A sharp, piercing scream disrupted the quiet night and awakened Robert from his restless sleep. Sitting up in his bed, he was confused for a moment as to where the sound had come from until he remembered that Leigha was here and was sleeping in a room just down the hall from his. The scream must have come from her, for they were the only occupants of the third floor. Jumping from his bed, he lit a small lantern and left his room, Leigha’s blood-chilling screams echoing about him as he ran down the hall. Her last scream was just fading as he rushed into her chambers and went quickly over to the side of the bed. Setting his lantern down on the nightstand, he took her into his arms to try to comfort her and to stop the racking sobs that shook her tender frame. Not knowing what else he could do, he wrapped his strong arms about her and held her tightly, rocking and cooing gently, softly, until at last her tears subsided.
“Oh Father,” Leigha cried, still more than half asleep and thinking that Robert was he. “I thought that you were dead! I saw the soldier knock you down with his sword, and there was so much blood! Why did they come, father? Why?” she cried plaintively, her voice raised in fear and confusion. “The captain took me and tried to make me his whore. I had to kill him to escape, there was no other way! Do you think that God will understand and not punish me? Oh Papa, everything has been so terrible!”
Robert held the shivering girl tightly, not knowing what to do or say about what he had just heard as Leigha’s tears began to stream anew. His mind and heart reeled with shock, and he tried to contain his anger at the horror Leigha had experienced. His thoughts were dark and ugly as he stared over Leigha’s head into the dim shadows of the room, pulling her closer against his body in his need to protect her. Robert and his father had known of Lord Clairemont’s ties with the Jacobites and had argued long with the man against his politics. It must have been his alliance with the Jacobites that had brought the soldiers against Clairemont and his home. Robert’s blood boiled to think that Lord Clairemont’s foolishness had caused so much grief and pain for the innocent Leigha. Shaking his head, he tried to still his outrage as he whispered gentle words of comfort to her. In moments, her crying turned to soft hiccups, and her body relaxed softly against his. She cuddled closer and then turned her tear-streaked face up towards his. Without thinking, he brought his lips down tenderly upon hers and found a warmth and sweetness there that touched him to his soul, flaring outwards through his body in waves. He had never experienced such a kiss before and withdrew his mouth reluctantly when she squirmed against him.