At night Diana had dinner in the saloon. She hoped James would be there but he was nowhere to be seen. Her heart sank in sadness again for she was feeling he meant the words he’d tell her the previous night and Constantine couldn’t but notice how absent his daughter was. At first he thought she was that way because of Lord Byron, who had spent great part of the day in the palace but then he noticed that she was simply sad. Diana wasn’t absent because she was thinking about a man, she was absent because she was sad. It cost him to acknowledge so, nothing would hurt him more than see his daughter unhappy.
“Why aren’t you eating?” He asked her as he realized she was just playing with her food.
“I am not hungry.” She told him. Her blue gaze was a bit lost and the glitter of her stare wasn’t there. Constantine had a clue why was that, the master wasn’t there as usual, however he refused to give in. “Father…” Diana called him and he looked at her waiting for what she had to tell him. “Lord Byron is coming here to visit me tomorrow.”
Constantine smiled faintly. Diana was letting a man come to visit her twice in a row. He had been right when he thought she might like him. They were about the same age, they had the same interests. In reality none of that mattered, for marriages were arranged between the parents but he had promised her dying mother he’d let marry for love. He knew he was about to break that promise, he had his reasons for it, but maybe he wouldn’t have to force her to do so. Maybe Diana would come to that decision alone.
“It makes me very happy Diana.” He told her. “Lord Byron is a great man. He has studied in the best university and he helps his father running the family business.”
“I know all that.” She said in a low tone and with her eyes on her full plate. Constantine took a deep breath. It broke his heart to see his daughter so sad and broken.
“Don’t you like him?” Constantine went on. “I thought you did…I mean…you let him come to visit you…”
Diana’s lips trembled. She wanted to cry but instead she bit her lower lip, her eyes down on her plate, unable to face her father. She just nodded. “He’s nice. Yes.” She said. Her voice choked. Constantine grabbed her hand.
“He will make you happy.” He told her. Diana felt like getting up and ravish the china on the table and runaway from there, after. How could they? How could they pretend they all knew what was best for her? She was the one knowing what was best for her, not other people.
“I don’t know if I will marry him.” She affirmed.
Constantine stared into her blue eyes and she stared back at his defiantly. “I thought you liked him.” He said instead of telling her what was inside his mind. He would make her marry him whether she wanted it or not, he was just giving her some time to adapt and hoping she’d fall in love with him meanwhile.
“I do.” She said. “I just don’t love him.” She clarified.
“Love comes with time Diana.” Constantine said almost irritated. “Do you think your mother and I loved each other when we got married? I loved my cousin and your mother was in love with some boy from her village. Our parents decided we ought to be married with one another and…” Constantine smiled. “…first time I saw your mother my heart skipped a beat, she was so beautiful. With time we learned how to love each other, and how I loved your mother! God called her too soon.”
“I didn’t know that.” She said surprised. In her head her parents had chosen each other and not their parents as the tradition.
“It’s the truth.” He said. “And I couldn’t thank my parents enough for the choice they’ve made. Your mother was a wonderful woman and she loved me. We were happy together. So, Lord Byron is a good man my daughter. With time you will also love him.”
Diana stayed silent. She pictured Jack in her head and felt her heart skipping a beat as his face lingered in her memory. Her palms sweat a little when she remembered the tone of his deep hoarse voice. She liked him, physically to say the least, but she couldn’t explain it that way to her father. Nor could she explain that even if she fell in love with Jack she couldn’t marry him because she wasn’t a virgin anymore. Her father would die of embarrassment. She felt like crying again.
“Give me some time.” She said then. Constantine nodded. That was more than she had ever given him concerning a man. He knew there was something about Jack that was making things different. Diana had been shaken by him. “Can I leave the table father? I want to go to the library and read before I go to bed.” Constantine gave her order to go with a nod of his head. Diana got up and kissed her father’s cheek and then walked away.
On her way to the library she heard a woman’s giggle. She closed her eyes and clenched her jaw knowing what that meant. James had brought a woman to his room. Her heart raced that moment in anger and in sadness. Her tears probed in her eyes. Diana stopped and looked at her master’s bedroom door, it was slightly opened. She felt tempted to peak but then, proudly, she walked away and continued her way to the library.
He felt her presence. He had heard her heart beat from far and her scent lingered in the air. James had stopped, waiting, with a hand on the woman’s huge breast and his lips closed around her nipple as he sensed Diana outside. He had left the door opened on purpose but contrary to what he thought she’d do, she didn’t get in. He groaned under his throat as he heard her steps going away and instead of doing the woman until he was satisfied, he sunk his teeth right away and began to suck her blood. The woman contorted, fighting him, but he held her firmly with his arms and little by little, as life was extinguishing, she began to give in. Finally, she was dead and he let go in disdain. He got up and opened his arms, tilting his head back and facing the ceiling.
“AAAH!” He yelled in rage.
James paced around his room for a while. Diana was right, after all he had told her, she acted the way it was expected from a hurt woman. Still, he expected her to go for him, to go after him as she had always done. Then, he sat on the bed and stared at the dead woman, naked on his bed and smiled, then shook his head. She was right and he had been right when he had shaken her away like he had. She couldn’t ambition that for her life. She deserved more, much more than what he could give her. After a while, he left his room and went to the library where he knew he could find her. At least, he’d see her. He missed her, he missed hearing her voice. James entered the library smoothly but Diana had heard his steps. She didn’t turn around, she remained still. He noticed she wasn’t reading. There wasn’t any book in front of her. She was simply there, staring at nothing.
“My lady…” He called and bowed as she looked back. Diana got up and bowed back.
