Chapter 18: Lachlan
As he led Addie through the castle, Lachlan had no idea what to say to her. What does someone say to a girl they have nothing in common with?
Deciding he had already made her mad enough, he stuck with the safest topic he could think of.
“So, I figure you’d like to know a little bit more about this place and what you’re able to do while you’re here,” he looked over to see her reluctant nod in his direction. Taking that as his cue, he continued on.
“Well, you already know how to find your rooms, the gym, and the kitchen. Anything else?”
So much for getting her to open up to him.
“Okay... and the garage. Well, there’s a whole lot more around here if you haven’t already guessed. We have an indoor pool, a garden, and a huge indoor track, among other things. Of course, there’s also the ballrooms and dining halls and throne rooms, etc., but I doubt you care about all of that right now. If you need to find one of those, then you can just grab me or one of my brothers and we’ll show you how to get there. Is there anywhere specific you want to look at?”
“How do you get to the track?” The question was terse and short, but he took it as a win.
“Come with me and I’ll show you. The hallways can get pretty confusing, especially for someone who wasn’t raised here, so if you ever need help, you can stop by our rooms and one of us will probably be there to show you the way.”
Lachlan looked over just in time to see her eye roll and he had to bite his lip to hold in a chuckle at her annoyance.
“If you haven’t already figured it out, our rooms are right down the hallway from yours, so you won’t have to go far to find one of us. But anyway, we’re almost to the track.”
He took one more right turn, walked all the way to the end of the hall and opened the double doors. Addie squeezed past him before the doors were even fully open, and as Lachlan stepped in and looked over at her, he found himself at a loss for words. Her radiant face was in awe of the huge space, and a beautiful smile graced her lips as she walked further in and spun around to take the whole track in.
“I love it. I’ll definitely be spending a lot of time in here,” she marveled.
Suddenly, she stopped in her turn, looking at Lachlan with an inquisitive stare. “What’s that look on your face for?”
“Nothing, I just noticed that up until this moment, I've never seen you smile. It’s pretty. You should do it more often.”
And just like that he watched her walls drop back into place as her smile quickly faded.
Lachlan knew he was only supposed to be getting closer to her for information, so why did his heart ache as she closed herself back off?
“Addie, I’m sorry for what I said earlier. Truly, I am. I don’t envy the situation we have put you in, and I can’t even begin to understand what you went through before we came barging into your life. And honestly, you’re right. We don’t deserve the answers to our many questions. We don’t deserve to judge you and inspect you like a foreign species in a lab. You don’t deserve the way we have been treating you, and I’m sorry. I hope you’ll forgive me, because I honestly want to be friends with you.”
Her mismatched eyes were full of suspicion as she replied, and Lachlan braced himself for the verbal lashing. Instead, all that came out was one whispered word.
It took him a second to comprehend what she was asking. She must have taken his lack of response for the confusion it was, and decided to fill in the blanks for him.
“Why me, Lachlan? Why now? What do you want in return? Because I can tell you right now I don’t have anything to give.”
His heart broke a little at her words. What had happened to her to make her so jaded? What had she gone through to make her believe she had nothing to offer?
Stepping in front of her, he made sure she was looking straight in his eyes to see the sincerity of what he was about to say.
"Because, Addie. I know suffering. No, it might not be anything like what you went through, but I know what it's like to go through hell. I know the marks it leaves on your soul and the effect it has on your very being. But I also know the strength it takes to pick your ass up and climb out. I know the kind of person it takes to keep fighting, Addie, and I see so much fight in you it amazes me. So, I don't want anything in return. I just want you to trust me a bit. Trust me to help you. To be a friend to you, because I sure as hell haven't been acting like one up to this point and you deserve better."
The silence was deafening as he waited for her response. Just when he thought she wasn't going to say anything at all, she spoke up.
"I'm not good at trust Lachlan. I can't just give it freely like that, even if I wanted to."
He could sense her walls going back into place as she turned away from him, so he stepped in front of her one more time.
"I get that. I really do. But can you give me a chance to earn it? I promise you won't regret it."
Finally, after what felt like another eternity of waiting, she replied in what he was quickly beginning to realize was typical Addie fashion.
"Fine, but if I find out you're lying I swear to the Goddess I will make your life a living hell."
He took that as a win, and turned around to exit the room with a chuckle.
"Where the hell are you going?" Addie's exasperated voice reached his ears as he opened the doors, and he paused to look back at her.
"Well, I've got to start somewhere. Keep up and I'll show you something I think you'll really like."
He held in a smile at her frustrated huff, and continued on his path when he heard her stomping after him.
Lachlan knew he couldn't trust her. He knew she could be a threat to him and his brothers, and honestly he was beginning to believe she was an even bigger threat than they originally suspected. Because something told him she had no real malicious intent towards the heirs, but in just one day, Lachlan could see the effect she was having on all four of them. And the girl who had the power to effect them this much already, had the power to destroy them in ways they wouldn't ever be able to defend against.
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