The Bairn of Brianag (Chapter One, page 2 of 13)

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"Oh, I do! I do!" I whispered.

Kevin sighed. "What a child you are!" He drew me in close to him again. "You believe that you can simply demand something, and it will be given to you."

"Oh, what nonsense," I said.

"Our mother is right, Jessie; our father has indulged you entirely to excess," my brother said. "You believe that you can have whatever you want, whenever you want! And why should you not? You are the princess of Gillean! Adored by all! Carefree and thoughtless and happy! Why would you not believe it to be so?" I tried to raise my head, but he held me fast. "Robbie is not a gown, nor a bauble, nor a pony! He is a man, and he is free to do as he will. I assure you, Jessie, he will never settle down with a wife, at least not for many a year to come."

"You do not know. You cannot know his mind," I said, obstinacy rising in me.

"You speak truly, indeed; do you believe that you know Robbie's mind? Jessie, you cannot always have what you want! You are grown, now! There are times when we must do what we do not wish to do! Times when we find ourselves with obligations that must be met! Do you think that our brother Sean really wanted to move away to Savannah, leaving our home behind-all his family, his friends, his love?"

"H-his love?" I said, and my breath caught on a sob.

Kevin paused, as if he regretted speaking. "Yes, Jessie; there was someone he loved and who did not love him," he said. "He went away not just to manage our father's estate, but to escape the pain of that loss as well. If you were not so blinded by your own desires, perhaps you would have had an inkling of this."

"Oh!" My eyes filled again, and I leaned into his chest once more, resting there for a moment, thinking of Sean, alone in Savannah. We missed him dreadfully at Gillean and at Brianag; how lonely he must be!

After a moment I sat up again. "I shall marry Robbie," I said, and heard the stubbornness in my voice. "I shall make him see that I love him truly, and he will love me."

"Never, Jessie, never will Robbie ever-"

"I shall make him love me," I said again. "I have never really tried, only wished and hoped . . . but now I shall work for his love." I stood up. "Good night, Kevin."

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