Chapter 30: Square One

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  "Found a familiar face lurking around." James gazed downward as he turned to William, dreading the outcome now that Blythe had finally returned.

 Blythe swallowed anxiously, as her the knot in the pit of her stomach intertwined as she gaped into the glacial glare she once feared.

 "Captain, you may leave now... I'll handle her from here."  He coldly clenched her upper arm dragging her inside as she struggled to look back at a heartbroken captain.

 "William please, let me go!" She exclaimed as he continued to drag her insensitively up the stairs. Instantly she grabbed hold of the rail clinging on in effort to resist the painful hold he had on her. But no luck, he only kept dragging her as if she were nothing but a worn rag, and suddenly she found herself back to square one... Captured.

 "My lovely Blythe, we meet again." He stated sweetly, like not a damn thing happened; as her eyes bulged with fear, gazing at his sculpted face with that smirk on his face.

 "To hell with you asshole. " She muttered. "Took my men, and even me, and to think you love me." Blythe discretely reached into the fold of her cape, gently feeling the musket strapped to her back. "Back to the stone-hearted fool that imprisoned me once."

 "Blythe dear,"

 "No. I don't know you, I don't know this cruel, stiff, cold-hearted bastard in front of me. I want the William I know back. And if you can find him, you let me know." She demanded.

His face flushed red, seething with anger  as he quaked on the verge of sudden explosion, like a volcano he was bound to erupt any second, sure enough, his hands extended as the charged for her, until Blythe pulled out her musket, pointing straight at his heart, instantly he retracted, thunderstruck at her sudden move.

 "I'm not the same girl you arrested in the forest." Her eyes glowered with subtle realization at her drastic move. 

Suddenly the door slammed open to Judith, who gasped in shock upon Blythe's figure knelt down on both knees with a weapon in hand.

 "Colonel..." She eyed Blythe continuously. "Y-Y-You're needed downstairs."

 "Right away, thank you Lady Harrington." He dismissed her, though she still stood at the doorway. 

Blythe suddenly dropped her musket as he turn his back somberly, and in came Judith prepared to console the broken teenager.

 "Oh dear Heavens." Judith held Blythe close as sudden tears came down her face. 

 "What the hell happened to him?"

 "Oh my dear Blythe, he hasn't been the same since you left. He had screamed your name the morn' he realized you were gone. Not a soul could console him." Judith shook her head at the empty doorway. "Dear Blythe, what are you even wearing?"

 "Militia crap, that's what."

 "Oh, dear let us get you out of that ridiculous outfit." Judith helped her up and took her upstairs the her dim lit room, with a better candlestick good for another day or two rather than the last stump of wax. She made her way to the corner, pulling out an emphasizing petticoat and corset, and the many underlayers the young teen could barely wrap her mind around; while Blythe stood behind the floral dress screen, folded in three. "You could rest here if you would like."

 Blythe relieved herself of the uncomfortable garb she wore and changed into the many layers minus the wind-knocking corset she would have to wear come tomorrow.

  "I'd very much like to. I just don't get it, he's not okay with me, he's not okay without me."

  "Dear Blythe, he's confused without you, you're his only true love."

  "Jesus, was it that obvious?"

  "Oh good Heavens my dear, it didn't have to be, somewhere down inside you still love him, and he still loves you."

  "Judith, he's changed. Oh what am I saying, you just won't get it, unless if you loved someone just as cruel, which I doubt."

 "Blythe... I have," Judith admitted abruptly. "And I never realized it until the day he slipped away. Before any of this terror happened, I had fallen in love with Captain Bordon, before he was ever a drunkard. I won't forget when we had boarded the ship, all I could think of was the way he smiled at me, his soft yet deep voice, the way his hand always slipped around my waist, and those unforgettable jade eyes. I dreaded every time he came back to the fort debauched. But somewhere down inside I still loved him underneath that uniform, I failed to show it though. I just despised what this army had made him, believe me Blythe."

 Blythe dropped her pile of militia garb, astonished at Judith's confession of loving the man who attacked her, as she slowly crept out from the screen all she could see was a sobbing Judith.

 "My dear Blythe, this army is what made him so lustful and lost, you have every right to resent him, and I cannot pardon it either for you're my dear friend, I know I'll forever love the man he was... but not the Captain he became." She gently patted her pale reddened cheeks with her handkerchief.

 "I don't resent him Judith, for you're sake I won't." Blythe finally spoke solemnly as she reached her hand out to the dismal maid, knowing she deserved every happiness she desired.

 "Please, don't resent the Colonel for what this army made him, love him for who he is underneath, there is a caring man under that mask he wears, I know, please promise me dear Blythe." She clenched her hand.

 Her azure eyes clenched with tears, knowing it was a promise she had to make not just for William, but for her only other friend, no matter how absurd it sounded at this point, she knew she couldn't hurt the one who cared for her since the first day of her imprisonment. She just simply couldn't blow off the innocent maid who stood by her side and heard her out when William never did.

 "I promise Judith." She finalized.

Judith somberly smiled as her hazel eyes tearfully gave way, burying her face within Blythe's shoulder, knowing she lost the one she truly loved the entire while.

 "I forgive him..." Blythe trailed off with closure.

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