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"TEASING ME" SEASON 4, EPISODE 18"

Teasing Me

Season 4

Episode 18

But it’s not him. It’s the cook again, watching me, a hint of suspicion in her eye.

“You said I should go for a walk,” I point out, and she half-smiles, then quickly wipes it away, grimacing again.

We stand there for a few moments, but she doesn’t ask me to leave. She doesn’t leave either, so eventually I clear my throat and point at the portrait. “Who is she?”

The cook hesitates. “Lady Lochlan.”

My spine tingles. Farrow’s mother. To judge by the unused room and the way the portraits hang, gathering dust, alone and unwatched, I have to guess that she isn’t around to care for them anymore. Isn’t around to play this piano, or commission more portraits.

“What happened to her?” I ask quietly.

The cook sighs. “It’s not my job to educate people on their father’s sins.”


I blink, confused. But that’s when I notice she has something in her hands. A covered silver tray.

“Lord Lochlan is back,” she says, and my stomach twists to hear her refer to him that way. Lord.

But it also twists for another reason, one I don’t care to admit. Could it be I actually feel excited to see him?

But no. It’s probably just boredom. Being alone in this drafty old house with nobody to talk to except the lone servant who doesn’t deign to speak more than two words to me will do that.

“I made up a lunch for you both,” the cook adds, holding the tray out to me. “He’s in the garden. Take this out to him.”

I accept the tray with a nervous swallow. But what else do I have to do? It’s not like I can pretend that I’m busy at the moment. “Thank you,” I tell her, but she only bows her head and backs out of the room.

I’ve stared out my window forlornly enough to know the way to the garden. It takes me a couple tries to find the door outside through the side galley. I hesitate in front of it, checking my dress in the glass. It’s the most demure thing that Farrow left for me to wear, which is to say, not very. It’s a sundress, short and tight, though thankfully it covers my ass when I sit down, which is more than I can say about most of the other skirts and dresses he chose.

I open the door and step into the garden. There are a few paths winding through hedges and past ornate flower displays and rose bushes. It takes me a while to find Farrow, tucked away under a trellis of roses, sitting at a little iron table with a cup of coffee. I hesitate, surprised, because there’s an open sketchbook on his knees.

I didn’t know he was an artist too.

He hasn’t heard me approach. Doesn’t notice I’m here. For a moment, I enjoy the view. Not just of him, though Farrow looks as infuriatingly handsome as ever in gray slacks, a white dress shirt rolled up at the sleeves, and a dark gray vest that matches his slacks.

Business attire. I wonder where he’s been these past few days. Probably attending to his company somewhere.

But the sketch unfolding on his knees is at odds with the imperious, controlling man I know. It’s delicate, beautiful. A still life of the roses that climb along the trellis overhead, some curling down toward Farrow and others tilted up, petals lifted as though embracing the sun.

“You’re talented,” I say, finally, breaking the silence.

If I startled him, he doesn’t show it. His shoulders tense for a second, but then he glances back at me over them, the usual smirk planted on his narrow mouth. “Being kind to me won’t change our relationship,” he says.

“What relationship?” I respond sarcastically. Then I set the tray on the table in front of him, next to his coffee. “Your cook sent this out.”

“Mia always does worry about my diet,” he jokes.

“Mine too, apparently,” I mutter, and to my surprise, he laughs at that.

He lifts the lid from the tray and inspects the sandwiches underneath. Tea sandwiches, some kind of chicken salad that smells delicious. Everything his cook prepares does, actually.

“Well?” he asks, and I blink at him, startled. He’s pointing to the chair beside his. “Are you joining me?”

I smooth my skirt beneath me and ease into the chair next to him as he divides the sandwiches, passes me a plate, and takes the other for himself. Before he does, he sets his half-finished sketch on the table.
________


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