Tuesday Teaser 3/28/17 Victoria’s Cat Part 13
The move is complete! Everything I own is piled higgly-piggly into the new apartment. I can barely walk in a straight line. In fact, in my office/sewing room/guest room, I CAN’T walk in a straight line. But the move is done and (now that I found the box with my clean undergarments) I can take my time unpacking and arranging.
I have done absolutely no writing in the last ten days, and I don’t anticipate getting any done in the next week. So this is the last little bit of Victoria’s Cat I have to offer you. We’ll see what happens next week! It’s getting interesting now, though, so I’m pretty anxious to get on with the story. I’m sorry this is so short, but I hope to whet your appetites for the rest of chapter 7.
Victoria nearly floated to the mayor’s house a few hours later. She and Marty walked hand in hand, an officially engaged couple.
The mayor’s home resembled a castle Victoria had once seen a picture of in an old book. The stone wall around the property was high and thick, and the two men manning the gate were much stricter than the men who guarded the gate at The Limit. They were expected, though, so after a few questions, their party was allowed in. The approach from street was quite steep, so she used that as an excuse to hold onto Marty’s arm. She noticed Renee raise an eyebrow, but no one said anything about how closely she and Marty were walking. Maybe they were getting used to the idea that she had chosen a husband.
Mrs. McGrath surprised Victoria by being nearly as tall as she was, with a beautiful face and a voluptuous figure that age and childbearing had only softened. As she welcomed them to her home, Victoria hoped that she would be as shapely and beautiful when she was in her mid-forties.
“Miss Cayla,” Quill said fondly, giving their hostess a kiss on the cheek. “You look beautiful. How are you? Are these your children?”
The mayor beamed proudly at the boy and girl standing beside him. The McGraths had three sons and a daughter. He explained, “Our two older boys are out training with the City Guard, but our daughter, Anna, and our youngest son, Nicholas, will be joining us for supper.”
Anna was at that gawky stage where her arms and skinny legs seemed too long for the rest of her. Victoria remembered going through that stage. She’d tripped and stumbled so often that the clan had changed her Lakota name to Sandhill Crane Woman. She preferred Victoria.
“Please come in,” Mrs. McGrath urged them. “Supper is ready. Rye, will you take them into the dining room?”
Renee cleared her throat. “Do you need any help in the kitchen?”
“No, thank you. Anna will help me carry the food in.” The mayor’s wife laughed, and Victoria heard an nervous note in it. “I’ve been told what a superb cook you are. I hope you won’t be disappointed by meatloaf and potatoes.”
“It smells wonderful.”
Aunt Renee wasn’t just being polite. It did smell wonderful.
Mayor McGrath and his son led the way to an elegant dining room with a long table set with china and crystal. “Take whatever chair you like. This isn’t a formal dinner party. Just old friends catching up.”
Victoria made sure she sat beside Marty. Colby was on her other side. Colby had been quiet all day. He might have spoken with Rock or Eagle, but he’d said nothing to her about his mate. When she’d asked early this afternoon if he’d seen his mate at the coffee shop, he had only shrugged with a stony face.
Mrs. McGrath and her daughter brought in platters of meatloaf and bowls of boiled potatoes and beans. Once everyone was in their seats, the food was passed around. The mayor was at the head of the table, with Quill on his right and Stone on his left.
“I’m sorry I won’t be a very good host tonight,” he said loudly enough for everyone to hear. “The Council will be coming over at half past seven so we can continue to read the questions and discuss what answers we can give, so I’m afraid I won’t have with you as I would like. But I didn’t want to miss the chance to visit with you. We don’t see the Wolf Clan here in Omaha very often.”
Stone shook his head. “No, we don’t really fit in with city. I haven’t been here since… Well, since you became Mayor.”
McGrath chuckled. It didn’t sound amused to Victoria. “The good old days.” He shook his head. “Right now I would give almost anything to be Rye Thomas again. No worries or concerns except what my next load of merchandise would be. I actually never wanted to be mayor.”
“I remember,” said Quill. “But from what I’ve heard, you’ve been a good mayor for Omaha.”
“Better than my father.” Again, the chuckle was not amused. “I wonder how he would’ve handled Todd.” He waved a hand. “Let’s not talk about politics right now. Tell me how your families are.”
Quill and Stone took turns telling about the various members of the clan, recent births and deaths, and marriages. Victoria ate and listened. She didn’t know how well acquainted Mayor McGrath was with her kinsfolk, but he listened with every evidence of interest. At the foot of the table, Mrs. McGrath listened with equal interest. She knew Sand’s mate, Amanda, because they had worked together for Uncle Sky at the Limit.
Marty leaned a little closer. “I love watching you eat,” he murmured.
Victoria paused in spearing a potato. Her plate was loaded with meatloaf and potatoes drenched in gravy, and a small mountain of green beans on the side. A glance around the table told her that the McGraths’ plates were not nearly so full. “Am I eating too much?” she whispered.
“Oh, no.” His voice dropped to a purr. “You should eat as much as you need to keep that gorgeous figure of yours nice and …”
He trailed off, apparently having noticed her brother and cousins glaring daggers at him. He cleared his throat and went back to eating. Victoria glared back at her brother and cousins. Those killjoys need a poke in the eye. Dammit, just when Martin was starting to say something interesting. She moved her leg to press her thigh against his and gave Eagle a sweet smile.
She might have been bored with all the reminisces between the older people except that Marty had obviously decided not to bow down to her brother and cousins. He leaned a little closer again.
“Have you seen the house that I am building in the mayor’s compound back home?” he asked.
She thought about Eddie Madison’s home in Kearney, a stately mansion built in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Several blocks of Kearney were walled in around the mansion to form a private compound. She had never been inside the wall. “No, I didn’t know you’re building a house.”
“I am.” He smiled an intimate, quiet smile. “I started it last fall after I met you.”
Warmth fluttered in her chest.
“We’ve torn down one of the old buildings to make room. I plan three bedrooms right now, but there’s space to add on.” He cleared his throat. “To make room for more children.”
Eagle looked like he would crack teeth if he didn’t stop clenching them. Victoria gave her brother another bland smile. She turned her attention back to Marty. “When do you think it will be finished?”
She didn’t think Marty could be any more handsome than he was right then. “That depends on you, Miss Wolfe.”
He was doing that purring thing again with his voice, and Victoria had a stray thought. Would he have that same rasp in his voice when he talked to her in bed? She had to swallow to find her voice. “Oh?”
His smile said he knew how he was affecting her. “Say the word and I’ll send a message home to tell Eddie that it has to be completed now. We can honeymoon here in Omaha for a few weeks until it’s finished, and then we’ll go home where I’ll carry you over the threshold and—”
A man rushed into the dining room, coat unbuttoned and blond hair standing straight up. He stopped in the dining room doorway, and cast a quick glance at them sitting around the table. It was the captain of the City Guard. “Rye,” he said curtly. “I need a minute. Right now.”