The Lord Who Played [Flemington #2]

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XXI. Pretending to Betrothed

James has cleaned after his night in the infirmary. The night where he had a taste of Lady Darla Lockwood and right now, he was sitting in the headmistress' office of The Lockwood Orphanage in Norkins.

When he arrived there with Darla in tow, he was surprised to see some of the familiar faces from the nobility that he never expect to see. Then, he noticed that two of them were women and they were focusing on James too intense for his comfort.

He took a seat as Darla was sitting at the head of the table, looking around the table before her amber eyes were focused on him. Then, she cleared her throat and addressed the people in the room.

"Welcome, everyone. As you all know, last night, we have an incident that has been done by Lord James Flemington and I know you might have questions about it,"

Two people were raising their hands but Darla ignored them as she continued.

"And I wanted this to make sure that there will be no misunderstanding when it comes to Lord James and myself. I am the one that treated him last night and he had been better since," her amber orbs were looking at him, warning not to telltale of what had happened last night between them. James smirked.

"So, I would like you to meet my betrothed, Lord James Flemington of Fiktown," Darla breathed out as James was looking around.

Silence. Utter silence.

Then, everyone was looking at Darla and himself before they were firing questions about their secret betrothal that everyone at the orphanage should have known about.

"When did you guys meet?"

"When is the wedding date? May I come?"

"How come you do this to us? We never knew that you are engaged. There goes my chance to be with you, my lady,"

Darla cleared her throat as she was addressing everyone in the room. They went silent. So, she could control an entire room with a single cough but she never knew how to back down from a fight with me, James thought as he was drumming his fingernails on the table.

Interesting.

"Lord Flemington will be staying with us for a few days. And I hope that will not be a problem and if you want to know more details about our betrothal," Darla said as she was looking at him, "You can ask his lordship himself," she said before she was ushering everyone out of her room.

Everyone went out except for him.

After the last person has exited the room, James closed the door with a click before he turned to look at Darla. She was busy arranging some books that she will be using later for her class. Her back was to him but James can see that she stiffened when he stepped closer to her.

"So, I am to be believed that your my betrothed. And since when did we agreed to do so with the public?" James asked her before Darla steeled her back and turned to look at him. Her eyes were pure malice but she tried to hide it as she was taking a deep breath and exhaled it.

"Papa stated that your father and mine have come to an agreement to get us both married when we come of age. And I think after...after last night," her face was red when Darla said that, "It is in my best interest to protect my reputation so that everyone should believe we're engaged to be married," Darla said with a straight face. James stepped forward as she stumbled back. He arched his eyebrow at her.

"If we want them to believe that we're betrothed, shouldn't you be afraid of me? Perhaps show enthusiasm whenever you see me, Darla darling," James said as he was smirking at her.

"I am not your darling," she hissed before James strode toward her and gripped her face in his hands.

"Now, I believe we have to make a good show to your peers so that they believe our story, Darla darling," James said before he smirked. As Darla was about to protest, he claimed her mouth like a mad man and kissed her.

So much for that being an act when all James wanted when he saw her that morning was to kiss her and make love to her.

But of course, James has to bid his time, and someday, all will be revealed when Darla finally opened her heart to him.

*****

Why do I ever agree to be married to this one stubborn rake? Darla thought as she was trying to get away from James' kiss. It has been intoxicating, time after time again when they kissed, and right now, she did not know if she wanted to push him away or pull him closer to get a better taste.

Then, James had to break the spell that he cast on her by whispering that her peers were staring at the window that they were standing next to. James was trying to convince them that they were betrothed and with that kiss, he convinced them.

Then, the rake has the nerve to leave her hanging with his taste and slipped away.

Darla was leaning against the wall as she was trying to wipe away the tears that were brimming her eyes. I will not cry over him. I will not, she thought before Darla took a deep breath and she was carrying the books to her class.

Darla loved to surround herself with children of all ages and what she can teach them for their future. It was nothing like she'd ever done at the academy where she invented stuff and made sure that it ran smoothly.

With children, however, she felt more compassionate to teach them the right and wrong of the world.

"Now, if you want to make sure that the water is hot enough for your travel, I will explain the invention of a thermos," she started as she was drawing something on the blackboard. She smiled as she remembered the first time that she presented her creative invention to the deans of the academy.

It has the same rush as sharing it with her students.

"Now, when we put the hot water into a bottle, the heat would be conducted through the wall and into the environment. That is why they will lose their heat when you pack them for a long journey. It applied as well to the cold water when it will be lukewarm when you sipped it after a few hours," she said as the children were eager to learn from her.

"Now, if we put something between the water and the environment, the heat or the cold will stay in place, and perhaps, it will take more time for them to lose to the surrounding," she said as she was drawing the additional characteristic to her thermos.

She was explaining that it can be created by simple things that they found in their rooms or in the forest. But for now, Darla stuck to the items that can be easily found in the orphanage.

"Now, build your own thermos and you can keep them for your travel to come," she said before the children were building it and she guided them. After her class was finished, Darla went to the dining hall to eat with her students and peers. That was until James pulled her into one deserted room on her way there.

"What do you think you're doing?" she hissed at him but kept looking outside the room so that her peers or students will not be seeing their interaction. It was not looking like they were falling in love, soon-to-be-married couple.

"I don't have anything to do around here," James said as he was looking at Darla. She shrugged.

"It's not my problem that you don't have any classes. And I don't think that you would like to teach one." Darla said before she was looking at James, wondering if he could ever teach a class with children of all ages.

"I can teach them languages," James said before Darla arched her eyebrow.

"Languages?" she repeated as her mortal enemy nodded.

"Yeah, I can teach them Common, Zirnese, Pachadian, and Hexstan. It's not like they don't know Caganese already. But I can add more to that list," he said before Darla was blinking her eyes at James.

"I never knew that you know so many languages," she blurted out before James smiled crookedly at her. Her heartbeat faster at that rare smile when usually Darla would get a smirk from him.

Not this time around though.

"Well, there's a lot of things that you don't know about me, Lady Darla. But I could make an exception for you, my Darla darling," he said before he was pulling Darla for a kiss. But she stepped aside.

"Aren't you hungry? We can go to the dining hall together and perhaps I will arrange a class for you to teach tomorrow," Darla said as she was putting a safe distance between them. James smiled before he put her hand in the crook of his elbow.

"I will love nothing more to escort you there, my lady," he said before they went to the dining hall, looking like a couple that was so much in love.
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