Mary felt Lennox’s large hand fall on her shoulder, keeping her in the chair when she would have risen and turned to him. Then he slid it down her arm in a gesture so achingly familiar, she stopped the bubble of anger rising within.
“Porridge sounds excellent,” she said, and just caught a glance between mother and son. It only confirmed Mary’s feelings. she was being treated as an invalid and they were relieved to hear her agree to eat food. Had Agnes, not said something like earlier when she was tut-tutting over everything. ‘Why ma’am, if you get any thinner, ye’ll pass through the cracks and no’ the door.’
“I am glad to see you dressed and downstairs, my love,” Lennox said, interrupting her increasingly dark thoughts. “There was a day or twa when that seemed to be far off indeed, You’re strong, of course, and they said it would help.” He pulled out the chair next to hers and took hold of her hand to squeeze it gently. “You may never remember it all. That won’t matter.”
Won’t it? Mary wondered. She could not go through the rest of her life in this bubble of mystery. Why had she needed Lennox’s dog to warm her and protect her? The dank smell of dripping woods assailed her. And something else…
Another smell hovered just out of Mary’s memory. It tantalised and scared her in equal measure.