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Freddie climbed out of the car, his eyes scanning around slightly nervously. It was a quiet area to be sure, few cars were parked and when they went into the restaurant it seemed almost deserted. There was an uneasy feeling when they were not in the car, as though the vehicle was keeping them safe from the eyes of those who wished to hurt Lillian. Shaking his head, he looked down at his pretend wife. She had been proclaimed dead by him, he had seen the man accept the news with his own eyes. There was no one coming to get them, as far as their employers knew, he was living his normal life again.
Her words forced him to smile and as the waiter approached them he slipped his arm around her in an overly familiar way and grinned at the man. “My wife and I are looking to get some lunch.” He said and waited for the man to respond, asking them to follow him to a booth. Although he had been tempted to give her a name straight away, he only referred to her as his wife. Let her think he was going to behave, it would be all the more fun when he finally used her new name.
They were seated at one of the empty tables and Freddie released his hold on Lillian, motioning for her to sit down then took a seat opposite her. The waiter placed two menus in front of them, menus that had seen better days and Freddie screwed his nose up at the many dirty splodges that marked his paper. The man, clearly ignoring Freddie’s disgusted face, introduced himself to the couple, never taking his eyes from Lillian and asked if they wanted any drinks.
“I’ll just have water, please. Crystal, what do you want darling?” He said, smiling as innocently as a child at her.
He reached over and took hold of her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. To the waiter, they would just seem like a happily married couple, but Freddie was once again trying to provoke her. It was becoming too easy, especially when she had told him not to use a prostitute name. In his mind that was her begging him to give her an awful name, like Crystal. Freddie winked at her and looked back to his menu, not releasing his hold on her hand. The food listed was all overly simple, the kind of food you would expect from somewhere in the middle of nowhere. If he hadn’t been so hungry he might have taken her somewhere a bit nicer, where the waiters didn’t gawk at pretend wives as though they were lunch themselves.
Lillian watched the shock in his eyes and the way he needed to take a second look at where her finger had landed on the map. Something told her that she had been lucky and managed to find the right spot. Her lips turned up into a smile when he confirmed that she found he right place by telling her she could have her own bed. At least there would be no arguing over who would get the bed tonight. She figured that he wouldn’t allow her to have a room of her own and she did not seem to mind that even if she didn’t say anything out loud.
Lillian laughed when he took the map from her figuring that he thought that she did not really know what she was doing. Lillian sighed as she looked out at the road. Vermont seemed like a good place to stay especially since it was someone she had never been to before. Apparently, neither had Frederick and at least that meant that neither of them had a chance of being recognised. Until he mentioned food she had not even thought about it. “We can stop whenever you get hungry. My appetite has not exactly been normal this last twenty-four hours I’m not sure I could eat anything just yet.”
Lillian clicked her tongue against the roof of his mouth and snatched the map out of his hand and looked down at the map. “Of course I know how to read a map. If I can read blueprints, a map is just as easy.” The journey was quiet from that moment on, the only conversation was the ocassional direction. Eventually Frederick’s stomach began to demand that the two of them stop and they chose somewhere quiet. There seemed to be a lack of vehicles on the car park and when the two walked into the restaurant the only people in there were those who worked there.
“Well this couldn’t have been more perfect. I don’t know if I could deal with a busy restaurant right now.” Just as Lillian spoke, a waiter made their way towards them and she looked over towards Frederick and raised her eyebrows. “No prostitute names now alright? If I [i have] to play your wife you could at least make sure the I don’t have a horrific name.”
Freddie looked over at the blonde next to him, trying to avoid the intrigue from showing in his face as she stuttered over his mention of the men in her past, or possibly present. He hadn't even thought to ask if she was involved with anyone romantically, it would make sense, a reason why she refused to share his bed other than not wanting him. Did Lillian have a man? Someone that she was planning on meeting or maybe even someone she was leaving behind? Choosing not to pry into her life, he forced himself to forget the topic, not wanting to know who she planned to share her bed with when she was settled in her new life. Her romantic interests were none of his business and soon he would be able to get back to his own and forget the woman beside him who had quickly become so interesting to him.
It must have been pure luck that her finger landed on the map in the right area, on the road they were travelling down no less. Freddie had to double take as he looked down at it and raised his eyebrows are her, challenging her.
