Chapter 17

I Trust You

It had been the longest day of Serena's life. She thought she was finally coming home to her small family after her debacle of a marriage only to be blind sighted by the appearance of her husband. She found out she was lied to, being stalked, a prisoner, becoming cold hearted, and then to top things off she would be a duchess.

Everything had been thrown at her in one day and now she just needed to hear the story of their last night together. It would be painful for both of them to hear but they needed to move on. She wanted him, she never stopped loving him and she needed a glimpse of his soul.

"We should sit down." He gestured to the chaise and the vanity chair. She took the chaise and sat as far from him as possible. He looked and felt vulnerable. He could be guarded but not with the woman across from him. Not anymore if he wanted this to work. And by god he wanted this to work.

He let out a breath he had not been aware that he was holding in. The night Serena realized his stupid betrayal, he had replayed it over and over in his head.

"My parents died when I was fourteen years old. My mother, gods I loved my mother. She was the closest thing to an angel on earth. When she died so did all her love and her touch. I became a hardened child and man as I grew. When my Uncle Endymion came to help run the business, well he was not mothering in the least bit. I cannot deny that I had not been with women before Beryl, but I thought she was different and she was. I can admit I did not have many issues with breaking off things with her. I should have… especially since I was sure I loved her."

He looked at Serena's face and was surprised to find empathy in her eyes. Not pity, not sympathy just an understanding and Darien knew that Serena had always understood about Beryl. Serena was too kind to the girl.

"Then you came in to my life. I wanted to hate you; you have no clue how much I wanted to hate you. I didn't need a distraction from the military nor did I want to be married to a child when I was sure I had a woman. I was wrong about you the moment you tipped the bagman and then at the wedding… I left you because I was very close to taking you upstairs right after the ceremony. I had never wanted a woman so bad in my life. It was frightening."

"That was quite cruel." she told him as the memory flashed in her head.

"It was cruel and I am sorry. My range of emotions was very narrow then. I am a very hard headed person." He wanted to laugh or smirk but he remained somber.

She raised her eyebrow in agreement.

"And then I bound us to that stupid agreement out of anger. It was probably the best thing for us now that I look back. Our relationship, though it was not sexual, it was so much more in the few short weeks we were togther. You didn't use sex to love me. You understood until I pushed you to the limit. When you distanced your self from me that last week, three months ago, I thought I was going to physically die. I needed your soft hands to caress my face, push the hair from my eyes and give me a squeeze of my hand to reassure me. I needed to wake up with you in my bed. I had not felt that love since my mother. It was like her dying all over again. And it was painful to feel so connected to some one and then have them practically gone."

A tear fell from Serena's eye. He wanted to wipe it away but he had to finish.

"I should have tried harder to make you listen to me but I was too hard headed. I thought you were being ridiculous. I didn't understand why you could not see how much I needed you and was starting to care for you. Your infectious happiness for everyone else at the party was like a slow dagger in my heart. Then Beryl came around."

Serena stiffened at the name and Darien swallowed loudly, taking a moment.

"She grabbed my hand and I did not realize how much I needed to be touched. I worried everyone would leave me. It was a fear I realized that I have had forever. Malcolm had plans of leaving, Nathan and Zack would most likely follow. I could also tell that James was getting irritated with the up risings in India. Yes, I went with her." He gulped. "When she touched me, from what you saw, I was disgusted. It was not love. It was not what I needed. It never went further than those four buttons. Those four vile stains on my chest. I left to find you and you defended me. You didn't have to but you did. You said you were in love with me"

He stood up and went to sit by her on the chaise. He took her hands and forced her to look at him.

"It was easy to leave India. It was easy to leave the military. It was hell to be away from you but you needed to sort your feelings. It was only fair after everything. I made my choice and it was you. Whatever coals I had to walk over to get you back I would do it. I want our children to have what I did not. Your family is here and they are so very loving. Your brother is here and will be his family when that happens. Mina will be back with Malcolm soon and then Rei and James will be moving here."

"What!" She said hearing this.

He sighed. "It is not one hundred percent because of me. Rei, James and I believe firmly in India being its own country and not under British law."

"And do I." Serena cut in.

