She shouldn’t have been tempted.
Ann thought as she threw her cards down on the table, shaking her head in amusement. She swept the coins she won off the small gaming table into her purse. She had been there a while. Long enough for someone who mattered to noticed. Ann said thank you to the sailors as she got up to leave, she heard them calling back.
“Don’t go,” one said.
“Stay” said another, but Ann had gone. Cards was not her favorite game, she just loved to gamble. The coins she had won wouldn’t begin to pay for her silk dress, nor did she care. Her family was wealthy. Although Sailors were far much better players than any other aristocrat, fun even. They swore when they won, swore when they lost, they also cheated. She loved it when they cheated it made them more of a challenge, they played dirty tricks or at least tried to. As she walked through the harbor quickly to find her friend Nicholas, people stared.
They did not dare say something because of who she was of course. She thought they must be to afraid but of what she would never know. Although she could imagine their questions.
“Why is Lady Ann walking without her escort?”
” Why is General Tarasvin daughter alone.”
She did not care she was walking alone with people staring at her. Though, she was worried about where her escort was. Probably shopping, Ann thought, trying to reassure herself. Ann walked through an alley of stores compacted together, she peered though the glass looking for her friend which was her escort. She stopped in her tracks and walked backwards. She glanced down an alleyway seeing three people talking at the far end. Ann walked closer to see their faces more clearly, there was a tall slender man with bleached blonde hair, the other man not tall nor short, his hair a light brown and sleek, cheeks plump and cherry. She smiled then her smile turned to a frown, Nicholas was one of those men, his black hair cropped to the side in waves, arms folded and he had a hard look on his face, as if he were livid about something. She blinked thinking she was imaging him but wasn’t, she turned to walk away but stopped when she heard his voice.
Ann was tempted to look, tempted to go over there and break up their little caucus, but she didn’t dare, instead she hid behind something and intoned into the conversation. All Ann wanted to do, felt the need to do was interrupt, she didn’t though instead she waited, and waited and waited till she heard a shuffle of feet. Daringly she looked around the corner, she saw the men had gone but one. Nicholas. He stood there like stone for a moment then collapsed, her mouth opened then closed, she blinked over and over, shook her head but was seeing fine, Ann ran to Nicholas. She crouched down, looking at him, his eyes slightly open but barely, Ann saw his chest rise and fall, but blood was coming from his side, a knife had been impaled into him.
She got on the ground completely, then ripped one of her many layers from her dress. Ann slowly slid the knife out from his side, she saw how he clenched his jaw in pain. It tore her to shreds to see Nick in such discomfort, but the bleeding had to stop or at least slow down. So Ann sung a song from when they were kids, trying to console him. As I walked forth one summer’s day, To view the meadows green and gay. A pleasant bower I espied… He puffed then sighed, closing his eyes completely so she could wrap his side and try to slow the bleeding. She tried to lift him up off the ground but couldn’t, Ann sighed in anger and frustration. How can it be so hard to lift someone? She asked herself. Ann looked at Nicholas her eyes starting to cloud from tears, she looked around and saw a door opening to a shop, she ran to it while the individual was walking out.
“SIR! Please help! My friend Nicholas he’s been injured. Sir please,” Ann begged tears rolling down her cheeks.
The man looked at her then looked around her to see Nicholas on the ground bleeding, he gasped and walked over to Nicholas, inspecting him.
” How long has he been like this?” The man asked.
” NNot long. Only a couple of minutes, at most.”
” Help me lift him up, he needs medical attention.” The man said.
Ann knelt down and wrapped one of Nicholas’s arms around her, then slowly lifted him up with the stranger on the other side of him doing the same. Nicholas opened his eyes slightly “Ann” he said then passed out, drooping his head forward. Ann was mad, no not mad, furious with him. How could he have been so arrogant? she thought to herself. Why was he there in the first place? As she walked into the strangers dwelling she realized how dusty it was, she sniffed the air and wanted to vomit, it smelled of sour milk. Ann tried her hardest not to pinch her nose and complain, but it took all her might; she looked around the strangers place and was disgusted of the sight. How can someone live like this or have a store this filthy? Has he not heard of cleaning? Ann thought to herself bitterly.