"Fair play kitten, you can have your own bed tonight. I'm still going to be staying in the room but I'm sure you already expected that." He reached over and took the map from her, balancing it on his lap as he continued to drive. Since Lillian was proving to be neglectful at planning their route he let his eyes scan over it a few times, trying to pinpoint a location that they could head towards. It would need to be something far enough away from the city that they would not risk bumping into someone, but not so far that they would have to drive through the night.
Vermont was a few hours away, they would arrive by nightfall and there would be a selection of places to say and a garage to refill the car. Staying close to the coastline was risky but there would be markets and bars, which would provide them with food and drink, both things that Freddie had almost forgotten about until he felt the empty feeling in his stomach.
"We will stay overnight in Vermont but we will need to stop for food before, I can't have you dying of starvation before I've paid my debt to you." He said and handed her back the map.
"I've never actually driven this far before." He said shifting in his seat to get more comfortable. "You'll need to make sure I'm going the right way. You [i do ] know how to read a map, right? You women are terrible with directions." He said and rolled his eyes playfully.
It seemed the Frederick spent the next few minutes thinking about some kind of response trying to rationalise a reason why she might not be able to have her own room. She knew that part of the reason he has suggested they were married was because it was the least suspicious reason for the two to be travelling together and it meant that they avoided questions should any arise. Lillina met his gaze for a moment as he glanced towards her and continued to talk about his exploits. She let her tongue click against the roof of her mouth and her lips parted in shock again when he mentioned her men. “My...my men?” He brushed over the topic easily and avoided picking up on the offended tone of her voice and continued to discuss their arrangement and confirmed he would not be getting her a room of her own.
She might have argued if she hadn’t been so shocked by his implication. Lillian certainly did not have men in her past nor did she intend to have any in her future. Her only experience of men had not exactly been positive ones and she was not about to admit to a playboy that she had never had a man in her bed nor had she been in another’s. Not because she was a prude or because she believed what many others believed about marriage. Lillian listened to his proposal and held up the map with a smirk. It was true that he had no exactly been following the map and Frederick had taken several turns since they had started their journey but she was happy to confidently bluff her way through this.
Whether she was right or wrong she was not about to turn down an opportunity to get her own bed. “We’re right here.” She said, doing as he said and looking him straight in the eye as she pointed to an area on the map that could easily have been where they were. It wasn’t too far from their starting point that she could be wildly wrong but she would not let him know that she was guessing, especially if she happened to be right.
Freddie raised an eyebrow at Lillian as she started to almost choke from laughing at him. It was not unusual for him to joke with his friends about women or use his own ego and confidence to talk women into bed. When he had been listing things to Lillian, however, it had not been to boast or to try to convince her to sleep with him, it had been merely to make her laugh, a thought that - if Freddie had realised - would have scared the wits from him.
Turning down another road, Freddie let them drive in silence for a while whilst he thought of the possibility of getting her a room separate to his. Sure it would make his life easier if he didn't have to witness her first thing in the morning, looking like an angel with his shirt risen up just enough that he could see the full length of her legs. Yes, it would be much easier but it also left questions, why were they travelling together? Why did they have separate rooms? If they stayed somewhere with a bar then it meant men could barge into her room and he wouldn't be able to protect her.
Freddie sighed and looked over at her. He wouldn't tell her that though, instead, he would carry on with his selfish act. "I never spend the night with women and no, we don't do much sleeping in the time we are together. If your men are sleeping then they're doing something wrong." He kept his voice soft and light, not wanting to get into her past relations, he moved on quickly. "I want to share a room with you and as it is my money, we will carry on this arrangement until I see fit. I'll even let you sleep in the bed tonight, kitten." He said and rubbed his arm where she had lightly punched him, poking his tongue out at her when she turned her head back to the map.
"I'll tell you what, if you can look me in the eye and tell me exactly where we are on that map, you can have your own bed tonight." He said, knowing all too well that she had not been keeping track of their journey. He had taken them off the main highway minutes ago, not liking the fear that came with every car coming into his rearview mirror and now they were speeding down the country roads which were much quieter at that time of day. If she could, somehow, tell him where they were without looking around for clues, then she would get her own bed. That didn't mean he wouldn't still be in the room.
