Chapter 14

It was so nice to spend some time with Esme and Ava,we were playing hide and seek inside the grounds of Mama’s Estate.For once in my life,I felt like I was me again.Louisa and I had decided to spend some quality time together.Whilst Oliver and Benjamin went off clay pigeon shooting.
Whilst Louisa was pre-occupied I disappeared for five minutes,I needed time on my own to reflect.I sat down upon my swing,i spent many a happy time during my childhood,begging for Marianna and Letitia to push me high up into the clouds,swinging my legs with all my might as I reached up pushing my troubles away.My mind began to wander,I closed my eyes once more and had fond memories of my sweet Carl.Oh how we spent many a time here,sat upon his knee on the swing,him playing with my hair.I glanced over at the tree,kissing exchanging romantic glances.My darling Carl looked ever so perfect,him whispering sweet nothings in my ear.The times spent riding my beautiful Cossack.No matter how hard I try I simply can not escape the ghost of Carl.
Louisa had managed to catch up with me.
‘So this is where you disappeared off to?’
‘Where are the children?’
‘Lady Antoinette has taken them inside for cheese and crackers.Is something troubling you Gis?’
‘I was trying to escape from my troubles,if I swing high enough then maybe I could escape into the clouds.How I long to be one of those beautiful birds of paradise,soaring far far away from here.’
‘You know I haven’t always given you an easy time…It’s just I find it extremely hard to let go of the past.’
‘You don’t need to apologise…I deserve it.’
‘When you first came back I was so convinced that your love was Oliver wasn’t pure nor genuine and you were only after his money?’
‘You must know that’s not true?’
‘I realise that now,I see how you are with him and how much you love him.As for your pregnancy I got it into my head it was Sir Holmes who was the father and you had trapped my brother into convincing him that Ava was his.I was so childish back then,you were so frightened isolated from the world around you,and I shut you out.Gisele you know you can always come to me?’
‘I don’t wish to burden you.’
‘Oh whatever gave you that impression? You will never be a burden to me.What happened to us Gisele? You and I we used to be extremely close?’
‘Yes and I put pay to that…I just don’t know,I feel we just drifted apart.’
‘Gisele.What is on your heart?’
‘It was such a terrible idea remaining at Mama’s house.Perhaps Oliver’s right,and that’s not very often.We should have returned to Marsailles after the funeral.Being here right now,all I see are phantom faces, plaguing my imagination.Shadows that no longer makes any sense to me…I’m not dealing with Carl’s death to be truthful and that is having an impact upon my marriage.I can see him everywhere I turn,his voice inside my head.I can not escape the ghost of him.’
‘Oh Gisele,how I long to see you smile again?’
‘I’m so torn,a part of me longs to be back in Marsailles,to my place of solitude.The other half,feels I aught to stay in London.I’ve left a piece of my heart,William is buried here.’
‘Gisele what are you saying?’
‘For the past week has been sheer hell for me.I have been surrounded by my family and friends through this dark period of my life.I fear that if I returned to Marsailles,then I shall forget about my son.’
‘You will never forget about him?’
‘How do you know that?’
‘That short period he was in your life,William played a huge part,I saw how you were with him,you doted upon him.You couldn’t have loved him more.’
‘He will always remain in my heart.This locket that remains with me,has a picture of him.I keep it clasped to my chest.I fear I shall forget him,what I’m trying to say is after the wedding celebrations are over and the dust has settled.I shall be returning to London,with our without my husband.’

That same afternoon,I decided to take afternoon tea with my dearest friends,Sophia and Daniel.Louisa was rather sweet and offered to take care of Ava and Esme.Reinette and Tom were in attendane also.Reinette looked positively glowing.
‘It’s good of you to invite me over.’ I smiled.
‘No Oliver?’
