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It was clear to Lillian that Frederick blamed himself for her injury and she wanted nothing more than to reassure him that it wasn’t his fault except he very rarely listened to her. They were both as stubborn as each other really and that was likely the cause of most of the friction between the two. However, as much as there was an amount of friction there was also something else there but she was not sure whether is was mutual, which is why she had asked him to leave in the first place. There was no way that her feelings for him would be returned by him.
“You are not responsible for any of this do you hear me? If I hadn’t suggested this is the first place you would be home with your sister now enjoying the fact that she was safe. Instead here you are, sleep deprived and feeling responsible for something neither of us could have predicted. My brother had that knife on him, which meant that he intended on using it anyway. Please, stop blaming yourself.” Lillian’s voice was soft, unlike her usual harsh tone when she was scolding him for something. This situation called for reassurance, not anger and that was the last thing she felt towards the situation.
“I’m real grateful that you are here.” She added, just to let him know that she was. Lillian removed her hand from his hair and squeezed his other to add further reassurance. “Come on, get some sleep. I’m awake now so at least you don’t have to worry about me dying.” She said as she worked up the courage to look down at her wound. It still surprised Lillian that he had been able to stitch her up himself and she was lucky that he managed to do so without her bleeding out. She was still pale from the loss of so much of it and she felt considerably weaker than she normally did but she was alive and she was sure that she would be lucky enough to continue to do so without any infection. They had been careful to keep the needle and the stab wound sterilised.
Lillian swallowed and looked away from the stitches and turned her attention to the dress and shook her add with a smile as she attempted to lighten the mood between them. “It’s such a shame to have ruined such a beautiful dress don’t you think?”
The sun had peaked over the horizon casting a soft glow across the landscape. It was beautiful and after the night he had endured it was enough to quieten the mind, if only for a while. Frederick had not slept a wink and yet he still felt wide awake. He put it down to the adrenaline and fear that they were within grasp of her brother. The sooner they found somewhere safe the sooner he could relax. To top it off he had a wounded woman in his car who was more stubborn than him and he was sure that she was not going to make it easy to look after her.
Lillians voice surprised him, not having sensed her wake. Her words caused his breath to catch in his throat. Frederick didn’t want to think of the possibility that things could have been worse no more than he wanted to think that he was the cause of the wound. It had been an irrational and thoughtless thing to do to attack her brother and there were no amount of words that would ever make up for it.
“You were stabbed because I was tactless. Your brother meant that knife for me because I provoked him.” Frederick kept his voice quiet, not wanting to upset Lillian. It was still difficult to believe her brother would do such a thing, especially after everything she had done for him.
Fredericks face turned a shade of red as her hand touched his hair. His chest seemed to tighten with an unfamiliar weight. His mouth opened to answer her question and yet all he could do was bring himself to nod his head in confirmation. This was not a man often lost for words and yet he could not trust himself to speak. It was the first time that Lillian had voluntary touched him as herself and not whilst playing the part of his wife. Silence filled the air and Frederick sat as still as possible, not wanting to give her a reason to move away from him. A thousand thoughts raced through his head, each one only confirming that his realisation from the night before that his feelings for Lillian were more than just attraction were real.
Finally, after what felt like an endless stretch of time, Frederick trusted himself to speak.
“I couldn’t have you dying in your sleep, could I, kitten?” The words still came out shaky and held little of the mans normal teasing tone. Lord! What had she done to him, he was nothing more than an inexperienced boy. No one else had ever made him react in such a way before. He was truly doomed because deep down, he knew that his feelings were only going to get stronger now that he had started to accept them.
Sleeping went against her every instinct. A part of her knew that it was not safe for her to sleep so soon after being inflicted with such a wound, but she had dispensed all her energy trying to keep herself conscious while Frederick attempted to save her life and she couldn’t possibly keep herself awake any longer. Lillian fell into a deep sleep, one that she would not wake up from until her body had time to rest but at least she would survive and at least they had not risked everything taking her to a hospital. She would never be able to forgive herself if she were to put Frederick in danger, especially since she now knew that their previous employers had learned of their deception. She would have to explain it all in the morning and she expected Frederick to leave her again, knowing that she had caused far more trouble than she was worth.
