He'd be staying as well, seeing to some errands. She wrapped her
wool cloak tighter, glancing around the commons before making her way up
the steps and quickly inside. As the door closed behind her, she lowered
her hood, smiling at Alex before making her way across the room to speak
His eyes were half closed as the day's work finally caught up. The
warmth lulling him as the glass precariously dangled from his
fingertips. One could wonder if he might drop it but he did not. It was
the rush of cold air that stirred him from a near daze and turning his
head to the side so he could look over his shoulder. Of all the ones
that might have come through that door this night, he was surprised it
was one that had traveled a good distance to get this far. Pleasantly
surprised as he was up from his laze sprawl over the chair.
"Marina, how very good to see you again." Tall as ever,
strongly built, lean and fitting his clothing well. Black pants, quilted
vest over a thick cotton shirt. Hair curling down over the collar that
was somewhat tamed back. "You will come and join me?" Posed as
a question but seemed to border no response in the negative.
She had spoken to Alex about a room and was in the process of asking for
tea and some bread and cheese when movement caught her eye. She looked
up at the mirror, then turned to face Joe, obviously surprised but
delighted from the smile that appeared. "Joseph! It's so good to
see you as well." She crossed the room quickly, holding out her
hands. "Of course I'll join you. I had planned to send word that I
was here and ask if I might visit." She had grown fond of him and
his children. "How have you been?"
His smile grew much like the twinkle in green eyes as she crossed over
offering her hands. He took them up in his then without delay had her up
into his arms and a swing about before she was set to her feet again.
"I've been grand. I've been wondering how you've been fairing. It's
been a while and I hope you've settled in with your brother. About time
there was someone to keep him in line," giving her a wink with the
tease. He had not fully released her as his hands lingered near her
elbows. The touch light and would fall away once she moved.
She squeaked in surprise, laughing as she was spun. In some ways Joe and
Charles were alike and teasing was one of those ways. "Yes, I've
settled in though I'm not sure I can keep him in line all that
well." She laughed softly. "Charles has always known what he
wants and if he's determined enough, nothing will stop him." She
stepped back but only so she could study the much taller man.
"You're looking as handsome as ever. How are the children?"
Tamara wrote to her often but she would still ask after both.
"I'll have to come up and get him out of line so you can practice
on him." Which was an amusing thought as his hand moved to rest at
the back of the chair next to his. One of the wingbacks and not likely
one could move it but the gesture was as a gentleman. With the comment
he struck a pose for a few seconds, head slightly to the side showing
off noble features. Although a ruse, he pulled it off well. "The
children are near grown, all grown up inside, especially Josh. Of course
Tamara is the little lady still wanting to find me a wife and one that
could be a mother. I think she is finally getting old enough to realize
it takes more than that and I fear she might become a shrewd little
matchmaker as she grows."
She laughed with both the pose and the playful threat then finally sat,
smoothing down the skirt of the rich chocolate colored gown she wore.
She knew he wouldn't sit until she did. One of the serving girls brought
a tray with the tea, bread and cheeses, enough for both if Joe wanted
any. "I'm sure they're both quite a bit taller too. And yes, Tamara
will be determined, at least until she's of an age to be distracted by
boys." She added honey to the tea as she continued. "Are you
set for winter? It was beautiful in the mountains with the changing
leaves. The higher peaks have snow already." She turned her gaze
back to him with a smile. She had almost forgotten how handsome he
"You're looking ravishing, if that is not so bold of a word for me
to use." Oh yes, he had noticed and now said something on it as he
stepped aside from his teasing. Something that came as easy as
breathing. As her fare was brought and she settled in, he took up his
seat again but angled towards her in the way he sat. "Have you had
a chance to meet your new neighbors?" Perhaps a testing question
for who their new neighbors were and he'd get an idea of how others felt
about them, especially the brother.
"Thank you, and no, it's not too bold." In fact, from the
color of her cheeks, she was quite pleased with the compliment. She
sipped the tea then shook her head. "Not yet. They've had much to
do to repair the manor though Charles has. He said Lord Callihan is
cordial enough if distant, and his sister is quite lovely." There
was a twinkle in her eyes as she added, "And of course, I had to
ask if she had any suitors." Just to get in a touch of teasing
From the color of her cheeks, he might feel it was a bit bold but he
wouldn't retract his words now for the world. He was enjoying how it
made her eyes brighter. He had his tumbler in hand and a taste of the
potcheen to warm his throat and keep him from falling ill. Good excuse
although there might actually be some merit to it. He rarely got sick.
