Chapter 22

I had returned to Mama’s house,Charlotte greeted me with a smile.
‘Lady Rickman it’s lovely to see you back.’ she smiled.
‘Thank you Charlotte,it’s lovely to be back.’ I lied.
‘Lord Rickman is in the study.’
‘Oh don’t hurry him.’
I put my bags in the hallway and placed her bonnet onto the bannister.
‘Two letters arrived for you in your absence.’
‘Thank you Charlotte,I should like some tea in the library.’
‘Right away Lady Rickman.’
She curtsied politely and left my side.
I slyly looked around the corner,for all I know Oliver could be have someone working on the inside masquerading as staff simply to spy on his flighty little Gisele.I closed the door behind me.
I ran my fingers across the bookcase.
‘Mama will not be best pleased.Petra the maid is slacking…If this was Serenity Estate Oliver wouldn’t stand for any of that nonsense.I sat down upon the chair.I opened the parchment.
There was a knock at the door,Charlotte I should imagine?
‘Come in Charlotte!’
Charlotte came in with a tray of tea and a plate of biscuits.
‘The ladyship’s favourites.’
‘That is very kind of you.’
‘And cook has snuck a slice some of Lady Antoinette’s cake.’
‘I shall not tell a soul.’
Charlotte closed the door behind her.

I quickly opened the parchment
My love,
I am so sorry that it has taken so long
to write to you.Ever since Evangaline
arrived it has been none stop,dinner parties,
masquerade balls.All of this hosting is
starting to take it’s toll on me.
Before you start and jump to conclusions about
whether or not I have decided to give my marriage
to Louisa a second chance.You are completely
wrong,it’s not write.We had a dinner with My
Mama and Papa to welcome Evangaline into
the family,I looked at everyone that was there
and you should have been sat there in Louisa’s
time.My love it breaks my heart that you are
still haunted by the face of that wretched man!
I am so angry with myself that I didn’t return
to London to comfort you.
I’m glad that the promise ring has been a
comfort to you.Gisele my love all of this waiting
will be worth it in the end.It won’t be long till,
you and I with Esme and Ava will be together as
our own little family.As for the prospect of marriage
I can not wait to put a ring upon your finger,not in an
ownership kind of way.But as a proud husband
Ben x

I opened the second one,it was from Benjamin,he mustn’t have received my previous letter.

Evangaline has informed us that she plans to
move to Versaille in the near future,I am sorry that
I have to break this news to you via letter and not
face to face.Please do not be angry with me since
I am merely the barer of this bad news.Lady Antoinette
will be devastated I should imagine?
That is all the news I have to share with you
Stay strong my love
B x

It melts my heart when he initials the end of his letters with a B.Whenever I think of him,or receive a secret letter I feel as though I’m fifteen years old again and not a lady that is almost twenty five years of age.I’m no longer the sweet little girl that stepped out into the ballroom for my twenty first birthday.If I could turn back time and revisit my twenty one year old self.There are so many things that I would tell her,dont go and break too many hearts,as love is such a difficult thing to master.Do not feel pressured into marriage by your overbearing parents.Maybe if I hadn’t then I wouldn’t be at that stage I am now,plotting behind my husband’s back with my secret lover.
I reached for my quill and wrote carefully on my parchment another letter to Benjamin.

Or should I say Benjy,sorry my love I know how
you detest that name.But I couldn’t resist. I see you
haven’t received my last letter.I had returned to
Mama’s estate after my stay with Tom and Reinette.
Alas I had to return to Mama’s house sooner rather
than later,I couldn’t hide out there forever.
I’ve barely been here five minutes when I received
both of your letters from Charlotte,I asked you to
forward them to Reinette and Tom’s I couldn’t risk
Oliver opening my mail in my absense.I feel as
though he has me under a radar.He doesnt fully
trust me.Don’t you worry my love,I will throw
him off the scent.
Is this true what you say of Evangaline,that she
is going to move away to Versailles,Mama shall be
half broken.
Forever yours
G x

