Chapter 11

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Aidens POV

I could hardly stand this waiting game. Cook had taken Kiara from me before I could even get out of the carriage. Fayette and Cook had her carried away, bustling her through packed corridors lined with curious onlookers. I was trapped behind a solid wall of slaves blocking the hall, which I saw Kiara quickly disappearing down. Pushing and shoving my way past the slaves, it was the first time these slaves had ever been anything but invisible in my daily life. Looking at their faces as I had pushed my way past them had made my stomach twist in a knot. These people have been an intricate part of my life and I can honestly say that was the first time that I had looked at most of their faces.

I could almost bring myself to laugh at the look on Cooks face earlier if I weren’t so frustrated by being chased out of the room so many times. The flushed and frustrated looks she was giving me each time I was ushered from the room under the argument that I wasn’t needed. I thought I was worried about Kiara but after seeing Cooks frantic face rushing in and out of the room for the past several days I knew everyone had been worried. As I sat here waiting for news I realized that I was terrified of what I might find when they finally let me see her again. Last time I saw her she was bundled up in blankets and laying limp across Fayette’s lap in the carriage. I tried to get into the room countless times and at all hours of the night, but with Fayette and Cook on guard I didn’t stand a chance.

Restless, I have spent the last few days sitting beside the door doing my very best to stay clear of said door. I learned my lesson yesterday when a rushing slave dumped the load of dirty linens on me that she was carrying from the room. Picking dirty rags off the floor and myself was one way to pass the time but not my preferred way. I gently bounced the back of my head against the cool stone wall behind me. A slow steady rhythm; I hummed lightly to myself, remembering the day I heard Kiara’s voice. Was it only last week?

That day I had come back ahead of everyone else to get a few things ready and to get a break from Valencia and her constant bragging about her daughter. I can still remember that sound sneaking into my awareness. A soft sound drifting through the silence, I caught myself humming along then too. A sweet voice, raspy and a little uncertain, but it sounded like a voice that had potential. I had walked out into the hall before the slightly echoed words and their closeness made me hesitate. Kiara’s favorite song. Walking through the halls, I can still remember the mystery voice stopping when I was so close I could swear it could have been coming from someone standing next to me. Desperate to find Kiara, the only source of the song I considered possible, I looked in every room down the hall. What I found was this slave looking satisfied at her work cleaning the room. I never even considered what I was doing when I confronted the poor girl. I must have half scared her to death between that and the kitchen.

Rubbing my hand over my face, I felt the stubble on my chin. Even if I were allowed to see her right now she would probably be scared of me; I look a mess. “You should really get some sleep Aiden.” The concerned tone brought me out of my daze. Fayette and Cook both stood looking down at me with a look of empathy and understanding on their faces.

“How do you expect me to sleep?” I could feel the bags under my eyes; I knew they were there without seeing them. It is amazing how much Cook is my family. Fayette and she have known each other for longer than I could venture a guess and have always shared each other’s confidence. How do some slaves become such an important part of your life and others get treated like they are toys for our amusement?

“Aiden. You need to sleep.” Fayettes gentle hand and Cooks firm voice soothed my nerves a little, but I didn’t move. I want to be as close as I can to her. They know that. I let my head droop down in exhaustion at the thought of what Kiara has been through. There is no point in going through the same conversation again. “How about a deal then?” I looked up again to listen to Cooks ultimatum. “If you go to bed now, then in the morning you can see her.” I could feel my stomach tighten in excitement at the thought of seeing her, holding her hand, and maybe even talking to her. I looked at the woman kneeling beside me, my mother as much as my true mother. They always want the best for me.

I counter offered. “Let me see her than I will go to bed.” I could see the objection rising in them both. “Just let me see her. No talking or anything. I just need to see her.” I knew they could hear the desperate edge to my voice. My pain was only going to make my argument stronger so I made no attempt to hide it. Fayette too sympathy on me, I could see it in her eyes, and the desperate ache inside me to see Kiara grew. “I need to see that she is alright.”

The two women exchange a brief look but then together reached out and pulled me to my feet. “She is sleeping, so if you wake her I will tan your hide.” The stern warning from the women nipped any thought of doing more than just peaking into the room firmly in the butt. As we walked arm in arm into the room, I felt sick to my stomach. What if permanent damage was done? What if Treyton did more than just beat her? I looked at the two women again and didn’t see terror in their eyes so how bad could it possibly be.

Walking up to the bed I looked down on the figure covered in a light sheet. Only her face and her shoulders were showing but it was enough to give me a good idea what the rest of her must look like. Her swollen eye was black and blue to match the colors across her cheek and the bruises that formed a clear hand print on her upper arm. I touched the still discolored line around my neck and swallowed forcing my stomach back down. She hardly looked the same person, she was so discolored and swollen. “Please tell me…” I looked at Fayette, deep into her eyes, “How much did he do?” They knew what I was asking. They knew before I asked what was on my mind. How could anyone think anything but the worst when seeing this much damage done to a person? “Please.”

A gentle hand rubbed circles on my back in a motherly gesture. “It is all superficial damage. No broken bones. No internal bleeding. Nothing life threatening. Nothing that will scar.” I cringed at the words that made the damage seem so minor despite what was clearly laying before me. “Treyton did not perform any sexual acts on or with her.” Cook spoke in a whispered voice but her words still sounded loud in the room. “As far as we can tell from the bits she told us and a physical exam, it seems he tried to but got angry when his drunken state prevented it from happening. The beating was the result of a drunken rage.”

I blinked twice then repeated her words back to myself. Prevented it from happening? I stared blankly at Fayette as I considered what she said. The confusion obvious on my face, Fayette smiled up at me. “Aiden. Treyton could not perform. His member would not rise to the occasion.” A small titter from Cook on the other side of me told me that this was good news.  I smile slowly crept across my lips as my sleep deprived brain processed their words. The drunken bugger couldn’t get hard. The drunken bastard that did this to her, did it because he couldn’t get it up! Catching myself before I laughed out loud, I grinned down at the two women that have been there for me in everything. I hugged them each in turn before the both pushed me out of the room with firm instructions to get some sleep. Sleep! How could I sleep right now!

I went outside and walked down to the bench under the willow tree by the pond. Laying on the bench I stared up at the star filled sky. Tomorrow morning I will see her again. Tomorrow I can start working towards getting my fiancé back. Tomorrow when the sun rises the world will be right again for the first time in years. I closed my eyes against the breeze and waited for morning, holding Kiara’s face in my mind and then again in my dreams.

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