The bit on Caoime had him laugh, "I doubt her brother will allow
her suitors for none would meet what he probably feels is best for her.
She might well make a good companion for you as well you for her in the
coming months. Winters can be harsh and you'll not get far
traveling." Which had him smile more that she was here or he might
not see her until the spring. "What brings you down to
The thought that winter would have her snowed in made her nod though she
wouldn't mind it. There was plenty to do to keep her busy. "I
suppose that's true, on the part of her brother that is." She
smiled again though. "And she'd be welcomed company I'm sure. I
wanted to get in some shopping and while there are shops in Kildare,
there are some things here that can't be bought there. I need to buy
material to make some clothes for my niece and I thought to do some
shopping for Yule even though it's some time off. Charles had some
things coming from England but had them shipped here for some
reason." She had thought at first it was to keep their father from
knowing what they were up to but after some thought she was sure Charles
didn't care. "And, if I'm honest, I was looking forward to seeing
you again. And Josh and Tamara."
"Kildare is growing quickly and in a few years from now there will
be even bigger changes, becoming the kingdom it once was and better. You
should hold a small ball for those in the vicinity during the winter
solace. Just a suggestion." Realizing he was probably overstepping
boundaries but it would be good to start up a social network as kingdoms
did well on better structured ones. "I like your honesty and
certainly the feeling is mutual. Perhaps I can accompany you on your
shopping excursion." If his kids were here they wouldn't believe
their ears on that offer!
"That is a thought." She gave him a dimpled smile, wondering
if Charles would be amiable to the suggestion. It would be a nice way to
meet some of those she hadn't yet. "I would love to have your
company. I'm sure there's more to catch up on." She realized with
some surprise that she had finished her tea. "I'm afraid the
traveling is catching up with me though and I should probably try to get
some sleep. When will you be able to accompany me?" She knew this
was a busy time of year after all and could alter her plans to suit his.
He rose from his seat as his empty glass was tucked away to the palm of
his hand to bring over to Alex. "It is late and I'm glad I came
here this night. What time would you be wishing to start your shopping
tomorrow?" That way he could make his plans around his other work
and set his men to it instead. It was why they were hired. He and his
brother usually worked just as hard, hired men or not.
She stood, picking up the tray to carry over to the bar, though she'd
might take the bread and cheese with her since she hadn't really eaten
any of it. "I'm glad you did too. I was planning on going as soon
as the shops opened." Marina was an early riser and though it was
late, she would likely be up in plenty of time. "I want to take my
time and was planning on going to the museum too."
"Many open at the break of dawn and close at dusk too. I will be
here, break fast with you so we can get in a good day of shopping. I'll
show you all the stores about the square and commons." That way she
would know where to get things in the future if needed. "My son
might well join us and be our driver of a small surrey, large enough to
fit the three of us and a small store's words of goods." There was
also the possibility Tamara would insist on coming and helping too.
She would be delighted to have both Joshua and Tamara along! "That
would be wonderful I'd like to see him again, and Tamara." She was
quite happy with the plans made. Alex had a key ready for her, having
had her driver take her things up to the room already. "I'll look
forward to seeing you tomorrow then. Good night, Joseph." She stood
on tiptoe to attempt to place a kiss to his cheek. "It's so good
seeing you again."
He was walking with her in a leisurely pace as they talked. The tumbler
dropped off a the bar and a few words to Alex before walking her to the
hall where she'd take the steps to her room. "Good night Marina, I
will see you in the morning. Pleasant dreams," which sparked the
twinkle in green eyes like someone who held a secret. A hand came up to
touch against her cheek as she gave a kiss upon his. One then parted
upon hers before she would step down to her normal height.
"Tomorrow.." giving a slight nod as it was settled. With that
last good bye he was on his way with only a pause at the door to open it
with a glance back to see if she was still standing there. If she was,
she'd get a flash of a smile before he was out the door, closing it
securely behind him.
This trip had proven to be a good idea so far and she was quite pleased
that she had come. She did wait at the entry way, lifting a hand when he
turned back. After the door closed, she turned and went up the stairs. A
good night's sleep would be welcome.