Oliver opened the door,ever the dutiful wife,I flung my arms around him kissing him affectionately.
‘I’m glad someone’s pleased to see me?’
‘Oh I’m sorry I extended my stay….I do hope that the children haven’t been too overbearing for you?’
‘It’s not the children you should be worried about?’
‘Why? What’s happend?’
‘Your darling sister has announced to the world that she is making a new life in Versailles.’
‘I simply can not believe it,she wrote to me whilst I was away saying that she had fallen in love with the place.I didn’t realise she was intending on moving there permanently?’
I didn’t want to admit that I already knew of this through my secret exchanging of love letters with Lord Henry.I tried to appear shock at this news.
‘Your Mama is up in arms…trying to put a stop to it all…’
‘Oliver Evangaline is a grown woman its up to her to make her own life choices.’
‘Good luck to you when you tell your Mama that…over my dead body will Evangaline move to Versailles to be with that man.’
‘Can we please not argue about my sister…I’ve barely been home five minutes.’
‘I’m sorry sweet pea.I’ve missed you.’
He brushed my face.
‘And I you my Olly,so how is Esme how is she since her ordeal?’
‘She’s improving by the day…I think we are starting to get our little girl back.’
‘By the grace and power of my lord that is something that we can be thankful for.I prayed she would return to me,I was so scared I felt her slipping through my fingers…fading away in front of me.What about the dreams?’
‘The only dreams our little ray of sunshine is having are about ponies rainbows and chocolate flavoured icecream.’
‘I hope not all together?’ I laughed.’And what of Ava?’
‘Still being protected over her little Es.’
‘So back to normality then?’ I breathed a sigh of relief.
‘So tell me of your visit to Tom and Reinette’s I want to know every little detail?’
‘So unlike you?’
I sat upon his knee.
‘I didn’t realise until you were gone how much I truly missed you.’
‘So absense makes the heart grow fonder? That is extremely sweet of you….Well Lucille Alexandria is extremely beautiful just like her Mama.It’s made me realise how much I long to have another baby of our own?’
‘You really mean it?’
‘William will always be our son…I will never forget him,but our future lies in Nightshade house and I can not wait started.’
‘Permission to lead you to the bedroom my Lady?’
‘Sadly I shall to turn you down my Lord…I’m feeling frightfully tired.I shall make it up to you later?’
‘I shall hold you to that Lady Rickman.’
‘Tom is rather enthusiastic about the house,he is greatful for the work….I had no idea his business was in trouble…He did say that it’s perfectly normal for winter time.’
‘Maybe it was his way of playing things down.’ reassured Oliver.
‘Yes you probably are right,I’m probably making something out of nothing? Reinette has a beautiful white horse called Nell,she is so graceful and agile.’
‘Did you think more of what we agreed earlier,your new business venture?’
‘It’s barely crossed my mind.’
‘I think it will be a great business opportunity.’
‘Is that all you think about money?’
‘We need money in order to survive Gisele….How do you think you would keep accustomed to your lifestyle.There will be no more handmaid gowns from Paris.’
‘Is that a threat Olly? I do not care for them….Please let’s not argue.’
‘I’m sorry,I’m just trying to say that you have potential…Is there anything else that you would like to share?’
‘Apart from all of the dinnerparties that I attended it was very uneventful and frightfully dull…A lot of sitting around,just the way I like it.’
I looked away shiftly from him.
‘It’s nothing.’
‘Sweet pea you’re hiding something from me?’
‘I’ve been in a very dark place…barely sleeping.The last five nights I’ve been having the same recurring dream,it involved Esme trapped by wild fire.Jack had taken the children and I was so desperate and frightened.I was struggling until I climbed I saw his piercing red eyes.He had hold of Ava in his arms.He gave me an ultimatum in order to save my children there was two glasses of champagne.One with champagne and the other with sparkling cyanide…’
I was shaking,he kissed my forehead. ‘Hush now,you don’t have to say anymore.
‘I was so frightened Oliver.’ I cried.
‘The classic cat and mouse game,well I’m here now my love.Nothing is going to hurt you again.’

