Belated Celta Thursday, Lost Heart Cut, Barton Before Matchmaker
Celta Friday: Lost Heart Cut, Barton before matchmaker:
Barton sat at a table to one side of the huge Clover Compound middle courtyard, a smile pasted on his face and a cold beer in his hand, and watched the play of a couple of dozen Clover children.
And pretended not to brood. None of those children were his. And the two who would also have stayed up for the Family celebration with fireworks like all the rest — Savi and Balansa — remained missing.
A full two weeks had passed since they’d left and he hadn’t been able to find them. Thorny need still stuck in his heart that the Family must right the mistakes they’d made with the children. Barton must find them.
Shrieking echoed in his head as the last of the pre-teens scattered from a clump near him, running to their individual homes. The Clover Compound consisted of row houses built around two full city blocks with courtyards in the middle.
Construction around the third block they owned was ongoing. Barton’s own home would be dark and silent. Not even a Fam awaited him.
The last of his generation to marry. That realization needled him as much as the loss of his relatives. Clovers usually wed early and got started on their families. But they weren't the man who was responsible for the security of the whole Family. Family with a capital f. The entire, now noble, clan.
He scrambled every day to keep on top of his job as Chief of Security. Even though he'd had that job for ten years. And now Barton could also see that Walker would fulfill his potential. His quietly sneaky brother would rise to the very top of Celtan society and become the highest leader of them all. Barton swallowed more beer that sloshed in his gullet nicely. Yeah, Walker would eventually become Captain of AllCouncils, Barton had no doubt. And that meant security for his brother and the rest of the Family was vital.
Who could think about taking a wife and making children with that on his shoulders?
But as Walker gathered up his HeartMate and their two children, as couples slipped into recently claimed houses, as the older teens reluctantly trudged to their parents’ homes, Barton stayed alone in the dark courtyard and listened to cheerful and mundane sounds drift from the open windows.
And wondered, really, if the matchmaker GreatLord Saille T’Willow would be able to find Barton a lover, a wife, a partner. And what he would do with her if Willow did.