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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.”
Lillian climbed into the car as soon as they arrived and waited for him to make his way around. She was so conscious that someone, anyone at all, would recognise them so she was keen to get moving away as soon as possible. In her mind, her their employers had followed him and found out he was lying, neither of them would have made it through the night at all. That was the only thing that was making her think that they might just succeed in their plan to make her disappear. As she expected, Frederick’s family would have been home and she was worried about that exposure. Of course he could easily make up another ridiculous name for her and lie about who she was, and she was sure he would, but that did not mean that she remained protected. The less people she saw, the better. Hopefully they would get in and out of there quickly.
Lillian looked down at her hand as he uncharacteristically tried to offer her some comfort. “Oh hello Mr and Mrs Lester. How do I know Freddie? Well it’s a funny story actually, we were both trying to steal the same diamond after we spent some time getting to know each other on a more [I personal] level. Then he dumped my body in a river to help me disappear and now I’m here to get changed so he can help me run away.” Her tone sounded sincere as she relayed the story back to Frederick as they drove towards his house and she ended with a laugh so that she could show him just how ridiculous it would be to say such things. “Believe me, I do not think that story makes either of us look good so I have no problem mentioning last night.”
Lillian thought about her destination a little longer after that. There were so many things to consider when it came to making herself a new home. Society put a lot of restrictions on women and it would make it more difficult for her to survive on her own. Most of the women who lived in the countryside were often married to farmers and worked the land with their families but women had a little more freedom in the city but it risked her being seen more. She could change her hair if she needed to. Lillian was comfortable cutting her hair but that would not do much to disguise her from the world that she needed to hide from but it would go some way to making her look a little different.
“As much as I would love to live in the countryside, I do not think that I would be able to live a normal life out there without having to set some roots and start a family and believe me that is the [I last] thing I want or even need in my life. I might be able to blend into the city easier. I can find work and get an apartment and avoid the parties that I have grown to despise. High society is [I not] where I belong or even want to be.”
Before long their conversation drew to an end because they had arrived at the manor. The size of it was not unsurprising and she was not wowed by it, especially after the size of the place they had spent their evening last night. His demeanour seemed to change to moment he laid eyes on a woman in the distance, unpacking some of his bags and as she climbed out of the car she tried to figure out what their relationship might be. Frederick was far too flirtatious and incapable of feelings for this woman to be anything more than a relative. Even as he took her hand she found herself looking at the woman who showed a similar excitement to seeing him. Lillian intended on taking back her hand, not wanting them to appear as anything more than acquaintances but he did not drop her hand until Florence pulled back from Frederick and looked her over. She attempted to smile and hide the nerves as Frederick introduced her, only looking up at him when he gave her another horrific cover name. She raised her eyebrows and gave him a look that suggested that she would be scolding him for that later. At least now she was beginning to understand a few things. This woman was his sister and the moment she mentioned her husband, he changed again and that was when she remembered the ring that Frederick had come back with. She promised herself she would not ask any questions and it was becoming very clear that she would not need to. Clearly she was part of the bargain that he had made in exchange for the diamond. Lillian nodded towards the woman as Frederick pressed his hand on her back and started to lead her away.
“I was nice to meet you Florence.” She said over her shoulder and when they had a good distance between them she turned to Frederick. “You might want to put that ring somewhere else unless you want to give yourself away.”
Freddie opened the car door for Lillian and let her get into the car before going over to his own side. He glanced around the street before getting into the car, trying to shake the nervous feeling that had crept up on him the moment they left the hotel. He started the car and pulled into the empty street, heading towards his home. It was understandable that Lillian was nervous to go to his house, his father would likely be in his study and not notice them. Freddie had used the excuse that he needed to get things for her but in reality, he was going home to ensure his sister was home. If his employers had held up their end of the deal then he would be able to focus on getting Lillian to a safe space. Until that was settled he could not commit to helping anyone.
“My family will be home, we will not tell them about your situation and I would appreciate if you do not mention last night to them either. They are unaware of what I have been doing and I would like to keep it that way.” Freddie glanced over at her and clocked the fear on her face. He smiled and reached over to awkwardly pat her hand, in an attempt to reassure her. Freddie didn’t feel the need to tell her that he had never bought a woman home before. They were normally taken to his apartment in the city, not wanting to involve his family in his scandals or put his female companionship in a position where his mother walked into his room.
“Would you prefer a busy city or the countryside?” He looked back to the road and removed his hand, placing it back on the steering wheel. Both options would work, a city far up north would mean she could blend into society, if she kept to the middle class then she would not draw attention. South to a countryside estate would give her solitude, not many people tended to visit the open spaces so there would be little risk of running into someone. Freddie couldn’t imagine living such a quiet life, he liked the bustle and noise of the city and rarely visited the green open spaces.
