A/N: This is a rewrite of the first chapter of this story. I know this isn't the update most of you are probably waiting for and I apologize for that, but I ask that you bear with me as I go back and edit some chapters. I hopefully should have the edited version of chapter 2 up sometime tomorrow.
Natasha sat in the large cozy parlor quietly reading. Everyone in the castle had already gone to bed but Natasha couldn't sleep; too many thoughts were going through her head. She tossed the book onto the table beside her and closed her bright green eyes. When she opened them again her eyes landed on a beautiful diamond ring that was sitting on her left hand. Natasha smiled to herself as she remembered the man who gave it to her.
Natasha gracefully walked down the stairs earlier that morning to see a man with dark brown hair, which was tied in a ponytail with a few strands falling into his face, dressed in an elaborate black outfit waiting in the foyer. He smiled when he saw Natasha and he offered her his hand to help her down the last few steps.
"You look beautiful, my love." He said as he lightly kissed her hand.
Natasha blushed and quietly replied, "Thank you Vlad…"
"I unfortunately cannot join you for breakfast this morning, my love. I have a prior engagement; I shall join you later this evening." His tone was apologetic and Natasha kissed his cheek.
"It's alright…" He kissed her hand before leaving the castle.
Natasha didn't see Vladislaus again until the afternoon. She wondered what could possibly keep him busy most of the day, but she didn't fret over it. Natasha sat in the study drinking her afternoon tea when Vladislaus entered the room.
She smiled upon seeing him. "I was wondering when you would return."
"You know I cannot stay away from you for long, my love." He replied sitting down beside her on the couch. Natasha noticed that Vladislaus seemed a bit distracted and a bit tense.
"Are you alright?" She questioned a bit worried.
He gave her a small smile before speaking. "Natasha, I have loved you since I first met you." He took her hand in his as he spoke and Natasha began to worry. What was he trying to say? "I could not imagine living a life without you, which is why I must ask; will you be wife?" He held out a small box with a beautiful diamond ring in it.
Natasha was speechless as she gazed at the ring. "You know what my answer will be." She whispered as tears of joy formed in her eyes. Vladislaus smiled as he placed the ring on her left hand and Natasha immediately embraced him in a hug.
Natasha was brought out of her thoughts by the sound of a gunshot. She quickly got up off the couch and went down the hall where she assumed she heard the gunshot. Suddenly Natasha heard voices coming from Vladislaus' bedroom and she crept closer to hear what was being said.
"You can't have her!" Vladislaus cried dangerously.
"She was promised to me." An unfamiliar voice replied.
"She has willingly given me her heart and it will always remain with me."
Natasha heard the cocking of a gun and her heart leapt into her throat. She was frozen in fear; Natasha wanted to burst into the room to put a stop to whatever was happening inside, but her fear was holding her back.
"We'll see…" The man said and Natasha heard a gunshot followed by something crashing through a window. She quickly flung the door open to see the bedroom was in complete disarray; the large window was broken letting a cold snowy breeze into the room and some of the furniture was knocked over. Than Natasha noticed the blood splattered on the wall and she saw Vladislaus slouched against the wall.
She quickly went over to him and saw he had a bullet wound in his chest. "Vlad…" Natasha said trying to find a pulse; her eyes beginning to fill with tears and obscuring her vision. "Please don't die…"
"Natasha…" Vladislaus' voice was raspy and harsh.
"I'm here, I'm right here…" She took his hand in hers, her heart beating rapidly.
He slowly opened his eyes trying to focus his vision on Natasha. "You must leave this place."
"Don't speak, save your strength." Natasha said frantically glancing around the room for something she could use to stop his bleeding, but found nothing useful.
"Listen to me…" He muttered as Natasha placed her hands over his wound, applying some pressure to stop the bleeding. Vladislaus' face contorted in pain while Natasha muttered an apology.
A young woman dressed in a shabby grey dress with long straight black hair entered the room. She froze upon seeing the condition the room was in until finally her blue eyes landed on Natasha and Vladislaus. Natasha instantly recognized the woman as one of the handmaidens in the castle.
"Get some cloth so I can dress his wound!" Natasha shouted at the handmaiden, but she remained rooted to the spot with a look of horror on her face. "Quickly!" Natasha added harshly causing the woman to scamper off.
"Natasha!" Vladislaus said as sternly as he could, trying to get her attention. "You must leave this place, you are in danger here."
Natasha frowned at his words, confusion clearly written across her face. "What are you talking about, I'm perfectly safe here."
"No…there is another who wishes to take you from me." He coughed harshly as the handmaiden reentered the room carrying strips of cloth. Natasha snatched a strip of cloth from the woman and used it to try and stop Vladislaus' bleeding.
"Promise me…promise me you will leave this place; go to my summer palace in Budapest, you should be safe there."
Tears were streaming down Natasha's face as she tossed the bloody cloth aside only to grab another from the handmaiden. "We can go there together as soon as you're better." Her voice was shaky and full of fear.
"No, no…just promise me you will go there." Natasha simply nodded unable to speak. He gave her a small smile as he reached up to touch her face. "I will always love you…"
"Don't leave me…" Natasha pressed his hand against her face acting as if this gesture would transfer some of her life's energy into him, healing his wound. Vladislaus' eyes slowly began to close and Natasha felt his hand become limp underneath hers.
"No, no…" She muttered frantically trying to find a pulse in his hand, but when no pulse was found Natasha began to sob uncontrollably. She heard another person enter the room, but Natasha was so distraught she didn't even care to notice who the person was.
This person lifted Natasha up onto her feet with great ease and handed her to the handmaiden. "Take her to her room; make sure she gets some rest."
"Yes my lord…" The woman gently took Natasha's arm and began leading her out of the room. "This way Miss…" Natasha thoughtlessly followed the girl down the dark hallway; the only sound that could be heard was Natasha's quiet sobs.
When they reached Natasha's room the handmaiden sat Natasha down in a chair by the window while she bustled about the room collecting certain items. Natasha paid the handmaiden no mind though; she was absorbed in her own thoughts. Her fiancée had just been killed and there was nothing she could do to save him. Natasha was standing right there, right outside the door! If only she had barged into the room maybe…just maybe Vladislaus would still be alive. Tears continued to slowly slide down her face as she kept thinking, It's all my fault, he died because of me! It's my entire fault…
Natasha glanced down at her hands, which were sitting in her lap. They glimmered in the light of the moon causing Natasha to frown in confusion. She lifted one hand in front of her face to see it was covered in a dark red substance; blood, hisblood. Her eyes landed on the diamond ring Vladislaus had given her earlier that day, now it was stained with his blood.
Natasha shook her head hoping the blood was only a figment of her imagination, but it didn't disappear. When she realized she was not imagining the blood Natasha broke down into quiet heart wrenching sobs. The handmaiden took a wet cloth and gently began to clean the blood from Natasha's hands. Upon seeing the blood stained engagement ring the handmaiden carefully slip it off Natasha's finger so she was able to clean all of the blood off of it.
"Should I pack some of your things, Miss?" The woman softly asked pulling Natasha out of the daze she was in.
"Pack?" Natasha questioned.
"Yes my lady, are you not traveling to Budapest?" The handmaiden carefully slipped the ring back on Natasha's finger.
"Oh yes, yes of course…" Natasha replied absentmindedly.
"Perhaps you should try to get some rest Miss. I will have everything prepared for your trip by the morning." She stated.
Natasha just nodded and muttered, "Perhaps I'll do that…" While silently hoping that when she awoke this would all turn out to be a horrible nightmare.