spent most of the day seeing to supplies and orders since the day was
not one of his usual hectic ones ... rare in that there weren't a lot
of animals in need. He had spent some time at the docks and had
checked up on one patient, a overweight cat owned by an elderly widow.
The cat was not happy with his diet but he was more active and no
longer wheezed like an old man. He decided dinner at the tavern was in
order and after, sat before the fire in one of the wing backed chairs.
Eyes were closed as he dozed while Alex busied himself at the bar.
was a thump thump thump THUMP followed by a spew of words in
Portuguese. Best that way as the lad wouldn't understand. Though he
was trying his best and a little overloaded as she carried two bags as
well. They had been dropped on the porch as she rushed down to help
the lad up that had fallen backwards, missing the first step for the
larger trunk he insisted on carrying for her. For a coin of course,
for she insisted she pay him or she would not let him help. He was the
cabin boy of the ship she came in on and tended to follow her around
the whole trip to these lands. She didn't know his name even though
she was sure he mentioned it, probably a few times, Joe, Joey, Joel,
something like that. Joel was red faced when she helped him gain his
feet mumbling excuses and apologies as he hurried to get the trunk up
to the porch then get the door. Lizabet stood there a moment, hands on
her hips shaking her head a moment. Watching him from that safe
distance for he seemed to fumble a lot.
was the thumping that had him waking up, blinking as he sat up
straight and looked toward the bar. Alex had paused to look at the
door but was back to work again, perhaps preparing for the newest
visitor. Pushing to his feet, Donovan walked to the window and tried
to look out. Even wiping off the moisture didn't help much, but he
could make out images. Someone fumbling with a large trunk. He moved
to the door then, opening it to see if the person struggling needed
help. The heavy sweater over a poet's shirt and dark woolen pants
would keep him warm and his boots would keep out any snow. "Do
you need help?" He knew there was another standing there but
hadn't looked that way yet.
head was covered by the hood, half shadowing her face as she watched
the moment and started for the steps to help the lad the rest of the
way. Feet barley landed on the second step when the door opened.
The form half shadowed with the light behind but she knew that voice!
"Donovan," a little high pitch as she rushed up the last few
steps, nearly knocking the lad over as she accosted her brother in a
hug. Squeezing kind as eyes watered, the hood sliding back with the
rushing as she looked up. A moment of fear, if by some small chance
she had been wrong and a stranger's startled look would be there
instead. But.. it was him! Oh how she smiled.
moment, he thought perhaps he was still asleep and dreaming but then
he was nearly knocked over after hearing that lovely voice, even if it
was a little higher than usual. Though he felt sorry for the lad, he
was laughing as he hugged her in return, lifting her from the ground
and spinning her around. "Lizabet! My irmã ! What are you doing
here? It's good to see you too but let me help the boy with that
trunk." He placed a kiss to the top of her head before releasing
her and moving to help the lad who seemed to be stuck on the steps.
adorado irmão," eyes becoming more watery as her heart warmed
finally seeing Donovan again. It had been six years or more? She lost
count as time flew but now it was as if yesterday. Except, "you
have grown a beard. It becomes you." There was also a few silver
strands at his temple and his hair receded just a touch? He had grown
into a mature man. Not the more boy that she last saw. Joel, on the
other hand had bolted soon after Lizabet was in the arms of a
man, then that man coming towards him. Fear had showed in his
eyes figuring he was her husband or beau and he'd be in trouble
for his obvious adoration. Not that Lizabet was aware of any crush.
Lad was only thirteen, they didn't notice girls yet! Let alone one
much older than him. "I have come to help you with the animals.
Kate is taking care of mother." She was around to at least get
the smaller two bags. "It is good I already insisted the lad take
the coin before we got here." She would be clueless in how to get
it to him otherwise, not an expertise at tracking down lads.
wouldn't be able to tell her either. Keeping track of time wasn't one
of his stronger points, especially when Kat had left. "It helps
to keep my chin warm." He teased as he headed down the steps to
collect the trunk. It was heavy but lifted easily enough and he
carried it inside. "Was he one of the boys from the docks?"
