A chance encounter in her local coffee shop brings Bella's life to a grinding halt. Who is this stranger that knows things about her, she had only dreamed of ever finding out? How do they cope when they face a common enemy?
1. Prologue: Love Madly
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“Miss?” his low voice broke her concentration. She had been staring idly into the air for the last 10 minutes, wondering when her message would have been received and what his reaction would be.
She’d been right to send the message, hadn’t she?
The little plump man standing in the entrance to her nursery shuffled back and forth, a little worried his mistress hadn’t outwardly reacted to him.
“Oh right, sorry Manfred,” she whispered, looking briefly to the small man before exhaling loudly into the otherwise quiet room. “What did he say?”
“He wishes to see you miss.”
She figured as much and sighed loudly one more time before collecting her skirts in her hands and turning to follow Manfred to the west wing of the castle. Whether or not she wished it, she knew without a doubt this would be the hardest decision she would ever have to make.
“You have to understand where I’m coming from Charles. She’s my daughter! And if we don’t do this she’ll be in danger. You know this, you of all people in this world knows of the danger connected to her birth!” She was fuming, absolutely fuming. He had instantly rejected her proposal, dismissed her as if she were some commoner and not his lover.
He was pacing in front of the family portrait. It was a personal treasure of his, showing him as a baby sitting upon his sisters knees in front of their older brother. They were all dressed in formal clothing, their hair in meticulous updo’s and shoes polished until they shone with their reflections. But they had been unhappy. Their stiff smiles said as much to the unknowing bystander, but to him it was their eyes that betrayed the stiff and uncomfortable air surrounding him and his siblings. As far as he was concerned they were never happy, not once since they had passed.
“It’s not going to happen Renee!” He shouted at her, his ears turning red in anger.
“And why is that exactly?! You’d think it safer for her to stay here? Stay in a world tainted by your evil?”
He fell back half a step, obviously wounded by her words. She knew he didn’t have anything to do with that monster’s behaviour, yet she chose this time to pull out the big guns, using whatever she could to make him see reason.
“Renee… You know I can’t do it.” He looked down into her bright green eyes slowly extending his arms to invite her into an embrace, hoping that would placate her temporally.
She met his eyes straight on, not backing down. “No Charles, I’m sending her, whether you like it or not.” She squared her shoulders and puffed out her chest, hoping to simulate a silverback so he would recognize his loss. “We know of the dangers becoming her if we choose to keep her here and raise her ourselves. We must trust faith in letting someone more capable of providing somewhere safe and secure to raise her.”
Her last argument left the room in silence for two long minutes, before he desperately embraced her sighing: “Alright darling.”
They had been on a day and a half’s worth journey, traveling to the last portal left in the kingdom. The hooves of their horses stamped impatiently into the ground, making this otherwise peaceful late afternoon appear stressed.
He’d called on the help of a few of their trusted servants, hoping they would be able to make the journey by two days. If it hadn’t been for the troubled witch they’d stumbled by on the edge of the forest, they would have made it. Now they were late, and he knew what risk being late meant.
He looked at his love, knowing he’d have to force the baby away from her, without offering the reprieve of saying properly goodbye before they had to send of the child.
She looked towards him, for the first time since embarking on this journey. She knew that tone of voice. She’d heard it a few times whenever he had to relay unpleasant or disappointing news to her. It wasn’t often he did so, but living in a world where chaos and trouble swarmed your kingdom, a few disappointments were inevitable.
She sighed, dismounting her steed and walked timidly towards Charles’ steed. He had the baby curled on his arm. The baby had been wrapped into the most expensive silk blanket she had been able to find before leaving on their journey.
He handed her the girl with trepidation, kissing her softly on the top of her head of wild brown curls. The girl giggled, trying to imitate the face of her father looking down upon her with such love and affection. “My princess,” he murmured.
She walked with the child in her arms towards the ocean. The waves lapped at the shore, creating a soft humming in the woman’s ears as she looked down into the eyes of her future. This child was to be their saviour. Of that she was sure.
Big brown eyes stared into loving and misty green ones. She felt the love implode around her as she bent down into the sand, gently laying the child down.
“You my child are destined to become someone special. You will from this day on, until we shall meet again, fill our hearts with love and hope.” She whispered in a soft voice, with love and understating that only a mother could convey by tone of voice. “My mother… She used to put me to bed every night telling me: ‘If you love not with madness, you don’t love at all’. You my child, you are loved. You will always know love.”
A tear escaped the corner of her eye, landing softly on the baby’s cheek. She removed the locket placed preciously above her heart and fastened the chain around the baby’s neck. She cautiously nestled the locket above the baby’s heart repeating her love for the child before standing. The tears were streaming in a constant flow down her pink cheeks now.
“Remember child, love madly or don’t love at all.” She turned with these last parting words, not seeing the child gripping the locket in a tight grip. Her brown eyes followed the form of her mother leaving with hunched shoulders, and tears matting her skin. She’d be 22 before she would remember this again. Until then she would remain innocent and loved by another family in another world.
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