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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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It was clear that neither one of them really wanted to wait anything out. They had waited so long to be together and had been kept apart by war and more and they deserved the chance to be together now, however it seemed that they would have to wait a little while longer.
"I don't ever want to see him again." However, for their plan to fully work and for her to seem like she had no involvement in the plot to uncover who he was, she would need to be seen to be alone for a little while.
Alexandria looked up at Marcus as he took her face in his hand and she committed the feel of him to her memory. She wanted this forever...they just had to wait a little longer.
"Do you still want to marry me when this is all over?' She asked looking into his eyes, their lips so close they could so easily claim each other.
Marcus turned back to Alexandria, at a loss for what to say. He shook his head, thinking. "We just wait it out, I suppose," he said softly, taking her hands gently in his own. "With any luck his shame will follow him until he's driven out of town."
It would be far too soon for them to be seen together in public. Alexandria would be expected to mourn who she thought her fiance was. Though he hated the thought. He wanted to be with her now. He wanted to walk down the street with her, happily proclaiming that it would be [i them] getting married instead.
But these things took time. He sighed once more and brought his hands to her face, moving his thumbs across her cheeks gently. "The day I can call you mine is not soon enough," he said softly.
Alexandria didnt want to believe that Thomas would continue to be in her life after the show yesterday. She shook her head, wanting to tell him that no such thing would happen but as her lips parted Christopher said his peace as he brought the tea in. Of course she hoped that what he said was true but she couldn't help but think about what would happen with the house. Thomas had bought it and she wondered if she would lose the house now. Not that it mattered right now.
"Thank you Christopher."
She turned back to Marcus. "What do we do now?"
Alexandria was so understanding and didn't seem to blame him at all for his outburst. He held enough shame for the both of them, but the fact that she did not feel it gave him a sense of relief.
"I'm not so sure," he said, worried. "What if he gives you trouble still? What he doesn't leave? What if he does, but still finds ways to get at you?"
"It's highly unlikely," came Christopher's voice as he came in with a tray and set it on the coffee table. "He's been so shamed I wouldn't be surprised if he moved closer to his work. Away from here. So please, just sit. Enjoy this moment." He smiled at the pair of them before leaving the room once more.
Marcus sighed softly and nodded. "He's right. I'm just... so used to things not going our way..."
Alexandria didn't want him to let get of her ever. Now that they had 'dealt' with Thomas there wasn't really anything stopping them from being together. Thomas had been in the wrong and there was proof. It wasn't as though they had planted evidence to make him look bad. He did that all on his own. She looked up at him and shook her head. "Christopher spoke to him before he left the party, gave him some sort of ultimatum and suggested that I shouldn't go home for a couple of days in case he tried to talk his way out of leaving."
She leaned into him then, resting her head on his chest, breathing in the scent of him as though it had been years since she had the chance to be near him. She allowed her hand to come and rest on his chest too as she listened to him apologising until she eventually looked back up at him.
"I'm fine. Please don't apologise. He was out of line and he was looking for some kind of reaction. He was hoping that it would reflect badly on you but it backfired because he didn't know that we knew his secrets. I acted as though the news was exactly that to me...news so it didn’t look like he was set up or anything." She sighed and brought her hand up to rest on his.
"It's over now."
Marcus did not let her go for a long moment and almost missed her question. He pulled back to look at her, concern in his eyes. "Me?" he asked softly. "I'm fine, I- I was more worried about you. I thought for sure if you went home with Thomas he would take everything out on you."
He pulled her close again and sighed. It felt like so long since their walk in the woods and he missed her closeness and the smell of her. He took her hands and led her over to the couch to sit. "I'm so sorry. About last night. I should never have- I didn't mean to- I just got so frustrated and it's been very difficult to reign it in when people start talking like that."
His hand found the side of her face. "I never meant for it to unfold like that. Are you okay?"
Christopher didn't let Alexandria go home that night, not trusting Thomas to do the right thing and clear his stuff out. He would likely try and explain his way out of everything and Alexandria didn’t need the confusion or stress. Luckily, Christopher had a guest room and some clothes belonging to his wife who was no long with him so it was easy enough for her to stay. However, she didn't really get much sleep and when the next day came around, Christopher was apprehensive to take her home, not knowing if Thomas made good on the fact he was asked to leave.