"Yes, and you, my intelligent little wife. Well, they think it would make the most sense to come back here and sell the mines. We have had many offers and a huge one just came in. My uncle's estate has made me an oil tycoon. James and I hope Malcolm will be part owners with the expansion I plan on doing. James's parents are here. They would like to start a family and I said they could live with us. If there is an us." He said trying to search her eyes for answers.

"That depends." She said slowly. She was mulling everything over in her head. Everything that he had told her when he bared his soul. She knew that it was most likely the hardest thing he had ever done. She bit her lip thinking back again, as she had a hundred times before. She knew he loved her by everything he had done prior to her leaving. The one reason she was having a hard time forgiving him was her not comprehending why he betrayed her with Beryl. And he had, for a moment betrayed her. Now she understood.

His heart tensed.

"Depends on what?" He asked wary.

"The next time you have a moment of weakness you will come to me, be honest with me and…"

"And…." He said quickly, his heart beating fast.

"If you brought Baladeva with you." A smirk lit her face.

"Ah! I knew you loved that damn horse more than me! That is really infuriating!" He bellowed as he rolled his eyes and almost threw up his hands.

"He saved my life." She said crossing her arms over her chest. "And we had love at first sight."

"I saved your life and I am pretty sure that we had some sort of love at first sight." He retorted remembering how jealous he was when he thought she was married to Seyia at the docks.

"Answer the questions Lt. Shields."

He scowled. "I would not have it any other way. I will always come to you. You are my family and where ever you are in where I am. I am sorry I did not talk to you about all of the plans I made but I had to make you see. I knew you would have let me make the decision anyway… and Baladeva was plan B if you didn't take me back right away. He is in the stables."

She laughed loudly. "Baladeva may have done it. You just should have started there."

"You are mine." He said the words but he was still concerned that she was not. That she would change her mind.

She looked thoughtful for a moment and then she took her hand and caressed his handsome face. "I trust you." She said tenderly. Her eyes didn't leave his until they closed right before she kissed him.

He wrapped his arms tightly around her as he deepened the kiss. He pulled her in to his lap and she ran her fingers through his hair, as he trailed hot kisses down her neck she pulled on his silk black strands with a moan.

His hands caressed her body finding the zipper on the side of her dress. Her hands made quick work of the dinner jacket pushing it off his shoulders and down his long arms. He pushed the sleeveless dress gently down her arms kissing her shoulder as he did it the kiss trailing to the top of her breast. She undid his bowtie and unbuttoned his shirt. As soon as his shirt was off he slipped down her dress and pulled her on to the bed. He looked at her and he felt complete.

His hand trailed the French lingerie.

"These had better have been for me." He growled unclipping her stockings and pulling them down her legs.

"Turned out that way." She gasped as he lowered himself back on to her not amused with her answer.

"I love you." He kissed her again.

"I love you too." She smiled.

Mina sat across from Malcolm in the sitting area admiring her ring again. She had never been so happy in her whole nineteen years of existence. Malcolm Abott had stolen her heart. She will admit it was not love at first sight for her as it was for him. She had been too preoccupied with so many things.

India had changed her life as she hoped it would. She knew that she really loved Malcolm the moment she did not care where is family came from and she still had yet to ask. Being the only child of Roland and Vivian Wentworth, Mina would inherit the estate due to the absence of a male heir. With her marrying Malcolm, this land would go to him. She was unaware if Malcolm stood to inherit anything and if he was willing to accept becoming the Lord of Brookshire in addition to a house in London.

What if the money that was inherited was not enough for them to manage both properties? She was unsure of what Malcolm was trained to do aside from being in the military.

"Admiring your ring again, darling?" Malcolm asked Mina with a wink.

"Of course. It is exquisite." And it was more than exquisite. But then Mina frowned, her face scrunching up in thought.

"Are you sure? Your face is saying otherwise?"

"Darien never gave Serena a ring when they married." Mina said quite sure. Serena never wore a ring.

Now, Malcolm was perplexed. Did Darien not give Serena a ring, and if so why?

"The man does own a diamond mine after all." Mina huffed.

"I am not quite sure why Darien did not give Serena a ring. It was not even in their vows. Aside from that, you said you needed to speak with me today. If we are here to discuss Serena's lack of jewelry…"

"No. No.! That is not it at all." Mina said quickly.

