Myla never expected the tears she shed on her wedding day would be of absolute despair. The ride to the Lord’s manor was long and silent. He had refused her wish to say goodbye to her family. His reasoning that her family had said what they knew could have been their final farewells that morning when they had sent her off to the town center. Tears slid down her cheeks and blurred her sight.
The carriage rattled to a stop in front of the Lord’s manor. Myla wiped the tears from her eyes and looked out at the estate. It was larger than Myla could have ever imagined. It sprawled as an endless series of fine stones and colorful glass windows. Myla swallowed to solve the sudden dryness she felt clench her throat.
“Welcome home, my Dear.” Lord Du Bois said as he exited the carriage. He stepped down onto the paved ground and turned to extend a hand to help Myla down.
Myla ignored the hand and shoved her bag under her arm. She hopped down from the carriage without using the dainty steps down and landed with a wobble on the stone pavers. The Lord Du Bois wrapped an arm around her waist to steady her. Myla couldn’t tell much about the Lord’s body under the heavy robes he wore, but his grip was strong and firm. She raised her eyes to glimpse under his hood, but all she could make out was his stony brown eyes. The color brought to Myla’s mind the petrified wood stones her father had pointed out to her years ago.
Lord Du Bois ran the back of his fingertips along Myla’s cheek, “I am aware this is not what you imagined your life to be, but with time you may come to love me. If nothing else, you will enjoy a life of comfort here by my side.”
Myla turned her eyes away. His skin was cool to the touch. She pictured the rest of her life with him and her heart clenched.
“Come. My servants will fit you in the wedding dress I have prepared for you.” He said as he led her to the grand entryway.
Myla stopped in her tracks, “No, I have a wedding dress.”
The Lord looked first down at Myla. His eyes fell to the worn sack she clutched.
Myla stood a little taller and lifted her chin as she spoke, “This is the dress my mother wore on her wedding and her mother before her. My older sister wore it when she married and if I’m forced to be wed to you then I’m at least going to do so in my mother’s dress.”
Lord Du Bois clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth and looked down at Myla. He was silent for a moment as he mulled over her demand. Finally, he let out a small chuckle, “Fascinating. You are much more spirited than I had initially assumed. Fine. You will be wed in your family’s heirloom dress.”
A tiny bit of pride raced through Myla from the small victory. She smiled.
They resumed walking and he spoke as they crossed the threshold into the manor, “My servants will have it cleaned, while they prepare you for the ceremony tonight.”
“Tonight?” Myla whispered.