(The direct continuation of Adrift)
Eden sat at her computer in the big Sinclair study in the house on Mayhaven, blinking in disbelief at what
she saw on the screen.
"No," she breathed softly. "My God...no."
Ryan was just coming into the study. "Something the matter?"
"Everything's the matter." She bit the words off.
"Something more specific?" he asked.
"Look at this! Just look at this!" She jabbed at the screen with her finger.
"That would be Ackergill, wouldn't it?"
"It would." She sucked in a long breath. "And where is it?"
"Dammit, Ryan, you know it's Scotland!"
"And...?" He cocked his head.
"And look at the cliffs the damn thing is perched on."
"Lots of cliffs in Scotland."
"Ackergill," she sighed. "And we have reservations there."
"It's on Marsh's list," Ryan said. "The places he wants to visit as part of his Sinclair heritage.
I could get us reservations there since it's a hotel nowadays."
"And this one." Eden flipped to another picture.
Eden closed her eyes. "I can't do it."
"You can't what?" Terry asked, coming into the den.
"That. I can't do...that."
"Visit the Sinclair castles? Why not?"
"My God, are you two blind?" She made a strangled noise at what she'd just blurted. "That's it,"
she said, her voice fading. "That is precisely it."
Terry crouched beside her chair, resting a hand on her arm. "What's the matter, Eden?"
"These...these places." She waved a hand feebly at the screen. "Almost all of them."
"What about them?" Ryan asked. "You don't like castles?"
She touched the screen with a forefinger, tracing along the sheer cliff edges on both sides of the little
that was left of Old Wick. "Marshall...there." A shudder ran through her whole body.
"Ah," Terry said. "I see."
"And that's it, too," Eden continued. "You do see. I see. He doesn't."
"You're concerned about the cliffs."
"Haven't I a right to be? Hasn't he gone and nearly got himself killed more times than I can count and
now...now he wants to go blithely wandering along...there?" Her finger stopped along the path, the
railingless path beside the ruins, between them and the sheer dropoff. A small moan escaped her. "Him...
"We'll be there, too," Terry pointed out.
She didn't feel very consoled. "It's just too much. I've only gotten him back from the brink of death these
few months and now he's eager to be off to...to..." Her throat went too thick to speak.
"I promise you, Eden, at all times I'll be between him and any cliff edge."
She looked into Terry's earnest face, trying to feel reassured. "He...he can't even go out to the mailbox,"
she managed. "This...this...I just..."
"Me, too," Ryan added. "I'll be right there, too. And Waddy."
"He fell into the gully when Waddy was with him," she pointed out.
"That was only because he didn't heed Wadsworth's warning," Terry said. "And neither I nor Ryan were
with him at the time."
She couldn't get past a sudden mental image of Marshall tripping, knocking Wadsworth into Terry and then
Terry into Ryan, the four of them all tumbling over the edge, falling...falling into the rocky sea.
"No," Terry said quietly as though he knew her thoughts. "We won't let that happen."
Marshall poked his head in the door. He'd heard Terry's voice but not what he'd been saying. "You ready?"
"Sure," Terry smiled, standing and briefly touching Eden's shoulder.
He joined Marshall for what had become their co-workout session in the basement. Marshall had had a small
gym down there for a while, but had recently added to it. He was eager to build his strength back up after his
extensive surgery. There was a treadmill there and he could hold onto the handles and run. It had been hard
at first as his diaphragm seemed sluggish when it came to breathing deeply, but by now his breaths came easily.
There were weights, which Terry especially went for. It had been some while since his shoulder and chest had
been deeply slashed there in the jungle of Yucatan, but his right side still seemed a little weaker than his left
and he worked diligently at strengthening it. Several other pieces of exercise equipment developed just about
any part of the body one wanted. Marshall was pleased at the progress he'd made. In fact, he felt in better
shape now than he'd been in before the accident.
After a while the two men sat, cooling off before showering. "Eden's worried."
"About the situations of the castles, I expect," Marshall said.
"Lots of cliffs."
"My ancestors seem to have had a penchant for building atop them." He wiped a towel across his face. "I'll
"It's hard for her."
"I know," he sighed. "I won't take any chances, Terry. I'm very aware of her feelings about my safety."
"You're really looking forward to this, aren't you?"
"I have this sense...I'm not sure how to put it...of some sort of completion, of closing a circle. It means a lot
Terry smiled at his friend. "I'm glad I'll be along."
"To keep me away from cliffs?"
"Well, yes, but to be part of the circle's closing."
Later Marshall sought Eden out. "Come, sit with me."
"No one needs to blab," he smiled. "I understand about this."
"About the cliffs?"
"About the cliffs, yes. What is the reason one stands at the edge of a cliff looking out to sea?"
"To, um, see the sea?"
"That's pretty much it, isn't it? Never in my life have I been interested in views." He shrugged in a
slightly wry manner. "I'm not sure I even have a correct grasp of just what a view...is. What I want to do,
Eden, is to lay my hands on castle walls, listen to the sounds, breathe in the scents. For me, that's being
there and it gives me a sense of place."
She blinked back a few quick tears. It was so true. He wouldn't be able to see the castles.
"It's all right," he said, laying a hand on her leg. "It's what I know. It's enough."
"Reading my mind again, eh?"
"I know how you think, how you love me, what you wish for me, but it truly is all right. I loved being
in the Lake District with you and now I carry within myself a sure sense of place. That's what I want for
the castles, that sense of place where my forebears lived."
"I thought the Sinclairs came from bats, not bears."
"What? Oh, the riverboat conversation." He chuckled then. "Bats and bears both. Sinclairs have a
strange history, lots of mystery. That's why we're going to Rosslyn Chapel last. It's the most mysterious
"It's not on a cliff?"
"No, it's inland, south of Edinburgh. It's set on a hilltop, in fact, overlooking the Roslin Glen and the North
"How come you're not saving Ravenscraig for last?"
"There's not all that much to do there," he explained, "but Rosslyn Chapel, now that's another story. My
hands almost tingle at the thought of its carvings."
"I'm glad you could make contact with the present Lord Rosslyn so we could stay at the special house he
sometimes rents out right there on the castle grounds."
"It will be very convenient," he nodded, "as a base for exploring the area."
"He seemed very interested in you as a direct descendant. You're even more direct than he is, aren't you?"
"Well, yes, but it belongs to him and..."
"Lord Sinclair. You should be Lord Sinclair."
"Doctor Sinclair is what I've earned. The glories of our ancestors belong to our ancestors, not to us."
"I find you entirely glorious."
"You're prejudiced," he grinned again.
"I'm glad we're using a private jet. It's more comfortable and somehow, I guess, easier all-round."
"Better for Wadsworth by far, no kennel in the belly of a plane."
"And Edith, darling Edith, here she is again helping us out with Morgan."
"He's too young yet to appreciate castles. We can take him back when he's older."
Even though Eden hated to leave Morgan, she knew she'd be so busy trying to keep an eye on Marshall's
well being that tending an in the process of learning to walk baby would be too much to handle.
"Tomorrow," she said softly. "Off to Scotland."
"Everything will be fine," he said, leaning in for a kiss.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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