The carriage clattered along though the streets of the Beaumont estate, Marrisa watched glumly as the people walked by, men in work clothes exhausted from a hard days manual labour, woman carrying bags while chasing mucky little children dressed in rags.
She’d be one of them soon, she thought. Valdemar had left her no doubt at all that after the annulment she’s be thrown straight to the streets and left to defend for herself and without her father to insist upon it she wouldn’t even get her marriage portion back.
Every day since he’d declared his intention to annul she’d desperately tried to think of a solution to the problem. A way to stop Valdemar casting her aside, but it was clear Avril was in agreement with her son, both determined to get rid of her.
However as the months rolled on and no move was made she’d begun to wonder if his conviction was wavering. If perhaps he wasnt as set on the annulment as she’d previously thought.
Then last night it had happened, he declared at dinner today they where going to the church. She didn’t know why today was the day or what had caused him to suddenly find it so urgent … but here they where on the way to the church.
She’d barely slept last night, left alone to her thoughts she was only disturbed by the faint sobbing coming from Eden’s chamber, a sobbing that had turned to begging and eventually screaming when Valdemar had paid the young woman yet another unwanted visit.
Early that morning Valdemar had bundled Marrisa into the coach where she was now sitting, eager to get her to the church and the annulment done. She’d panicked not knowing fully his intentions, not knowing if he intended to let her return to the estate to collect her things so she’d quickly grabbed her mothers locket and hidden it in her shoe.
The closer the coach got to the church the more Marrisa could feel the panic well up inside her, she hated this life, she hated Valdemar and she hated Avril, but still she was fed and sheltered and the unknown was far more terrifiying than the beatings.
Arriving at the church the three of them got out, she was left sitting at the back of main hall while Valdemar and Avril spoke to Father Mathew. After what seemed like an age the old priest moved towards her, sitting down beside her, Valdemar and Avril watching like hawks from the wings.
“So…” Father Mathew sighed “Your husband tells me, your haven’t consummated your wedding vows, can you tell me why not?”
“he doesn’t like me” she sobbed “I tried but he just won’t come near me, I want to be a good wife, I want to provide children but how am I supposed to do that if he won’t come to my bed chamber”.
Father Mathew gave a quizzical look behind him at Valdemar who looked suddenly rather uncomfortable “He doesn’t come to you?” he asked.
Marrisa suddenly realised Valdemar had obviously told the priest it was her who’d refused him “No he doesn’t” she replied, “Did he tell you otherwise?”
“He suggested that your were resistant yes”.
Marrisa glared towards Valdamar wiping away her tears, the coward hadn’t even got the courage to tell the priest the truth, “well im not” she replied matter of factly.
“So if he came you’d let him in, you’d perform your duties as a wife” the priest asked.
Suddenly it dawned on her there was a way out of this, if Valdamar could lie about it then so could she. “Of course I would” she replied, “he only ever came that once, but I hardly think that counts”
“So he has been to you then?”
Marrisa gave Valdemar a nervous look, “Just once” she replied “but I was told never to mention it… but it doesn’t count he was drunk and well it wasn’t really much of anything, all grunting and slobbering really”.
“But you did consummate?”
“Yes” she lied ” I guess we did”
“She’s lying!!!” Valdemar roared, “I wouldn’t go near that whore”
Father Mathew glared at Valdemar “Please!!! Quieten down there is no need for shouting”
“See” Marrisa interrupted “It’s not me, its him…im starting to wonder if he’s not a man at all, what kind of man doesn’t visit his wife’s bed chambers”
Valdemars face was purple stalking over he glared at Marrisa “Can I speak with my wife?” he growled.
Father Mathew nodded “Very well, I’ll leave you alone for a moment” he said standing and walking out into the gardens.
Avril glared from the corner while Valdamar roughly grabbed Marrisa’s wrists “why are you lying??” he growled shaking her “why??”
“I’m not lying” Marrisa replied, concerned quite rightly that the priest maybe listening from the gardens “I remember it distinctly, perhaps you where too drunk”.
“I have never… I would never… ” Valdamar growled grabbing to young woman by the throat ” If you don’t tell the priest that we haven’t consummated, I swear I’ll make your life hell… if you think the beatings my mother gave are bad they will be nothing in comparison to what I give you each and every day till the day you die”.
Marrisa struggled against him barely able to breath “Please” she begged, “I can be a good wife, please let me try”.
Valdemar applied even more pressure to the young woman’s neck, trying to make his point clear Marrisa went purple before he finally released her “Tell him” he commanded.
Marrisa fell to the floor coughing and spluttering just as the priest re-entered the church. Brother Mathew rushed to the young woman’s aid helping her back to her seat, waiting for her to catch his breath he asked again “So Marrisa, are you sure you’ve consummated?”
“Yes!!!” she spluttered trying to get her breath, “just once, but we did”. She replied glaring defiantly at Valdemar.