Chapter 21: Renewed Hopes
Harsh cold had settled densely in the air since a while now. Goosebumps were becoming a permanent feature on my skin, my teeth clattered, my skin turned blue, and the cold seeping into my spine made my body shiver involuntarily, but I could not find the energy to get off the floor and head to somewhere with more warmth, and neither did I want to get up. I did not deserve comfort, I deserved pain and misery just as the one I had inflicted on the life of my best friend. I was only half way down the road of imaging my death at hands of cold and starvation when I felt something deliciously warm touch my back, sending soothing waves of heat through my skin, a similar heat source found its way to the back of my knees as well. A moment later, I was lifted off the ground effortlessly and brought against a warm and hard masculine chest, while strong muscular arms supported my upper back and legs.
An air of familiarity and peace surrounded me, causing me to subconsciously put my arms around the body holding me, and rest my head against the chest eliciting much welcomed warmth.
“Miss me, beautiful lady?”
Came that oh so silky and familiar voice of Vincent, that I had missed so much.
Tilting my head a bit to the side presented me with the glorious view of Vincent’s smiling face. His hair were a bit unkempt, his stubble grown more than the time I last saw him, a streak of dust was smeared down his left cheek, and a heartwarming smile played on his lips lighting up his eyes. He looked rougher but still so beautiful that he could without any doubt give every girl in the Estercrest Empire a run for their money.
I had been too busy tracing his strong jaw line with my sight, and marveling at his beautiful soulful eyes that I forget he had asked me something.
“No answer means yes, Eleanor.”
He said with a mischievous smile, as he walked into the room; I had woken up in before, carrying me.
The room was lit only by a tiny flame dancing in a lantern placed on the table neighboring the bed. The room was freezing since the fireplace had gone cold. With his foot Vincent dragged the only chair in the room in front of the fireplace and gently placed me in the chair draping on me the blanket he had grabbed from the bed, warmth of which I gladly accepted.
I did not realize I had fallen asleep till the moment the silky voice, ownership of Vincent, pulled me from my dreamy state. The room was brighter than I last remembered, and I was quite certain the reason for it was the fire burning gloriously in the fireplace.
“I set you up a warm bath; enjoy it before the water goes cold.”
Vincent spoke with a kind caring smiling fixed on his lips.
“Why are you so good to me? I do not deserve it. You should leave me to die as everyone else.”
My voice broke and tears began to stream down my cheeks, again. The dam I had been trying to build broke down with the force of my own words.
A sigh escaped Vincent’s delectable lips as he shook his head, but said nothing as a reply to me. Gently he lifted me in his arms after taking the blanket off me, instinctively my arms went around his neck keeping me from falling though I would not have mind that either. Carrying me, Vincent walked to a small room holding a not so large tub filled of steaming water and few clothes on a wooden table.
Vincent put me down on my feet, but did not let go of me. His hand rested on the small of my back while his other hand deftly indulged into undressing me, all the while I drowned in the bottomless seas of raging emotions; his eyes, which were locked on mine without faltering for even a moment. With my clothes dealt with I was made to lie in the tub gently.
Tension ebbed away from my body, muscle by muscle, as water dripped from Vincent’s fingers and slid on my skin finally joining the water filling the tub; under which almost all of my body was submerged other than my face. I lay my head back and close my eyes relaxing further as his fingers massage my hair and scalp; gently applying soap and washing it away in time.
Once I was in a state of complete relaxation Vincent sat down next to the edge of tub and started to converse.
“What happened was none of it was your fault, Eleanor.”
“You cannot say that. You know nothing, Vincent.”
“Oh but I do know everything that happened at the Carter Manor. It was not your fault that the Manor got attacked. You are not responsible for the death of all the innocents in that brutality filled incident. The blood of all those people who died at Carter Manor that day including your friend’s parents is on the hands of the people who staged that attack and carried it on for their personal benefits.”
“But it would all not have taken place if only I had listened to you and let go of the stupid idea for revenge.”
“Well yes it would have saved those lives lost at the Carter Manor that day, but it would have in time resulted Estercrest Empire to lose hundreds of thousands of lives. Those people playing the game of throne would have picked if not you some other woman who I believe would not have been as smart and as strong willed as you, and it would have been easy for them to get the prince killed and get benefits from the king, and in time even seize the throne, that would have led to oppression of the common masses of the empire, so the truth is you are a life saver; a heroine. Also you should know’ Genevieve did not leave you. She left because she needs time to mourn to get over her loss as is natural, but being here she cannot do so as here all her energies will be focused on not causing more trouble for you and stay hidden. ”
I did not say anything in response and fell into deep thoughts, mulling over his words. Taking my silence as a cue to end of our conversation, Vincent gently pulled me out of the water, and dressed me in a robe and carried me back to the room now even warmer.
With blanket on top, body pressed to the side of his warm one, and head resting on his chest Vincent got me in bed.
I whispered softly, while I traced circles on his chest with my index finger.
“For everything you did for me.”
“The pleasure is all mine.”
“You know you a quite good at that giving back the hope to someone thing.”
“My, my, is the mighty Ms. Black acknowledging my skills.”
I playfully slapped his chest.
“Do not make fun of me, and also please do not call me Ms. Black.”
“What else should I call you then?”
“Just Eleanor. You call me Ms. Black always when you are mad at me and distancing yourself from me, and I do not want to lose you too. ”
“I am right here with you, Just Eleanor, I would not dare leave you. I promise.”
Smiling at his playful aura engulfing me, I felt a peace run through my being as well as exhaustion. Kissing his cheek, I bid Vincent good night, and pressed my ear over his heart and fell asleep to the calming beat of it.