As if she had been electrocuted, Amie got up from the sofa with lightning speed and answered “What?” so loud, that it could almost be described as screaming.
“This is a bad joke, isn’t it?”
“No, unfortunately not...”
Now she started pacing wildly across the room and bombarded me with questions.
“Who knows about it? What should we do? We can’t call on the normal police, but we can call on James. Have you already told him?”
She looked at me questioningly and with a piercing stare.
“No, not yet. James doesn’t know about anything, but Darius does. He had noticed, that my blood-serum vial was missing from the safe, when he was in Ignis to get the serial numbers of the diamonds.”
“Yesterday, I was with Darius in our apartment all day, looking for the vial. We turned everything inside out, twice and didn’t find anything...
Amie, I have a really bad feeling about this... I’m afraid that wasn’t a normal burglary...”
Completely perplexed, she sat down next to me in a hunched up position, resting her elbows on her legs, putting her palms together and placing them in front of her mouth.
Her dark curls fell over her shoulders and seemed to lifelessly hang in the air, as Amie herself.
“I asked Darius for a three to four day delay, before I confess it to Malachy. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not exactly on good terms with Malachy, at the moment...”
Now, she looked straight at me.
“Maggie, this is not good! A vial, containing blue blood-serum in the wrong hands... I don’t even want to imagine what could happen. Wars have already broken out over stupid things, like this... and on top of that, from a Fleur de Lys, the last living Fleur de Lys.”
I slumped down powerless and said: “I know exactly what you mean. There are things, which even Malachy cannot protect me from...”
Now, that the subject came back to James, Amie checked again.
“Maggie, I have to ask you again: Are you absolutely sure, that James and Daina slept together? I mean, did you catch them red-handed?”
Her words slightly offended me.
“There was no room for interpretation! And James reaction...” I stopped for a moment, before continuing. “I just can’t believe, that he was just playing, to feel something for me, the whole time.”
“I don’t quite see what you’re getting at,” Amie replied.
“Maggie my dear, don’t question everything. I am sure, that James feels something for you. I definitely don’t want to protect him, but there are always two sides to the same coin.
As it is now, it definitely cannot go on between you two. The only person who benefits from it, is Daina.
Have you ever thought about this?”
“Oh, Daina! You should have seen her triumphant look!” I saw her triumphant smile in my mind’s eye.
Amie agreed at this point.
“Precisely! Don’t leave her the field, without a fight and damn it: talk to James, the sooner the better. And try to put your injured pride behind you. You can’t go back, the contract has been signed...
Do you want to start this marriage heartbroken? If he can’t completely commit himself to you, then there are other, more discreet ways, which at least don’t offend you in public.”
She took me in her arms and hugged me.
“Maggie, I’m so sorry! I wish I could make all of this more bearable for you!”
“But you already are!” I replied quietly. “Your presence here alone, makes everything a little easier for me to bear.”
At these words, a tear ran down my cheek.
“And I am doing everything I can, to make your life as miserable as possible.”
Now, Amie broke away from me and looked at me questioningly.
“What do you mean by that?”
“I mean, that I didn’t think for a second, that I could harm you and Darius with my great contract.
The stupid clause, calling for Darius to be the next head of Clan Romanov, sabotages your relationship. And instead of being mad at me, the two of you skip this topic completely.
If I hadn’t accidentally asked Darius in the apartment yesterday, who knows when I would have noticed at all...”
At that moment I made up my mind.
To give Darius and Amie a chance, so they could officially be together, I would swallow my pride and get along with Malachy.
Even if it broke my heart.
“I’ll make it up to you! I promised Darius yesterday, too. We are a family!
I’m going to pull myself together and bury my injured pride, somewhere in box deep inside me.
My marriage to him doesn’t just have to be a burden. I can also use my proximity to the Regent, to help the people who are close to my heart.”
Now Amie’s eyes glistened very suspiciously.
“Please, don’t cry, Amie! You would do the same for me, if you could.”
She just nodded silently and tried to collect her emotions.
I looked at my watch, which told me it was time to meet Andre for my evening lesson.
“I now have to go to my lesson with Andre.”
I sluggishly got up from the sofa.
“We can accomplish everything, as long as we stick together!”
Amie nodded slowly and remained silent. At the same time, the first tear ran down her cheek...
I left her room just as quietly as I came.
Usually, I felt liberated and reassured, after a conversation with Amie.
For the first time since I knew her, this wasn’t the case. I had the feeling, that I was carrying the weight of the whole world on my shoulders.
I didn’t have time to freshen up, so I went straight to James’ official study.
Andre would certainly be patiently waiting for me, there.
And indeed he was.
Dutifully and in a perfectly rehearsed position, Andre stood next to the comfortable seating arrangement.
When he saw me, he smiled kindly and greeted me.
“Good evening, Lady Fleur de Lys! It is an honour for me, to teach you!”
I greeted him back and moved towards the small seating area. A pot of coffee sat on the coffee table, next to a small plate of savory biscuits.
I took a seat in one of the three wing chairs and asked Andre to do the same.
After pouring me a coffee, he stiffly sat down next to me.
“Lady Fleur de Lys, before we begin, I would like to inform you, that Sir Stuart is on an impromptu, inevitable business trip. We don’t expect him back, until Thursday. ”
I nodded in understanding.
So that’s why he hadn’t come to breakfast, this morning. He wasn’t even here.
Good - that gave me some time to collect myself before facing him the next time.
Andre cleared his throat and seemed uncomfortable.
“Sir Stuart asked me, to inform you, that you have an appointment with architect Gavin Hunter this Friday afternoon, at 4pm.
Mr. Hunter was charged with overseeing and coordinating the construction work and refurnishing of the new premises for you and Sir Stuart.
Sir Stuart suggests, that you familiarize yourself with castle ‘Green Willow Grove’ prior to the appointment, so you can gain initial insight, which wing of the castle your new rooms should be built in.”
I nodded again, friendly and dutiful.
I didn’t want Andre to see, that I was a little pissed off.
Malachy could have given me this information himself.
Now I knew exactly, how Amie had felt, when I didn’t have time for her and instead sent the staff.
After Andre fulfilled his duty, to keep me informed of the latest events, my lesson began.
Andre started with the primordial soup and the war of humanity against the Aristocracy, almost 1000 years ago...