I must state that I am not a fan of historical fiction, romance or not. Yet I wrote this in 2012. I’m too weird for my own good. This is nothing like my three current works in progress.
@ 2012 all rights reserved
He walked alone, through the cold thick snow. The wind ruffled through his raven black hair causing it to fly out behind him in long straight waves. Pulling his soft black leather gloves out of his coat pocket, he absently put them on as he kept up his steady pace. He didn’t feel the snow swirlying around him, so set was his mind on the past few hours. The beautiful shimmering waters nearby lay frozen under thick ice. Magnificient trees stood all around him as if natural sentries guarding and protecting him from harm.
Coming to a large rock, he leans against it, pulling his coat tighter around him with his softly gloved hands. Nimble fingers buttoned the last three buttons on his coat’s collar as he looks out blindly at the beautiful forest around him. Though physically he may be in the forest, mentally he is back in the Manor House where the party of the night still wore on. His warm amber eyes closed as he put his hands into his pockets. Thinking to himself of the past three hours, he is crestfallen with the understanding that the woman he loves, is in love with someone else and set to marry within the month.
He had only been gone a year. Set out on his travels, with the woman of his dreams at home awaiting his return, he traveled through Europe, down through Italy and through the harsh coldness of the Russian lands. Tonight he returned and instead of his love welcoming him home, she greeted him as if he was a brother, barely a peck on the cheek before turning to the man holding her arm lovingly and bestowing upon him a great charming smile. His eyes had lingered on her smile, then moved to settle on the hands holding her. Not his hands but that of another man. The woman returned her eyes to his face and introduced her fiance Mr.Grant. He could do nothing for the first minute but stare at her then at the man at her side as his mind slowly began to understand that things had changed during his absence.
Anger starts to burn in his veins. He had only been gone a year. One year to the date. He had left her with a promise between them that upon his return they would marry. Instead, he is greeted with the return of his promise ring and a blinding smile aimed at another man. And he was expected to accept this without so much as a question? All those who knew him were afraid of this moment for surely he would not let Alyssa marry this other man who came into her life while he was gone. His temper was known greatly in their circle of friends and families and so was his loyalty and kindness. But to be greeted this way upon his return And his promise ring thrust into his hands when he was expecting Alyssa herself to be in his arms? He still was having a hard time processing this new pattern set in action during his absence. There would be no wedding for him. The woman who held his heart had abaondoned their love and started a new life with another man. His heart felt shredded by deep talons thirsting for his blood.
This was his party, planned well in advance to occur upon his return. He had set it up as a surprise to announce his engagement to Alyssa Monroe only to be stopped cold by her smiling face shining with the love for another man. Wearing another man’s ring. Holding another man’s arm and letting that man hold her! At his own home! Anger, hot, pulsing, runs through his veins. He will not be made a fool of especially not from a woman and her lover. Nor on his property and within his home!
He begins to walk again, stomping newly fallen snow off his boots. His stride is fast and furious. They must leave. He must return and remove them from his house at once. He will not have that woman and her lover eating his food and enjoying his entertainment while laughing behind his back. Oh no, his pride is too strong for that.
He quickly returns to his home and glides through the back door. He passes the kitchen and the staff working hard to keep food coming out to his guests. The same guests still awaiting his word on what his surprise is for this very event. This so called party. He knows what he must do. He quickly unbuttons his coat and removes his gloves. He hands them to a passing maid and producing a brilliant smile of his own, he pastes it on to his lips and climbs a flight of stairs until he reaches the main ballroom. He walks over to the orchestra playing merrily and shushes their music. The chatter, no longer backed with the violin and harmonized with the rest of the orchestra dies down. The room is silent now and all eyes curious are aimed at him.
“My dear family and friends! Thank you so much for coming to my home this night. It is a night for celebration and happiness. I have great news to tell you and I am sure you all will be very happy to hear of it. I have decided to extend my travels to include the great country of Switzerland, where you must remember, our family hails from. There are generations of Deveraux there and it is my most grand wish that you all are here to not only enjoy my fine wines and food but to join me for one last night before my next leg of travel. It has always been said that a man’s journey must continue until peace has come to his heart and I have not yet found that peace. I would ask you all to raise your glasses for an old friend of mine, Miss Alyssa Monroe and her fiance Mr. Grant who plan to marry later this month for she is with child!” Gasps and whispers circulate through the beautifully dressed people. And the shocked woman and her equally shocked fiance are pushed to the center of the room. Her face is pale as death and that of her fiance is red as a bright fresh cherry. “Sorry my dearest friend, that I will not be here to see you married and finally within the law before you bear the child of your lover but my travels are much too important than for me to sit and await your blessed event!” I called it, “To Love a Shadow”. It’s on wattpad.
