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[center [size11 Not a sequel. Not a prequel. Just another tale of love transcending lifetimes.]][center [size11 [http://rp.eliteskills.com/r.php?r=129104 |Book 1|]]]
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The were no words to describe the way she felt through the anticipation of seeing Marcus again. It was almost as though she had returned to the state when he had first started courting her. Nervous and giddy at the same time at the thought of seeing him. When the door began to open she began to feel her nerves rise and she looked down towards the floor as though it was a way to calm herself but when she saw that it was him who answered she merely couldn't help but return the smile that appeared upon his lips.
It was clear that he was not expecting her and they stayed on the door step for a period of time before he eventually invited her in by stepping aside for her. Once the door was closed behind her he began to apologise for not writing back and all she could do was shake her head to let him know that she understood completely. As she followed him through the house she knew instantly that they were heading towards the kitchen.
Silence fell between them again as he began to make tea and she stood waiting against a counter opposite him. She gratefully received the tea and did not hesitate to take a sip to help warm herself up and Marcus began to break the silence between them first, speaking of Liana's scheme and she almost laughed but when he met her gaze her stomach jolted nervously. Alexandria was completely taken in by him and she couldn't help but put her cup down on the side and make her way towards him. Knowing they were alone for the first time threw all of her inhibitions out of the window and she could do nothing more to stop herself from wrapping herself around him in am embrace that she could only hope he would return.
Marcus sat at his desk starting at the letter. He'd been sitting there for what only felt like several minutes when in actuality it had been closer to an hour. He didn't read the words anymore. His thoughts only led him to memories of the war and how little he wished to see it again.
He finally picked himself up out of his chair when he heard the knock at the door. His father was at work, his mother out with a friend, and Alexandria had gone back to living with her new husband finally. He knew she had wanted to stay in the house since his return, but he hated knowing he was keeping her from Felix.
Without anyone else to answer the door, he made his way down the stairs, the wooden boards creaking under his shoes. He reached out to open the door when he reached the bottom, expecting a package or something of the sort, but he was greeted with Alexandria.
He stood there for a moment, his mouth hanging open. A small smile grew on his lips, finally. He stepped aside to let her in.
"I must apologize," he told her right off the bat, closing the door behind her. "I've meant to write you back, but I... I wasn't quite sure how." He lead her to the kitchen where he promptly poured her some tea while is was still somewhat warm from earlier. He handed her the cup before leaning against the counter.
They shared a moment of silence as she sipped. Then he finally got up the nerves to reply to her letter in spoken words.
"If you wanted this foolish plan to stop, all you'd have to do is say so," he told her. "I know in the letter you said you might not want Liana to stop scheming, but if you did by any chance..." He looked away from her, his mouth turning up into an awkward smirk. "One word from you and I'll make her stop. I'm that far wrapped around your finger," he admitted, finally meeting her gaze.
As the days passed Alexandria was becoming more and more withdrawn from the world that she knew and she was sure that she would eventually make Thomas suspicious of her actions. It was the thoughts of Marcus that caused her to become distant and it was so surprising her to because she never expected to see him again but it didn’t surprise her that her feelings for him came rushing back to quickly and she was also blind to how much Thomas was becoming more and more distressed with his return. She wouldn’t know that Marcus received a letter calling him back to war and she wouldn’t know that it was Thomas’ doing either.
Being as connected as he was, Thomas was able to contact the right people to ensure that Marcus got medical clearance so they could call him back to fight and he had no shame in the desperate attempts to ensure that Alexandria remained his. He could see that she was slipping and sooner or later she would tell him that she no longer wanted to marry him but if he sent Marcus away, he may fade from her memories once more and she might marry him before Marcus returned from the war and then there would be no way out for her.
As Alexandria woke that morning she found a note on the dining table telling her that he would be out to work all day and she couldn’t deny that she felt relieved that she wouldn’t have to attempt the small talk and she considered what she might do for the day. In honesty she needed to see Marcus and she wanted to see him alone. Of course, it would be suspicious if she allowed Marcus into her home, especially with the nosy neighbours but she didn’t have time to speak to him properly and there was no doubt that he had read her letter by now.