‘No Lord Rickman and Lord Henry are off on a clay pigeon shoot,cement their friendship further before the upcoming nuptials…and good luck to Lord Henry I shall say,Oliver may appear to be a pussycat but when it comes to clay pigeon shooting he can be quite competitive.’
‘So while the cat’s away,the mice shall play?’ said Daniel.
‘You could say that Daniel.’
‘It is truly good to see you.’
‘Thank you Sophia,I’m sorry I didn’t have much time to speak to you at Carl’s funeal.’
‘I understand,it was a beautiful speech you delivered.’
‘Thank you,Reinette you look positively glowing.’ I gushed.
‘Thank you Gisele,it’s amazing what a scrape of make up can do.You wouldn’t have said that at five in the morning.I just wish I could get past this nausea stage.But this little monster is not allowing it.I’m convinced it’s a boy.’ She paused and looked towards me. ‘Oh gosh Gisele,that was very insensitive of me.I’m so sorry.’
‘No,really it’s fine-‘
‘I wasn’t thinking,please forgive me.’
‘I do wish people would stop tiptoeing around the issue,what’s done is done.Why should everyone’s happiness be frozen in time for the sake of my misfortune?’
‘Me and my thinking before I speak,how are you? Really?’
‘At this moment in time,it’s just a fight to survive.I’m constantly lying in the shadows.As I said previously thank you for inviting me.You have no idea how nice it is to escape from it all.If it’s not Mama keeping a watchful eye over me.It’s Oliver trying to constantly suffocate me.I’m trying to escape the clutches of no other than Lord Henry.’
‘I thought that was a thing of the past?’
‘The subject is closed Sophia.’
‘I know when you’re deceiving me Gisele,you wrinkle your nose? You looked me in the eye and you swore that it was with over with?’ scowled Sophia.
‘More tea anyone?’ asked Daniel trying as he might to divert the conversation.’
‘Lord Henry has been a rock throughout this painful time.Nothing more…’
‘And pray does Lord Henry see it that way?’
‘Sophia I have had more than enough on my mind.Other than when will I next entice Lord Henry into sleeping with me? Oh when will Benjamin finally admit that I’m his mistress and he truly loves me.
For instance how I quite happily like to end my life.Silence oneself,slip away from this world.Like these marks over my arms,are from where I tried to slash my wrists,just to erase away the pain.Jack should have slit my throat,killed me when he had the opportunity!’
‘I’m sorry,I can’t’ go on pretending any longer Sophia.I mean is my life truly important? Will anyone care if I live or die? The night of William and Carl’s tragic deaths.I felt so far away from God,I ran my bath and I prayed to God.That my husband would rescue me,I had no answers that piece of heaven just felt meaningless.I stayed there for what seemed like an age.Desperately clutching a casket of pills in my hands.The initial mood was set,I was downing champagne like there was no tomorrow.I fantasied Oliver would discover my naked body,what a way to go? Drowning in a cocktail of pills and champagne.He would finally be free.Imagine the talk of London? Poor Gisele,died so young.Her beauty and Lord Rickman’s fortune couldn’t save her soul…Then I thought of Ava and Esme,they’re sweet angelic faces,they’ve already lost their brother…’
‘Does Oliver know how you’re truly feeling?’
‘And give him another reason to trap me as though I’m an injured butterfly.He’s refusing me to fly…strangling the life out of me.He regrets not being there,the night of Carl’s death haunts his dreams.He thinks it’s a husband’s duty to protect his wife.’
‘Quite right too.’ piped up Daniel.
‘So you’re saying if Sophia,the so called love of your life was trapped inside a burning building,and you weren’t present? You’d simply allow her to burn alive? All for the sake of your stupid pride?’
‘N…n…not at all.’ stuttered Daniel.
‘Because that’s the impression I seem to be getting.Carl didn’t have to go in there like he did…’
‘I think it’s sweet…A man dying saving the woman he loves,extremely noble of him.He obviously must have felt very highly of you.’
