Minutes later, he stepped past Serena to enter her room. Without pretense he asked, "How often does this happen?"
"Pardon me," Serena asked in confusion.
"When you entered the room just now, you asked if she'd had another nightmare. That seems to indicate that there have been past occurrences of this type of behavior. I asked you how often it had happened."
He seemed upset, but she hadn't the slightest idea why. Rather than sticking her nose where it didn't belong, she answered his question. "They occur every two or three months. Although, since my mother's recent passing, she has had a few."
"Are they always so intense," he asked. He was aware of the pain in Serena's eyes when she'd mentioned her mother, but his concern lay with Kyra right now.
"Yes. At Tyler Hall there was always a servant who slept in an adjoining room from Kyra's. That person was asked to try and restrain Kyra, and to help awaken her whenever she had one of these nightmares. There was nothing that could be done to prevent them from happening, so we just learned to deal with them as best we could."
Sighing aloud his aggravation, he queried, "Is there anything else your father forgot to tell me about Kyra when he asked me to take her in?"
"I'm not really sure," Serena shrugged a bit red faced. Caleb looked incredibly tired and aggravated with the whole situation.
Pushing the issue a little further, he stepped forward, raising his brows as he spoke. "What are these nightmares about? Has she ever spoken to you about them? Have you any idea what they entail or why they make her act out so violently?"
"No, I don't know," she answered honestly. "Kyra has never told me very much about what happens in her dreams. Mother warned us not to talk about it. She said there were things I just didn't need to know. But, based on what I've heard over the years, I can tell you that Kyra's dreams all revolve around some horrible man who does very violent things."
Caleb thought about that for a moment, finding it rather interesting. Something about the whole scenario was bothering him, but he just couldn't put a finger on what.
Serena stood there for a moment before a yawn slowly crept up on her. "Lord Damon," she pleaded wearily. "The hour grows late. Could we continue this questioning in the morning?"
"Of course, please forgive my intrusion." Caleb's words were sincere, but he looked thoughtful as he walked to the door. Just before he stepped outside her room, he turned back with a different train of thought. 'Serena, in the interest of propriety, would you mind telling me where you were until this late hour?"
Her eyes shifted guardedly and her chin lifted defiantly. "Lord Damon, I am in my eighteenth summer and you aren't my father. I was spending an enjoyable evening with your brother. I see nothing wrong with that."
Halted by her tone of voice, Caleb's well-built frame suddenly seemed to tower over her as he straightened to his full height. He glared down at her now, and Serena backed away as she awaited his torrent. The look on his face was impossible to read, but she knew he was not pleased with her rebellious outburst.
"In the first case," he began coolly, "you are quite right. I am not your father. But, I am your guardian for as long as you remain under my roof. You will show respect in my presence and not use that tone of voice with me again. On your other point, you are also correct. Spending an enjoyable evening with my brother is no crime. Not unless you are eighteen and happen to be pledged to another man. Not unless you are spending time with an older man, unattended. In that light, it is a very serious error in propriety. So act your age and think before you get yourself into trouble."
Without waiting for a reaction, he stepped out of the room and strode the rest of the way back to his own bedchamber. Serena could hardly find her breath as she closed the door behind him. An angry scream rose in her throat, but she held it back.
Tonight had been such a perfect evening. After sitting back down to their game, she and Jacob had managed to talk of happier things. She had laughed more with Jacob tonight than she had in years. He was a very entertaining companion. Talking about her anger actually helped relieve some of it in a way. Once the discussion was over and they'd returned to the game, she'd felt happier and a lot less stressed. Then, in walked Caleb Damon to ruin the whole thing.
Deep down, she knew what Caleb said was true. He was right when he said that spending time alone Jacob could be considered scandalous, but it was so unfair! Jacob was the most sincere and generous man she had ever met. She was growing fond of having him to talk to. And she didn't believe he would ever do anything to sully her name. In that one brief moment, he could have taken advantage of the situation in the gaming room, but he hadn't. He'd had a perfect opportunity when she'd let him get so close to her. But, he'd pulled away and done the right thing when it came down to it.
Still, the powers that be would never be convinced of their innocence. If word of their private evening in the gaming room ever reached Andrew's ears, it was probable that he would take offense to it. She knew it had been a bad move now that she was thinking about it. Her mother had taught her to have more common sense than she'd displayed tonight. She couldn't imagine how angry her father would be if she humiliated the family by giving Andrew an excuse to back out of the wedding.
She knew what a marriage between her and Andrew meant to her father. She should. He brought up the topic often enough these days. But, she'd never thought about the rightness of her marriage contract before tonight. After spending such an enjoyable evening on her own, she was starting to realize that something was missing in her life. She'd needed to talk about those things that were bothering her. And, she'd needed to hear the things Jacob said, not that she'd liked it much at first. She'd never had anyone try to counsel her like that before. It had been nice.
Maybe Caleb was only looking out for her best interest, but men didn't seem to hold an ounce of compassion for women in society. It hurt to realize that spending time with Jacob was wrong...
Go To: TOP OF PAGE