She spent a few minutes getting herself ready for the outside world and wrapped herself up from the cold air and made her way towards Marcus’ house, hoping that he would be available for her to talk to without any interruption. There was something desperate about her speed and she found herself walking up his driveway sooner than she expected and her nerves kicked in. The fact that it had been a couple of days since she had last seen him made her more nervous as she was used to seeing him every day before he left. The time between visits made her miss him more. She pulled her hand up and knocked on the door and waited nervously hoping that it would be him answering the door.
For the next few days Marcus wasn's able to setlle his mind. Ever since he read the letter, he couldn't help but hope their relationship was possible, but he also knew how stressful this was for her. He wished there was some magical way to get her back into his life without stirring up trouble. What he was faced with know was harder than anything he had done before. And he had to ask himself if it was even morally right.
After all, an oath is an oath. Thomas asked her to marry him, and even if her heart wasn't completely in it, she had agreed all the same. But that also did not mean that it was alright to subject Alexandria to a life of unhappiness, either. Surely she could see that the man was only in it for her beauty. He had no idea who his fiance even was, Marcus was sure.
Of course Thomas pretended to winning her over with dresses and jewels and flowers. Marcus could tell none of that really worked on her. It was the sense of security she was grasping at. Since Marcus's false death after her mother's she no doubt felt out of control and this was her attempt at setting the world right.
Taking all these things into consideration, Marcus came to the conclusion that they were in the right to fight this. He and Alexandria were so clearly meant for each other that not fighting to be together would be a sin in itself, he was sure.
Two days after Alexandria's visit Marcus recieved a different kind of letter than the one he got from her. He wished ever so much that it had been from her, but it wasn't in any handwriting.It was written with a typewriter and was telling Marcus that his leave of abscence was over. He was to be called back to the front lines.
He couldn't believe this was true at first. They hadn't sent him any notification that his leave was temporary. He had been nearly dead and they expected him to come back to fight just because he was physically well again. It was true that his neck had healed fairly well, but the wounds inflicted on his mind were far more distracting. He couldn't imagine doing his job again.
He nearly broke down when he got the letter and was glad that he was alone when he read it. Then he hid it. He didn't want anyone finding out yet. Especially Alexandria. This put a hold on everything they had been planning... He wondered if he could run away with her. He'd never desert of course, but thinking about it wasn't forbidden.
For a moment Alexandria sat and watching as Aeliana handed the envelope to her brother and her anxiety surfaced, hoping that he would not open it and read it right there and then. She wouldn’t know what to do with herself if he read the letter that she wrote for him in front of her. Alexandria was read to excuse herself until he decide to set it aside and she wondered if he could see the relief across her face as she exhaled.
It was so easy to fall into a conversation with Aeliana like old times and it was nice for her to just enjoy the simplicity of the company and at one point during the conversation she looked towards Marcus and found that he had fallen asleep and eventually she decided that it was time for her to leave and she said her goodbyes without disturbing Marcus.
On her journey home her thoughts were consumed with the Marcus and she found herself thinking of ways that she might find herself with him again and deep down she hoped that the letter would give him more of a reason to fight to be with her and even though she told Aeliana that she didn’t feel like she could leave her fiancé she still had hope that there was some way around it.
As she wondered home she found herself looking in a couple shops so that she had something to take home in case he was home before her. At least then it looked as though she was out for a reason and that she hadn’t spent her free time with Aeliana and Marcus. She had no idea what would happen if she knew that she had been spending time with him when he had forbade her.
It didn’t surprise her that he was home when she arrived and the first thing he asked her was to find out where she had been. A smile appeared on her face as she removed from around her neck and shook her head. Just as expected and she replied by showing him the bags as she went into the kitchen and placed them on the table.
Marcus listened to her reply and he wasn't sure if she wanted him to be there or is she hoped she would manage to be here while he was out.
After taking a sip from his cup, Aeliana beside him handed him an envelope with his name on the front in the familiar handwriting of Alexandria. He took it slowly, confused, before looking up at his sister and the woman who wrote it.
"She gave this to me to give to you before you got here," Liana explained.
Marcus nodded slowly, taking the letter and setting it on the coffee table beside the tray. He didn't want to make things awkward by reading it in front of them. If she wanted to tell him in person then she would have. And it was probably more personal and she wouldn't want his sister around for it anyway.
So instead he set it aside and went back to his tea. He listened to Aeliana and Alexandria catch up even more about their lives, then. He enjoyed listening to them talk. So much so that it relaxed him to hear their voices. He set his cup back on the tray and leaned back into the couch, folding his hands together. Before he knew it his eyes were drooping closed.
