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Chapter 5

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"A daughter without her mother is a woman broken. It is a loss that turns to arthritis and settles deep into her bones." Kristin Hannah, Summer Island

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Chapter Five

Matthew knew exactly where Georgiana and William would be hiding. He stormed down the family's hallway towards the three doors that concealed his children's bedrooms.

There were a dozen bedrooms in this wing of the house that the sitting family occupied. Six of them were occupied by his family. His children each had their own bedrooms, his mother resided in one, his younger brother, Luke, resided in one whenever he was home, and he resided in one. He supposed they would now occupy seven when Annaliese made her home here. Matthew wondered which bedroom Housby had prepared for her. Matthew then wondered if Annaliese would expect to sleep in with him. He shook off the tempting thoughts. Allowing himself to feel anything for her would weaken his resolve.

Besides, he had more important matters to deal with. The punishment of his children. He stopped stomping at Eva's bedroom door and opened it swiftly. Eva's bedroom was everything that a little girl could want. It was filled with pink silks and expensive lace, fine toys, and a huge, canopy bed. His mother had loved decorating both Georgiana and Eva's bedrooms, seeing as she had only sons.

Eva was happily kneeling before her dollhouse, playing out one scenario or another, while her siblings had buried themselves on her bed.

"Eva," Matthew said knowingly. "Where are Georgiana and William?"

Eva turned around and offered him a sweet, childlike smile. She then pointed at her bed.

Matthew marched over to Eva's bed, seized the duvet, and then pulled it off the bed in one quick motion. William quickly burst into a fit of giggles, while Georgiana was nonchalantly flipping through a book. Matthew knew she was only pretending not to notice him for she could not have been reading underneath the covers.

He then noticed the empty pillow slips on the end of Eva's bed. They had ruined Eva's pillows with their trickery.

"William stop laughing," Matthew instructed sternly. "Georgiana, put down the book and look at me."

William did his best to control his laughter. He was clutching at his sides as he sat up on Eva's bed. His dark blond hair was sticking up in all directions and his blue eyes were glassy, as he had been laughing so hard. Georgiana reluctantly set her book aside and sat up next to her brother. Georgiana had her usual look of displeasure on her face, though Matthew could see the smugness in her eyes.

"How dare you," he growled, looking into both of their eyes. "You both have gone too far. Miss Dawson did not deserve this. She has done nothing to you. You have not even met!"

William looked quite surprised. He was used to getting away with his antics. "I thought it was funny," he said softly. "Georgiana said it would be funny."

Georgiana was not usually involved in William's tricks, but it did not surprise him that she had masterminded this. She had made it perfectly clear that she would not like Annaliese.

"It is not a big deal, Papa," Georgiana said defensively, folding her arms across her chest. "We saw Grandmamma take that woman into her bedroom for a bath so she will be clean in no time."

"You will show Miss Dawson respect, Georgiana, or I will throw you over my knee," Matthew threatened. He had never physically disciplined his children before, at least not in the way that he was disciplined as a child, but perhaps he needed to. This behaviour could not continue.

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