"I need to discuss with you my dowry." Mina said trying not to look nervous. Malcolm now looked uncomfortable.

"I think this should be a discussion prior to being wed. I never have asked, nor have I ever cared what family you come from. My father only wants my happiness and even if I married a toll bridge attendant he would be proud. My mother on the other hand is quite a handful and as you know, she is most of the reason I have stayed in India for so long."

"Mina, my family…"

She cut him off again. "Let me tell you of my dowry first then you can tell me about your family."

He nodded.

"I am the only daughter of the Earl of Brookshire. My family has had the estate in the Wentworth name for hundreds of years and yet my mother only bore me, a daughter. My father's title cannot be passed on to me, however; it can be, and hopefully will be, passed on to you. All of the land of the Brookshire estate and house will be inherited by myself and again once we are married it will be ours. The house in London will also be ours. My father is rather invested with trade like my uncle. It is quite a large operation and I will inherit the company. I want you to know all of this because this is my heritage. I will also be given my own money, like Serena was, upon marriage to you that will be solely mine. If you are to inherit anything at all… well it maybe too much. And if you do not want any of it… well then I will marry you anyway." She smiled.

Malcolm sat dumbfounded for quite awhile just staring at Mina. He cleared his throat and sat up.

"I have no title Mina; however, I am the son of a gentleman. My father is a lawyer and I will inherit land. An apartment in London and a summer home in Kent. Darien and I had spoken of going in to business together when I return to London. I was studying at Oxford prior to being enlisted."

Mina's facial expression only scrunched up more. She was concerned about her father's business and affording the estate.

"Regarding your father's business we will have to see what becomes of my plans in a business partnership. Your father and my father have long lives ahead of them. I am sure these are not things we should worry about as of now. As for paying for four homes, well we will have to see. Nothing will deter me from marrying you Mina. I assure you."

She went and jumped in to his arms. A very unladylike thing to do, but she did not care.

And Malcolm did not care as he kissed her senseless.

Darien woke up in the morning wrapped around his wife. Contentment flooded through him as he had not had her wrapped in his arms in months. He breathed in her scent. Lavender, vanilla and… sweat. Sweat from a night that they should have had months ago. A night that they could have had years ago if he had not been so arrogant and had come to England.

He moved his free arm and grazed his hand over her small, yet perfect form. A content purr slipped from Serena's mouth and Darien grinned.

He nuzzled her neck and a quite 'mmmmmm' noise reverberated through her body.

"Morning." He whispered in to her ear and then kissed the skin behind it.

"Ugh. What time is it?" Serena slowly opened her eyes.

"I believe it is almost seven." He pulled her closer to him his hand settling on her hip bone.

Serena sat up quickly pulling the sheets up with her. "Goodness, Darien." She gasped.

"What's wrong!" He sat up now worried.

"I am nude!" Her face went bring pink and Darin gave her a wolfish grin.

"Yes, usually that is what happens after a night like we had last night."

She smacked him. "Yes, but it was dark then!"

"Serena. Seriously." He asked her shaking his head.

"I am serious." She pulled the blankets up tighter.

"My dear, you should get used to being naked because when we get to Rose park and it is just us… well there will be no one around to tell us to get out of bed." He quickly wrapped his arms around her and pulled her back in to the bed.

"Eeep!" She said surprised by the sudden motion. Before she knew it Darien was on top of her kissing her desperately.

"Who said I am going to Rose Park with you." She said playfully as she pulled away from him. Darien narrowed his eyes at her.

"Your husband that is who." He leaned down to brush his lips against hers.

A knock at the door brought out a fierce. "What!" from Darien.

"Pardon me, but the Lordship would like both of you at breakfast at eight." Came a muffled voice through the door.

"Anna, give me ten minutes and I will be ready for you." Serena said in a higher pitch voice than normal.

Darien groaned making Serena giggle.

"Welcome to England." She laughed.

"Well your mother was smart enough to send your ladies maid rather than come herself." Darien said rolling to the other side of the bed.

"Oh goodness." Serena smacked her hand on to her forehead. "I was just deflowered in my childhood bedroom."

"And you enjoyed it." Darien said seductively. She blushed again reliving last nights confessions and then passion filled apologies.