They would need to travel far, that much was clear. Their employers, or ex-employers now, would most likely have influence over most of the East Coast. Freddie had every intention of taking Lillian far away before he left her and returned home. It would mean lying to his family, giving them some reason for his absence that wouldn’t awaken suspicion.
As they drove, Freddie let the options turn over in his head, over and over again. Rural areas were quieter but it would also be unusual for a woman to live alone at such a young age. The country had not embraced female freedom as much as the cities had. It would mean working hard or marrying, both risky options. The city would never blink an eye at Lillian having her own apartment but with society constantly throwing large-scale parties and people travelling more often, there would be a higher chance that she got recognised.
Turning off the main road Freddie realised that they had almost arrived at his childhood home. Large houses with tall gates stood in rows, lined with neatly trimmed trees and clean sidewalks. The car pulled into a driveway that stretched down, ending with a large house. Outside the front doors, Freddie spotted his sisters driver, unloading countless bags. Freddie’s heart rate picked up and almost forgot about Lillian as he pulled up, turning the car off. He opened his door and practically jumped from his seat. He went round and opened Lillian’s door and grinned.
“Welcome to Lester Manor.” He said, taking her hand to help her out of the car.
Before he could drop her hand from his, a high pitched scream came from the front door. Freddie looked up and his smile only widened. Stood at the top of the stairs wearing the most ridiculous white dress and matching jacket with hair the colour of molten lava was Freddie’s sister. The red-head ran down the stairs, and straight into the arms of Freddie, ignoring his hold on Lillian’s hand.
“Flo, you’re crushing me.” He groaned and using his free hand pried his sister from his chest. Freddie’s sister stepped back and looked from him to Lillian, her face screwing up slightly. Freddie dropped Lillian’s hand from his own and straightened up a bit.
“Florence, this is my friend Kitty.” He looked down at Lillian and smiled, daring her to say something. “Kitty, this is my little sister, Mrs Florence Jacobs,” Freddie said, loathing his use of her married name. Flicking her bright hair over her shoulder, Florence almost ignored Freddie's introductions.
“It’s actually Lester, or will be when I’ve gotten back from seeing my lawyer. That scumbag left me last night. Nothing but a letter.” Freddie suppressed his smile and feeling the weight of the deadmans ring on his finger he quickly placed his hand on Lillian's back, making sure his sister did not notice the gold.
“Tell me about it at dinner tonight, Kitty and I are only popping in to change then we’re meeting friends.”
Lillian turned around just as she heard the knock on the door and contemplated going over to open it for him but she was still putting her hair up and she was already noticing that the door was beginning to open and he was commenting on his hair the moment he entered the room. Lillian finished placing the last pin in her hair and dropped her hands to her side as he moved towards the table to place down the tray. He offered her one of the cups and she took it quickly, allowing the smell of coffee to take over for a moment. As she took a sip from her cup she allowed her eyes to close and a smile started to threaten the corner of her lips and she looked back towards Frederick. “It may look nicer down but women who dress like this do not tend to allow their hair to fall down. If I have to play the part of your wife and I have to pretend I even belong in this society then I might as well follow some of the unspoken rules had I not?” She smiled once more as she took another sip from her cup.
She knew that they would be leaving soon but that did not mean that she was not absolutely terrified about what would happen after this point. When they left that hotel room she would officially be on the run and both of them would risk being caught for their lies and deceit. Perhaps she should not have asked for his help. It was not until he asked that she realised she had not even considered where she should go so she simply shook her head. Lillian thought for a moment before she answered him but even when she was ready he was already teasing her about the fact that she slept on the floor and he was taking the cup out of her hand and asking her if she was ready.
Lillian laughed and nodded. “That’s not the first time I have spent an evening sleeping on the floor. It’s not so bad when you get used to it.” She said softly before indicating that she was ready to go and made her way towards the door. Once they were out on the corridor and making their way towards his car she looked towards Frederick, ready to answer his previous questions.
“I have not really thought about where to go after this. It wasn’t exactly part of the plan. I mean, I was always going to leave town but I hadn’t planned on going on the run. Just…somewhere far away.” Lillian looked away for a moment. “Is it safe? Going back to your father’s house? What if someone sees me?” She looked back towards him, showing the fear that she started to feel upon her face. “I wanted to thank you. I know this was not part of your plan either and I know that you are risking a lot to help me.”
