The Lord Who Played [Flemington #2]

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XXVII. Dancing at its Best

Darla did not know what came over her. When James asked her to dance with him, she wanted to refuse but somehow, she placed her hand into his and her mortal enemy was leading her to the dance floor.

You are getting delusional, Darla. He did this for the appearance's sake, obviously, she thought as James was pulling her by the waist and the other gripped her hand as the musicians were playing the new set for them.

"It would seem that everyone was looking at you, my lord," Darla stated as her eyes were focusing on James' handsome face. The rake smiled before they were twirling around the dance floor.

To be honest, Darla thought that James looked good in his midnight blue Ditto suit with his white cravat and black Hessian boots sticking out to contrast the suit that he wore. And his brown hair was glistening under the moonlight as well as the gaslights around the courtyard, giving him the aura of a fairy prince that came to sweep the maiden to his lair.

And that maiden was her.

"I think you're mistaken, my lady. I think they were looking at you," James said as she blushed. She never heard anyone compliment her before since Darla rarely went to the balls and events where she would be expected to be a lady in polite society. Darla shook her head.

"I think they were curious who is this woman that is dancing in my arms. Especially the scandalmongers," James whispered into her ear before she turned to look at his face. They stood inches apart and their hot breaths mingled.

"How do you know there are scandalmongers at the ball?" she whispered to him as James smirked. Then, he was twirling her around as they were pressed against each other. Darla can feel his muscular body and chest were pressed against her lithe form. Indecent images were hitting her head at once from the baths that they shared earlier before her face heated.

"The best place for gossips were at the ball, besides Warydeval of course. And I think you would be surprised to know who was the head of the scandalmongers," James whispered as Darla was trying to figure out where the scandalmongers were sitting. Perhaps I could evade them later, she thought before James was chuckling next to her ear.

"Don't bother. You would never catch them in action. I know for I have seen it," he said before Darla was turning to look at his face again. The music set has come to an end but James did not move to leave the dancing floor. He tipped his head down and with that sudden move, Darla stepped back before she turned her back to James and walked away from the festivity.


Mary was at the refreshment banquet as she was trying to avoid any dancing that her father would put her up with. She wanted to get away from the festivity but it has only been 30 minutes since she came here.

How much longer do I have to suffer this? she thought before her hand was reaching for a chocolate cake. Her hand was touching another hand that was coming from across the table. Startled, Mary turned to look at the young gentleman that was looking at her.

He must be the most handsome young gentleman that she ever encountered. Most of the gentlemen that her father introduced to her were either old or wrinkled. But not this man, and she never knew who he was.

"I apologize, my lady. I did not wish to touch your hand," the young man said as he bowed for an apology. She was not wearing her gloves so it was not polite to be touching hands with a young man without any layer of clothes between them.

"It was an accident. No harm done," she said before the young man's mouth curved upward at the end. So, you know how to smile, after all, she thought before the young man was looking at her.

His hair was in the shade of the wheat that bloomed before harvest season. His eyes were the color of turbulent for they cannot settle for one color. There was green and gold mixed together that drew Mary in to get lost in them.

The young gentleman cleared his throat before Mary blinked her eyes. She was staring at the man like a scandalmonger, trying to figure him out. Damn, I should be careful in polite society. Unless I was in the forest, that would be a different case, Mary thought before the young man was bowing again at her.

"Excuse me," he said before leaving Mary to gape at him as she was wondering if this was a fate or a curse for she had found the perfect husband candidate only to realize that she did not know his name.


Darla ran away from the courtyard as she was breathing hard. Her heart was beating faster than she ever could imagine as she was gripping her chest. What is this? What is this feeling and turmoil inside of me? she asked before she was looking at the festivity in a distance.

Darla knew that she was not a polite society material when she was trying to get away from the crowd. It always drained her more when she was around her students. That was different, you know it was, she mused before she shook her head and looked around her.

"I must have gotten far away from the castle," she said as she was looking at the gloomy forest around them. Even though the Walled city of Red Cast was secured from the bandits' attack, it has been attacked last month where the princess of the realm was one of the hostages in the Dragon's Bazaar.

But thankfully, she was rescued by her husband and nothing had happened since.

"Maybe I should get back to the castle," she mumbled before she heard a twig snapped. She turned around and fear enveloped her.

"Don't go too soon. We're just having fun," the leader of the bandits said as he was smirking at Darla before someone wrapped her head in a sack and something pricked her neck. Then, there was only darkness.


James was looking around for Darla. He danced with a few ladies before he excused himself to find his betrothed. Well, pretend betrothed as Darla would call their relationship. She asked him to pretend in front of her colleagues and now, he was in deeper shit than ever.

Her father wanted to know what his choice would be.

James did not know if he should be grateful for the choices that he had. He can leave and forget about Darla and continued to be a rake that he had everyone believe or he could follow his heart and accepted the fate that his parents put him into.

But in the end, it always comes to the fact that Darla was not happy to be engaged to him. She did call him her mortal enemy.

James was in turmoil for he knew that his feelings for Darla have changed. When they were children, he would call her ugly for he was lost for words when he saw her. She was the most perfect lady in existence and James felt like he was unworthy to be in her presence.

That's why he was harsh with her.

Then, there was one time when he visited his grandma at the townhouse in Hamptor where he did not know that Darla was a student. Again, he was bombarded by the beauty of her face and pale complexion. And that was the first time when he kissed her and she was eager to kiss him back.

Perhaps her feelings were not a secret after all. Perhaps she was feeling the same thing as I do, he mused before James was walking toward the forest that was secluded from the festivity. He could tell that some of the couples and sweethearts were sneaking around here to get away and have some privacy. James smirked before he was walking and he tripped over something.

"Bloody hell!" he cursed before he turned to look at the ground. It was shining in the dark and when James took it in his hands, the blood was drained from his face.

It was Darla's reticule as she would wear it everywhere. James noticed that she would be wearing them when she was at the orphanage. She never took it off.

"Damnation," he gripped the reticule before James looked around his surroundings before making out the struggling signs on the ground. He went to investigate before he saw there was another mark that was left behind.

Darla's betrothed ring.

James gripped it before he was running toward the festivity, knowing that he just discovered something that might bring Darla to danger if not she was already in one.


"How do you know that someone would find me? Would you stop and think that your plan of execution was flawed?" Darla asked the leader of the bandits as he was tightening the ropes around her wrists. He arched his eyebrow before he smirked at Darla.

"Don't worry. I am sure someone will come to the forest and saw the signs that you made, sweetheart," the leader said before one of his bandits was whispering to him. Then, the leader was smiling.

"Congratulations. Your betrothed has found out our trap and I am sure he will be more than happy to accommodate our needs," the leader said before they were walking toward the carriage that was waiting for them.

"Since when you have a carriage? I thought bandits don't fancy those things?" Darla asked before the leader turned to look at her over his shoulder. Then, he smirked.

"Well, we've evolved and this time, we're aiming for something higher," he said before he opened the door and shoved Darla inside not so gentlemanly.

"You will pay for this," she said as she was pushing her hair away from her face. The leader smiled before tilting his head.

"But we already did and this time, I will make sure that Flemington will pay for their debts," he said before shutting the door and stepped onto the driver's seat. The horses were whipped and the carriage lunged forward as they were leaving Red Cast and went to Fik forest, the bandits' lair.
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