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Promise of Roses

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16 years old Rose was on a mission. It had been 15 minutes that she arrived in the house of her best friend and secret lover, James who was nowhere to be find. Normally he would be waiting for Rose in the library but when she arrived there, no one was there. She started to look around for James but the problem was that is home was enormous. Many rooms for many hiding places. She decided to start the exterior because that's the second most likely place where he could be. Rose went in the huge garden of his and finally she located him. She walked slowly towards him because now she has a plan to take revenge on him for making her finding him. When she reached her goal, without a noise she kneeled behind him and blindfolded him with her hands.

 

"Guess who?"

"Well... Since I know that voice since I'm 5 years old. Knowing also that the only people apart from me to be in this house are my servants and my lover. And I don't think that one of my maid would stop working to pull this joke on me, knowing my dad. I will say... No, I know it's you Rose."

"If you knew I was there... Why were you hiding from me ? I went to the library but you weren't there."

"I could never be hiding from you well unless it's for pulling a joke on you... I love you too much to do that. As for the garden, I wanted a more romantic place than the library."

"I love you too." Rose kissed James's cheek.

 

Rose and James knew each other ever since Rose could remember. Their parents were very close friends in the noble society and they were distantly related. They shared the same great great grand father or something like that. Rose never paid attention to her ancestry. The only thing that matters to her was the future... The one she could have with James. And to complete this, she had a plan.

 

"I told my father that I didn't want to enter into a courtship until I finished my education."

"Oh... And how uncle Pete react to this devastating revelation?"

"I would say pretty well but that is maybe because I also told him that I had already someone who showed interest in me."

"You did what?!? Should I be scared that he will come here once you leave to chop my head off because I corrupt his precious little girl?" said James panicked

"I didn't told him it's was you silly so don't worry. Your head will stay in place for now... I just said that a boy from a well-known family showed his intentions to make me his wife but that he wanted to wait that he finish with his school cursus."

James smirk to that. "And what make you think that I want to make you my wife ?"

"Well if you don't want to, I'm sure that most of the men of the high society would pleased to do so."

"Okay point taken but most importantly... What make you think that I want to wait? I would marry you right now if I could."

"I know that and I would to.... I only dream about marrying you James... Or should I call you Leonard?" Rose laugh

 

Yeah... James didn't like his first name. He oblige himself to used it when his mother was alive because it was the name of her father who died 2 days before James birth. After her death, he decided to go as James for his friends and family and only used Leonard when he go to officials meetings.

 

"No you can keep James. And you what? Make it official. Let's promise to ourselves that we will get married."

"What like a pinky promise?"

"Exactly.... I, Lord Leonard James Saxon of Enlandia, promise to take the Rosalie Marion Tyler of Kasterborous as my wife when my education will reach its end."

"I, Lady Rosalie Marion Tyler of Kasterborous, promise to take the Leonard James Saxon of Enlandia as my husband when I will get a degree in English poetry at University."

"When you what? A University? Rose you can't be serious."

"I'm very serious... If I want to be a excellent writer in the future, I need to lean more about the language. I could even learn another language, like French."

"Rose... I don't want to be all anti-feminist like you say but it's very unlikely that women will get the right to have a superior education in Universities. You don't even the right to vote."

"Time changes my dear James... Women voice's are getting more and more audible. I can assure you that I will be able to receive a degree of a University. I even have a feeling that I will not wait long after I finished my secondary cursus." said Rose then did her tongue-touched smile

 

James couldn't resist to smile. He was proud of Rose, of how fierce and courageous she was. She never give up the things that was the most important for her. And James knew how learning new things was fascinating for her. Rose wasn't really a feminist like most of people would say. She was a well-educated lady who knew exactly and totally accept what society expected from her but she had also a "feminist mind" as she said. Which means that she will never announces publicly that she is for the feminist cause but she is the first to salute someone who protest so that women receive more rights.

James took out his hand and put it gently on Rose's cheek then started to caress it. He could forget everything when he was with Rose.

 

"Did I tell you how much I love you recently?"

"Hmmm.... Not since I came to find you in this lovely garden."

"What a disgrace from my person ! Let me fix that..."

 

James leaned slowly on Rose and gave her gentle chaste kiss. It's was maybe short but full of the love they shared with each other. For James, this moment was moment was perfect. There he was, in the garden of his house, kissing the only women he will ever love. Yes, maybe he was just a teenager and didn't knew what love really was but deep down in his heart, he knew that Rose was his soulmate. And no one and nothing could separate soulmates.

 

Oh.... He was so wrong back then.

 

Chapter Text

The Marquess Peter Tyler of Kasterborous was very happy but very anxious. He needed to talk to his friend and confident Earl Rassilion Saxon of Enlandia. Pete took avantage that his daughter was in the property of the earl to have an excuse to visited Rassilion. What? He just came to bring back Rose home but now that he was there, he could ask for an appointment with him. Pete ask to one of the butler if he knew where was the owner of the house.

 

"My Lord is currently in his study, working on his paperwork, Your Lordship." he said while bowing

"Thank you very much... Hum... Sorry what is your name?"

"It is Jack... Jack Harkness."

"Well, thank you Jack."

 

Pete leave the butler and started to walked in the direction of Rassilion office. Once he arrived, he knock to the door and waited that his friend gave him permission to enter. After hearing an annoyed "come in" he entered with a bright smile.

 

"I told Jack that I didn't wanted anyone to disturb myself while working"

"Yes it's lovely to see too my dearest friend"

"Okay... What do want? Why are you here?" said Rassilion while putting his pen down but without stopping to read the different contracts he was studying.

"I have a very good news my friend.... Well half of a good news... My lovely Rose finally accept to enter in a courtship. Although after her education is completed but most importantly it's that one man already show interest in her and she very keen to return it."

"I'm very delighted for you. It' about time that your daughter finally understand what we expected from her. Now, if that is all you wanted to inform me, I have work to do."

 

Pete rolls his eyes. It's true that his friend wasn't really the best person to confess yourself to. Rassilon was, as many of the noble society, a vile Earl who uses his power to gain more money. He only helps other when it implied that he would get something from them. Then why would a good man like Peter Tyler was friend with him? Well you see, family... Even if it's a distant relative, family is family and we must stick with family. Even if they irritated us.

 

"Well actually no... I also came here to ask for your help. I want to discover who is this boy thinks that he can take my Rose away from me like that. Does one of your boys has ever showed any interest in her? It's true that she passes a lot of her personal time in here so I was thinking..."

 

To be honest to himself, when his daughter announce her intentions about a possible courtship, Pete had a small doubt that the boy was James Saxon. After all, Rose does pass most of her time with him and he also didn't want to start searching for a spouse right now. Even thought Rassilon was doing everything he could to make it happen. So maybe it's was James and Pete would be enchanted if it was the case.

 

"I don't know much about Harold love life but James is taken." said Rassilion without leaving his eyes from the contract he was reading through.

Pete was shock by that revelation. "Since when? I don't want to offensive but I didn't know he was looking for someone. I thought he wanted to stay away from relationships until he finish his doctorate."

"He does but... I discovered recently that he was having an epistolary relationship with a French aristocrat. And by reading the vocabulary he is using in his letter, this is not just friendly exchanges. Maybe his case wasn't as desperate as I thought it was."

"Maybe you are right. To be fully honest with you, I had this strange feeling that our children would end together but maybe I was imagining things. You are sure it can't be Harold?"

"All I know about my son love life is that he came home with a different woman every night. What a disgrace for my person. What is he making myself look for? I thought that James was a lost cause but I would rather have two sons like him than like Harold."

"Although.." Rassilion continued. "Now that you make me think about it. It is true that lately Harold have been acting strangely. I was actually concerned about what had happened in his life."

"Strange in what form?" asked Pete

"To begin with, he stopped bringing girls in the house. He started behaving more responsible and more polite around people, commoners or not. He even currently learning French. When I ask him why this language in particular he answered that it wasn't my business and he bushed ! Harold never blush. That's more of James habit, he inherited that from his mother."

 

Rassilion never really spoke about his late wife. She died nearly 2 years ago but it still hurts. And it's even worse when one of your sons is just like her. He loved Harold and James equally but it was more and more complicated to look at James without thinking of her. He calmly rubbed his wedding band that still haven't the courage to take off when Pete brought him back to reality.

 

"Rose wants to learn French. She even asked me if I couldn't help her to find a tutor."

"When did she came up with that?"

"I would say two... Maybe three months ago."

"That is not long before Harold started his transformation."

"So it is him." said Pete with a mix of surprise,fear and happiness in his tone

"Calm down... Even though I would very delighted to hear that maybe it's not... Didn't she gave you some informations about this mystery man?"

"Not really... All I know is that he is from a well-know family. A family that I know and that he is in control of time.... Whatever that means."

 

Rassilion couldn't believe what he just heard... This expression... It had been years since he head that sentence...

 

"I know what it means... It's what Romana always told to the boys. She explained them that time can't always good but that they always will be in charge to make it better or worse... Time don't control them, they control time."

"I can't believe it.... My Rose and your Harold." Pete let out a small laugh.

"What do you find funny in this situation?"

"I actually remember the moment when our wives were pregnant, we told each other that if we had a girl and a boy, we would engage them one to another."

"Yes.... It's like destiny had always pull them together... They are like soulmates."

Peter couldn't believe it. If anybody would have told that his beautiful, kind, lovely Rose would be married to Harold Saxon, he would have laugh but now... He was seeing the facts. Maybe that's why Rose didn't told him the identity of her mysterious man. She was scared that it would make him be disappointed in her. All Pete wants was his daughter happiness and he knew exactly what to do.

 

"So it's official? Your son Harold will marry my daughter Rose?" said Pete before offering his hand to Rassilion.

"Yes... Your daughter will marry me son." said Rassilion while shaking his hand, sealing their deal. "I can't wait to announce the good news to Harold."

"Maybe we should not told them that we know... They tried so hard to keep it secret. Let's wait that they announce us."

Rassilion nods by acceptance. "If you insist... It's not like the universe can separate soulmates."