‘Thank you Reinette,I just wish Lady Keating felt the same.Ever since Lady Isabelle’s gathering,her head has been filled with utter nonsense.’
‘She has certainly shown were her loyalties lie.’ whispered Sophia.
‘I hardly think that has anything to do with Lady Rosaline Chadwick?’ smiled Daniel.
‘You simply refuse to have anything bad said against that family…She’s good I give her that,acting the victim claiming Oliver wronged her over the years,when all the while she’s been dripping poison into her ear for weeks.Oh I forgot you’re Lady Isabelle’s pathetic simpering little weasel man servant aren’t you? Forgive me if I’m speaking out of term.But you must be blinder than I first thought? Never mind about Lady Keating loyalty Sophia,perhaps you should start looking closer to home.’ I stood up. ‘Thank you ever so much for the tea.Shame I couldn’t say the same about the current company?’
After my run in with Daniel,I locked myself in Papa’s study.After all of this time I could pick up the scent of his cigars and brandy.Whenever I’m feeling lonely,I seek solace in his familiar scent.I discovered some cigars tucked away in his tiny little desk.I lit the cigar and started to smoke it,at first I started to choke as I have never smoked in my life,but then I started to relax.The ambience invited me in and somehow brought comfort to me.
‘Oh Papa.’ I sighed.
There was a knock upon the door.
‘Come in.’
Oliver walked in. ‘You know I don’t like you smoking sweetpea.

He immediately snatched the cigar out of my grasp.Before he gave me a chance to protest.’Everyone’s been ever so worried about you.’
‘I’m fine.’
‘And you think smoking’s the answer? Whatever has gotten into you?’
‘I had to be closer to papa,immerse myself in the aroma of his cigar’s and sweet smelling brandy.It brings comfort.Darling,I’ve been thinking.’
‘As have I.’
‘Don’t look so surprised.I think it’s time that you and I returned to Marsailles.’
‘I was thinking exactly the same thing.’
‘And to think I thought I was about to have another fight on my hands.’
‘I can be reasonable sometimes.’
‘I beg to differ,you can be quite the handful sometimes,fiesty.But that’s what I look about you Gis,full of fire and passion.No one gets you the way I do?’
‘Ever since Carl and our beautiful William died.I’ve been wandering around a lost soul.A stranger in my Mama’s home.’
‘Why didn’t you come to me,I’m your husband? If you’re struggling I must know?’
‘I’ve been trying my best to make sense of things,gradually picking up the pieces.There where many times I longed to lay with you,not saying a word,just for you to hold me ever so tight….I didn’t want to be rushed Olly.’
‘Is that why you chose to sleep in seperate rooms?’
‘Not everything has to be about sex Oliver…’
‘I just miss you lying next to me,your fingers running through my hair.’
‘I’m not ready to be intimate with you,I’m trying to refuse you in the nicest way possible.Honestly you gentlemen are all the same.There’s a secret Casanova within all of you.’
‘Gisele,I know you’re hiding something from me?’
‘Ever since you’ve returned to London you’ve changed? Those mourning clothes for instance are they necessary?’
‘How can you be so callice? I’ve lost my best friend and baby boy within a heartbeat of one another.What do you expect me to be doing? Jumping for joy? Swinging from the chandeliers in one of my best gowns! The truth is I don’t think I shall ever call Marseille’s home again.’
‘But you said?’
‘I was pretending…I need to be surrounded by my family.William’s home.’
‘I knew we should have taken the body back to Marsaille’s.But you insisted no Oliver.All will be ok,we can visit him as often as we like.’
‘I’m not abandoning my son…He will be so alone in that cold and tiny grave.You know what really happend to your wife,the night my whole world fell apart.I almost committed suicide! Yes that’s right you’re perfect little lady is not so perfect as she painted herself out to be.I was going to drown myself with a deadly combination of pills and champagne,and make it look like an accident to spare my family! I’ve been falling apart before your very eyes.After Louisa and Lord Henry’s wedding I’m returning to London with or without you.It’s your choice?’

