Click Here To Read: The Last Petal – PT 1
Margaret felt like fainting. A bride in this Manor!?
“That’s preposterous. I shall marry for love and not a Rose. Name another demand for this is outrageous. You can not have me here in this dark castle alone. Where is my father? Father! ” Margaret’s voice echoed through the empty manor.Margaret felt pale but she kept up a little of her tough front. She had been stern when she had started speaking only to be a mess by the end of it. She couldn’t feel her father’s presence anywhere near her. If only he could help her through this problem.
“You have until the last petal falls Margaret ” Lord Wellington said testing her name on his tongue in his low husky voice. “You will become my bride. You will love me and marry me or you can say goodbye to your dear father. What will it be? A little self sacrifice, a treatment here in the mansion like a queen with a happy and content family or, selfishness.
Do you want you family to starve this winter? Do you not know that the debt collectors took away most of the money from the cargo ship? There is not much left to even get by one month. Would you have your father’s imprisonment and probably his death on you conscience? Can you tolerate knowing your family is suffering because of you?”
He had her. She knew it, he had her. He knew he had her. Margaret broke down crying. She fell on her knees wishing for a miracle to reverse the clock or get her out of this situation. Sadly, there was nothing. No one was here for her.
“What will it be Ms. Roland. What will it be? ” The Lord asked ungentlemanly. If the lights were illuminating the place Margaret was sure that everyone could see the daggers her eyes were throwing at him. She stood up reading to answer what it will be.
“You have me in a tight spot My Lord. I may not be sure of a lot of things but I am sure you know my answer. You wouldn’t have threatened them otherwise.” She heard a low chuckle fill the air. Two claps by one of the two strange men’s hand and after a moment of anticipation, she was With her father. She remembered all the good times spent with the old man and how great his company felt. She hugged him like she always did only now they may never see each other again and they were but mere captives.
“Margaret, oh dear Meg. You shouldn’t be here. Oh sweetheart I am sorry. Forgive me my dear. Forgive me.”He murmured and they hugged until a force pulled then apart and threw her father at the gate. Margaret let out a cry and tried to make her way to her father but something stopped her.
“Tell anyone about what happened and trust me, there would be no one worse than me as your killer.” The Lord, who seemed like a common bandit to Margaret the more time she spent with him, said.
With what seemed like nod, Robert Roland stood up straighter. Margaret watched as her father who seemed to be escorted out to the gate by the man who escorted her here.
“And Mr. Roland, I told Miss Roland here that your family shall not live in poverty anymore. In the carriage there are gifts. If I am not wrong excluding Miss Roland here, you have three other children. Have a good journey.” A traitor tear escaped Margaret’s eye. She was condemned to this darkness now that even her father was going away even if forcefully. Whenever Robert Roland put up a fight to reach to his daughter, the strange man would straighten him up and tighten his hold.
Get a hold of yourself Meg. It’s just like one of those books. What do the heroines do? They stay strong after breaking down.
Margaret had already broken down once. She needed to face this man in front of her before she broke down again. Was this how her life at Wellington Manor be? Crying and hate? Darkness, cold and more darkness?
“Lord Wellington, what am I to do here? I can not even see. It’s too dark.”
“All you have to do my dear is prepare to be my bride. I shall have whatever you want sent to your room. There, a fire can be started. I like the dark so do not start fire anywhere else and definitely don’t open the windows or let the sun enter in the morning. Another rule my dear is that in no circumstance are you to enter the west wing of the building. East wing is yours to command as you wish as my betrothed.
Have a good night dear.”
Margaret’s vision blurred and she felt a little tug at the consciousness urging her to fall asleep. The thoughts of not seeing her family swam in her brain more than the thought about what she would face living as the lady of the house. Margaret was scared out of her wits.
How will she survive this place?
Margaret woke up to darkness. The light in the room was like in the dawn, barely there. She could make out outlines a little clearer than when she had stepped into the Manor at first however the improvement in her view were little to none.
The room was strange and she knew it was now her home. But how is she to accept it as her home? Home is where the heart is.
She stood up from the velvet soft bed a little dizzy and unstable on her feet. How long had I been out? Was the first question as she couldn’t figure out the time. She stepped towards one of the two doors in the room and found that it lead to the hallway. An equally dark hallway.
Margaret cursed out loud. Words came out of her mouth that will make her mother have a heart attack as she saw that everything was shrouded under a cover of artificial night. She needed the light. She had always been a sun lover and this man was not taking it away from her. How he lived in such an atmosphere was beyond her.
“Hello?” she called out again and like before her voice echoed.
Frustrated when no reply came back, she went back into her room and felt everything.
There were some sort of thick curtains in her room and she did the only sane thing she could think of, she yanked them away. It seemed like early morning. Heavenly light poured in and she basked in the sunlight knowing all too well that the Lord will be furious. Huh, he wanted to marry her, he will have to deal with it. She would stay here and help around but in no way will she be a pet on a leash. Margaret was more spirited than that.
Looking out of the window she found that there were thick trees just outside the border. The garden, surprisingly, was trimmed and very well kept and the fog made everything look unbelievably pretty from what seemed like the first floor of Wellington Manor.
Her stomach growled and she stood up from the window seat. Searching around the drawers she found a candle and some matches which she used to illuminate the hallway. She turned around the turns with the candle in her hand and within three turns found herself lost. Margaret gave up crying.
She was lost, alone, hungry and missing her family while somewhat captured by a person who wanted to marry her but wasn’t even a single bit nice. There is only so much a girl could take no matter how strong she tries to be.
“Dear Miss Roland, what are you doing on the ground?” a familiar voice called out and she never thought she would be glad to hear it. Somewhere between her crying she had fallen asleep. The candle was burnt out and she was again left in the dark.