They hung around there when ships arrived, hoping to earn some coin.
"How is Mother, and Kat? How was your journey? If you are
I'm sure there is something good in the kitchen that is hot and
filling too." He placed the trunk down and smiled. "Ah,
Lizabet, you are so bonito. A sight for sore eyes."
had the door wedged open as both her hands now were occupied with the
two bags. "Cabin boy from the ship. Everywhere I went, there he
was." Or so it seemed. "He insisted on carrying the trunk
which I argued was too heavy for him but he wouldn't take no for an
answer so I insisted I pay him. He tried to refuse that too but I said
he would not at all then, so he accepted." Once he was in, so was
she to set the bags down then see to closing the door quickly. She
gave a roll of her eyes with the compliment, "say that to the
Count of Aveiro, he would disagree," not adding after she flipped
her drink into his face. Better subject was family as she quickly went
there. "Mother still complains I am not married but it is getting
less and less. I think she is finally giving up, or more, turned her
focus on Kate when she returned." Such a sly grin with those
words. Kate was dear to her but she so enjoyed her on the marital hot
seat than herself. "Perhaps the Count of Averio will like her
better. I'm sure mother will arrange it." Removing her cloak as
she spoke then hung it up where appropriate over one of the pegs. The
gown she wore was of a deep blue, near black, trimmed in a faded pink
lace. "Now, where is your wife, surely you have one by now or at
least an eye on a lady. You always had at least an eye on one even if
you never found the time."
frowned at mention of the Count, a man he considered less than a man
for many reasons. "Lizabet, what did you do?" If Kat was
introduced to him, and then engaged, Donovan might very well travel.
"And if you have read any of my letters, you would know I am not
married, nor am I seeing anyone. I am the only veterinarian in
Heathfield and her sister realms though there are others who treat
animals without any degrees." He chuckled as she hung up her
cloak too quickly for him to offer help. "And I take care of the
race horses now as well. The only reason I am here is the weather
keeps the animals and their owners inside."
you would not mention such in a letter if you were just seeing someone
or noticing someone. You know that would have you written off and
mother making wedding plans for you." Laughing as she passed it
off while heading for the bar, "what do you suggest for a good
drink with enough of a kick but tastes good?" He knew she was not
a heavy drinker, usually a wine or brandy but tonight she was willing
to try something new in celebration of their reunion. "Don't tell
me you don't notice a pretty face anymore? I will have due concern you
have not turn to noticing men or your animals.." oh, she was
teasing him good with a serious face to go with it. "You will no
longer have to be the only veterinarian in the lands. I am willing and
feel qualified to become your trainee while helping you." That
was a very large task he had taken on and certainly the lands could
use another qualified. The last had her pause. "Race
horses?" Eyes lighting up for the finest of the equines.
can try the potcheen punch or, go with the pure potcheen. It is the
strongest there is." He stopped to stare at her, giving her a
look briefly. "There are many pretty faces here, my spitfire of a
sister. But they do not care for one smelling of horses or cows."
Teasing right back. "And I will not be surprised if you take
notice of the men here. I will be honored to teach you." He
chuckled at the look in her eyes. "Race horses and I believe
there are none finer anywhere, but I have become prejudiced."
quirked curling the edges of her lips and that spark in golden brown
eyes fired up. Hands resting to her hips as she waited on placing her
order as she addressed her brother. "Are you saying that you no
longer wash after tending the animals?" He was not getting off
the hook so easily. A dip of her head to the side with that light
still in her eyes turned on Alex. "A sweet punch as
suggested." Not having any idea of what the potcheen was like as
she was quickly back to face off her brother like old times. He might
well sense she was enjoying every bit of this. "If I take notice
the man would have to be rare indeed." Chin lifting in solid
defiance of men in general. She never had answered his question on the
Count on purpose for she knew her brother had a temper as well in
certain matters. She also knew, she'd have to be honest.
had a glass of potcheen already, so she could taste it if she wished.
He had retrieved it from the table by the hearth. "Oh I
wash, but it takes a good long bath to soak out the smell and I don't
always have time before I'm rushing off to tend to another
patient." He affected a lazy air but was enjoying this as well.
