McAndrew, what have you gotten yourself into now?
That's all Villy could think, as she struggled against a very large, very strong red head.
"What in God's name...bloody! Lass, what do you think you're doin tresspassin in William Wallaces camp!" the man had removed her hood, and could now seeher very long, very feminine hair. Oh dear, now she was in trouble.
"I did no such thing! You buffoons are the ones tresspassin! I been campin 'ere since night before last, I fall asleep, wake up, and all of you's have set up straight around me!" she was angry, and embarrassed, and had no time to think before shouting at the man holding her. What she said was true. She'd been on the run for overtwo weeks. Day before yesterday, Villy had stopped in this grove, and camped herself in a niche under a hill. She tended to sleep during the day, it was easier to run at night, and she woke up this afternoon to find strange men setting up tents and starting fires all around her little hill!
"Now will you please let the bloody hell go!" She struggled again and he tightened his grip around her waist.
"Feisty! And with a mouth to match! Would ya look at this, HEY WALLACE! YOU'VE GOT TO SEE THIS!" he was laughing, a big, booming laugh that shook his large frame, and consequently, hers as well, as he now had her trapped to his side. Though she kicked and screamed, he didn't let her go until another man entered the circle of men now standing around them.
"Hamish, where did you find her? And let the poor lass down!" Saints preserve us, it was William Wallace. Standing right in front of her! Good God, was Angus around here?
"Awh, come on William, it's only a bit o' fun!" but he did put her down. She glanced around quickly, how was she going to get out of here?!
"Now don't be tryin to escape, you wouldn't make it far, not with this many men, and that many guards out in the woods. What's yer name?" that was Wallace. She looked up at him, and defeated, crossed her arms and scowled.
"Come on now, Hamish. What's in your head, you want to keep her? She isn't a stray dog." the men around them laughed, and the big redhead, Hamish, rolled his eyes. Villy only blushed.
"You're alone, aren't ya lass?" he was looking at her, but not really needing an answer. She looked at the ground, this was making her look idiotic. She nodded stiffly.
"See now William, we can't let her go off all lonesome; she could get hurt. We took down three English scouts today alone in these woods. It's too dangerous for her." he stopped, thinking hard for a moment,
"She could cook or somethin i'll wager, until we hit another village for supplies and volunteers!"
"You know that won't be for a good long time, Hamish. And I don't think your as worried about her bein lonesome as you!"Wallace grinned. Lordy, he was teasing him. Now she was done for, they were friends.
"Come now William! Don't make me fight ya fer her!"
"She's your responsibility, don't make me hurt you for her." He smirked, then looked down at her. She was wide eyed, and trembling. This was bad, very very bad. Stuck, in a camp full of grown men, tiny, 17 year old Vevilla McAndrew? Dear lord...
"Be nice to him lass, it's not his fault his Ma dropped him as a babe." Then Wallace walked off chuckling, and the rest of the men scattered. She glared at Hamish.
"I will not!" she muttered.
"I do believe we have a problem..." she looked at him curiously. Do we really? Her mental, sarcastic comments continued to doubt his intelligence as he looked around and then looked down at her, a wolfish grin on his face.
"I can't exactly shove ya off into another man's tent, bein as your MY responsibility now can I? I suppose you'll just have to sleep with me!" her jaw dropped and he chuckled. He couldn't be serious! But he started to walk off in the direction of a few tents, and looked over his shoulder at her. She was still standing, frozen where he'd left her.
"Well move now! I'll drop in a moment I'm that tired, and i'd preferwe were in bed by then!" He put extra emphasis on the we and she cringed, but followed slowly. She had no choice, as she looked around she realized most of the men were sleeping in front off fires, if she wanted a bed, it had to be his.
They walked for a few minutes, and then he looked down at her still shaking form. He put an arm around her shoulders and said,
"Don't worry, it aint that bad, I keep a good house! And you wont want for warmth" he grinned boyishly at the last, and Villy cringed. Hamish frowned, and stopped infront of a tent. He opened the flapfor her and she ducked in. A pile of blankets in one corner,a bag of clothes, a hammer, and a sword in another, and just to her right, a plate, loaded with food. She looked at it longingly, besides some berries and nuts, she hadn't eaten since her first day out. That afternoon, she fell into a stream, and her food was ruined.
Hamish looked at her and she looked away from the food, embarrassed at her preoccupation.
"Are ya hungry?" she shook her head, she wasn't going to look like a beggar, he'd humiliated her enough today. Hamish looked her up and down, turning her to him. She looked away.
