Will descended to see Grandfather the next morning ahead of his husband with the packets in hand. Hannibal had been reluctant to agree, but in the end had put up no argument. The issue of the Addendum was settled for the two of them, but it cut much deeper coming from the man Will had spent the last six years alone with.
This was a conversation best had in private, and one Will was determined they would have.
He knocked and was granted immediate entry with the low warning from Zeller, “No sneaking him food.”
“I would never,” Will promised, and when Zeller strained a look past him, Will said, “His Lordship will be along momentarily. I’m here to see His Grace about some paperwork. Is he receiving?”
“You? Always,” Zeller said, falling back to admit him with a gesture that managed to be half respectful, half mocking, much like the man himself. “You want breakfast here with him?”
“Thank you, Mr. Zeller, that would be lovely,” Will said, amused. “I’ll need some time alone with him, if you please.”
“I’ll be right outside the door,” Zeller said, following him through to give Will access to Grandfather’s bedroom proper and closing the door securely in Will’s wake.
“Well, good morning, my dear,” Grandfather said, propped up in his bed by a mountain of pillows, looking fragile but much improved with Zeller’s ministrations. “This is an unexpected pleasure.”
“Your Grace,” Will said, and an immediate cloud of concern fell over the Duke’s lined features. Will came to a stop at his bedside, solemn and still, his fondness and love for this aging Alpha softening his hurt. “You look very well this morning.”
“And you look very pensive, my dear,” Grandfather said, wary but concerned. He was too cagey an old fox not to feel the huntsman’s gaze, but too proud to flee before it.
“I am pensive,” Will admitted, the ache in his heart becoming more pronounced. He composed himself, aware of Grandfather’s eyes on him, and managed to say, “I have had a terrible shock.”
“Tell me what is distressing you and I will sort it immediately,” Roland said, eager to put a smile back on his grandson’s beautiful face.
Will lifted the Addendum from the packet of paperwork and handed it to his grandfather. With studied calm, he said, “I have something which belongs to you. Something which came into my keeping through a very devious design.”
Roland took it with trepidation, his eyes scanning the sentences with growing realization. Continue reading