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 Excerpt *An accident happened in the working area. Steels continued clattering on the floor. Iron chips continued falling from the renovated ceiling and hot mass of metal were all around the place. Anna, who went back to the building, found his husband consciously lying on the floor trying desperately to free his left leg from 2 heavy metal bars. Anna then ran to where her husband is and tried to move the hot metal ignoring the pain her hands were receiving. Simon, upon seeing Anna doing something stupid Shouted at her“Anna! What are you doing? Get out of here. NOW!” Anna ignores him which made him angrier. Smoke now filled the place and Anna’s eyes were now stinging with tears but still she was conscious of her surrounding and her husband’s stupid muttering. Then suddenly, Simon grabs her arm and she stumbles down to him “Anna, listen to me. You must leave. The building’s going to collapse any time. Save your self” His voice was filled with emotion despite the situation but Anna, with tears in her eyes whether from the smoke or from what she was feeling said “I can’t leave you here! I won’t leave you behind”. “Yes you can” was Simon’s bitter response.Anna then takes her arm away from Simon’s strong grip and continued to push the hot burning metal. Simon tried to grab her again but she moved away making sure she’s far from Simon’s reach. Cursing to himself, he tried again to reach for Anna while telling her to go away when suddenly he spies a huge metal piece unsteadily balancing on a thin piece of iron when suddenly the place rumbles and the metal piece falls…right directly on to Anna. “Anna!” Simon calls her with alarm in his voice but before Anna could react, someone grabs her from the back and staggers on the floor. It was Wakefield. Wakefield then stands up and commands Anna to grab Simon’s leg on his command. He went directly to the massive metal bar and pushes it away. He was a strong and masculine man so no wonder the Metal bar fell to the other side, staggering with the other fallen iron chips from the ceiling. He then moved to the other metal bar and shouted at Anna, telling her to grab Simon’s leg and so she did. With Simon’s leg out from the two metal bars, he tries to stand up but pain shot his leg and before he could fall back to the ground, Anna moves under him to catch his shoulder then Wakefield takes Simon’s other shoulder and the trio tried to move out of the collapsing building with Wakefield as the guide. Simon, while walking through fire and burning metal started muttering. “I’m going to kill you. I swear to God” Anna just chuckles weakly then Wakefield comments, “You can do anything you wish to do to your wife later but as for now, I suggest you take your weight off of her for you’re going to pin her down to the floor which would require me to put you down and help her up. With that stupid leg of yours in the way, I can’t save both of you with out leaving someone behind” and with that, Simon takes his shoulder away from Anna and puts all his weight on Wakefield then he grabs Anna’s waist and guides her out. With to much smoke in the area, Anna was starting to feel dizzy. Black spots then started blocking her vision and when she thought she saw a great amount of light in front of her, she blacks out. When they were out from and building Simon, who was being drag to the nearest tree, sees Anna being carried by Wakefield to a tree far from him. After laying his unconscious wife on the ground, some mid-wife took care for her and Wakefield then goes to Simon. Once he was kneeling beside his wounded friend and seeing that he was looking worriedly at his wife, Wakefield assures Simon that Anna was unconscious but still alive. Simon snaps his head and looks at Wakefield with anger in his eyes and said “Of course she’s alive.” Wakefield, upon dismissing his friend’s sudden irritation tells him that a carriage will arrive a minute or so and that He would take Simon and his wife back to his estate and be treated by a doctor. “I don’t care as long Anna’s all right.” and grabbing Wakefield’s collar, he tells him that he would be riding back with Anna. Wakefield nods then suddenly a man approaches him and tells him that the carriage has arrived, he looks back at Simon and nods again and tells the man to move Lady St. Claire to the carriage. The man agrees and went running to where Anna is and Wakefield helps Simon stand. When they arrived in the carriage, Lillian Turner went out off the carriage.“Lillian! What the hell are you doing here?” Wakefield asked angrily. Enough trouble has been done and the most troublesome Lady doesn’t have to be here where danger is all around, But Lillian was so preoccupied by Anna’s safety that she asked with a bit of tremble in her voice“Where is Anna?” And accusingly added, “Why isn’t she with you?” “Lillian!!” Simon caught her attention. Just when Lillian was about to retort a biting reply, Simon snaps at them“Will you two just shut up!” and both were immediately silent. He then turns his full attention to Lillian who was still inside the carriage. “Pardon me Lady Turner but I believe you’re in the way. You see, with you standing there and blocking half the way, I can’t seem to pass with out bending my knee which for your information, hurts like hell, so if you’ll just excuse me…” But just when he was about to finish, Lillian sees Anna being carried by a man towards the carriage and she then rushes to her friend and immediately clasped her friend’s hand. Anna was half conscious but weary from all the happening. She sees Lillian’s, with half open eyes, worried expression and teary yet questioning eyes but to her surprise, her friend just held her hand to hers and tells her that she’s going to be all right and that a carriage is waiting for her and will take her back to the house. She then was brought to the carriage and was received, to her surprise, by her husband’s arms. Simon then settles Anna beside him then places his arm possessively around her, capturing her body with a half embrace but because of fatigue, Anna sleeps on his chest and feels his pounding heart and tears fall from her eyes knowing that her husband is alive. Simon lived.             