"When was the last time you ate?" He looked really worried, she knew she hadn't washed in the last few days, that and not eating, she must look wretched...
But she didn't want to lie to him...
"I...I don't know..." she mumbled. He sat her on the bed, and brought the plate to her.
"I'm going to find you some stew." and then he left. She looked at the vegetables and cheese and bread, and without another thought crammed half it into her mouth at once. Her stomach growled it's approval and she sighed. It felt good to not have an empty stomach anymore. Still, when he brought the stew back, she ate that too. Mmmm thick broth, lots of venison...
"I'm glad you like it." he chuckled and she realized she hadn't said a word since he'd come back. She'd been to busy eating. She blushed,
"Thank you, very much." she tried to smile but it hurt and she ended up wincing. He looked at her quizzically.
"Why'd ya run?" She looked down and pushed her hair back behind her ears, she did that sometimes when she was nervous, and she didn't want to talk about that...
"Bloody hell, what happened?!" The alarm in his voice forced her to jerk her head up and look at him. He was staring at the right side of her face. Oh. Right. Damn.
"Nothing." that was a lie but she wasn't going to complain to him, he was being so good to her...
"The is NOT nothing. Who hit you like that?" she cringed, he'd guessed. In truth, it had been her father. It wasn't the first time, and it wasn't the worst either, but the message behind it waswhy she had left home. Home, oh the memories, poured in and she could barely stop the flood...
She was sitting at home, folding the dress she had finished hemming for Maria, her first youngest sister. There were six of them, girls. Her only, older, brother had left to join Wallaces rebellion with their uncle 6 months ago now. Villy was waiting for her father to get home. He'd be drunk, again, and Vevilla knew her stepmother couldn't handle him on her own. The poor little woman was terrifyed of the crazed man she'd been married to for 12 years. Before Angus left, he'd always dealt with the menacing old man. But now it was up to Vevilla to protect her sisters. But tonight would be different then the rest...
When he finally came home, he brought a stranger with him, a man close to his own age, both almost passing out from the whiskey. "VILLY!!! COME MEET YOUR MAN TO BE!" he'd given her away. Just like that. He expected her to marry and leave with him the next day. She couldn't believe it. The man left, and she told her father to his face she wouldn't marry that drunkard. He'd given her that black eye and shouted at her, hitting her with his famous leather whip, telling her she'd marry and that was all there was to it. He'd called her names, and cursed her mother too. But that was too far. She turned and wrenched the whip out of his hands, he was old, and the liquor was fading in his system. She was young and strong, and more than used to this treatment. She looked him in his terrified eye and said "No. I. Wont." she'd burned the whip, gathered her belongings, kissed her sisters foreheads, and left through a window in the back of the hut.
In two weeks, it was the first time she'd thought about that night, and it still hurt, like it was only a few hours ago. If only she could find Angus, send him home...
"Papa..." still wrapped in her memories, she hadn't realized she'd spoken aloud. He looked at her in amazement, and then she looked up.
"I'd like to go to bed now, could you give me a moment...?" she wanted to change out of her filthy dress. He nodded and left. She fought the tears, and when she finally got herself together, she decided just to sleep in her clean underthings. He wouldn't be touching her or seeing her to know that anyway, and so she got inside the blankets and scooched to the edge of the tent, as far away from where he'd be as she could get.
Lord, that girl... She'd been beaten, ran from home, half starved herself to death, and then he'd practically kidnapped her and forced her to stay in his tent with him. What did he do? What could he do? After about an hour of staring at a fire, he went back into the tent hesitantly. She was asleep, by the looks of it. He grinned a little, she was in her under clothes. God, she was gorgeous, dark, flaming, wavy hair. Not that frizzy orange like his. He didn't need her to open her eyes to see their beautiful emerald green depths. Perfect, pale, smooth skin. And she was strong, too, he'd felt that when she'd tried to get away from him this afternoon. he could just picture her body...Hamish shook his head. He wouldn't do that to her, he wouldn't even touch her. He suddenly realized he wanted her trust, and he would get it too. No matter what he had to do.
He was down to his winter underwear, just thinking maybe he would go sleep by the fire, give her her room, when she started tossing. Her head shaking back and forth, her hands pulling and clenching the blankets, and they she started to cry.
"Papa no! Please, run Maria, go! Papa!" she screamed, and then slowly started to sob, crying out for her Ma. He slowly got into the blankets beside her, and after a moment, took her in his arms in an attempt to sooth her. It worked, within minutes, she had quieted and was breathing evenly again, her face, buried in his chest. He sighed, and drifted off to sleep.