He couldn't remember becoming so tired. Perhaps it was just how comfortable he was in their presence. Perhaps it was the war catching up with him. Whatever it was, neither woman thought they should wake him once he fell into his cat nap. When he woke, Alexandria was gone and he could hear his mother's voice mixed with Liana and Felix's.
He was disappointed that he had missed out on the rest of the conversation, but he couldn't help himself when his eyes wanted to close. And perhaps it was for the best. He wouldn't have known how to say goodbye to Alexandria...
Thinking of her reminded him of the letter she had written him and he sat up just a bit to reach out for the envelope. Someone had covered him with an old blanket and it fell around his waist when he reached. Opening the small envelope, he pulled out the letter and read. He read it slowly, hearing her voice the whole time he did so. He could almost hear the pain in her tone.
He knew she was confused and he could not blame her for that. But the small bits of hope he could sense in there gave him the strength he needed to see this through, even if the end result was not what he intended.
He folded the letter back up and leaned back once again to think about the words. As he did so, Liana poked her head into the room.
"Oh, you're up," she said softly. "Supper is ready and I was going to wake you if you weren't already."
"I've been asleep for that long?" he asked her.
"You must have needed it. Mother told me not to bother you. Not that I would have... Alexandria left not too long after you fell asleep."
Marcus sat up and rubbed at his eyes. "I'll be in to eat in a moment," he said softly.
She could feel the nerves bouncing from him and she found that she felt the same as him. For a moment she just looked into his eyes hoping to see the love that once resided there but all she seemed to see was panic. Was it really panic? It was clear that this was a shock to her and as her lips parted to explain Aeliana invited him to join them. Luckily he decided he would change out of this uniform first. There was something about that uniform that made her feel strange and just reminded her of her loss of him. She hoped that she would never have not see him that uniform again.
Before he left she held his gaze for a moment with so many unsaid things lingering between them and as soon as he was out of ear-shot she turned to Aeliana. "Perhaps I should go." She said quietly; almost a whisper.
"Don't you dare. Thomas will not find out and there is no reason why you can't spend time with him. Alexandria, you lost him too. Don't you think you deserve to enjoy the feeling of having him back in your life? I told you that I won't rest until you two are walking down the isle. I know he told you that he wanted to marry you when he returned and now that he is back it is my intention to ensure that happens." She said before taking a sipmof of tea and returning to her seat. "Now sit down and wait for him to come back."
And she did and when he returned she couldn't help but smile at the sight of him. He looked alot fresher now he was out of that uniform and if she wasn't in the company of another she might have struggled to stop herself from embracing him. She closed her eyes for a second as if to gather herself and waited for him to take a seat next to his sister.
"Yes, just a visit. I wasn't sure whether you would be here." She could almost feel that awkward tension in the air and Aeliana was watching them both closely as if waiting for some kind of moment to happen between them.
Marcus, smiled wider and nodded, taking his hat and tucking it under his arm. "I have," he announced. "I'm officially alive, again," he half-joked. He was surprised to see here. He hadn't prepared himself mentally for this encounter which left him feeling nervous. "I had no idea you'd be stopping by," he said, not unkindly.
"Won't you join us?" Aeliana asked, gesturing to the tea in front of them. "We won't tell Thomas," she joked.
It took Marcus a moment to reply before nodding slightly. "I would, but I really must get out of this dreadful uniform. I'll be back down once I've changed, but please," he gestured towards the tea, "don't wait up on me."
His eyes lingered on Alexandria for a moment before he finally turned to head upstairs to his room. Perhaps that would give him some time to calm down from the surprise of seeing her. After all, last night she had basically told him that she wasn't sure she was up for splitting with Thomas. He couldn't exactly blame her, but he wondered what she was doing here. Perhaps it was only to see Liana since he had at least persuaded Thomas into that.
Marcus changed into something casual. He had no more reason to dress himself up, after all. He washed his face for a moment before returning downstairs to be greeted by the sight of the both of them once more. He sat on the sofa next to his sister and took the teacup she offered him.
"I hope everything is alright...?" he finally asked Alexandria. He hoped Thomas hadn't done something and she found herself here as an escape or something of the sort. He worried about her all the time, actually. He hated that he couldn't watch over her like he wanted.
