Normally she would abandon more formal types of dress for her morning duties, pretending she were nothing more than a Scottish maid set to cleaning and preparing breakfast for her lord. And she always looked forward to the moment Gabriel would stumble downstairs, half-dressed in his plaid, and kiss her on the cheek, run his fingers through the wild mane of her hair, and whisper in her ear how beautiful she was, even coated in flour up to her elbows.
But this morning she anticipated a more rigid greeting, and more houseguests for breakfast. The night before, they'd gotten into a squable, as her protests about his riding out to meet the representative for the Campbells himself had gone unheeded. She had been nervous when she'd gotten dressed silently in their bedroom. A thin chemise, a corset, laced extra tight, and a gown of deep viridian, one of her newer gowns, one that was less worn. A clean partlet covered her shoulders and throat -- except for the gold cross she wore around her neck,- the one Gabriel had given her for their ten year anniversary -- and matched the blackwork on her white whimple that covered the top of her hair and her ears. The paid that hung across her chest and over one shoulder made her looks regal, especially adorned by the ornate cloak pin that held it at the top of her shoulder.
She was every bit the lady of the manor, the head of her clan, and made a point to look polished by the time Gabriel's man, Kenneth, came to break his fast with the family. Setting Fionna at the fireplace to stir the oatmeal for her father and brothers, and making sure little Lillian was tucked up snuggly against the wet nurse near the hearth in the kitchen, she offered Kenneth a place to the right of the head of the table and explained that she would go up and fetch Gabriel.
Climbing those stairs she knew what was in store, the argument that would ensue once he saw how she was dressed. He would figure out what her plans were. She never dressed like this unless he allowed her to go with him on clan business, and that was exactly what she intended. She was tired of sitting by the window in their home, waiting for his return, whether triumphantly on horseback, or, how she feared most, bloodied, pale, carried in on a horsecart. She was going with him, no matter what.
She stopped in the children's room, rousing the boys from sleep and making sure they were getting dressed before she made her way to the master bedroom. She needed to retrieve the sleeves to her gown anyway, and if he was already awake and dressed when she got there, she'd simply inform him that breakfast was ready and gather the material, taking them to Fionna and Lillian's room to finish dressing. She was afraid her resolve would not hold up against his pleading eyes, and she was determined to have her way in the matter.
With one more deep breath, she turned the handle, and slipped inside.