There was not a single movement that seemed to stir Lillian throughout the night, despite the fact that he was constantly checking on her and making sure that she did not have a fever. She might scold him in the morning when she realised that he had jeopardised a night of sleep simply to keep an eye on her while she rested, especially since they would need to travel some distance the next day and it would not be entirely safe to do so while he was deprived of rest himself.
It wasn’t until the sun started to rise that Lillian began to stir and she felt someone reach out for her hand. While her eyes remained closed for the time being she tried to comprehend why her abdomen was causing her so much discomfort and who was holding her hand and why she felt a breeze dancing along her skin as though she had spent a night sleeping outside. However, when she heard Frederick’s apology her memories of the night before came flooding back and suddenly everything started to make sense.
Lillian squeezed his hand affectionately as she started to open her eyes. He was facing away from her and leaning his head against her leg as he remained on the floor outside of the car and she couldn’t help but smile to herself. “You do not know that. Perhaps if you had stayed away, I would not be here now.” Lillian shifted in the passenger seat slightly, using her free hand to hold her throbbing abdomen where her new scar would form and when she was comfortable her hand found his hair. “Have you been sat here all night?”
Frederick would never have called himself squeamish and yet it took every ounce of concentration to stop himself from turning away to throw up as the needle pierced the skin. It was only made worse as Lillian cried out in pain, causing his eyes to sting. He wished there had been more time to numb the pain or at least make her more comfortable but they were on the clock. If he could have taken the pain for her he would have. It was not easy to stitch the wound up as the blood was still flowing and due to the number of times, he dried his hands on his trousers they had turned a darker shade with blood. Once the slightly messy stitches were finished he sat back, sighing with relief. She would have a scar but she would live.
Lillian was already half asleep before he could open his mouth to tell her that sleeping was not a good idea. One look at her face and his bossy demeanour dissolved. It was only natural that she was tired, they had argued, her brother hand turned up and stabbed her and now they were once again on the run. It was enough to exhaust anyone. Freddie stayed sat on the floor next to the car for a moment, waiting for the nausea in his stomach to settle. They would have to move at some point, the longer they stayed the more likely it was that her brother would find them. Frederick ran a hand through his hand and sighed. They would leave at first light and providing Lillians wound didn’t open and she didn’t catch a fever they would be able to make their way to a hotel to clean up.
The air was silent, not even the sound of a car passed them. Frederick could hear Lillians gentle breathing as she fell asleep and although he wanted nothing more than to close his eyes and try to forget about the day, he sat propped up on the grass watching Lillian for any red flags, occasionally standing up to check her temperature, running a hand across her forehead, praying every time that it was a normal heat. Somehow he managed to make it through the night without falling asleep, though it was more likely due to worry than stamina. Every part of him ached and just when he was about to complain to himself or close his eyes he remembered that the pretty blonde sat in his passenger seat had just been stabbed trying to protect him.
“You know,” He whispered to himself. “It is supposed to be the Knight saving the Princess, not the other way around.” Freddie couldn’t help but smile at the sleeping woman. It was just like her to selflessly put herself in harm’s way. It was one of the reasons he admired her as he did, everything she did was out of kindness, unlike him. Frederick did only what he wanted, never told what to do, never listening to others needs. Lillian had told him to go and he had come back. Suddenly feeling terrible he reached out and took her hand.
“I’m sorry I came back. This would not have happened if I had stayed away.” He said and dropped his head, resting it against her in defeat.
Lillian knew that she couldn’t let herself close her eyes. With every passing second she was finding it harder to stay conscious and she was losing the ability to think clearly. Maybe it was a bad idea refusing to go to a hospital but now she wondered if it was too late for her anyway. Her body grew weaker and her thoughts betrayed her, telling her to give in; to let her eyes close and go to sleep. She wouldn’t wake up again if she did and she was starting to accept the fact that she might not survive this. She didn’t even have the energy to laugh or scold Frederick about his joke or the fact that he was wrapping a belt around her and picking her up.