The nerves were unlikely to subside and the anticipation of seeing Marcus made her feel slightly anxious. Especially since yesterday she had told Aeliana that she didn’t think it would be a good idea to try and find a reason for her to leave Thomas, even though she wanted nothing more than to be with Marcus.
As she neared their house her stomach began lurch even more and she eve thoughts about turning around and going home but she was sure that Aeliana would be upset with her if she didn’t visit her when she had promised to. There had already been a rift in their relationship since they had received the news of Marcus’ death. It saddened her to think about that fact but now things were different and they could work on repairing their relationship.
Soon she was walking up their pathway and knocked on the door. When Aeliana answered the door she was unsure of whether she was relieved or disappointed but either way she greeted her with a smile and embrace and soon enough she was walking inside the house and she was removing her coat, remembering that she had a letter in there for Marcus.
“I know that I am here to talk to you but before I forget I would like you to pass this to Marcus. I know I shouldn’t write but I feel like I have a lot to explain to him.” Aeliana accepted the letter and nodded to show that she understood and placed the letter somewhere safe for her.
“I will pass it on. You have nothing to apologise for Alexandria. You know I would do anything for you and I want nothing more than to help you. I hope you know that I am not going to stop trying to repair this.” She said, looking towards Alexandria quite seriously and she nodded to show that she understood. “You and Marcus belong together. Thomas doesn’t deserve you. You have no idea how much is angered Marcus and I to watching the way he was parading you around yesterday. You are too good for him Alexandria and he knows it.” Aeliana lead her into their living room and sat her down in front of a tray of tea and biscuits that were already waiting for her. “You know he is using you to improve his reputation for business purposes don’t you?”
Alexandria sat there for a couple of hours listening to Aeliana talk about her relationship with her husband and Alexandria’s relationship with Thomas. Eventually she began to talk about Marcus’ return and how the family was feeling now that he had returned and she was honestly really happy for them. Knowing the kind of pain they experienced when they lost them only made his return that much more important. For her it was different, she was still in pain.
Almost as though the timing had been planned they both heard the door and Aeliana began to move towards the door explaining that it must have been Marcus himself and all of the sudden she was feeling anxious once more not really knowing what to say to him. Those feelings seemed to melt into love when she saw Aeliana walk around the corner with her. The smile echoed her own and she rose from her seat to greet him.
“Good afternoon Marcus. I hear you have been claiming your life back.” She said with a smile and had to hold herself back from moving forward to embrace him. In some ways the idea saddened her because there was a chance that they could lose him to war again but they could all hope that the injury he had sustained made that fact less likely. She still didn’t know much about what actually happened to him, nor had she seen the scar yet but she was sure that one day he might share that with her.
When Marcus woke that next morning he knew he had to go to the war office and let them know that they had been wrong about his death. He didn't want any wrong paperwork proving that he had passed when in fact he was standing right there.
But the prospect of getting up out of bed seemed difficult for him to even think of. He was grateful when his sister came in with a tray for him. He sat up and took it, mostly glad for the tea. He would try to eat the rest of the breakfast, but his appetite hadn't been the same.
Aeliana asked him what his plans were for the day, obviously hinting at if he planned to see Alexandria. But he shook his head.
"As much as I wish, I have to go set everything straight at the war office," he told her, taking a sip from his cup. "It's strange to be a dead man..."
Liana shook her head with a gentle smile and sat on the edge of his bed while he ate. "I still can't believe you're here. I keep thinking this must be a dream. That any moment I'll wake up and you'll still be gone."
Marcus smiled a little. "I'm sorry. I couldn't imagine losing you."
Liana leaned in to kiss his cheek before standing and taking her leave to let him eat quietly.
When he was finished he stood and changed into his uniform. The first time he had ever put it on it seemed bulky and itchy and it was hard to get all the right pieces in the right spots. But now he put it on with ease, and as much as he hated it, it felt like putting on another layer of himself. He knew how to adjust the tie and he knew which belt needed to be where. He didn't even have to think about it anymore...
Most people in their class would have valets or servants to help dress them, but his family was less old fashioned in that regard. Not to mention, Marcus wouldn't have felt right having someone else put on his uniform for him.