"It is not like your parents thought you were a virgin. We were married." He stated to try and make her feel better.

"Well, I guess an annulment is out." She said pursing her lips.

"Don't make me send Baladeva back to India." He threatened.

"You would send my first love away! Your cruel man." And she threw the covers over his face and she quickly got out of bed and wrapped a robe around herself.

Pulling the covers down he was too slow for her quickness. "That will not work every time." He told her wanting to catch a glimpse of her body in the morning light.

"Well it worked this time." She stuck her nose up in the air making him laugh.

"Life is always going to be interesting with you, isn't it?" He said standing up fully nude with a smile.

"Goodness!" She threw his robe at him. "Englishmen wear clothing!"

He came up behind her wrapping his arms around her.

"My dear, last night you were wearing French clothing… do not throw stones."

"Oh, go get dressed so we can meet my parents… and then I am going to do your hair." She elbowed him.

It was strange how the sun was not as brilliant in England as it was in India, however it was the brightest day Darien had ever experienced.

Serena tried to act normally at the breakfast table. She knew that she did not have to dine with everyone. Now that she was married she could enjoy breakfast in her room as her mother often did.

Felton was supervising what seemed to be a new footman and Serena felt like everyone in the room was looking at her like they knew.

"Good morning my lovely ladies." Lord Kingsley entered with the morning paper handing it to Darien.

"Darien, son, you should see your stocks this morning." He told him with a wink.

Darien opened the paper to the commodities giving a low whistle.

"Beat's diamond mines any day." Darien said under his breath.

"What beat's diamond mines everyday?" Andrew asked walking in to the room and taking a seat.

"Darien's oil investments." Lord Kingsley told his son.

Darien handed the paper to Andrew who looked at the market report. "Wow…."

"I am suspecting your uncle purchased after the war when the prices fell but the rise in economy and middle classes across the civilized world has driven the price up." Serena said sipping her coffee.

"Spot on as always my daughter." Lord Kingsley said with a wink. Serena gave him a half smile.

"I do hope Sere, if we have any daughters they are as smart as you." Darien told her.

"Well, I am more than a pretty face." She taunted making the table laugh.

"That you are, darling." Lady Kingsley entered the breakfast room.

"Mother, you at breakfast? The shock of the century." Andrew joked as the men stood to greet her.

"Yes, yes. Well I didn't want to waste the day and I wanted to make plans now that the whole family is home. In addition we have other things to discuss."

"Your Ladyship." Felton pulled out Lady Kingsley's chair.

"So, Darien, have you and Serena patched things up?" She asked with what Serena thought was a knowing look. Her cheeks went pink.

"No. We have not." Serena told her.

"What?" Darien asked confused.

"Not until I see Baladeva. I have to make sure that I am not being lied to about him being here." She told him and Darien resisted rolling his eyes.

Lord Kingsley chuckled. "Oh, he is here all right. One of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen. But he is a rogue one, Rini."

"Pish posh, Daddy. He is a gentle baby." She scolded her father.

"Serena, really? Your husband has done so much for you and yet you will not set things right until you see a horse. It's silly." Lady Kingsley told her with a wave of her hand.

"I believe the answer is yes. She will only accept my forgiveness if Baladeva is here. I knew you thought me crazy when he arrived but I was right." Darien said pointing his fork at his mother-in-law.

"Only you Serena would want a horse as a wedding gift." Andrew laughed.

"Goodness no. Baladeva was a trade. Hum…" Serena said thinking.

"Trade or not. Please forgive your dear husband. I quite like him." Lady Kingsley stated before taking a bite of her food.

"Thank you." Darien told Lady Kingsley with a smile.

"Well you are welcome. Serenity?" Her mother asked looking at Serena oddly.

"Yes, mother?" Serena asked as she read over the paper.

"Darling? Where is your wedding ring? I was hoping to see it as you did not wear it yesterday."

Darien blanched and Serena looked down at her hand confused.

"Ring?" Serena asked her.

Her father laughed at her confusion and Andrew chimed in.

"Sere, your engagement ring and wedding band. You are not wearing them. Heavens no wonder why every male in Europe thought you had been unattached." Andrew joked.

Serena looked up at Darien and he looked… guilty?

