Friday is here and that means another exciting chapter of Girl in the Woods, a serial novel I’m posting right here in 2016.
If you are new here please start from the beginning (CLICK HERE). This is a novel, not the usually stand-alone blog post. And remember no editors were harmed, or even used on this post. It is your sneak peak into the rough draft mind. Warning: Twists and Turns Ahead.
Girl in the Woods: Part 17
Leaving Allegory, and Business at Home
After she had dressed, Olivia woke Lenora from the sweet dreams of a young girl.
The only clothing the girl had was the whorehouse dress she’d worn the night before, a low cut dress of worn cheap gaudy fabric that was cut tight across the girl’s slight chest.
They were the same height but the girl was still thin and undeveloped. Her skin was pale and blotched with red. She had welts on her wrists that looked like a rope burns. It disgusted Olivia to think how the Mayor had violated this child.
“When you get to Meadow Creek you’ll get a complete new wardrobe. I’ll make sure you have the latest styles that all the girls your age are wearing. Lavender is the big color this year. You’ll look great in lavender velvet with a touch of cream colored lace. A short jacket with matching skirt and your hair in ribbons. In the meantime I’ll give you something of mine. “
Olivia gave the girl a of brown skirt and a trendy long blue wool jacket with small flowers embroidered into the fabric. Underneath the jacket went a white shirt of the softest cotton with a blue lace collar and matching cuffs. The buttons were gold stars. Lenore stroked the beautiful fabrics and stars in awe. Olivia belted and tucked the clothing so that it fit the slightly built girl.
“I’ve seen things like this in the fashion papers along with your picture. I never imagined in a thousand years I’d ever ever meet you and be wearing your clothes.”
“You need something else.” Around the girl’s neck she put a delicate gold chain with a single pink crystal suspended in the center of a delicate golden flower.
“I couldn’t take this. It’s too beautiful,” said the girl.
“It is my gift to you.”
“I’m just an orphan.”
“You, an orphan?”
“Yes, my parents died in a horrible war. My brother and I were adopted by a wonderful crazy man who had no business raising children. And do you know what? I turned out just fine. You are a bright and beautiful girl. Today is the start of your new life. You’ll have friends and you’ll be loved. You’ll go back to school and even to the University.”
The girl started to cry. “I’m not a bad girl, really I’m not. I didn’t want to do those things with those men.”
Olivia held her close. She clung to Olivia. “Nobody will ever hurt you again. You not only have my protection but that of Prince Alexander.”
Olivia looked down from the window into the courtyard. Kings Soldiers were there. She felt a sudden panic. She knew it was just a reaction to her upbringing.
There had been a raid on the town. Alexander and Tom would be the only bait to get them all in one location. Illegal arms, money and magic were being transported to fund the rebels. The cult had to be shut down.
“Why didn’t we know about this?” asked Michael
Olivia understood the reasoning behind the decision. She later explained to Michael. He had grown up in a city and town of strong women. It offended him as much as it did her.
Alexander came in. Olivia was sitting with the girl showing her needlework stitches. It wasn’t what he had expected. This was a woman he called a cold hearted bitch not two days before. He noticed that Lenore was dressed in what looked to be Olivia’s clothing. The girl’s long hair had been pulled back in an elaborate braid with golden ribbons. Not a trace of make-up was left on her pretty young face. It was a scene of domestic bliss. It could have been a mother and daughter.
The girl stood up when she saw Alexander and gave a deep courtesy. Olivia stood as well and gave a slight bow of her head.
Alexander took Olivia’s hand. “May I speak to you alone?” They went to the next room, a small cold parlor. Tea was set out on a sideboard.
Alexander closed the door behind them and locked the door. Olivia didn’t react as he’d expected her to. In fact she didn’t react at all. She looked calm and collected, perfectly groomed and ready for a day of travel.
He noticed her eyes quickly scan the room as if looking for someone else, someone other than him.
“Well, good morning, again.” He said in his most cheerful morning voice, hoping he wouldn’t annoy her.
“Good morning.” she answered with a slight smile, but her voice was cool. “So, what did I do wrong today?”
“I’m not here to chastise you.”
Olivia said nothing. Despite her anger over the previous nights events, she didn’t have the stomach for a fight today. Alexander sort of reminded her of her father with his early morning cheerfulness that made absolutely no sense what so ever. She had learned to live with her father and she’d learn to live with Alexander.
“Dare Crow speaks highly of you. He said you were extremely understanding and gracious last night. He was impressed how you cared for Lenora.”
“Lenora is a remarkable girl considering how much damage has been done to her. She’ll go far with the right care and guidance.” She poured herself a cup of tea, then spoke, again with almost no emotion. “It was an interesting evening, to say the least, with both Jet Gilroy and Darious Crow.”
Alexander gently put his hand on her arm. “Dare told me he’d met with you last night. He said he was pretty rough with you. Maybe too rough.”
She shrugged stepping away from him. “We came to an understanding.”
