They were enjoying after-dinner drinks in the drawing-room when Hettie appeared at the door. “Maggie, there is a messenger here for you. He says he needs to see you, personally.”
Maggie set her drink down and went into the foyer. “You have a message for me?” she called to the man.
“Are you Mistress Maggie Bishop?” he asked.
“Ma’am, I have confidential correspondence for you,” he said, digging through his bag, producing a sealed envelope.
Maggie frowned and took the letter. “Thank you. Do you need to wait for a response?”
“No, ma’am.” He tipped his hat and departed.
Maggie came back into the drawing-room while looking down at it in her hands.
“What’s that?” asked Duncan.
“No idea,” Maggie said, breaking the seal, as she came to sit by the fireplace. “Oh, it’s from John.”
“How is he?” asked Gabe.
Maggie skimmed the letter. “He has been promoted to Major....”
“That is wonderful news.” Gabe smiled, nodding. “No one is more deserving.”
Maggie read on further, as her face started to grow with concern.
“FUCK!” she exclaimed. “Fuckity fuck!”
They all spun in their seats to stare at her.
Maggie looked up. “This is bad! This is VERY bad! Duncan, close the doors.”
He rose and did as she instructed.
“What is it, Maggie? What does John say?” questioned Gabe.
Maggie closed her eyes and blew out a long breath. “He says that General Clinton plans on recalling you back to active duty.”
“What?” a stunned Gabe asked, coming over to take the letter from her.
“Can he do that?” Quinn moved to rest his hand on Gabe’s back, looking over his shoulder.
“Yes! He can!” said Gabe. “And, if he has already decided upon it, there is nothing I can do.”
Gabe’s face paled and he slowly sank down in one of the chairs.
Maggie took the letter back and continued to read. “Wait! We have some time. John says here that Clinton knows you are out of the country but is awaiting news of your return.”
Gabe looked at Quinn. “What about Kat? I can’t leave her.”
“Not only that,” added Maggie, standing and pacing in front of the fireplace, “Gabe, you cannot be part of the British army when this goes belly up for them. You will be lucky if the worst that happens to you is that you have to go back to London.”
Maggie sat back down in the chair, in deep thought, chewing on her fingernail.
“What’s on your mind, Maggie?” Duncan walked to stand next to her, knowing that she was mulling something over.
She looked down at the letter. “General Clinton is very fond of John and, not only that, he listens to him. If we can talk to John and explain that Gabe is a single father now, how Kat has no one else after losing both of her birth parents, maybe, just maybe, he can dissuade Clinton from his decision.”
“And this John…he would do that for Gabe?” asked Duncan.
“He, Maggie, and I have become close friends,” answered Gabe. “Yes, I think he would. I can send a messenger out right away.”
“No...” Maggie stood to stand at Gabe’s side, “you cannot. John sent this by private courier so the wrong person would not lay hands on it. If General Clinton finds out that he warned us, he may be in a great deal of trouble and we cannot bring that down upon him for helping us. It will require a personal visit.”
“I will leave tomorrow.”
Maggie took Gabe’s hand. “YOU cannot go.”
“Of course, I can,” he argued. “I have to.”
“Gabe, if General Clinton sees you, he very well may pull you back to duty on the spot, and right now, he still thinks you are out of the country. It’s best if John takes his time working on him. You know how persuasive John can be. He will have Clinton convinced that is in the best interest of the British army to NOT bring you back. It’s better if I go.”
“Maggie,” Gabe shook his head, “this is not a good idea.”
Maggie looked down at the letter again. “This correspondence is dated just a few days ago and it appears that John is currently in Oyster Bay, New York. I can slip the ship straight into port, meet with him, and return the next day. It will be a quick and easy trip.”
“Where have I heard that before?” asked Gabe, dryly.
“WE can slip in, ye mean,” said Duncan, folding his arms.
Maggie moved next him and touched Duncan’s face. “I should probably go alone for this.”
He grasped her hand and kissed it. “Nay! I go where ye go. This is not up for discussion, so don’t even attempt to argue with me.”
“Easy trip? That’s what you said about Scotland.” Gabe became visibly upset. “This is too dangerous, Maggie!”
“Gabe!” Maggie attempted to calm him. “This isn’t about me. This is about that little girl upstairs. She has already lost two parents and I will not allow her to lose you too. Besides...” she winked, trying to lighten the mood, “you and I made out pretty well in Scotland.”
Gabe dropped his head in his hands as Quinn sat on the arm of the chair, rubbing his back.
Maggie kissed the top of his head. “Don’t worry, Gabe. I will take care of all of this, I promise.”
"The Complicated Life of Maggie MacGregor"
by Tempie W. Wade
© by Tempie W. Wade
All Rights Reserved