Chapter 22

“How could you, you sick bastard! You disgust me, Thad. I can’t believe you of all people would attempt such a despicable crime,” Evelyn spat at him.

Thad’s face was thunderous, he grabbed Evelyn by the arm and threw her across the room into a wall, before pinning her there. “How dare you slap me, you little cock tease!”

“Get your hands off of her!” Pierce bellowed as he ran towards them. However, Philip got in his way.

“The little bitch is getting what she deserves. Once she is my wife, she will quickly learn her place.”

Pierce had had enough of Philip and his threats. He was also watching Thad squeeze Evelyn’s arms hard as he slammed her back into the wall with each word he spoke. ierce turned to Philip and punched the man square in the face.

“Get out of my way. And you, you son of a bitch, get your hands off of Princess Evelyn,” Pierce commanded in a low tone.

Thad was going to argue with him when King Reginald yelled out, “What on earth is going on? Thadius, unhand your sister now!”

Thad pushed Evelyn straight into the arms of Pierce, who crushed her to him. “Father, you need to have Thad arrested.”

This statement shocked everyone in the room. “Why would your Father have your brother arrested? Have you lost your mind?” Queen Maria asked incredulously.

“No, I’m quite sane. I saw the bruise, Thad, the one in shape of your signet ring on Lisette’s body. I can’t believe you would force yourself on her. It’s not a secret how you feel about her, but I can’t believe you would stoop so low,” Evelyn stated.

“Is this true? Did you try to rape Lisette, Thad?” King Reginald was shocked by Evelyn’s accusations.

“No, I didn’t try to rape her. Is that what she is saying? The French bitch invited me into her shop last night along with a friend of mine. When things got too rough, she began screaming and fighting. I can’t believe you would believe that whore over your own brother,” Thad responded. The cold rage in his eyes sent a chill down her spine.

“Evelyn, I can’t believe you would accuse your brother of something so serious without hearing both sides of the story,” Queen Maria said. “I know you think of her as your friend, but she is the hired help. Honestly, Evelyn.”

Evelyn was stunned into silence by her mother’s word. How could she defend his actions? Lisette was a noblewoman. Just because she owned a business didn’t make her any less of a person.

King Reginald looked at Evelyn, Pierce, and Richard. “You slapped your brother because of what happened to Lisette?”

“Yes. Someone tried to burn down her shop with her inside it, and then painted the words ‘French whore’ over her sign. The men in town are treating her like a wonton, which she is not. Who was your friend, Thad? Was it Philip?”

“My goodness. How is Lisette this morning?” King Reginald’s mind was whirling. Thad had been rough with whores in the past, but rape? That was something Prince Philip had been accused of several times. However, the habits of others eventually rubbed off.

“She is currently in my room being cared for by Jessica. She has scratches and deep bruises everywhere. One in the shape of Thad’s ring, which we all know is a unique,” Evelyn explained. When Philip made a move towards her, Pierce’s arms wrapped around her more tightly.

“Very well. I will have the matter looked into more fully. In the meantime, Thad, you are to stay away from Evelyn and Lisette. I also forbid you to go into town,” King Reginald announced.

“You’ve got to be joking! All because some little harlot has a bruise on her. She should be so lucky as to have the likes of me wanting to have a roll in the sack with her,” Thad spat.

“Thadius! How dare you use such language in front of your sister. Leave now!” King Reginald bellowed.

Evelyn watched her brother and Philip leave the room. She then turned to Pierce, and noticed Richard, Robert, John, Ian, Peter, and Evan all standing behind them.

“Thank you, Father. If you’ll excuse me, I am going to comfort Lis.”

Pierce let her go. It was time to leave. This attack on Lisette was too close for comfort. Thad was becoming more reckless.

“Take Princess Evelyn back up to her rooms please. Sir, may I have a word?” Pierce requested.

“Yes, let us go outside. I am in need of some air,” the older gentleman explained.

Pierce opened the door to the balcony, and both King Reginald and King Richard walked outside. There was a light breeze bringing with it the sweet smell of the roses in the garden below.

King Reginald led the men in silence to the garden. They walked along a garden path for several minutes until all three men were satisfied they had not been followed.

“We are leaving tonight, Your Majesty,” Pierce plainly stated.

King Reginald sighed deeply. “I had hoped to have her for the full month. Then when everything began to happen, for a full three weeks, but her safety is more important.”

“I have my men investigating what happened to Lissette. They are also packing her things and anything that can possibly be salvaged from her shop. She is coming with me to Scotland,” King Richard announced.

Both Pierce and King Reginald looked at Richard in surprise. “I did not realize you and Lady Bourbon had an understanding with each other.”

Richard’s cheeks slightly flushed. “We do not, but after seeing her this morning, I realized I can’t leave her behind. She wouldn’t make it without Princess Evelyn’s support.”