"I'll head over in a little while and check that he is gone. I want you to stay here so he can't cause too much of a fuss. You don't need to deal with him anymore."
"I don't know how to thank you Christopher."
"You don't. You are like family to me. It's what we do." Just then there was a knock on the door and she heard Marcus' voice instantly, bringing her to her feet and the two collided into each other. She held on to him tight, unable to let him go.
"I'll go an make some tea." Christopher decided they needed a minute alone.
"Are you alright?"
Marcus got a call the next morning from his sister. "Alexandria stayed with Christopher last night. She didn't face his wrath," she said, and he breathed out a heavy sigh of relief. But he couldn't help but worry about her state of mind as well. He knew she hadn't loved Thomas, but he had still been there for her when her life fell apart. And she had slowly found out what a horrible person he really was.
Marcus set out after the phone call. He didn't care if it looked strange, going to visit her so soon after. He had to see her. Had to be there for her. He promised he always would be.
Christopher lived next to his office, that much he knew. He knocked on the door rather urgently and when it opened the man looked surprised to see him.
"I'm so sorry," he said. "Is Alexandria still here?"
Christopher smiled and let him in, like he should have known Marcus was going to come. "She's in here," he said, taking him to the living room. "I gave her some of my wife's old clothes, they're not the current fashion, but..." He trailed off. Marcus had a sense his wife was no longer alive and his heart went out to him. Perhaps that was why he was so eager to help them. He knew what they had and did not want them to lose it so soon in life.
When Marcus turned the corner and saw her, he did not care that the dress she wore was from several seasons ago. She still looked beautiful to him.
"Alexandria," he breathed and met her halfway, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her tightly to him.
Thomas looked towards Christopher. “I don’t know who you think you are?! I’ll have your license stripped for this!” He squared right up to him and Christopher didn’t even blink.
“You have no power left Thomas. You rinsed through all of that and you have just lost the person you were trying to keep by sending Marcus away.” Thomas scoffed and made her way passed him, but Christopher grabbed hold of his arm before he could leave. “If you even think about stepping foot in Alexandria’s home, you will not see the last of me.”
“It’s my home. I bought it, or have you forgotten?”
“You manipulated your way into her life, and you have manipulated every moment since then. Now, this is what is going to happen, you are going to move your stuff out of [I her] home tomorrow while she is out of the house and when she comes back it will be like you were never there. You’re going to sell the house to me.”
Christopher left him stood there with a dumbfounded look on his face. Thomas looked around and saw how everyone turned from him and Christopher got in his car and started driving towards Alexandria’s home where he saw her walking down the street. “Alexandria, dear, get in the car.” He pulled up next to her and she climbed in next to him.
“That…wasn’t how things were supposed to happen.”
“I know, but it’s done sweetheart. You will not be marrying him.”
That night, Marcus was pacing. Liana had returned home with him to keep him calm.
"I hope Christopher took her somewhere. Thomas is bound to be angry," he said, wringing his hands. "I never should have confronted him like that."
"He was being an ass," Liana said, and she cursed very little. "He deserved it."
"Yes, but I hope he doesn't take his anger out on Alexandria. I should have stayed."
"You know that would have just escalated things further."
Marcus sighed, knowing she was right. Their mother brought tea to his room, too afraid to ask what was going on at the moment. He would never hear the end of it from their father when this was all done, but that was something he could handle.
"I need to see her tomorrow. Can you arrange it?"
Liana nodded, sipping her tea. "I'll manage it somehow." She set the glass down and stood up to leave. "I'll call as soon as I know anything."
Marcus got no rest that night. He wanted Alexandria in his arms. Safe. He could not bare the waiting much longer.
"I'm sure they just have other people here to talk to. We are not the only guests here Thomas." Alexandria sighed and soon enough he was moving around the room to find someone else to talk to, someone he knew would not turn his back on him in public because they were truly friends. Their conversation had shifted to the war and how much Thomas admired the soldiers who had gone to war for their country. It was pretty much the only topic of conversation that he seemed to be able to hold. It was something that she had heard many times having been to one too many of these parties.