Freddie heard the door lock behind him and he took a few steps before pressing his back to the wall. It was a good move to leave the room whilst she changed, self-control only went so far. The night before it had been easier, his mind had been elsewhere and their flirtation had been a nice distraction from the horrible reality that waited for him. Freddie had never woken up with a woman, not one he would return to anyway. He had done his fair share of sneaking out or kicking out in some cases. Drawing in a deep breath, trying to push thoughts of Lillian from his head, he started to walk down the corridor.
The man at the counter had been less than pleased to see Freddie, especially when he asked for his name Freddie just mumbled something under his breath, not quite remembering his alias. The man handed him a tray and Freddie paid him for the room and the breakfast. It saved him having to so it with Lillian beside him, the last thing he needed was to draw attention to her.
Freddie walked back to the room with the tray, trying to balance the cups and pot of coffee without spilling it. Normally things like this just appeared in his room when he woke up.
Freddie knocked on the door with one hand before opening it. He was a little surprised to find it unlocked, did she not realise they were in a public hotel? Anyone could just walk into their room. His eyes found her as she was putting her hair up. “It looks nicer down.” He said and walked over to the small table to put the tray down. Two cups were filled and Freddie picked both up, holding one out to Lillian.
“We will be leaving soon.” Freddie took a sip of his drink and watched Lillian as he spoke his next words, trying to judge how she felt about his plan. “We are going to return to my father’s house. You’ll be needing clothes and money and new papers. I need to deal with some business before taking you to…” He paused then and raised his eyebrows at her. “Where is it I’m taking you, kitten? Have you thought about where you want to go?”
Freddie put his cup back on the tray and walked over to the bed, picking up his shirt. It was still warm from her and as he put it on he could smell her perfume and shampoo. He closed his eyes for a moment in frustration. Why had he let her borrow it? Driving home would now be torture. The sooner he got bathed and changed the better. Freddie started to button up the shirt and glanced back at Lillian.
“I won’t bother to ask you if you slept well, your snoring speaks for itself.” He said and grinned at her. “Though, I hope you ache today. It serves well as a punishment for sleeping on the floor like a mad woman.” Freddie teased and picked up his jacket.
He knew he probably looked worse for wear, his clothes were a little creased and he needed to shave. His hand ran across his jaw and then through his hair, pushing it back in a weak attempt to make himself presentable before he walked over to Lillian, standing closer than needed. He took the cup from her hand, not even checking to see if she had finished her drink and placed it down.
“Ready wife?” He asked.
Her sleep should not have been peaceful that evening. Her evening had not gone to plan and she should have found herself sleepless due to the decisions that she had made but she slept quite well overall. Lillian did not even wake straight away when Frederick started to stir that morning. She might have been embarrassed by the way that he glanced over her if she had been awake when he did. She could hear his cheerful voice in the distance as she started to awaken and slowly started to stretch her body out until she was conscious enough to remember that she was only wearing Frederick’s shirt.
Lillian opened her eyes and instantly looked down at the shirt to make sure that it covered her modesty and luckily, it did. After she was satisfied that there was nothing but her legs on show she looked over towards Frederick who faced away from her. She smiled to herself when she noticed that he had his back to him. Perhaps he did not feel the need to behave inappropriately now that he had a decent night sleep and she was grateful for that face, especially since it meant that she did not have to find the energy to fight back this morning.
Frederick moved passed her and claimed that he was going to find something for them to eat and drink and she was grateful that he was going to be giving her some privacy to change. “Thank you.” She said, her voice a little hoarse from her sleep. Lillian let out a sigh when he shut the door behind him and she moved to lock it much like she had the night before, not wanting to risk him walking in on her getting dressed. The last thing she needed was for him to see her in anything less than what she was wearing now, especially since it would likely fuel more inappropriate remarks.
She moved to the bathroom and went about her normal morning routine, making sure that she was fresh enough to put on the dress she wore the night before. Once she had it on, she ran her hands over it and checked her appearance in the mirror. She was supposed to be returning this dress to her employers but they would assume that the dress lay with her at the bottom of the river. Lillian told herself that she would she would dispose of it the moment she had chance. If she never had to wear something of this expense, again she would be glad.
As she moved back into the room, she unlocked the door and placed his shirt neatly on the bed, making sure that it would not get any creases. Lillian pulled her hair up into a loose bun and allowed some of the hair slides to hold it in place. She was not exactly happy with the way she looked and she was desperate for a new pair of clothes and a long soak but this would have to do for now. Soon enough Frederick would be back and the two would be on the road, starting her new life.