 

And with that said, Pete left his friend back to his work. He took Rose back home, didn't tell his wife about the discovery and deal he did with Rassilion. He knew how Jackie can be with keeping secrets and he didn't to take a risk. When it was time to go to bed, Pete was relaxed, being happy that he doesn't need to be scared about her future knowing that she will be with the man she loved.... Or at least... He thought it was....

 

Chapter Text

24 years old Rose was finally graduate. After hard work and fighting for her rights to stay in the University, she was at last in possession of a degree in English poetry and literature. Many people (mostly men) were saying that she needed to stop trying to be treat equally as men and that she should give up her studies. Women should stay at home, taking care of the children while men get an education and bring back the money to the household. Needless to say that Rose did not listen to them. All that she focus on was James and their promise she was willing to keep at any cost.

Rose went into the dean's office, received her diploma and shake the hand of the director proudly convinced to herself that she was writing history. She then left the building as quickly as she could, hopped on her horse and dashed in the direction of James's house. At the minute Rose knew she had entered the Saxon's domain, she slow down then ride down off her horse and started to run to her lover. James on the other hand was actually gardening, he was planting rosebushes. He didn't hear or see at first the blonde woman who was running in his direction but when she got closer he turned his head and gasped. He didn't expect her visit.

 

"Rose ! What are you...." he started asking with wide-eyes.

 

James didn't have the time to finish his question that Rose jumped into his arms. As he was taken by surprise, he tried to keep them in balance but failed and they fall on the ground. Rose was on top of him and had a loving expression on her face. She didn't wait any time and gave James a passionate kiss.

 

"It's today James.... I have my degree.... We don't need to wait anymore."

"Well congratulations my lady. I always knew that you could to it.. You are now my little genius."

"It's only a degree in literature. It's not like a doctorate in astronomy." said Rose with a small laugh "By the way, how should I call you now? How does your title work? Is it Doctor Lord and then all of your boring names or Lord Doctor?"

"You could have study the art of knitting, I would still call you a genius because Rose... You are brillant. As for my titles, normally it is Doctor Lord but I kind enjoy that you could call me Lord Doctor." said James full of love.

 

Rose smiled. She couldn't understand how she managed to have this man in love with her. It has been nearly 10 years that they were having this secret love story and she still didn't believed it.

 

"So.... When are you going to tell your father that I'm the mystery man that wants to courting you?"

"At the second I get back home... When are you?"

"The second you leave the house."

"Should I get going then? And leave you alone with him."

"Is it bad if I say no? You know, I'm impatient to announce my father that you are the love of my life and that I want to marry you but at the same way I don't want you to leave."

"Don't worry... I will not leave your arms right now. They are too much comfortable. I feel safe in them." said Rose and laid her head on James's chest, listening to his heartbeat.

"Good to know because these two adore hugging you. And it is a great sign of love for a husband to hug his wife every time he gets the occasion."

 

As if to make his point valid, James tightened a bit his grip. He loves a good cuddle with Rose. Actually he loves everything he does with Rose. He could stopped just to stay in this position forever. Rose always make things brighter and happier, she make life worth living.

They lied down on the ground in the garden for two more hours always making care that no one would see them while kissing. They passed the time by looking at the clouds and describe their shape. Then when the sun started to set, James knew that it was the signal for them to take different paths.

 

"I think it's time Rose.... We should probably . I will quite miss our little love bubble. I kind of enjoy only sharing this love story with you."

"With the roses as the only witness of our love..." said Rose smiling.

"The only rose I'm only looking at is you." said James while caressing the cheek of Rose.

 

They shared one last kiss before taking different direction. Rose was heading back home while James went to see his father. At this none of them knew their respective father was different plans for them. For now they were just James and Rose. A happy couple who will finally announce their romance to their family.They were innocents.



************Rose POV************



 

I came back home quite rapidly. I didn't want to waste no more time. I already waited 10 years and really wanted to have my father's blessing for my relationship with James. I can't want to see his smile when he will learn the news. I brought back my horse, Billie, into the stables then went inside my home. My eyes stopped when I entered on our butler, Mickey. He was more then a domestic to myself, he was a friend.

 

"Oh Mickey, will you be a dear and ask to my father if he could take some of his time to have a discussion with me?"

"Everything you want, My Lady." said Mickey before bowing

 

I waited in the hall with a hint for fear in my mind. What if he does have time? What if I need to wait another day? I don't think I could pass another day without shouting my love for James. I start hearing steps coming back in my direction. Mickey was back ! That was fast. I put my hands behind my back and crossed my fingers wishing for a good news.

 

"He will be pleased to see you now if it is okay with you, My Lady"

"Thank you... How is Martha by the way?" I asked while starting to walk to my father's office

"Very good, My Lady, thank you for asking"

"Isn't she suppose to give birth soon?"

"The doctor had inform us it will probably happen next week, My Lady"

"That is a wonderful news, I'm going to ask Father if he can't make you have the week off."

"You are not oblige My Lady."

"No man should be force to skip his child's birth... I want to give you this as a thank you for all the work you done for us."

"I am just going my job My Lady"

"Well you are good at it." I respond as we arrived at my father's study.

 

I knocked at the door waiting for a respond. I should probably talk about Mickey before announcing my courtship with James. It will put him in good mood

 

"Ah Rose.... Mickey informed me you wanted to talk to me"

"Well I planned this visit to announce you a great news but while walking to see you, I learn something and I need to ask you something." I said while fidgeting with my fingers.

"You can ask me anything Rose." he said while putting all his attention to myself.

"You know Martha? Mickey's wife.... She is going to give birth to their first child next week and I was thinking that... Maybe... You could let Mickey have next week off? I know he is the best employee in the house but..."

"Alright, I will... I can understand what it feels not to be sure if you will be present to your baby's birth. I almost missed yours actually." He said with a smile. "You can inform him that he will not be waited at work before his child is born."

 

It surprise myself that Father accept so easily. It's true that is a good man with our domestics but it's like he wanted to swipe this away. It's like he is waiting to announce something to me. What is he hiding?

 

"Thank you Father, I will."

"So... What was the big news you are desperate to tell me?"

"Well... Today I received my degree and I want to announce you that I am now officially in a courtship."

"Oh Rose... Has he... Did he finally asked you? I can't believe it... I was starting to think that I would need to give him a little push." he said with a bright smile on his face

"Well you could say that, yes, in a way but I don't understand.... Did you know his identity? I do not recall telling you."

"To be fully honest his father and I discovered it when I came to see him for help when you announce your intentions. I wanted to be sure you were with a good fit."

 

I can't believe what I hearing... He knew ! Since 8 years ! On one side I feel relieve that they knew, it's a sign that they accept our couple but on another... I am kind of scared what they already planned about us.

 

"And here I thought we were being discreet."

"Oh you were... If Rassilion didn't helped me figure it out... I would have thought of it."

"So... Are you happy with my choice?"

"Rose... As long that you decide to marry a man that you truly loved, I will always be happy with your choice. You know, I didn't marry by convenience. I truly love your mother and still do. So I am enchanted that you find the same kind of love I felt of Jackie."

"Thank you Father... I can't wait to tell James. He is going to laugh when I will told him that you kept the secret."

"Speaking of him.... Did you know he is also getting married?"

 

Wait... Why would he ask me this question? Of course I know he's getting married... He wouldn't be if I didn't know.... I thought he knew who was.... Oh god... Oh no no no.

 

"Why wouldn't I?" I asked suspiciously

"Well I didn't knew if Rassilion had announce him yet so... If you know it means … You are his best friend after all."

"Oh yes... Of course... I just don't remember the name of his... future wife"

"Ah... I think if I remember well, her name is Reinette Poisson. She is the daughter of a French Duke... They have been exchanging love letters for a while now."

 

And it's at this moment my heart shattered in million of pieces... James couldn't have been.... No, there must be an explanation. He couldn't have done this to me... He loves me... Or I thought he was...

"Love letters... It sure is a great thing to receive and to write... And it is personal... You don't shared it with anyone else."

"Maybe you could ask Harold to write you some... I don't think he will mind."

"Harold ! Why would he..." And then it hit me. "Yes Harold... Because I am marrying Harold... Yes I could ask him..."

 

I don't believe it... My dad really thought I was in love with Harold Saxon ?!? The Harold Saxon ! The man who is disrespectful with women? The man who thinks he is the master of the universe? Really? This Harold ? I should tell him the truth right now... Tell him that it's a huge mistake and that I love James... James... Writing those letters can't be a mistake.... Maybe I should keep the play.... If he thought he could make a fool of me and brake my heart, he was so wrong... Although, it still hurts. I must this place quickly.

 

"Are you alright Rose? You look like you seen a ghost" said my father concerned

"Yes.... It just.... I think I fell a little bit sleepy.... I think that I will go to my room... Could send someone to bring my dinner?"

"Of course Rose, anything... Do you want me to call the doctor?"

"No... I don't think it will be necessary" I respond while I reached the door.

 

I left the room and ran to my appartement. I managed to control my tears from falling before I arrived in my safe place. I can't believe it... This was to suppose to be the happiest of my life. And here I am, crying on my bed and promised to the brother of the man I love... The man who didn't told me he was exchanging love letters with some stupid French girl ! Was our story just a lie to him. Did he used me as a substitute? Was he already writing to her when we did our promise? I don't know what true about my life anymore....



************James POV************



 

I was sad and excited when Rose left. Sad because, well, I'm always sad when I'm not with Rose. I hate when she is away. Hopefully this will soon end...That's why I'm excited. I'm finally going to announce to my dear father that I'm not as lost as he thought I was with love. I went inside my house with a bright smile but I got stopped in my track by Jack.

"My Lord, sorry to interrupting you but your father want to talk with you. He said that it was very important."

"Oh? Well thank you Jack... I actually need to have a discussion with him."

I didn't waited more time. I rushed to my father's office. I actually wondering what he wants to talk about. It's not like I am a nuisance like my brother. So why Father to see me in particular? Well, we'll see... I just arrive in front of his study. I knock and enter before waiting for a response. He ask to see so he won't be surprise. I saw him lift his head and then smile. I don't know if I should be glad or scared to see this smile.

