Sometimes, we aren’t Thankful for our family…

Gilles was the last to breakfast. He’d risen early and took Lucifer for a bruising ride. As he drew close to the dining room he heard hushed whispers. Another reason he had not told them, he reminded himself. Entering, he noticed that everyone was in various states of completing their meals. Alastair’s napkin rested on his plate and the paper was folded next to it. Maman had just her coffee and half of a triangle of toast. Mirabelle was nibbling a piece of bacon but her plate was otherwise clean. Elise had eaten about half of the food on her plate but her silverware rested across it. She held her cup to her lips and listened to his progress through the room.
Slowly piling food on his plate, in hopes that the room would be less populated by the time he was done, Gilles reminded himself that they were worried for him. It wouldn’t do to start snapping at them. If he were in their place, it would have been unacceptable.
As he sat, three sets of eyes looked at him expectantly and one gorgeous head cocked in his direction.
“The rest of my evening was pleasant. I hope everyone else slept well.” Gilles’ jaw twitched as four heads nodded slowly. “I apologize for disturbing everyone’s night and shall endeavor to be more careful in the future.”
Mirabelle’s gaze softened and his mother looked at him as if he was five and trying to be brave. Alastair stared, his eyes narrowing.
“You have no way of controlling that.” He stated. “Unless you’re restrained.”
The statement was met with varying degrees of shock.
“Not that I’d allow that, but that’s the only way he could keep from disturbing us.”
The unspoken argument that Elise could do something about it hung in the air but no one wanted to broach that topic at the moment.
“No… The idea has merit.” Gilles said between bites of food. “We could send for a straight jacket and I could be gagged after a glass of brandy.” He chewed some more as he made a show of pondering the idea. “That is what happens when one has a lunatic in the family, is it not?” He took a drink of his coffee.
“We don’t think you’re unstable, Gilles.” Alastair said.
“Are you certain? The way you’ve all been whispering and looking at me as if I ate my own puppy, I can’t be sure.”
“Really, Gilles?” Mirabelle scolded.
“Really! I have bad dreams. Actually, bloody terrible nightmares. But that’s all it is. As I’ve said, they won’t kill me. I’m a grown man and have dealt with them for some time. I’m the same as I was yesterday and will be the same tomorrow. They will pass, or they won’t but I’ll be fine. The only things causing me discomfort right now is the fact that my family is making more of it than they should and the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with may not have me.” He shoveled a generous portion of food into his mouth and chewed, staring at the faces around the table. “Pass the jam, please, Mirabelle.” He took it and applied it to his toast. “Is there anything I need to know about in that news sheet, Alastair?”
“No. Almost the same as yesterday.”
Gilles munched on his toast and let his eyes wander over Elise. She looked better than the day before but still pale.
“You need to eat more.” Her head snapped in his direction.
He scooped the last of the food from his plate then downed the rest of his coffee and rose.
“I have some correspondence to attend to in the study. Alastair, you may join me if you promise to discuss anything but last night.” He rose and nodded towards the other inhabitants of the dinning room, “Ladies” and left.

Sometimes, we aren’t Thankful for our family…

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