After a much needed ride on my beautiful Cossack,Mama insisted that we were to attend a home coming dinner in the great hall.As I walked in with Oliver,there were candles lighting the room.Lord Rickman gallantly pulled my chair out for me.
‘My Lady.’ he smiled.
‘Why thank you my Lord.’
‘Gisele,what a tragedy Evangaline has announced that she is moving to Versailles what are we to do!’
‘Mama I don’t think we should be jumping to conclusions…’
‘How can you say that’ said Lady Antoinette. ‘I am to lose her to the Henry’s forever!’
‘Evangaline is a flighty little thing you know what she is like when it comes to the gentlemen species.She hasn’t been far away from home for too long,she will soon grow home sick and she will be back before you know it.’ I smiled.
‘Gisele’s right,Evangaline will soon grow bored of Lord Arthur and move on Mama.’ smiled Marianna.
‘I do hope you’re right girls!’ sobbed Lady Antoinette.
‘I do miss Evangaline it’s not the same without her.’ sobbed Holly.
‘Safe to say that there has been no pea flicking in your absense.’ said Oliver.
‘I do not think the time is a joking matter!’ said Lady Antoinette.
Marianna thought that it would be wise to change the subject,lighten the mood. ‘So how was your visit to Reinette and Tom’s?’
‘Tom is simply delighted that he has the contract for Nightshade estate.’
‘I thought that you would have got one of the best in?’ Lady Antoinette tutted. ‘I am surprised you didn’t get one of Lady Isabelle’s contractors?’
‘Tom is the best that I know….You should see the plan’s that Tom has drawn they are simply delightful,you see Mama I have used my own initiative I don’t need to live in Lady Isabelle’s shadow.’
‘What of Lucille Alexandria?’ asked Letitia.
‘Oh you should see her Letitia,so beautiful such a delicate little thing.
I whispered aside to her’It’s made my heart yearn for more.’
‘Oh Gisele,I’m so happy for you!’
‘Please you’re squeezing my hand to tight!’ I gasped.
‘I can not believe Evangaline never invited me to one masquerade ball! The shame of it all’ sobbed Holly.
‘Oh Holly please be happy for your sister.’
I looked up at the table and saw Evangaline standing there she had tears rolling down her cheeks.I got out of my seat and ran over to her.
‘Evangaline!’ gasped Lady Antoinette.
‘Gisele?’ she wailed.
‘I’m here.’ I whispered. I wiped the tears away.
‘It’s all gone horribly wrong!’ she wailed.
‘Oliver pull her a chair out,I fear she’s going to keel over!’
Oliver raced out of his seat and immediately lifted up Evangaline.
‘She’s white as a sheet!’ said Letitia.
Oliver placed her down onto the chair,she eventually started to slowly come around.
‘I’m normally like this when I’ve indulged in too much champagne.’ said Evangaline.
‘Now tell us what happend from the beginning?’ said Lady Antoinette.
‘I do not wish to discuss it at the dinner table.’ said Evangaline.
‘I am glad to see you!’ said Holly. ‘Oh what fun we shall have the Delessop sister’s back together again!’
‘A toast to Evangaline’s safe passage home.’ smiled Lady Antoinette.
‘It’s good to have you home.’ I smiled.