Wakefield, who was already on his horse, instructs the driver to start moving. And with Lillian still in his mind he then turns around to fetch the woman who just worried the hell out of him when he saw her coming out from the carriage but as soon as he caught sight of her she was already on her horse and was determined to follow the carriage. He was surprise to see Lillian so worried and vulnerable, unlike her old Brave and fierce self. He approaches her then says“You’re too weak to ride a horse. Come and ride with me.” Lillian shook her head in reply and said with out looking at him for her eyes were watching the carriage intently “I am still capable of riding on my own, thank you” Her reply was said almost in a whisper but her voice was full of dignity, not allowing him to see how worried she was. How could he ever be so naïve to think that a sharp-tongued lady like Lillian could feel worry for her friends safety? Just while ago, when she went out of the carriage, she looked shattered to see that Anna wasn’t with them and upon seeing Anna being carried to the carriage, he saw her take her weak friend’s hand and held it to hers. Suddenly, surprised by his husky voice, he assures her, “Lady St. Claire is all right though she managed to have a few injuries on her arms and legs but all in all she’s all right”  Lillian then looks at him with concern in her eyes and tears pooling around them, not allowing it to fall, and hating to look weak in front of him. “Thank you for saving Anna. If it weren’t for you, she could have…” Her voice trailed off realizing that if it weren’t for him Anna and her husband could have died.“We could have lost her” Vincent was tongue-tied by what she said. Who could have ever thought that the Sharp-tongue flower of his…His? Would thank him for laying his life for her beloved friend. When he managed to find his voice again but was scared to use it for unwanted emotions might come out with it. He then tells her that no doubt she would do the same,“I know you would have done the same” Lillian nods then replies,“I would do anything not only for Anna but also for the others who I consider friends” She then turns to look away, pretending to look at the collapsing building with men splashing buckets of water to calm the fire down but Vincent knew better for he knows her tears betrayed her. Vincent, who knew very well the feeling of trying to be strong despite the emotions trying to eat one’s will to resist saved Lillian from embarrassment and tells her that they should get going but Lillian looks at him again and asks him if who would take care of the others? Her voice was full of concern unlike the false-concern she shows with their kind who they both know, complains on small and stupid problems. “I have sent 5 physicians from the village to treat the wounded, they might not be enough but they will do their best” He assures her.“Were their children wounded?” She asked him. Vincent shook his head and tells her that only the adults were. Seeing Lillian hesitate from doing something, which he has no idea what she was hesitating to, suddenly moves down from her horse and walks to the direction where all the wounded was being treated and said, with her back turned away from him, “You go on ahead with out me.”Wakefield goes down from his horse and follows her. He grabs her gently by the arm and asks her, with concern in his voice, “Where do you think you’re going?” With their eyes pinned to each other, watching each other intently, she replies, “The doctors might need extra help in treating the others. There are only 5 of them and almost the majorities are wounded. You said they might not be enough so I will help.” She explained. He was about to hesitate but Lillian cuts him off, “Anna and Simon does not need me more than your men do here and I won’t be staying long.” There was assurance in her voice. She assures him…assures him? Lillian was assuring him.  She might not have notice his surprise for she continued, “As soon as I’m done and sure that every patient had been taken care off, I’ll immediately come home, I promise.” “Then I’ll stay” Vincent said dismissingly but it seems she’s isn’t dismissing anything at all. “Someone has to explain everything to the others and we can’t expect Simon and Anna to explain what happened here for them selves. Their very tired and weary from what happened and judging from Simon’s mood, it would be hell before he could manage to explain it. You’re the only one who will be able to manage everyone and everything back there” Vincent was hesitant and Lillian sense his disapproval so before he could find a reason to stay, she dismissed her self.“I have to go.” Seeing Lillian walking away from caused a sting to his chest, whether from the inside or the outside but his guess was of the latter. He does not know what or why but he ignores it and decides that everything she has said was right and so he goes back to ride on his horse and tells a man to escort Miss Turner back to the St. Claire’s estate as soon as she is done and a carriage will come for her. The man nods and Vincent rides on.             Anna, who managed to sleep almost 4 hours straight, opens her eyes and sees that it was early night time. She then yawns when suddenly she hears someone talk“With that yawn of yours dear, you could eat a cow.” It was Daisy and as she looked to where her friend’s voice came from which was on the other side of her bed, she sees both Daisy and Evie smiling at her with dried tears in there eyes. They might have been really worried.