She was glad that they were no longer talking of her brother. She found the topic rather honerous to talk about and she did not want Frederick to feel sorry for her. She just needed to get as far away from the place she had once called home as possible, then they would both go their separate ways. There was not much point in telling him everything about her past because they were not exactly going to be acquaintances for very long; just as long as it took to get to where ever it was they were going. Lillian threw her head back slightly and laughed at Frederick’s initial words. She was not sure that she had ever been a straight-laced pleasant woman but there was a time where she wouldn’t have dared to speak out against another. She was no longer that person and she was so glad of it.
Lillian would have laughed even harder when he started to list reasons why women hardly said no to him but when he reached the final part of his list that she stopped laughing and almost chocked. While she knew that he was open about such topics, it wasn’t every day that she was in the presence of someone who enjoyed talking about his conquests so openly. She simply looked towards him with her lips slightly parted from shock while her eyes continued to speak. When he brought up the fact that she should have climbed into bed with him she expected him to insinuate that she should have done so for pleasure, he surprised her. It seemed that the playboy could also be a gentlemen when he wanted to be. She swallowed hard when he told her he had found it hard with her sleeping on the floor and she blushed slightly but as soon as she did she expected him to turn to conversation and true to his form he joked about her snoring.
Lillian reached out and slapped her hand across his arm playfully before returning it to her lap and let it run along the map as though she had been paying attention to it he entire time and she hadn’t hit him. “If you don’t like sharing a room with me Lester you can always pretend that you are someone other than my husband so you do not have to. I am more than happy to have my own room. At least then I might be able to enjoy a bed rather than a floor. Besides, you are not exactly a peaceful sleeper yourself. I don’t know how these women stand to spend the night with you. Although, I imagine there is not much sleeping and I’m sure you hardly let them spend the night. Aren’t I the lucky one?”
Her brother was sounding more and more the scoundrel as she spoke. There were two types of people who didn't pay for things, clever people and manipulative people. Sadly forcing your sister to pay your debt came under the second category. Freddie was glad it was the sister he was dealing with because he was not sure, if it had been her brother he had met that night, he would have let him live. He didn't share this thought with Lillian, whilst he had made his unhappiness clear about her brother and what he had done to Lillian, he was not about to suggest that he would kill him would the situation arise. After all, Freddie was a stranger and Lillian was family to this man.
Frederick hadn't been told 'no' often by women, at least, not seriously. His mind rationalised that it was the reason he was drawn to Lillian. If she had simply climbed into bed with him, would he be so interested in getting to know her better? It would have made the car journey much more uncomfortable, that was for sure.
Freddie lifted his head back and laughed. "I'm not even sure where to begin with that." He said shaking his head. "I can not imagine you as an agreeable woman, nor am I sure 'yes' is in your vocabulary. Though I am glad the rebel in you has decided to show. I don't think I would be as fond of a straight-laced pleasant Lillian." He knew his words likely sounded like insults but he was trying to compliment her without being overly obvious about it. Only moments ago he had told her he had been interested in her since first sight and he wasn't about to tell her how much he was enjoying their exchange.
"Secondly," He continued, tapping his fingers as though listing his defence reasons "Women don't say no to me because I'm charming, handsome, funny and well, good in bed." He flashed her a smile and before she could speak or laugh, continued talking. "Thirdly, I really did expect you to remove your dress and share the bed with me not because I wanted to pick up where we left off at the manor but because you were tired and dirty. I never intended to touch you. Last night was, difficult for us both and I would never take advantage of you like that." Freddie ran a hand through his hair and sighed.
"It was probably for the best that you didn't share the bed with me, It was hard enough sleeping with you on the floor." He bit his lip and looked at her, letting her come to her own conclusion of what his words meant before he spoke again. "You snore. It's like a huffing noise, as though you are angry at me even in your dreams. Very hard to sleep with that noise, would have been worse with you so close to me in the bed." The corner of his mouth turned up, twitching for a moment as he tried to stop himself from laughing.
Lillian had blushed when he mentioned that he was in fact interested in her but it was best for both of them if she ignored his comment and that was her intentions when she changed to topic of conversation to something a little less dangerous. Although, listening to the new protective element to Frederick was dangerous in itself. It did not seem right they he would be so willing to protect someone he had only met less than twenty-four hours ago, yet he seemed more than happy to do so, even if he did cover it up with a joke. It was becoming a common thing with him.