A little while later we where all gathered together in our childhood bedroom.
‘So what happend that you didn’t wish to discuss at the dinner table?’ asked Marianna.
‘Don’t tell me Evan he threw you over for a beautiful french aristiocrat or a spanish senorita?I’m preparing the I told you so speech and dance.’
‘Holly we are not here to judge,the Delessop’s sister code is we are here for another offering support no matter the circumstances.Not to judge.’ sighed Marianna.
‘Yawn yawn.’ said Holly.
‘Did Arthur do anything to hurt you?’ asked Letitia.
‘No.Nothing like that.’ sighed Evangaline. ‘I was sat in Lord Henry and Louisa’s estate,feasting on the finest food.Arthur was so caring and attentive.His parents were there whole of Versailles society.I had my beautiful silver gown,which was a little low at the hem,but in a classy sort of way.Everyone was discussing politics and setting the worlds to right and I just felt like a fish out of water…So I got cold feet and said that it wasn’t working anymore.’
‘So he threw you over?’
‘No it was the exact opposite,I threw him over.I took him to one side and admitted it there and then I said Lord Arthur I care for you but not as deeply as you wish me too,I’m sorry everything is happening too fast.’
‘I’m so sorry.’ said Marianna.
‘Everything was fine at the start the beautiful flowers and love notes on the pillow…before you jump to any conclusions we slept in seperate rooms.I am too young to be engaged.’
‘He was about to propose to you?!’ squealed Holly. ‘I can not believe this.’
‘I would have turned him down on the spot.’
‘Please Evangaline do not repeat this in front of Mama,she will never forgive you.’ said Letitia. ‘As far as she is concerned,tell her that you grew home sick.Missed London society and had to return home….do not heaven forbid mention you threw away an engagement opportunity.’
‘So have you moved in Nightshade Estate yet?’
‘Evangaline I have barely been back from my visit.’
‘It is true Gisele,has only been back a day.’ added Letitia.
‘The truth is she couldn’t bare to be parted from her true love a moment longer!’ teased Holly.
‘That and I missed Esme and Ava.’
‘It must be hard juggling being a mother perfect lady, and wife to the most sought after gentlemen of society?’
‘Have I missed something?’
‘In your absense Mama decided to hold a few dinner parties.He had many women admirers.’
‘Was Tatiana there?’
‘Yes but Oliver kept his distance from her,you have nothing to worry about.He only has eyes for you.Honestly there were times when I wanted to put him down he was pining for you like a love sick puppy.Honestly he was giving Skye a bad name?’ said Marianna.’Gisele he may appear to be all dark and moody on the outside not letting you in at times,but you are lucky to have him.He is a great father to your girls and a doting husband,there is nothing that he wouldn’t do for you.’
‘Mari,if you love my Oliver so much then maybe you should marry him?’ I laughed.
‘All I’m saying is Oliver is a rare breed of male species.There is not many gentlemen that would stand for what you have did to them.You have walked all over him,bruised his male pride.You’ve lied and cheated so many times,and he has so much love for you.Takes you back so many times and you just look at him as if he owes you a living.So sorry to say this Gisele I’m only saying this because I love you…But sometimes you can be so self-centred,you abuse your beautiful looks to get what you truly want.Whatever you want just falls at your feet,you just snap your fingers and maidservants come running to you.You have a nanny for your children for heaven sake.You vowed that you would never do that,you claimed that was everything that you detested about your Mama.Sometimes I wonder if Esme and Ava truly know who their Mama is as they barely see you.No wonder Esme is a confused and damage litttle girl right now! Sometimes you need a damn good shake! Wake up and count how lucky you are!’
‘Ok Mari, I would like to stop you right thereI think I get the message of what you are trying to saying to me.Now if you excuse me,it’s terribly late and I should like to kiss my children goodnight before I retire to bed.’