Lillian grit her teeth for a moment as she braced herself for the pain to come. She was numb to it now and had seemingly accepted the fact that she could not protest Frederick’s actions. While it was becoming increasingly harder for Lillian to think straight, she knew that they needed to get away from her brother. The last thing she wanted was for Frederick to get hurt too. She wanted to tell him that he should have left her there, that he should have got himself away from Sam while he still had the chance but Frederick would likely argue against her anyway so it would have been wasted energy to tell him to leave.
It was not until she heard his voice that she realised her eyes had drifted shut. She opened them slowly and looked up at him trying to comprehend what was happening but all she could take away from his words was that she needed to stay awake so she nodded and fought against every instinct that was telling her to rest and let her body fall into a sleep. From that moment on she focused so much on staying awake that she didn’t even realise that he had put her in the car and that they were driving somewhere, not until he stopped again near a barn where Frederick concealed them from sight.
He moved around to the back of the car to retrieve something and when he came back with a bottle of alcohol she reached out and took it from him. Lillian nodded but before she took a drink she poured little bit onto the wound. Her thoughts were cloudy but she knew that if he was going to try and save her, the wound needed to be cleaned and this was the best way to do it. She gasped as the wound began to sting but at least now it wouldn’t be too much of a shock when the needle entered her flesh. She moved her head slightly so that she could drink some of the alcohol, screwing up her face as it burned her throat and when she finished she realised that Frederick had already started to get to work.
Her hand moved to his shoulder as she cried out in pain and she found herself fighting back tears that were threatening the corner of her eyes. How the evening had taken a turn. After a minute or two of Frederick getting to work she found herself calming, controlling her reaction to the pain and when Frederick was finished she sighed with relief and looked down at the wound that was no longer open. It seemed that he was able to work around the material of the dress and it was now sporting a hole around her abdomen and she laughed quietly before resting her head back.
“Now can I sleep?” She asked, her voice barely a whisper as her eyes already began to close, unable to keep herself awake for much longer.
The blood wasn’t slowing. Frederick pressed down on the towel, ignoring the damp red smears on his own skin. His mind was racing, trying to come up with any solution that didn’t involved Lillian bleeding out, going to the hospital or her psychotic brother waking up to finish the job. They needed to move that much was clear. Without telling Lillian what his plan was, it would have only wasted time and she was in no position to protest, he took the belt off this trousers and gently tied it around her waist, making every effort to move her as little as possible.
“See, I knew you wanted to get me out of my trousers” he said softly. Once the towel was secured by the belt he grabbed the bag off the floor, slinging it over his shoulder and scooped Lillian up in his arms.
They were going to have to go out the back to avoid any unwanted attention. Freddie left the room, locking the door with the hotel key from the outside to keep the murderous sibling inside whilst they escaped. Leaving unnoticed was harder in reality than it had been in his head, people bustled about in every corridor, meaning they had to stop often, slowing them down. Frederick had not imagined he would be smuggling anything again after that night with the diamond and yet here he was, only this time he could have walked away and didn’t.
Every time Lillian’s skin brushed his, Frederick could feel the heat and prayed silently that she did not have a fever. After an endless stretch of corridors they were outside in the car park.
“You need to stay awake, Lillian. I’m going to take us somewhere safer so we can get you stitched up.”
With careful movements, Frederick helped Lillian into the car, trying to keep the belt tight around her waist.
Driving was much harder when you had a wounded woman next to you and Frederick could hardly keep his eyes on the road in fear that Lillian would lose consciousness any moment. The drive was short and the car pulled around the back of an abandoned barn off a side road. If Lillian’s brother were to chase after them, which would be a huge mistake, he wouldn’t find then parked in the dark.
Frederick got out of the car and opened the boot, taking out a half empty bottle of alcohol and went around to the passenger side. Gently he took off the belt and removed the towel, trying not to cringe at the sight of the open cut. Holding out the bottle he forced a weak smile.
“Drink this. You’re going to need it.”