Mama had decided to host a dinner party,after my ultimatum that had taken place.A few hours previously.I couldn’t bare to be in the same room as him.Telling all about my attempted suicide was the last thing on my mind.Louisa was harping on about wretched wedding invitations.
‘Benjamin,I insist the newly ammended wedding invitations must go out as soon as possible.’
‘There’s plenty of time for that my little song bird.’
‘It’s all in the planning Benjamin,my biggest fear is walking into that church in my wedding gown and not having guests to admire it…Our wedding is christmas day,I’ll be the mockery of Versailles if you had you’re way?’
‘Darling if it were just the moon and stars shining down on your heavenly self then I couldn’t be more happier.’
Louisa touched Benjamin’s face ‘Benj,that is terribly sweet of you.But no.’
‘Is this wedding some kind of joke to you,to prove to your friends in Versailles that you can take some English Rose as a wife? I’m not some prize to be won?’
‘Louisa,darling.’ I whispered.’Maybe this isn’t the right time to be discussing this over dinner?’
‘No,let’s not.’ Benjamin looked over and displayed his knowing smile,I blushed a little.
A little while later,Mama and I were saying our sad farewells.
‘Must you go Gisele?’
‘I must.’
‘But you’re boy’s here?’
‘There are a few things Oliver and I need to discuss…I never thought I’d arrive in London a proud Mother and leave so broken hearted.’
‘Be happy my petit Gisele.’
Lady Antoinette embraced Gisele lovingly.
‘I shall return Mama,I promise.’

Christmas day was spent in Benjamin’s lavish place in Versailles presents were to be exchanged on the morning.The wedding has to take place on the evening.Winter time in London is a far more enchanted place.I longingly looked out of the window and sighed.Esme and Ava ran over to me ‘Mama!’
Why isn’t there snow? It’s christmas.There should be snow?’
‘I don’t think it snows in Marsailles Ava,never seems to be when were here.’ I sighed. ‘But when were back in London.’
I looked over at Oliver. ‘It’ll all be different.’ I kissed her forehead.
‘I promise you,they’ll be snow ball fights,chestnuts roasting a warm open fire,carroll singing in the grounds…Just like Mama used to celebrate christmas.’
‘Don’t make promises to them that you can’t keep sweet pea.’
‘Watch me.’
‘Will Santa visit us in London?’ said Ava.
‘Of course darling.’
‘He might get lost?’ said Esme.
‘He’s magical,of course silly.’ said Ava.’Mama,we heard bells thinking we got out of our beds in the morning and saw his feet in the snow.Daddy said it’s Skye’s footprints…I know it was reindeers.’
‘Don’t you ever grow up my little darlings.’ I sighed. ‘Stay young and precious forever.’
‘Mama do stars in the sky get presents?’
‘William will be the luckiest star in the sky,he will want for nothing.’ I cried.
‘I miss him.’ sobbed Ava.
‘I know my darling.’ I said trying to choke back the tears. ‘But Auntie Lucille and Papa will be taking care of him.He will never be lonely.’
A little while later we exchanged our presents beside the tree,Esme was very taken with her doll.The fire was blazing in the background.Benjamin was keeping a low profile,he was scared that he would jinx the wedding.I think our secret love affair has already put pay to that.
Lord Henry gave Louisa’s gift to her on christmas eve.
‘Snowdrop earrings.’ gushed Louisa. ‘Isn’t that sweet of him?’
Oliver was happily playing with Esme and Ava,it was such a perfect scene though I missed my sister’s so much.It doesn’t feel right spending christmas day without them.Though I shall be reunited with them all very soon.Skye was running around and around the room,I was scared she was about to upset the tree and all of it’s lights and decorations onto the ground.’Silly Skye!’ squealed Esme and Ava.The laughter of the girls sent shivers down my spine.I almost threw it all away for the sake of a handsome stanger.