The whole earth swallowed me up there and then,Marianna gave me a public thrashing in front of all of my sister’s.I felt nothing but humiliation,hearing all of my faults just brought it all home to me.Maybe she is right,maybe I haven’t been there for my children.I have been wrapped up in all of my own feelings and not stopped and asked how Esme and Ava are feeling,no wonder they’ve been so confused lately.
I walked into the nursery,Ava’s little face lit up when she saw my face.
‘Charlotte,I should like to put my children to bed.’ I smiled.
‘Yes Lady Rickman.’
With that she closed the door behind her.
‘Mama! You’re back!’ said Ava.
‘I’m sorry I haven’t been to see you before now but your father and I have been extremely busy.We have something to tell you,we are moving into a new house.It is so beautiful.’
‘Can we take Misty and Skye?’ asked Ava.
‘Of course they are Quinn too.There’s acre’s of land to roam around and you will simply love it.Your Uncle Tom is going to work on it to make it so perfect for us all.’
‘But we had our home?’
‘Yes we did before we moved away,we had a place of our own.That was perfect in every way possible,yes it had it’s own stables and ground like Nightshade house…But at Serenity Estate there were a lot of things that happend there that made Mama said and you want Mama to be happy again,don’t you?’
Esme nodded her head.
‘Well Mama and Daddy will be happy once again when we move here,there will be happiness and laughter once more.There be no more shouting or tears,I promise you my two angels,there won’t be a reason for you to feel upset or afraid again.’
Ava asked if I would read them a bed time story,of course I couldn’t possibly say no.I have neglected my children and this was my chance to finally make up to them.By the fifth page there eyes were starting to close their eyes.I placed the book down,pulled the cover over them.Kissed their foreheads.
‘Sleep tight my beautiful angels.’ I lay down on to the bed and cradled them,I refused to leave them not after the dream that I had about them and Jack,I couldn’t bare to be alone tonight I cradled them till they were sound asleep. I turned and looked at them in turn,they are my beautiful little miracles.Oliver isn’t going to give them up without a fight.
I could just get up there and then and head for Oliver in my bedchamber,but I couldn’t stand the prospect of laying in the same bed with him once more.Laying there knowing what I know,longing to be with Lord Henry when I should be thinking purely of him.His hands all over my body,would only make my skin crawl.Especially when I deceived him into thinking that I long to have more children.

A few weeks later,after many preparations deciding what cushion covers and curtains would compliment each room.The stables were looking like Quinn and Misty could live in them.Every room was individually brought back to life,Nightshade house was finally ready to live in.Tom has certainly did us proud.
Oliver and I stood and admired the handiwork in all of it’s splendour.’
A part of me longed to smile inside.
‘After all of the blood sweet and tears….the plans that has gone back and forwards.We have finally did it Lady Rickman!’
‘That we have!’
‘Welcome to our new home Nightshade House.’
‘I think I should prefer Nightshade Manor….or perhaps change the name to something less deadly perhaps something like Newhope or White dawn?’
‘Or put them together New Dawn Estate?’
‘Yes it has a ring to it.’ I smiled.
‘May I have the honour or carrying you over the threshold!’ said Oliver.
‘Lord Rickman,I would be offended if you didn’t!’ I laughed.

Lord Benjamin,
I admit defeat
I did as you asked played the long game
and yet you haven’t returned to London
for me.I feel so humiliated that I allowed
you to let me believe that you truly loved
me.I do hope that you and Louisa are truly
happy with your life together.
Pray tell me when will I see you again?
When we are toasting the announcement to
your first time child.In this case I am the
fortunes fool.Oliver and I have moved into our new home
and do you know what you have lost me Benjamin.Esme
Ava and I are going to be happy here.And I am going to
be happy here so help me god!
You have blown your last life Benjamin,I am sat here on
my bed,with a beautiful yellow gown,your favourite by
the way with my suitcase packed.Every night I wait by
the window,hoping and praying that it will happen and
we will run away together into the night.
Well this little girl has finally grown up and realised that
you aren’t coming for me.Your promise ring meant nothing
it was only words to you.
Please do not come near my house again,because it wont
be Oliver that will be the one that is going to kill you.
I shall be the one dealing the fatal blow.
Have a nice life.
Lady Rickman