“I was searching for the kitchen but I got lost and no one was there when I called out.” She said quietly and Lord Wellington took her hand. It was icy cold making chills run down her spine. He was so much like a predator that she felt like a prey.
“This way. The schedule of this Manor is quite nocturnal. You should adjust to it soon.” He said and any relief she may have felt went out of the window yet again. With everything she had in her, she kept her mouth shut.
“Here, I’ll send some food.” He said and left Margaret alone.
Margaret looked around and from the outline she could make, she was sure that it was night again and it was the room she woke up in. Sighing, she sat down on the bed. Thankfully, a fire was lit on one side of the room making it warm and cozy for her.
“Miss?” A timid voice caught her attention. “May I come in?”
“Yes,” She said not knowing how else to answer. Smell of food hit her nostrils and she thought of her mother. She was an excellent cook.
Suddenly all her excitement from the thought of the delicious food went out of the window and all that was left was the pang of sadness and hunger.
In came a woman who looked centuries old. Her hair were white as snow and clothes as dark as night. Her face and hands were wrinkled to no ends and Margaret couldn’t help but wonder how old she was.
The old dainty woman put her food on the bed making Belle wonder if she would break her spine by bending even so little. How can her captor make this poor woman work?
“Do you need anything else Miss Roland?”
“No, no I don’t need anything. I am rather fond of doing my work myself so it is I who should ask if there is anything around the Manor I could help you with?”
This seemed like a good idea. Helping the old lady would be a good way to pass Lord knows how much time in this forsaken place. This woman looked like she could use a hand even though she knew she shouldn’t judge. Old does not mean paralyzed but a little help wouldn’t hurt for sure.
“Oh no miss. Do not let the master hear you say that. You are going to be the mistress of the house and you can not work as a lowly maid. Forgive me but if there is nothing you would like me to do then I must go proceed with my other duties. ”
Margaret frowned again. She was not going to be one of those vain little girls who did nothing all day but look in the mirror and neither did she plan on getting this poor made whatever trouble she would get in for agreeing to her.
“Okay then..Can I get some books around here ?” The old woman nodded with a kind wrinkly smile. For some odd reason Meg felt connected to her. Maybe it was the fact she seemed kinder than others living the place.
“Of course, I will get Toby to show you to the library. Now finish up dear. You look rather thin for a girl your age. “
Toby was a scrawny little boy. Margaret wondered if he would fly away if a little gust of wind blew. His presence didn’t even seem to cause any stir in the surrounding as if he wasn’t there.
Taking a candle she followed the guy out of the room when he asked her to follow him.
“The library is a really prized possession here. It’s in the West wing of the building with over a few thousand books and an excellent searing arrangement. It used to be Lady’s, Lord’s mother. But now that she passed away, Lord has it kept in proper condition but rarely goes in. “
Toby chatted all the way through the corridors making the place somewhat more comforting that she ever thought it would be.
Margaret looked at the closed door when they came to a stop in front With one hand she turned the nob to open and creeping her out, it creaked open. What’s with this house and creaky doors?
“I shall leave you hear Miss Roland. The old lady Becka demands that I help her around. Just call for moi when you need to get back Miss.” Toby said in his thin and happy voice making her smile a little. “I will,” she said and stepped inside the library.
One would say that she should be used to the darkness by now but Alas, this was not the case.
“Toby!” she called out at the retreating figure of the little boy.
“Yes Miss? ” He said coming back.
“Can I get some wood and all to light fire up here?” Toby hesitated but said yes before going through some route to get the woods.
Happily Margaret stepped inside the library when a chill rushed to her spine. Ignoring the rush she took another step inside with the candle flame illuminating the room to a limit.
“Who dares come in!” a voice called harshly and a shiver made its way down Meg’s spine making her pause in her tracks.
“Um me? I am sorry if I am disturbing you I’ll leave…” Margaret said meekly as she identified the voice to be of Lord Wellington.
During her walk here she had realized one thing. Living with a man in his house, she really didn’t have a chance outside these walls now. Not even her family would take her in if the time passed more than it already has.
“Margaret?” Lord Wellington said in his low husky voice making her forget that he had just shouted out a moment ago.
“Yes it is I Lord Wellington. I asked if I could get something to read and Becka had Toby show me the library. Please do not be angry with them. If you would want then I would just rush back to the room. It’s just too unsettling for me to be in a room useless.., ”
A silent followed her words. Margaret suddenly felt like wishing for a knife to cut through this deafening silence between her captor and her. He stood in the darkness and all she could feel was his cold unnerving presence and the silence. It startled her when he suddenly spoke up.
“I told you not to come to this wing,” He said harshly but instead of scaring her it sparked a fire in her. She was about to argue when he continued, “but I understand that there is not much to do around here. As my betrothed consider this place a present. It’s not much use to me anyway. ”
Lord Wellington ended bitterly making Margaret wonder how anyone could he part with such a treasure saying it’s of no use!
“But there are so many books! How could it not be of any use to you?” Meg voiced her thought without thinking and a sudden bang made her realize of it a moment later. He had hit something.
“Do you want this place or not?” He questioned rudely. Margaret winced and muttered a small yes.
“Then take it and do not meddle in my business.” the candle light flickered rapidly until it was nothing but a wick ready to be lit again. A sudden gust of wind flew past her and the door opened.
“Miss Roland? I got the wood!” A voice called out from near the door grabbing her attention and she cursed at the candle for going out at that time.
“Lord Wellington if you had a match?” she asked but was met by nothing but silence. Where had he suddenly gone?
“Miss Roland?” Toby called out again.
“Coming Toby,” she said making her way to the door from near the shelves stumbling now and then in the darkness against odd things that were scattered around.