It was difficult to stay angry, or even be angry in the first place, at Lillian for kicking him. Whilst she had knocked the wind from him, any pain that had come from her foot had now vanished. Freddie kept his eyes closed and waited for the sounds of movement to indicate that she was going to do the sensible thing and join him in the bed. It was only a sleeping arrangement and Freddie didn’t plan to touch her... well he would try not to and that had to stand for something. The sounds of soft rustling and shifting came from the floor but after a moment it was silent, only the sound of their breathing in the room. Freddie sat up slowly and looked over the side of the bed. Damn woman, she was lying with her back to him in the same spot he had inhabited only moments earlier.
Freddie fell back onto the bed and let out a slightly irritated sigh. Was she really so stubborn that she would suffer sleeping on the floor rather than share a bed with him? A woman couldn't sleep on the floor. Deciding that it was futile to argue with her he closed his eyes and tried to calm his thoughts. It would have been much easier to sleep if she hadn’t been in the room, so close and wearing only his shirt. Perhaps it was a good idea that she stay on the floor.
Sleep came but it wasn’t peaceful. He spent the whole night dreaming of severed hands and running from the man he had met earlier that night and a blonde woman who stabbed him in the back. The sun had started to rise by the time he woke. Lillian was still asleep on the floor, it was not fair that she slept so soundly. Quietly climbing out of the bed, he walked around the sleeping woman on the floor and made his way to the curtains. The evening before had been such a rush, a mix of emotions that he had still not processed. He had a woman to hide and a sister who would need him now her husband was out of the picture.
Freddie stretched his body out for a moment and then, placing his hands on the curtains, opened them to let the rising sun fill the room. Maybe he should have let Lillian sleep a little bit longer, she deserved it, just as he did. However, they had so much to do to ensure she got away safely, sleeping in late would have to wait. He had a promise to keep to her.
“Wake up my dear.” He said in an unnecessarily cheerful voice. Freddie glanced over at Lillian and his words stuck in his throat. How was it fair that she still looked so beautiful after sleeping on the floor wearing only his shirt? She had been through the same thing he had and yet she lay there looking like an angel and he felt like death. Freddie turned his back to her then, not trusting his self-control which had, till this point, proved much more restrained than he had known.
“I’m going to find us coffee and something to eat. You should get dressed.” He said, ignoring all his instincts that were screaming to turn and look at her again. Freddie walked over to the door and unlocked it, ignoring the fact he was not wearing his shirt. "I won't be long. Don't let anyone else in."
Lillian was laughing so hard that she let go of the bed and allowed herself to sit on the floor, completely unaware of the fact that only moments ago she was so concerned with making sure that Frederick could not see her in his shirt. While her dignity was something she wanted to keep, she also had scars that she intended to keep hidden, mostly because she did not want to answer any questions and she certainly did not need him to pity her. She was not the only one to endure hardships and she certainly didn’t need to be reminded of her own. The decision to pretend that Frederick had killed her was supposed give her the opportunity to move on and forget about it all.
Either way, she was not thinking about that now and even though the hem of his shirt had uncovered the scar upon her thigh, he would not see it in the dark at least. Her laughter had been deepened by Frederick’s over-exaggerated reaction to his foot colliding with his stomach. Either he was a lot more sensitive than he liked to make out, or he was trying to make her feel guilty and it wouldn’t work. Her laughing began to calm but they did not subside completely but her eyes did come to settle on Frederick’s form now that he seemed to prop himself up on the floor.
She was glad that it was dark because it meant that he could not see how her cheeks blushed at the sudden realisation that he was looking at her. Suddenly the laughter stopped and she found herself swallowing hard as he leaned in close to her, close enough that his cologne filled her senses. For a moment she wondered if this closeness would lead to something else; something reminiscent of the time they spent getting to know each other earlier that evening, instead he seemed to use the opportunity to move passed her.
Relief swam over her, mostly because she was unsure that she would be able to stop herself should he suggest they pick up where they left off. It seemed that he had decided that he was now going to sleep on the bed as a way of punishing her for kicking him and not even apologising for it. Lillian sighed softly and shook her head, knowing that he must have expected her to simply take her place next to him on the bed but she was not about to give him the satisfaction.
Lillian watched him get comfortable on the bed and chuckled to herself slightly before setting herself down in the place where Frederick had intended on sleeping only moments before. It was not as though she had not slept on a floor before now. “And [I this] is a really comfortable floor dear husband of mine. This will do nicely.” Lillian adjusted herself slightly so that she was lying on her side and facing away from him but before she lay her head down she made sure that the shirt he had made her wear was positioned appropriately. When she was satisfied she lay her head down onto the pillow and closed her eyes. The events of the day had truly exhausted her and it did not take long for her to slowly start to drift off.
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