Writing those words pained me so but I am finally waking up to reality that Lord Henry was never meant to be mine.I removed my promise ring and placed it into the envelope,tears rolling down my cheeks fell onto the page.This is goodbye Lord Henry.
I had no time to grieve for my lost lover,as Lord Oliver had arranged a party of fine wine and canapes to toast our new house.I was sat in my new bedroom,it looked so beautiful.Oliver had bought us a new bed,such a sweet gesture I think.I opted to wear a chocolate covered gown,it looked so beautiful on.I picked up my crystal ear rings its been a while since I had wore ear rings,it felt so painful I winced a little.A drop of blood fell onto the bed.I started to panic it brought back memories of that fateful night.The night of Carl’s death the last time I had blood on my hands was when I was cradling his sweet head.I tried to scream for help but nothing came out.Ok Gisele deep breathes everything is going to be all right.Your guests are awaiting for your grande arrival and no matter what I am not going to abandon my friends.
Time past and I had got over my brush with death so to speak.I casually walked down the steps into the grande entrance.I was greeted by Sophia and Daniel.
‘Gisele,this place is a delight!’ said Daniel.
‘Daniel it is so good to see you.’ I gushed. ‘And Sophia it has been too long.’
‘Don’t look now.’ said Sophia.
‘What is it?’
Lady Isabelle walked over. ‘Lady Rickman I suspect my invite got lost in the post did it not?’
‘Lady Chadwick,Rosaline.’
Rosaline smile reluctantly.
‘It’s a good job,I have my dear friend Daniel here to tell me about this gathering.’
I glared at Daniel. ‘It kind of slipped out Gis.’
‘I’m sorry Gisele,I was going to warn you.’ whispered Sophia.
‘I’ll deal with you later Daniel.’
‘I can tell that this is the work of Tom.Where is the man himself?’
‘He is circulating I should Imagine.’
‘Pity,I was going to congratulate you on his fine craftsmen ship.Good day to you all.’
With that she walked away.
‘I’m convinced Rosaline is made of stone.’ I said to Sophia.
‘Maybe she still hasn’t forgiven you for marrying her true love.’ teased Sophia.
‘That was almost five years ago,it’s about time she has moved on….I have.
The way I’m feeling Lady Rosaline is welcome to my ever so charming husband.That’s unless if Countess Aleksandrov hasn’t sunk her claws into him first.
Rosaline and Oliver would make a fine match.I honestly do not know where I am with him from one day to the next.For instance whilst the preparations were under way for New Dawn Estate Oliver was either singing my praises for the colour schemes I have selected for each of the individual rooms or he would completely fly off the handle if I hadn’t consulted him in any of my decision making.I don’t know how I’m going to break it to him that the dream horse riding business is never going to happen.
Oliver and I were stood in the stables.
‘I say we could fit at least four horses over there.’
‘I’m sorry darling but I think they would be a little overcrowded.’
‘You’re the expert.’
‘I didn’t mean to sound patronising but you haven’t spent your life around horses like I have,you know what Misty is like around other horses…she almost attacked that poor unsuspecting horse.’
‘You see my love,this is where you’re talent lies.You have a gift,you have a special connection with Quinn and I admired you from afar so many times with Cossack,it’s like you know how they are feeling.You’re the horse whisperer of London?’
‘Dont be absurd I’m passionate about horses there such beautiful creatures…but I’m certainly no horse whisperer.’ I smiled.
‘Have you considerd about our little venture?’
‘I shall think about it.’
‘I knew you wouldn’t let me down?’
‘That isn’t a yes yet Lord Oliver.’
‘I know you Lady Gisele you will eventually see that that I am right?’
‘Oh will I know?’

