"Crina! Come away from the window, child." Mrs Arany spoke in her thick accent from the door of her daughter's bedroom, sounding firm and rushed. Some of her grey hair had escaped the neat bun she wore, and it was hanging over sharp blue eyes which glared at Crina.

Crina Arany turned to her mother, her face sorrowful. There was little resemblance between the pair of them. Whilst Mrs Arany was short, plump, with light features and hair that had once fallen in golden curls, Crina was tall and willowy, dark and dramatic-looking, with dark hair that was poker straight.

"Still in your night-things at this hour, as well," Mrs Arany scolded. "Crina! You must start acting like a woman. How will Cristian Farkas feel if his wife is a lazy child?"

Crina stuck her chin out definately, her dark eyes flashing. "I care little how Mister Farkas feels. I don't want to marry him, I want to marry for love, Mother!"

Mrs Arany looked equally as mad as her daughter. "Crina, stop acting like a child! Your father is dead. Our family needs the money we are getting from your marriage! I have Danut and Elena to raise, would you see them starve?"

"You know I would not." Crina sighed, turning her sad face back to the window, looking out at the snow-covered grounds of their Transylvania mansion with tears welling up in her eyes. She started at the feel of her mother's hand on her shoulder, surprisingly soft and caring.

"Crina... I would have had you marry your Ioan, you know."

Crina felt a tear escape down her dark smooth cheek as she thought of Ioan's long black hair and sparkling brown eyes, his strong arms that would lift her up in the air and spin her around as she laughed. And then he would put her down on the ground and she would shiver against the cold wind, causing him to draw her into his embrace and kiss her softly...

"I love him still," Crina whispered. "I can never love another."

Mrs Arany had little to say in response to this. She sighed and adjusted her weight, tugging on the white apron she wore over her blue dress. "Cheer up, Crina. I have good news."

Crina gasped. Was it possible...? It could not be... he had been missing six months... "Ioan," she whispered.

Mrs Arany did not hear her. Instead she smiled broadly. "Cristian Farkas is going to visit today. He wants to meet you before tomorrow, Crina."

Whatever Mrs Arany had expected, it was not for Crina to wring her hands in despair and storm towards the door. Crina breathed heavily as she hurtled down the hall towards the bathroom, tears on her face. She would hate Cristian Farkas, he would be utterly horrible, not at all handsome and generally nothing like her beloved Ioan.

To be continued.