Novel 3-The Masked Swan Chapter 1

A woman dressed in black,walked across the crowded ball room.The gliding dancers that previously waltzed across the room elegantly,parted to allow the mysterious creature cross over.As though she was Cleopatra,Queen of the desert.There were no smiles,just pointing the blame for destroying two families.That woman was I Lady Gisele Rickman The Masked Swan,forever hiding her true beauty from the world.
It was early march 1918,I sat in a gondolier in Venice,with the whole world upon my shoulders.That’s where Lord Henry and I ended up,oh it only seemed like yesterday when I slipped away from New Dawn Estate,like a thief of the night.
A shadow was cast over my twenty fifth birthday.

My twenty fifth wasn’t a joyious occasion,in contrast to my twenty first.I wasn’t feeling nervous at the prospect of meeting my future husband,I was terrified of the hint of scandal I may have inflicted upon my family in my absence in London society.I couldn’t relax in my new world,paranoia had simply got the better of me,for I was convinced they were all discussing my misfortune.I felt isolated,no longer surrounded by my over protective family.I was alone in an unknown but extremely beautiful city.I was left with nothing,not even a card or note to make this occasion.I don’t deserve any sympathy or pity as I brought this upon myself.I am paying the price for my unfaithfulness,finally an outcast from the Delessop family.Lord Henry tried so hard to make me feel better he whisked me away to a candle lit dinner,we gazed into one another’s eyes.
‘We finally did it.’ he smiled.
‘Yes.’ I whispered.
I looked around.
‘Gisele we don’t have to hide any more.’
He kissed me so tenderly.
‘Gisele Rickman you look so divine.’
‘The dress is beautiful I’m flattered by your overwhelming gesture.’ I blushed.
‘And this is only the start my love,I can not wait to start the rest of my life with you my love….First of all I would like you to take your wedding ring off.’
‘I can not believe it’s the end,I always held onto the hope that we would reunite…I’m sorry if this pains you but there was a time that I still loved him.’
‘I realise that now,but that is a constant reminder that I still have to share you.Please I beg of you Gisele,we are looking forward,not back…Venice is indeed our future,thar ring of yours is holding you back.’
I looked down and slowly slipped off my wedding ring,all of those promises that I made had vanished.It breaks my heart that this is finally the end of my marriage to Oliver,we have experienced so much together,he saved me from Jack,but I feel as though I lost him when our beloved William was taken away from us.He abandoned me and there was just no going back.I can not deny the fact that we did share some happy times together.I did love him,I can never stop loving him for he is the father of my beautiful daughter Ava.Our marriage wasn’t only bitter sweet memories as I have a lot to thank him for.I slipped my ring off and placed it onto the table,I shed a tear.
‘Is my Gisele unhappy?’
‘I’m just reminiscing…kissing goodbye to my marriage to Oliver.I’m no longer Lady Gisele Rickman only in name.’
‘I have a gift that I should like to give to you.’
He passed me a box,inside was a beautiful pendant,so precious it felt light as a feather.
‘It’s beautiful.’
‘Happy birthday Gis.’