He laughs lightly and those aound him join in. Some not quite sure if the situation calls for laughter but being the polite people they are, they follow their host. “Now, I know that Miss Monroe should not be drinking so if I may,” he reaches out and takes the crystal flute from her fingers, “remove your drinking glass, here, that’s better now my dear.” He hands it to a passing maid. And kind Sir, to be true to your dear love, you should not be drinking either,” he takes the wine from the man’s frozen grasp and hands it again to another maid. “Now if everyone would gladly say a fond farewell to Miss Monroe and her fiance Mr. Grant, we can send them on their merry way for surely they must be tired from all their merriment tonight and as for Miss Monroe’s present state, she should be in bed resting. So I say, Fairwell to you! And goodnight! Mr. Anders my good and gracious man, please escort these two to retrieve their personal belongings and kindly bring their carriage around so that they may return home and out of this cold night. Best of health to you both!” He claps grandly and watches as the pair are escorted out of his home.
Mr. Anders is one of his oldest friends and no doubt curious as to what is going on. But he will do his duty to his friend and return to ask his questions in private later.
Back in the ballroom, he gestures to the orchestra to strike up their music once again and tells everyone to continue their dancing and merriment! “The night is young and there is much to celebrate!” he says with false merriment.
He leaves the ballroom and heads to his study on the next floor. No one will bother him in his study as he prepares for his leave tomorrow and his destination of Switzerland. He does have an honest reason for wanting to visit there. His family has a small curse not many know of. They cannot be out in full day light, their eyes are too sensitive and their skin will burn. He did not find the answer during his last travels but he is very sure that his family in Switzerland must know the answer to their strange dilemma. He has seen pictures of them outside, not wearing protective clothing but short sleeved garments!
Pacing his study he thinks to himself, surely he can gain this knowledge and help his own family here at home. He walks past his globe and gives it a casual turn. He sits in his tall dark leather chair and rests his head back. Closing his eyes he pictures his ‘old friend’ Alyssa and her lover embarrassed and shunned from their friends and families. He is content with knowing this and though anger still heats his blood, he is happy to be saved from marrying this woman who so coldly forgot about their love.
He is not a fool and will not suffer a fool’s embarrassment such as that which the young Miss Monroe tried to set in motion. He is too clever for a trap like that. And now he has a brilliant task set before him, a puzzle to solve, an answer to find, a quest! And without a pending engagement to that foolish woman and no genetic flawed child to fear from what would have been their child from their marriage union, maybe this adventure will be different because he won’t be thinking of anyone at home awaiting his return. He is free to go where he pleases and for however long he wishes. He is free and very conent with himself. He gets up and walks over to where he keeps his brandy. Pouring a bit for himself, he swirls the glass and gives a silent salute to his old friend, Alyssa. His family is blessed with a certain characteristic not usually found in humans. And it has served him well tonight.
“Foolish woman! You think I could not hear the tiny heart beating under your own?” he says aloud to himself. “A beat that did not match mine, yours or your lover’s? So foolish. This is best. I am glad I did not make the mistake of marrying a woman with so little heart.”. Setting down his brandy, he walks to his desk and sits down. He pulls out his schedule and begins to plan his next adventure. “Love can be found anywhere,” he says to himself. “Now adventure is where my heart lays.” smiling, he throws all his energy into his pending travels.
“How dare he imply our wedding is only a cover up!” Ian Grant exclaims to his fiancee as they sit in their carriage on the ride home. “What is wrong with that man, who you called a friend? Why would he embarass us so?” Ian puts his arm around Alyssa’s small shaking form. She’s crying and he hates it when women cry. She lays one white gloved hand on his arm. “Ian, he told the truth.” she says shakily. “What?” Ian asks, not quite sure he heard correctly. “What do you mean my dearest love?” “I am with child,” Alyssa says calmly now. “I wasn’t sure myself but this evening I got confirmation and had not a chance to tell you yet, I have no idea how he knew!”
Ian’s eyes grow wide and he removes his arm from her shoulders. “What are you saying? That what he spoke to our friends and family is true? I chose to marry you because I love you not because I had gotten you with child! I am not ready for children!” “Oh but Ian, we’ve no choice! I am pregnant! We must marry! I gave him up for you! You cannot leave me!” Alyssa sobs. “What do you mean you gave him up for me? You told me you were free.” he growls. “I’m sorry! We were to marry, that party was to announce our engagement. Please forgive me Ian! I meant you no harm!” Alyssa pleads while she grasps his arm tightly. “You lied to me and you did not tell me of the child you carry, yet you let me bring you to this so called party that was to be yours and his and instead tell this man you are engaged? How did he know Alyssa?” Very angry now Ian can help but shout at her. “How did he know and not I? What kind of fool have you made me into?” “Ian, no! You are no fool! You are the love of my heart. I chose you over him. I love you, need you!” Alyssa begs trying to grasp his hands with her own but he pulls farther away from her. “You need only yourself.” Ian says coldly. He moves to sit on the other side of the carriage putting as much distance as possible between himself and this woman. He glares at her while she weeps quietly for the rest of the journey home. The night wind whistles past them blowing snow furiously around them and falling softly in the horses tracks and covers their trail as they disappear into the night.