┋Duke Chadrick strode across the hotel’s foyer, his expression focused, mixed with a hint of a smile – the attire fit perfectly, which he knew would make a positive impression on the Duchess.
Outside of the glass door, at the end of the long, crimson carpet extending across the stairs his carriage waited for him and, holding its door open, stood Michael. All a smile, his brother took a step forward and opened his arms wide. ‘Beloved brother! You look positively fantastic! Are you go…’. The glance Chadrick threw at him, together with the shoving of his arm to the side curbed Michael’s words. ‘All right, then, Duke Brooding.’ he continued with, adding a scoff at the end as he turned away.
The carriage ride was short and uneventful. With the war’s end came along a time of peace that trickled down to the common citizen. The thieves, once popular, had been apprehended and the streets were safe once more.
Once the carriage stopped, he pushed the curtains to the side. The Rockfort Villa, where the Duchess resided, had not changed in the years he was gone. Although well kept, the signs that marked the passage of time were not easily ignored. And yet, they covered the building like wrinkles on a wise man’s face. He stepped out and followed the servants’ instructions to the gardens.
The carefully trimmed hedges and shrubberies, orderly shaping the walkways and dotting the gardens highlighted the thick, waving rose bushes and the patches of various flowers. Few knew the reason the Duke of Rockfort kept his gardens so well was because they served as a memory of his late wife.
He took a turn and, at the end of the white, river stoned path his eyes found the Duchess. The sound of her song sent a jolt through his body. He wrung a rose from a nearby bush and made his way over to her, holding it behind his back.
‘My Lady!’ he greeted her as she took a pause between verses. He bowed slightly, the other arm extending at his side.
‘Chadrick, my dear! Welcome to the Rockfort Villa.’ she replied, her eyes searching across his figures, as she stood up. ‘What brought you here?’┋
✠ Thank you to my wife, Ryanna, for the support and for posing! Check her Flickr by clicking on her name!