 

"James... I see Jack inform you that I wanted a meeting with you"

"Yes... It happened at a good time because I need to talk to you. I....”

"Let me talk first." he said raising his hand so that I stopped talking. "Have a seat."

 

I didn't waited a lot of time to execute his order. When he used this tone, it's mainly when he wanted people to listen to him. I sat on the chair who was in front of me so that I would face my dad. I kept silent waiting to hear what he wanted to announce me.

"James... I asked you to come here because I take an important decision... I decide to help you with the woman you love. So I wrote to her dad, I told him your relationship and we agreed on something. We both want our child to be happy so James, I'm announcing that you are getting married." he announced me with a smile

 

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. My own father... He asked the hand of Rose for me... Worst of all, Pete had discovered about us with his help. I should be happy that he still accept me as a good suit for Rose but... It's like my own dad took this moment away from me. I repeat the speech I was going to say to him about a million time. I would have say how much I care about Rose, how much I want to pass the rest of my life with her.

 

"Give me a minute... You knew about me and her? I thought we were careful. Since when did you know? No most important question since when HER father know?" I asked while so many questions were firing in my head.

"Well you were. I only find one of your letters about 8 years ago. At first I was okay to letting you take care of it yourself. Although even after you got your doctorate you didn't give me a announcement so I decide to help you. As for her father, I wrote 1 week ago."

"Wait... What letter are you talking about?"

"Oh come on James... You can drop the act now... I am talking about the letter you send to this French woman"

 

I stared wide-eyes at my father. Yes I wrote letters to Reinette, she is my pen friend. She contact me many years ago because she wanted to learn English. At first I didn't want to respond to her but it was during the time that Rose was thinking to learn French. I thought it could be great to have a friend who is a native French speaker so that I could help Rose. How could my father thought that I was having an affair with Reinette ? We only talked our life and family. She never showed me any kind of interest. She even know about Rose !

"So let me get this straight... You wrote to Reinette's father and told him that I wanted to take his daughter as my wife?"

"Yes... I even need the help of your brother with some words of vocabulary."

"Harold is also aware of this... Anything else I need to know?" I asked scared of the answer

"Well... They will arrive tomorrow from France at 2 in the afternoon. Oh and I also announce it to Peter a few days ago... He was very pleased for you." he respond calmly

 

Great, just great. Wait... If Pete know, he could tell Rose... Rose who is currently announcing to her father that she wish to enter a courtship with him....Oh no... I need to talk to her right now !

 

"Well Father... If this was all you wanted to say... I'm going to leave you" I said before standing up

"Wait ! Didn't you want to talk to me?" he asked concerned

"Oh it wasn't that important." I respond while getting to the door

 

I didn't let him the time to ask another question that I already left the room. Then I ran... I ran as fast as I could. Rose... I need to reach Rose... I need to tell that it wasn't true and that I was going to fix this.... I need to tell that I love her and only her.... He need to talk to her before it's too late...

 

Chapter Text

James was running. He needed to arrive to Rose's mansion as soon as possible. He was in an against-the-clock race. Luckily for him, James was a good runner, he loved the running. 8 miles separated him from the girl of his dreams... Well if she still wanted him. James arrived after 45 minutes and waited a bit in front of the entrance to regain his breath. Once that was done, he took a minute to make himself presentable and then knocked. And by knock I mean smash loudly the door until someone cared to open it.

 

"Yes I'm coming, no need to destroy the... Oh Lord Saxon, what are you doing here at this time of the day?" said Mickey surprise to see him after opening the door.

 

James at the use of his name. He didn't want to be associate to his father right now. He just want to be James... No last names or titles, just James...

 

"Firstly, Lord Saxon is my father, just call me James and secondly, I need to see Lady Rose."

"My Lady is not feeling well right now. Try maybe tomorrow." said Mickey while starting to close the door

"You don't understand." replied James and stopped the door to close completely. "It is very important that I see her now."

"And what would be this important that you can't wait the next day?" ask Mickey suspiciously

"I.... I can not tell you.... It is between Lady Rose and myself."

 

To be fair, James didn't know if you could have faith in Mickey. He only met him two or three times when he came visiting Rose. He couldn't really count him as a confident like he does with Jack. So could he revealed his relationship with Rose to him? Just so that he would let him in?

 

"So you're saying that I should let you in and talked to my Lady because of a mysterious reason that you are the only to know? All that by knowing that it's pretty late in the evening."

"That is exactly what I am saying."

 

Mickey was about to retry to close the door at his face. Luckily for James, Lady Jacqueline had just arrived to the hall. She wanted to see if her daughter was feeling better but she was stopped by a cold breeze. Jackie looked around her when she spotted her butler talking to someone at the door.

 

"Mickey ! Who is at the door at this period of the day?"

"It's Lord James Saxon my Ladyship. He asked if you could have a talk with Lady Rose."

"Let him in... It is freezing outside."

 

James will be forever graceful to Jackie. He had thought that it would ber impossible at this rate to have a discussion with Rose on this day. He waited that Mickey opened wider the door than enter in the house. He started walking in the direction of Jackie to thanking her but she made a sign that she wanted to talk first.

 

"My daughter isn't feeling well right now. I know you maybe want to tell something really important but late and she needs some sleep. Does your father knows you are here?"

"Not really... I kind of left without telling anyone except from my butler Jack."

"That is not the best manner that we would expect from a future Earl."

"I know but I couldn't wait. I ran all the distance that separate our both estates so that I could talk Lady Rose."

"Is it really that important?" she asked with a bit of concerned.

"Yes.... I promise I will not be long... I just need to... Clarify some information with her." said James while being careful with his choice of words.

"Fine..." Jackie sighed. "You have 10 minutes. And not more."

"Thank you your Ladyship."

"I don't think you need a guide to help you find Rose's bedroom?"

"No... Well it's not like I have been a lot in her room but she did gave a tour for the house once."

 

James saluted Jackie and Mickey before heading towards Rose's room. The more the distance between him and her shorted, the more he was stressed. Maybe she already knew, that's why she is faking a illness so that her parents won't see her crying? Oh... He crossed his fingers hard that is wasn't the case. Rose could be so much stubborn when she is hurt. And if she really believe that he was in love with another, he could swear that he will receive one of her infamous slap. James arrived at the door, took a deep breath and knock.

When Rose heard the knock, she thought that it was one of her maid that was bringing her dinner... They made it quick, she thought to herself. Rose got out of her bed and looked in the mirror. It would be impossible for her to hide the fact that she cried. Her eyes were red and her face was puffy. She tried to make herself as presentable as possible when she heard a second knock. She decide go to for it and went to the door. She regretted the moment she opened the door and saw James in front her choice. They were different choices offering to her. She could either slap him, close the close at him or let him explain himself.

 

"Rose you won't believe what..." started James before getting his mouth shout by the door closing at him. "Why does everyone in this house close doors at me?"

"Because you are an idiot !" she shouted behind the door. Oh... She knew... Oh he is screwed.

"Rose... Please listen to me... What your father told you... It's not what you think..."

Rose reopen the door with a very angry face on her. "Oh really? So you are not promised to a stupid French aristocrat?"

"Well... Technically yes but it's not what you think !"

"Not what I think... Here is the thing James... Can you look at me in the eyes and tell me that you never written a single letter to this Reinette girl?" challenged Rose.

James pulled his face down. "No... It true that I have a connection but she is just a friend ! I even told her about and she was happy for us and wished all her luck. She told me 5 years ago that she was also seeing someone so I don't know what made my father thinks that I wanted to marry her. I promise ! " he said while taking her hands in his.

"Why should I believe you James? Huh? What proof do I have that you are telling the truth? If you really loved me then why would you start writing to another girl? It doesn't make sense..."

"Yes it does... I start writing to Reinette for you... It was when you start saying that you wanted to learn French... I wanted to help... So I wrote to different French aristocrat I could find and she was the first to reply."

 

Could she trust him? Rose didn't know what to think at the moment. Her heart was begging her to give James a chance but her head was shouting to not fall for his trick. She needed an answer from James to clear her mind.

 

"Did you... Start your conversation her... Before or after we... Made our promise?"

James took a little time to think. "Hum... I think... A little bit before but why is it important?"

"So you were already lying... You never cared about me..." she murmured

"Of course I care about you !" he said in defense

"Then why haven't you never talk about her ! Why keeping it a secret for 8 whole years ! If she was just a friend then why didn't you talked to me about her?"

"I told you I was taking French lesson for you ! You knew and were pleased by that !"

"Yes but you didn't told who gave you those lesson !" said Rose in despair "God I'm glad our fathers messed up things now that I see your true face of an unfaithful liar."

James frowned. "What are you talking about?"

"Well... Our fathers thought that my mystery man was actually your brother so they decided to arranged a wedding between me and him."

 

She knew that it would destroy him to learn this news but he destroy her first !

 

"You can't... You can't married my brother ! He is the worst man on this planet... Maybe even in the universe!" said James in disbelief.

"Why not? What is my other option?"

"Me ! You are supposed to marry me ! That is what we promise..."

"Yes but you made it clear that you didn't cared about it by sending love letters to other girls..."

"But Rose... I lov..." and then he got slapped

"Don't you dare say that to me ! You don't have the right to say it to me !" she said with some tears in her eyes.

"Rose..."

"It is over James. I don't want to talk to you... I don't want to see you... You are no more part of my life. Goodbye." she said as she closed the door once more.

 

James couldn't believe it... He lost her... The only girl he will ever loved and he lost her. Worst, she is promised to his brother. He needed to fix this ! He still son't know how but he will fix it. He is going to fight for his love. Even if it meant to become a shame to his father. Love can make you anything. It isn't over yet. He is going to regain Rose's heart... They are soulmates after all.

James went back home and quickly to bed. He start to think of how he is going to announce to Reinette that he didn't love her... Then it hit him... Maybe that those love letters that his father and Rose talked about were true, but he knew that he never wrote one to Reinette. So that means that somebody had switched his letters with different ones. Ones that implied that James were in love with Reinette. But who? Who could have done that?

