AN: Because I'm trying to get Trump Ace done before the release of TDKR, the updates for this story and Hero will be rather slow until it is finished. But don't worry! I have this entire story mapped out, and I assure you I have no plans to abandon it any time soon. :)
"The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool."
Having changed and rid her dress and her floors of mud, Marie picked up some of her neglected mending and returned to the parlor, where the man was still sleeping. Putting a new log in the dying embers, she took a seat in her armchair near the fireplace before pulling out a shirt missing a few buttons and setting to work, occasionally glancing up from her needlework to study her unexpected visitor.
She supposed him to be around her age, give or take a few years. She also supposed that he could be quite handsome beneath the mud and swollen black eye, but Marie quickly diverted her mind from such paths, imagining what her mother might think, focusing instead on finding another matching button for the shirt in her button box.
The better part of the afternoon was spent in the same fashion, and by the time the man awoke, Marie had mended and re-buttoned two shirts, fixed the hems on four dresses, and patched one pair of trousers. Satisfied with her tailoring for the day, Marie turned to her latest project, a quilt for her neighbor, Mrs. Hill, who was expecting her fourth child in August.
Engrossed in a particularly difficult patch featuring a flower and a bumblebee, Marie did not notice the snoring had stopped, nor the fact that the man, now awake, was watching her intently. The man himself quickly realized that he would have to make his consciousness more apparent. Sitting up with one hand clutched to his head, which was paining him terribly, he cleared his throat loudly, hoping to get her attention. She made no indication of hearing him, and the man decided he would have to try a more direct approach.
“Excuse me, miss?”
Startled, Marie pricked her finger with the needle, which she dropped with a small squeak, her concentration shattered. After momentarily studying her injured finger she turned to the man, putting away her quilting as she did so.
“I was wondering when you would awake,” she commented, unsure of whether she should look him in the eye or whether she should look some other where. Conscious of the fact that her eyes were darting around the room like a madwoman’s, she settled on gazing at the fire, with an occasional glance in his direction.
“Pray tell, how long was I asleep?” he asked, staring at the curtained window as if trying to answer for himself.
“I found you this morning, around ten, I would say, lying in the street. It is about six or seven in the evening now, though I do not know how long you were laying there before I found you.”
The man nodded gingerly, wincing from what Marie accurately assumed was, unsurprisingly, a headache.
“And where am I, exactly?”
“Cherrywood Street, sir. East of town by about a quarter hour walk.”
The man contemplated this for a second, his gaze now also focused on the fire. “And which town would that be?”
Marie turned to the man, seeing his face in profile. She could now see that he had a slightly crooked nose, giving her the impression that it had been broken before. His expression assured her the genuine nature of his question, but she still had difficulty believing his question. Was he really that far from home?
“The town of Thrillow, sir.”
|Saoirse Ronan||as Marie|
|Anton Yelchin||as Caden|