“How are you feeling dearest?” Evie asked. “I’m quite black and blue but I’m all right” she tells her with an assuring smile. And with Daisy, crouching above her now and trying to tuck her with a blanket said“Well, you must go back to rest. You might feel fine but you look tired.” Anna shook her head and tells her with a smile on her face that she doesn’t need sleep anymore. Judging by the hours she was in slumber, she had enough and she was willing to stay up until sleep hits her again. But before her friends can contradict, she asks them where Lillian was“We have no idea” “What do you mean?” Concern and question in her voice“Lord Wakefield said that Lillian is fine and was just attending on something very important but he didn’t say what or where so we just let the matter drop”  From concern, her tone changed to irritation.“But why did you let the matter drop?” Anna asked with a sharp note in her voice despite her weak body.“You dear might have not but if you could have seen his face, you would have also done the same. He’s quite worried and distracted; well no one could blame him. His friend and his friend’s wife almost got killed by an accident which, according to his description of the horrid situation, almost killed not only you dear but almost all of their men” Daisy said defensively.“How long has Lillian been gone?” Anna inquired looking at Evie.“Since this Afternoon” Evie answered. The last time she saw Lillian was…was in the constructing area where her friend ran to her and held her weak hand. Evie said that Lillian hasn’t been back since this afternoon so she might still be back there but if she is, what was she still doing there? Panic rose from her voice as she said,“Something might have happened to Lillian”But Evie just shook her head and replied, “I don’t think so. Lord Wakefield has sent a few of his men to where Lillian is. As long as Wakefield’s men are watching over her, Lillian is as safe as a baby” Then Daisy added, “Let’s worry about Lillian later knowing that Lord Wakefield is taking care of her and to that I still don’t know why when those two are like oil and water.” Daisy announced unnecessarily. “Maybe Lord Wakefield had accumulated a tender for Lillian” And with a giggle, she then added,“That would be hard to imagine for those two can’t talk to each other without torches and pitch forks on their hands”“True” Evie agreed with an amused smile on her face. Before Anna could talk, Evie then asked “Do you want to inquire about Lord St. Claire?”And doing a dismissive gesture with her hand she replies “I know my husband is fine.” She said drolly.“For heaven’s sake, he managed to curse at me on the way out of the building. For god sakes, we were walking through Fire and once he sees me he’s going to kill me.”Evie giggles and says, “Well, I don’t blame him” Anna chuckles then suddenly they hear a knock on the door and the doctor enters the chamber and upon seeing Anna awake, a smile spread to his face.“Well my dear, it’s a pleasure to see you wide awake and smiling unlike your husband who has been giving me murderous scowls while I was treating his wounds and leg.”“Is his leg Broken?” Anna asked with concern in her voice.“Far from it. Your husband’s legs are strong. A sprain he has acquired but not a broken leg.”  Then he moves nearest to Anna and checks her pulse and temperature. “I can assure you Doctor that I am feeling fine.” Anna told him but the doctor replied by saying “With that, I am happy to hear but you need to rest some more.”“That’s what I told her a while ago but she won’t listen” Daisy added with a triumphant smile on her face.“I believe your friend’s right dear. Go rest for I can’t stay long enough. I still have to go back to the Village to attend to my other patients”.“Don’t worry Doctor, we’ll make sure she’ll get all the rest you require her to have” Daisy assured him. The doctor then nods and smiles at both girls and to his patient and with a wave of his hand, he walks out the door and closes it silently. When he left, Evie walks to a chair Anna believe Evie was occupying while she was asleep and got a book which was lying on the chair.“If you’re not at all tired then I could read you some Roman History.” and with a scowl, Anna says she’ll rather sleep than hear something about Napoleon. Evie chuckles and says, “Napoleons not part of Rome’s history dear, He’s French”.Anna muttered something that she doesn’t care and she’ll just have to sleep to avoid headaches. And within a minute or so, she drifts to sleep.             The house was quiet now despite the fact that it’s still early. After such depressing events, Vincent was in his study, drinking whiskey. Lady St. Claire was fast asleep the last time he checked and her husband as well. But what’s keeping him up is that Lillian hasn’t returned yet. What was taking her so long? It was already 6pm and she’s still isn’t back. Maybe something happened to her? With all the commotion he received one’s he stepped in the house, he forgot about Lillian…but not entirely. Even after hearing Simon’s silent curses in order not to wake Anna up, all he could think about is Lillian. Even when Daisy, Lillian’s younger sister asked him where Lillian is, he couldn’t manage to tell her informatively where her older sister is for he too was having problems in his head, debating whether or not to get Lillian himself right that minute for he was so worried about her and trying to persuade himself that Lillian is not the reason for his going back there but the welfare of his people but that wasn’t convincing enough. Lillian was not entirely the girl he thought she was. She might be snobbish and sharp-tongued to the people she dislikes but to her friends whom she loves dearly, she’s warm, energetic, loyal, vivacious and loving, her smiles are very infectious and her laughter as well. Lillian Turner is a woman full of life and love, an aspect only few owns, and an aspect Vincent admires the most. How come they hated each other so much? If they just manage to start off on the right foot, they could have been good friends…or more than friends. That thought just made his heart skip a beat. He was attracted to Lillian physically when he first set his eyes on her but judging by her disdainful approaches which she advanced at him, he turned down those feelings and started despising her presence but then again not entirely. A knock then came from the door and his butler came in telling him that Lady Lillian Turner’s carriage was about to arrive. Just a few hours ago, Vincent told his butler to watch out for Lady Turner’s arrival and to tell him immediately when she’s with in the vicinity. Upon hearing the news he longed to hear, he then nods his thanks and then suddenly, he stands up and tells the butler that he would like to escort Lady Turner in the house himself. The butler bows and moves aside in order for Vincent to pass. Vincent abruptly went outside to meet Lillian.              