1617: xviii

“But who is she?” Aimée asked. She pushed her empty bowl away from her. Firelight danced along the walls of the dim room. Gilles had his blind eye covered, but she still found herself staring at it throughout the meal.

“The Dowager?” Gilles hesitated before he answered, “Only my father’s second wife. She has always disliked me for the sole reason that I exist. I haven’t seen her face to face in many years.” As Gilles replied he tried to keep his face turned away. He could feel her eyes beginning to bore into him.

“She said you killed her sons,” Aimée whispered. Gilles shrugged.

“Their deaths were not my fault,” he said. “I merely used my connections to get them positions. Madame’s husband died when his regiment went into a skirmish against the Huguenots. The other two assisted me in a duel as seconds, however they were not as skilled as swordsmen as I had been led to believe. I am only at fault for asking them and they willingly accepted as brothers do.”

Aimée considered what he said. It certainly did not seem as conniving as the Dowager had said it to be. The woman had made it sound as if Gilles himself was holding the knife that killed them.

“You are not concerned with your inheritance then?” she asked. Gilles shook his head and chuckled roughly.

“No. There isn’t much left to inherit. I have the title now and I don’t have use for the land or house. I have always made my own way. Always.”

Aimée realized there was still a great deal she did not know about her master. Only months ago, she had been under the childish belief that she had been blessed with an adoptive family, but behind it all had been deception. The Count and Madame had been merely civil, not friendly. She felt stupid for not seeing it before. There appeared to be multiple sides to every story and you could not believe the outward appearance of anyone. There was quite a bit for her to learn about people.

Her thoughts gradually wandered to her next question.

i          xvii           xix

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