"Well… we didn't exchange rings." She shrugged as if it was no big deal.

"What?" Her mother said shocked.

"Darien, you do own a diamond mine, correct?" Andrew asked him.

"Please, Drew. That does not matter. Father never wore a ring because of being in the military and either does Darien. I do not need a ring." She laughed and she grabbed Darien's hand giving it a squeeze.

"No, you need a ring. We didn't exchange rings in India but I do have one for you." He told her.

"Well, whatever it is I am sure I do not need such things. Just a small band if you are going to insist." She said wanting to get off the subject.

"I do insist. But, let us discuss plans for today with your mother as that is why she is here."

He clearly did not want to have this conversation in front of her whole family.

"Yes, plans." Lady Kingsley started. "I think it best we just discuss this all in the library after breakfast."

"Mother, I would really like to go see Baladeva first. I also need to see my ponies. Has anyone found a steed for Marie yet? I want to breed her; she would make fine polo ponies. I could take a trip down to Westmoore later this week. I am sure Sir. Wiliiams is still interested. I plan on going to the conservatory to prune the roses. We are missing them in the entryway. I also need to take a train in to London later today to pick up some clothing I had altered. Oh, and has anyone been servicing my roadster? If no one has cranked the engine in awhile I will need to do that as well." Serena stared to go on listing things as soon as they popped in her head.

Darien was taken a back by the change. In India she didn't really do a thing and here she already had a list of things to do.

Then Serena clapped her hands together. "Oh! And Andrew." She looked at him with a HUGE smile. "I have invited Rita here for the weekend but I think my day is now full. You can entertain her can't you?"

Andrew's mouth dropped open.

"Perfect, it is settled. Mother do you think we could all go in to London tonight? We could dine at the Ritz and stay at Uncle and Aunt's home? I am sure I can phone Rita and let her know of the changes so she packs appropriately."

"Serenity…" Andrew growled.

Serena stood with a mischievous grin. "Oh, Drew did you and Darien need to walk me outside or could do a need a note with a signature in blood?" She asked sweetly.

Lord Kingsley was biting his lip. Lady Kingsley was not amused but no one said anything.

"Okay then. Felton? Can you send someone to the stable with my coat?" And Serena was out of the breakfast room at a quick pace and then she was headed out the back door laughing as she ran down the steps two at a time."

"That GIRL! Really!" Lady Kingsley said frustrated.

"So, she is like that here as well." Darien said taking a sip of coffee.

"Yes. My little Rini has always been that way. You two should get a move on. The note received yesterday from Diamond was… unnerving. Heavens I do not know what to expect of today's mail." He shook his head.

Darien stood but Andrew said, "I am sure a guard will stop her."

Lord Kingsley laughed. "Your sister will charm the guard and I am sure he will even help her on to that horse."

Darien and Andrew quickly stood up.

"I will kill them." Andrew said quickly.

"Not if I do first." Darien said.

"Boys, library at noon. We need to inform Serena of her… threats." Lady Kingsley said pale faced.

They nodded and quickly walked from the room. Felton handed them coats, ready for them to leave.

"And to think that if the Shields never moved to India how much closer Andrew and Darien would have been." Lord Kingsley smiled.

"Goodness, if Darien was here the whole time, between Andrew and him being over protective she would have rebelled so much more. No doubt with you, Edward, encouraging it." She shook her head.

He laughed loudly. "Darling, would you like to take bets to see if the guard mounted her on the horse?"

She shook her head and sipped on her coffee. "Oh, we both know he did. I will say this. It would have been quite amusing had Darien been here while other men tried to pursue our daughter."

Lord Kingsley's eyes twinkled at the thought. "More like entertaining."

She laughed.

"I truly can not get over how sneaky your sister is." Darien admonished to Andrew.

Darien would have been freezing except he was so angry that his own heat was keeping him warm.

He watched at Serena reunited with Baladeva as they ran through the yard. She slowly trotted toward them and Darien was frowning.

"I think he would really like the forest. I am going to take him." Serena said when she got closer. Her smile wide and her cheeks red from exertion.

"NO!" They said in unison.

"Please." She pouted, pulling on the reigns as Baladeva tried to nip at the men.

"No." They said again not sounding too sure this time.

