Copyright © 2021 Robert Loney
The Birthright
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The Birthright

An excerpt from Chapter 5

By the Hearth

Amanda has been visiting with John in the library...

   Amanda tossed another log onto the hungry flames. "This wood's bone-dry," she remarked. "I suppose it's been here since Father last had a fire."
   "Is that maple?" asked John drowsily.
   "Maple or beech. I don't know."
   "It throws out a good heat."
   The radiant energy of the fire had lulled them away from expending much of their own, and their meandering conversation was inspired by a lazy Muse. For John, the pleasure of his situation had mellowed from an intoxicating piquancy to a comfortable dreaminess, and more than once he had to straighten up from a slouch. Even energetic Amanda had lapsed into a luxurious languidness.
   Some snickering just outside the library door aroused her. It opened partially and two diminutive heads stuck themselves into the room. John recognized them as Jason and either a sister or a cousin.
   "What do you two want?" asked their aunt sternly.
   "Nuthin," replied Jason, his smirk widening.
   "Then would you close the door, please?" said Amanda, lightening her tone.
   "Is he your boyfriend?" asked the girl.
   "He's a good friend of mine," replied Amanda simply. "Is that all you want to know?"
   "Are you getting married?" asked Jason.
   "And make him your uncle? I couldn't do that to him. Now get out!"
   Amanda rose from her chair to ensure their exit. They quickly closed the door and she sat down again, sighing with exasperation.
   "Children don't make you sentimental?" asked John facetiously, trying to cover his embarrassment at the questions just asked.
   "Not those kids." She stared at the fire pensively. "I suppose the others are wondering about us too. Maybe we'd better go back out."
   Amanda gathered up the photo albums to bring along. "Look at the time," she said with surprise. "We've been in here over an hour."


Story links:

A little later

A little earlier