“Please stop,” Noel said, his tone quiet and tired, and I shut my mouth. “This is an old house, Malcolm. It’s got a sad and bloody history. Just — just let it be.”
I frowned down at the picture, and said, “Fine, all right,” as I put the book away. “Good night, Noel.” I took my cane and hauled myself up.
“Your sister sends her love,” Noel said as I started to leave the room.
I paused and looked back at him. “How are they?”
“Faring well,” Noel said. “She’s — bonny. That’s the right word, isn’t it? She’s a bonny lass. She’s someone I like being around.”
“I’m glad.” I paused, then said, “Did you see Oliver?”
Noel’s brows furrowed, and he got up again to finish unpacking. “He was there.”
“I’m not jealous,” I said. “I just want to know.”
Noel held a pair of Oxfords, his thumb brushing over the leather as if there was a smudge only he could see. “I saw Oliver at our client meeting. But I had little time for socializing and what I did have, I spent with your sister and your brother-in-law and your niece.”
I exhaled, and then scrubbed my hands over my face. “I’m sorry. I’m ridiculous.”
Noel paused, then came to me and wound an arm around my neck. He ruffled my hair with his knuckles. “You’re the best kind of ridiculous.”
I pushed his hand away with a, “Knock it off,” but I was smiling.