A traditional dinner was to be taken place in the grand hall after the wedding,so canapes,cheese and crackers were to be feasted upon before the wedding.Much to the relief of Louisa,she barely touched a thing.Oliver said that I aught toplay the piano to liven up proceedings.I reluctantly agreed and for once obeyed his commands,Louisa shed a tear.
‘Is there something wrong Louisa,it’s not Benjamin is it?’
‘No Oliver,I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy.’ She smiled and lovingly grasped hold of her hand.
‘I know I may appear to be all hard on the outside and no feeling in the middle,at times over protective even.It’s just that I can’t bare to see you broken hearted.’
‘Benjamin is the love of my life,I finally found what I have craved for in so long,the father of my children.Lord Henry is the right path for me.’
‘Promise me if he ever hurts you?’
‘Benjamin will never hurt me.’
‘I never thought Gisele would and look at what happend to us?’
‘That will never happen to us.’
‘Never say never Louisa,if he breaks your heart.Promise to come to me,you can tell me anything?’
‘Is that after you’ve killed him?’ joked Louisa. ‘Oh Olly,I’m so happy that I still have you in my life,thank you for talking me into moving to France.’
‘It might not be for much longer,Gisele is talking is returning to London with the children with or without my say so.’
‘Surely you can stop her? She has a duty as your wife,to stand by your say…don’t your feelings come into it?’
‘She’s so plagued by grief,she’s not thinking clearly,don’t you worry.By the time you and Lord Henry have said I do,she will have decided France is the only place for her.’

Merry Christmas Mama,
It doesn’t feel right that I should be apart from you at this festive season.But that’s how it’s been since my move to France.I do hope Marianna and the girls are keeping you busy at this time of year? Has Evangaline managed to find a suitor over this special time?
I can’t believe what I put you through,oh how we can laugh now.But I recall you and Papa having many sleepless nights over me.Soon we shall be reunited in London,Oliver is still putting his foot down,but he will see my way.He realises that if he refuses to,he will lose his beloved wife and his beautiful daughters forever.Since Williams death,I can no longer call France my home.
Oh do not fret Mama,I will be all right,as I write this letter I am getting changed in my bridesmaids outfit,it’s peagreen.I know do not ask it’s not a personal choice of mine.But this Louisa’s day and I shall abide by her rules.
Esme and Ava are delighted to receive their mittens and scarves they refuse to take them off.Convinced it’s going to snow,poor darlings.Christmas is such a magical time for them.I remember it well.
Hope to hear from you soon,I love you with my whole heart
Your daughter Gisele

The moment arrived,it was now hours before the reunion of Lord Henry and Louisa. I don’t know how to love him.If I should break down and shed a tear over the love I lost,or simply breathe a quiet sigh of relief.For I am the feline with nine lives.I have simply dodged a bullet,for I fear after my run in with Jack this may be the last time.Lord Henry had decided that he was going on ahead with this poor facade of a wedding,and my dirty little secret was safe.I was naive inside,I’m screaming,my heart has been bruised.Oh Lord Henry,why didn’t I meet you three years ago? I knocked on Louisa’s bedchamber.
‘Who is it?’
‘It’s Gisele.Is it ok if I come in?’
‘Of course.’
I opened the door,Louisa turned round.She looked so beautiful.She reminds me so much of my sister Lucille,God rest her soul.Her raven curls hanging so perfectly down her right shoulder.A beautiful garland of blue flowers,complimented her piercing innocent blue eyes.
‘You look like an angel.’ I smiled.
Louisa’s dress was equisite in detail,she had fallen in love with a dress in London,it was from 1908,an antique said the salesperson.Louisa didn’t care a jot if it was before her time,and quite right too it was simply beautiful.The it was made from ivory satin silk,her bodice feature pearl beaded aplique,soft to the touch.The gown itself complimented her full feminine hour glass figure.
