Chapter Fifty-Three

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Catriona smiled at Nikolai.

She then opened her mouth but nothing came. Her lips quivered.

She knew. She heard it all.

"Tell me," she said weakly.

Celeste stepped back pulling herself away from the hug. "Cat," she said but was ignored.

Catriona took a step towards him then another. "Tell me."

Nikolai didn't want to. She wasn't ready to know the whole story. And yet she looked at him with stern gold eyes. So, he told everything.

A party held in the palace six months ago. There's nothing special about this just a party for the nobles.

Nikolai was being surrounded by noble ladies asking for a dance. Then the usual party became something memorable to him when he saw Catriona and asked to dance. She was so shy and cute that caused him to answer in a gruff manner.

He wanted to talk to her after the dance but all the ladies were immediately were into him once again.

The last time he saw her at the party was a servant offered her a drink.

"I saw you sleeping at a table near the door," Yvonne said continuing on what actually happened. "And when I turned my back for a minute to asked someone to carry you, you were gone."

"A maid had seen you with a suspicious looking servant. He was carrying to the other side of the palace, away from the exit. She reported to us immediately," Gabriel said.

Nikolai was with Gabriel and Yvonne that time when the maid told what she saw. They and some guards searched for Catriona to the endless doors and room.

"I—" Nikolai's voice cracked. "I was too late. He had already... you were there laying on the bed defenseless with an unknown man on top of you." His hand gripped tightly that his nails dug to his palms. He was so frustrated at himself. If only he hadn't let her go at that time. If only had the courage to talked to her.

"His name," Catriona said with toneless voice. Her face held nothing.

"Xander Ford but it was fake. He tried to escape and I had to kill him on the spot. I'm sorry I didn't think properly that time then I would have know who he worked for," Nikolai said, no longer looking at Catriona. He was ashamed.

"Thank you. Thank you for everything you had done for me," Catriona said with a smile. A smile he doesn't know. It was neither fake nor genuine. "I need to be alone. Please let no one enter the room."

No one stopped her as she walked away from them.

❦❦❦

They had finished discussing on how to capture the notorious bandits called Dark Black who had kidnapped Catriona at the Silver Sea Port and killed Hans, Nikolai's coachman. And with that, his men went to the Dark Black's hideout.

His guests were about to leave when a maid named Nadie burst into the room with a pale face. "She's gone," she said gasping for air.

Nikolai immediately stood up and walked out of the room as the maid follows behind him. "Tell me what happened."

"Lady Catriona told me to get some food since she hasn't eaten properly. I was reluctant at first but she gave me this looked that says I will be fine. I tried to look for a guard as I went to the kitchen but I couldn't find any so I decided to go back. She... she's already gone."

When they arrived at Catriona's door. Catriona's maid was crying silently at her carelessness.

"Everything will be fine. We'll look for her," he said, trying to convince himself. He opened the door. The room that used to be his mother's.

Lilian told Nikolai that Catriona was meeting with someone when he was out in the war. And when he saw Catriona was sleeping on his mother's bed, his mind went blank. The next thing he knew he was choking her to death, the resentment and betrayal made him blind. She had no rights to be here. This was my mother's. How dare she.

When Catriona punched him, he realized how wrong his action was. He almost killed her. And her child. The child that never was him but he'll love him nevertheless. So, he chased Catriona. He wanted to explain. He wanted to apologize. He couldn't shout nor speak because of his wound was opening.

Taking a glance at the room Nikolai immediately walked out, his boots slapping against the floor as he trudges down the hallway.

The windows and the door leading to the balcony were closed. She didn't take anything.

When Nikolai saw Gabriel he immediately orders him to check the horse shed and counts the remaining horses. There must have five left after he dispatched his knight to raid the base of Dark Black. He told Gabriel to meet him where he thinks Catriona was, if she didn't go for the horse.

Yvonne, Celeste, and Nadie were following behind him but he couldn't waste time slowing down for them so, he ran. Outside, snow started to fall once again.

He cursed loudly. He cursed at himself.

Entering the forest he saw the footprints of Catriona but with the snow, it was almost covered.

Wait for me, Cat.

His legs burned but he continued to run in the forest, towards Catriona. To the place where no one could stop her from killing herself.

At the end of the forest, he saw her pale blonde hair flapping against the wind and snow. Her body stood at the edge of the cliff where a strong and harsh current of water awaits below.

"Catriona!" He screamed.

His wife turned with surprise on her beautiful face. She then smiled, a goodbye.

She stepped back. He ran faster.

He won't make it.

He denied it. I will make it.

He stretched his hand to her, reaching, as he called her name.

His hand touched nothing but the air. Catriona was falling.

He stopped thinking and dived to his love. Immediately, he held his wife into his arm and grabbed the tree that had grow at the wall of the cliff.

_______________________

I'm sorry that it took me so long to update. School will start soon in my country so I have neglected this story for quite a while. And I'm having a hard time looking for inspiration. Thank you for the stars and comments. I'll see you on monday.
-love, author

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