“I’m sure if you found him you could bill him for the gas. Although I cannot promise he would be able to pay for it. I’m not sure he has ever paid for anything in his life.” She said as she looked over towards him as his sarcasm filled the air. She laughed at his words. It was true that she had been difficult with him and she had exercised a sharp tongue around him, even though she had learned a long time ago that such things could get you into trouble but no matter how much Frederick had tried to throw her off yesterday, something told her that he would not hurt her and perhaps that is why she found it necessary to test to boundaries with him.
“You would be surprised with how agreeable I have been in the past. I am afraid you may have simply found me at the end of my tether Mr Lester. I simply said yes one too many times and the rebel in me has decided to make life very difficult for you. Although, in my defence I do believe that some of your suggestions had not exactly been easy to agree to. Tell me Mr Lester, how many women have said no to you? Is it really that much of a shock that I refused to remove my dress and lay in bed with you?” She raised her eyebrow and found herself genuinely curious about his response. “I assume that a lot of women find it hard to say no to you. I cannot say I understand why.” She said with a laugh, hoping that her words would lighten the mood further.
Frederick almost slammed on the breaks when she threw his own words back at her. Surely she couldn't have believed him when he had said that? They had been in a standoff, she had used him and it had hurt his ego. Frederick Lester was not used by women. Despite the fact that he had been using her back, it had stung and so he had thrown those words at her to try to send her off balance, to make her feel unwanted and hurt, enough that he could take the diamond from her. It had been futile, he could see that now. She was a strong woman and hadn't needed his attention, if anything he had believed she had ignored those words entirely until she spoke them again.
"You're mistaken my sweet kitten, I'm very interested in you and have been from the moment I laid eyes on you. However, I am still just a man and you wounded my pride. I had intended to hurt you when I said that, though I can see it had only given you ammunition to use against me." Freddie smiled at her, showing that he was not angry at her choice of words but amused. "I will need to be more careful with my words around you."
Freddie drew his eyes from her and looked back at the road. He let her voice wash over him whilst he pondered for a moment. Growing up with a father as his, he had always been told that emotions were weaknesses others would exploit. His father was a clever man and would happily flog Freddie for saying such a thing. If Lillian wanted to hurt him, she would now know to go to his sister first. Instead of sharing his thoughts with her, not wanting to cry about his father issues to a stranger, he decided to focus on what she had said about her brother.
"If anyone dared to hurt my sister like you've been hurt then I would hurt then tenfold. Your brother sounds like a total arse. If I ever meet your brother I can't promise I won't hit him for putting you in a position like this."
Freddie didn't smile as he spoke and the sound of his own voice scared him slightly. He had never felt protective over anyone other than his sister, and the strange feeling that Lillian awakened in him didn't sit well. "Well, that and for making me drive all this way to see you safe." He did smile then.
"I take it you don't like being told what to do then? What a surprise, you've been so agreeable, I would never have guessed." Freddie said sarcastically and rolled his eyes. Sarcasm was not his usual way of talking and yet it was so catching.
The silence between them felt as though it lasted a life time when in reality it was only a matter of seconds. She wondered if saying such things would put ideas in his head. He could so easily leave her on the side of a road somewhere yet a part of her [I knew] that he was not about to do that. He had promised to help her and despite the teasing and his playboy demeanour, Frederick seemed to be a man of his word. She looked over towards him as he spoke, detecting the wounded tone to his voice. While she did not understand him all the time, she figured that he was being honest with her now. Just as she was beginning to smile at his sincerity he ruined it instantly with another typical Lester comment. Lillian shook her head. “Funny, because yesterday you had very different opinions about me. Why would a Lester be interested in someone like me?” Lillian used his own words against him now, wondering whether he even remembered saying such things to her.
