Scot of Lust – Extended Epilogue

Even a character, a scene, or anything. You could say no if nothing bothered you.
Something you liked, a specific scene, a character's quality, some detail that caught your eye.
Something you noticed, frustrated you, left you confused, etc.

One month later, Mackintosh Castle

It was a cloudy day, the air turning sharp with chill, but no one in the clan seemed to mind when the wine flowed freely and the great hall was filled with people and laughter, everyone gathered there to celebrate Dunn’s and Elayne’s wedding. The crowd was merry, as it always was when it was time to feast, but the most important thing to Evander was that his brother was happy.

It had been a while since he had seen Dunn smile so sincerely. Though his brother was always cheerful, Evander had been concerned, at times, that a big part of it was a performance he was putting on for other people’s sake. Now he could tell it was real. With Elayne by his side, Dunn was truly happy.

Evander wasn’t so lucky himself. He sat at the table along with the merry couple, his betrothed sitting quietly by his side.

He and Enna had not spoken a single word to each other that entire evening. Evander couldn’t claim that he had made any effort to speak with her, of course, as ever since his betrothal to her had been announced, he had done his best to avoid her. On the other hand, she hadn’t made any effort either and so they ended up sitting side by side that evening, both of them in complete silence unless they were speaking to someone else. Not that she was a bad or boring lass, he just… didn’t care.

Still, this marriage was for the best. He wasn’t as lucky as his brothers, who had all found love. The only woman he had ever loved had broken his heart a long time ago and since then, Evander hadn’t even entertained the idea of trying to find someone else. In fact, it was better if he didn’t love his betrothed, he thought. The last thing he needed was feelings clouding his judgement. Enna, for all her spiritedness and stubbornness, was a good woman from a good family. That was all Evander needed—someone who would be a solid, positive presence in his life. And of course, it didn’t hurt that her family had land, riches, and influence. In the end, that was what mattered the most.

His brothers had married for love. He was going to marry to bring a valuable ally to his clan.

“Shall we dance?”

It was the first words Enna had spoken to him that day and Evander slowly turned to look at her, unable to keep the surprise from showing on his features. He didn’t know what it was that Enna was trying to achieve—every other couple in the family was dancing, that much was true, but that didn’t mean they had to join them.

Besides, Enna could hardly look at him for more than a few moments. It was his appearance, he knew; those tattoos on his skin that she found too menacing, too disturbing. It was unfortunate for her, since she would have to put up with looking at him for the rest of her life, but Evander couldn’t really bring himself to care. Enna was a beautiful woman, there was no doubt about that, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have to make his own sacrifices for this marriage.

“I dinnae dance,” said Evander, turning his gaze back to the crowd. Though he couldn’t see Enna’s expression, he was certain she was anything but pleased. The very air around him seemed to get colder and he couldn’t help but shudder, no matter how momentarily.

“Ye could make an exception,” Enna said and there was a strain to her voice, as though she was trying her best to remain polite, to keep up the appearances. Evander himself wasn’t as concerned with such things, though he wasn’t going to start a fight in the middle of the feast.

“Why?” he asked, this time turning to pin her with his gaze. He wasn’t surprised to see that Enna held it, never once averting her eyes. “What does it matter if we dance?”

“It is better than sittin’ here in silence,” she said. “It is only a dance. Perhaps ye will even enjoy it.”

Evander was quick to shake his head. “I doubt that. I never enjoyed dancin’. If ye wish tae dance, I am sure ye can find another partner.”

Enna scoffed, looking at Evander in disbelief for a few moments, before she pushed herself off her chair and left the table. From the other side of it, Evander caught Alec’s gaze, his brother’s disappointment palpable between them.

He had been the one to insist Evander didn’t have to marry Enna, but now he wanted him to act like a good husband. He knew his brother understood this was nothing but a marriage of convenience, as he had told Evander time and time again there were other options, that the future of the clan didn’t depend on this alliance and so he didn’t need to secure it. Why was he so insistent, then, on trying to get them to act like a proper couple?

With a sigh, Evander also made to leave the table. He needed some fresh air, some space to breathe away from all those people, and so he weaved his way through the crowd and stepped out into the courtyard. The sounds from the feast spilled outside through the windows, but it was quieter there, with no one but a few guards and a few guests milling about the grounds, either alone or with company, trying to find a secluded place.

He didn’t go very far. He only lingered by the door, taking a few breaths of the crisp night air, his mind slowly emptying. His fate truly wasn’t so bad. There were worse things than marrying someone he didn’t love. At least this way, he was certain his heart would never break again. Enna didn’t have the power to hurt him.

His thoughts began to drift to May, as they often did when he thought about his marriage. There was a time he was convinced he would marry her, the girl of his dreams. There was a time he had wanted nothing more than to call her his wife, but that time was long gone now, like she was.

She had made her choice. She had left him and even if Evander could do something to bring her back, he never would. He wouldn’t stoop so low as to beg or scheme. As much as it pained him to think about it—and it certainly did, the mere thought of it like a knife to the gut—May simply didn’t love him. Perhaps she never had or perhaps her feelings had faded with time.

Perhaps his would, too, in the future.

Until then he was cursed to think of her every time he saw Enna. Though they neither looked nor sounded alike, simply looking at his betrothed reminded Evander of May, and perhaps that was why he could not bear to be around her. The ache in his chest was too strong. The void inside him only kept growing.

Where are ye now, May? What life are ye livin’?

Evander didn’t know nor did he want to find out. He had been perfectly clear that no one was to say a single word about May in his presence, and so far, for the past ten years, everyone seemed to be following his request. Perhaps they didn’t talk about her at all or even knew anything about her life. Perhaps he was the only one still clinging to the past.

Then Evander heard a familiar pair of footsteps, and he turned around to see Dunn approaching, two cups of wine in his hands. He passed one to Evander who took it gratefully, draining half its contents in one gulp.

“Are ye all right, braither?” Dunn asked. Though he tried to mask it behind a teasing smile, Evander could tell he was worried.

He didn’t want him to worry. This was his big day.

“I am perfectly fine,” he assured him. “What are ye doin’ here? Shouldnae ye be with yer wife?”

“Me wife is schemin’ with Catreena,” Dunn said with a wary sigh. “I can only imagine what our dear sister is tellin’ her about me.”

“Only the best, I’m sure,” said Evander, truly smiling for the first time that night. “If ye dinnae pull Elayne away, Catreena will speak tae her fer the rest o’ the night.”

“Ach, we cannae have that,” Dunn said. “I’ll distract Elayne while ye distract Catreena.”

It was nothing but a thinly-veiled ploy to get Evander back inside, to get him out of his own head. Evander could tell, but he still followed Dunn, huffing out a laugh at his brother’s antics. There he was, at his own wedding, trying to cheer Evander up because he couldn’t go a single day without letting the past swallow him like a tide.

Back inside, the crowds sang and danced. Enna was among them, finally enjoying herself. With any luck, she would manage to build a home there, even if Evander couldn’t give her his love.

With any luck, they could even be friends in the end.


The End.

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  • What a tale full of deception, romance, patience, chivalry, and love. Dunn is the perfect hero, while Elayne is tough as nails and so innocent. Well done, Juliana!

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