I smiled fondly at the beautiful memory,clutching onto my pendant.I wish I could cry tears of joy and happinesss.But all that’s left is tears of pain and regret.For I couldn’t stop thinking about Oliver unearthing the horrifying truth about his wife’s lies and deceit.Shivers ran down myself at the prospect of Oliver,feeling that his whole world was at his feet only it to come crumbling around him.When he stumbles across my raw earthshattering letter.Heartbroken for his wife and children had abandoned him for another gentleman.No face to face explanation,just a piece of parchment stating my intentions.And as for Lady Henry,the sweet naïve Louisa,I never stopped to say sorry,yes I owed her that.She idolisws me,looked up to me,went back on all of her beliefs that I was no good for her brother,and all I did was leave with her husband.I should have trusted my instincts kept my distance,cooled off our affair once when they were married.I couldn’t help it,my love for him grew from affair,how I love him so.No second thoughts,for how she’d react how or truly feel.If I was in her shoes,I know I no longer care for Oliver.There were times that I wouldn’t care if he lived or died for I would be finally free of him.But in my heart of hearts,I would be absolutely devastated to return to London to discover my husband had disappeared with another woman.That I,her precious Gisele,who was her one and only true friend and ally.Her trusted confidante,sister in name,not of blood.Had did the ultimate act of betrayal,by capturing the love of her life’s heart.I never intended for this to happen,but the truth is the heart never lies.I wanted Benjamin and he truly felt the same way.The moment we first met,it was like there was some spark between us like magic.
Louisa had her whole future mapped ahead of her,convinced her eternal youth and beauty would enable her to hold onto her beloved Benjy.For he was the dream father of her children,and because of my sheer recklessness I have taken away her chance of the gift of motherhood.I stripped away her dignity,I fear she will learn never to look another gentleman in the eye and allow him into her world again.As for Mama,Lady Antoinette Dowager and backbone of the Delessop dynasty,I fear she will never forgive me.She is a woman of good intentions casting a lot of influence over the whole of London society.Oh my word,I never stopped and thought for one second of the consequences.Or the damage I may have caused to her,Mama has stood by me through everything through tears and laughter.I never thought I would see the day,but she was finally proud of her petit Gisele,as I was settled and happy in my marriage.This is how I repay her,I’ve driven a knife through her heart.
We didn’t have a place to call our own,for we were living out of a suitcase and I didn’t give a jot because I,Lady Gisele Rickman was finally free of the oppression of unwanted society.