After a minute Frederick attempted to start a conversation, despite the fact that he had suggested they could spend the rest of the journey is silence if she wished that to be the case. However, she was grateful for the distraction. Lillian smiled at his words and looked over his expression once more. Whenever he seemed to be honest or sincere about his feelings he seemed to instantly regret it and it made her chuckle to herself quietly. “Just because you are a Lester, it does not mean that you cannot show a softer side on occasion. It’s not a bad thing to want to protect your sister. In fact, it is rather admirable. Not as many people would go as far as you did to protect her.” Lillian pulled her eyes away from him as she continued to speak and kept her eyes on the road before them as she continued to speak. Perhaps offering a little bit of herself would allow him to open up to her a little more. “I think I would have been lucky to have a brother like you. While you aim to protect your sister, mine did everything but try to protect me. He was selfish and did not think about the consequences of his actions and because of that I ended up trying to pay off his debt for him.” Lillian shook her head, not wanting to go into too much detail. “What I am trying to say is you should be ashamed of caring for another person.” She looked back towards him now and offered him a smile. “I do not really know what the first thing I will do. I think it will just be nice to have some freedom, not have someone telling me what I can and cannot do or controlling what I do.”
Freddie chuckled as she complained about the names he had suggested for her. They were purposefully bad but Freddie had found he enjoyed provoking Lillian and whilst his advances seemed to have little effect, other than causing her to express how much she didn't want to share a bed with him or for him to remove his trousers, his teasing caused her to react in a way he found entertaining.
"Rose? That makes you sound so innocent. I'm not sure having a wife called Rose would prove fun for me. I can't see why we can't stick with Kitty." He looked over at her and grinned.
Her instruction had been to travel North and so Freddie turned down the roads that would lead them to a more open highway that took them up country. Her words surprised him and for a moment he thought them over. Should he have left her in the hotel room? It would have made life easier for him and yet he did not want to see her stranded without money or a place to sleep, or worse, in the hands of their employer. Frederick Lester was not a good man but leaving a woman to fend for herself when she had sacrificed so much for him didn't sit well in his gut.
"Despite what you may think of me, Lillian, I do not wish to see you hurt, nor do I only think of my own happiness." The words were spoken with a little more hurt than he intended and he had to remind himself that she did not know him as friends and family did, they barely knew each other.
"Plus," He continued "How often do I get to pretend to be married to such a beautiful woman with such a sharp tongue as you?" Freddie laughed again and relaxed into the driver's seat.
The had a long journey ahead of them and Freddie wondered if Lillian knew how far he was willing to travel to ensure she was safely away from the demons that had haunted them both the previous night.
"Tell me, what is the first thing you will do once you are settled in your new life?" He asked, trying to spark a conversation that didn't involve death, running away or lies. Hopefully, such a simple question would help them ease into a conversation they could both enjoy without having to argue or curse each other, not that he minded her sarcasm or wit, it was a pleasant change from the simpering women who he usually kept company with.
"I've always dreamed of running away. I think most children do. I always planned to live by the sea, maybe in a nice summer house with a dog." Freddie continued to look out the window as he spoke. "When my father married my step-mother and Florence joined our family, running away became impossible. She is my responsability now and I would never be so selfish as to leave her without me. If my father died she would have nothing save my families name." They were words he had never spoken aloud and as he said them he realised how follish and silly they probably sounded and he scolded himself silently for admitting to such a thing. He was a grown man and would one day inherit his fathers fortune, running away wasn't an option.
Regardless of Frederick’s instance that Kitty was a fine name she still allowed her face to show the disgust that she felt. She wasn’t surprised that he might find the name sexy because she would associate it with those who seemed to illicit sex and she was sure that Frederick was not impartial to such matters but she would not express that verbally. Even though her breath caught in her throat when he moved a piece of hair out of her face she tried to push the feeling aside and allowed him to take her arm to lead her out of the room. She was sure that he noticed how nervous she felt because he kept the conversation light and she was grateful for that matter.
Lillian screwed up her face at all the names he listed and she shook her head. “You have a habit of either making me sound extremely old or a lady without morals.” She laughed slightly and thought for a moment. “What about something simple like Alice or Rose.” She offered her ideas, not even sure he would listen to them anyway. Frederick seemed to have a mind of his own when it came to thinking up names for her and she was sure that he would use different ones to keep her on her toes and tease her at every opportunity he had.
She climbed into the car and swallowed hard before she noticed that Frederick had moved to face her. Lillian turned her head to the left and took in her serious look now. He hadn’t looked at her like that before, at least not with such purpose and that last thing she expected from him was a promise. It was uncharacteristic for him to act this sincere but in the small space of time she knew him, she could tell that his feelings for his sister were strong enough to allow him to fulfil his end of the bargain. The atmosphere between them felt awkward now and she looked away after clearing her throat, only looking back towards him when he handed her the map.
