She stood in the courtyard, trembling. The sword in her hand felt heavy, so heavy. The men around her didn’t move but they looked like dark looming figures. These were just memories, she tried to tell herself. Nightmarish memories. She knew it in the rational part of her mind, but she couldn’t move. And she couldn’t escape the memories: she was standing in Devon’s courtyard. The men around her were his men and she remembered what happened next. She couldn’t escape it.
“I’m going to take my time Emma.”
That’s what he’d said. And he had taken his time. He had taken almost everything.
“Emma. Breathe darling.”
It was a woman’s voice: Daphne? She wasn’t supposed to be there. She hadn’t been there. She wasn’t in Devon’s courtyard. She was at her parents’ house in Eglington. She took a deep breath trying to escape the awful memory. She had been speaking with Kent. He was the one who said it, not Devon. She crumpled where she stood crying. Panting, trying to catch her breath, as the courtyard of her parents’ manor came into focus. Around her stood Harrison, Kent and Sebastian. They all looked worried, sad. Daphne held her, the sword forgotten at their feet.
“I’m sorry.” She sobbed into her sister’s shoulder.
“Emma darling, it’s not your fault.”
“It’s mine,” Kent said.
She looked up to him; she loved him. She knew that but she was broken. That was what happened. She remembered. He’d asked her to marry him. She told him she was a mere memory, a shell of the woman she once was. And he’d said he loved her, that he was patient. That he was going to take his time. But it was six months and she wasn’t free of the memories, of the nightmares. Maybe she never would overcome them. How long would he wait?
“What did you do Raven?” Harrison’s tone was hard.
“Don’t.” She begged her brother. “He couldn’t know… It wasn’t his fault. It was… Devon.” She shuddered at the name. “He spoiled everything.”
“I told you love,” Kent knelt beside her and took her hand. “I will be patient. Take your time.”
“How long Kent? What if I never…”
He kissed her knuckles.
“I’m not concerned love. I trust you.”
She wasn’t sure she deserved that. Six months was a long time. Such a long time.
In response to Linda G Hill stream of consciousness Saturday prompt mem