Wiping most of the blood away with the towel he took out a needle and thread from the bag and inhaled a deep breath. Having never sown someone’s skin before he wasn’t sure he could do it, the colour drained from his face and his hand shook. Frederick was more nervous now the adrenaline has settled and yet the moment the needle touched her skin he found the courage to carry on.
Lillian couldn’t help but wish that she had the energy to actually enjoy Frederick’s company. She wished that the situation was different. If Sam hadn’t turned up out of the blue they might be having a very different conversation now. Perhaps she would have told him how much she had grown to care for him and that was the real reason she sent him away. Lillian cared far too much about him to keep ruining his life by keeping him here, away from his family and the life he had made for himself back home. A life she couldn’t return to which mean they truly had no future.
She glanced over at the unconscious body on the floor and she felt nothing but disgust for him. The brother she had once loved so dearly had broken the last bit of trust that existed between the two. While she did not wish him dead she wished for him to be out of her life for good and she was angry about the fact that he had followed the here. At some point Lillian would have to explain their situation to Frederick but now was not the time but she was sure she would never forgive herself for allowing Frederick to put himself in danger by embarking upon this journey with her.
As his hand found her hair she pulled her gaze back to his face and she nodded. The last thing she wanted to do was have to go to a hospital. It was perhaps a good thing that she had agreed to stop talking because she was not sure that she knew how to respond to his next words. Instead she simply smiled and allowed the emotion she felt to swim over her. Maybe he was simply trying to calm her but even if that were the case, she did not seem to mind in that moment.
Lillian gathered as much energy as she possibly could to press down on the wound so that Frederick could get what he needed to help her. While he was gone she allowed her head to fall to the side and she let her eyes close so that she could work on steadying her breath. Her body had started to shiver slightly but she focused on pressing down on the open wound until Frederick returned. The feel of his warm hands upon her cheeks forced her eyes open.
“Frederick…I…” Lillian started to cough again and she shook her head. “I’m sorry.”
The sickness that had flooded Frederick when Lillian was stabbed only increased as she spoke. Her voice was weak and her face had lost all colour. The jacket stayed pressed to her stomach but the warm wet feeling on his palm was increasing as it absorbed the blood flow. As she spoke, trying to make light of their situation he only shook his head. He would have laughed had he not been so worried, stabbed and still teasing him. It was getting harder for him to stay calm, the emotions that he had felt earlier that day, the realisation that he cared for her more than any other only heightened his fear and concern.
A hospital was their only option, how could she tell him not to. There was a risk that someone would question them or recognise either of them which would ruin everything they had worked for the previous three weeks but she was bleeding and Frederick was no doctor.
“Lillian, I can’t just let you bleed out.” He said, his voice laced with worry. To make things worse there was an unconscious sister-stabbing man on the floor and Freddie was sure that if they were still around when he woke up that he would likely kill the man. Lillian may have hated him but killing her brother was not something he was willing to do, down the line she would resent him, even if she didn’t realise it yet.
Her hand touched his cheek and heat flooded over his face as she spoke. He would have kissed her if she hadn’t started to cough and contort in pain. Frederick shifted closer to her and softly ran a hand over her hair.
“I’m not going to let you die, Lillian, you either need to stop talking and try to relax so you don’t cause more damage or I’m taking you to a hospital.” Although he was being bossy his words were still soft. The last thing he wanted was to upset her.
“As if I could forget about you. You are possibly the most interesting, beautiful, frustrating woman I’ve ever met.” He said, lifting the jacket slightly to assess how quickly she was bleeding.
“I tried to leave but there’s something about you, something about us, which I’m not ready to let go of yet. So until I figure that out, you need to stay alive, okay kitten?” Freddie took her hand and kissed it briefly, hoping that she would be too weak to slap him for being forward with her, then replaced it where his hand had been, pressing down on the jacket.
“I need you to press down hard on this. I’m going to get towels and something to clean the wound with.” He said and stood up off the bed. It only took moments to grab the damp towels from the bathroom and return to her side but it felt too long. He sat down and placed his hands on her cheeks, tilting her face to look at him, checking her. She was still too pale. He took her hand off the jacket and replaced it with one of the towels.
“Just my luck isn’t it, I find a girl I actually care about and she gets stabbed.” He said, smiling at her through the worry.