‘I never thought I’d see this day come.Have the doves arrived at the estate?’
‘Yes,and the swans.’
Louisa’s wedding was certainly going to be a christmas that I shall never forget.She’s always dreamt of white doves being released at the end of the ceremony.She opted out of a traditional church wedding and chose to get married at Lord Henry’s estate.That’s what I admire about Louisa not being afraid to break free from tradition.
‘Merry Christmas,soon to be Lady Louisa Henry.’
‘I quite like that it has a ring to it.Don’t you think? Lady Louisa Henry,yes I like that very much.Pinch me am I dreaming?’
‘My Louisa,you have blossomed into a fine young woman.You would’ve done your parents proud.’
‘I’m so glad it all worked out between us.’
‘I’m sure you’d have did just fine.’
‘You saved me from a lifetime of misery…Not knowing if Sir Holmes was with me,because he loved me? Or simply to make you jealous? If it weren’t for you I would never have awoken to my senses and given Lord Henry the time of day.He’s simply delightful.’
‘I shall have to take your word for that?’ I laughed.
‘Gisele,where are my manners? You look heavenly.’
I stood there in my gown,my barrell curls was pinned up by my butterfly clip.Louisa had opted for a peagreen bridesmaid gown.I felt thankful that fashion was evolving the right way forward.It was 1917 after all,the corset no longer clung to my body.It was called a Spirela corset,it was a corset designed so us ladies felt we had the permission to finally breathe at last.Not sure about how much it worked but I was greatful for it.
‘Louisa,forgive me if it’s bad timing and that I’m speaking out of turn.But you are for certain that Lord Henry is the gentleman to settle on?’
‘Doesn’t this ring prove his love for me,or does it not?’
‘Well I can see how serious your feelings for him run deep.But tell me does he feel the same? He wasn’t’ so prompt on the wedding invitations and he didnt find it within his heart to throw you lavish engagement gala?’
‘We’re not all like you Gisele.Benjamin is extremely quiet,a private man.He is not so keen on displaying his affection in public…Gis,I love Benjamin.Please accept that.’
‘I do….I have a little something,you know the old and uncomfortable tradition that is passed on wedding days? Something old,something new etc…I thought Benjamin wouldn’t appreciate my old blue garter.So I thought this was the right gift to give to you.It was Lucille’s.’ I held out a beautiful swan necklace. ‘Keeping up with the bird and water theme.’ I laughed.
‘I couldn’t possibly.’
‘Someone once told me to start letting go of the past.This is me doing just that.You remind me of Lucille.You look like,so spritely full of life.Not doing as she’s told…Because of you,the spirit of Lucille’s lives on.’
‘It’s beautiful,I shall treasure it always.’
I shed a tear. ‘I er…I must go and see Oliver,I have a message.I would like to give to him.’
‘Of course.
I slipped out of the room,a hand touched my arm and pulled me into the corridor.
‘We must stop meeting like this Lady Rickman?’
‘I had to see you.’
‘I wish you wouldn’t do that.’ I whispered.
‘I have a christmas gift that I long to give to you.’
‘You shouldnt be showering me with gifts Lord Henry.’
He held out a necklace. ‘Please take it.’
‘I can’t.’
‘Why not?’
‘I’m not being ungreatful because I am….’
He placed it around my neck.
‘I refuse to be your dirty little secret any more.’
‘I was hoping you’d come to me last night?’
‘One last fumble between the sheets before you say I do?’
‘Not even if I say I have some mistletoe?’
‘I hardly think that’s appropriate Lord Henry?’
‘Gisele won’t you let me in?’
‘I’m tired of hiding in the shadows for you.’
‘Amongst all the anger and front,beneath your beautiful.’
‘Your soon to be bride is only a few yards away,talking a\bout doves,harps and swans for heaven’s sake.’
