Ailana took a deep breath finding Danson in Gabriels study. The same study she’d lured Thomas into the year earlier. This year however things were different no longer was she a foolish and naive girl following the instructions of brothers who had nothing but their own selfish interest’s at heart. This year she was an older wiser young woman putting her own interests first.
Danson was not alone, he sat quietly talking to Daniel put seeing her enter Daniel gave her a knowing look and made his excuses before heading towards the exit.
Even the alcohol could not temper the butterflies, terrified was not even the word for it. “Danson” she smiled.
“Lady Ailana” he nodded, watching as she nervously took a seat at his side.
“How are you this evening?”
“As well as I was last time you asked” he replied.
“Have you seen my brother?”
“Either” he replied nervously, trying to find the courage to say what she needed to say.
“Gabriel I believe retired, he and Abel where drinking heavily. Abel however slipped away somewhere with Lorcan, im not sure where. Do you need him? I could perhaps help you look?”
“No I don’t need him” she replied quickly. “Just wondering that’s all”
“Perhaps I could get you a drink?” Danson offered, beginning to stand.
“No!” she squeaked suddenly finding her had on his lap as though to prevent him from leaving. “I’m sorry” she apologised quickly withdrawing, realising to was far too familiar especially considering the circumstance.
“Did you want me?”
“I… I… yes” she nodded. He looked at her expectantly and she suddenly felt all the blood drain from her body.
“I… I’m …. Sure this is quite inappropriate” she apologised, looking up at him. His dark eye’s staring back. “You see… I … im betrothed”
“Yes.. yes you are” he nodded.
“But the thing is ….. what if I didn’t want to be? At least what if I didn’t want to be betrothed to Joseph”
“Lady Ailana are you alright?” he asked concerned. “Have you been drinking”
“Yes” she admitted. “Yes but the thing is… I feel … I might be making a terrible mistake. It would only be right and proper to tell Joseph before he leaves don’t you think?”
“Yes Lady Ailana I do” Danson nodded, “If you don’t want to marry him, you should certainly tell him”
“The thing is … there is someone else”
“Someone else? Have you been involved with another boy?”
“No!” she exclaimed, “No nothing like that… he … the person. He doesn’t know at least I don’t think he does”
“Oh” Danson nodded. “Do you think he likes you?”
“I don’t know… that’s the thing. I hope he does…”
“Well perhaps you should call off things with Joseph then tell… whoever it is” Danson replied.
“I would” she admitted, “But I’m scared, what if I’m wrong what if he doesn’t like me at all? What if I call off the only chance I have to marry? That’s a great risk don’t you think?”
Danson nodded, “I suppose it is. Would this other boy be able to provide for you?”
“Do you think he would marry you, if he felt the same way?”
“I hope so”
“Then Ailana sometimes I think you have to take risk’s”
“But what if I’m wrong?” she asked “What if I can’t?”
He seemed to ponder for a moment. “I don’t know” he replied “What is so bad about Joseph? He’s a good boy?”
“Nothing’s wrong with him” she admitted, “If he was terrible then perhaps it would be easier. I just know that if I don’t at least try and be with the man my heart wants, I’ll regret it. Do you think I should tell this other man?”
He paused, frowned. “I honestly think you should make a decision about Joseph first” he decided, “But if you truly can’t. Then perhaps you should find out if he feels the same way”
“I’m trying too” she smiled, putting her hand on his arm.
There was an awkward pause as he seemed to process her suggestion. She was certain he got it, that he understood but he seemed conflicted. Suddenly the door opened and Joseph walked in before he could answer.
Realising her hand was still resting on Danson’s are she tore it away. “There you are!” the young man grinned, not seeming to notice “I’ve been looking for you all evening. You’ve barely spent any time with me at all”
“I’m sorry” she apologised quickly, before looking pleadingly at Danson, but he didn’t say a word. Instead he looked somewhat dumbstruck.
“Are you coming?” Joseph grinned again, holding out his hand.
“I don’t know” she mumbled, hoping Danson would give her a clue as to how he felt but still he sat in silence. “Danson!” she begged, “What do you think?”
“Sorry” the knight apologised, “About what?”
“What we were just talking about?” she pressed.
“Oh that” he nodded, “I think, you and Joseph make a fine couple… I hope I’ll be invited to the wedding”
“Of course you will” Joseph replied, not understanding the gravity of the reply and there is was… dismissed, rejected, he didn’t feel the same way and she was a fool to think that he could.