Lillian pulled her eyes away from Sam’s no longer able to look him in the eye. She looked down at the wound that had started to spill with blood. She hadn’t even noticed that her body had started shake slightly and before she knew it Sam’s unconscious body fell to the ground. She had no idea how it came to be that way or whether he was still alive mostly because she was now being carried towards the bed.
While she had not yet fainted, she felt light headed and she had already felt as though she was floating even before she was being carried through the room. Lillian laughed gently at his words, followed by a cough. At that point she winced and her hand went to her fresh knife wound. As he lay her down on the bed he used his jacket to try to stop the bleeding.
“Y-you are...g-going to ruin your jacket.” Her voice was weak but she tried to keep the mood light by keeping a smile on her face. Even though it was her losing blood, she was concerned about the worried look on Frederick’s face. Lillian allowed her eyes to close for a moment as his hand brushed her forehead where a cold sweat was already forming and she only opened her eyes again when he mentioned a hospital. She instantly started to shake her head. “N-no hospitals.”
Lillian lifted her hand to meet his cheek and smiled softly. “You came back.” After she spoke she started to cough again and she found herself in a lot of pain. She hadn’t noticed how much it hurt until now. “You shouldn’t have come back.” It wasn’t that she didn’t want him to be here. She had regret sending him away the moment she did it but having him here meant that the situation was more complicated. “Y-you were supposed to forget about me.”
Frederick watched as the man bought his hand to his jaw, wincing as he touched the tender skin. Although never normally the one to start a fight, Freddie couldn’t help but smile as he saw the mans pain. It would serve him right to touching Lillian. There was no time to think about how foolish he had been to his Lillians brother, if he had interpreted the situation in the wrong way then he would have been in trouble but suddenly there was a flash of silver in the man’s hand. A knife. Freddie felt his throat close up, he had come in unarmed and the gun he did have was in his bag which was on the floor by the door. There was no time to go back to get it, he needed to move quickly to get out of the way, or more importantly, get Lillian out of the way, before the mad man attacked them.
It appeared that Lillian had a different plan. Instead of moving out of the way like he had hoped she would, she put herself in between the two men. Frederick tried to move forward to pull her out of the way but the sound of the blade sinking into her skin stopped him. The man’s face was anything but apologetic. Lillian hadn’t fainted, which was more than Frederick could have said for how he was feeling. Panic rose in his chest and the sight of the blood on the blade caused his stomach to churn.
Thinking as quickly as possible, Freddie grabbed the nearest object to him, which turned out to be a book, and bought it down on Lillians brothers head, causing him to collapse in a heap on the ground unconscious. He then turned to Lillian and in one swift motion picked her up, trying to carefully carry her to the bed without aggravating the wound any more.
“I leave you for two minutes and you get yourself stabbed.” He said softly, his voice laced with worry. Gently he placed her on the bed and shrugged his jacket off, pressing it tightly to the wound to stop the bleeding.
His eyes flashed to the man on the floor for a split second before looking back to the bleeding woman who was causing so much pain to swim through his body. It should have been him, if he had gotten stabbed he would have coped but Lillian, she was innocent. This had only happened because he had left. Frederick brushed a hand over her forehead whilst keeping the other pressed to the bleeding hole in her.
“We need to get you to a hospital.” He said, now running a hand through his hair. Hospitals would ask questions but she was losing blood and there was no way he was going to keep her in the hotel room with her unconscious brother.
Her lips parted to speak, to protest him but as she was about to talk she noticed movement behind him and watched as the door of the room opened. He had come back. Even though she has sent him away he has still come back but she couldn’t smile or allow herself to be happy about the situation because his very presence could easily escalate their current situation. She would never trust her brother and she knew that he would have some ulterior motive for being there but she also knew that he did not enjoy having his plans messed with had Frederick’s entrance did exactly that. The proof came with his swift movement of turning away from her but staking his claim on her by taking hold of her arm with a familiar force. It wasn’t the first time he had grabbed her like this but she still grit her teeth and inhaled deeply.