‘I don’t care about stupid swans,that’s all I’ve been hearing about for months.Darling have you got those swans,I want the invitation to be written and laced in gold.Dresses co-ordinating with table centre pieces.Will Gisele like pea green she is so used to pink satin gowns,hair fastenators should I have a tiara or feathers? Doves,hearts and swans.Romantic archways should I have a carriage Gisele had one of those? I’ve had a stomach full of it all!’
‘You brought this on yourself when Louisa agreed to marry you Lord Henry.’
‘Why are you so cold?’
‘My heart bleeds for you…She’s so happy,think she’s found her soul mate for life,
can’t wait to become Lady Benjamin Henry,do you want me to crush all of her dreams,shatter her illusions of finding true happiness?’
‘Just say the word and I’m all yours Gisele?’
He looked into my eyes. ‘Just click my fingers and I can make this all go away,trust me.’ He brushed a stray strand of hair,that was shielding me from his powerful gaze. ‘You know you drive me wild when you wear your hair that way?’
‘You Lord Benjamin,you’re simply weak that’s what you are…I thank you for loving me.But your kind words are to be only used in vain.Your Louisa,was in there singing your praises and defending your honour.Heaven forbid why,and all you can think of is seducing the matron of honour?’
‘I think we’ve passed the stage of seduction Lady Rickman,and you can talk you’re hardly whiter than white?’
‘Poor girl,you’ve been playing her for a fool,you’ve put pay to her having her engagement gala!’
‘Louisa clearly stated that she didn’t want all of the unnessary fuss.’
‘Well maybe she said that because that’s what you wanted her to say,you don’t know her as well as you thought? Ever since her brother and I got married.She grew tired of living in my shadow.Always thinking she’s second best,her perfect little bambi eyes lit up when you proposed to her.She thought that it was her chance to show off her beautiful sparkling engagement ring and my it is quite the size of a rock.Size isn’t always everything Benjamin.Just for once for her name to be the toast of versailles society,and you have the cheek to stand in front of me pleading your case about doves and swans!’
‘She is quite aware that I don’t like to make public declarations?’
‘Have you forgotten your proposal wasn’t so public? Quite the opposite even..or was that to make me jealous?’
‘Well it worked like a charm didn’t it? It got me into my bed!’
‘You Benjamin Henry…I have waited so long to say these words.But you a spiteful gentleman.You go around versailles.Thinking that you were born into royalty and we’re you’re humble peasant’s.You’re trousers are far too tight.You’re vain and downright selfish.Only thinking of yourself…You have no warmth,heart or emotion! You don’t care what fire and destruction you cause in your path! You’re a handsome devil,but my word you’re fully aware of it! You’ve convinced all of the women of Versailles and London have fallen for you? And that you’ve managed to charm Lord Rickman’s sweet little Gisele into your loving arms is your biggest achievement of them all? Darling I was humouring you,it was just a game.I was the cat and I certainly got my fair of the cream when I had you!’
‘Are you quite finished Lady Rickman?’
‘There’s plenty more I’ve been dying to say to you for so long….’
‘Before you consider ripping my very good nature there are a few things that I would like to say to you?’
‘This I’d like to see?’ I scoffed.
‘You know what Gisele you’re so sure of yourself?’
‘That I am Lord Henry!’
‘You and I so alike?’
‘I hardly think that?’
‘You know what Lady Gisele, you stand there thinking you’re prim and proper,you have set out to destroy my good reputation and nature…going around thinking you’re a pure angel sent from heaven,going to church saying your prayers longing to be saved? there isnt an ounce of purity running through your veins.That’s the reason I fell in love with you,as I thought that you were aware of your faults? How wrong was I? You think you’re so beautiful,daughter of a french aristocrat,yawn yawn? It hardly makes you untouchable? You go around fluttering your eyelashes,crushing gentlemen’s dreams.Sticking your bosom out for any willing victim that’d take your fancy.You’re trouble,so high maintainance.Oh my gowns have to be handmade in paris.Do you like my gloves there encrusted in crystals?’