“My lord…” She said cordially.
“You aren’t reading.” He stated just trying to make some conversation. He looked at her with this immense will to grab her and kiss her but controlled himself. Diana didn’t even suspect the effect she had on him, how he was always shaken by her presence. She didn’t know how dangerous their liaison could be.
“I was thinking.” She told him.
James noticed how sad she looked and broken and cursed himself for he knew he had been the one causing that pain. “About what?” He asked pretending everything was alright.
“About Jack.” She said.
James stiffened. He wasn’t expecting that. She was thinking about Jack? “What about him?” He asked disguising all his feelings.
“I allowed him to come to visit me again tomorrow.” She said defiantly looking in his eyes. James tensed up even more. His fists clenched but he was getting the fruits of the seeds he had planted. He forced himself to control.
“You do well.” He told her trying to sound calm. Diana wanted to slap him, kick him and yell at him but she didn’t do any of these things. She was a lady.
“Yes. He is a good person.” She said. James sat down as he calmed down. That was all he had worked for, for her to get away from him. He had to play along.
“I am glad that you like him.” He told her as if it meant nothing to him. Diana wanted to burst.
“Jack looks wonderful. He is a very handsome man.” She said knowing she was going to hurt him. If he didn’t love her for real, at least, she would hurt his vanity, for she knew her master didn’t like to lose. “He makes my heart beat faster. I might love him one day. I feel like I will.”
James realized he had to leave that place because he was about to explode and he’d be dangerous when he did so. He walked away in a rampant without saying anything to her. The door banged strongly as it closed and Diana was left alone. Tears fell down her face that moment and she finally released all her dark and secret feelings as she began to sob. She, too, abandoned that place and ran after him. James went to the garden and yelled at the top of his lungs there, letting his rage come out. She could be with another man. She had to be for all that he knew but she couldn’t love anyone else but him.
“I will kill him.” He muttered between his teeth and in rage.
“You won’t do anything to him!” Diana yelled and he looked back surprised. “I forbid you to do anything to him.”
“You cannot forbid me from anything!” He yelled back outraged. “I am your master. You obey me!”
“If you hurt Jack I will never talk to you again. He is a good man. He’s not to blame for any of the things that have happened between us. You told me to get married because you couldn’t make me happy. Better said…you told me I meant nothing to you. I am just doing what everyone wants me to and that is to marry someone. So now you say you’ll take away the only man I looked at besides you?”
“You like him!” He said as if he was accusing her of the worst of the crimes.
“YES, I DO!” She said with tears falling down her face. “Isn’t it better if I marry someone I like than someone I don’t like at all? What does it matter to you? Nothing…“ She paused looking at him but James remained silent “Leave Jack alone.” She pointed her finger at him and he saw something different in her eyes. Was she just hurt and willing to hurt him? Or was she defending someone she was falling in love with? James looked at her confused and hurt. The thought of her loving someone else was unbearable. “Good night.”
James didn’t say anything; he just watched her walking away. No one would have her the way he did. Diana wouldn’t love another man. He went out on the streets again. His killing would continue that night for he was raging and hunger for destruction. He walked in the most well known tavern in Winchester. Only high class would frequent a place like that and that time he felt the need for some aristocratic blood. As he walked in some man turned to him. James would never victimize those from town but the foreigners that no one would miss.
“Lord Smith.” The Tavernier greeted him. “Is it beer sir?”
“Scotch.” He said looking around. There was a group of men well drank in a corner that caught his attention. Amongst them, a red hair young one in grey suit that he didn’t know. “Who’s that?” He asked interested.
“The boy with red hair?” The Tavernier asked.
“Yes. I’ve never seen him before.” James commented. Maybe he would be his victim of the night.
“That’s Lord Byron’s son, Jack. He just came back from Paris.” James looked startled at the young man, who laughed cheerfully with his friends.
“Jack Byron?” James asked just to be sure.
“Yes my lord.” The Tavernier put the glass in front of James and nodded. James threw him some coins and grabbed the glass between his glassy fingers. He stared back at the man.
“Well…well…” He smiled.
“The next round is on me everyone!” Jack yelled satisfied and approached the counter. James took the chance.
“Be careful boy. People here might be thirsty.” James told him ironically. Jack looked at James.
“Do I know you sir?” Jack asked politely.
“Smith. James Smith.” James bowed a little.
“Ah!” He exclaimed. He was Diana’s master. He remembered the name and extended him his hand for a handshake. James didn’t move and Jack pulled his hand away.
“Do we know each other?” James asked then just having his fun.
“No. I know someone who works in your house.” James noticed how young he was and obviously pleasant to women’s eye. His jealousy grew higher and he had only one thought in his mind. He’d finish Jack’s life that night.
“Who?” He asked still pretending. His whole life he had to pretend. He had to pretend he was human. He had to pretend he didn’t love someone, and there he had to pretend that the image of that young man wasn’t bothering him.
“Lady Diana Davenport.” Jack told him. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Maybe you could have dinner with us tomorrow.” James offered.
“That would be a pleasure sir.” Jack told him.
“So, you are her fiancé?” James provoked. Jack’s smile said it all. The boy was in love with her. The glitter in his eyes was almost enough to blind James. He wanted to spit on his face.
“I wouldn’t say so, not yet.” He said honestly. James rejoiced on that matter. How he wanted to raise his hand and slap that pretty face of his. He grated his teeth in self control.
“Diana is very pretty and well educated.” James continued pulling the strings.
“She is beautiful.” Jack said with dreamy eyes. James’ stomach churned. Jack Byron was so young and looked so inoffensive and still he was his worst enemy.