I still can't get enough of Marian/Guy, plus I thought it would be fun to do a sequel to "I'll Take my Chances." I hope you all enjoy!
Chapter 1 "Where is the Sheriff?"
There is so much I still have to tell Guy.
Since his becoming the new sheriff of Nottingham, my husband is kept constantly busy. I barely ever see him during the day. Mind you, I had been savoring the time to settle into our new home where Knighton Hall once stood. Thank goodness we no longer had to live in the castle. Guy knew how painful it was for me to stay there. Occasionally I would accompany him to Nottingham, hoping to be of help to the people. I admit I miss being the night watchman sometimes. It had always been liberating for me to be amongst the people unrecognized. Now that I was the sheriff's wife, that was impossible. It was a huge responsibility in of itself to appear in public at special events, meaning public executions or punishments. I spare none of my frustration from Guy.
"I know this position is important to you, Guy," I say to him as we finish up our dinner, "but I'm sick of the pretense. You know I despise Prince John and all he stands for. The people deserve better than what they've been through."
"You know I've tried to help them, Marian," Guy replies, trying to reassure me. "I've delivered justice where I've seen fit and shown mercy where I can. They know I've given Hood's lands back, but anymore kindness I show will make me look weak. Prince John could fire me for it. He would rather see Hood dead more than anything."
"You're not a slave to anyone's decisions," I remind him, placing my hand on his shoulder, "not Vaisey or Prince John's; trust your own."
Guy sighs, savoring my touch for a moment. The question is how am I going to break it to him? Kate had visited me yesterday while Guy happened to be away on business. I can still remember her startling words.
"Marian, I have great news! Robin has told me he has received news from the king in the holy land. He is coming home!"
I couldn't believe it; for so long Robin had dreamed of this for England. The people could be free again from the tyranny of those who abused their powers. There would finally be no more Prince John.
"Guy," I say, trying to find the words. Now that we are in the privacy of our bedroom, I feel it best to tell him. "The king is coming home. Robin received word from him yesterday."
Guy clearly wasn't expecting this. He backs away from me for a moment, trying to take in my words. I remember when he admitted to me he had tried to kill the king in the holy land. The scar over the tattoo on his arm is proof of that. He turns away, staring into the fire distracted by his thoughts.
"Are you alright?"
Guy tries to appear calm. "Uh…I'm fine, just tired, that's all."
"I understand." I should have taken into account that this news might actually trouble him. What if the king finds out he had been in league with Vaisey's tyranny, or that Guy had tried to kill him, or that he had sworn loyalty to Prince John to save his neck? I shudder at these thoughts, trying to push them aside. Robin had made Guy sheriff to protect Nottingham and us. I should be more grateful for that.
Guy is unusually quiet for the rest of the night. Lying beside him in our bed, I can tell he can't sleep. I am sorry to have made his mind restless. Gently I brush my fingertips against his cheek as if to reassure him everything will be well. His eyes flutter open and his arms pull me in closer. Finally sleep comes to both of us.
The next morning I awake, hoping to see if Guy feels better. He's gone. Perhaps he got up earlier than usual. Normally I'm the early riser. After dressing, I search our home. There is no sign of him. I ask the servants if he has gone to Nottingham early. It doesn't make any sense. He always tells me when he's leaving. None of them saw him leave this morning. That's very strange; I must ride to Nottingham. Hopefully I will find him there.
When I ride through the gates of the castle, I am greeted by Allan.
"Have you seen Guy?" I inquire. "I haven't seen him at all this morning."
"No, I was hoping you would know where Gizzy is." A sense of worry falls over Allan's face. He walks by my side through the castle doors.
"This isn't right, Allan. He can't just go missing without any explanation, especially not as the sheriff."
"Oh, blimey I know. So…" Allan shifts uncomfortably. "What should we do? Do you want me to send out a search party?"
"Yes," I nod, "immediately." As the sheriff's wife, I assume I'm in charge now. When I enter Guy's office, I sort through the unorganized drawers in his desk. Finally I find his insignia ring, the same one Vaisey had worn. Until Guy shows up, or is found, I'm in charge.
Since Vaisey's death, crime rates have dropped significantly. There is still much for me to do though. The meeting of the council of nobles is today! Guy couldn't have chosen a worse time to disappear. What am I going to tell them?
In due time, all the nobles arrive, but Robin of Locksley is not among them. Why is that? Guy had returned him his lands and title. Now he's disappeared too! I need him now. He would respect my authority, unlike these men.
"Where is the sheriff?" asks one of the nobles as they seat themselves before me.
"My husband has taken ill today, unfortunately," I lie, unable to contain my frustration at having to cover for him. "He's sorry he can't meet with you all. He has sent me to oversee this meeting in his place."
I make sure they see I carry his insignia. They clearly underestimate my authority because I'm a woman. Guy would teach them some respect for me. When the meeting draws to a close, Allan enters the great hall. He meets my eyes, shaking his head. Guy hasn't been found. I sink down in my chair. Where is he? When he gets back, he'll have to deal with me.
"Are you aware," asks one of the nobles suddenly, "that Prince John's messenger is here?"
I sit up suddenly in my seat. Oh God, no! Not now. Quickly I compose myself before greeting Sir Jasper, Prince John's messenger. The last time I had seen him was when Vaisey went missing. Guy had done everything in his power to find him, even take charge. I remember the horror of potentially watching Nottingham burn to the ground. Standing by Guy's side, I had been preparing myself for the consequences, even death. Now that I was in Guy's place, I hope I won't have to deal with that huge stress again.
"What can I do for you, Sir Jasper?" I try my best to hide for disdain for him.
"Where is the sheriff? I wish to speak with him."
"He's ill," I reply, having to lie again. I hate being forced into this position.
"Ah, naturally and who gave you the authority to replace him?"
"No one," I say, "My husband is ill, that's all. My father was the old sheriff. Here, I have his insignia." I display Guy's ring for the messenger to see. He's unconvinced.
"That's not good enough. Prince John will be on his way here soon and when he comes he'll be very angry if the sheriff isn't here to greet him."
"But, sir, I…"
He ignores me, leaving the great hall. Allan escorts him out of the castle as I dismiss all the nobles presents. What am I going to do? I must keep busy. Allan returns to the great hall, uncertain what to do.
"Allan," I say, as I write an announcement and stamp it with Guy's insignia. "Inform the people of Nottingham that Guy is absent right now and that he's placed me in charge. We must prepare for Prince John's arrival."
Once Allan leaves to read the announcement to the people, I pace about the great hall in thought. Why is Prince John coming here now? Does he know his brother Richard is returning? I hope not. He knows Guy is on his side. I can't do anything as the night watchman anymore. If I do, Guy will be in trouble. In any case, he already is. I send out another search party for Guy. Afterwards, I pull Allan aside in private.
"You must ride to Locksley and meet with Robin's gang. I need their help. If Guy doesn't return this evening, I don't know what Prince John will do."
Allan nods, placing his hand reassuringly on my shoulder. "Hey, it's gonna be okay. I'll be back as soon as I can. And by the way, you're not a bad sheriff yourself."
I love Allan for always finding some way to make me smile. He's the best ally I could have now that I have to face Prince John alone. Quickly I make my way back to Guy's office, withdrawing his dagger buried in one of the drawers. I must be ready for anything.