Chapter 13: True colors (1)
“I accept your proposal, Duke Edgar. Father, I would like to marry the Duke.”
Desmond was surprised to hear Alessandra accept Edgars proposal but he kept himself reserved. “Alessandra, the Duke is not an ordinary man. Youll be in the spotlight after you marry him. Why dont you take some time to think about it, hmm”
Desmond tried to usher her back into her bedroom but Edgar placed his foot to block him from going near to Alessandra.
A small smile appeared on Alessandras face upon hearing this. For the Duke to propose to anyones daughter was a great honor but as it was her and not Kate, her father was against it. Typical.
“I dont need time to think about it father. I wish to marry the Duke,” Alessandra said, ignoring the look her father gave to her for not listening. She looked at the Duke instead. “I would be honored to be your wife, Duke Edgar.”
“Wonderful. I have prepared your family a couple of small gifts for this moment baron. My butler has the gifts if you wish to see them now. I would like to have a word with your daughter. Alone,” Edgar added so the baron would get the clear hint to leave.
“Gifts” Desmonds eyes lit up hearing the one word. He heard nothing else Edgar said to him.
He thought about the situation quickly now that there would be gifts involved. Edgar was a stubborn man so pushing Kate when he clearly did not want anything to do with her wouldnt work no matter how much they tried. Kate needed to seduce the man on her own.
Alessandra was shy and needed guidance therefore the baron knew he could control and use her to get the Duke to help them out of the financial hole they fell in. Also, with Alessandra close to Edgar, Kate still had a chance to woo him before the wedding could happen.
The big problem was Katrina. She might kill him if he allowed Alessandra to become Edgars fiance. He knew he had no choice but to keep pushing for Kate.
I can make this work in my favor, Desmond mentally calculated all that he could gain from this.
“Baron,” Edgar snapped his fingers in front of the barons face. They had been waiting a good minute or so watching the baron just stare at nothing.
“Duke Edgar, while I am honored you have taken an interest in Alessandra, as her father I know what is best for her and I shall decline your proposal. Again, I suggest you consider my daughter Kate.”
“Alessandra, would you be so kind to step into your room for a moment,” Edgar said with a smile but it was evident it didnt reach his eyes.
Alessandra nodded, stepped back into the room, and closed the door. She jumped when there was a loud thud on the other side like someone had run into her door. She didnt flinch the second time she heard the noise again.
“Is this the Dukes way of convincing someone” She asked herself. Her poor father must be trembling in fear. Why did she have to miss that sight
“Alessandra,” her father called followed by a knock after.
“That fast” She muttered, opening the door to hear her fathers decision.
Alessandra watched Edgar fix the cuffs of his shirt while her father looked distraught. He was here to ask for her hand in marriage not cause a funeral.
“After some time to think, it would be wonderful if you could get married to Edgar. He wishes to speak with you so I shall leave,” Desmond ran off the first chance he got. His back was aching thanks to Edgar lifting him up to throw him against the door.
“What did you do and say to him” Asked Alessandra. It had to be something damaging to make her father give up on pushing Kate as his wife.
“I am a man with a lot of information and your father is a man with a handful of crimes in his pocket. Ill allow one of them to slip by this one time but after we are officially married, I cant help it if he is investigated for them,” said Edgar.
“Wow,” was the only thing Alessandra could say. She was amazed by how easy it was for him to threaten someone to get what he wanted. Knowledge certainly was power and whatever the Duke knew scared her father. “Do you ever worry that others will kill you for knowing their business”
“If I am always one step ahead of them I have nothing to worry about. Do not worry. Your husband will not die anytime soon. Can I come in to talk Anyone could be listening to us,” Edgar looked down the empty hall but he knew looks could be deceiving, and sometimes walls had ears thanks to secret places in homes.
“Oh, right,” Alessandra stepped aside for him to come in. She did not care about what gossip could form by him coming into her room alone as they were going to be married anyway. “Its not as grand as your home but it is my space to get away.”
“Seems more like a prison,” Edgar had enough of them on his property to know a holding cell when he saw one. “This is your art,” he picked up one of the canvases she had stacked up against a wall.
“I prefer not to call it a prison. That would make my life seem much sadder. I like to think of it as the only place where anyone could be free,” Alessandra intently watched Edgar inspect her bedroom.
“From the looks of your family, I could see why you think that. Are you not allowed to leave here Why werent you at breakfast or was that your own choice,” he carefully placed the canvas back in its place.
“I am on punishment,” Alessandra said, not keeping what happened a secret. “Kate threw my kitten out the window but as always, no one believes how she is. I am meant to be here until I am ready to apologize.”
“If you do, I will not marry you,” Edgar wanted her to have more of a backbone and no longer give in to what her family wanted.
“I never planned to. My kitten died because of Kates jealousy and I would never apologize for how angry I am feeling. I have to bury it once the punishment is lifted. Edgar is it still an option for me to come and live with you until we get married,” Alessandra no longer wanted to stay with her family.
Edgar leaned back against a wall, folding his arms. “No.”
Alessandra didnt understand why he wouldnt agree to it when he was the one to mention it first. “Why not”
“Alessandra, I wont have a wife who allows others to walk over her. Dont let them run you away from here with your tail between your legs or allow them to torture you any further. You are going to be my wife. My name carries more power than you seem to realize. Use it,” he advised her.
Alessandra might not notice it yet but things were slowly starting to change due to this one visit. Her family could no longer lay a hand on her because of her soon-to-be husband.
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“I did not want to use your name to deal with my family drama. I just wanted it to be able to leave,” Alessandra replied. “It would feel wrong. You marrying me is already more than enough.”
“Do not run away from here, a coward, Alessandra. Gracefully leave this place with your head up. I dont care how you use my name to torture these people here, just do it. Stop pretending to be afraid because you think its safer to cower than to fight back. That act you do ends now. Dont you agree”
Edgar extended his hand out for Alessandra to take for them to rejoin her family. “Start gaining that confidence you spoke of.”
There were a lot of things Alessandra wanted to do in her home if she had someone to back her. Not that she did, she almost let the opportunity slip to do as she pleased. Deep down, she was glad the Duke was pushing her in this direction.
She was wearing more than one mask in her life. The physical one to hide her face and the one she used to act timidly in front of her family. One of those masks had to come off today.
“Yes,” she accepted Edgars hand.