If the situation was different she might have noticed the way that he called her his but she was so focused on trying to convey her distain for her brother. She shook her head at her brother’s words and attempted to pull her arm away from him. “Let me go.” Her words echoing Frederick’s who had told him to leave. His laugh echoed through the room and she kept pulling at her arm. She only stopped when she noticed him reaching around his back. She saw the silver of the blade but she could not warn Frederick in time before he moved towards her brother and ploughed his first against his jaw.
The move only angered Sam further and he finally let go of his hand so that he could nurse his jaw for a moment. The lip has split and a small bit of blood started to escape it bit he simply growled and used his hand to wipe it away. He was ready now, ready to attack him back but his intentions were to add a weapon to their fight. The knife was now in full view on an attempt to taunt Frederick and make him back away but she knew Sam and she knew that this was not an empty threat. He would stab him if he could get close enough. Lillian couldn’t allow Frederick to get hurt because of her and without thinking she moved quickly. Her brother’s hand thrust forward with the knife firmly in his grip and she pulled back on his other arm to slow him enough that she put herself between Sam and Frederick. In doing so she took the blow that was meant for Frederick.
Lillian expected to feel pain as her eyes widened from the shock of cold metal sliding into her abdomen as though her skin was as soft as butter. Her lips parted and her hand moved to the blade in Sam’s hand as it remained on the knife. She pushed against him and in retaliation he pulled the blade out and her eyes started to tear up as they locked with Sam’s. Any normal brother would have been devastated by the fact they had hurt their sister but he was smiling like a maniac, seemingly feeling accomplished by his actions. Even if it was meant for Frederick, he was satisfied with his target.
The drive back seemed to stretch on forever and it felt like everything that could possibly get in his way did. From people walking out in front of his car to almost running out of gas. The entire way his blood thrummed, as though realising he had feelings for Lillian had awakened something in him, rousing him from the sleepy state he had lived his life up until now. Every scenario ran through his head, what he would say when he got back, how he would apologise and explain why he had said the things he had without explicitly telling her that he had feelings for her?
After what seemed like the longest drive in history he finally pulled into the parking lot at the hotel. Despite how eager he had been to return home, getting out of the car seemed like a whole other story. He was scared. There was a chance that Lillian would not listen to him, only kick him out and refuse to see him again. The possibility of not getting to apologise to her was somehow worse than her refusing his apology all together.
Finally, Frederick got out of the car and made his way up to the hotel room. Each step bought a new sense of fear and even though he was aware of the strange feelings he held for Lillian, it didn’t make accepting them any easier. It was only when he approached the room did he hear Lillians voice. She sounded angry, but her words were muffled by the walls. Freddie slowed his steps down, trying to understand what was happening in the room. He didn’t want to walk in on her in a compromising position, even if it served him right after his stunt with the brunette woman earlier.
Frederick stood behind the closed door, another voice spoke over Lillians, a male begging her to let him help. There was only a split second before Freddie was in the room, bag dropped on the floor, eyes wide.
“I leave you for two minutes darling and you’ve already gotten yourself into trouble.” Frederick said, keeping his voice light despite the panic that was now rising in his chest. The man had his back to Frederick and was closer to Lillian than he liked. With an irritated sigh, the man turned around to face Frederick, before moving so that Lillian was beside him, his hand now on her arm.
“Care to explain what you think you’re doing touching whats mine?” Frederick said calmly, his eyes staying trained on the man. He was too far away that he couldn’t get to Lillian without alerting the stranger to his intentions and so he stayed rooted to the floor.
“Yours? This is my sister and I think I’m correct in believing she wanted you to leave.”
His heart dropped for a moment, wondering if Lillian had really told her brother that she didn’t want Frederick around, but one glance at her face and he could see her expression was not one of sisterly love.
“I think you need to leave,” Freddie said, taking a slow step towards the man. Lillian's brother rolled his eyes and let out another irritated sigh as if Freddies presence was inconvenient. Everything Lillian had told him about the man had the hairs on his neck standing up on end. This was not a good man, this was a man that had almost gotten her killed and had left her in the hands of some very unpleasant men.