“North.” She said simply, not even giving it a moments thought before looking at the map he had given her. Lillian opened it up and familiarised herself with the lines as he started to drive down the driveway. “You know…I fully expected you to leave me in that hotel room. I’m still not quite sure why you didn’t. Your sister is safe, your end of the bargain has been fulfilled and you could have so easily left me to fend for myself.” It was a thought that had crossed her mind several times. True, he had lied and therefore implicated himself in her own deceit but he did not [I have] to help her. “I thought that you might stay here with your sister once you saw that she was safe.” Lillian glanced over at him so that she might be able to read his expression before she turned her attention back to the map in her hand.
Freddie was too busy checking that they had everything they needed to see the worry and fear in Lillian’s eyes as she realised they were about to leave and when Freddie returned, it would be alone. He adjusted the bag a few times trying to get comfortable before buttoning it up.
“A harlot?” Freddie laughed and walked over to Lillian, standing face to face with her. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the name? In fact, I think it’s quite a sexy name.” He said, reaching up to brush a strand of damp hair from her face. Freddie laughed again and stepped back.
He could hear the tension in her voice, although her words were teasing. He glanced at the door and then back to her. They could talk in the car, he was feeling restless being back home. Things would be easier when they were moving. Freddie reached out and took her arm, the bag on the opposite side.
“What name would you like then, wife?” He asked, trying to take her mind off the fact they were walking closer and closer to the start of her new future. “Ethel? Gertrude? Scarlett? Perhaps Prudence?” Freddie looked down at her face, wanting nothing more than to smooth the worry lines from her forehead. He kept his hands to himself and continued to lead her back out of the house.
Once in the car, the bag was placed in the boot and they were seated, the windows rolled down. Freddie didn’t turn the engine on straight away, instead, he turned his body so he was facing Lillian.
“It’s going to be okay, you know that right? I’m not going to let anything happen to you, Lillian.” He said and ignored the twitch in his hand that wanted to reach out and touch her face again. “It might be difficult at first but I’ve only known you for twenty-four hours and already I can tell how strong you are.” Frederick ran a hand across his jaw and smiled weakly. “You saved my sister and in return, I’m saving you.”
Freddie laughed then, breaking some of the tension. God, how stupid he sounded. [I I’m saving you ] he sounded like a gentleman or a knight in shining armour. Both things he was not. He turned the engine on then, hoping that the sound of the motor and the way he kept his eyes on the road stopped any feelings of uncomfort. He had not meant to say things in such a serious way, instead, he had wanted to soothe the anxiety that was apparent on her face. Her situation was not easy and he could only imagine what she was feeling, going on the run for the rest of her life.
“I only have one more thing to say, then we can drive in silence if you wish.” He started. “North or South?” Frederick said, pulling out a map from the side of the car door. He handed it to Lillian to unfold, hoping she was better than him at reading the darn things. Giving her limited time to answer him, he started to drive down the driveway towards the gate leading them away from his house.
She could tell straight away that she had annoyed him bringing up the ring so she decided to purse her lips and not speak of the matter again unless he decided to. Instead, they made their way through the manor in silence and she took a few minutes to look around at the highly decorated manor. It was just like every other manor she had seen and was clearly created with the purpose of showing off their riches to those who visited. Lillian was immune to such a show so she was not impressed. When she reached his room she took a minute to look around. It was different to the rest of the house; a little plain in comparison but it suited him well. He did not seem like the type to have many people in his room so why did he need to make a show of it?
She did not expect him to address the ring but he seemed to clarify what she already thought. So his sister had been the person she ‘saved’ by giving up the diamond. At least she knew that it was worth it now. Even if Frederick was incapable of feelings it was clear that his affection for his sister was true. She nodded and accepted what he said but did not press him on the matter. All that [I did] matter was that she seemed safe now and he was satisfied with that fact.
He threw a bag on the bed and walked into the bathroom, allowing the shower to warm up for a minute and locked eyes with him as he started to instruct her on what to do next. Lillian raised her hand to her forehead and pulled it forward in a salute. “Yes sir.” She said, almost sarcastically before she made her way into the bathroom, shutting the door behind her. Lillian did not hesitate to remove the dress that she had warn for far too long and dropped every bit of material to the floor before climbing into the shower. The hot water began to wash away all of the fatigue and dirt from the events that had come to pass and she allowed her eyes to close as the water drenched every part of her body.