 

Chapter Text

Rose was preparing herself for the day, the officialation of her courtship with Harold. It was hard for her to decide what to wear because she was torn apart by two set of emotions. On one side, Rose wanted to make her father proud and wear the perfect gown for the future husband he choose for her. On another side, she was thinking of James... She didn't want to be with another man then him and if she couldn't have James then she will stay single. Rose couldn't stop thinking of him... It was like her heart, even though it was broken, still wanted to give James its love. Maybe she should give him another chance? Maybe he was sincere last night when he told her that he had no idea about those love letters. But why would he hide his exchanges to her then? Something wasn't clear in this story....

Rose was bring back to reality by a knock on her door. It was her mother who informed her that she needed to get ready immediately because they were leaving for the Saxon's mansion in a few time.

 

"Why it is not Lord Saxon who is coming here?"

"Well because the bride-to-be of James is arriving from France this afternoon and we thought that it would be a good idea for you to meet. She will be married to your best friend after all."

 

That statement shock Rose. She could face James after what happen between them but she didn't know if she could accept seeing him with this stupid French girl and be happy. Rose would probably strangle her at the second she see her. Then again, if she was force to witness the happiness of the man she love with another woman, maybe she could do the same. She could became the perfect couple with Harold in front of James. If he was going to play with her heart, they could be both at that game.

 

"Oh... I see... Well then, don't worry Mother, I finally decide what I will wear. I found the perfect dress."

"Fine then... Your Father and I will wait for you in the lobby." she said before leaving.

 

Rose closed back the door and ran to her closet to fetch the dress she had in mind to torture James. It was a dark blue gown that James always claimed to be his favorite that she owned. She decide to wear her hair in a sophisticated bun with a set of hearings that matched her dress. It didn't take her a lot of more time to finally be ready. And she was seeking for revenge.

During the ride, Rose was silent. She had her vision lock on her parents while being lost in her mind. Even though she wanted to take revenge on James, Rose wanted nothing else then to scream. She wanted to jump out of the carriage and run away, far far away. Finally, the Tyler Family arrived in the Saxon's domain which bring back Rose from her fantasy. She looked at the entrance of the house, while coming out of the carriage, where only the Earl was waiting for them. Once everyone had there feet on ground, Rassilon start to speak.

 

"My dear friends... Welcome into my house. It is a pleasure to have you here on the special occasion. Harold will arrived in any moment, he is in the library."

"And James?" asked Rose

"He is talking with one of our butler, Jack, to prepare the arriving of Reinette. He will stay with us until the diner."

"You must be proud to have both of your sons being engaged?" ask Jackie

"I should but it is also a lot of work and stress."

"Well, let's talk about it inside. I am sure that Harold started to be waiting for us." said Pete

 

They didn't waste time to enter the mansion. Rose was just focus on finding James, for him to see her dress. Unluckily for her, Harold arrived in the hall a few moment after their entrance.

 

"Good morning Lord and Ladyship Tyler, it is a pleasure to have you in my father's home." he said while bowing then turns to Rose. "And the lovely Lady Rosalie... I am very please to having you." Harold kissed her hands.

 

Rose took all the courage and self-control she had in her to not throw up from what she was seeing.

 

"The pleasure is mutual Lord Harold." she tired to say as honest as possible

"I can not to learn more about you... You will be the perfect wife to me." he said in a smirk

"Well then." said Rassilion while clapping his hands. "Now that we are all gather, maybe we could talk about how we are going to give the announcement of your engagement. I was thinking of a ball... Next week."

"Maybe we should talk about this in your office and leave our children get to know more about each other?" ask Jackie

"And with that we could start talking about the wedding's organization?" continued Pete.

"What could they don't know about each other? They grew up together." asked Rassilion.

"You always discover new things about the person you love." answered Pete.

"I think it is a great idea !" said Rose.

 

To be honest, Rose didn't have the force right now to start talking about her wedding. Especially if it hers with Harold. So if she could skip that... She will be blessed.

 

"Yes... I do too... I am sure that there are still some mysteries that I don't know about Rose. We could use a private time, talking in the lounge." explained Harold.

"If it is what you wish, Son, so it shall be done."

Harold nodded then took Rose's hand. "You coming Rose?"

 

She nodded then followed him to the room. She kept sight for her parents that were climbing the stairs in the direction of Rassilion's office then focused back on Harold. It didn't took them many time to arrive at their destination as the lounge is one of the first room after the entrance of the house. They entered and Rose close the door. They were alone.... And she started to feel scared about it or maybe it was nothing. Harold, on his side, sit down and tapped the spot next to him while watching Rose.

 

"My Lady... You may take a seat."

"Thank you my Lord."

 

And here they were now... Alone in the lounge.... In the silence. It was like they didn't wanted to speak to one another now that they are on their own. You could hear the flies in the room. Rose didn't know were to start... Should she be honest with Harold and told him about her past relationship? Well maybe leave the "your brother" part for later.

 

"Are you not into speaking Rose?" he finally ask

"Sorry? Oh right... No it just that.... I still can believe that we are getting married... I know you since my birth and... No forget it, it is not important."

"No tell me... I wanted to hear everything about you."

"I was in a relationship... Not so long ago.... It is over now but I still think about him."

"I see..."

"Are you mad?" Rose looked at him

"No not mad... Intrigue... Do you still love this man?"

"I don't know...." she said honestly

"Well then... There is only one option left for us with that." He said firmly

 

Rose didn't have the time to register what he was talking about that she was being strangle with one hand by Harold.

 

"You will be listening to me now. Very very clearly. I do not care about the other that you could have. I am only asking for you to marry me. I waited too long, invest too much time on my plan to just give up. If you try to call off the engagement, I will send you into disgrace, ruin your reputation. I will be watching you... Every step you take, take breath you take, every word you say. Are we clear?"

"Ha... rold... You...are...hurt...ing me...." Rose tried to say

"Are we clear?" He said more firmly and tightened his grip

"Yes." she tried to shout

"Good." he said then kissed her.

Rose pulled away from Harold. She was so scared by his attitude that some tears were starting to show. She was panicking, she didn't hesitate and ran away from the room. James ! She need to find James.... She needed to be in his arms, to feel his love around her. With that she stop her tracks.... Love... She always felt love from James, he wasn't playing with her. He was true with her. Oh god... What have she done? Rose needed to fix their relation, if there something to save but first... She needed to find him right now !

 

Chapter Text

James decided to leave after he finished his conversation with Jack. Why? Well it's not like he didn't want to see the woman of his dreams in the arms of his brother but... He didn't want to them together and be happy. No... James was so heart broken to fake enthusiasm for his little brother. So once the all formalities regarding the arrival of Reinette were clear, James went for a walk outside of the domain with so many questions floating in his head. Why did it have to hurt so much? Why Rose didn't believe him? Could he fight over her? Would he be able to forget about her?

James continued to walk for the next two hours that followed. Wandering around the street of the neighboring city. After admitting that it was maybe too early to go drinking at the tavern, he decided to head to the train station. He could past the rest of the day in there. Well, at least until Reinette shows up. James picked a newspaper and went take a seat near the platforms. For some people his behavior might seems childish but not many people could claimed to be in a similar situation than his.

 

"So here is where you were hiding?" said Jack finally finding James after one hour.

"Is this how you suppose to talk to your Lord?" said James without taking his eyes from the journal.

"Firstly, my Lord is your father. Secondly, I am more your friend than your butler and thirdly... I wanted to make sure that you will do the right choice."

"Well as you can see I didn't ran away and I'm waiting Lady Poisson without making a scene." he said annoyed.

" I wasn't talking about that... Actually partly... I was going to ask why were you here and not fighting with your brother for Lady Rose's love?"

 

James gasped.... How could Jack know about him and Rose? They were as discreet as it was possible. They were careful to not shows affection towards each other when they knew that they were alone. So how could he knew? James looked at his friend with wide-eyes.

 

"Did you really thought that I didn't see how you were watching her every time she came for visits... That and I also came across you while kissing in the garden, didn't want to interrupt... It's like you would allowed me to joined you."

James rolled his eyes. "Not a chance... I don't share... "

"Possessive are we ?" said Jack playfully

"It doesn't matter now... She will soon marry Harold and don't want to hear about me ever again... "

"Are you sure about that?"

"Yes Jack ! I think that when a girl tells you that it is over, she make herself clear." said James trying to stay calm.

"Strange because once we had finished our conversation and you left. I went back to the hall to see if I was needed and she seemed off... She even wore the dress you loved on her. "

"The blue one?" said James with hope in his voice.

"That same one... Are you still sure that it's too late?"

 

James wasn't sure... He didn't know what to think about it. Maybe it was nothing.... She didn't wore this dress for him. It could be the first that came across her eyes when she prepared herself. Or it could be a way for her to took revenge form him. As Rose was convinced that he broke her heart. Maybe she just wanted to torture him...

 

"It's probably nothing... I don't want to run on false hopes..." finally said James

"So what... You are giving up? Without trying?" said Jack shocked. That wasn't like the James he knew.

"What are my options where Jack?" said James rhetorically

"You could run back to the mansion and shout your love to Lady Rose and..."

"And then my father kills me." interrupted James

"No ! Well... Maybe?"

"See? I don't have a choice now..." sighed James

 

James had to accept his fate. That didn't mean he was for it. Maybe Jack was right.... Maybe he should fight for Rose... Even if she didn't want him anymore. Maybe it could prove to her that he was sincere.

The rest of the time past quickly in the silence. James had thought of Rose and what she could be doing while he was here... Waiting for a girl he didn't wanted to see. He also thought about what would be his life now... Imagined being with a woman he didn't love. Being trapped in a city of lies, separated from Rose forever. His daydream was cut short by Jack who informed him that the train was arriving. Great... Let get over with it. James went to the platform and try to find Reinette in the crowd.

 

"Léo !!! Léo !!! James !! It iz me !!"

"Reinette?" he said while turning his head to face her.

