This will take the longest for me to write. I want to finish Vegas and start two new stories I have been working out in my head, Enjoy this one.
The city of Bombay was crowed. Hoards of people crowded the streets at the market bartering and yelling at one another trying to get the best price for anything that may catch their eye. Darien honked for them to move out of his way, many Indian's looking annoyed at the handsome English man as he drove on.
Darien pulled his navy blue automobile around to the dock parking it on a side street in clear view of the luxury liner, The Rubi. Malcolm sat in the front seat. The top was down and the sun's rays made both of the soldiers sweat.
"You ready?" Malcolm asked opening the door, one eye cocked toward his best friend.
"Let's just get this over with." Darien opened the door and he and Malcolm trotted though the masses of people in Bombay waiting to meet the ship. They were both dressed in full uniform, badges and ribbons adoring their outfits. A sword hung at one side where a pistol of the opposite. In Darien's hand were lilies; he figured that the flower you gave at a funeral was the most appropriate flower to give. He didn't hold them upright with the excitement that most men would hold when going to meet their bride. Instead he held them stems up in the air at his waist, the beautiful white buds face down, dragging behind him.
One would have thought he had been sentenced to death with his lips pursed tight in to a straight line. His eyes were narrowed. Many people already began to exit down the gangplank. Sailors were pulling the luggage off of a lower plank yelling at the men below.
"How are we supposed to find her?" Malcolm asked his hand rose to block the Indian sun from his steel blue eyes.
"Hell if I know." Inside Darien hoped he wouldn't find the girl.
"Is that her?" Malcolm pointed to a rather large girl wearing all black as if to make herself look thinner. A smile graced his lips.
"Ha ha mate, but knowing my luck you could be dead on." Darien scowled.
The two men stood there for what seemed forever, the hot sun burning them alive. Their skin becoming more tan every second. People passed by them at an alarming rate as people began to disembark from the ship.
"Is that Nathan and Zack?" Malcolm pointed not sure by this time if he was seeing a mirage.
Darien squinted in the sun. It looked like them both in their white uniforms, the stupid fools who had left to get married. He wanted to spit at their ignorance and at the same time something inside of him was jealous. The way their wives clung to their arms. They way they smiled up at his closest friends like they were their knight and shining armor. Behind them he noticed Seyia walking down the gangplank. He was laughing with a man with silver hair, a little older maybe in his thirties. Something white caught his eye and slightly blinded him for a moment. When his vision came back he saw the most beautiful girl he had ever seen in his life. She wore all white, her blond hair wrapped up in a bun and a wide brimmed hat on her head. Her gloved hand held the railing delicately. Next to her was her look a like, she was dressed in light blue her golden blond hair was down gracing the small of her back. Behind both of them was a woman with dark black hair worn down to her waist. She was brightly dressed in red and she was staring down any and all men who looked at the girls in a wrong way.
After they left the gangplank the group of them approached Darien and Malcolm. Nathan in the lead with his new wife. Darien kept trying to get a closer view of the mystery woman who had taken to the side of Seyia. She was neatly hidden in the crowd. Darien was annoyed. Did Seyia get married while in England too? Was he married to this angelic woman?
"Well, well well! Is this the only welcoming party you brought? Where the rest of the legion!" Nathan's voiced boomed. Zack smiled behind him.
"We are the party!" Malcolm said shaking their hands. Darien smiled and did the same. He really was glad to see them. Things on base were not the same with out them. He could give or take Seyia.
"We would like you to meet our wives. This is my beautiful one and only Lita." The tall brunette smiled at the men. She was beautiful indeed and so was the darker haired woman who was latched on to Zack's arm. Her hair cut in a fashionable bob.
"This is my Amy." Zackary said with pride in his voice.
"It is a pleasure to meet you both. Zachary goes on and on about you." She curtsied.
"The pleasure is all ours, indeed. Ah, and who are these beautiful ladies behind you." Malcolm asked quite taken with the blond in blue hoping that she was not here to be married as well.
"Well, this is Seyia Kou." Nathan joked to their fellow comrade.
"Not, funny. So not funny." Seyia said stepping away from the woman in white who had not quite raised her face to the happy get together. She seemed happy enough, but Darien noticed she didn't have the same glow as Lita and Amy. Maybe she was not Seyia's wife.
"Good to see you Seyia." Darien said to his solider. He didn't great him the same way he greeted Zachary and Malcolm. It was very formal. He kept trying to peer at the girl in white.
Malcolm cleared his throat hoping to get an introduction.
"Oh, yes! My I present Lady. Wentworth and Lady. Kingsley." Seyia introduced.
Mina stepped forward and curtsied. Malcolm took one look at her blue eyes and was smitten with her.
'Kingsley'. Darien's head shot up when he heard the name. Serena had been dreading this moment. Her inside's fluttered wildly and she was sure she would trip over her own words if she tried to talk. Slowly walked around Seyia to great the men. Her face still down and she curtsied. Not wanting to prolong the moment any longer she looked up at the men. Her long sooty eyelashes blinked rapidly as her eyes adjusted to the sun. And she saw him, for the first time ever. He was beautiful and tan. His jaw line was well defined, black hair fell in to his midnight blue eyes that seemed to bore though her. Scrutinizing her every movement.