"Your mother wants us in the library at noon, Serena." Darien said smoothly.

"Baladeva, my love, we will have to go tomorrow. I promise you will love it and then I can teach you how to jump." She babbled to the horse as she walked in to the stable to dismount.

"Jumping?" Darien looked at Andrew pale faced.

Andrew just patted him on the back. "Good luck."

"Same for you. Apparently Serena is getting you back by playing match maker with Rita Garderner."

He groaned. "When Serena wants something… she is quite relentless."

"How do you think she came to get my horse?" Darien raised his eyebrow to him.

Andrew burst out laughing.

"Darien! Do you want to meet, Marie?" Serena yelled from the stable.

"Her polo pony." Andrew told him.

"Oh, yes. The brown thoroughbred. I have ridden her. She's a beautiful horse." He told Andrew and Serena seemed to get the hint as she walked toward them frowning.

"If you two were just going to stand here and watch me you should have just let the guard do that. It's not like anyone was going to nab me on Baladeva." She said annoyed. "I am heading to the conservatory to get roses."

"How are you not freezing?" Darien asked following behind her. Andrew had stopped to talk to the stable hand.

"You will get used to it. I will; however, miss your tan skin." She told him following the path toward a glass square building.

"I am sure I will look just as handsome." He smirked at her.

"Humble as ever, husband." She said pushing open the door.

The air was considerably warmer and the sweet fragrance of the flowers permeated the air. Roses in every color bloomed in the glass walled room. Rows and rows of potted plants, herbs, flowers, lavender and some small shrubs filled the space.

"It is not quite as beautiful as the market's in Bombay, but it will have to do." Serena told him.

"It's actually quite beautiful. I do not remember seeing a conservatory at Rose Park." He stated looking around.

Serena laughed. "Oh there is one. All the way down the hill by the lake. The one with the ridiculous fountain in it."

His eyebrow rose. "You have been there?"

She flushed. "Yes. When I was fifteen. I toured the countryside homes and Rose Park was one. It had the most beautiful rose garden's I had ever seen. I didn't know that it was your uncle's home at the time. I have yet to ask my parents why I was not informed, had I of seen your uncle I would have felt awful."

"What do you think of the estate?" He asked curious.

She laughed. "It's going to be expensive to keep up. I was speaking with Andrew while we were traveling and he was talking about how all of the large estates are cutting positions. Apparently we live in the past."

They strolled around the flowers and Darien took Serena's hand in his.

"I think we can afford it; however, I do think we will have to re-work some things. I will need your help with that."

"Let's cut out most of the large, elaborate dinner's!" She said excited.

He laughed. "What, you do not like them?"

She scrunched her nose in distaste. "Do you like wearing a bowtie and jacket every night?"

"I like having dinner in bed with my wife." He pulled her to him and kissed her.

She pulled away. "This is highly improper."

"Un huh." Was all he could mutter as he kissed behind her ear.

She giggled and then pushed away.

"I need to go find Mr. Elders, the gardener, to get pruning sheers."

He huffed, annoyed.

"I will be right back. Find a few good blooms while I am gone." She snickered.

It was only seconds later when her scream filled the conservatory.

"Serena!" Darien went running and found Serena standing at the door to a small closet that held the gardening tools.

"What is it?" He gasped and she pointed to the floor.

A man was laying face up in the room. His face was swollen and pussy and he was clearly dead. Darien pulled Serena in to his arms and hid her face in his shoulder where she began to cry.

Next to the dead man on the floor was a headless diamond patterned green viper. Darien looked around pulling Serena out of the way. Then he found it. The head was attached to the mans' pant leg cut. It had been chopped off with a shovel that was next to the body.

Poor Mr. Elder's must have had no clue that vipers could still bite once decapitated.

Darien quickly pulled them out of the conservatory and closed the door behind them. A few guards must of heard the screaming because they were running toward the conservatory.

"Don't go in there." He snapped at the men. "And do not let anyone enter there with out my permission."

He pulled Serena with him up the hill toward the house. She was trembling but not crying anymore.

Once they made their way up the staircase and in to the house. Darien located the nearest maid.

"Go find Lord Kingsley and Andrew for me right away. It's urgent!" He snapped.

He pulled Serena in to the library and sat her down.