"Ello.. I am sorry... My english iz not perfect and I did not know 'ow to cal you.... Leonard or James? You wrote me one time zat it does not mater." she said with deep French accent while thinking to every word she pronounce.

"No.. It's fine... You can go with what is more easier to pronounce for you." he answered hoping she won't pick Leonard.

"Wel I think zat I will keep using Léonard then." She said with a smile.

"Great... Okay." James smiled... Dammit.

 

Behind of Reinette, James catch the sight of a small brown-hair woman. She seemed panicked, like she just lost someone. He was going to help when he saw her relief once she caught his eyes.

 

"Mademoiselle ! You shouldn't have run away like that. Your father ask me to take care of you."

"It iz fine Clara... You see zat I am with Léonard. You did not need to panik."

 

Clara looked at James.

 

"Hello Mister. I'm Clara, the lady-in-waiting of Lady Reinette. I will also help her with some of the translation. Before you asked, I was born and raise in England, in Blackpool to be precise. My parents and I moved in France when I was 8." she said with a curtsy.

"Nice to meet you Clara. I think I must also present to you my butler, Jack"

Jack came in front of Clara, took her hand and give it a kiss. "Enchanté."

"Jack... Don't start..." said James desperate of his friend's behavior with women.

"What? I was just saying hello. My Lord." Jack answered a little irritated.

 

James rolled his eyes as he heard the soft laugh of Clara. Despite the fact that she was on the side of Reinette, he kind of appreciate the little young woman. He was sure that Rose would too... Rose... James really need to stop to think about her.

 

"So ladies... You must be tired by the journey... Maybe you want that we move towards my domain rather fast?" asked James.

"To be honest.... It iz the first time zat I am in England... I would like to vizit the town a little bit before going to your place." said Reinette

"Are you sure? We could go for a visit tomorrow."

"Yes I am shure and it will be a perfect excuse for you to talk about your voyage in Italy."

 

James stopped his tracks... He never went in Italy… But his brother did ! And with that revelation, everything became clear to him. It was Harold that was behind this whole mess ! He is the reason Rose broke-up with James. He is the one that trade his friendly letters to Reinette with love letters. So what in the end? What was his plan? James had to find out.

 

"Actually I just realized that I should go back... To inform my father that you arrived... To see if he is free to meet you. You see, my brother is also getting married and his future wife came in morning... But Jack can escort you... And we can meet back at my house in one hour?"

"Why can't Jack go inform your father and you stay with us?" asked Clara skeptical.

"Jack is a better guide than myself" answered quickly James.

 

After his declaration James ran away toward his mansion. It was maybe impolite but he needed to see Rose immediately and assassinated his brother. It didn't need to be in this order, he could kill Harold then tell the truth to Rose. The most important thing right now was that James needed to see Rose now.

 

Chapter Text

James arrived home quite fast. He didn't still know if he should go directly tell Rose about Harold's masquerade or go punch his brother to the face. These two options were both appealing. Once he return in his house, he chose to run in his room. If he was going to regain Rose's love, he should be prepared. When he arrived to the corridor that leaded to his bedroom, something caught his eyes. Or more someone. Rose was sitting on the floor, her back on his door. Was she waiting of him? Did she wanted to see him? She looked sad... Is she sad? James decided to not take care of those question and focused on the fact that he found Rose.

 

"Rose I know you don't want to see me anymore but you won't believe what I....Rose?"

 

James stopped his tracks as he noticed something was off. Rose was crying... or looked like she cried recently. What in the world happen while he was away? Did Harold tried to hurt her? Would he really need to kill his brother?

 

"Rose? What happen? Are you all right? What is the matter? Come on... You know you can talk to me..." said James while kneeling to be at her height.

 

Rose didn't waste time and ran in James' arms. She was finally safe now that he was here. Rose tried to regain herself. And she failed because she burst in tears seconds later.

 

"I... I'm sorry... I love you... I love you..."

 

James took some time to analyze what was happening. Rose seemed to be in shock and needed to be take care of... Should he kiss her ? As he couldn't decide, he went to hold her more tightly.

 

"I love you too... God Rose, I only love you... Will you now tell me what is happening with you?"

"Not here !" she said while shaking her head furiously.

"Well... It is a good thing that we are in front of my bedroom." he said with a smirk.

 

Rose let out a small smile... James still got his strange humor. Minutes passed before they finally stood up. James went to open his door and let Rose came in. He closed back it once they were both settle. They stayed in silence for a moment. Neither one of them knew how to start. Rose seemed still in shock and James didn't want to rush her. He want to his en-suite and took a glass to filled it with water. He came back and gave it to her and Rose drank in one gulp. She let out a sigh once she finished.

 

"Are you ready to tell me what happen?"

"I don't know where to start.... I don't even know if I understand it either...." Rose said confused.

 

James put one of his hands on her back and slightly stroke it.

 

"Harold attacked me.... Well not really... He didn't hit me but..." she admitted.

 

Without noticing, Rose put her hands on neck and rubbed with her thumbs the area where Harold strangle her. James who had his eyes glued on her couldn't realize what Rose has implying. He knew that his brother had some few aggressive tendencies but how could he harmed the woman he love? James tried to stay calm with this new information.

 

"Harold tired to harm you? Tell me clearly what happened before I kill him."

"I... We were alone and... I actually told him that I moved out of a relationship. I didn't do a mention of you but... At the second he learned the truth he.... Tried to..." Rose made a pause. "He threatened me... Saying that he invested too much time in his plan. I don't even know what he was talking about."

"I think I do.... That's what I was going to announce to you.... Harold is the one who torn us apart. He is the one that send those love letters to Reinette. He is the one behind all of this situation." he explained.

"How can you be so sure?"

"Firstly, the only woman I would rather send love letter would be you and secondly, Reinette ask me if I could tell her more about my trip to Italy. I could if I actually went there but I didn't... Harold did... That made the penny drop."

"I can't believe it. Harold, really?" James nods. "I'm sorry... I should have trust you."

"Well every rose has its thorns." he said with a small laugh.

 

Rose ran into James' arms for forgiveness. She almost gave up on him.... Erase him from her life. Now that she know the truth she discover that she would have done the biggest mistake of her life. How could she be so reckless?

 

"You think he know about us? That you are the man I was talking about to him? Because if it is the case, you should be careful..." she said.

"He should be the one to be careful after what he did to you."

"James I'm serious... I don't want anything happening to you. I love you."

"I love you too Rose." he said then laid a kiss on her forehead.

 

James wanted to help Rose. Made her feels like she wasn't alone. He would strangle his brother at the second he sees him. Reversing the situation. Or there was still another option. An option that was just a fantasy hours ago. They could run away. Be finally happy together without looking back at the past.... Well, if Rose agree with it.

 

"We could ran away.... Far... Very far away so that no one could ever find us." he offered.

"We can't..."

"Why not ? It's not like anything is maintaining us here." James noticed Rose's weird expression. "Rose?"

 

Rose didn't reply at first.

 

"Harold... He said that if I did anything that could call-off the wedding he will ruin mine and my family's reputation. And James I love you but I can't make that to my parents. I don't want them to live in disgrace and lose everything because I ran away with the man I truly love."

"So you prefer to be miserable then to fight for our love?" he asked to understand

"No it's not what I'm saying... It's just.... We can not be selfish without thinking of the consequences. We need to be prepare and aware that Harold is capable of anything."

 

James knew that she was right. It was hard to admitted it but they didn't really have a choice. Being star-crossed lovers isn't a smooth path.... We all remember what happen to Romeo and Juliet in the end. Life would have been so simple if Rose had a sibling. Why did she have to an unique child?What options were left for them now? It's not the universe could send them a sign to know which direction they most go to?

 

"We could make him call off the engagement?" Rose tried to ask.

"Great and do you have any ideas of how we could that? He don't look like he will easily capitulate?" James reply unconvinced.

"I know just.... Let me think..."

 

Rose was having a loud mess in her mind.... She could think clear. Her head was trying to keeping her heart serious as her heart was shouting to run away with James. That was impossible. And even if they succeeded in their escape what's next? If not like they knew where to hide... No they needed to be responsible. What could they used against Harold? What was one thing that Harold hated the most in the world? A thing that Rose could do that would instantly forces Harold to break his engagement with Rose?

 

"Harold hates feminism." Rose stated simply.

"No." answered quickly James knowing what she was implying.

"Come on James, it's not like I will the only woman to fight for her rights. I will not be alone while manifesting."

"What if something happen to you? What if you get hurt?" he said concerned.

"I'm a grown-up woman James... I can take of myself." she replied with pride.

 

James thought about it for a second.

 

"You are sure that you want to do this?" he asks.

"Yes, it's our only choice...." Rose took his hand. "I'm doing this for us... Because I love you."

 

James decided that it was the perfect moment to kiss Rose. Which he did to prove to her that he was behind her. He still wasn't okay about Rose being on the streets manifesting for women's rights. Some of those "meetings" ended up with violences. And if something happened to Rose, he would never forgive himself. Then again was there another choice?

Chapter Text

One hour had passed, Jack was on his way back to the Saxon's domain accompanying by the two French women. And let just say that he was glad that he was over with it. On one hand you had Clara who was an angel and on the other, you had Reinette who was a pure nightmare.... Oh James should have a very very good excuse for leaving him with her. Hopefully for Jack's sanity, they had finally arrived in front of the manor. He didn't waste time to let enter the two ladies and close back the door one they were all inside. He took the time to remove his and theirs coats to put them in the closet. Then as he was done, Jack clapped in his hands.

 

"Now if you will excuse me, I am going to inform the Earl that you arrived. You can both wait here, sit down as you most be exhausted by our little walk. I'm also to call on of my colleague so that he could take care of your luggage." offered Jack while indicating two armchairs.

"Actually, I would rather prefer to be indicate the way to my Lady's bedroom. So that I could be dismissed of her suitcase and already arranged some of her stuff myself." asked Clara.

"That is absolutely ... It is actually on my way. If you would like to follow me." said Jack while offering his arm.

"That would be an honor." she replied with a smile.