A footman opens the door while a servant was about to receive Lillian’s hand when suddenly she sees Vincent in front of her which made her stop in mid-step. When he was in front of her, he offered her his hand for assistance. She was hesitant for a while wondering why Lord Wakefield would bother to see her out himself but common courtesy persuaded her to take his hand and after all the things he has done for Anna, it’s the least she could do…right now. He wasn’t wearing any gloves maybe because he hadn’t had the time to think of such things after all the commotion. His hand was firm, calloused and strong but as he assisted her, he was gentle as if she would break if he’ll let go. One’s she was stepping on earth or more precisely, on a stoned path she realized that she was still holding his hand and her hands were filthy from blood stains and dirt but her worry came back as she inquired about Anna.“How is Anna my lord? Is she all right? I’m sorry I took so long but I have no choice but to stay” She knew that explaining her lateness was unnecessary but by god, it just went out naturally and to that, she can’t find any explanation. She was chattering with worry now which made Vincent relax from the great tension he recently felt just a while ago when she took his hand.His voice was gentle when he answered “You had a choice but you wanted to stay.” He concluded.What he said made Lillian’s heart skip a beat. He was complimenting her efforts which were nothing compared to what he did. He risked his life for his friend and for hers. Why would he do such a thing? an arrogant and naïve man that he is? Maybe he’s not at all arrogance and pride. Maybe there’s something more to him that meets the eye, something wonderful. She owes him an apology. He isn’t the man she thought he is. He’s far from the Wakefield other people thought he was. Down deep in that façade of his, there’s a sensible and wonderful man wanting to be free but unable to because of his reputation and the prejudices the world shoulders upon him. She then realizes that she had become silent for Wakefield had given her the answer she wanted to know.  “She’s fine but still sleeping at the present.” She then faces him.“Can I see her?”“She needs rest after all that she has been through”“Just a peek…I promise. I just want to see that she’s okay”That brought a smile on his face as he replied.“Okay, I’ll escort you to her room”“You don’t have to. I know where it is.”“I want to” He wanted to…Lillian thought but why would he? Stopping her self from asking why, she silently complied.And so they walked silently to Anna’s room but very aware of each other’s presence. When they arrived to there destination,“Thank you for escorting me Lord Wakefield”“Vincent”Lillian then looks at him with question in her eyes. She tilts her head a little to her side and even without voicing out the question, he can feel it through the way she was looking at him.“I want you to call me Vincent”“Why?” she asked but at the back of her head she was thinking “Why can I just drop it? For heaven’s sake, he just wants me to use his name. It’s not a marriage proposal, you idiot.”“For I believe I have called you Lillian?”Still looking at him with that adorable puzzled expression of hers“when I saw you in the carriage a while ago. I was so angry to see you there that I used your name to get your attention.”“I see. Well, th-thank you Vincent”“Your welcome”She was about to go inside the room, when he called her in a whisper yet audible to her ears. “Lillian”Before she could talk, they hear Daisy call Lillian. She might have heard there recent conversation and so to avoid speculation, he lets her go…but not entirely. “You better go.” He said with such condensing voice.She was hesitant for a while but then she hears Daisy walking towards the door and to avoid speculation, she immediately goes in the room and closes the door. Evie was looking at her with an open book on her lap and Daisy was looking at her with suspicion.“Who were you talking to dear?” Daisy asked.“No-no one.”“Oh…I see.”  It took Daisy all of her self control to let the matter drop. Bless Daisy for doing that. If ever she knew Wakefield escorted her to Anna’s room, she’ll start speculating impossible ideas and try to look for hidden meaning towards Wakefield’s behavior. She may be sharp-tongue and wise but Daisy was the thinker and speculator of the family and what’s worse was that every speculation she made was right.“How is she? Can I see her?” Lillian inquired.“Surely you can see her but she can’t see you dear?”“Why?” panic rose from her voice. Did Anna lose her sight? Daisy looks at Evie and Evie smiles at me.“Because dear, you don’t look like your self.”Both Ladies giggle and then Lillian started to relax.“I suppose so.” She too giggles “I look like sniffer”“And smell a lot like too” Evie countered.“guilty as charged” Lillian said“where have you been and what have you been doing?” Daisy asked.“I-I happen to rush off to where Anna and Simon had the accident and”Before she could finish, Daisy asked in shock“you were there?”Lillian nods and continues“And upon knowing that they were both safe because of Wakefield, I wanted to stay behind and help the others as well”“How many were hurt?” Evie asked with full concern in her voice.