He took the cup from her hand and set it on the table. Then he put his hand to the back of her head. “Hold on, I’m just checking on something. ‘He stroked the back of her head. Her hair was smooth and finer than he thought. He could tell she held her breath for a moment. They stood close, her chest almost brushing his own. He locked his eyes on hers knowing it would make her uncomfortable. “You have bump back here the size of an egg.”
“I’ll be fine.” She gently put her hand on his and pushed it away from her head. Then unable to fight it any longer she turned on him. “If anything like this happens again I’ll…”
“What will you do? Send Simon after me?”
“Take me seriously Alexander. I have neither the time nor the patience for the type of stunts Crow pulled last night.” She looked down. “Under any other circumstances I could have had him arrested for assault. But I assume he had your permission to hurt me and treat me like a criminal. Be happy I didn’t kill him.”
Alexander looked serious. “I am glad you didn’t kill him.” He’d had enough of her bravado. A little questioning by Crow shouldn’t have warranted a death threat. “After the chandelier dropped I suspected it might have been your doing. Dare told me you dropped it out of spite. Then he told me he’d lock you up in the darkest dungeon he could find if you ever did anything like that again.”
“He has no proof.”
“You could have blown up the entire room if you wanted to. Why didn’t you?”
Despite Alexander’s calm demeanor she bowed her head slightly. This wasn’t going to be easy. “Your highnesses, I rarely use my magic outside if own home. What I did was wrong and I take full responsibility.”
He crossed his arms as the corners of his mouth turned up slightly. He reminded her of her father. “Relax, you’re not in trouble. In fact I wish I’d thought of it myself.”
She looked at him in disbelief. “It doesn’t bother you that I’m a wizard.”
“Not at all, that is as long as you use your powers responsibly, which you obviously do, despite what Dare Crow thinks. By the way, Lord Mayor is under medical care this morning. Apparently he had a night of graphically violent nightmares.”
“His nightmares are no concern of mine.”
“He is under house arrest and will soon be taken to a prison in an undisclosed location.”
“Don’t expect me to feel sorry for him.”
“I don’t. Did you cause his nightmares?”
“He got what he deserved.”
Alexander just smiled. “Crow said you’re the best, that is at sending bad dreams to bad people.”
“It was for Lenora. He raped and tortured her. He took a part of her soul that she’ll never get back.”
“Are you and Crow going to punish me for the unauthorized use of magic?”
“No, Lord Mayor was overcome with guilt which caused him to go mad. I’ve ordered Dare to do the same. Do you do this sort of thing often?”
“Of course not. Why the game with Detective Crow? Why didn’t you just tell me up front who he was?”
“He wanted to check you out.”
“He checked me out alright. He expected me to go to bed with him.”
“Why does that not surprise me?” He said calmly, hiding his surprise. Son of a bitch. He should have known better than to leave her alone with Dare Crow.
“Don’t trivialize the situation.” Olivia snapped at him.
“I’m not trivializing anything. I needed to keep you and Michael out of trouble, so I asked Crow for assistance. He reluctantly agreed, and I stress reluctantly.” The words came out sounding shallow and plain flippant. Alexander wished he could start over.
“Pray tell, what sort of trouble did you think we’d get into?”
“Case in point, your actions last night at the reception. Why were you so hell bent on crossing the room to see Dare, thus getting the attention of Lord Mayor? Was it because you knew Dare wanted to seduce you or did you have legitimate business with him?”
“That question is totally unjustified. If Justin had been here, he would have been treated with respect. Had you been open and up front with me we could have avoided any trouble last night.”
“You and Justin are opposites. If I’d met you without knowing who you are, I would have never guessed you were related.”
“Spare me. I’ve heard it all before. Day and night, fire and ice, summer and winter. Justin and I are of the same mind and the same heart. But, Justin is a stranger here. Had Justin rescued Lenora, Lord Mayor would have been missing his balls and half the town would have burned to the ground.”
Alexander stopped and smiled. No little delicate female here. “Universal Technologies has a strong presence in this country, thanks to your family. Your brother would hardly be considered a stranger.”
“I head up the International Division of Universal Technologies, which means all Universal business in this country. I thought I made it clear to you at Jake’s. ”
“Still, Justin is the main force behind most of the new technology. The message would have more credibility if he presented that technology to those who can be helped by it.”
“Who fed you that line of bull? I know the technology as well as Justin. As for creating and explaining the real life applications for that technology in the six country alliance, I outshine him on every level.”
“I don’t doubt your abilities, it’s just that Justin…”
“My brother is a foreigner with an accent so strong most locals can hardly understand him. His culture and values are strange, if not somewhat unnerving to most people in these parts. I’ve spent the past twelve years traveling this road and working with the people who live here. I know how the government works. I know how the local business environment works. The people we’ll be meeting with are my neighbors and friends. This is my home Alexander.” She pulled out her dagger and slammed it into the table. “ How dare you insinuate Justin is better for this job than I am.”
“I never said Justin was better than you.”
“You might not have said it out loud but I know you’re thinking it.”
He pulled the dagger out of the table and calmly handed it back to her. “Hear me out Olivia. I have never doubted your abilities, after all you are the head of one of the most respected, successful and well run organizations in the country. I suppose that’s why I’m so shocked at how insecure and angry you are.”