Before the morning was over Marcus was out the door and headed to the mar office. It was like a thriving beehive with every soldier going their own way to do their own little job. But he knew that every piece of the puzzle was important. When he was directed to the right office, Marcus stepped inside and took his hat off. He explained his situation to the man behind the desk. It turned out that Marcus wasn't the first to have faced such a problem. Nor would he likely be the last.
When everything was sorted, Marcus left the building a couple hours later feeling a weight off his back. He was a living man again. And that seemed to mean something to him.
But one thing troubled him. Now that he was alive, they might call him back to the frontlines. His name was back in the pot and they could summon him at any time. The man told him it was a slim chance with his medical history and his near death experience. But it could happen all the same.
Marcus's hand went instinctively to his throat as he thought about it. He could almost feel the scar there, as if it would never stop hurting. Before he realized it, he was back home and stepping through the door. As soon as he had, he heard his sister's voice from down the hall.
"Oh, that must be him now. Let me fetch him," he could hear her say. She came around the corner and took his hand to pull him inside. "Alexandria has just arrived. I was afraid you might miss her."
Once around the corner, he took in the sight of his love sitting there. He couldn't help but let a small, sad smile sneak its way onto his lips. "Good afternoon," he told her softly.
For the rest of the party she was distracted; knowing that Marcus was there meant that she was unable to focus on much else. Every now and then she would look over towards him and see him looking towards her and the more she looked at him, the more she began to feel that burst of love that had once arisen within her. It’s not as though it had ever died, but feeling his eyes on her made her heart beat just as fast as it had the very first time he had laid eyes upon her and it felt as though she was falling in love with him all over again. All the while that Thomas was parading her around she was thinking of what Aeliana had said to her and how much she wished that it would be as easy as that but she knew that Thomas was not likely to let her go so easily, especially now that Marcus was back.
Eventually the engagement was over and Thomas was ushering her out of the door before she even had the chance to say her farewells to anyone else. The rest of the night was pretty uneasy and full of silence until Thomas announced that he was going to bed.
“I expect that you won’t be much longer Alexandria. That book is going to rot your brain one of these days.” He said before leaving the living room. It still surprised her that he didn’t realise that the book she was ready was actually full of letters that had once been exchanged between herself and Marcus but then he was never much for reading so it wouldn’t make sense for him to look or even be suspicious. Alexandria waited a beat so that she could be sure that Thomas was gone and when she was, she rose up from her chair and made her way to the desk but before she sat down she checked the stairway.
Soon enough she was getting a writing pen and some paper and she began to write.
[i My dearest Marcus,]
[i I probably should not be writing this and I am sorry if this is not what you expected when you returned. I do not really know what I can say to justify the fact that you have returned to my engagement to another man. I do not know how to explain how I feel in this moment. I wish that things were different. I wish that I could be with you like we were always meant to be. You are the man I should be marrying and my heart is breaking every second that I know you are alive and that I am not by your side.]
[i I want you to know that I heard what Aeliana had to say but you need to know that this whole situation is so complicated. You know Aeliana though, she is not likely to give up and I am not sure that I want her to either.]
[i I love you Marcus. You should know that will never change.]
A tear fell from her eye before she sealed the envelope and placed it in her coat pocket. Tomorrow she would try to ensure that the letter found Marcus but tonight she needed to sleep. That night she slept well and Marcus was on her mind all the while.
She didn’t even realise the time when she woke up the next day and when she got herself prepared for the day she noticed that Thomas had already left for work, leaving a note on the table in the living room, telling her that he would be back around lunch time. That meant that she had a few hours to ensure that Marcus got her letter. She grabbed her coat, checking for her letter and made her way to see Aeliana as she had planned to the night before. Alexandria didn’t know whether Marcus would be there when she arrived at their house but the idea of it made her nervous. She wasn’t supposed to see him but that didn’t mean that she didn’t hope that she would.
The rest of the day went on pleasantly. Of course Marcus was only putting on a front that he was even okay with the way Thomas treated Alexandria. He noticed how he would parade her around important people as if she was merely some accessory he wanted other men to be jealous of.
The worst part is it worked on Marcus. But of course he was jealous for different reasons. The woman he loved, the woman who loved him, was with another man. And that was enough to tear Marcus apart on the inside. But he didn't want her to see his pain, so he kept his mask on all night.