Then Thomas was bringing someone else into the conversation and when she looked up, she saw Marcus stood there. Her heart skipped a beat and she was so sure that people would be able to hear how loud it has started to beat. Thomas was bateing him and alluding to the horrors of the war knowing that it was not something he wanted to relive.
"Thomas..." she placed a hand on his chest and shook her head. "That's enough." All he did was grab her wrist and move her out of the way and she had to take her place next to him, looking towards Marcus with an apologetic look because she had no way of stopping Thomas.
Things were getting heated now and Alexandria had no idea how to put a stop to this but before she knew it, the whole room went silent and were listening to Marcus talk about his experiences at war. She wanted to reach out to him, to hold him and help him forget everything that he had ever been through. Then Marcus was asking he was not fighting and her heart was racing faster and Christopher was adding his word into conversation.
Alexandria looked between the three of them as the news settled and people started to whisper. Alexandria had to act like this news was a shock and she turned to look at Thomas as Marcus walked away from them. "Thomas is this true?"
"Of course it is not! Would you really believe that?"
"Thomas, I have the proof so befofe you start disputing it maybe you want to think about what you day next." His lips parted and he looked towards Alexandria.
"Alexandria..." she shook her head and took a step back as he reached out for her.
"No..." It was her turn to walk away now.
Marcus and Liana moved into the next room where most of the party seemed to be happening. They stood side-by-side, watching those around them. The energy had changed in the room, just like Liana had said.
Marcus looked over at Alexandria. Thomas had her arm though his own and he was trying his best to smile politely. He gravitated towards the few true friends he had in the room to feel safer.
Marcus was just about to tell Liana that he was ready to go. He didn't need to be here anymore, after all. His sister nodded, understanding he could take only so much of seeing Alexandria on another man's arm.
She headed towards the door as he said his goodbyes to Christopher. "Thank you. Whether it works or not... Thank you for trying," he said softly, shaking his hand. And then he was moving through the room again.
He glanced over at Thomas who seemed to feel comfortable engaged in deep conversation with his friends. When the man saw him in the corner of his eye, he flashed him a huge white smile.
"Take this brave man for instance," he was saying and Marcus stopped as they let him into their circle. He knew this wouldn't be good. He glanced at Alexandria before Thomas continued. "Here we have a [i true] soldier." They had been talking about the war, it seemed. Along with everyone else. Marcus couldn't get away from the war talk. "I hear he signed up as soon as soon as he could, is that right?" Thomas didn't wait for an answer. "Tell me, is is truly as bad as they say it is? Or is it all just propaganda to get us to support the war effort?"
Marcus felt the anger rising, but he tried to remain calm. They were being watched now. People had stopped their conversations to listen to Marcus's first hand experience. They all wanted to know what it was like. They were all the same.
He flashed Thomas the same kind of fake smile he had given him and replied, "I assure you, the accounts are accurate."
"Will you be returning?" Thomas asked him and Marcus couldn't help but narrow his eyes slightly. The man had no idea he had been pardoned. "No," Marcus said softly. "I was wounded, you see." He felt the eyes nearby trying to find the injury, as if they could see it.
"Pity," Thomas said, matter of factly. "They could always use more soldiers out there, so I hear."
"Yes," Marcus said, smiling sadly. "Tell me, Thomas. Why didn't you sign up?" The anger was bubbling to the surface now.
"I have a business to run," Thomas said. "It's very difficult you know. Keeping things going with a war on. The things I have to do every day would break most men."
Marcus laughed. Actually [i laughed]. "And what's that? Pushing papers? Counting your money?" He took a step closer to the man, pure disgust in his brown eyes. "You sit in your office decided who gets to keep their jobs while good [i decent] men are out there deciding which of their friends are more likely to live from their wounds." He was in Thomas's face now. "I hope you never have to see a friend shot between the eyes when he was alive and well just seconds before. Or see a man whole, joking to you about his wife one second, and then half of him is gone the next and you don't know where it went." Thomas took a step back, dragging Alexandria with him, but Marcus advanced. "I pray you never have to know what it feels like to have your throat slit open and feel your life pouring out in waves." Marcus was eerily quiet now, but everyone was listening. "You disrespect every one of those men still out there fighting. So tell me, Thomas. How did you avoid a draft for so long?" He knew the answer of course. He wanted the crowd to come to the conclusion as well, though.