It had been too long since he had been involved in such banter.
"You will find the men, like the women, are extraordinary here,
my darling Lizabet. If not in looks, then in wit and temperament.
Still, you will have to see for yourself." He had often heard the
young women here speaking of the men while having stars in their eyes.
"But now that I have said so, you will be even more stubborn in
not looking." He chuckled softly, studying her. He noticed she
had not answered him, but was certain their Mother would tell him in
her next letter.
but if you were to be seeing someone, you would be sure to smell
good." She collected this punch, red in color and by the smell it
was raspberry. "See, without a wife to tend to you, at least you
have a sister to make sure you don't smell like the cows in front of
the other women. Although I don't give massages nor scrub backs."
Least not a brother's but she didn't add that. She was over to take up
a seat near his as it was getting late and there were some serious
things to discuss, well, serious enough. "I was told I can stay
here indefinitely as I do not know if your home is big enough or more,
you might like to have your privacy than a sister around in case you
have a lady friend over." Giving him a wink with a sweet smile
before taking her first sip of this punch. Brows arched, "this is
good. Enough punch in the punch." She gave a half gesture of her
hand in dismissing about men being any different here than anywhere
else. "I will see for myself but I don't expect it to be much
different." Almost warming him not to expect her mind to change
on that. "But if they are good looking, I can at least enjoy the
scenery." Even at those many parties their mother always managed
an invite to, there were good looking men to admire in that way but
most proved to be morons. Well, all did so far she met that were good
would hope you would not attempt to do so. I have scrubbed my own back
for some time." He tried to sound indignant then he chuckled.
"Uncle Oran would never forgive me if I did not insist you move
into the manor. He doesn't go out much, but he enjoys company and the
manor is plenty big enough. It is, of course, up to you if you wish
your privacy." He smiled thoughtfully. "And I expect nothing
else but that you will see for yourself. The punch comes in several
flavors. It is made here, in Heathfield by one of the Royal
but you know I would use a horse brush and lye soap to make sure all
the stench of cows and the like are gone." As well his skin!
"Then I shall move into the manor at least temporarily. See if I
wish to stay. If so then I might seek a smaller home of my own near
enough. Just in case I decide to entertain one of these fine gentlemen
you say live in these lands," obviously still not believing it as
well teasing but she would not crowd her brother. Presently, the
best idea was to stay in his manor and work from there. "Do you
have a carriage that we might head there tonight?" She really
didn't wish to stay at a tavern, though she had no idea what this one
sleigh actually since the roads are not easy to travel one with a
wagon, and there is room for your things." There was a
caretaker's cottage on the grounds that a woman might consider a
pretty place with ivy crawling up the walls. The young man who helped
him with the larger animals and the groundskeeper both had their own
homes to go to. But that could be mentioned later. "Oran will be
asleep but we'll surprise him in the morning." He stood to carry
his glass to the bar. "I can carry your trunk out and bring the
sleigh around to the front if you'd like." There were blankets
for her to use against the cold too.
will be good seeing him again. It has been even a longer time. I was
only a young girl." Now she was all grown. He'd not recognize her
at first most likely. She had rested and warmed up enough at this
point to face the cold and looking forward to a good night's sleep.
They might not be able to get her up until late morning after the long
trip and little sleep for how uncomfortable it was. More, she had been
afraid she'd wake up to see that boy's face in hers, or worse, one of
the many sailors that eyed the women. Unfortunately she had to come
alone to catch a ship headed this way. "I would like, thank you
so much Donovan." Heart warming words were true in all
seriousness. She was up to return her glass to the bar and to see to
her cloak and the two bags. Enough clothes until she made a few
decisions. She would wait for him out on the porch.
smiled in answer to her words, pausing to place a kiss to her cheek.
"I'm so glad you came, Lizabet." He said before pulling on
his cloak and hefting up the trunk. Down the back corridor and out,
and by the time she was outside, he'd have the horse and sleigh
around. Once her bags were placed in the back with the trunk, and she
was tucked into the seat beside him, they'd be off. And though it was
dark, he'd still point out some of the sights.