 

Reinette rolled her eyes with this scene. Even if she still didn't quite understand English, she understood that she would be waiting for James and his father by herself.... And that she should be very careful about this man who was trying to seduce Clara. It's not that Reinette didn't want that her maid find a suitor but she couldn't accept that it could possibly be the first man that she met on a trip and who looks like a professional charmer. As she couldn't argue in English, Reinette decided to stay silent and watched them leave.

Once she was alone, Reinette sat down on an armchair near the stairs to be aware of any movements. She took the book that she kept in her handbag then she started to read “Madame de Bovary” written by Gustave Flaubert. He was one of her favorite author and she was impatient to read more of his novels. Minutes flew by while Reinette was focused on the story that she didn't hear when someone entered in the room.

 

"Elle était l'amoureuse de tous les romans, l'héroïne de tous les drames, le vague elle de tous les volumes de vers." quoted Harold. "That is a great choice of book you decided to read, Lady Poisson."

" 'Ow do you know me ? Who arre you?" asked Reinette.

"I'm Lord Harold Saxon, James' younger brother." he said before kissing her hand. "Et cela est un privilège de vous rencontrer." (And it is a privilege to meet you.)

"Je vois que vous parlez français." (I see that you speak French.)

"Oui.... J'ai pris le temps de l'apprendre par amour." (Yes... I took the time to learn it for love.)

"Bien sûr." (Right.) Reinette smiled. "Leo told me zat you had also a fiancée."

"Ah yes... Rose, but I was more talking about the love you create, you cherish.... Celui que l'on cultive par mots interdits." (The one you grow with forbidden words.)

 

Reinette felt strange... The way Harold was speaking, the choice in his words, it was like she felt familiar with them. He used the same vocabulary as Leo in his letters. Maybe it is because they are brothers... Same education. Or maybe James could had shown one of their letters to him? He could had shown him her portrait? It would explain how Harold had recognized her moments ago… There couldn't be any another explanations.

 

"You do not love 'er then?" asked Reinette.

"She is just a family's friend and a distant cousin. She is not as important to me as my father would wanted. I rather believe that love is something you don't have control on.... Something unexpected."

"I think I know wat you are trying to say.... I am sharing that kind of connection with Leo... It iz like gravité attracting us together."

"Are you sure about that?" he said by raising an eyebrow.

"Wat do you mean? Of course I know ! Leo m'aime !" (Leo loves me!)

"No what I wanted to say is : Are you sure that it was with my brother that you were sharing this bond?" he explained with a smirk.

 

Reinette was in shock... Was this a joke? Was this a part of the “right-person-for-my-brother” test? Was he trying to play with her mind? She couldn't figure out how to react or what to say. What did she done to have her life so turned around?

 

Harold continued. "You know what is good with epistolary relationship? You can't be completely sure to whom you are writing to..."

"Wat are you implying? Wat have you done?" she asked

"Well, at first, you were actually exchanging with James. Then when I saw the portrait you send him.... My heart lost a beat. I was envying my big brother and I did one inexplicable thing. My love for you was so invading that I exchanged the letters James wanted to send to you by ones that I wrote. Then I would took the letter you send back and write an alternative version for James. I know that I shouldn't have done that but I was so scared that you wouldn't love me for who I was." he explained slightly ashamed.

 

Reinette didn't know if she should slapped him or feel admired. She was in pain to learn that her beautiful and romantic relationship with James was just a lie. Did James even loved her? Did she really know something about “real” James? She should have seen that something was strange when their exchange started to change. In what sort of situation was she in now?

 

"I do not understand why you would do that? Does it look like I am someone so 'eartless? That I only focus on the appearance. You are wrong. Then again...Why you I even trust you? Maybe you are doing this because you do not want to see your brother happy..."

"Il y a dans le monde beaucoup d'océans ou de rivières mais tu seras toujours la goutte d'eau que je rechercherais." (There is in the world many oceans and many rivers but you will always be the drop that I will search for.)

"Non.... That is.... Impossible ! Je... I... " she tried lost in words.

"Do you believe me now? That is how I always end every single one of my letter. My Lady. I know that I act like a coward. I didn't now if you would like me... Everyone prefer James than me..."

"I.... I do not.... Well it is true that I love Leo but now that I know the truth. Leo est juste le masque mais tu es la personne." (Leo is the mask but you are the person.)

 

After her declaration, Reinette didn't control her body. She put her arms around his neck and started to slowly lean toward him. She then laid a kiss on his lips. Reinette was confuse. The kiss was soft and sweet but was she really in love with this man? Reinette would have to take time for herself before reaching the point of no return.

Rose, on the other hand, was finally relaxed and was heading back to Harold. Even if she still felt sick by thinking about him. She was near the entry hall when she stopped. She wasn't sure what she was currently witnessed. Harold was kissing another woman and by looking clearly at the scene, they were quite enjoying themselves. Rose could do a scene, here, right now... It could gave her an excuse to break off her engagement. Then, her responsible side kicked in as the same time they broke their kiss. Harold looked at the blond woman with a smile and love. He then kissed her hand as a goodbye before leaving her alone. Rose didn't waste any more time and approached the girl.

 

"Hello. I don't think we met. I'm Lady Rose Tyler... Lord Harold future wife."

"Oh... I am Mademoiselle Reinette Poisson. I am ze French correspondent of Leonard and his fiancée."

 

So this was the woman who claimed to be the perfect match for James… Oh this could be fun as Rose could in French without anyone knowing what she was telling her. She smiled to that.

 

"Je vous arrête tout de suite. Et oui je parle français, j'ai eu un diplôme pour cela. Soyons honnête je vous ai vu avec Harold." (I will stop you right there. And yes, I can speak French, I have a degree for that actually. Let's be honnest, I saw you with Harold.)

"Oh... Je... Ce n'est pas ce que vous croyez. C'est plus compliqué que cela. Laissez-moi vous expliquer!" (Oh... I... It isn't what you think... It's more complicated then that. Let me explain!)

"Il n'y a pas besoin d'explication. Je devrais vous préciser que je suis également la meilleure de James et je ne vous laisserai pas lui faire du mal. Vous avez intérêt à tout arrêter." (There is no need for explanation. I should have told you that I am also James' best friend. I won't let you hurt him. You need to stop everything.)

 

So that's what they were trying to do. Having Reinette go though public shame? Make her be the one to break the heart of the descendant of the Saxon's family. Well that's not going to happen. She won't let that happen.

 

"Je vois ce que vous essayez de faire. Laissez-moi deviner? Vous avez un coup de foudre pour Léonard et vous voulez que je joue le rôle de la méchante." (I know what you are trying to do. Let me guest? You have a crush of Leonard and you want me to play the vilain.)

 

Rose was shocked... How could Reinette have guested that she was in love with James? She needed to keep herself confident.

 

"C'est ridicule... Je ne vois pas ce qui me retient d'aller voir le Comte Saxon immédiatement." (That's crazy... I don't know what's keeping me from not telling the truth to the Earl Saxon immediately.)

"Ha ! Et qui croyez-vous qu'il va croire? La fille qui va lui donner une richesse immense en épousant son fils aîné? Ou la fille qui va empêcher l'union?" (Ha ! And who do you think he will believe? The woman who will give him a fortune by marrying his eldest son? Or the one that will stop the wedding from happening?) challenged Reinette.

 

Rose knew she was right. She knew that Rassilion was greedy and unwilling to change his plan. She was trapped... Well not really, she still got her plan with James. That could still worked.

 

"Je ne vous laisserai pas faire." (I won't let you do this.) said Rose.

"Vous êtes sûre de cela? N'êtes-vous effrayé par l'inconnu vous les anglaises?" (Are you sure about that? Aren't you Englishwoman scared about the unknowing? )

"Oh vous n'êtes qu'une..." (Oh you are just a....)

"Ladies ! Happy to see that you two met. Lady Rose, will you be adorable and leave my son and I alone with our other guest? I'm sure that Harold will be please to pass more time by your wonderful company. I saw him going back towards his room." interrupted Rassilion.

 

Rassilion was with James getting down the stairs. Rose couldn't try anything right now. She had to accept the Earl's proposition without making a scene. Even if that meant leaving James with this crazy blond woman and went back to her diabolic fiancé. She did a curtsy and escape rapidly the room without missing to do an eye contact with James. As if she was trying to send him a weird message.

Chapter Text

The tension could be felt in the room... James didn't want be here, Rassilion was oblivious to that and Reinette was still moved by her altercation with Rose. As if things couldn't get any worse, having to stay still while your father talks about the organization of your wedding with a woman you didn't love, was a tough request for James. He would rather to be force to dance on sharped glass than to stand here supporting this comedy.

For Rassilion, it was another story, his eldest son was engaged. He wanted to make this wedding the perfect day of his life. This union will be the biggest event of the aristocracy and will expand his power outside of the UK. And, knowing that James will eventually inherit the domain, Rassilion must focused on every small detail.

 

"Do you have a preference on the place?" asked Rassilion.

"We did not realy 'ave time for it but, for my part, I do not give important to the location as long as I marry your son… Wat do you think Léo?" answered Reinette while looking at James.

"Hmmm? Oh yeah, brilliant. What she said." he reply blankly.

"You need to show more interest, son. You don't want to let all the important decisions go to a women."

 

Reinette tried to not be offended by her future father-in-law. She was hoping that she didn't translated correctly what Rassilion was trying to say. Well, it's not like you could say that Reinette was part of the “feminist” movement but she could understand what organizing a weeding meant.

 

"If I remember well what you always told me, it was Mother who decided on every details about your wedding." said James.

"Well, your Mother was unique and very organized. And had an incredible temper. Whether you accepted all what she would ask for or you would face a terrible fate."

 

James looked at his father with provocation. Rassilion was trying to control the situation. Well if he thought that he could had the last word on everything, he was challenging the wrong son. James was determined to make the worst wedding reception in the whole world... If that could make Reinette's father to cancel the whole engagement, he was on for it.

 

"Let choose England then... What do you think Reinette?" James decided and then looked at the blond lady next to him.

