Secrets of a Viscount(4)By: Rose Gordon
In less than twenty seconds the ceremony started.
Sebastian had always assumed these Scotland weddings were informal and lasted about two minutes. He was wrong. Apparently this toothless smithy missed his calling in life and would have preferred a life in the ministry.
Pulling out a Bible, the smithy started flapping his jaw about the sanctity of marriage and other such nonsense that Sebastian nearly snorted at. If this ministering smithy really knew the reason behind this marriage, he likely wouldn’t be performing the ceremony, Sebastian thought wryly.
To take his mind off the sermonette he was hearing, Sebastian let his eyes wander around the dingy room again. A few minutes later, he mumbled something akin to “I do” when the smithy paused in his speech for a few seconds.
Vaguely listening to the smithy as he continued on with the ceremony, his mind started drifting to what would be happening after the ceremony. On the way to the smithy’s shop he’d spotted an inn. It didn't look too terribly grand, but it would be suitable. Though he might not be overly fond of Rachel nor have given much thought to what she concealed under her clothes, only a blind man wouldn’t find her at least mildly physically attractive with her small facial features, auburn hair and flawless skin. Besides, for a man of nineteen, who’d lived under strict orders from his father that hadn’t allowed him much freedom to sample the wares of those in London, but kept him mostly secluded to the high country with no suitable options, he was certainly ready to begin his mastery of the female body.
Blinking to rid himself of those mental images the thought provoked so not to give himself away, he started listening to the smithy more carefully just in time to hear him announce they were now man and wife and he could kiss his bride.
Under any other circumstances, Sebastian would have pushed the hood of Rachel's cloak off her face in order to kiss her. However, his desire not to remove his hands from his pockets and touch anything in this dirty shop was so strong he couldn't force himself to unveil his bride, so to speak.
Leaning toward her, he gave her a quick peck on her surprisingly soft lips before turning back to the smithy and curling his fingers into the fabric lining of his pockets at the idea he was about to have to grab the man’s grubby pen and sign the book he’d opened.
The smithy first held his blackened quill out to Rachel, and before her trembling fingers could close around the stem, Sebastian took it. “I’ll go first,” he murmured, scribbling down his name on the register. When he was finished signing, he held onto the quill and used his other hand to reach into his breast pocket and pull out his handkerchief. Wrapping the quill in his handkerchief, he handed it to Rachel.
She quickly nodded once and her shaking fingers took the quill from him, her eyes never meeting his. Or if they had, he couldn’t tell because of the darkness that the cloak created around her face.
As soon as she had the quill and started scratching out her name, Sebastian grabbed his other handkerchief and wiped off the dirt the quill had left behind on his fingers. “Finished?” he asked inanely when Rachel had finished scratching out her name.
She nodded again without looking in his direction and extended the quill back to the smithy.
“Shall we?” he asked, offering her his arm.
Rachel’s delicate fingers closed around his arm and she allowed him to escort her out of the shop.
“I don’t know about you, but I feel I need a bath,” Sebastian said lightly to his new bride a few minutes later after they’d entered the boarding house. They could have just gone home. But what was the rush? They were married now and going home would only lead to questions and uncomfortable conversations. No need to rush home to that when one could enjoy his new bride for a day or two first.
Sebastian arranged for a room and ordered a bath and breakfast tray brought up to their room while Rachel fidgeted next to him. He smiled. “Don’t be so nervous,” he teased, nudging her with his elbow. “It’s not as bad as your mother explained it, I promise. But you will have to take that blasted cloak off.”
“I know,” she whispered, causing him to shake his head. They were married now; her reputation was not going to suffer by being seen with her own husband at an inn.