A little while later,I was on my own watching the world go by absorbing and surrounded by Venice’s natural beauty,but it didn’t take much notice.Had my nose fully immersed in a Romeo and Juliet,strange how my life runs parallel alongside Juliet.I two have embarked upon a forbidden love,I do hope my ending is happy and I am not driven to driving a knife through my heart.I barely know Lord Henry and yet I trust him with my whole heart,the bond we have formed over this short space of time is unbelievable.Oh Lord Benjamin,why didn’t I meet you when I was fifteen years old and saved all of this heartache and misery.I dream that one day I shall venture the streets of Verona,gaze across at my lover Lord Henry from Juliet’s balcony.All I feel now is full of pain and regret,maybe I could have handled things differently.Had the heart and came clean to everyone on the day of Louisa’s wedding.I could have prevented so much misery.Benjamin came by and wrapped his loving arms around me.
‘How is my pretty little French flower?’
‘I may be small but I can stand up for myself.’
I punched him playfully.
‘That’s what I love about you Gisele,despite everything you still have that naughtiness about you…’
‘I’m feeling dirty and ashamed.’ I sighed.
‘My darling Gisele,you have nothing to be ashamed of.’
‘The last few months,ever since our arrival in Verona,my head has been filled with such doubt.I know that I should be gleefully happy,for I’m finally free of my tyrant of a husband.’
Holding my empty wedding ring up towards the light.
‘What is on your heart my love?’
‘I can’t help but feel empty inside…it’s the end of an era.Leaving Lord Rickman was a big step in the right direction,we’ve gone through so much together as husband and wife Benjamin.You can’t deny that,we’ve raised our children together,so many precious memories we have created and I wish I shared them with you.Part of me still loves him,I’m ever so sorry if the truth hurts my love.It would kill me if you shared all of this history with Louisa and shared two daughters with her.But I would use a mature approach and eventually grow to understand in good time.Answer me honestly and straight from the heart.How would you feel if you’re wife,the centre of your world ran away with your children? No simple explanation,just a letter saying sorry,I don’t love you anymore?’
‘It would kill me…But I don’t care for her.’
‘Well that’s the difference he cared for me in his own unique way.He’d be pretty heartbroken I should imagine.He doted upon those girls,for once in my life I can finally wake up with a smile upon my face.’
I gently ran my fingers across his face.
‘You’re freezing?’
‘I’m all right…If you’re feeling all of this,then why do I get the impression that I’m slowly losing you?’
‘You have me?’
‘Not all of you,it kills me that I have to share you?’
‘You are never going to lose me.’
‘Gisele I feel as though I’m slowing drifting after from you? You’re behaving so distant and you don’t even realise it?’
‘I’m sorry if I appear distant my love,it’s just a lot of change to take in…I have finally found my kindred spirit.’
‘If you feel this way then why do I feel that my full is brimming full of regret and not of love?’
‘Do you think that this is easy for me? When it comes to Oliver,I still remain bound to him.Do you honestly believe he is going to roll over and agree over terms for separation? As long as I’m still his wife,he’s still entitled to his rights.’
‘He has no ownership over your body?’
‘You try telling him that,I detest this current situation.I wish I could proudly show you off to the whole of London society and say this is my husband.As this is what I have dreamt of for so long.Benjamin,I do love you so much that my heart is bursting.Whenever you gaze into my eyes,my heart goes all of a flutter.You rescued me from a life time of boredom.
I feel sick with excitement,not knowing what our new life is going to be like.I wake up every morning and count my lucky stars that fate has drawn us together.But I’m sorry my love if I appear loyal to my first husband.He is my children’s father,I feel as though I’m getting pulled in all directions,trying as I might to please everyone.I’m torn for what I should be doing for the best.I’m damned I do and I’m damned if I don’t.What do you see in me Lord Henry? I mean I can handle the brutal truth.For I am the woman who has caused nothing but devastation to other people’s lives? We acted out of passion and lust,allowing our true feelings to emerge to the surface.Our hopes and dreams to run away with one another.We have both contributed in ripping our whole families apart from the seams.I have been banished from the Delessop’s for the final time.’