Aeliana told him later that Alexandria wasn't sure about the whole idea, so they were going to give her a while to think on it. They all knew they were grasping at straws anyway, so he understood her reluctance and he didn't take it personally. This wasn't easy for anybody, especially Alexandria.
At least he had managed to persuade Thomas to let the girls see each other. There was no sense in keeping them apart just because he was back. At least that way he would have another connection to Alexandria, even if poor Liana had to play messenger. They knew letters wouldn't be safe, either, should her fiance get curious.
That night when he and his sister returned home, he found himself sitting on his bed thinking about how absurd this entire situation was. He loosened his tie and unbuttoned his vest only to stare off into space while he thought about how selfish he was being.
Perhaps he shouldn't have intervened at all. Perhaps he should have just stayed dead...
That thought alone was enough to make him fall backwards onto the large bedding and heave a great sigh. He shut his eyes, thinking about how much he didn't mean that. But part of him had to have.
The rest of the night he was like a zombie as he finished getting ready for bed. The motions came naturally to him but by the time he crawled under the covers he couldn't remember doing any of it. All he wanted was his life back. And sure, he still had his family and his home, but he wanted Alexandria, too. His life didn't seem the same without her in it. Something was missing.
His dreams were filled with her that night.
Their happiness of seeing each other would be short lived and she knew that if Thomas found Alexandria with Marcus and Aeliana after he specifically told her not to see them she would know about it when they were not in a public domain. He could get angry quickly and he would not like this. Alexandria glanced towards Marcus for a moment who seemed content with watching her sister embrace her best friend and she smiled towards him before closing her eyes and allowed herself to enjoy their embrace and they spoke of what they had been doing for the past couple of days.
“I am sorry I have not been in touch. Thomas was not too happy with Marcus’ presence and he forbade me from seeing either of you.” She said with sadness in her eyes and she looked towards both of them, ensuring they knew how much that fact had hurt her but before long Thomas was walking towards them and she could tell that he was not happy to see her in their presence. She instantly allowed the smile to slip from her face and looked towards the floor as he approached and she was about to explain when Marcus seemed to step in a do that for her, explaining that he should not come between Aeliana and Alexandria and she looked up with confusion for a moment as he suggested they walk together so he could put his mind at ease. That in itself made her feel worried about what might be exchanged between the two but before she could object they were already beginning to walk away from them. The way he looked back towards Aeliana made her feel uneasy and she looked towards her friend for some answers.
“What on earth are you two planning?” She asked; concern evident within her tone and her anxiety became clear upon her face. The way Thomas’ temper had been lately, she was unsure that she would be able to listen to him raise his voice towards her once more and she didn’t need any more drama in her life after Marcus appeared to return from the dead. He had promised to fight for her but he seemed to tell Thomas he was here to put his mind at ease which only made her mind become busy with worry.
Aeliana smiled and shook her head. “After all the work I put in to you two getting together, do you really think that I am going to let him give up now that we know he is alive?” She asked Alexandria and took her hand, leading her somewhere quieter so that they could talk. “Alexandria, you still love Marcus right? You don’t even need to answer that out loud. I could see it in your eyes when you looked towards him. He still loves you darling and nothing is ever going to change that. He was going to allow you to settle with Thomas because he thought you were happy but I know you better than that. Surely now that Marcus is here; now that Marcus is alive he would be the only person that would ever be able to make you feel happy again.”
Alexandria still had the look of concern upon her face and she allowed a sigh escape her. “Aeliana, I will always love your brother but it’s not as simple as loving him anymore. I made a promise to someone else and he cannot be the reason that his reputation gets dragged through the mud. He helped me rebuild myself and for that I owe him. I don’t…” She looked around to see if anyone could hear before continuing, “I don’t love him.” Her voice was lowered to a whisper and she looked down at the floor for a second. “But I can’t just leave for another man. What would people say?”
It was then that Aeliana disclosed their plan and she felt uneasy about the whole situation. “I appreciate you trying to help but I just don’t see how this is going to work. Thomas is a well-respected man and I am not the kind of person who can just hurt him in that way. I cannot simply find something wrong with him to use as an excuse. If I didn’t owe him so much I would have already left him, regardless of whether or not Marcus was alive. It wouldn’t be right for me to stay with a man I didn’t love but I feel trapped Aeliana. I cannot see a way out.”
