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The WeatherMaker Hearts Desire By Lady Lilium Characters: 4991

Updated: 2018-07-10 19:03

The town when they reached it was dingy and unremarkable, but not as miserable and depressing as the first town Farrell and Shawn had entered, back when they had set out to find Arlen. Hexham was nowhere near as glum as Stonegate.

They found themselves an inn at the edge of the town where they could rest and eat and buy more supplies. Annabel, when they had been shown their rooms, instantly collapsed on one of the beds. Lying on her front and burying her face in the pillows and the sheets.

'Soft…' she mumbled hugging the bed.

'We're to be sharing a room together' Shawn told her, leaning on the doorframe.

Behind him the others walked back and forth in the corridors examining their own rooms, unpacking their things and lounging around happily.

'Together?' Annabel repeated, pushing herself off the bed and facing him.

'I …' Shawn began awkwardly. 'I asked the innkeeper for it to be this way. There are no single rooms here and….well…I didn't want you to….you know….the others…'

'I understand' Annabel said smiling at him. 'Thank you.'

He smiled back at her, visibly relaxing and breathing a sigh of relief.

'Thanks' he said back to her. 'I um…I'm going to…check on the others…'

Downstairs Farrell was wandering the tables around the bar.

'Food is served at eight in the morning, twelve midday and six in the evening' the barmaid droned as she slouched around clearing the tables. She was an older woman, fat with grey hair tied tightly back. 'If you miss those times, then too bad. The kitchen will be closed and the cook will not be coming back in.'

'I understand' Farrell replied. 'Hey listen, can I ask you a question?'

'As long as you make it quick.'

'Are there any dress shops around here? I have a friend who needs some new clothes.'

'You mean that pretty little girl your lot came in with?' the lady asked. 'I'm not even going to ask what you're doing with her. There is a shop that makes custom clothes near here, it's a bit expensive, but whatever she comes out with, it's got to be a dam sight better than those drab clothes she's wearing now. Who is she anyway? Did you kidnap her? She looks too young to be a prostitute. Or maybe she is. Or maybe she's one of your daughters. What's she doing here and not at home? Where is her mother?'

'Thank you' Farrell said loudly cutting her off before she could continue. 'Could you give me directions to this shop?'

'Annabel!' Arlen called. 'Hurry up.'

'I'm coming' Annabel answer


She came rushing down the stairs to join Arlen, Farrell and Shawn who were waiting for her.

'I'm here' she declared. 'So where are we going?'

'To get you some new clothes' Shawn told her.

'I don't have any money.'

'Don't worry about that' Shawn laughed. 'We'll pay for whatever you need. You get yourself something nice.'

'So why are they coming?' Annabel asked Shawn, glancing from Arlen to Farrell.

'I'm carrying the money' Farrell said.

'And I can't stand being around the others' Arlen added. 'Especially Barrel…he is so annoying.'

'Come on then' Farrell said to them. 'It's this way.'

The shop they entered was small, situated on a quiet street away from the main roads. The men were ushered out of the shop after they had told the ladies what they wanted, and Annabel was taken away to be measured.

Over an agonizing hour later, in which the three men sat in almost complete and awkward silence, Annabel finally emerged.

She wore a long, black, grey and white dress, many layered and laced at the front in a thick black ribbon. Her long dark hair was held back by a thick black band, her fringe left uneven hung over her forehead.

'Wow' Farrell said. 'You look…older.'

'Is that good?' she asked him tentatively.

'You look wonderful' Shawn told her.

She smiled at him briefly, before turning gloomy.

'What's wrong?' Shawn asked.

'It's just…I just miss my parents so much. I feel sad that I might never see them again…and they might never know what happened to me.'

'Don't worry' Shawn spoke softly, squeezing her shoulders reassuringly. 'You're safe with us, for the meantime at least. And there is no reason your parents would be in danger. You will see them again, I'm sure of it.'

She smiled at him again, this time with more enthusiasm.

'We should get back to the inn' Arlen said unfolded his arms. 'It's getting late.'

The small group moved off. Walking slowly for a few minutes, they rounded a corner, and pulled back in shock and surprise at what they saw.

Standing before them beside his white horse, was the prince.

Annabel instinctively moved to stand behind the others, unconsciously holding onto Shawn's arm as she did so.

'Don't worry' the prince said confidently to her. 'I have no interest in you anymore.'

'But why?' Annabel asked in a weak voice. 'Why did you want me in the first place?'

'I was looking for someone' the prince replied. 'But now…I don't think you are the one I seek.'

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