"Hum... Wel... It iz a wonderful country and I know zat I juste said zat I did not had a prefference over a place in particullar… But my fazer is not speaking english... We could maybe..." she started.

"That will not be a problem... My best friend Rose speaking an excellent French. She obtained a degree and doesn't have an accent. You could confused her with a native speaker in French to prove you how good she is. She could do the translation." James interrupted her.

"James, Rose would be facing other major events in life. She is also getting married... To your brother. Don't you think she would prefer to watch your wedding by her husband's side?" advised Rassilion.

"Are you implying that Harold and Rose will the first to tie the knot ? You are not going to marry your youngest son before your eldest?"

"Well no... Of course not. You will be the first but... You have to acknowledged the fact that she will soon be your sister-in-law and not only your best friend."

 

Reinette tried to stay calm even though the subject Rose was brought back again. Did this Rose was really playing a major part in the life of her fiancé? Did she actually needed to be scare of her? Reinette was now thinking if she didn't miscalculated when she threatened her. Maybe Rassilion would believe her if Rose tells him about her and Harold. She needed to act quick and gather any information about Rose that she could get.

 

"Tell me more about Lady Rose... I wanted to know more about this other girl in your life. Is she that important to you?" asked Reinette.

"Oh I wouldn't go in this path if I were you, young lady ! Explaining James and Rose's relationship will took ages even for the greatest historians. They are practically inseparable since the day they first met." started Rassilion.

"Realy? Iz zat so Léo? And yet I know so little about her..." interrogated Reinette while raising an eyebrow.

 

James started to think. Should he start making a list of why Rose is soooooo important to his life and mental health? Maybe this could help to stop the wedding... Then again, it wasn't really a good idea to show his unconditional love in front of his father. This could get him killed or get him banned from the domain for treason against his brother. The best option for James, right now, was to play it simple.

 

"You could say that.... She was my very first friend even if she was 3 years younger than me. We used to past all of our free time wandering in both of our houses, playing hide and seek. We always encourage each others to pursue our dreams... And she was a great support when my mother died. I can't imagine my life without her by my side... She is... I can't really find the perfect word to describe her."

 

Reinette couldn't stop watching James during his small speech. You could see love in his eyes. Why did she had to be that stupid... Of course he loves her ! The worst about all this situation was that Reinette fell in love with James at the very beginning but would had hide those feelings if he had said that he had someone. She would have been very happy with only be a friendly confident. She even was starting to think that her feelings would had disappeared after time.

Why did Harold had to play this stupid game? She was so angry at this moment. What was the point of her staying? Were both brothers playing with her? Now that she thinks about it, maybe it was all parts of a sickening plan. One thing's sure, Reinette will not let herself be treated like a fool like that so easily.

 

"I see she 'as a special place in your heart. Did something hapened bitween you two?"

"No... As I said... She is just a very close friend."

 

Reinette responded to his answered with a fake smile. James was good at lying but not as good as she. After all, she did take drama lesson in her childhood and adolescence. Let see if she still got the trick because Reinette really needed to get out of here to sort her mind. She rapidly put her hand on her forehead and started rubbing it to mimic a headache.

 

"Is everything alright, Lady Poisson?" asked Rassilion.

"No.. Excuse me... I starting to not feeling wel... I think it iz a sign zat I should go to my room."

"Would you want me to escort you ? The manor is quite big" asked James a slight concerned.

"No... You should stay and continue the planning with your father. I wil be fine."

"As you wish... Well then Father, it seemed like you will only discuss about the organization with me then." he said, turning his head back to Rassilion.

 

Reinette stood up from her seat and then left the room in a hurry. She wanted to be alone without seeing anyone in her way to her bedroom. She didn't wanted to see anybody. Well no actually... Clara, she needed to see Clara. Clara will help her to sort all this story out.

Reinette went for her bedroom. At least she tired, as no indications were given to her on it location. Hopefully, she found a domestic on her way and ask her where were the guest room. When, Reinette arrived to the guest wing, she saw a red ribbon attached on one of the door knob. This was the signal Clara used to show her which room was hers when they traveled abroad. Although she didn't expected to find her lady-in-waiting still flirting with Jack as she entered.

 

"Could you leave Clara and myself alone for a moment?" said Reinette strictly.

"Not a problem Milady." said Jack with a bow then left a kiss to Clara's right hand "I will see you around the house?"

"Not if I see you first." Clara answered with bright smile.

 

Jack left and closed the door behind him then returned to his work like nothing had happen. Reinette, on the other hand, waited a bit after the butler departure before reopening the door and verified that no one was near her room. Once the view was clear, she closed back the door and looked to her confident.

 

"Is everything okay, Mademoiselle? What did Lord James' Father told you?" Clara asked, intrigued

"Nothing that waz disrespectful… I am actualy starting to rethink of it waz a good idea to come..."

"Pourquoi dites-vous cela? S'est-il produit quelque chose?" (Why are you saying that? Did something happened?)

"Oui...Non... J'ai été leurée Clara ! Je n'ai jamais écrit à James... Toute cette histoire de fiançailles est une masquarade." (Yes... No... I've been fooled Clara ! I never wrote to James... This whole engagement is a mascarade!) answered Reinette trying her hardest not to burst in anger.

"Que voulez-vous dire?" (What do you mean?)

"Harold m'a avoué être l'auteur des lettres en utilisant l'identité de son frère." (Harold revealed to me that he was the author of the letters while using his brother's identity.) told Reinette while sitting on her bed.

"Comment pouvez-vous être sûre de ce que vous a dit Monsieur Harold?" (How can you be so sure about what told you Lord Harold?)

"Il savait... Des choses spécifiques. Que seul la personne avec qui j'ai échangé des lettres pourrait savoir." (He knew... Specific things. That only the person with whom I exchange letters could have known.) answered Reinette.

 

Clara couldn't believe what Lady Reinette was announcing her. Actually she did. She remembered what Jack had told her about the Saxon family. Clara was starting to have a bad feeling, did her mistress believe Harold's “revelations”?

 

"Vous savez Mademoiselle, Jack m'a un peu parlé des relations fraternels des Saxon. Harold est très jaloux de James. Il l'envie en quelque sorte. Et si cela était son plan? Vous utiliser pour prendre la place de James? Il a très bien pu tomber sur une de vos lettre par hasard?" (You know mademoiselle, Jack talked to me a little about the Saxon's brothers. Harold is very jealous of James. He envy him, sort of.. What if that was his plan? Using you to take the place of James? He could have find one of your letter by accident?) Clara explained.

"Oui mais... Il avait l'air sincère et si tourmenté de s'être joué de moi." (Yes but.... He looked sincere and so tormented of playing with my feelings.) said Reinette, lost in her mind.

"Vous êtes parfois trop romantique Mademoiselle.... Vous lisez trop de romans. Pourquoi Monsieur Harold se serait fiancée avec une autre femme s'il entretenait une relation avec vous? Cela n'a aucun sens. C'est, sans doute, le stress du mariage qui vous perturbe." (You are something too romantic Mademoiselle... You read too much books. Why would Lord Harold marrying another woman if he had a relationship with you? That makes no sense. It probably the stress of the wedding that disturb you.) continued Clara.

"Tu as sans doute raison, il faut que me ressaisisse...Que ferais-je sans toi Clara?" (You should be right, I need to regain myself.... What would I do without you Clara?)

"Vous seriez moins douée en anglais." (You would be less good in English.) answered the maid with a smile.

 

They looked at each others and within seconds the two women burst into a laughter. Talking with Clara really helped Reinette after all, she didn't felt conflicted anymore. From now on, she will stop believing everything that Harold will tell her. She was marrying James and only him. She loves James and James loves her. Then Rose came back to her mind.... What will she do about her? Reinette would have to think about it....

 

Chapter Text

Rose came back from her weekly meeting. It had two months since herself and James decided to fight for their love. Two months and still nothing had change. Well, expect that Reinette was becoming more and more possessive over James as the date of the wedding was getting closer. In Rose's mind, the French woman was trying to taunt her whenever she got an opportunity to do so, and, needless to say that it was actually working.

In the meantime, Harold had noticed Rose's sudden escaping to the city but he didn't give too much of an importance. Thinking that she just went to visit some friends or her parents back to her estate. However, he soon realized that whenever Rose left, James did the same several minutes after. Harold started to think that they were hiding something and maybe it had something to do about the changes in Reinette's behavior toward himself. Was the situation eluding him? As he saw Rose coming back from , he decided to go for the truth... He will get answers.

 

"Where have you been?" asked Harold as he approached Rose.

"In the city." answered simply Rose.

"Where in the city?"

"In a tea house… I had a meeting with friends."

"What were those friends' name?" he asked, trying to not lose his temper.

"Is this a interrogation about my whereabout? Should I get an attorney?" she answered, trying to laugh about it.

 

To be fair, it's true that Rose was waiting for a reaction from Harold about her getaways outside of the domain. However, he looked more like someone who was about to commit a murder than like a man who got interested about his wife's hobbies. Rose tried to stay calm so that it won't trigger his abusive behavior.

 

"You will soon be my wife. I have the right to know where and with who you went away."

"I wasn't with James, kissing in a dark alley if that what you are afraid of." Rose said with irony.

"Don't try to play this game with me Rose...." Harold said with menace.

"No ! You ! Don't try to play this game with me.... As you said, I will soon be your wife. Which mean that I still have 4 months as a free woman without being spy on."

 

Then the slap came. And as always, no one was with them in the room to witness the now red-cheek of Rose.

 

"Now... I will ask one more time... Where were you and with whom?" insisted Harold.

"As I said... In the city, at the tea house near the town hall. I had a meeting with Amelia Williams." Rose answered with confidence.

"I will check with the owners. As you may know, they are family's friends so should be telling the truth because I will know if it isn't."

"I'm telling the truth. Or should I remind that Amy is in charge of the media coverage of our wedding? We were soon joined by her chief editor Sarah Jane and by three of my friends from university who are my bridesmaids and that I'm sure you don't remember their names." Rose said with a victorious smile.