Lillian half expected Frederick to return to his normal suggestive ways but she knew that they were in a rush to leave and she was grateful that he allowed her to shower in peace. She spent longer than she had intended in the shower but that was mostly because she could hear Frederick moving around in the room but after a while she detected no more movement and she could only assume that he had gone elsewhere to shower himself. She switched the shower off and poked her head around the door to find that the room was empty and that he had left her some new clothes as promised. Of course they were far too much for her taste but she was not going to find clothes that were anything less than expensive in the Lester household. Once she retrieved them she shut the door again and began to dress, pulling her hair up after drying it slightly.
Lillian couldn’t say that she looked better, but she certainly felt better after showering and finding some new clothes. She heard Frederick’s voice from the other side of the door and let out a sigh and moved back out into his bedroom. “That nickname of yours really did not need to turn into a real name. You made me sound like some sort of harlot. You really need to come up with better names. Kitty isn’t the name of the marrying kind and if I’m playing your wife for much longer I think you need to choose one more carefully.”
She laughed at the comment he made about his mother and she nodded before looking over at the bag he had packed and she swallowed hard, realising that it was about time to start running. “Well, let’s get a wiggle on then.” She said, repeating the words he had used moments ago.
Freddie kept his hand on Lillian’s back as they entered the house. The gold ring felt as though it was burning against his skin and his thoughts went into overdrive, trying to think of a rational reason he would have his brother-in-law’s ring if his sister was to notice it. Luckily she did not. Lillian’s voice broke his thoughts and he almost hissed at her in annoyance as she mentioned the ring. Instead, he bit his tongue and led her through the hall and up the stairs towards his room. Of course, she had noticed the ring, she was too observant for her own good.
Freddie opened the door to his room and gently pushed Lillian inside, closing the door behind him. He sighed loudly and shrugged his jacket off, placing it on the bed. The room could have been a guest room, there were no paintings on the walls or childhood drawings to show that the room belonged to Frederick. Instead, it was whites and greys, everything neatly placed in straight rows.
“The ring is a reminder of my sins.” He said as he walked over to the wardrobe, pulling out a bag which he started to fill with clothes. “I am the reason my sister married that evil man. I told you I had to save her life, didn't I? If I had let him carry on as he was, he would have killed her.”
He would not say any more on the matter, instead he threw the half-filled duffel bag on the bed and walked into the joining bathroom. He did not want to hang around but both of them needed to change, he turned the shower on and walked back into the bedroom, looking at Lillian for the first time since they entered the house.
“Shower. I’ll find you some clothes and leave them outside the bathroom door.” He said and without waiting for her to reply he walked out of the bedroom, not trusting himself to be just a door away from her showering. Freddie was sure she would not appreciate him joining her either.
It was easier than he expected getting clothes for Lillian. His sister’s car had left the driveway and so he took a few of her dresses from her room and then went to his mother’s room and grabbed a few of her things. They would likely be too expensive for where Lillian was going living but if she was dressed the part of his wife it would make their journey much easier. Hadn’t she said something similar back at the hotel? Dressing the role was all part of the game. Freddie next went to his office and took the money out of his desk and the remaining cash and items from the safe. It would be enough, even without the jewels that he had packed for her to wear which she could sell, it would be enough.
After returning to his room, he packed the dresses and other items of clothing in the bag along with the money, blank ID papers and a pre-signed marriage licence. Frederick placed an outfit outside the bathroom door for her and left to wash up in one of the guest rooms. He didn’t need to hear the shower running in his bathroom to know it would take only seconds for his resolve to break and he was sure Lillian would try to kill him if he entered the bathroom. It had been bad enough the night before having to share a room with her. He only had so much control.
Freddie showered in the guestroom and changed into a more casual shirt and trousers. He shaved and dried off his hair before going back to his room.
“Kitten, we really need to get a wiggle on.” He said, picking up the bag. “I’ve got most of what we need. I don’t want to stay here longer than necessary, god forbid we bump into my mother, she’ll want to feed you and tell you her life story.”
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