Ailiana sat in the parlour with Abel enjoying a drink in his company, the visit was not without cause but as knots formed tightly in her stomach she scarcely dared to ask what she needed to ask.
“How is Sebastian?” she dared to ask, knowing the only thing that bought a smile to her brothers face these days was the baby.
“He is growing” Abel replied “He smiles now when he sees his papa, reaches out for me demanding attention” The pride evident in his eyes.
“Does he speak yet?”
“No” he chuckled “It’s too soon for that, he babbles a little and coo’s”
“Oh I do wish I could see him”
“Then you should have let me know you were planning a visit” he smiled “Rather than turning up out of the blue”
“I’m sorry” she apologised, “I needed to see you”
“Then why don’t you tell me why you are here?”
Her stomach lurched, she wasn’t sure telling Abel of her intention’s was a good idea but she felt the need to have his council and his blessing, of all the people in the world he had been a constant guiding force and her sole protector.
“Well come on?” he chuckled.
“What would you say if I asked for your blessing to marry?” she asked.
“I would say, you would have it” he smiled “Have you found someone?”
“Yes” she nodded.
“That is truly wonderful” he grinned, leaning forward to the decanter “And deserving of another drink, but I am afraid it is Gabriel you need to convince and I fear he has his heart set upon you waiting on his new wife”
“He hasn’t even found one yet, I can’t be expected to wait around forever”
“I agree” he nodded.
“I’m not getting any younger Abel”
“Nor are you old” he chuckled, “So tell me who is the lucky man anyone I know? I assume it’s a gentleman of a lower class since I don’t know of any noblemen?”
“It’s Orrick Vaux” she replied spitting the words out quickly before she lost her nerve.
“Pardon?!” Abel spluttered, choking on his wine
“Have you gone out of your mind?” he roared, his temper suddenly flaring. “You realise that’s Christopher’s father?!”
“Yes I know” she replied, his tone giving credence to her nerves.
“He’s old enough to be your father” he reasoned, “He’s old enough to be your Grandfather” he corrected.
“I don’t care about that” she decided, “I really don’t… I just want to be married, I can provide him with a new son and I believe he will take care of me”
“Christopher betrayed this family you realise that?”
“Yes and Gabriel killed him for it” Ailana whimpered back, “This could go a way towards restoring peace, don’t you think it could be a good thing?”
“Ailana you do not understand, Christopher showed the whole moral character of his family” he growled, “You can’t marry him, I won’t allow it”
“Orrick is not Christopher!” she reasoned, “By you very argument, does that mean we are all tainted uncontrollably by Peter.. or even father. We choose our own paths”
“Don’t try and reason this one out” Abel retorted, “This is about Loyalty, you stand by your family and until Gabriel considers the matter settled we do not deal with the Vaux’s”
“Don’t you see the matter will never BE settled if Gabriel has anything to do with it” she sobbed. “You said, you would give your blessing”
“Yes, to a decent marriage… “ he hissed, “Not to this… tell me do you … do you love him?”
“No of course not” she spluttered, “but it’s all I have”
“I’ll get you better man, a worthy man… just call it off”
“No I won’t”
“Damnit then I shall tell Gabriel and let him deal with you”
“No!” she sobbed, suddenly terrified knowing that Gabriel would be far angrier than even Abel. “Please don’t… just give me your blessing and let me go”
“I can’t damn it” he hissed. “Ailana I mean it, do not betray us… do not turn your back on this family because if you do … you will become the enemy just like the Vaux’s”
“I’m sorry Abel” she whispered, “I have to do what is right for me”
“And they.. he is what is right for you?” he demanded, “Above even your family, you choose him above us?
“I…….” she began, but words wouldn’t come out so instead she just nodded.
“Listen to me” he hissed, “If you continue down this path I will tell Gabriel… there will be no marriage he will see to that? Do you understand?”
Suddenly it was her turned to allow her anger to flare, after everything he was just like them. “Congratulations” she hissed “You’ve just become father”
His hand lashed out, slapping her solidly across the face knocking her with force off the chair to the floor.
“Did he do this to you?” she sobbed,
“Lorcan….” She reasoned, “I know he’s been visiting, its unnatural you know, wrong… it’s changing you”
“Quiet!” he hissed.
“It’s Evil…. It’s making you so” she begged.
“Get out of my house” he hissed, “Get out… and I don’t want to hear any more of this marriage foolishness”
“I will leave” she agreed picking herself up and nursing her stinging cheek. “But I still intend to marry him”
“Then I shall tell Gabriel before you do” he decided his eye’s cold. “He will put an end to it”
“Then perhaps I will tell a few secrets of yours” she retorted, “ I will make sure everyone knows of you and Lorcan and what goes on behind closed doors”
“Get out” he hissed again, his rage almost uncontrollable he struggled to contain it “Very well you shall have be silence, but I swear to you Ailana never again consider yourself my sister”