My Lovely Moonlight Bride: Episode 5
“Do you ever learn Elan? You will drive us to the gutters!”
“Only half of your inheritance I seek. I shall repay every coin. I have to redeem my name, or I shall live in shame forever.”
Lucy’s golden eyes welled up with unshed tears. Her brother never ceased to disappoint her. Their mother had raised them to be responsible, pious and content with what they have. Elan had digressed, and she feared he may never change.
“You are a great disappointment brother.” Lucy shut the door to his face and returned to bed.
For the first time, Elan knew that he’d hurt his sister. Lucy was a dove. She was harmless. She was loved by everyone, yet he kept hurting her.
“I will never gamble with our fortune after this.” He pushed the door open and stepped into the room. Lucy was crying now. She wept silently as she glared at Elan’s face.
“Who is this man that you are indebted to? Maybe I could talk to him.”
Elan could never share this secret with her. It would be a great betrayal and an act of cowardice if he gave his sister the Duke’s name.
“You do not need to know.”
“Then you are not sorry for what you have done, brother. You must leave now. I have to rest my head. And one more thing, I will not come for your show.”
Elan strolled out like a guilty dog. He had to find a way to settle the Duke without infuriating his sister. Even if it meant selling the house which they lived in, he was prepared to do that.
He had learned his lesson; he would never underestimate anyone. He hoped that his sister would change her mind about not attending his show. Elan knew he wouldn’t sleep well tonight; he would be plagued by nightmares of his lost inheritance.
Two days had passed, and the day for Elan’s show had come. Elan had left the castle quite early, to the place where the show would hold. It was organised like a dinner party. While people enjoyed good food and wine, they would watch the plays that would come up after and listen to the Baron’s poems, which would be the highlight of the night.
“There you go, you look lovely Milady.” Elizabeth grinned as she stared at Lucy’s reflection in the lengthy mirror. Lucy had taken some of the clothes that Ariana had gotten for her. She wore a pink dress with a silver helm and a silver hat for the night. She grabbed her purse and stared at her reflection one last time, before strolling out of the room.
“Thank you Elizabeth.”
Lucy felt confident in her dress; she had a golden pearly necklace over her neck. It was a family heirloom; her mother had saved it for her twenty first birthday. Sadly, the woman hadn’t been alive to witness that glorious day. Lucy’s fingers curled on the gleaming stones as she walked towards the door. This was the last connection she had with her mother; she hoped that Elan’s reckless ways wouldn’t lead her to sell it off.
“I could never do that.” She muttered under her breath.
“Did you call me?” The servant heard the lady whisper.
“No. We’ll be gone for a while. Take care.”
As Lucy stepped on the porch, she spotted Arianna’s golden carriage moving towards her direction. She smiled and inhaled sharply. It was time for the girls to go out. Lucy felt a little bit nervous. This was the first public outing that she would have. She had carefully avoided going out with her brother many times; it wasn’t because of the embarrassing life that he chose to lead. Elan was a very handsome Baron, and women enjoyed flirting with him. One time, she felt that her presence hindered a particular woman. She had travelled all the way from Scotland where she was an heiress. The woman had eyes on her brother, but Lucy’s presence had soiled her prospects. She had learned her lesson.
“Lucy! Come on in!” Ariana beckoned to her.
Lucy ran into the snow rain and stepped into the carriage. The friends exchanged hugs and greetings and focused on the road ahead of them.
“You look stunning in that dress. You shall beguile many men at the party.” Ariana teased. She loved the way the dress clung to Lucy’s fragile frame like second skin. It highlighted her shapely figure; and the swell of her bosoms. Lucy’s raven hair cascaded to the middle of her back. The little hat sat upon the mass of black hair like a crown. Lucy was a princess. She would be the belle of the ball.
“Thank you. You don’t look bad yourself.” Lucy smiled and ran her eyes over her friend’s dress.
“Of course I don’t. Charlotte and Margerette would have a lot to talk about later tonight,” Ariana winked.
Ariana was pleased to escape from the castlette for a while. The Marquees had returned and she wouldn’t let her daughter rest. Lydia Beldon was bent on marrying her daughter off to the Duke of Wandsworth. She was too blind to notice that Ariana wasn’t interested.
“Mother wants me to pay Aldrich a visit,” Ariana whispered.
“Aldrich?” Lucy didn’t know who that was.
“Aldrich Clairborne is the Duke of Wandsworth. You should go out more often.” Ariana scoffed and poked Lucy’s belly with a finger. And this made Lucy laugh. She didn’t know the Duke by his name, but by his title.
“That is not a bad thing Ariana. Your mother wants the best for you. She has groomed you especially for a man like the Duke. You do not want to miss this opportunity. I have heard stories about this Duke. He is a good man. You will learn to love him. Being with a man like Aldrich is better than having a brother like Elan.”
When she said this, Ariana laughed. It was common knowledge that the baron was failing. It was his good looks and his poetry that earned him respect, especially among the women folk.
“Oh come off it, the Baron isn’t so bad. A lot of women admire him! He is handsome.” Ariana waved her off, but Lucy wouldn’t be silenced.
“Those women are carried away by his looks, but their infatuation wouldn’t last when Elan gambles away their fortunes.” Lucy wished Ariana would be more appreciative of what she had. Life with her brother was tougher than most people imagined.
Ariana fell silent. Lucy couldn’t understand why she was against her mother’s plans, and she wasn’t interested in explaining. She noticed that her friend wasn’t very bright. Ariana guessed something had transpired between her and the Baron. It wasn’t easy to be a highborn. It came with great expectations. Most times, one sacrificed his or her happiness to meet these expectations. But she wasn’t prepared to do that. She didn’t want a loveless marriage. She wanted to be happy with the man she would end up with and that man wasn’t the Duke of Wandsworth.