"He paid his way out, of course," he heard from behind him. He turned to find Christopher standing there, hands casually in his pockets. "Just like he paid to have your medical file overlooked and to have you sent back to France."
Marcus moved his eyes back to Thomas. He stepped away then. The damage was done. He hadn't meant to explode like that, but he supposed it was probably for the best. The news was no longer a rumor. People knew Christopher was a doctor. They respected him enough to know he wouldn't make the claim so boldly without proof.
Marcus took a deep breath, then walked away. He wished he could have taken Alexandria with him then and there, but he knew that was not the way. They had to let the news sit for a while.
Alexandria looked towards Christopher, nodding but not quite able to move as he left the room. Marcus stood and looked to her briefly, claiming that everything would be alright. The only thing that would keep her going now would be the knowledge that soon they would both be free to be together. She nodded towards him and sighed as he walked away, giving herself a few more minutes sitting there before her solitude was disturbed.
"There you are my love." She heard Thomas' voice and she looked up at him, offering him a weak smile. "What are you doing in here?" He said as he took her hand and pulled her to her feet. "People are beginning to ask what has happened to my finance. Come now." He whisked her away, back out into the crowd and once again she became his show piece.
Alexandria noticed Christopher talking to people and watched the way that they drew a different kind of attention and how some people turned their back on Thomas when he tried to talk to them. "Have I got something in my teeth? What the hell is wrong with these people?"
As soon as she spoke the words, Marcus felt the tension rise again. He knew this would come to a close soon now, one way or the other. He gave Alexandria a nod and soon Christopher was rising to his feet.
"Make yourselves scarce. You shouldn't be seen together again," he said softly as he walked away to put their plan into motion.
Marcus's heart began to beat and his met Alexandria's eyes once more. As much as he knew he should walk away as well, he could not pull himself from her gaze. "It's going to be alright," he assured her, thought he couldn't know that. He stood up and made his way past her, letting his hand linger on her shoulder for just a moment as he did so.
The next hour and some seemed to pass by without much incident. Alexandria went back to being paraded around by her fiance and Aeliana had managed to find Marcus among the crowd.
"I've already heard people talking. They keep glancing his way," she said under her breath. "But it's just the women. In a day I'm sure the whole town will be talking about it."
Marcus folded his arms and looked down. "I feel strange. I didn't want to be the center of attention like this. I wish there was some other rumor."
Liana shook her head. "But it's not a rumor. It's truth." She rested her hand on his arm lovingly. "Besides. People are more focused on Thomas's wrongdoing than who he did it to."
There were so many things Alexandria wanted to say when she saw Marcus. She wanted to tell him how handsome he looked in the grey and how much she wanted to kiss him even though it would have been deemed inappropriate to show such a public display of affection even if they were the couple who were engaged to be married. Instead, she had to settle for the smile he offered her, and she was quick to return it.
Christopher didn’t waste any time from that moment on, leaning in to tell her that it was indeed Thomas who had attempted to send Marcus back to the Front Lines. She listened intently to what he had to say, glancing towards Marcus occasionally and apologetically as though she had to take some responsibility for Thomas’ doing. After all, it was all in an attempt to keep Alexandria to himself because he was threatened by Marcus. It angered her to hear that he had written letters detailing how much money he would pay for someone to overlook the fact that Marcus was certainly not fit to return to war.
With one glance towards Marcus, she could see and hear the frustration in his voice and the way he held himself. He had every right to be angry and she knew that she would not be able to forgive Thomas for this. It was their way out and she planned to take it.
Alexandria looked up at Christopher when he seemed to lay it all out so clearly, but Marcus was right, it was not leaving them much time at all. They were due to be married in a few days. The thought of what was to come nauseated her a little, knowing just how public things were about to become. Yet, she swallowed whatever fear she was feeling and found herself nodding when Christopher spoke.
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