So my days sped by, singing and dancing by night, sleeping, learning, and planning by day. I saw less and less of my followers, to my delight, and my mother wasn't even angry; she thought I was trying to prepare myself for married life but she couldn't have been more wrong. I was preparing to leave her and everything that my old world stood for. I was saving all the money I made at the Rooster, and all the money I was given as an allowance. It was building up quite nicely, I was trying to get enough to buy an apartment near Vermillion Street, not rent but buy. I wanted something completely my own, some place that I would make my home. But money wasn't the real thing keeping me from leaving my family, and neither was fear. It was love really, I wanted Tristan to see what I was doing, to see how clever I could be. I knew he could probably find me on his own even if I ran away but I didn't want to risk it- I wanted to be right here when he came back.
Each day I hoped to see his face or hear that he was back but day after day passed with no news, nothing. Almost as if he had never existed at all. But I never lost hope, each morning I rushed to look through the mail; hoping to see his handwriting and each morning I was disappointed again.
One Monday morning I stayed in bed much later than usual, it had been an amazing night at the Rooster. Things had gotten rather out of hand when I look aback on it, I had drunk a little to much and danced a little too much with some of the young men there...but it was all to get more business, well that's what I told myself but I knew that wasn't the whole truth. I hard thoroughly enjoy every minute, having those sweet boys fight over who got my next drink or who would sit by me next time I took a break. It was like the balls at home except different, here there was more energy, more passion, more spirit; maybe I was the one who was changing but I didn't mind. Maybe it was because these boys weren't so shallow, they weren't all educated or well-spoken but they had something else, that intelligence that comes with experience. They didn't care if I had money or could serve tea properly or who my family was. Maybe that's why their attention didn't bother me...they looked at me and watched me play and that's why they liked me. And the dancing! It was divine, it wasn't anything dirty or scandalous like my mother used to tell me, it was just fun. It wasn't strict or structured like the dances at home, it was more improvising and just plain fun. I loved it!
As I lay in bed, not quite ready to get up I started thinking about Tristan. He was almost a dream to me now, even though I looked hopefully for some sign of him every morning, part of me had started to come to grips with the fact that he might never come back. But the part that disturbed and surprised me was that I was starting to see that my life could be complete without him, how could that make sense? I loved him, and what was life without love? I shook away the thoughts, it didn't matter. He would come back. I just kept repeating that because I was so confused, when had that burning ache in my heart melted and become only an occasional prick? I still loved him, I knew that- I could feel it but some how I didn't need him like I had before. Had I really changed that much?
He was there when I went down stairs, I had taken my time getting ready and no one but the servants were home. I stepped into the dinning room to see him seated in a chair in the corner, reading the newspaper. I just stared, unable to move or speak- I really wasn't sure if I was really seeing him or if it was all in my mind…I had been thinking of him a lot maybe my mind was playing a joke on me, I thought.
"If you don't want to see me I can leave," He teased when he saw me staring.
"...No! I just was so surprised...I hadn't-" I tried to stammer. He laughed and walked towards me.
"I missed you," he said quietly as he took my hand and kissed it, I held goose bumps prickle all over my arms.
"I missed you too," I whispered and threw my arms around his neck holding him close. He wrapped his arms around my waist and held me like he never ever wanted to leave my side again.
"Do you know it's been five weeks? Five weeks since I've seen you! I don't know how I lasted that long!" He exclaimed. I laughed.
"I know, in those first few days I thought I was going to die or go crazy,"
"Deirdre, I don't think I'll ever be able to leave you again!" he murmured into my hair. I wasn't imagining it, he does love me! I thought to myself.
"Then don't leave me! Take me with you!" I cried happily.
"You would do that for me?" he asked, his eyes serious as he looked into mine.
"Yes," I breathed, I would do anything for him...don't ask me why. He smiled and leaned down to kiss me, I could feel all my stress melt away as his lips touched mine. Yes! I would go anywhere with him, I would leave everything, I would go right now and not even look back.
"There's something I need to tell you."
"What?" I said, curious but slightly annoyed he had stopped kissing me.
"I can't tell you here, let's go outside to the park. I'll be safer there." He took my hand and started leading me towards the door.
"Safer?" I asked anxiously, safer? What was he talking about?
"Yeah, we won't have to worry about being over heard."
"Alright, let's go." I smiled, trying not to let him see the curiosity and confusion in my eyes.
We didn't really talk much on the way to the park, Tristan seemed preoccupied and I was to busy wondering what he was going to say to talk about anything else. It wasn't an awkward silence though, it was actually nice not having to pay attention to what he was saying and just being able to think to myself, and he held my hand the whole way like he was afraid if he let go I would disappear.
"Alright," Tristan said as we sat down on a bench overlooking most of the park, we were completely alone.
"What I'm about to tell you is secret, you must not tell another soul." I nodded and leaned closer, this all sounded like something out of a novel, so unreal. I was expecting him to say something like 'I'm really a prince' or 'I've been running away from my country because...' I don't know, I was expecting something dramatic and romantic.
"Most of what I've told you about myself is true," He continued, "but I'm... I'm working as a- as a spy. Deirdre, Please don't hate me, I'm not disloyal to the country or anything. I've been working to uncover a large group of nobles who are plotting an assignation." The last few sentences came out as a rush, almost like it was too hard for him to keep all of it a secret anymore. I just stared at him, Tristan a spy?