‘You don’t know that.’
‘If anything happened to us god forbid,and I come crawling back to them they would turf me out into the cold.This Delessop girl has brought so much trouble to their door,that they find it hard to find it within their hearts to swallow their pride and forgive me.As far as I’m concerned I’m dead to the great and mighty Lady Antoinette.’
‘But she’s your Mama? Despite everything a Mother’s love is far greater than all of your errors she will gladly take you back?’
‘I have caused her heartbreak and misery for the final times,there’s no going back.We have become two warring families,the Delessop’s and Rickman’s resemble the Montague’s and Capulet’s from Romeo and Juliet.’
‘We fell in love Gisele,there’s no crime in the act of passion.’
‘It’s no laughing matter,this is serious Ben,what our life has become.I have two young girls desperately missing their Quinn and Misty and I’m too scared to return to London for them as their rightfully Lord Rickman’s.I have no money in my pocket,I have been here before with Sir Holmes and couldn’t survive on love alone.I swore I would never fall again.This journey won’t be easy for us,so I’m offering you the chance to walk away before it gets too heavy and intense.’
‘Too late Gisele…’
‘It’s never too late.’
‘I’ve truly fallen for you…’
‘Please don’t humour me.’
‘Oh you have no idea goddamn it woman! Stop assuming I mean something when you haven’t heard the full story.You’re just as bad as Louisa putting words into my mouth.How my heart yearns for you,hearing you talk like this…You are truly a remarkable woman,who has proven her worth in society.You are beautiful inside and out.Sacrificing her one true love in order for her little girl’s to be happy and I’m sorry that you’re marriage failed but you tried…I realise it won’t be easy for us,you’re children haven’t exactly accepted me but we expected that,as far as Esme and Ava are concerned I’m the nasty gentleman who stole their Mama away from their Papa.But our foundation is based upon the power of pure love,and I am not prepared to give up the fight and simply throw it all away at the first hurdle.For we have come so far,I would die for you Gisele.’
‘Please don’t say that,Carl said those exact words and look at what happened to him?’
‘Answer me truthfully my Lady,what is on your mind?’
‘Ben we should never have left in the dead of the night?’
‘Is this your subtle way of regret leaving your husband and your life in London for me?’
‘No of course not…we acted in the sheer heat of the moment,not showing any reguard of emotion for Oliver or Louisa.’
‘We acted out of love Gisele?’
‘I would have been in pieces if Oliver left me for Countess Tatiana Aleksandrov,to embark on a new life with our children.All of our time together turned to nothing…if I was left with a letter.Lord Rickman will never be able to show his face in London society again,for I have already shamed him previously over my affair with Sir Holmes and I have humiliated him once more.When William Tristan my beautiful son died,he was slowly picking up the pieces of his shattered marriage once more,this will kill him Ben. I lost him the day my son slipped away.Lord Rickman shut out all of his emotions down,he didn’t wish to discuss it over with his wife and that’s what hurt the most.I’m his wife,his lover and we’re meant to share everything our thoughts and fears.That’s why in my darkest hour,I turned to my sworn enemy and clung to you.’
‘Sworn enemy?’
‘You’ve got to admit it Lord Henry,we weren’t on the best of terms when our paths first crossed.’
‘I remember it well,the Masquerade ball you looked so beautiful.’
‘Lord Henry forgive me but my agenda that evening wasn’t the art of seduction,in fact quite the opposite.I was preoccupied on mending Louisa’s heart.’
‘You were a vision of beauty my love…We proved that opposite’s certainly attract you’re like from another world to me?’
‘…We made a complete mockery out of our loved ones and therefore took the cowardly way out.’
‘Gisele Tara Anastacia.’
‘Oh how I detest it when you address me by my full name.’ I blushed.
‘Look me in the eye and answer me honestly? If on that night at New Dawn Estate,you chose to sit Lord Rickman down and was brutally honest to him and said you no longer loved him as a Wife aught to? That you were leaving him to be with me? Would your pure heart have allowed you to go through with it.’
‘Please my Lord,I hardly call myself of pure heart.’