"Pleasure to meet you both." Her voice twinkled.
Darien took one look at the girl and instantly he was disgusted with himself for being lured in to her beautiful eyes. She was by far the most beautiful creature he had ever encountered. He started at her meticulously, trying to find a flaw in her perfect face and body. Even if he did find one, he was sure he would have made it up. He despised himself for being attracted to her. She was just a beautiful child nothing more he lied.
"Miss. Wentworth, Miss. Kingsley it is a pleasure to meet you both. Come, my over bearing cousin is awaiting your arrival. Oh, and these are for you." He handing the flowers to Serena never meeting her gaze then turning on his heels to head for the automobile.
"Wait!" Serena said clearly upset.
"What?" He answered.
"I have to find my chaperone. It will only be a moment." Serena said softly. The group who had just watched the display between the betrothed pair was in awe of the event that just took place. They sadly looked on as Serena waded through the crowd of people disappearing from sight.
Darien couldn't help to look on scared someone would steal her away, and then he dismissed the idea as quickly as it came. Hopefully some one would steal her.
"Serena!" Luna called. "Over here!"
Luna and Artimus were standing by Serena and Mina's trunks.
"So, did you find him?" Luna asked giving a small smile.
Serena just nodded not wanting to speak; fearful tears would fall from her eyes.
Luna seemed to understand but there was nothing that she could do about it now. This was the life for girls like Serena. Not everyone married for love.
"Oh, Luna! Promise me that you will come to the wedding! Promise!" She pleaded, her eyes dancing with tears.
"Oh course! We will always been good friends princess." Luna hugged the girl close.
Serena pulled away and smiled. She skipped over to Artimus.
"And do you promise to escort Luna to my wedding?" She asked.
"If she will have me." He answered already knowing the answer.
"Okay! I am staying at Darien Shields house and you can ring me at anytime." Serena said.
Luna smiled and then turned to two Indian men motioning them to follow Serena with the luggage.
"Okay! As soon as you find a place, ring me!" Serena called out.
"I promise!" Luna yelled back.
Mina made small talk with everyone as they waited for Serena to come back. She knew she would have to chat so she didn't box Darien's ears for being so rude to her cousin. At the same time she was taking in the sights and sounds of Bombay and desperately trying not to stare at the tall solider that accompanied Darien. The city was so alive. She knew she would never return to England. She watched as Serena came back with two men behind her carrying the luggage.
"Okay, well we will see you at the wedding." Lita said hugging Mina.
"You better be there." She hugged back.
"We will be." Amy said as she took her turn hugging Mina goodbye.
Serena stopped to hug the girls and make them promise to be at the wedding. Mina grabbed on to Serena's hand tightly as they began to follow behind the two men. Serena needed all of the support she could get with this cad.
They stopped as Seyia approached them, a grin on his face when Serena let go of Mina's hand and greeted him.
"Are you coming to the wedding?" She whispered to Seyia.
"Am I invited?"
"Of, course." She faked a smile for his sake.
He hugged her, and noticed that Darien was staring at the conversation between him and Serena. A jealous look in his eye.
As long as Mina had known Serena, which was forever, Serena never failed to make everyone love her. Darien was looking more and more like the devil. She didn't think much of the silver haired brut who was with him either. He kept glancing back at her. She ignored him. Anyone who was friends with the devil had to be the devil's minion.
The car Darien drove was beautiful. The Indian men put the trunks in the back and when Darien went to tip the man Serena stepped in and coolly said.
"I'll take care if it." And she handed the men a gracious tip. Mina smiled wickedly at Serena. Darien was red with anger. Malcolm stifled a laugh who choked it down when Darien glared at him.
"Why would you do that?" Darien asked clearly annoyed with her.
Serena looked up at him with a look of confusion on her beautiful face. "Well, they our my trucks are they not?"
"A gentleman always tips." He retorted once again not meeting her cornflower blue eyes.
Serena climbed in to the back seat, "A gentleman would have got the trunks in the first place." She finished.
He shut up after that. Mina wished Serena hadn't just left it at that She had seen Serena give more tongue-lashings to snottier men than Darien Shields was. Serena and Mina both came from a social hierarchy that to their upmost misfortune had many men who think they were so deserving of any women. Serena always made sure to tell them what she relay thought of their deserving ways.
They went though the busy town, dust rising up in to the air. Darien honked at people as they drove. Serena was clearly annoyed at this. Her face twisting in to a scowl. How could he be so rude?
After taking a road out of the city they arrived at two beautiful gates, a man wearing a turban nodded and opened the gates letting them through. The long trip down the winding road lead them to one of the most incredible houses Serena had ever seen. It was white with long columns. The roof had small towers and balconies with ivy growing up them. Mosaic tile adored the house around the balconies, windows and door. Terracotta tiles welcomed guests to two large teak doors with wrought iron bars on them.