“Almost everybody”“Good lord” Daisy gasped.“But you’re all right?” Daisy asked with worry in her voice.“Perfectly unharmed” She reassures them with a smile.“How is Anna doing?” Lillian asked with seriousness in her voice“She’s doing splendid. If you could have arrived much sooner, you could have asked her yourself” a smile was hanging on Daisy face knowing quite well that her sister needed reassurance. “She woke up?” Lillian asked in wonder.“Yes she did but the doctor told her to rest some more”“She complied?” she asked with amusement in her tone“You, for sure would not but she did. Evie suggested reading history to her and just then she decided to sleep”“Poor Anna” she chuckles. “Do you think she’ll wake up again tonight?”Daisy shrugged her shoulder “Maybe. Maybe not”“Well I better keep my hopes up.”“And while you’re at it, you better go take a bath”“Okay but I’ll be back before you know it” She opens the door and before she closes it, she hears Daisy say“But make sure to clean up well” On the way to her room, Lillian silently walked. When she was about to pass by the balcony, she saw a lean yet muscular figure standing by the ledge. It was Vincent even though he wasn’t facing her. It seems that she has grown familiar to every part of him, from height to figure. He might have sensed her presence for he looked back and when he saw her, there was a smile on his face, an easy smile that no one would think he owned. This must be the true Wakefield, the man behind the mask. He might have been waiting for her for he approached her with hesitation and offered her his hand. Upon realizing that her hand was still blood-stained and dirty, she immediately explains, “My hands are filthy my lord.” She said.He then reaches for her hand which was entwined in front of her. “I don’t mind. Do you?” He then led her to the balcony and to the Ledge. The sky was young but the stars had already appeared. As she went back to reality she noticed that his voice was full of amusement and warmth. As she looked away from the sky and up to his face, he was looking at her and he was smiling, a reckless boyish smile so different from the smile he used just a while ago. This smile, she had witness a few times when they were just talking and being them selves and with that, her heart melted. This was something new because mostly their conversation would lead either to disdainful remarks or criticism. They were both silent, feeling an unusual sensation Vincent had experience before, still with the same woman. Knowing that she too was feeling it, he breaks the silence and settles her beside him. “I suppose a lot of our men were hurt judging by the lateness if your arrival.” His tone was serious but still engaging.“Yes” Lillian silently answered. She wasn’t looking at him as she answered rather she was looking straight ahead, her eyes settling on the silhouetted figures of nature sensing that this is all so new to her. Sensing her reserve ness, Vincent then thought, if it was new to her then it’s new to him as well.“Is that the only reason why you took so long to come back?” he asked.“No.” It took all of her sanity not to drag her eyes to his intent gaze. Her right hand which remained entwined with his with such familiarity, as if they have been doing this a thousand times in the past were hanging right by her right hip while the other settled on the flat surface of the stoned ledge and as she looked down to her free hand, she made circles using her index finger while sensing the wonderful feeling this man’s presence.“A few families needed help. The majority of the wounded were men and most of them were fathers and so their wives attended to them.” She left him hanging, making him conclude that she was the one who took care of the children but he just couldn’t help voice out her achievement which he was very proud off. Her parents might have been disappointed but he was not. This lady in front of him who was not used of being praised deserves much more than false criticism that her parents shoulder upon her. “And you attended to their children” It was not a question, rather it was a statement.“Yes,” She then looked up at him and added “but not entirely. I had help from the others” He was rather pleased when she found the courage to look up at him for he was tempted to put his fingers under her chin and make her look at him to see whether she was feeling the same way he was feeling right this moment. Just by looking at her eyes, he can see that she was feeling the same way. “But you mostly have done all the work for you were the most experienced” Another statement from him but what he said next caught her off guard “I’m very proud of you.” She did not reply and dragged her gaze back to her fingers which were making round figures on the ledges cold surface but still, she was deeply aware of the man standing dangerously close to her and his hand holding hers with gentleness. He was proud of her and praising her for just helping his men. Her heart suddenly did a double flip as he called her, his voice as velvet and peaceful as the sky above them“Lillian?” The way he called her made her shiver. She looked up at him but she couldn’t help but smile and release a low chuckle which made him smile as well. “What’s so amusing?” He asked.“Nothing. It’s just that I’m not used in hearing you use my Christian name, that’s all”“I see” His smile broadens and he looks at her with longing, the same look he gave her when they were alone in the garden. He calls her again.“Lillian?”“Yes?” as she replied, her voice was husky.“Thank you” “For what?” she asked in a whisper.“For the help you did for our men.”Still looking intently to his eyes, she replied,“It’s the least I can do for you and most probably also for Lord St. Claire”And that made him wonder,“Why do you say that?” As he asked the question, which he did in a whisper, using his free hand, he reaches for a lock of Dark honey brown hair which was hanging freely along her right cheek and he twirls it around his index finger with Lillian’s gaze right to his eyes.