She was alone, and probably terrified. She was alone, when she should have been married and comfortably ensconced in his Northumberland home with fresh air and wholesome food and where he could keep an eye out on her.
Funny how he had always assumed he'd let Winston carry on the family name, because now he wanted more than anything to touch Miranda's swollen belly, to hold this child in his arms. He hoped it would be a girl. He hoped she would have brown eyes. He could get his heir later on. With Miranda in his bed, he wasn't worried about conceiving again.
"What are you going to do about it?" Olivia demanded.
Turner slowly lifted his head. His sister was standing militantly before him, hands on hips. "What do you think I'm going to do about it?" he countered.
"I don't know, Turner," and for once Olivia's voice lacked an edge. Turner realized that this wasn't a retort. It wasn't a dare. Olivia honestly was not convinced that he intended to do the right thing and marry Miranda.
Turner had never felt like less of a man.
With a deep, shuddering breath, he stood and cleared his throat. "Olivia, would you be so kind as to provide me with Miranda's address in Scotland?"
"Gladly." She marched over to her desk and whipped out a piece of paper onto which she hastily scrawled a few lines. "Here you are."
Turner took the scrap of paper, folded it, and put it into his pocket. "Thank you."
Olivia very pointedly did not reply.
"I shan't be seeing you for some time, I think."
"At least seven months, I should hope," she retorted.
* * *
Turner raced across England up to Edinburgh, completing the journey in an amazing four and a half days. He was tired and dusty when he reached the Scottish capital, but that didn't seem to matter. Every day that Miranda was left alone was another day that she could- hell, he didn't know what she could do, but he didn't want to find out.
He checked the address one last time before heading up the steps. Miranda's grandparents lived in a fairly new home in a fashionable section of Edinburgh. They were gentry, he'd once heard, and had some property farther north. He sighed in relief that they were spending the summer down near the border. He wouldn't have relished having to continue his trip up into the Highlands. He was exhausted as it was.
He gave the door a firm knock. A butler answered it and greeted him with as snooty an English accent as one could find in the residence of a duke.
"I am here to see Miss Cheever," Turner said in clipped tones.
The butler looked disdainfully at Turner's rumpled clothing. "She is not in."
"Is that so?" Turner's tone implied that he did not believe him. He wouldn't be surprised if she had given his description to the entire household and instructed them to bar his entrance.
"You will have to return at a later time. I should be happy, however, to convey a message if- "
"I'll wait." Turner pushed right past him into a small salon off the main hall.
"Now see here, sir!" the butler protested.
Turner whipped out one of his cards and handed it to him. The butler looked at his name, looked at him, and then looked at his name again. He obviously didn't expect a viscount to look so disheveled. Turner smiled wryly. There were times a title could be damned convenient.
"If you would like to wait, my lord," the butler said in a more subdued tone, "I shall have a maid bring in some tea."
As the butler slipped out the door, Turner began to wander through the room, slowly examining his surroundings. Miranda's grandparents had obvious good taste. The furnishings were understated and of a classic style, one that would never seem gauche or hopelessly out of date. As he idly examined a landscape painting, he pondered, as he had done a thousand times since leaving London, what he was going to say to Miranda. The butler hadn't called the guard as soon as he knew his name. That was a good sign, he supposed.
Tea arrived a few minutes later, and when Miranda didn't show up soon thereafter, Turner decided that the butler had not been lying about her whereabouts. No matter. He would wait as long as it took. He'd get his way in the end- of that he had no doubt.
Miranda was a sensible girl. She knew that the world was a cold and unfriendly place to illegitimate children. And their mothers. No matter how angry she was with him- and she would be, of that he had no doubt- she would not wish to consign her child to such a difficult life.
It was his child, too. It deserved the protection of his name. As did Miranda. He really didn't like the thought of her remaining much longer on her own, even if her grandparents had agreed to take her in during this awkward time.
Turner sat with his tea for half an hour, plowing through at least six of the scones that had been brought with them. It had been a long trip from London, and he had not stopped often for food. He was marveling at how much better these tasted than anything he'd ever had in England when he heard the front door open.
Miranda's voice. Turner stood up, a half-eaten scone still dangling from his fingers. Footsteps sounded in the hall, presumably belonging to the butler.
"Could you relieve me of some of these bundles? I know I should have just had them sent home, but I was too impatient."
Turner heard the sound of packages changing hands, followed by the butler's voice. "Miss Cheever, I must inform you that you have a visitor waiting for you in the salon."
"A visitor? Me? How odd. It must be one of the Macleans. I have always been friendly with them while in Scotland, and they must have heard I was in town."
"I do not believe he is of Scottish origin, miss."
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