Chapter 1

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December, 1918.

The Duke of Windsor was not concerned with the Christmas lights that were decorating the gaming room, nor was he concerned about the deck of cards in his hands. He was concerned only for the young woman who stood against the far wall opposite the gaming table. She was surrounded Buy a large group of gentlemen, all of whom were staring at her as if she was made out of diamonds and not flesh and blood.

Alexander Benedict had no idea as to why the men were around her like that. The poor thing couldn't catch her breath. Her face was pale and her diamond blue eyes were filled with fear and panic. Her blond hair cascaded about her bare shoulders, exposed by the belle sleeves of her white satin gown. Her gloved hands were clasped against her chest.

Alexander growled as he watched one gentleman step towards the woman, pinning her to the wall. He despised men who treated women in that manner. He wanted to rise from his gaming table, go over to the group of gentlemen, and push them aside, taking the young woman for himself. However, he knew that his actions would not be very gentleman like. But the poor girl needed help.

Pushing has dark brown hair out of his blue eyes, Alexander finally refused to sit back any longer. Placing his deck of cards onto the table, he rose to his feet, black tuxedo tails flapping against his black pants, and with straight shoulders, strode deliberately towards the group of gentlemen. He was almost to the object of his attention, but was then stopped by a firm hand grabbing the back of his jacket. He turned with an annoyed snarl, only to find himself Face to face with one of his closest companions, Damien Quincy, the Earl of Winchester.

Damien's green eyes looked Alexander up and down quizzically. What's the matter with you, Benedict? You look as if you wish to strangle those gentlemen.

Alexander. Do you not see what they are doing to that young woman? They are suffocating her. Why should I stand aside and let them do as they please?

Damien. Benedict, please be rational. You have thrown yourself at women before. Why should this one be any different? I will admit, she is quite a lovely woman.

Alexander. She is, which makes the current situation all the more serious. She does not look comfortable with them.

Damien glanced in the direction of the indicated group. Well, that makes things all the more... Good God! She's about to collapse!

Before he had any time to react, much less think or process his actions, Alexander was rushing towards the young woman, catching her in his arms just as she fell. He cradled her against his chest, striding quickly towards the back rooms of the red diamond, one of London's famous gaming rooms, and placed her down gently onto one of the couches.

Damien rushed after him, surprised by what his friend was doing. Should I send for a doctor?

Alexander nodded. He instinctively Felt the need to take the girls hand into his own, and so he did. He squeezed her fingers softly, waiting for her to wake up.

Two minutes later, Damien arrived with the doctor in tow.

The doctor glanced at Alexander. What exactly happened here?

Alexander. My friend and I were just speaking about this young woman, stating how she was being suffocated by a group of gentlemen who had been surrounding her a few minutes ago. And then she just... Collapsed.

The doctor nodded. I see.

Alexander. Do you know what's wrong with her?

The doctor examined the young woman carefully, his eyebrows knitted together with concentration.

Alexander and Damien waited anxiously for his news.

After a minute, the doctor glanced at them. Well, this is a classic case of epilepsy.

Damien. Epilepsy? What's that?

Alexander. It's when your brain doesn't function properly. It sends mixed messages to your entire body, causing you to do things that you do not intend to do.

The doctor nodded. You would be correct, my Lord. There are varying degrees of epilepsy. In this young woman's particular case, her epilepsy occurs when she collapses for no good reason.

Damien glanced at Alexander with confusion. How do you know about Epilepsy?

Alexander. My father had it, and died of complications because of it.

Damien. I see.

Alexander. Is there anyway that we can help her?

Dr. Anderson. All we can do is wait for her to wake up. She might be a little confused when she does, so I suggest one of you stay with her.

Alexander. I'll stay with her. My Lord Quincy, go back out to the gaming room.

Damien. But Benedict! You can't stay here with her! Think of the rumors! The scandal!

Alexander. She needs me. I can deal with the rumors and scandal later. I doubt anything is going to arise because of this.

Reluctantly, Damien left the room, the doctor following behind him.

Once they were out of sight, Alexander sat down beside of the young woman, still holding her hand and stroking it gently. He was hoping and praying that she would wake up. He knew this type of seizure, because his father had the same exact symptoms. He knew how long this could last. All he could do was wait.

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