“After what you did for Anna and I suspect for Evie as well, I should make amends for all the false accusations I said that you don’t rightfully deserve.” He smiles at her and said, “Then I’m sorry too”She looks down and shook her head then she looks up again to him. And with her voice full of emotion and sincerity, she replied,“No, you don’t have too. We both know I’m the one at fault”“If we weren’t in this situation, you would have given me all the blame” he said amusingly. This made Lillian chuckle and as she looked at him, her eyes were shinning with laughter. “That I have no doubt”Vincent then laughed a hearty yet low laugh but then as he said,“But I am at fault also.” His voice was full of sincerity.Lillian then shook her head knowing that if not for her sharp-tongue ness, they would have been really good friends. When she was about to look away, he places his hand on her left cheek and makes her look at him.“No. Lillian, listen to me. I know I have wounded your pride severely and I made you cry and I’m such an ass for doing that to you. After Anna told me about your father not being proud of you and disowning you as his child, I saw you in a different light. You have every reason to be what you are now. I know not everyone’s child hood is perfect but yours was full of pain and I can’t…” he’s voice broke off but he continued.”and I can’t see you hurt anymore. Every tear you shed tears me into pieces and thinking you have shed a thousand during your childhood makes it more painful. I don’t know when this started but I don’t care, I just want to see you smile. ”And with tears falling in her eyes, “Thank you” is all she had to say. After a long pause, she then added.“You are not the man I thought you were. There’s more to you than what meets the eye and I never…” I never thought I’ll feel this way for you. You’re different from all the others and how I wish you could be mine as I could be yours. I never meant to be snobbish when we first met. Heaven’s no…but with your gaze pinned precisely to me all through out the conversation made me very uncomfortable. No one could make me feel the way you do whenever you look at me, no one. Oh how I wish I could tell you all of this, but how when I could never understand you. I don’t know whether you want me as I want you or will love me back as I have loved you. You have your doubts and I have mine but my doubts would never reach a point where in my love for will be in question. So I might as well keep this hidden from you until that day comes where you’ll say you’ll love me too. “I never thought that this would come. No one has ever said the things you just said to me before aside from my sister. I don’t deserve any one’s praise especially yours but…” Before she could continue, he grabs her waist and pulls her to him and embraces her fiercely.“You deserve every praise the world offers Lillian. You deserve much more than this. Your love, your smile…no one can ever out shine you in my heart. I don’t know when I started feeling this way for you but I don’t care as long as I see you and hold you in my arms. I don’t want to see you sad and never will I ever make you cry. I want to see you smile and so, jus for me Lillian, just keep smiling my love, keep smiling for your smile has made my life as bright as it can be. A promise of tomorrow for both of us” With emotions chocking him alive, all he managed to say is “You deserve more than what you have right now Lillian, much, much more.”  A statement so simple yet very meaningful Her tears fall but not out of sorrow but out of happiness for the man she has loved for so long. He was holding her as if there will be no tomorrow. Though tomorrow is as unpredictable as a second, in the morning, they just might pass by each other as if nothing had happened but in her heart, this will remain a memory. And then she lets all her defenses go and cries in his arms.“Thank you” she whispered.I love you, he silently answered. It was a beautiful morning but a storm was occupying the remaining spaces in Lillian’s head.              Daisy, Lillian and Evie, were waiting outside Anna’s room for Anna was getting ready at the moment, so the trio was requested to wait outside while she bathed and dressed. Despite the years, or more like two, of being in each others company, never was there a time when a deadly silence engulfed them. Daisy’s eyes were eyeing Lillian suspiciously, Evie was watching Daisy and Lillian intently, expecting a brawl not knowing why and Lillian was looking down at her feet which was quite unusual for she never did such thing. Either she remain quiet and wait patiently or chatter about something to pass the time but it seems today is an exemption for the Lady in mention was as quiet as the moon. At long last, Daisy broke the dreadful silent, directing a straight forward question to her older sister. “Why didn’t you come back at Anna’s room last night, Lillian?”Lillian, who suddenly snapped her attention to Daisy, looked surprise the same time sheepish.“I-“ She clears her throat. “I was really tired last night so after I finished bathing, I immediately went to bed”“Really? Who escorted you to your room?” Daisy asked innocently…but she didn’t sound innocent at all.Who? Or maybe I heard her wrong. Evie thought. Why would Daisy ask Lillian who escorted her when she doesn’t know or I, for that matter, don’t know whether someone escorted Lillian last night? Some one escorted her towards Anna’s room last night for sure because she heard a bit of mumbling before Lillian entered the room but maybe Daisy heard better and knew who Lillian was with.“No one” Lillian answered flatly.“If you say so.” Daisy dismissed nonchalantly just to irritate her older sister knowing that if she stop pursuing the topic, Lillian would think that she knows something which is true. Evie, who was the one lagging off the conversation couldn’t keep her suspense much longer.“What are you talking about Daisy?”