I was brought back to reality,I had almost forgotten that I had a bee in my bonnet with Daniel.How dare he invite that frightful woman into my new home,without my conscent.I turned and looked at him,be afraid Daniel,you are about to experience the wrath of Lady Rickman.
‘And as for you Daniel I have a bone to pick with you.’
‘I can explain….’
‘You know how much I despise that woman?
she backed me into a corner.’ stuttered Daniel.
‘Are you a man or a mouse Daniel?’
‘Why didn’t you say it was invite only?’
‘Since when does Lady Isabelle listen to a word I say?
‘I think you need to start and grow a back bone Daniel.’
I slowly sipped my champagne.
‘It truly is a wonderful place.’ gushed Lady Antoinette.
‘Why I thank you Lady Antoinette.’ smiled Tom.
‘Reinette you must be so proud of your husband?’
‘That I am.’ Reinette smiled fondly at Tom.
‘And look at Lucille,she is a little gem.Has Gisele mentioned she is considering another child with Oliver?’
‘No that is nothing we have discussed.’ said Reinette.
‘Well it is true,the Rickman’s are back were they belong,and what of Serenity Estate?’
‘Stay lies empty.’
‘What a pity Tom,all of that hard work gone to waste?’
I was stood alone,Oliver was in his element Lord of the manor once more.He was circulating with the guests,smiling.He looked animated so alive,happy even.I sipped some champagne,someone touched my arm.
‘Mari you made me jump.’
‘Gisele,this is such a beautiful place.’
‘Thank you.’
‘I am so sorry for the way I behaved,what I said to you it was unforgiveable,you should never have to hear that from a sister.’
‘No you were right I was due a firm hand,thank heavens not from Mama.’
‘I was beastly to you,I never should have said those things about Esme and Ava.Esme isn’t damaged and you’re a wonderful mother.Don’t no one tell you any different.’
‘Mama did hurt me when she never had time when we were growing up…I vowed I would never palm my daughters off to a nanny and yet there I was doing exactly the same thing with Charlotte.I should be there for every single minute of there childhood,so I have had to make a bold decision.Charlotte is no longer with us,I terminated her contract.She was distraught to leave the children but I have vowed that I would give her a glowing reference.She was a wonderful nanny.Es and Ava will be upset to see her go?’
‘It is so good to finally have the old Gisele back. ‘ she gushed.
‘Ladies and gentlemen! May I have your attention please!’
The whole house fell silent to hear what he had to say. ‘I would like to welcome you into our humble home.It has certainly been a journey to reach this stage,but here we are now standing in the Newly named New Dawn Estate.I would like to say a thank you to my wife,your pride and determination has certainly paid off,I think you’re talent lies in interior and fashion designs.To Gisele.’
I had to slip out I needed some air,I went out into the grounds.I sat down and looked at the stars.
‘The stars look so beautiful tonight.’
I turned and standing there was Lord Henry.
‘I came back….You look as though you’ve just seen a ghost?’
‘I almost gave up on you…I waited for you,for so long.’
‘I’m sorry.’
‘Sorry? Is that all you can say? I have been going out of my mind!’
‘I told you it wouldn’t be easy.’
‘You’ve left it too late.’
‘You don’t mean that.’
‘I have built a home for my family,the upheavel will be too much for them.’
‘You said you would be ready at a moments notice?
‘That’s was when we were living in a dreams,I never thought it would be so hard.You have no idea,I meant a lot of things Ben….I said I loved you,I can’t do this…I have guests in there,I waited for you.’
‘You’re ring?’
‘It’s worthless to me like you’re words are,I’ve changed my mind.I’m staying with Oliver,my marriage deserves a second chance.’
‘How many second chances are you going to give Oliver?’
‘Marriage means something to me Lord Henry…’
‘I have something for you.’
He handed a box to me.
‘It’s an engagement ring.’
‘This is absurd.’
‘I’m asking you to marry me Gisele.’
‘I can not marry you….what of Louisa,she is still your Wife?’
‘How many times do I have to spell it out to you,you’re a thousand times the woman she’ll ever be.’
‘It’s an overwhelming gesture.’
‘Run away with me Lady Rickman,the world is our oyster,we could travel to Italy,America you name it.’
‘I’m nothing without Oliver.’
‘Gisele you don’t need him,you’re a strong vibrant woman and I am a fool for making you wait.’
Benjamin bent down on bended knee.
‘I promise that I will look after you,I’d never take you for granted…I could be a father to Ava and Esme,I adore their Mama so I’m sure I will fall in love with them.Lord Rickman I do not care if you only have the gown that you are standing in…Money means nothing to me,I am not prepared for you to walk out of my life again.I would rather die than return to Louisa.’
‘Get up you fool!’ I laughed.
‘I refuse to stand up unless you give me an answer Lady Rickman?’
‘I can not accept your engagement Lord Henry,I refuse to jump in feet first….I barely know you my Lord but I know that I feel the same for you.I love you my Lord,but are you prepared to take my children on? Because it will not be easy,they will hate you for taking their Mama away from their father.’
‘I would walk over fire and water just to be with you Gis,I am prepared to risk my reputation and pride in Versailles society to be with you.’
‘I will cause scandal to your life,my family will disown me for sure and Oliver will never let me go.I’m his property,he will never give up,he will hunt us down and kill you.’
‘That is the risk I am willing to take for you Gisele?’
‘Do you have a plan?’
‘We can run off like two thieves in the night.’
‘I should rather tell Oliver face to face this will destroy him.’
‘And allow him to talk you out of it,I’m sorry Gisele but I’m not prepared to take that risk again.’
‘And what about Louisa surely as you’re Wife she deserves an explanation?’
‘Do you still have that letter you wrote to Oliver?’
‘Yes it’s concealed that only I know of.’
‘Good,then I am sure you have explained everything in there…Go and get your children,I shall wait here.’
I kissed his lips and walked away from him,my heart was pounding.I can not believe we have discussed this so many times but never went through with it because of my cold feet.As my husband celebrated downstairs dancing and indulging on canapes caviar and the finest champage I snuck upstairs into my bedroom,I took one last look of the world that I was going to leave behind.I had no idea where I was heading but I trust this man with my whole heart.Rather than finding the original letter that I had written to Oliver,I thought that I would replace it,I picked up the parchment I am shaking,I am so nervous.