‘You have a pure heart and that is why I love you.’
‘There would have been a lot of tears shed…Lord Rickman would have filled my head full of false hope and promises,he will be unwilling to keep.Anything to keep his wife trapped,Oliver would have took hold of my hand said that he loved me and begged me to stay.Did al he could in his power,reminding me of all of the good moments in our marriage.Use his witty charm and persuaded me to stay and for that brief moment I would have believed him…I’m sorry if the truth has come out of the blue,but I simply refuse to begin our new life if it’s all based upon lies.’
Lord Henry kissed me upon the forehead. ‘Thank you for being honest with me Gisele,now it’s my turn to be brutally honest with you.’
‘Lord Henry,you’re slight tone of voice is scaring me.’
Lord Henry sat down beside me. ‘The moment you agreed to run away with me,I had a mixture of emotions running through my mind.Fear for the thought of stealing you away from your husband…selfish I know but how would I deal with the situation if Lord Rickman finally caught up with me? Would I face him like the gentleman I am and fight for the woman that I love? Or hide in the corner like the coward that I am.’
Benjamin sat down beside me. ‘That moment in time you agreed to run away with me,I had a mixture of emotions running through my mind.Fear from the prospect of stealing you away from your husband…selifish I know,but how would I deal with the situation if Lord Rickman had finally caught up with me? Would I indeed face him like the gentleman I am and fight for the woman that I love? Or hide in the corner like the coward that I am.’
‘You are not a coward Ben,you proved that you truly loved me,you never gave up on me.’
‘I also felt tears of joy and happiness,I couldn’t believe after all of this longing and yearning.That this moment would actually come true.As for Louise,of course I thought of her Gisele was my wife after all.’
‘I’m so sorry Ben I didn’t mean…’
‘I imagine she would be crying into her pillow,blaming herself. Forever wishing she were something different perhaps a little taller or someone different.I’m still wracked with guilt thinking of her now.Louisa is a kind and beautiful girl with a heart of gold.Too innocent for her own good sometimes,Lady Louisa didn’t ask for her husband to have a roving eye…she was young sweet and inexperienced.There is nothing wrong with that,but she wasn’t you…I was bewitched by your honesty and true beauty.You have naivety without even realising it,I have thought of having you so many times but somehow god I yearned for you more.’
‘Please do not take the Lord’s name in vein.’
‘Sorry my Lady,I know how it makes your stomach coil,I do mot wish to offend you.
He placed his hands upon my waist ‘Your fingers are like ice?
‘Staring at you from across a crowded ball room.’
‘Where you stalking me Lord Henry?’ I raised my eyebrows with surprise.
‘You were even beautiful when you were angry…I couldn’t get too ahead of my emotions.I mean really enlighten me Lady Rickman,how could a beautiful fair maiden truly fall for a loveable rogue like yours truly?’
‘Handsome loveable rogue.’ I corrected him.
‘I fear that one day,I wake up and you won’t be lying here beside me.’
I placed my finger upon his lips to hush him,I refused to let him this way. ‘I will never leave you,I still have the promise ring you gave me?’
I took it out of my hand and placed it back onto my finger.
‘Gisele,you made those vows before,you promised to love and obey Lord Rickman.’
‘I never said obey…Benjamin my heart has never truly felt or experienced love.Until now I only agreed to marry Lord Rickman,because I feared no man will never love.Besides Lord Henry you kiss by the book.’
‘More borrowed words from the bard himself?’
‘I mean every single word.’
I kissed Benjamin upon the lips.
‘And there’s more?’
He held out a parchment. ‘This came from Sophia.
‘You’ve read my letter? I can not believe you have betrayed my trust? How dare you!’
‘I can’t help but feel protective over you.’
‘That’s extremely sweet of you that you hold a high reguard over my feelings Benjamin,but I can take care of myself.Lord Rickman thought that he full control of his wife’s movements,that it was his ultimate duty to fondly wrap me up in cotton wool and shelter me from the outside world.Oh how it makes me laugh thinking of it now,but he was suffocating me.As though I was an injured dove,squeezing my life’s essence out of me.Please Ben,learn from Lord Rickman’s mistake and set this masked swan free.’
Lord Henry passed me by letter.
‘Thank you.’