Letting out a soft sigh, Frederick shook his head and took another slow step forward.
“I really didn’t want to do this, I’ve had a long night and need to talk to your sister. One more chance kid. You. Leave. Now.” His voice was no longer patient. Perhaps it was a good thing that they had argued earlier that evening because it had run his temper short. Lillians brother let out a cold laugh, it was clear that he had no plans of leaving and slowly his hand was reaching around to his back.
Freddie moved without thinking. In one swift motion, he stepped forward, closing the gap between him and Lillians brother and lifted his fist, placing it firmly on the other man’s jaw with a sickening crack.
She knew that it wouldn’t be easy to see him go and a part of her wished that he would fight her on it but deep down they both knew that this had to happen. This [i needed] to happen. Lillian nodded at his words finding herself too choked up to speak as he left. She had to stop herself from telling him to stop, from telling him that she had made a mistake and that she needed him to stay. Not because of his money or because he was helping her get to where she needed to be bur because she wanted him there. She had feelings for him and she had realised that the moment she saw him kissing another woman but nothing good would come of her telling him now, especially when he would have to leave her anyway. With that he was gone and she spent some time crying to herself as she lay on the bed and time escaped her for a while.
There was a knock at the door then and she let out a frustrated groan. Frederick had only been gone for two hours and it seemed that he had already returned. She had just got comfortable on the bed and she was ready to at least try to sleep but it seemed like she wasn’t going to be granted the peace. Lillian was cursing to herself as she made her way over the door and as she opened it she was muttering loudly.
“I told you to go home!” She said but as soon as her eyes locked with who was at the door she was filled with dread. It was then that she wished that it was Frederick at the door but she had no such luck. As the man at the door tried to offer her a smile she pushed at the door trying to close it in his face. The male’s foot trapped itself in the door and stopped her from closing it and he used his body strength to push at it, overpowering her easily.
“Is that any way to greet your brother?” He asked as he pushed open the door, forcing Lillian backwards as she snarled at him. “What? Not going to give your brother a hug?” His arms were stretched out as though he expected her to simply fall into them like she used to as a child. She had so much respect for him then and there had been so much love between them. She couldn’t even pinpoint the moment all of that changed or what actually happened that made him behave in such a way that got her into the situation she was faced with now and all the danger she had been faced with over the last couple of years.
“You are no brother of mine. You made my life hell. You don’t deserve any kind of greeting! What are you even doing here?” She asked, not even concerned with the fact that he had found her but more bothered by the fact that he was here at all.
“They know you are alive Lillian. They know you faked your death to get away from them. I only wish that I would have figured that out sooner. I could have helped you a long time ago but I am here now to try and make it right.” His voice changed tone, echoing the caring nature he had one had but she had learned a long time ago that he has been unable to show any care for her. Whatever he was showing her now was an act. “I know you don’t trust me but I am here to help you. Who else is going to help you now that Frederick has left you?”
Lillian’s eyes narrowed at the mention of his name and he just rolled his eyes. “I know he has been helping you. I’ve been following you since you left to make sure he didn’t screw it up. It’s a good job I did. What kind of man leaves a woman to fend for herself in the middle of no where?”
“I asked him to leave. What kind of man drags his sister into a gang circle and makes her work off a debt that he’s too cowardly to work off himself? I want you to leave! I don’t need your help. Not today. Not ever!” As she spoke he stepped towards her and she retreated further into the room. She knew that it was a bad idea the moment she did it. He was in the room now and the door was shut behind her and if she needed to get away from him she had no where to go. “Sam I just want to be left alone. Leave me to just get on with my life.”
“Oh dear Lillian. I’m here to help you. Just let me take you to where you are going. You are not going to get there alone now are you? As soon as we get there I will leave you to your new life but please let me help you.”
Leaving was the last thing he wanted at that moment. Though he was not sure at that time why, still unaware of the alien feelings, he knew leaving Lillian was not right. It didn’t matter what felt right or wrong though, as Lillian was handing him the bag and dismissing him, as though they had not just spent the last three weeks together. She spoke with the same coldness she had the night they met when it had been her life or his. It was clear that he really was no more than a wallet and a car to her. [I That is just fine with me, ] He thought, grabbing the bag.