They walked into a small room with a flimsy bed and put Nicholas down on it slowly, trying not to hurt him as much as possible. The stranger walked over to a cabinet and pulls out a box full of bandages and alcohol, he then grabs a needle and thread, Ann watches him closely as he did this, she wondered to herself why he has so many medical supplies. He must be a healer she thought, although most healers don’t live in filth like this, she thought again, squinting her eyes at him. She left Nicholas side and went over to the strange fellow. He looked at her intensely, his eyes sparkling in the candle light, a beautiful green that she had never seen, she studied him for a minute lost in her thoughts, till she heard a gasp and a cough which startled her. The stranger turned and lowered his head shaking, Ann ran over to Nicholas and sat at his side, she put his head on her lap trying to sooth him, Nicholas looked at her weakly. He tried to speak but nothing came out.
” Shhh, its okay, rest now,” Ann said to him her voice low and soft like a mothers.
” What is your name?” The stranger asked her.
She glared at him for a moment. ” Ann Heartley.”
” Hea- what?” The stranger asked with a horrid face.
” Heartley,” she said again.
The strangers eyes opened wide, he came up to Nicholas with a haste. He took the piece of silk that was still wrapped around Nicks side off. The bleeding that had which slowed started back up again, Ann looked away not being able to see Nicholas in pain. He groaned, wailed, and cursed at the man. Ann heard it all; and wanted to cry and tell the stranger to stop, but he had to be helped, needed to be; so she walked out of the room and into a different part of the little shop, running her fingers along the dusky items that lay around. Ann picked up a mirror and looked into it. A mess,she thought. Ugh what a mess I am, she thought horribly about herself. Then set the mirror to the side, slowly she walked to the front of the shop accidentally knocking something over. Ann tried to catching it before it fell but she was too late. Before she knew it a clashing sound had filled the room and the stranger was out in seconds.
He looked at Ann and rolled his eyes in frustration, then he walked back out of the room slightly stomping his feet against the floor. Ann followed after him in a hurry, then got stopped abruptly from ramming into someone; she looked up and her face went red from embarrassment, then she looked back down at her feet. Ann said nothing she walked away and into the small room where Nicholas lay. Sitting on the bed he was resting on she felt his forehead to make sure he was not running a fever, sighing is relief she kissed his hand and went to fetch some water. When she walked back into the hallway she heard chattering behind door to a different part of the building, slowly she stepped towards the door trying not to make the wooden floors creak beneath her; Pressing her ear up to it, she heard two men and what she thought might be a women but couldn’t tell talking.
” Why did take that boy in?” One said.
” He was dying, what was I suppose to let him do! DIE! I think not,” another said
” Would you two shut your chompers? Please,” said what Ann thought must be the female.
Ann backed away trying not to make a sound, supposing that they were done talking she hurriedly walked away, as if on cue she saw the man who was helping her with Nicholas. He looked aggravated and miserable, she saw a flash of anger in his eyes but it quickly demolished into sadness. Ann wondered what the man could be sad about, then she wondered why she wondering that when the answer is obvious, he lives and works in a place like this. She would need to get her father to give him a grand amount of money for saving Nicholas’s life, then maybe he could either buy a new living space or higher a maid to clean this place.
The stranger looked at her eyes lingering and she looked back curiously, then she heard a groan from the room that Nicholas was in, she sweeped her self in the room so fast she felt as though she had walked on air for the briefest moment. She saw Nick trying to get up and on his feet though he kept failing, no denying that he was not angry because it was plastered all over his face that he was, Ann was beside him in a quick flash and settled him back down, worry covering her face. He lifted his hand and stroked her cheek lightly, she leaned into his hand and kissed it.
” Ann,” he croaked.
” Shh rest,” she replied, getting up to leave but he grabbed her wrist weakly.
” Stay, stay please stay.”
” Okay. Alright.”
Ann sat on the edge of the bed watching him for a long while, slowly drifting off to sleep she layed beside him.
Nicholas woke up with Ann snuggled up in his arm, her breath softly against his neck. He closed his eyes stealing this moment that he may never have again, slowly breathing in the scent of her trying to savor it. She smelled of winter and cinnamon and innocence something that he will never have again, she has very little clue of the terror that happens in Mein Herr Stadt. The only thing she has ever been exposed to is the slavery that happens in these parts, though he wonders what she may think of the things that had occurred tonight. How does she few him now?