Your’e the talk of London society and all for the wrong reasons.
What’s happend to you girl? The last time we spoke you said of how
the dust was settled and you were prepared to make a go of things with
your husband Lord Rickman.The next thing you have disappeared into
the night with Lord Henry.Gisele and I know we’ve had our ups and
downs in the past but we used to be so close.I can’t believe you couldn’t
find it in your heart to tell me.Louisa has returned to London to seek
solace in her brother.You have left her a broken woman Gisele,
despite everything I can not believe you would take you’re children
away from their father.You have torn two families apart,I hope you’re
proud of yourself?
You have betrayed my trust for the very last time Gisele Delessop,you
mark my words.You’re dead to me as far as I’m concerned.

I folded the parchment up.
‘I’m so sorry.’
‘What have I done?’
‘Nothing my love.’
He reassuringly touched my arm,but nothing was helping.
‘My best friend Sophia wishes me dead?’
‘All of those were said in haste…once the dust has settled I’m sure they’ll be a point of reconciliation?’
‘I need to be alone.’
I brushed his hand away from me.
‘Please leave me be.’
I left Benjamin’s side.

I held onto my pillow for dear life and sobbed my heart out.Lord Henry poked his head around the corner I sat up onto the bed to greet him,tears rolling down my cheeks.He lay down beside me and pulled me into his strong arms.
‘I’m sorry I was ever so harsh with you earlier…I shouldn’t have taken my feud with Sophia out on you.It was extremely childish and unforgivable of me.’
‘It’s not a feud,it’s a slight misunderstanding.’
Sophia and I always vowed that no matter what happened.Ee would always be there for another,I used to think that I could take or leave forbidden love,and that our true friendship would define till the end of time.Daniel,Carl,Sophia and I together till the end of time,funny how things turn out in the end.Benjamin sensed how empty I was feeling inside,I tried as I might to fight back the tears.He embraced me in such a warm and gentle way,my Benjamin can be so sweet in my hour of need.I didn’t want to let him go,he’s finally learning the female emotions.Lord Henry is so full of passion,but in the past he was too afraid to express them.I;m finally experiencing true love,forever searching for my true identity.It was my Mama,that pushed all the buttons toying with my emotions.Forever saying ‘Gisele love truly doesn’t matter,money is the foundation to a good strong marriage.’ Then along came Lord Henry,a stranger in my midst,shaking up my existence.Yes I admit I thought I experienced this with Declan,but how wrong was I? The truth our relationship initially was based on sexual tension,and pure attraction but it’s blossomed into something beautiful and pure.An unbreakable bond which can not be forged nor fixed.I simply can not believe my attitude towards him.my initial thought that it was forbidden to get close to him,an intruder in my marriage,asking questions invading my privacy of course I was offended at this.But reflecting upon it now,I wouldn’t change a thing.’
As we lay there not moving,my imagination is running wild.Imagine the look on Lord Rickman’s face? If we returned to London and I was carrying Lord Henry’s child? Think of the scandal,Oliver would indeed kill Benjamin for laying a finger on his beautiful wife.I’ve already damaged my reputation,marrying your sister in law’s former husband in London society is frowned upon,considered as bad taste.But Benjamin was not prepared to allow his true love slip through his fingers,who am I to stand in his way of pursuing his own happiness? Maybe I should have accepted his invitation of proposal?’
‘If you excuse me Benjamin I should rather like to write to Sophia.’
‘Do you think that’s wise Gisele?’
‘I have no reason to hide,or conceal my undying feelings for you.’
‘I would die for you Lady Rickman.’
‘I know you would,I’m not going to get down upon my knees and beg,just a nice sincere letter,written straight from the heart.Pouring my heart and soul into it.’
‘You’re like a stranger to me?’
I let go of his embrace,my eyes flashed with a hint or anger.Is he questioning my authority.How dare he,we have barely been together five minutes and already he’s trying to order me around.I was in an abusive relationship before. Initially starting off with verbal until it turned to violence.I endured far too many blows,leaving me black eyed.a head full of shame.Every scratch,bite burn I simply bit my took and for the sake of my pride I stayed.I refuse to fight for survival a moment longer.I’m not saying Lord Henry is a violent man,he would never harm a strand of hair upon my head and I him.Benjamin and I have an understanding,I love him so much it’s killing me,but I can’t afford to take that risk.Not with two small girls in my care,I’ve got to keep on my guard at all times.I turned to face him once more.
‘Pardon me?’
‘You’re going against you’re whole principles Gisele?’
‘I’m not giving up this fight Benjamin.Darling look at me.’
I forced his face in order to face my own,he could barely give me eye contact.He was behaving as though I betrayed his trust.Like a spoilt petulant child,being prevented from buying penny sweets from the shop.A stranger to him? I can not shake those words off,I don’t want to rock the boat,I just wish to notify Sophia that Lord Henry and I are for keeps.I shall love him with every beat of my heart,until my dying breath.
‘I’m not giving up this fight Benjamin,please I beg of you look at me.If I could get her on our side,persuade her to see from my point of view.How I truly feel about this man.’ I pointed to Lord Henry. ‘You,then she may find it within her heart to forgive me?’
‘I don’t understand?’
‘What isn’t there to understand my Lord?’
‘How did she find us? I thought we were careful…you said leave no trace behind?’
‘Lord Rickman my husband,he may have loved me but the sadness of it all…Beneath this whole façade,he allowed London to believe.Despite forgiving me,he could never fully trust his wife.To prevent his petit Gisele from ever straying again he had his sources…he has spies.’
‘What kind of a gentleman is he?’
‘I’m entirely to blame my love,his infatuation/love for me turned to sheer madness and jealously because of my betrayal.He wouldn’t allow his precious little wife just to slip through his fingers.He probably sent a man servant to track us down? How typical and pathetic of him? As long as I am Lord Rickman’s property.He will hunt me down to the end of the earth.’
‘Your letter…It’s worth a try?’
‘Lord Henry pray tell me,this is that genuine or is admitting defeat merely your way to humour me?’
‘You have nothing to prove.’
‘You’re so right,it’s completely absurd,I shouldn’t have to explain my actions.I fell in love,where’s the crime in that?’
‘There is a possibility of a public hanging in a Venetian Courtyard or a flogging in it?’
‘I bet you’d like that Lord Henry?’
‘Play your cards right with the guard,use your feminine charm and you may get off lightly with a smacked bottom.’
‘Mock me all you like Lord Henry.’
‘On the contrary Gisele,I have so much love,respect and admiration for you.’
I slipped out of his arms and bestowed a heavenly kiss upon his lips. ‘Thank you.’