"Are you okay?" He asked her taking her face in his hands.

She nodded but her eyes were wide in fear.

"It will be okay. I will not let him hurt anyone else. I promise." He said kissing her forehead.

Andrew came running in to the room and Lord Kingsley was behind him moving as quick as he could with his crutch.

"What is it?" Andrew asked in a huff.

Darien went and closed all of the doors looking around to make sure they were truly alone.

"The gardener is dead." Darien stated. "Killed by a viper… the same type of viper that attacked Serena in India. A viper with yellow diamond shapes down its back."

Lord Kingsley sank in to the desk chair and Andrew slapped his hand to his face.

"Bloody hell. What does all of this mean?" Andrew said looking pale.

Lord Kingsley pulled a letter from his pocket. "He sent a warning this morning."

Darien took the letter and read it quickly.

"This is insane. We are going to have to contact Scotland Yard." He said through clenched teeth.

"You mean because our gardener is DEAD!" Serena said speaking up.

"Father you should call. You have friends in the yard." Andrew retorted grabbing the letter from Darien.

"I think I need a moment." Serena said standing and walking out of the room. Truth was… she needed to throw up.

"Call the constable, contact Scotland Yard, and I am going to need a few Indian lads. Even though that letter states that it's just one… I want to double check. Serena wanted to go in to London tonight and we should as soon as we have things sorted here." Darien started commanding.

"I will call son." Lord Kingsley said. "We will handle this situation. I did not live so long to have David Black take anything, especially my daughter, away from me." He said standing strong. "I have killed enough men in the military. One more won't hurt."

"I did not just miss out on three months of being with your daughter to have her taken from me. We will have to battle for his head." Darien stated. "I am going to go find my wife."

Serena left her bathroom after turning out her stomach contents. Her head was spinning at what had taken place. David Black was turning out to be even more insane that she had originally anticipated and she didn't understand why. What changed?

Darien came in to the room looking at her with concern etched in to his face.

"Are you okay?" He asked her.

"The gardener I have known since I was a child is dead. No I am not okay!" She yelled at him. "And it's all my fault."

Darien grabbed her by the arms. "None of this is your fault. Diamond is sick in the head."

"But why? Why now is he going crazy?" She wanted to throw up again at the thought of Mr. Elders dead body, swollen and pussy.

Darien sighed. "Because I am here with you. Because we are together."

She searched his face for the truth. "So according to Lord Diamond I am not allowed to be with my husband? So he has taken to killing people because I love you?"

"I didn't say that it made sense but that is what all of these letters have added up to. All of them since I arrived here. The one your father just showed me in the library confirmed it."

The anger that was coursing through Serena was palpable. "I should have killed him in India." She spat.

"He thinks that I forced you to do that." He told her thinking about one of the letters.

She snorted. "When is the constable coming?" She asked knowing that she was going to have to give a statement."

"Your father is calling them and Scotland Yard now. I think Andrew is going out back to practice his aim and we need to pack for London. I want us out of this house until I can have it checked."

"We are going to leave now?" She asked him, bewildered by his train of thought.

"I am going to do everything to protect you and you need to listen to me and trust me. You told me you trusted me last night and I am holding you to that."

He walked to the side of the bed and pulled the tassel to call for Anna.

"I need to call Rita and see if she can reschedule. I need to marry Andrew off but I do not want her dragged in to this." Serena frowned.

"She is most likely on her way? Let's try to not act as if this is getting to us. The more stressed we get the more things will get messed up. If we want to rid ourselves of Diamond then we need to stand united."

Serena couldn't help but to smirk. "Yes Sir. Lt Major Shields." She saluted him.

"That was very attractive Mrs. Shields." He told her in a velvety tone.

She blushed.

"Serena, I promise nothing will happen to you. I swear my life on it." He said pulling her close.

"Promise me that nothing will happen to us, Darien. Swear your life on that." She said in to his chest.

"I swear." And he kissed her hair as he prayed he kept his oath.

SORRY! I have been traveling and my husband is a total turd when I start writing and we are supposed to be… having fun. I need to finish Yakuza next and then I will need some participants to poll for my next story as I have like 6 unfinished and like ten chapters long each.

Send me your thoughts! I love Reviews!