As if she had sensed that they were talking about her, Aeliana showed up in that same moment, arms outstretched to embrace her best friend. Marcus stood by and gave them a few minutes to catch up with each other about the days they hadn't been allowed to visit. Marcus was happy to give them the time. He knew how much his sister had missed Alexandria. He knew, because he had felt it, too.
He knew their happy reunion would not be able to last forever, though, and just as suspected, Alexandria's fiance found them all together.
"I leave for only a few moments," Thomas was saying gruffly, looking harshly at Marcus.
"I apologize," Marcus said, strangely civil to the man before him. "I understand that you don't want me near Alexandria, but my sister had no part to play in our relationship. You must let them see each other," he said, gesturing to the two of them. How anyone could deny these friends the comfort of each other was beyond him. "Would you walk with me?" Marcus asked Thomas. "I'd like to put your mind as ease."
Thomas seemed confused by Marcus's sudden change in attitude compared to the last time he saw him. Marcus put a hand on his shoulder and started to lead him away. At the last moment he looked back at Alexandria and his sister and gave Liana a nod of his head as if they had a shared secret mission. Which they did.
While Marcus was off letting Thomas know that he had no desire to steal Alexandria away from him, Aeliana would be speaking with Alexandria about her true feelings on the situation. If she wanted to break her chains with Thomas, then Aeliana would be willing to lend a little aid in whatever way she desired. The goal would be to make sure none of the fault would lay on Marcus or Alexandria so that neither of their reputations would lower. If they could perhaps find something out about Thomas that proved he would make a poor husband, then they would try to expose that somehow.
But that was only if Alexandria wanted to. Marcus knew that she must have harbored affection for the man once or even still. So it was a far fetched idea. But it was making Marcus feel more alive than he had in a while. It was nice to busy his mind with things other than memories of the fighting and whether or not he might be sent back, which he doubted.
They hadn't given him any proof that they wouldn't send for him, however. So he wouldn't allow himself the comfort to celebrate being home for too long. Not to mention the guilt he felt of being home again while the other men fought on without him. Even with his wound, he still felt that guilt.
Marcus led Thomas away and down a fairly empty hallway, all the while explaining to him how he respected the man and how he trusted that Alexandria was happy.
There was nothing that could take away how happy she felt is that moment for just seeing his face andnshe was glad that he did come to the party even if she would only have this short time with him. Alexandria decided to make the most of it and take the sight of him in the looked so handsome in the suit he wore and when he finished explaining why he was here she would tell him that. The smile upon her face only widened as he began to speak of how he had once broken into the cellar to get her out if the rain and all the thoughtful adventures they had together before he left for war and she was glad that he still thought if them too.
Some days, those memories were the only things that helped her to get on with her life and now that Marcus was back perhaps she had something more to live for and as he spoke of how he hadn't lost her yet the silence between them fell quickly as she was given a moment to contemplate what that meant. Her heart skipped a beat knowing that Marcus was not giving up on them and even though she knew that their situation was messy and complicated, nothing made her feel more alive or happier in that moment. Knowing that he was prepared to fight for her and knowing that he wanted to be with her nust as much as she did him made her feel special; something which she had not felt in a very long time. It was clear that he had been speaking to Aeliana and that was where he got his new found spirit from because judging from the way things had been left when he came to see her a few days ago, she thought he had considered himself to be defeated and she was glad that he didn't have the same view now.
The way that Marcus looked at her made her cheeks flush slightly and the compliment made her look away for a second. Even though she remembered that Marcus always seemed to tell her these things, it was something that she had grown used to living without and something which she hadn't heard anyone say to her for quite some time.
"You look fantastic too. It's nice to see you out of that uniform." She said with a smile. The conversation changed and they both began to check their surroundings as his voice lowered. They had to be careful now and she knew that conversation was something which he wouldn't want anyone else to hear. The fact that Aeliana was here was something which filled her with joy and she understood now why they had come here. They had come to see her and they knew that it was an environment where Thomas would need to act civil because of his reputation. "You can tell this was Aeliana's scheming idea." She said with and smile and began to look around the room to see if she could see her. "Still scheming for us I see. I am glad neither of you have given up on me," she said with sincerity, not being able to hide the love in her eyes and before she knew it Aeliana was upon them and throwing her arms around Alexandria to which she quickly returned the embrace. "It's so good to see you."
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