I left his side,as I entered the drawing room.It was pretty on it’s own unique way.But for one,it wasn’t home,we were strangers.It’s a place to lay our head until we find our feet.It’s certainly not on par in scale or size compared to what I left behind in London ,at New Dawn Estate.London seemed another world away now? But I sacrificed everything to be with Lord Henry,turning my back on all of that luxury,My family and my sham of a marriage.
All I have left are photographic memories in my hand,of a happier time.All of the Delessop Dynasty together in one place.Papa looking ever so proud.
‘Papa, I need you now,more than you’ve ever realised.Maybe if you hadn’t left me? Then I wouldn’t have strayed…I know I used to roll my eyes and appear to look frightfully bored during your heart to heart chats.I realise now that you meant well, andI was ever so selfish.I took your love and life for granted,I miss you so.’
I sacrificed everything,in order to be with my lover Lord Henry.After all property and earthly items of value are nothing compared to the way I feel about you Benjamin.Yes we had that near miss earlier,of him doubting my authority.But that is our first glitch,this is all new to us…both frightened of putting a foot wrong.The past few months I have been impossible to live with,I do not envy him one bit he’s been tiptoeing round,constantly walking on egg shells.Scared to make remarks about his wife as though it would put a cat amongst the pigeons. But despite it all,my love for him is indescribable such a powerful thing.I wish Papa was here to witness how happy I have become,maybe he could have reasoned with Lady Antoinette and we would be welcomed back into the Delessop household.But this is what dreams are impossible,just like I long for my son to be alive.I miss him every single day.I set about writing my letter to Sophia.I picked up the parchment and pen.My palms felt all sweaty,my heart thumping so hard.I was so nervous of what was about to do,but I wasn’t prepared to take this fight lying down.
Words she said struck a chord,my mouth became all dry.I have got to stop all of this hurting and allow of my anger to reach the surface and spill out onto the page.No holding back,a paper cut stopped me in my tracks,my skin turned pale,single drop of blood fell onto the page.
‘Out damn spot! Out I say!’
My life is not of a shakespeare love story,but of a tragedy.I’m becoming the stuff of nightmares.For I am suddenly turning into the monster that is Lady Macbeth from the scottisg tragedy.I had started reading this whilst with Oliver as my heart had blackened and had given up on true love.I am now the villanous of the piece,alas no longer the sweet and misunderstood Juliet.I fear the downtrodden Louisa has taken my place.After I cleared myself up,for fear of fainting at the sight the trace of my own blood being shed.I could never have been a nurse in the war,the stories I’ve heard bring tears to my eyes.What Carl had to suffer…Benjamin on the over hand he would allow nothing to faze him,he would just get on with it.Kiss it all better for me.

I was trying to make a nice hearty dinner to share,I cut my hand with a knife trying to dice the chicken,I screamed in pain,seeing the sight of blood.Benjamin ran to my side.
‘It’s nothing.’ I winced.
‘Nothing? You sound like a scolded cat?’
‘I was trying to make you a nice meal.’
‘So I can see? That is why we need servants you know knives and Lady Gisele do not make such a good combination.Let me see.’
He gently touched my hand. ‘Thank heavens it’s not too deep…I feared it may have been amputation?’
‘Amputation are you being serious?’
‘Keep still.’
‘You’re hurting me.’
He examined my hands. ‘You have such beautiful hands Gisele,piano players hands.You know I miss hearing you play?’
‘I don’t desire to play nor sing.’
He kissed my fingers in turn,and wrapped a bandage that he’d produced from no where.
‘Much.’ I smiled.

I smiled at the fond memory,I could scream out in pain for my lover to come running.But that’s just taking the cowards way out? It’s only a scratch.I quietly reassured myself.Maybe my sister’s Letty and Mari are right? I am a drama queen and I belong on the stage.My mind started to wander,I was stood on a stage at the globe theatre,the audience erupts all around me.Admirers throwing flowers beneath my feet and offering their congratulations of a wonderous performance.Gisele Delessop social butterfly,acting out Shakespeare’s wonderous works and not be trapped as the Lady of Leisure.