Pierce had already been thinking about that, but to move Lissette to Scotland? He wasn’t sure she would agree. King Reginald must have also sensed Pierce’s thoughts.

“You are correct. After what happened here, she will always be looking over her shoulder. She would also have a difficult time finding a man to marry. But I’m not sure if she would be willing to leave Evelyn so soon,” Reginald gently stated.

Richard frowned. His brows knit together in thought. “Maybe, brother, once she has recovered, she would be willing to consider your offer of moving to Scotland.”

“Yes, yes. Perhaps you are right. Either way, my men are packing up her things carefully so that she may start again.”

King Reginald nodded before turning his attention back to Pierce. “Does Evelyn know you are planning on leaving tonight?”

“No, she does not. Her things have been packed on the ships, and she is aware we are leaving earlier than planned. She just doesn’t know how early,” Pierce explained.

“I will say goodbye to her in my own way at dinner. Do not tell her until you are leaving, or else she may want to say goodbye. We cannot risk her safety,” King Reginald stated.

Pierce nodded. “Now gentlemen, if you’ll excuse me, I am needed elsewhere.”

Richard turned to Pierce. “Should we get back to the ladies?”

“Let’s get these final pins in and then you will be ready to dance the night away,” Jessica explained.

Evelyn had not wanted to attend dinner and a small dance, but her mother has insisted after this morning’s events. Lisette had retired to her room and promised to attend. Evelyn didn’t want her pushing herself into something she wasn’t ready for, but Lisette had been emphatic that she just wanted to move on.

A knock had Evelyn pushing the girl to go faster. She knew a few minutes wouldn’t make much of a difference, but knowing she was leaving in a few days had her wanting to spend as much with her father and mother as possible.

A moment later, Jessica declared her hair a masterpiece and Evelyn dashed for the door.

The blood drained from her body as she took in who was on the other side. There, standing before her were Prince Philip and her mother. Her men were nowhere in sight.

“Mother. Prince Philip. This is a bit of a surprise,” Evelyn squeaked out.

“Yes, I know. I ran into your mother on my way to the ballroom, and she insisted I come with her to fetch you.” Prince Phillip had a look in his eye Evelyn didn’t trust. Much like a deer caught by a wolf, Evelyn wasn’t sure how to escape the situation.

“I know how much you missed Prince Phillip’s company earlier, so I thought this would be a pleasant surprise,” Queen Maria added with a delighted smile in her face.

“It was a surprise all right. Where are my men?” Evelyn asked somewhat desperately.

“I dismissed them for the night. They are moving Lisette’s things into her new room, so I thought they should have a chance to get her settled.”

“Oh.” Evelyn felt weak. Her knees were shaking and she didn’t want Prince Phillip to touch any part of her body.

Her mother was saying something, but she couldn’t hear her let alone focus on the words. Evelyn’s breathing was shallow as her head began to swim and her legs felt tingly. She grabbed onto the door to help her remain upright.

That was how Pierce, King Richard, and Lisette found her.

“Evelyn, let go of the door this once, we need to get downstairs,” Queen Maria demanded.

Prince Phillip’s patience had grown thin as well. He reached for Evelyn and she recoiled the moment she felt his touch. No longer having the door to support her, Evelyn began to fall.

“Evelyn!” Pierce called out. He pushed through both Queen Maria and Prince Phillip in order to catch her.

Lisette was the next person to rush in. “Oh, Mon Amie. Breath, Evie. Take deep breaths. All is well.”

Richard hung back, taking in the scene. Prince Phillip looked fit to be tied, while Queen Maria was worried about her daughter. She was either a fool or purposely ignoring her daughter’s reaction and explanation of the man. His money was on the latter.

“I’m surprised to see you up and about after this morning. I figured you’d need a few days to recover,” King Richard stated, his eyes never leaving Phillip.

“Why would I need to recover?” Phillip threw back the question fast.

Richard smiled coldly. “The bruise on your face from where you were punched. I assumed you wouldn’t want anyone to see you like that. Although, I shouldn’t be surprised, you are hoping for Princess Evelyn’s hand in marriage.”

Philip was seething, but he kept his mouth shut. Pierce and Lisette had Princess Evelyn upright again, both protecting her from the threat in front of her.

“In the meantime, we should head down to the festivities.” Richard reached past Phillip and took Evelyn’s hand, pulling her toward him.

Evelyn then took Richard’s offered arm, while Pierce escorted Lisette. Queen Maria waited a brief moment before asking Prince Philip about his injury. From the sounds of things, she wasn’t overly happy about the intervention.

“Evie, are you alright? You still look entirely too pale for my piece of mind,” King Richard stated, assessing her completion.

“I’ll be fine. Thank you for your concern,” Evelyn responded, forcing a smile on her face.

Richard didn’t push her.

Copyright © Meg’s Chronicles 2018 All Rights Reserved

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