“Me?” Daisy inquired innocently. “Nothing at all. I was just asking, ‘tis all”“It sounds to me you were more than asking. You sounded quite suspicious.”“Really?” Again with that innocent tone of hers.“I never meant to sound suspicious. I was just merely asking, really.”Evie looks at Daisy in suspense, desperately seeking for answers but in reply, Daisy just smiles at her with one brow raised. Knowing that her friend will never tell her anything…at this moment, she looked at the other sister who was now looking at her younger sister with inpatients.  Upon feeling the freckled-face girl who she considered friend looking at her, expecting an answer for her younger sisters meddling, Lillian faced her and said“Don’t mind her dear. She’s crazy as always.”Still sensing that Evie needs more than just a shrugged answer, she explained“ Evie, You know too well how her mind works. If you feel she’s suspecting me, Which I have no idea why”“Do you?” Daisy interrupted which made Lillian grind her teeth as she continued.“Just be rest assured that some of her suspicions are wrong”“some maybe but Mostly I’m right” Daisy concluded.Before Lillian could comment to her statement, a maid opens the door.“ My Lady would now see you”“It’s about bloody time”Lillian said impatiently, dashing in front of Daisy, making her the first one to enter the room. She was still worried about Anna last night. Oh, how she wanted to visit her after she took her bath but Vincent said…She stop on mid-thought. Vincent. Oh how that man can drive her to distraction. Because of him, she wasn’t able to visit Anna. Because of him, she wasn’t able to sleep well and because of him, all her thoughts which should have been revolving around Anna’s welfare were revolving around him. She knows that Daisy knew Vincent escorted her to Anna’s room and to hers last night and now, Daisy’s trying to make her admit that Vincent was the one who took the pleasure of escorting her during the lateness of the night. But for now, she must drive away all thoughts of him from her mind for as she gazed at Anna, who was sitting up on bed wearing a pomelo colored sleeping gown, tears started to prickle in her eyes. She literally flew to her friend. And before she knew what she was doing, violent sobs escaped her. Anna welcomed Lillian with open arms as her friend literally flew to her and once they were around each other’s arm, she felt her friend’s body shake as Lillian violently cried in her arms. This brought tears in her eyes and she said. “Oh Lillian. Stop crying dear, I’m quite all right.”“I really thought that we would lose you. I-I” Lillian inhales. Taking all the air she could manage to grasp than broke off again to tears. “ It’s all right now dear” Anna told Lillian soothingly. “ It’s all right” Lillian then moved away from her friends embracing arms and one’s she was free, she took both of Anna’s hands in hers while looking intently at Anna’s eyes, she then said, “Oh Anna, what would I do when I lose you. I might go crazy as hell”She cries again but not anymore in Anna’s arms but on Anna’s lap. Anna continues to calm Lillian while smoothing out her friends lovely honey-brown hair. When Lillian was starting to calm down which means her violent cries are now turned in to silent sobs some one knocks on the door, which leads to the other room where her husband, Simon, is staying. Anna, curious of who might the intruder be, called out to enter then upon hearing the command, Wakefield’s head materializes from the door. Wakefield and Simon were seriously talking about the accident; analyzing every flaw, thinking of every detail and seriously suggesting of new ways to improve the area and how to avoid destructions such as the accident when suddenly they heard Lillian cursing followed by violent sobs. Simon upon hearing Anna’s voice went as still as cement. Wakefield senses his friends change of demeanor then offered,“You might now want to see your wife. Stay here while I go call her”“As if I’m capable of going anywhere” Simon retorted sharply.“Come now Simon. Your wife deserves more than your scowls after trying to save you.”“She deserves a beating after what she did. She could have died because of me”“She would gladly die for you and you for her.”Simon became silent, knowing that what Wakefield said was true.Knowing that he had won in the argument, Wakefield stands up and walks towards the door which leads to Anna’s chamber and said,“I’ll be back in a moment.”Wakefield, out of courtesy, knocked at the door in order to warn them of his intrusion. After he did, he waited for a full second for a reply and when he heard Anna say “Come in” he holds the knob, twists it and once the door was open, he enters the room. All the wallflowers were present. Daisy was sitting on the chair right beside the bed. Evie was sitting by the window blinded by sunlight and before he could look at Anna which he really should, the person sitting on her bed with puffy eyes and tear soaked cheeks caught his full attention. Lillian. She was wearing a light yellow colored morning dress which compliments her honey brown hair wonderfully. Her hair was left down and she was wearing a light yellow head band, same shade as her dress around her thick rich hair. Her cheeks were touched by a light shade of pink and her eyes were a swollen red but still, she looked beautiful as she ever could be. Feeling 4 pairs of eyes looking at him; one with surprise; one with interest; one with suspicion; and one with out emotion for all emotion left in her was relief for the safety of her friend. With all the ounce of sanity he has left for a certain lady had taken almost all of it, he dragged his eyes to Anna and was surprise to see his friends wife smiling at him as if he had given her what she wanted or more specifically, Anna was smiling at her with interest and to that, he doesn’t want to know why. Anna broke the silence…silence! He had been silent the whole time. It was to late for greetings now, he supposed.