“Excuse me? In the past 48 hours you’ve done everything in your power to undermine me, strip away my authority and belittle me.”
“Where does all of your anger come from?”
Olivia wished he had been accusing, but his tone and expression showed quiet concern. She wasn’t ready to answer that question or anything else. Her fingers itched to grab her dagger again and throw it at something.
“I’ll tell you where my anger comes from. Last night, it was just like being back in the Crystal Mountains. Last night I was knocked to the ground, by a strange man who then proceeded to hold me prisoner all the while hurting me for not giving him what he wanted. I thought he was going to …” she stopped short of saying she thought she was going to be raped by another wizard with powers that she couldn’t control. A flurry of blue sparks flew around her feet. “No.” she whispered, making her hands into fists. “I have done nothing to deserve this and I will not tolerate this sort of treatment from you, Crow or anyone else. Do you understand?.”
A thought flashed in her mind of when Alexander had held her hand at the reception the night before. A dull painful realization came to the pit of her stomach that he really was just like her newspaper man. She thought of the words of Darious Crow “No wonder he thinks you’re a cold calculating bitch. Not like the perfect pink fluff he’s used to.” A sharp pain shot through her head. She closed her eyes for a second, then took a deep breath. “Damn it I don’t even like him. Stop the headaches.” She tried to counter act the pain with reason.
Alexander waited a few moments in silence looking at the woman pressing her hand to her forehead. He wondered about what seemed to be constant headaches. He said nothing, but watched her trying to control her pain. Horses and wagons could be heard in the courtyard below. He’d blown it with her and wondered if he could ever gain her confidence again.
“Olivia?” he asked out of concern. The sound of his voice jolted her out of her own thoughts.
“You promised I’d be safe.”
This was heart breaking. He’d never felt so bad about anything in his entire life. “I am truly sorry for what happened last night.”
She put her hand to her side and locked her eyes on his. “My reputation and success speaks for itself. If you are unable to accept that, I’ll leave you to finish this journey on your own.”
“Work with me on this,” he answered gently.
“Believe me, I want to work with you.” Another wave of searing pain swept across her skull. She took a breath trying not to show another display of weakness. He never answered the question of why he didn’t want to work with her. It didn’t matter. She had to prove him wrong.
“I know you do,” he said in a low voice, even quieter than before.
They continued to look in each other’s eyes, neither one looking away. Neither one giving up control. Olivia knew she had to submit. “Dear God” she thought “I never thought I’d be in this situation again, ever in my life. Damn you Alexander.”
“Prince Alexander, let us make a new start.” Then she spoke to him in the old language a greeting of solidarity. “I promise I will be your loyal ally and in time a true friend.” She offered her hand. He took her small hand. Her palm was ice-cold over the raised scar. He suddenly wanted to kiss her hand to warm it up but he refrained, instead firmly held it in both of his hands as a sign of friendship.
“Thank you. I’m looking forward to the rest of our journey.” He said gently, still holding her hand. “I promise you that nothing like last night will happen again.”
She was nothing like the amusing woman Simon and his other friends had described. Nothing like the woman in the interviews and articles he’d read. She was fighting him and defiant, yet there was fear in her. His thoughts were interrupted by voices outside the door. Tom and Michael laughing about something.
Olivia glanced towards the door then back to him. “Alexander, I have a request.” she said, gently sliding her hand from his.
“What is that?” he asked cautiously.
“Stop being an asshole. I’m serious.”
“So am I Olivia. So am I.”
Warm in Alexander’s bed, Candi lay cocooned in a warm happy drug induced state, wearing nothing but the diamond and pearl necklace he’d given her. It was a true feeling of perfection, better than a new dress, almost better than a new man.
Alexander had given her the keys and told her to take advantage of his library. Sure, like that was going to happen. She spent her time there in the big beautiful bedroom.
She purred as her lover kissed her face and mounted her. What for the third, maybe fourth time tonight? She didn’t care. She was floating in a warm sea of pleasure, oblivious to the demands of her mother and the burdens of being a Real Princess. She thought of Alexander for a brief second before sliding her hands through her partner’s golden blonde hair and pulling his mouth to hers.
He looked so much like King Florien. She reveled in the fact that her mother could only fantasize about a moment such as this – being so intimate with the men in the King’s family.
She laughed out loud as he brought her to climax. He came hard then lay next to her, his blue eyes almost glowing. God, he was so gorgeous, almost as pretty as she was. And he was so nasty. He did things to her she could never imagine Alexander doing.
“Can I still see you after I get married?” Candi asked in a childish voice.
“Sure, you can.”
“Did I tell you Alexander wouldn’t go to bed with me?” She did her trademark pretty pout, sticking out her bottom lip and furrowing her perfect brow.”
“Yes, you did tell me,” about a dozen times already. You can shut up now.
Candi ran her hands through his hair. “Alexander is such a prude. I can’t believe you’re related.”
“He doesn’t deserve a woman like you.”
“I love you Graham.”
He didn’t answer as he slipped another vial under her nose to inhale. She closed her eyes again and melted into the pillows, to a place where everything was pink and yellow and perfect.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman