It's Ten of the Clock: Do YOU Know Where Your Rosy Is?

(Have another Fantasy Heroine snippet, because Robin brings me joy, and the scene that comes right after this is currently doing my head in. This one takes place on the evening of the Feast of Remembrance.)

‘It’s ten of the clock, do you know where your wife is?’ Robin demanded, and Leo jumped.

Leo was used to Robin appearing in unexpected places, but he had entered the Rose Room’s solar with uncanny stealth. Leo, who had been absorbed in one of the accounting ledgers that lined the bottom of the bookshelf, hadn’t even heard him.

Leo shrugged.

Robin crossed the room and glowered down at Leo, who waited to see if anything else was forthcoming. Robin said nothing further, so Leo returned to the ledger.

‘Why don’t you know where she is?’

‘Why would I know where she is?’ Leo countered, turning a page.

The ledger was flipped shut with a decisive thump. Leo looked up.

‘Because you won,’ Robin said, exasperated. ‘The pair of you, with a little help from yours truly, of course,’ he added without a trace of modesty, ‘have made it very difficult for Baron Mabry to move against you without starting an open revolt. You won. You should be turning cartwheels!’

‘We won,’ Leo pointed out, trying to keep his voice even, ‘on the anniversary of her husband’s murder. If she wants to be alone, I’m not going to bother her.’

‘Right attitude, wrong conclusion, my young friend,’ Robin replied, throwing himself into the chair beside Leo’s and clamping an arm around his friend’s shoulder. ‘Have I ever shared my Three Rules of Marriage with you?’

‘No.’

Robin tutted. ‘Clearly, I’m slipping. Now, pay attention. Rule One: work out if there is a problem. If there isn’t, everything is fabulous, sunshine and roses, gambolling lambs and frolicking puppies and all that sort of thing. If there is a problem, we move to Rule Two: work out what the problem is.’ He wagged the finger of his free hand at Leo. ‘Important to find out what needs fixing before starting to fix it. Then we move to Rule Three: fix the problem. So: what’s the problem, and can you fix it?’

Leo shrugged Robin’s arm off his shoulder, irritable. ‘Why do you think there’s a problem?’

Robin rolled his eyes, exasperated. ‘Because you’re looking at accounting ledgers and arguing with me instead of being with your wife.’

‘You could leave.' 

Robin gave him a look that was half sympathy, half pity, and Leo felt his temper rise. ‘The problem, as you put it, is that she’s sad that her husband was murdered. I can’t bring Hugo back, therefore the problem is not solvable. Stop meddling.’

Robin sighed. ‘If she wants to be alone, and she might, she’s an odd duck, then you should give her the opportunity to say so. If she doesn’t want to be alone, she’ll have wandered off and isolated herself anyway because she doesn’t want to bother anyone. Honestly, the pair of you are as bad as each other.’

‘I assumed she’d be staying with the children.’

‘Why? Ellie’s room is perfectly nice, and I no longer need to keep tactfully out of sight, so you can bet I’m not going to pass up a night with my wife. Rosamund should be here, with you, and she’s not. Aren’t you even slightly concerned?’

Leo, correctly anticipating that he would get no peace until Robin left, stood up and stretched. ‘Where do you think she is?’

‘No idea,’ Robin replied, apparently content that it was no longer his problem. ‘But she won’t have gone far.’

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