"Darien! Darien!" Raye came out in a stunning pink dress holding a bright green parasol, James by her side. A huge smile on her face.
"Welcome." She yelled again.
Darien stopped the car clearly annoyed at his cousin's theatrics. Serena smiled at the beautiful woman. Reianna, was not much older Serena. Two Indian men opened the doors for Serena and Mina. They got out of the car and were attacked by Raye.
She hugged Serena tightly, catching Serena by surprise.
"Serena! Darling, welcome to India! We are so glad you are here!" She went to Mina next. "And you must be her cousin Mina Wentworth! Welcome!" She hugged her too.
"Oh, Darien, isn't she just stunning." Raye yelled to Darien who leaned against the car ignoring his outrageous cousin. He pulled out a cigarette and handed one to Malcolm who gladly took it.
"It's a pleasure Mrs. Matthias." Serena curtsied blushing at her odd behavior.
"No no no, Call me Raye! This is my husband James." She introduced them to a tall blond with short hair he wore a smile on his face.
"So, this beautiful women will be my new cousin!" He hugged her as well. Darien felt a rage in him when James hugged his future wife.
"Come inside, come inside!" Raye pleaded. "Punjab drinks for everyone. Sunil get the trunks from the car." She ordered and they were ushered in to the house.
Raye showed them around the house and Mina and Serena gushed over the elegance. Raye made sure to point out that this was Darien's house and that he helped decorate most things. Serena seemed to dislike anything Raye said that was Darien's favorite, it was childish of course but she did it nonetheless. He still refused to look at her and her heart burned. It burned because every time she snuck a glance at him he looked angry. Could he be so upset with her looks, with her? He didn't know her. Mina stuck close to her side all the while, squeezing her hand for comfort.
"Raye, enough, let's eat. Please." Darien commanded with an air of annoyance.
They were led outside to where a huge table was set with food. The staff bustled to get everyone champagne.
Darien sat at the head of the table and James at the other end. Serena sat next to Darien and Raye. Mina and Malcolm sat at the other end. Serena could feel Darien's eyes on her; she did not look up to meet his gaze.
"To our new family. Serena and Mina, we are so honorded to have you in India." James raised his glass to toast.
Dinner went by with out incident. They discussed the girls adventure on the boat, Luna and Artimus and even meeting Darien and Malcolm's comrades.
"Serena how is your father?" Raye asked during dessert.
Serena looked down at her plate. "Well, I the last letter I received on the Rubi stated that he was in okay condition."
"That's good news." James replied, others nodded.
Darien didn't ask Serena one question. Not one at all, he addressed Mina once or twice. Serena was so uncomfortable in this home, at this table. Raye helped with her positive attitude but it was not enough. She felt herself all of a sudden in raged with the fact that Darien didn't come to England to marry her with her father there.
"Would you all excuse me?" Serena said all of a sudden and stood up. She walked away from the table and to her room that Raye showed her to earlier. Tears began to fall from eyes and she was embarrassed that she was mad enough to cry.
After Serena left Raye shot Darien a nasty look. Mina realized that this could be a private conversation so she excused herself to check in on Serena.
"What is your problem!" Raye said to him, rubbing her temples.
"I don't have a problem." Darien said taking a drink of his gin.
"Surly." Raye said sarcastically. "You're a stupid man. She could have had any man, a prince even with her god given looks and she had to have you. Of all men. To top it all off her father is dying and you didn't even go to marry her, instead she got on a boat to come her to be treated like a leper by you."
"Woman, don't you condemn me in my own house." He said knowing all too well she was right. Darien pushed his chair back from the table and got up stomping away.
Raye threw down her napkin pissed.
He went in to the house passing Mina as she came back out t re-join the company and tell them Serena would not be coming back out. Malcolm was at least glad to have Mina's company back.
Serena was glad that Mina had left. After assuring her that she was fine and it was just her being overwhelmed that of the whole day did Mina finally leave the room. Serena slipped out of her dress and placed on her nightdress and a robe. She sat in front of the vanity examining her puffy eyes.
"Serena, you are such a stupid girl." She ridiculed herself in the mirror hoping that the swelling would go down before the ceremony tomorrow. She began pulling out the pins in her hair causing her long tresses to sweep the floor. As she was about to turn in to bed when a small knock rapped at the door.
Poking her head out the door she noticed Darien there. His eyes mesmerizing her again.
"Yes, Lt. Shields how may I assist you." She asked
"Ehh umm…" He cleared his voice. "I just wanted to bid you goodnight." He responded trying not to get caught up in her beauty.
"Good night." She went to close the door but his foot got in the way. "Something else?" She asked curious.
"Yes, I… well I wanted to apologize for my rude behavior earlier today."
"It's fine really. I am sorry about the tipping incident." She gave in, her heart too big.
"Well, good night Miss. Kingsley." He stomped away. He would not give in to her so easily.