“Nothing to talk about? Right.” Freddie looked around the room, running a hand through his hair in distress, before locking eyes with Lillian. “Fine. You know what, you’re totally right. I’ll go spend some time with people that aren’t completely disgusted by me.” Frederick slung the bag over his shoulder and hovered for a moment, still not wanting to leave. Despite his words, he disagreed with everything she was saying but there was no way in hell that Frederick Lester was about to tell the woman in front of him that he was willing to give up everything to see her safe because Frederick Lester couldn’t accept defeat, especially emotional defeat. “Good luck, Lillian. I hope you get exactly what you want in your new life.” He said, his words cold and impassive.
Frederick couldn’t get out of the hotel room fast enough. He strode out of the room without saying another word and refused to look back at the woman who had caused his chest to feel like it was ripping in two. Anger. That had to be what he felt. Surely this was just anger.
Once out of the hotel he got in the car and drove. The first hour of driving was fine, his rage towards Lillian for dismissing him, telling him to leave, distracted him enough from the actual feelings that he had spent the whole night ignoring. It wasn’t until the adrenaline settled down that Frederick started to really think about the nights events.
The ring now sat on the passenger seat, reminding him that the blonde who had sat there smiling and mocking him for so many weeks would never be his driving partner again. His eyes moved from the ring to the road several times as the minutes passed over. It had been an overreaction. Her comments about the ring and the way she had smiled, as though he had gifted her with something other than just a prop, they were no reason for him to get angry. Frederick knew he had said awful things, kicking him out had been justified it was just that – that…
Frederick slammed his hand against the steering wheel and cursed loudly. It was just that it [I had ] only been a prop. It wasn’t a real engagement ring and she would never smile at him like that with genuine affection. Frederick had played the part of husband and somehow, amongst her quick tongue and clever way of twisting his words, her passion and kindness and selflessness, she had gotten him to want to be more than just an actor in their play. Deep within his heart he had formed a connection to Lillian. Not just a connection or a friendship, not even just a bond. No, Lillian had stolen a part of his heart without either of them knowing and now Frederick had gone and ruined everything.
It made sense, it was why kissing that woman had felt so wrong. It was why his thoughts had been of Lillian and not of losing himself in the brunette. Because he wanted the woman in his arms to be Lillian, not a stranger.
The car lurched under his hand as he swung the steering wheel around, turning the vehicle around. He had lashed out at her because he had been scared. Scared of the strange feeling that he hadn’t understood, but he understood now. Of course, he didn’t plan on telling her that. At the end of the day, he would still need to leave her to start a life without him but maybe he could keep his promise to her, get her to her destination and then he could make his peace with his feelings and return home. It would help him not feel like a total arse. So Frederick tightened his grip on his steering wheel and pressed his foot down harder on the gas, forcing the car to gain speed because now there was nothing else in his head except getting back to Lillian.
When she reached the bedroom she made sure that everything that belonged to Frederick was placed in the bag, making sure that she still had a selection of clothes to last her until she reached her destination. Lillian didn’t know how she would get there without Frederick but she would figure it out. She was a resourceful woman and she would find a way. She would get herself a job and find somewhere to live and she would do so on her own. Not to prove a point but because she needed to let Frederick go back to his life and forget about her. She was sure that he would forget about her easily, especially after the way he had spoken to her. No, he would definitely forget about her easily.
She didn’t expect Frederick to come back to the room any time soon but when there was a knock at the door there was no one else it could have been. Lillian was lying on the bed reading a book when he came in and she tried not to look at him as he entered the room. Lillian sighed and placed the book on the bedside table and she tossed her legs over the side of the bed. “Actually Frederick, we don’t need to talk about anything.” She looked over at the bag and swallowed hard at the prospect of telling him to leave sooner than either of them intended.
“You were right. You’ve given up a lot to be here.” She rose from her seated position now and moved over to pick up the bag. “It’s time for you to go home. We’ve been doing this for weeks now and you’ve but everything on hold for me. I don’t think we have anything to talk about.”
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