‘I did not ask to be born into this life!’
‘You wouldn’t be able to cope if a maid servant fetched you water at a dinner party.French champagne in a flute for you every time! You’re nothing but a nymph masquerading as a poor little rich girl bewitching any poor gentleman who fall for your little sob story! You’re ill Gisele acting the grieving widow over the loss of Carl tempesteous little minx the next,you’re plagued with demon’s Gisele!’
I slapped Benjamin across the face,he grabbed hold of my wrist.
‘Shut up and kiss me you fool!’
Benjamin and I kissed passionately,I dropped the rose I held onto the floor.
‘Hush now.’
He took hold of my hand and was about to lead me to his room,I wanted him there and then.I didn’t care if Oliver or Louisa caught us this secret had plagued me for so long.He looked into my eyes,Lord Henry why are you so perfect? I try as hard as I might to fight my feelings for him,temptation has certainly got the better of me.His hand was in my hair,then moved onto my waist.He could just undress me right here and I wouldn’t care.
‘Gisele,let me kiss away your pain and tears.’
Once again the look of betrayal and what I would be doing to Louisa if she discovered our affair it would break her heart for sure.Then I would no other choice to flee to London,Oliver would take Ava and Esme off me for sure,and I would once again be the stain off society.The reputation that I have tried in vain will be lost for sure,and as for Mama she’s only started to fully trust me again.I have two choices,run away with Lord Henry and break Mama’s heart or once again chose the eternal love that I have for my children.I pulled away from him.
‘I can’t.’
‘What is it?’
I wiped my mouth. ‘This is tearing me apart,you and I it’s not right.’
‘So you keep telling me,but you always end up back in my arms?’
‘We’re going around in circles,it’s not fair on you…I can’t keep doing this to you,I’m sorry.’
‘You and I,we’re the same both full of fire and so much passion.”
‘We’re there’s passion Lord Henry,someone is going to end up getting burnt.You and I knew that from the start?’
‘I cant believe this could be the end?’
‘We have no choice,Louisa she will make you happy?’
‘She can never make me happy as you do?’
‘We will always have our memories to live on? I will stand by Louisa’s side,I see her as a sister and yet I have treated her appallingly.You will see walk down the aisle,a vision of beauty and lovelyness.Her heart is so pure,you’re a good man Benjamin with a true heart and Louisa is a woman that couldn’t be more deserving of it.You will forget about me.When you take her to bed for the first time,please do not think of me.Only as the one who got away.’
I left his side,picked up the rose and with that I walked away.

Oliver and I met one another in the hall way,I tried to walk away.I didn’t want him to see that I’ve been crying.
‘You look simply breathe taking.’
‘Hardly.’ I laughed. ‘Peagreen isn’t my colour,not very flattering for my pale complexion.Then again it’s Louisa’s special day,who am I to complain?’
‘How is Louisa?’
‘Can’t wait to become Lady Henry.’
Oliver kissed my hand. ‘Sweet pea,I realise how unhappy you’ve become since you’ve returned to France.To be truthful I was hoping you’ll come round to my way of thinking.’
‘Let me…I realise that in order for you to be happy again? We have no choice but to return to London.’
‘I can not return to Serenity Estate,there are too many painful memories there.’
‘We will start again.’
‘Could we do that?’
‘Gisele,I don’t say this often,you can be impossible to live with sometimes.But Lady Rickman,I love you so much.’
‘I do know that Olly.’
‘With every breathe in my body.’
‘I don’t understand,you love it in Marsailles? You’re happy you said so yourself? You would sacrifice you’re true happiness for me?’
‘Gisele Rickman, I refuse you to walk out of my life without a fight.If keeping you and proving my love to you means returning to London and putting up with your dysfunctional family,then so be it.


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