“Good morning Lord Wakefield.” Anna greeted.“Good morning Lady St. Claire.” He bows at AnnaHe then looks at Evie “Lady Stewart,”Then at Daisy, “Ms. Daisy,”And to Lillian, “Lady Turner”It has been a practice before and now, is considered a tradition that when a gentleman enters the room, the ladies who occupy it must stand up and curtsy but these ladies in particular just managed a nod. He dismissed it knowing to well that he forgot to greet them when he entered so he continued“I believe you are well now Lady St. Claire?”“Very much, Lord Wakefield.”Silence again.“Is my husband all right?” Anna then asked after a full minute if unreasonable silence.“He is.” He paused then added,  “Actually he sent me here to call upon you. He would like to see you if you are not busy but it seems you are.”“No, I am not. I would like to see him also.”Seeing Lillian’s protesting face looking at Anna, he immediately replies,“I will inform him immediately”He then bows at the Ladies and leaves the room. “Do you have too?” Lillian asked with protest in her voice.“You can see him everyday after we go Anna.”“My dear,” Anna moves out of the bed, leaving Lillian as the only occupant.“There are still things that I have to settle with my husband”“What kind of things?” Evie asked.“Things which you still can’t understand.”“But Anna…” Daisy now whines, more like a 5 year old being force to eat her greens.“Well, if Anna still has important things to do, we better leave” Lillian dismissed flatly and leaves the bed. Daisy shots her sister an accusing eye while Lillian smoothed her dress..“May I remind you that we would be leaving at the fortnight.”“I am quite aware of that and as you know a fortnight consist of 2 whole weeks and at least we could leave Anna with a smile on her face.”“I know what a fortnight is.” Daisy said unnecessarily knowing that her sister was right but not allowing to be defeated in the argument.“Anything can happen with in a fortnight you know, and I mean anything.”“And your point is?” Lillian asked suspiciously.“My point is someone’s might marry with in 2 full weeks, as you so clearly explained”This caused Anna to laugh out loud and Daisy to smirk triumphantly at her sister who was very near in strangling her. Evie was the only one who didn’t catch it. When Wakefield came in, Daisy saw how his defenses fell when he laid eyes on her sister. The man was just smart enough to drag his eyes to Anna’s because if he didn’t, he might actually drag Lillian out of the room and propose to her just to calm his primitive nature but to that she still has doubts. If Wakefield only feels lust towards Lillian, then he could have proposed a thousand years ago but he didn’t and the way he looked at Lillian just a while ago, there was something warm in his eyes which she saw only one’s, during the time when they were riding out and she saw Lillian laughing at something heaven only knows and Wakefield was looking at her the same way he just did a while ago but with much more intensity. He, Daisy suspected, was in love with her older sister and she feels that Lillian is too but she’s just too proud or scared to show it. Maybe with in the fortnight, her sister will be the next Duchess of Claymore.“I’m going to kill you. I swear to grandmama’s grave-““Lillian,” Daisy feigned shock “Don’t swear!”“If you both are quite through,” Anna said in between laughs.“Please do leave for I still have to prepare.”“Oh, heaven’s” Daisy said dramatically then said“Come now dears, Anna still has to see her husband” And added in a whisper“And Lillian also has too” Knowing that Lillian heard her, she takes Evies’ hand then started to a run out of Anna’s room and leaving Lillian feeling completely mortified and embarrassed. “Oh dear.” Anna commented with a smile.“You look mortified.” “Shut it Anna. You’re making it worse.”“Well you two are a perfect match”“I’m better than her in everything.”“Not Daisy.”“Then who?”“Oh don’t play dumb with me…Help me hear will you”Lillian helps Anna with her shift and gown.“Of course I’m talking about you and Lord Wakefield”“Stop saying such things.” “I don’t see you disagree…”   “Anna, you know to well that I will never be fit to be the Duchess of Claymore.”“But you’re not marrying the title, are you?”“What if I am?”“Then you’ll be surprise to find out that it’s not just the title you would manage to claim”Anna hands her over the orange ribbon which will compliment her Pomelo colored dress and Lillian ties it under Anna’s breast and even if she knows that she is encouraging Anna’s fascination by asking her what she meant by her previous statement, she too found her self wondering if there is more to it than the title? Was Anna correct in saying that if Wakefield did ask for her hand and if she accepts it, it’s not the title she’s after to but…but what? So she asked casually, trying to hide the interest in her voice.“What else then do I claim aside from all his estates, his carriages, his horses and most importantly his rank?”Anna chuckles, knowing too well that her friend was not just merely asking so she repliesas she looks at Lillian’s reflection in the mirror.“His heart.”Lillian suddenly stopped what she was just doing and looked at Anna in the mirror with surprise. His heart…His Love…himself. Lillian then realized that if ever Wakefield will propose to her, he was giving her more than what she asks for but will she give herself in return? Anna then suddenly interrupts her thoughts and turns around and holds Lillian’s left cheek.“Lillian, don’t turn him down as you did before. This happens to be a second chance for both of you. There’s more to him now than what he was before.”“I know that.”“I know you do so now go and think about what I said. I still have my husband to worry with. Go”Lillian leaves the room at last. Anna, who was now facing the door to her husband’s chamber, took a deep breath making sure to looked compose when her husband sees her then she enters the room.                           

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