A frantic knock one the door startled Pierce from his sleep. He quickly made his way to the door while Evelyn stirred in the bed.
Pierce opened the door to find a distraught Lisette, tears streaming down her face. “Lisette?” Pierce was surprised to see the woman. She usually sent some form of missive announcing her visits, however, she was clearly distressed.
“Hello, I apologize for not sending word of my arrival, but I was hoping to speak with Evelyn.” Lisette’s voice quivered with emotion
Evelyn heard her friend’s voice and quickly grabbed a robe before pushing Pierce out of her way. “Lisette, what has happened?”
Once Lisette saw Evelyn, she began sobbing and collapsed against the other woman. Evelyn saw that all her men had appeared upon hearing the commotion. “Get me Jessica now. I also want a breakfast tray brought up. I will not be leaving my rooms this morning.”
Evelyn ushered Lisette into the sitting area. Jessica came rushing into the room a few moments later. She took in the scene, quickly escorting Evelyn into the bathroom to get her ready for the morning.
Pierce stood in a corner of the room with Robert. “I’m not sure what is going on. Have you heard anything?” He questioned softly.
Robert shook his head. “No. I asked Marabelle to send up a breakfast tray. I mentioned Lisette showed up in tears, and Marabelle was surprised.”
Pierce thought this was interesting. No one knew why Lisette had shown up suddenly this morning. The young woman was currently staring into the fire, tears streaming down her face, meanwhile Evelyn was ordering Jessica to just make her presentable.
As Evelyn made her way from the dressing room to the sitting area, there was another knock on the door. Jessica moved to answer the door. There, in the doorway, was King Richard with the breakfast tray.
Jessica stepped aside before excusing herself from the room. Richard sat the tray down on a table by the fire. Lisette took one look at Richard, shook her head back and forth, and began sobbing anew.
Evelyn grabbed her friend and held her close. She was stroking her hair. “Lis, my love, please tell me what you need? I will give you anything you ask for.”
“Can I have a bath? I need to get clean, I don’t feel clean.” That was all Lisette said before sobbing. Pierce took in the woman’s clothes for the first time. He hadn’t noticed the smell of soot right away, but now he could see her clothes had some on it, as well as her skin and hair.
Robert moved to get a bath going, as Richard shot Pierce a murderous look. A sickening feeling over took Pierce. Had she been raped?
“Lisette, did someone hurt you?” Pierce dropped down on his knees in front of the women.
“I-I-I’m so sorry. I-I should have been more careful,” Lisette then crumpled into body racking sobs.
Pierce looked up into Evelyn’s eye. She was silently crying because she too knew what fate must have befallen her friend. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the stark rage on Richard’s face.
“Lisette, my bonny lass, please tell us what happened,” Richard begged. He dropped down onto his knees next to Pierce and began drying her tears with his handkerchief.
Lisette took several deep breaths. “I was walking into my shop when someone grabbed me from behind. There were two of them. One held me down, while the other tore at my clothes, exposing me to both of them as they tried to rape me. I screamed and fought the entire time, and was lucky because a police officer heard me. The officer ran inside and the men ran off.”
Richard sucked in a deep breath before letting it out in a hiss. Pierce knew how angry his brother was, because no one took advantage of women like that. It was disgusting.
Before either of them could say anything, Lisette looked up and continued her tale.
“Then this morning, I woke up to glass shattering and the smell of smoke. I quickly dressed as I heard people yelling fire. I ran outside and watched as people raced to put out the fire in my shop. There, written in red, across my sign were the words ‘French whore’. People began snickering and men tried to touch me.”
Lisette began sobbing again. Richard stood up and walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him. This caused Lissette to cry harder. Her reputation was shattered. Pierce called for Jessica to help Evelyn with Lisette.
Evelyn and Jessica helped bathe Lisette. There were cuts and deep bruises all over her body, but one bruise in particular stood out to her. Evelyn’s face felt hot, her vision narrowed and her breath came in rapid bursts. Whoever had done this brutal crime was in for a rude awakening.
“Lis, stay with Jessica. I will be back soon,” Evelyn announced.
She strode from her room, fury guiding her. John and Ian followed behind her. Once Evelyn began descending the main stairs, Pierce and Richard noticed her and started after her.
Down at the bottom of the stairs, in the main hall Evelyn began bellowing. “Thad! Thad! Where are you?” She was calling attention to herself, which wasn’t good.
As she looked into the library, she spotted Thad and Philip. Evelyn bolted towards the two men.
“I do say, Princess Evelyn, you look quite fetching when you are fired up,” Philip cooed.
Evelyn ignored him and turned to her brother before slapping him as hard as she could across the face. Her mother and father entered the room about the same time.
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