Lawrence came up behind the Queen who stood staring dreamily out the window. He put his face on her hair and his arms around her. "Why do you gaze out at the sea, my love? Surely you are not anxious about anything?"
She turned to face him and leaned languidly against the windowsill, her eyes thoughtful. "No, dearest, I am only trying to sort out some thoughts. Nothing important."
Lawrence smiled, "Now, let's not be doing any deep thinking. I want to keep you just a little scatterbrained and very content!" He said jestingly. The sun outside shone bright on the sea and the snow and gave a warm glow to the room and Josephine. She smiled and walked over to the stairwell door. "I'll change for luncheon may it please you my lord," she laughed as she went down to her chambers.
On her way down to the great hall of the castle she paused at Rory's door which happened to be open. She could see him inside, light on his face, both from the sun's radiance and smiled which played upon his lips. With a rustle of skirts she left her ladies in the passage and greeted him. "Ah, now, what wouldn't I give to find out what you're grinning about!"
Rory, who had been seated on a rough chest, stood and gave her a quick bow and replied, "I was thinking about the O'Neill. He's very happy now that I am alive again! He is a dear man." In a whisper he confided, " I think, my lady, no matter what is said or felt, 'tis Shannon who is a centerpiece of my life. He is truly happiest to have me back!"
The Queen smiled warmly. "Why Rory, you know Lawrence and I could have not asked for anything better than to have you back."
Rory gave her a look which made her reconsider the qualified truth of her statement. She shook her head. "No, I 'm now. I have no desire to start the doubts running again. I'll not consider that." She started to turn but Rory stopped her, his hand lightly on her arm.
"My lady, did you hear that Heather is coming back? Shannon is beside himself with excitement."
"Is it true? How wonderful!" The Queen forgot what had transpired a moment before, beamed and clapped her hands together. "Oh, it will be so good to see her in better auspices that before. Even Christophe is gone now and there are no reminders of Virginie!"
Rory gave her a puzzled look. "Virginie?" he queried.
The Queen gave him a helpless look. She took his arm and said, "Here, come down with me to luncheon and I'll tell you on the way."
That evening Lawrence and the Queen were together in his room. He'd been happy to see her and Rory laughing easily together and had, with pleasure, been told of Heather's imminent return. Seating himself by the fire, he beckoned Josephine to come to him. She knelt on the rug beside the chair and put her head on his knew. He stroked her hair while they stared at the fire.
Josephine said, "It was Shannon I was thinking about earlier today. Rory's seeing only Shannon's glee - he did not see his deep despair before. His moodiness frightens me sometimes - I'm not sure I understand why."
Lawrence nodded as she looked up at him. "I know what you mean. He seems to change so fast and go so far. My bother Roland was like that when he was a child. It makes me shiver just to remember it and how he became. But I feel as thought the stars are right for Shannon and Heather to be happy now. Heather is hard to understand, but she seemed to be warming to him before." He looked into Jo's eyes. "Do you think they can be as happy as we, my love?" She gave him the special look they shared and he gathered her into his arms.