Dear Oliver,
As soon as you read this you will soon realise that I have
gone.Where? It’s all a mystery to me.I have tried my hardest
but I can no longer pretend.It’s not fair on us or our children.
I must let you know that their where times when we were
happy,that beautiful second wedding when it was just the
two of us,the time we spent alone in Marseilles was a
magical time and the moment we were engaged I was at
my happiest.
But alas my Lord,I feel that whatever I do I make you
feel unhappy.I long for you to be happy again,I truly do.
I do not know how to break it to you but you were right
all again and I tried to fight my feelings but I have fallen
in love with Lord Henry,he makes me feel as though I
can live again.I didn’t intend for this to happen,I never
wanted to hurt Louisa you have got to believe me,I love
her with my whole heart.Please tell her that I love her and
I am truly sorry.
Esme and Ava are coming with me,I considered leaving them
with you,but they need to be with their Mama.
I enclose the ring that you gave to me on our wedding day.
Maybe you can give to someone that is more worthy of it.
I do hope you’re experience with me hasn’t put you off
you off marriage and love for life.
One thing I ask of you is to be happy Oliver,for me.

I folded the parchment picked up my bags and walked towards the nursery,I felt guilty waking them.I asked for them to be quiet as little mice and that we were going to go on an adventure and not to ask any questions.I looked round and saw the ballroom full of laughter and dancing.Unaware of the devastation that I was about to unfold.We made our way into the garden where we met Lord Henry,he took hold of my hand,kissed my lips and said that he was going to take care of me.I hated leaving Skye Misty and Quinn behind but one day I shall return for them and with that we disappeared into the night.


5 thoughts on “Chapter 22

  1. sophiebowns says:

    I’m up to date. Sorry, I got a bit behind. I’ve been working nights for the past 3 days 😛
    Another great chapter, Sarah!
    Just 1 teeny thing; pop a capital letter on ‘she’ in line 3.

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