Midnight Surrender

#1 In a small town, young Daisy endures a life of suffering under the tyranny of her stepfamily and the neglect of her father. Her once loving home now a prison, she and her mother are forced to serve her father's new wife and daughters. When a proposal arrives from a wealthy but disfigured nobleman, her father, eager to protect his other daughters, condemns Daisy to a seemingly bleak fate. #arranged marriage

JasmineJosef · Fantasy
Not enough ratings
88 Chs

A Veil of Thorns - Chapter 15

Katherine was unable to sleep for the past two nights, her mind occupied with Daisy's upcoming marriage. She couldn't reconcile with it, her nerves burning and wanting to unleash all her anger on the foolish girl, but she couldn't. Daisy was marrying the Marquess, and Katherine could no longer treat her any way she liked. It infuriated her.

Thomas, as always, slept with his back to her, and even in the day following, as she dressed up and tried to appeal to him, he turned his back to her once again. She had not missed the way he had looked at Helena while they were in Lord Blackthorne's mansion. When Helena came dressed in one of those beautiful dresses given to her by the Marquess, Thomas had watched her with interest.

Katherine clenched her jaw, feeling tears of frustration threaten her eyes. She turned her back to him as well and tried to sleep when she suddenly heard him move.

She listened, pretending to be asleep, as he rose out of bed. Where was he going? Once he left, she waited for a while. Perhaps he only went to the restroom, but when he didn't return, she rose from the bed as well and decided to go see where he went.

Silently, she stepped into the hallway, her senses heightened as she carefully made her way through the shadows. The faint sound of whispers reached her ears, drawing her towards them. Recognizing the voices as Thomas and Helena's, her heart skipped a beat. What could possibly have led Thomas to Helena's room?

With her heart pounding, she cautiously approached the corner and peeked around it. The door to Helena's room was slightly ajar, and she could see them both standing in the dim light of the room, their voices hushed but intense.

"You have to do something. I know Daisy isn't happy about this marriage, and that man... I don't like him." Helena said.

"Helena," the way he said her name softly made Katherine's stomach turn. "I have thought about it. He is just behaving like the wealthy do. We are not used to them. Daisy will get used to it, and she will leave this place. Isn't that what you wanted for her?"

"I want her to be happy, Thomas. What do you want for her?"

"I want the same."

Helena shook her head. "No, you don't. You stopped loving your daughter a long time ago."

"I haven't," he said, frustrated as he stepped closer to her. "I still love her, Helena. You know why I did all of this. I never wanted to leave you."

Katherine felt her heart sink. Tears threatened her eyes as Thomas grabbed Helena's shoulders. "I… I still love you, Helena."

"No," Helena said, pushing his hands away.

"Yes." He insisted, grabbing her again and pulling her closer. Katherine's heart raced, her breath caught in her throat as she watched the scene unfold. She struggled to contain her emotions as a mixture of anger, betrayal, and pain washed over her. "I got desperate for a moment, but I never stopped loving you, Helena."

Helena tried to tear herself out of his hold. "You've lost your mind?" she told him, trying to wriggle her way out of his hold, but he wrapped his arms around her waist. "What are you doing?"

"Please, listen to me."

"No, you listen to me. You think you're the one who suffered? I had to watch you bring another woman home."

"I never loved her," he whispered. "I want you, Helena. I always have."

Katherine could barely breathe, her chest aching as if her heart was breaking. She wanted to scream, to confront them, but the weight of their words held her back.

"Thomas, let go of me."

"Remember the days we shared, the love we shared."

"I don't want to remember," Helena croaked.

"Remember," he said, bringing his face close to hers.

Katherine couldn't bear to watch any longer. Her heart shattered as she silently retreated, making her way back to her room. Once there, she screamed inwardly as tears streamed down her face. What had she done to deserve this? She had only loved a man. What was so special about that woman? She despised her – loathed her with every fiber of her being.

Determinedly, she wiped her tears away and swallowed her sadness. They would all pay for this.

Early the next morning, she stealthily slipped out of their home, donning a hat with a veil to conceal her face. She made her way through the quiet streets, her steps purposeful as she approached the blacksmith's workshop. The clang of metal on metal rang out in the crisp morning air, and the smell of smoke and hot iron filled her nostrils.

As she entered the dimly lit workshop, she wrinkled her nose at the soot and grime that covered every surface. Sparks flew as Philip, the burly blacksmith, hammered away at a glowing piece of metal, shaping it into a sword.

He glanced up from his work, visibly startled to see a woman standing in his shop. "Who's there?" he asked gruffly, his manners leaving much to be desired.

Katherine lifted her veil. "Good day, Philip," she said, forcing a polite tone as she approached him. The blacksmith's eyes widened in surprise as he recognized her. He wiped the sweat from his brow, his bushy beard barely concealing a grin.

"Good day, madam," he replied, his voice rough and gravelly. "What brings you to my humble workshop?"

Katherine took a deep breath, preparing herself for the task at hand. "I have a proposal for you, Philip. One that I think you will find... intriguing."

His curiosity piqued, Philip leaned in closer. "Do tell, madam."

"I know of your... admiration for my stepdaughter, Daisy," she began, her voice dripping with disdain. "And I also know that she has caught the eye of the Marquess."

Philip's face darkened at the mention of Lord Blackthorne. "She has?"

"Unfortunately," Katherine admitted.

His expression twisted with disapproval. "Why do you tell me this? You didn't accept my proposal when I came to ask for her hand."

"That was Thomas, not me."

"Then there's no need to rub the news in my face, madam," he spat.

"Oh, but I am not here to do so. I thought I could help you out, and you could help me in turn," Katherine proposed.

He narrowed his eyes. "What do you suggest?"

A malicious smile played on Katherine's lips. "Well, we could stop the wedding. It shouldn't be that difficult. You could easily do so in a way that would make her unavailable for anyone but you," she smirked.

As he grasped her meaning, Philip looked perplexed. "That would ruin your daughters' chances as well, since they are related."

"I know," she said softly. "I will take care of that. You just do your part."

He scoffed. "You should have convinced your husband a long time ago, and you wouldn't have to go through all this trouble. Anyway, I will take Daisy, and you will give me a dowry this time."

Katherine had prepared for everything. She pulled out the money she had set aside and placed it on his workbench. "This is only half. I will give you the other half once you complete the task."

He smirked. "It will be my pleasure to do so."

With their agreement settled, Katherine turned to leave the workshop. As she stepped back into the morning light, her heart was heavy with the knowledge of what she had just set into motion. She knew the consequences of her actions would be far-reaching, but the bitterness and pain that consumed her left no room for regret.