Chapter Eight: Proximity

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"How do you feel?" Annabelle asked Hans as they moved around the kitchen, creating supper; a bird shot by one of the Countess's men along with vegetables and soup from the freshest squash Hungary had to offer.

"As if I was never wounded at all." He said with a large smile.

"Do you have any memory on who could have done such a thing to you?"

"I have my speculations." He teased by pointing his ladle at the other female servants in the room. "But no definite memory." He turned to her and saw how she was covered head to foot in different spices and baking elements. Taking flour from the bowl to his side, he moved to her before placing some of the flour on her cheek. "You have appeared to have missed a spot." He turned with a chuckle before feeling an egg hit his back. He turned with a war waging smile.

"I have nothing to lose Hans."

"Neither do I." He took the jam beside the boiling soup and threw it at her, missing as she dodged the flying fruit puree. She then took cinnamon from a bowl above the fireplace and removed the lid before throwing it at him. It never reached him as it fell and hit the ground. He chuckled loudly as the other servants had now left the vicinity and they were alone.

Hans stole a spoon of sweetener before flicking it at her, getting it in her hair as she was turned to prepare her next item to battle him with. This fight continued for several minutes until they were covered in an assortment and different foods. In one final motion, Hans extended his hand to call a truce. With an egg hidden behind her back, she reached before cracking it on top of his head. Instead of continuing the fight, he pulled her into him. Their eyes locked instantaneously.

"You do not play fair."

"You did not claim an end to the war..."

"I was unaware it was a war..." His voice became slow and deep as they were closer to one another. Annabelle's expression became nervous and strict as she saw the Countess enter the room. Hans did not tear his eyes from Annabelle until Elizabeth cleared her throat. Twice. When he looked to her, him and Annabelle both bowed in unison.

"What is the meaning of this? Is THIS why supper has not been brought to us yet?" She asked as she noted how the kitchen was dirty from the food items which were vacant from their bodies.

"It is not finished yet your majesty." Hans spoke as Elizabeth moved closer to Annabelle.

"And do you have any claim to this event?"

"It is all my doing." Hans interjected as Elizabeth kept a cruel eye upon Annabelle. Elizabeth turned from the food stained duo and moved about the kitchen before turning to them.

"You can spend the remainder of the night cleaning each grain of flour or granule of sugar until I see fit. I shall have Ficzko come to make sure you do not have someone else do it for you." She moved to Hans. "As for you, I would admire your presence tonight."

Annabelle's gaze shot to Hans as her skin boiled. Her palms became sweaty and her jaw clenched. Standing before Elizabeth and Hans, she realized her jealousy and how extreme it was. Her fingers began to tremble  as she was left alone in the kitchen with the mess crafted by Hans and her. Two other female servants finished dinner and left Annabelle alone again.

The next time she had been joined was by Ficzko. He watched her like a vulture and it's prey. Lingering around, being sure the witnesses are not nearby to see the action itself. Ficzko waited until the final spot was clean. He moved next to her incredibly close before running his finger against the surface. He nodded before rubbing his fingers together.

"Am I able to retire to my chambers?" She asked with desperation from exhaustion. He nodded before pulling her into him. Her chest crashed against his as his lips moved hard on hers. When the shock of the moment became clear, she pushed him off and attempted to flee but found his grip to be hard on her. Breaking free from his hard grasp, she fled to her room before barricading the door with her weight. Although not much, it was better than anything she had to use against it. Several moments continued as she threw herself against the door but found herself to grow weak. Her feet eventually gave way, leading to her collapsing onto the floor. Fading in and out of consciousness from exhaustion, she was witness to the moments that followed.

Ficzko entered the room and shut the door hard. Moving to her, he caressed her cheek before carrying her to the makeshift bed. Believing he was a genuine gentleman, she took a sigh of relief before seeing him move to the corner. She heard the sound of a buckle move before seeing him turn to her with his belt in his hand. Moving quick, she found his strength and surprising speed made it impossible for her to break free again. He used the belt to tie her hands above her head so she could not hit him. With all her mite and strength mustered, she kicked at him, hitting him against the door.

"What was that?" Hans asked Elizabeth as she preoccupied him with an array of weapons in her room.

"I need your focus Hansefer." She said as she gently took his face back to the table.

Annabelle rose from the bed and toward the door before being thrown against the floor. Her head hit hard against the cobble floors which made her dizzy and almost comatose. Ficzko proceeded to bring her to the bed again, only now, she could not fight in return...Her body laid appearing dead on the bed as Ficzko undressed. Leaving only his white shirt upon his body, it hung over everything private. He moved atop Annabelle before closing his eyes and moving her legs apart.

"Please." She pleaded as their eyes locked in the moment. Seeing the desperation in her eyes, he smirked and then chuckled before placing himself between her legs. Harsh movements made her wince as she tried to muster any strength to push him from her, but it had been too late. The motions he had conducted were cruel and a nightmare to her. Her nightgown was raised just enough for access which made her nervous. "Please!" She pleaded in one last desperation but was ignored. He continued for what felt like an eternity before eventually ceasing. Pulling from her, the pain returned, leaving her aching and traumatized in her bed. He redressed before moving toward the door.

"Each second well spent." He teased as he tossed a coin at her and chuckled as he walked down the corridors. When his footsteps ceased sound, she turned to her side and did not move. No tear left her eye, not a whimper from her lips. She appeared in shock as she replayed the moments in her head until she no longer could. Everything began to blur before the injuries along with her exhaustion made her eyes fade.

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