Evadna was found sitting by the table in the kitchen, eating a hearty repast while the head cook looked on, a stern press to her lips. They both looked up at Lord Albin’s entrance, Evadna with wide eyes and the head cook with steely ones.
“Thank you, Mrs. P. I’ll take her out of your hair in a moment.”
Mrs. Prate gave him a nod, then addressed the girl. “Eat up. He’s not taking you from that spot until you’ve eaten your meal. Every last morsel, girl. Or you’ll be here all day.”
Lord Albin watched in amusement as Evadna gave Mrs. Prate a shy smile and proceeded to do as she’d been bidden with great concentration.
“You too, young Master. Sit down. I’ll get you a plate. Haven’t eaten since breakfast, I daresay.”
Mrs. Prate was not one to argue with, as Lord Albin knew all too well. And never having been one to turn down any offer of food, he sat most eagerly. As he waited for Mrs. Prate to serve him, he eyed Evadna curiously. She kept her eyes glued to her food, no doubt feeling his stare.
“You’re a bit strange looking,” he told her. “Your eyes and mouth are too big.”
Evadna glanced up at him a moment, then cast her eyes back on her food. About to say something slightly more provoking to illicit a reaction, he was stalled by Mrs. Prate handing him his plate. The juicy tenderloin served to distract him and he forgot momentarily his desire to harass.
They ate in silence, Mrs. Prate making a suitable racket as she went about her job, giving them the once over every now and then to make sure they were behaving.
His mouth still half full of potatoes, Lord Albin said, “When we’re done here, I’ll be taking you to meet my father.”
Evadna stared at her near empty plate, giving no sign that she’d heard him.
“Do you know who my father is?”
She shook her head.
“He is the Earl of Loeminic.”
She continued to eat quietly. Shrugging his shoulders, he proceeded to do the same. It wasn’t until he was about to take his last bite, that she surprised him with a comment.
“You’re a bit strange looking yourself.”
Smirking, he said, “And how am I strange looking, pray? I have it on good authority I’m a fine looking chap. They all say as how I’ll be breaking hearts in no time.”
Evadna folded her arms across her chest and gave him a slight, knowing smile. Her only answer, a slight shake of the head.
“There you have it. I’m not strange looking at all. You only said it to get back at me,” Lord Albin crowed.
To his consternation, she continued to smile, her eyes all-knowing. A twinge of doubt manifested in his self-assured mind. He resented her for it.
Pushing to his feet abruptly, he said, “Come. Let’s to my father.”