The coronation had proceeded to plan, Daniel was king and the party was in full swing, but Anya couldn’t care about anything less. She’d spent the day being harassed for answer, answers she wasn’t prepared to give.
When she wasn’t being harassed or coddled by her brother and sister she had to pretend that life was wonderful, like what happened didn’t happen. The worst thing was Lorcan who was eager to resume where they’d left off last night it was finding it all overwhelming and somewhat stifling.
Slipping out of the party while no-one was watching heading though the corridors unsure as to where she was going until she arrived on the roof and stood totteringly close to the edge. It would be so easy to slip to fall to not worry about anything any more, perhaps he was right perhaps she was worthless. That’s how she felt no-one truly cared for her, if she fell Maegan would be sad perhaps but her father Christopher they would both be relieved save them the hassle of trying to find some man willing to marry her.
“You might want to step away from the edge, you might slip” a voice behind her warned.
She sighed, mopping us the tears that ran down her face with the sleeve of her gown, nodding she took a step off the ledge. Turning she found herself face to face with Baron Dacre, she’d never realised how intimidating he seemed before, he was a tall man who’s long dark hair made his stark skin seem all the paler. How old was he? She wondered his face seemed young suggesting a man in his early 20’s but something in his eye’s seemed older.
“That’s better” he smiled “So why are you crying?”
“No reason” she mumbled, somehow knowing he wasn’t going to believe her she wracked her brain for a reason “i…..my mother died recently” she lied feeling guilty for the excuse as soon as she used it.
“That’s a shame” he nodded.
“I really should go” she mumbled feeling suddenly exposed, and somewhat disconcerted by the fact that she felt she could not help but stare at him.
“What really happened?” he asked “Tell me”
“I… my… a… “ she fumbled her words her heart beat so fast she feared it would leap from her chest.
“Did someone hurt you?” he asked gently.
“No” she lied.
“I don’t believe you” he replied his eye’s kind but he was obviously not fooled. “tell me the truth?”
“I can’t” she stuttered suddenly quite panicked.
The tall man nodded “Come with me” he requested holding out his arm.
“No… I don’t want too” she replied, glancing to and fro but finding no escape routes.
“I won’t hurt you” he assured her “I need to find out what sort of people I am dealing with and I have a feeling you have quite a few answers”
“I don’t have anything” she muttered.
His arms still raised he tapped it indicating that she should take it, clearly not a man used to being denied. “Come” he urged and next thing she knew she’d taken his arm and was following him to where ever it was he planned to take her.
A few moments later she found herself back in her chambers the ripped dress shoved under the bed where she’d hidden it for a second time. Letting go of her arm Baron Dacre made a beeline directly for it, picking it up her turned it over in his hand. “It seems you’ve had quite an ordeal” he whispered.
Anya watched in awe as he seemed to finger the cloth, his eye’s closing he seemed to meditate, what the hell is he doing? She asked herself finding the interest he had in the dress almost morbid and quite disturbing.
Before she had chance to make a run for it his eye’s flicked open and he walked towards her. “I’m so sorry” he whispered “Your in quite a predicament aren’t you.
“What do you know of my predicament” she scowled tearing the dress from his grip before throwing it to the floor.
“Your noblemen, do they really put such weight on marriage?”
“What do you mean” she asked feeling un-nerved and panicked not quite understanding his swift change of topic.
“It seems very important to them, since I have been here everyone seems very interested in my marital status and I have witnessed at least two couples who can barely stand the sight of each other yet remain together”
“Yes I suppose they do” she agreed “but without marriage there is no future generation, without someone to pass on his inheritance then what is the point?”
“I don’t know” Vincent admitted “Can’t a man just be a man for himself”
“And what about after he dies?” she reasoned.”Even a great man needs children to pass on his legacy too”
“And you wish to provide that legacy to some man?”
“I want to provide a man children?” she replied unsure if that was even the question.
“And to do that you would marry a boy your barely know? A boy who doesn’t love you and who’s interest is as fleeting as the passing of a single day”
“I don’t know what you mean?”
“Lorcan Baumont, his interest in you is limited, by the time he returns from University he’ll be begging his brother to choose another wife for him”
“You don’t know that!”
“I know more than you think” Vincent reasoned “I over heard him talking with some other boys .. he plan’s to dally with you for a while but is hoping Valdermar will see reason and allow him to choose another wife”
“Why are you even telling me this” Anya sobbed.
“Because you deserve better” He smiled “You deserve someone who’ll love you. You’ve already been though enough”
“And you think this helps??!” she countered.
“I think .. he who did this?” he whispered taking her hand and outlining the bruises with his fingers “deserves to pay and I would hate to see you keep that secret in the hope to marry a man who does not love you”
“I have no choice” she whimpered “I want to marry.. I want children can’t you understand that??”
“I don’t know the future” Vincent smiled “But I think things are not as baron as you suspect.. Tell your brother, let him deal with the man who hurt you. Take some peace in the knowledge that he didn’t get away with it, that you are not as worthless as he claims and that people really do love you”.