The Laird’s Stolen Bride – Extended Epilogue
A few weeks later
The pipers began to play, and Payton turned, with Dugald at his side, his heartbeat thrumming in his chest as he waited for Kayla to appear. The doors to the chapel were still firmly shut and he took the opportunity to look at his brother and sister.
Taveon and Arya sat in the front pew looking at him, both smiling ridiculously. He could still remember the letters he had received when he had told them he was to be married. Taveon was perhaps the most shocked, surprised he had found any one woman he wanted to commit to. Arya, on the other hand, had written in her letter about how she had always known he would marry someday, he just had to find the right one.
Arya had met Kayla the night before as well, and the two got along so well, that Arya had come to him at the end of the evening, eager to talk about her.
“She suits ye well,” she had whispered happily. “Aye, she has a good heart, yet is regal tae look at, and even has that same sense of distance ye sometimes carry. Yet when ye hear her speak of something that matters tae her, there is passion there. Aye, ye are well matched indeed.”
That we are.
Payton held onto this thought as the chapel door opened.
Laird Mackenzie strode in with Kayla on his arm, and behind them, Sofia walked in, holding onto a fresh bunch of heather from the moors.
Payton only had eyes for Kayla, however. Dressed in a dark blue tartan gown, it was draped with the shoulder strips of both of their clans that would now be united in an alliance. The clan badge also pinned these shoulder strips in place.
Her eyes found his and she smiled, so happily that all the tension and darkness that had kept them apart didn’t seem to matter anymore. Just like Jonathan was now nothing but a memory.
At the thought of Jonathan, Payton looked away briefly. On his side of the pews, he saw Robert the Bruce, his smile half hidden by a dark beard. He’d talked extensively that morning prior to the wedding of the pride he had in having such loyal men in Scotland.
I will be loyal tae ye. Always.
The fact Payton was now fighting for a cause he believed in meant everything to him. He would hold to it, no matter what challenge came his way.
As they reached him, Payton took Kayla’s hand within his own. Laird Mackenzie stepped forward, lowering his voice to be heard beneath the pipers’ music that emanated from the back of the chapel.
“Take good care of her. I say that, even as I ken ye will.” He winked, jovially. “I have seen enough of ye this last month, melaird, tae ken that I am giving her tae the most protective of men.”
“Ye have me word, melaird. I’d sooner see me blood drawn than let any harm come tae her.”
“Payton.” She squeezed his hand, in a reprimanding way. “I thought ye would have enough scars by now.”
He laughed with her, as did Laird Mackenzie, before they turned to face the priest.
“Dearly beloved,” he called as the pipers’ music faded. “We are gathered here today in the sight of God tae join together this man and this woman.”
As the priest went through the formalities, Payton could not take his eyes off Kayla. He watched her, even as she stared ahead, her expression intent. It was plain how seriously she took this commitment, mouthing some of the words along with the priest, and Payton thanked his lucky stars to have found her at all.
When it came time to say his own vows, he spoke them gladly, knowing he would keep to every single promise that he made her.
“Tae have and tae hold, from this day forward, fer better fer worse, fer richer fer poorer, fer fairer or fouler, in sickness and in health, tae love and tae cherish, till death us depart, according to God’s holy ordinance. And thereto, I plight thee me troth.”
When he was done, he raised her hand to his lips and kissed it, his eyes only focusing on her smile.
“What dae ye say?” Payton whispered to Kayla as they came off the dance floor. “We could begin our celebrations a little early?”
“We are already celebrating.” She pointed at the dancers around them. Nearby, Taveon was dancing with his wife Hannah, as Arya and her husband Gillebride were drinking and talking together in a corner with some other guests. Even Sofia had taken to the dance floor with Dugald, to Payton’s surprise.
“Nae that kind of celebrating, Kayla,” he whispered playfully, drawing a hand around her waist and pulling her a little to the side of the feasting room.
“Oh,” she murmured, a great smile spreading across her face as they moved.
Like him, she checked across the room, but everyone seemed too lost in their own merriment to possibly notice where they were going. It was late after all, and her father and Robert the Bruce had already retired after many a shared drink.
They left the room quickly. Rather than sneaking up to Kayla’s chamber, as Payton had done countless times these last couple of weeks, he took her to his own chamber instead. Inside, the fire was roaring, already awaiting them, and the furs from the bed had been moved. Yet the air was cold, so Payton drew Kayla toward where those furs had been laid out like rugs in front of the fire instead.
“This will be the spot where I first take ye as me wife,” he murmured hungrily in her ear, not quite kissing her as she reached for his clothes and beneath the kilt, trying to take hold of him. Her teasing touch had a guttural tone escaping his lips. “Mine at last, completely.”
“I have been that fer some time,” she reminded him with a giggle. “Even when I defied ye, pretended I didnae want ye…” She sighed, tipping her head back. “I always did.”
“Aye, but now, we are joined in law too,” he said playfully. “And ye vowed tae obey me orders.”
She tipped her head back and laughed.
“Well, we both ken I willnae always obey yer orders, but maybe here.” She stepped back from him tauntingly, gesturing to the bedchamber. “I will obey a few of them.”
Such an arousal rose within him, he wanted to take here there and then. But he would not rush it tonight. No, tonight, he would take his time.
“Take off yer gown.”
She offered a defiant smile, but all the same, lifted her hands to the laces and began to undo the dress. He removed his own clothes too.
“And the stockings.” He pointed at the stockings that rose halfway up her thighs, held in place by laces. Slowly, she pushed them down, revealing more and more of her skin. “Lie down.” He gestured to the furs, and she did so, lying on her back, writhing against the warm furs.
Oh, how he wanted her, to take her completely and entwine their bodies together, but he was determined to make her reach her climax many times that night. Slowly, he knelt before her, then took her legs and parted them, kissing his way down her body until he hovered over the damp curls between her legs. She shuddered with clear anticipation, wanting him, as he paused and looked up at her.
As he stared at those eyes in the firelight, something struck him. There had been a time where he thought this life would never be his, that he would never be loved. He was too scarred, both inside and out, and what woman would want to put up with all of that? Yet Kayla loved him as he was.
Thank God indeed I found her.
Then he lowered his lips to her center, determined to show her all night long, just how grateful he was for her love, and how much he loved her in return.
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