"Why are you telling me this?" I whispered, feeling really really confused.
"Deirdre, I need your help. You know I wouldn't ask unless it was absolutely necessary. I don't want to risk you being hurt but you're the only one who can do this, no one would even think to suspect you!" He was holding tightly to both my hands, pleading, almost begging, me to help him. I could see in his eyes how much this meant to him.
"Of course Darling, of course I'll help you!" I answered, not really even caring what he was going to ask- I loved him more than anyone and I would do anything to help him.
"You would! Thank you so much! You have no idea how much this means to me!" He laughed and stood up, pulling me up and twirling me around. I laughed too, he looked so happy I would have done anything to keep that smile on his face.
"So what do I have to do?" I asked.
"Well, at I need you to take something out of the Baron's room and leave an envelope there. You can do it on Friday night, at his ball."
"The Baron? The Baron of Leckland?"
"Yes! Of course!"
"What is it?" I asked.
"What is what?"
"The thing I nee to take?"
"Oh don't worry I'll explain it later."
"So that's it? I just need to take something and put an envelope there?" I said incredulously.
"Well that's just the start, if you do a good job there might be other jobs for you. And if you want you could become a full time spy like me, we could work together." I smiled, I didn't miss that hint- we could work together, together like romantically! Was he saying he would marry me? We could travel around as husband and wife doing spy work, it sound so romantic and fun…
"Me be a spy? I would love it! But I have no training, nothing that would help me, do you think I'm cut out for that?"
"Definitely, with a little extra training you could be one of the best. You know how you can get anyone to do anything, you have pretty much every man you meet wrapped around your finger! Think of how easy it would be for you to make other's believe you. How easy it would be for you to get or find anything you would need! And not to mention you are educated so you can speak different languages, dance, and blend in perfectly in any society we would go into." He said excitedly, he was practically glowing. I laughed, it sounded like so much fun, especially with him by my side. I imagined elaborate costumes, moonlit escapes, thrilling sword fights and everything of that kind- love and adventure, my dream.
"So tell me what you did while I was gone!" Tristan said after a moment's silence.
"You'll never guess!" I laughed coming back from my new daydreams, "I got one of my followers to teach me how to play guitar and I learned all the sounds I could."
"Oh really? Sounds interesting." Tristan looked a little puzzled as to why I had suddenly gotten into music.
"I've made myself another disguise," I laughed again, "Her name is Adele and she plays at the Rooster, singing, playing guitar, and dancing a few nights a week."
"I go to the Rooster, down on Vermillion Street, every night I can to play."
"Deirdre!" He looked angry with me.
"What? I thought you would be pleased, I love it down there and they all love my music. I'm earning money and it gives me something to do, I've never had so much fun in my life!" I said defensively.
"Weren't you thinking at all? You could have gotten hurt! You don't know how to defend yourself, someone could have hurt you or raped you! You could have died!" He looked genuinely alarmed.
"Well why don't you teach me how to defend myself then!" I said angrily, "I don't understand how you can suggest I become a SPY and then get angry with me when I tell you I was going to a poor section of town in disguise! It doesn't make any sense at all!"
"That's not the point!"
"Then what is?"
"Why do you keep going back to Vermillion Street? It's one thing to go when I'm with you but by yourself it different."
"No its not! No one has ever bothered me there, I belong more there then I do here!" I looked down, trying to disguise the fact that I was crying. He was making me so angry I couldn't deal with it.
"Deirdre, please don't cry! I didn't mean to hurt your feelings." He tried to get me to look at him. "Deirdre, don't me angry with me. I'm sorry, I just worry about you. You're so beautiful and I'm afraid some one is going to steal you away from me, and I don't know what I would do if that happened. Oh please stop crying! It hurts me to see you sad, I'm so sorry I didn't mean it that way…." I sighed, I was still angry yet part of me could be mad at all when he said it like that.
"Why didn't you just say that in the first place? Why didn't you just say you were worried?" I asked.
"I don't know...I'm sorry." He looked down, I sighed hugged him.
"You're going to have to get used to me being in danger if I become a spy." I pointed out quietly.
"Well, that's different. You'll be trained then, besides I doubt anyone we would be around would ever hurt you. You're too beautiful."
"But the people on Vermillion Street will? And my looks won't save me!" he wasn't making any sense.
"Well...I just want to be careful, you never know. As to your gorgeous face, any person with a grain of goodness in there heart couldn't hurt you." I glared at him, it sounded as if he just didn't want me at Vermillion Street but I don't know why.
"Anyway...what did you do while you were gone?"
"I can't tell you that, Silly! It's a secret!" he laughed. I smiled but I can't really amused, I wanted to know.
"Well, how long are you back for?"
"I'll be here until after the baron's party. The party is in about a month."
"Oh, is that enough time for me to train?"
"I will have to be, after the party we'll leave."
"Leave? And go where?" "Does it matter?" He asked with a grin.
"I guess not..." I thought to myself, I guess it didn't matter as long as I was with him.
"So when do you want to start your training?"
"Now? No time like the present!" I laughed.
"Alright, lets go make a master spy out of you!" He teased and pulled me by the hand back towards my house.