 

The things that Rose discovered once she became part of the “female resistance” was that they helped one another. So her alibi was the truth... Amelia started to cover for Rose after discovering the horror she was living with Harold. As her husband, Rory, was the doctor who healed Rose whenever Harold went too harsh on herself.

 

"I will soon discover what you are hiding from me Rose.... And when that day comes, you should pray that your beloved James will be there to save your life." he said coldly.

"Is that a threat?" Rose asked, raising an eyebrow.

"More of an advice." Harold said with a smirk.

 

Harold then kissed briefly Rose on the lips then left her alone and headed to the library. Rose stood to her place for a minute before rushing to her bedroom. Once she she looked into the mirror to look at damages. It wasn't awful but she still spotted a small cut on her lower lip. Rose went to her en-suite to soak a cloth in water then implied it on her wound. It was only when she return in her room that she realize that James was sitting on her bed. Seeing him made a rush of guilt flowed in her body. Rose lowered her gaze as James approached her. Once he reached her, he smiled then lifted her chin up, took the cloth in her hands and cleaned up her wound himself.

 

"Does it hurts?" asked James concerned.

"Not really... I had worst..." Rose answered vaguely.

 

James nodded even if he felt something was off. They then stayed in silence for awhile. It was like neither one of them wanted to speak first . As if they would destroyed the peace of the room. It was only when James was finished with Rose's wound that she decided to talk.

 

"Why were you near the town hall today? I saw you."

"Oh? I had... My Father asked me if I could take care of some legal papers... You know... For my wedding."

"I see... And the fact that I had a meeting near where you were asked to go didn't balanced your choice to accept? You thought that I wouldn't notice you spying on me during all of my meetings? Is it your way to stay cautious?" Rose asked.

"Can't a man be worrying for the woman he cherishes and loves?" asked James with a smile.

"Not when the woman is supposed to marry the jealous brother of the man." Rose answered with a sigh.

 

James didn't know about Harold's violence towards Rose. She didn't want to him to know as she feared he would burst in anger. Rose was also kind of feeling ashamed about this situation. Like she came as this strong woman and then she gets hit by Harold.

 

"He can't be that dramatic." said James with a small laugh.

"You are not the one who receive the violence of his jealousy..." Rose murmured.

"What did you say?"

"Nothing !" answered Rose nervously.

"Rose?" James asked, figuring that something was off.

"It's.... Nothing... Well not really... Promise not to be mad?" she said, reluctant to tell him the truth.

 

Rose took a big breath in then started to roll up her sleeves in all the courage that was in her. Once her sleeves were elbow-level, James could finally see the smalls bruises on Rose's arm. Some looked old some recent. Either way, he felt sick just at the sight of them. How can his brother do something like this? To Rose overall ! James came closer to her and took her hands in his. He then laid several kisses over every marks he could see.

 

"It's not as bad as it may seemed. Doctor Williams, Rory, is taking good care of me." she continued.

"You should had told me... I would have try to help you." he said, still focused on her bruises.

"I didn't want to worry you." Rose lowered her head.

"Well, I'm worrying now." he replied with irritation.

"James... It's nothing really.... Just some negligible contusions." said Rose as she tried to reassure him.

"Nothing? Maybe I should have a talk with Harold about this nothing."

 

James couldn't believe what was happening. Did Rose was trying to protect Harold? Why was she acting like it was nothing important? He really need to leave this room and have a little conversation with his brother. And maybe he could give Harold the same violence as he gave to Rose.

 

"No ! Please don't ! You don't have to... " Rose said as she grabbed James' arm to prevent him to leave.

"Rose is hurting you... Someone need to stop him !" James replied, escaping from Rose's grasp.

"And what are you going to tell him? Don't hurt the woman I love?"

"Something like that." he replied as he arrived near the door.

"James ! Stop !" shouted Rose.

 

But it was too late... James had left the room in a fury and slammed the door. Rose was beginning to regret telling him the truth. She knew that he would had reacted like he did.... James was always trying to protect her even if she didn't need his help. Some women would love to have a boyfriend like him but Rose felt more like stuck in the role of the “damsel in distress”. She wanted to handle her situation with Harold alone and now, things got worse.

 

Chapter Text

James was fuming... He was trying his very best to not explode in rage... Well not more exploding as he was right now. Every time somebody informed him about his brother's behavior, he always cooled it down but now he is going to murder him. Maybe not literally but close. James could accept that Harold wasn't the best gentleman in the country but he couldn't let him continued laying a hand on a woman and violating her. Especially when the woman in question was Rose.

James continued searching for his brother until he found him in the library. Sitting on one of the couch of the room like everything was fine. He approached him rapidly, which led to Harold to stand. James didn't wait for his brother to speak that he punch him. With a great force that Harold landed on the ground. This came as a surprise for Harold, who didn't know what he had done to receive such a violence act from his brother. He looked at James with shock and disbelief.

 

"What is the problem with you, brother?" said Harold while massaging his jaw.

"What is the problem with me? What, so hitting Rose is nothing but me doing the same thing on you isn't?" retorted James in fury.

"Oh I see... Little Rosie cried on Prince Charming James' shoulder? And now I get his vengeance? Oh I'm soo scared..." he replied ironically.

 

James controlled himself to not punch him again. He was finally witnessing the real face of his brother. James always knew that his younger brother wasn't a perfect gentleman but he wouldn't had never imagined that he would a pure demon or even worst. James took all the confidence he had in him and watched Harold with threatening eyes.

 

"Let make myself be clear... If you ever again lay one finger on Rose… I will destroy you. I can assure you, you will regret the day you were born."

"James... James... James... If I recall well, Rose is engage to me... It's none of your business how I manage my relationship with her. Focus on your own fiancée." answered Harold.

"You are maybe engaged to her but I love her. Bet you didn't expected this."

"Do you really? You are telling me that you, my older brother, is in love with the woman I'm supposed to marry? What an unexpected surprise... Wait no, I already knew that. That's the central point of my plan." replied Harold with a fake surprised tone.

"Plan? What plan?" asked James confused.

"You still don't get it? And you are supposed to be the intelligent one.... "

 

James examined deeply Harold… Was he trying to play with his mind? He already discovered that his brother was the one behind the love letters for Reinette which led to the current situation. Although, James was still trying to figure what were the real reasons behind Harold's actions. Maybe today is his lucky day.

 

"I want to be the one who inherited Father's fortune." he said simply;

"Do be stupid Brother... You know you can't be... I'm the oldest. The only way you became Father's heir is if I died."

"Or if you don't give Father a descendant." he replies back.

 

James gasped to that... He never really thought of that situation because he always believed to marry Rose and started for a family. That's why he never worried about an off-spring. James stayed silent as he was trying understand what was his brother up to.

 

"I actually thought about killing you... I even had a plan that look like a simple accident but I realized that I rather see you suffer. Torturing you by made you loose the only woman you'll ever loved." Harold further explained.

"I could just call-off everything and ran away with Rose. Why will your plan still goes with that?"

"You will not... Well you can but we both know that Rose will never break-off our engagement, she is too much concerned about her family's pride."

"I could tell Father... He will stop you." James threatened.

"Why would you think he believed you? To be fair, I didn't plan to get engaged to Rose, Father took this decision all by himself, convince I was in love with her. I got along with that because I saw it as another opportunity to hurt you. You have to admit it... I win, you can now do nothing to stop me." Harold said victorious.

"We will see... You don't know how stubborn I can get when Rose is involved."

 

James then left the room even more in rage then when he arrived. So that's why Rose and he were in such a mess? Just because of his brother greediness? He had to find a way to stop him... Any thing. There has to be a way to trap his brother.

As James was on his way to get back to Rose and tell her everything, while still thinking how to stop Harold, he saw Reinette. At first, he was going to ignore her as he had done the same a billion times during the last two months but then he had an idea. A very risky idea but an idea anyway.

 

"Reinette wait !" James shouted.

 

Reinette turned her head and offered a smile to James once she saw him.

 

"Léo ! I waz woundering where you 'ave been."

"Yes, sorry, I had some... Things to take cared off but it's over now... I'm all yours now." James said trying to be flirty.

"Wel you 'ave not been a lot present for me lately."

"I know it just that.... I'm so worried ever since I know about Rose and Harold engagement. Rose has always been like a little sister to me and she is my best friend ever since we were kids. And my brother... Well let just said that my brother isn't the most trustful person." explained James, thinking that he was good at lying.

"I can belive you. Especialy on the Harold's part but I don't trust Rose... I think she has some feelings for you." Reinette said, still hesitating on which of the two brother she wrote to.

 

James gulped then took a deep breathe. He will need a lot of courage to say his next line.

 

"She could have but the only woman I have an eye for is you, ma douce." (ma douce doesn't really have a typical english translation. The closest I could go would be sweetie or my beauty or my love)

 

What James didn't know when he chose this particular nickname for Reinette was that that nickname was the one Harold used in his letters. Which is why when Reinette heard it from James's mouth, she was fully convinced that she was being play by Harold and that James was the real writer of the letters all along.

 

"I 'ave been waiting so long zat you called me that... At one moment, I even thought zat you were not the one I had been writing to." Reinette confessed.

"Why would you think that? You know I love you." he said before laid a kiss on Reinette's hand.

"I love you too... James. I found out zat you prefer it over Léo so I will make the éffort."

"Thank you, I appreciate it but for you, I can accept both. Now, let go to my room so I could help you to practice your English pronunciation? So that you'll be fully fluent on our wedding." James asked while offering his arm.

"I kind of love this idea." Reinette answered before taking his arm.

 

If Harold discovered that James was now fully dedicated in his engagement with Reinette. Maybe if he saw that his first plan isn't working, he will probably try a new one. Maybe he will try to kill him. That is James was waiting because he does, he will have a proof of his brother guilty. He will then be able to tell all the truth to his father and finally be happy with the woman he loved. Well, that's what James thought. That's why it was risky, James could die to prove his point and Rose will get more hurt. Speaking of Rose, James should rapidly informed her about his new plan before she believed something else.