Lord Kerr picked up a knife and fork and sliced into the meat on his plate. Surreptitiously, she cut a sideways glance to see which cutlery he used. Dash it all, why did there have to be so many forks and spoons and knives lining the perimeter of her place setting? Mama always put up such lovely dinners, but none of them compared to the pomp and ceremony here at Pemberley.
Her stomach rumbled in protest. Lord Kerr turned slightly and smiled again.
"You are famished. Why aren't you eating?"
Embarrassed, she stared at her dinner plate and tears threatened to trickle down her cheeks. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed him tapping one of his knives and when her left hand touched the proper fork he gave a slight nod.
"Thank you," she murmured.
"You're welcome," he whispered back.
Less than two hours later, standing near the French doors which led out to a pretty terrace, Kitty surveyed the rolling grounds of Pemberley. Once Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy exited for their wedding trip, she and Mary could escape to their rooms and talk about the day.
"Miss Bennet, we didn't get to finish our conversation in the dining room."
For the second time that day she gave a small start. For such a large man he moved with much stealth and grace. She turned and gave him a polite curtsy.
"You may call me Lord George, if you like. Otherwise Nathan and sometimes even Maxwell will answer you."
"Oh... of course."
They stood slightly apart, the silence stretching long between them.
"Are you pleased--"
"How long are you--"
Both of them spoke at the same time.
"Pray, excuse me, Miss Bennet. Please continue." He gave her a quick nod.
"I was going to ask if you were pleased with your brother's announcement at church, after Lizzie and Darcy's banns were read the third and final time."
"You are speaking of his engagement to Miss Bingley?"
"Yes, it came as a quite the surprise to most of us."
"I must admit I don't know the lady, but then I only arrived the evening previous and hadn't time to converse with my younger brother."
"In some ways your brother will become part of our extended family." At Lord George's quizzical expression she explained further. "Miss Bingley's brother Charles is engaged to my eldest sister, Jane."
"Ah, the angel of Hertfordshire I've heard him sigh about."
Kitty stifled a giggle. "Mr. Bingley is quite besotted, as is she."
"How long are you and your family staying at Pemberley?"
"We leave this coming Thursday. With Lizzie and Mr. Darcy away on their wedding trip, Papa made the decision to return home, although I'm sure he'd like to stay longer if only to enjoy the library."
"Darcy has a massive library. Generations of Darcys have contributed to its contents." He gave another one of his beatific smiles. "And you? Will you miss anything from Pemberley?"
Kitty paused and thought for a few seconds. "I shall miss the grounds. I don't walk as often as my sister Lizzie, but I enjoy a ramble every now and then and the gardens are beautiful."
"That they are. I'm staying with my brother Nathan for a few days--"
"Kitty!" Mrs. Bennet called from the doorway, unmindful that the room was filled with guests. For the first time in her young life Kitty became aware of her mother's coarse behavior and felt exposed in front of Lord George. "Come quickly. Lizzie and Darcy are leaving."
"I must go, sir." Cheeks flaming, Kitty gave Lord George a quick curtsy and turned to follow her mother, faltering only slightly in her progress when she thought she heard him say.
"I shall see you again, Miss Bennet."