Clutching your letter in my hands.
First of all I’d like to ask how did you find me? Did
Oliver send his weasel of a man servant to hunt me
down? You can tell me….if that is the case,that is
so typical of my husband.Forever trusting his
wronged Wife.
You swore never to hurt your petit Gisele.But you
broke your one and only promise to me.
For your letters contain not of well wishes and love?
Only of hate,these poison words that choke me now.
Are not of you? They echo the ways of Lady Isabelle
Chadwick.Don’t tell me,after all of these years she’s
finally got to you too?
Where has my sweet and gentle Sophia gone?
I quote from your very letter. ‘you have betrayed
my trust for the very last time Gisele Delessop,you
mark my words.
Your dead to me as far as I’m concerned.I weep over
the damage and impact this has had upon our friendship.
What do you want of me? For me to return to London
and have a public flogging? I can imagine Louisa
revelling in this,dragging me onto the London streets
by my hair.
In London’s eyes the woman scorned will have finally
What do you want me to do repent of my sins? Get down on my
hands and knees and beg for mercy?
I do not want to make enemies of you Sophia.You’re my dear
Yes,I truly understand that I went around this the wrong way.
Deceiving my husband and friends in such a cruel way?
But being with Oliver,brought only a bitter taste in my mouth.
Knocking the every essence,confidence and spirit out of me?
I’m no longer that shy girl you became friends with.
Have I offended you in any kind of way? Answer me truthfully.
Is it your precious Daniel I’ve stolen…you have always told me
to listen to my heart.Well in this case,I have indeed let my
heart rule my head.
I’m not a child anymore Sophia.No longer fifteen years of age,
and in the throws of my youth and passion.Being involved in
a tender romance with my first love Carl.
I’ve experienced life,first hand.It’s full of darkness and it’s
horrible.The only thing I don’t regret is my children.They
have saved me so many times.
Lord Henry,Benjamin cares for me very deeply,and I him.
He would die for me…I know he appears callice.The dark
and silent true,no true emotion.Ever hidden from the light.
But his love is growing for me daily.I’ve always stood by
you and Daniel.I had my doubts seeing as though he,was in
love with me for seven god damn years!
Sorry if the truth hurts but that’s the way it is.
Please be happy for me.

A little while later,I am spending some quality time with my beautiful girls Esme and Ava.They looked so young and carefree not a care in the world.Just like I used to be with my beautiful sisters.We used to spend hours running wild,making daisy chains and talking about ,marrying our princes.Funny how things turn out? I havent had any contact with them since my moon light flit.But watching my girls all of my sadness vanished,I should never take them for granted.Just a blink and their childhood will be over,times like this I miss my William.I know he only spent a few days with us but he made such a big impact on my life.His sweet little smile,missing out on watching him grow as a person.I lay down upon the grass,it was such a beautiful sunny day.I could feel the wind run through my hair.I closed my eyes and revisted the time,when I was young and carefree.Riding my beautiful sweet Cossack.I miss that old girl,she was my companian and ye ole faithful for ever so long.I do wish that I had the courage to return to London and demand Quinn and Misty back.Yes I vowed never to set foot in England again,but my girls miss them dearly as do I.Skye my beautiful dog in particular.Maybe,just maybe I could persuade Benjamin into purchasing a dog of our own.Ok Gisele you need to learn how to switch off from feelings of remorse and regret.So many bad things I have endured in my life over the past few months.Losing my best friend,being public enemy number one.Cast out from my family,all of the pressure of acceptance is too much to handle.I shed a tear I am so relieved to see my girls are too young to understand all of this.They have been passed from pillar to post,I am relieved to see them so full of life and happy.Not the look of pain of betrayal for leaving their precious father behind in London.
They ran off into the grounds of the estate we where staying at.Benjamin came behind me.
‘You made me jump!’
‘I’m ever so sorry my love,you looked so lost and distant?’
‘I was caught in a moment.’
‘What was that look for’
‘Just thinking my love.’
‘Whatever is it my love?’
‘I think it’s time that you and I had a heart to heart?’


2 thoughts on “Novel 3-The Masked Swan Chapter 1

  1. sophiebowns says:

    Aha! The 1st chapter of your 3rd novel!
    I love the title! It makes me think of “Black Swan” for some, strange reason.
    So is Gisele the masked swan?

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