Irene woke up hazily on the hard dirt, a large dust cloud surrounding her and her vision started to get blurry. She must have blacked-out, but how? Trying to turn, Carter grabbed her and threw her against the ground again, punching her in the face repeatedly. Irene tried to turn and at least knock him over, but the hits in her face caused everything to be discombobulated.
"Carter, stop!" a female voice yelled and as Irene collapsed on the floor; Dylan ran up behind and caught her as Carter let her go. Irene blacked out, but Dylan at least prevented it from getting worse.
"Sophie, she's a criminal," he looked confused as his gal stopped him, "this is my job, and I did not expect this sort of thing from the likes of you Sophie. You understand about her, you know why I hate her."
"You broke her nose," Dylan bit his bottom lip as he held her head gently, faintly touching her cheek.
"Dylan? What-how did you get here?" Carter asked and looked around to see where he came from. How did Dylan know that I was chasing her? Carter thought.
"I followed you," the Marshall answered politely, standing up and still holding his fiancé in his arms.
"Well, I'm sure glad you are here," Carter reached behind him and pulled out some handcuffs. Dylan gently laid Irene on the dirt floor again while he put a hand out, signaling Carter to stop.
"That will not be necessary Carter," he pleaded.
"Y-you... you're in love with her ain't you?" Carter's eyes widened as he whispered, finally figuring out why Dylan was always there to impede him. Carter could see it in Dylan’s eyes, the fact that he looked hurt to see her injured and blood. There was a sensitivity in him whenever he was around her.
"It is true, I love her," Dylan nodded.
"I knew it! Ever since you started defending her, and then after you split with Elizabeth it's like you're totally different now! You were cheating on her weren’t ya!?"
"Carter, you need to understand this. Irene is Lizzie, she was just pretending so she could get some fresh air for a bit and possibly keep our relationship not so much a secret. Her real name is Elizabeth Irene Dawes, so it's not a full lie-"
"A lie is a lie!" Carter yelled and then looked at Sophie, "You. Sophie how could you!? You little b-"
At that Dylan punched Carter straight in the jaw and he hit the coarse dirt hard, unconscious. Sophie immediately ran to Irene and Dylan started to pull Carter over his shoulder.
"I have an idea," he said.
Irene woke up to the smell of her favorite tea, the mint piercing her nose with the sweet aroma. She felt a warm cloth on her head and saw Rebecca there, smiling as she patted down her wound.
"Ugh, what happened?" Irene groaned, touching her heavy head.
"Carter took a shortcut and bashed your head with a piece of wood, then bashed it again with his fists. You have a broken nose and a couple bruises, but nothing totally major. No concussion or anything that might prevent your wedding. You'll just have to avoid Dylan's violent nose-bumping kisses," her sister smiled.
Irene laughed and turned red, "Haha yeah, but what's going on now?"
"Carter is held hostage downstairs in the 'vault' while Sophie is conflicted a little. She seems off, which I guess she should be since they are together. I don’t know if Carter is awake yet, your future husband can pack a punch."
"You learn really quick," Irene lifted herself up and sat on the couch.
"No, Dylan just loves to talk, especially about you," she stuck her tongue out slightly, "I'm just jealous."
"Yeah, yeah I get that a lot," Irene smiled.
"You treat him really well. Although I can see some of your personality rubbing a little onto him, no doubt he uses your sarcasm."
"Where is Dylan?" Irene finally asked.
"I'll go get him for you," her sister smiled, got up, and left.
Carter woke up to bright lights and a pure white room. He was sitting on a stool in the middle of it and looked around. All over were boxes, either filled with bullets, guns, or other strange objects. He found Dylan sitting on a group of them, blankets on them as if it were a small uncomfortable bed. Dylan was furiously cleaning one of the shotguns. He was not mad at Irene, but mostly at himself and Carter. Carter had no reason to treat her like that... but yet... he did didn't he?
"Why didn't you tell me?" Carter asked first.
"Because Sophie, Irene, and I thought it would be best to keep it a secret," Dylan replied, not bothering to look up.
"I'm your best friend Dylan, I'm really surprised that you never told me. I would have understood."
'No Carter, you would not have. If I told you any sooner you would have tried to arrest her too, and probably gotten away with it."
"Dylan," Carter whined, "she's a criminal."
"No she isn't," the Marshall shook his head and set the cleaned shotgun down, "that's just what everyone thinks she is. If anything she has done more good than anyone in this town, even more than me."
"Dylan you are blinded! She steals, she kills, s-she sleeps with every guy in town! You must understand that whatever lust you have for her is blinding all the facts!"
"Those are not facts, but rumors. Yes, she steals, but look at the details. She steals from Maroni. Yes she kills, but she kills people working for Maroni trying to kill her. And yes, she used to sleep with men to get information, but now she-"
"Because now all she needs to sleep with is you, since you give her all the information," Carter smiled, knowing that he was pinching a nerve in Dylan's spine. Dylan looked furious.
"I haven't slept with her! That is the last thing I ever thought of! I do not love her for her body, or her supposed 'talents' in bed; I love her for who she is and what she does. She is the most kindest, sweetest, and charming woman any man would want to have. You don't know everything Carter, and whenever I'm trying to help you understand, you shove unnecessary comments that you know hurts me!"
At this, Rebecca opened the door, looking around after hearing the angry shouts, "Um... is everything alright?"
"Everything is fine," Dylan nodded but looked worried at Rebecca, "how is she?"
"She's awake and wishes to see you," she said.
"Ok," Dylan slightly smiled and left the white room, leaving Carter still confused and Rebecca feeling a little awkward in her short dress.
"So uh... who are you exactly?" Carter asked, not in an impolite way.
"I'm Rebecca Dawes, Irene's sister," she replied.
"I don't look like her? I get that often. I don't have the charming looks as my sister might have but-"
"I didn't mean it like that ma'am... I mean, you just don't seem like you can relate to her at all."
"I know I may not look as outlaw-ish as you might seem, but believe me, if Irene or Dylan, or anyone part of my family was in danger, I would have no problem picking up a gun," Rebecca said with a smile.
"That's great to hear," Irene came in the room with Dylan behind her, "the more people on our side, the better." Rebecca helped her sister up on the boxes while Dylan kept death staring Carter as he sat next to Irene, wrapping an arm around her shoulder and gently rubbing it.
"Glad you could join us Miss Dawes," Carter crossed his legs on the stool as he leaned against the wall, relaxing now.
"Always a pleasure to join in things like this," Irene leaned against the opposite wall while Dylan used his other hand and gripped hers.
"I'll go get your tea Irene," Rebecca quickly left, thinking it would be best to avoid all of this.
"So, I'm still confused about how you're good and all, saying that you steal from Maroni, when all he's ever done was clean up this town," Carter scratched his head.
"My dad only makes it seem like he's-" Dylan started.
"I was not asking you. I was asking her," Carter rudely interrupted and looked at Irene.
Irene had a small sigh, "I'd rather not want to explain this all over again, but if it could possibly have you on our side, I'm all for it. Maroni... he is not the man you think he is. He has this radical plan, a plan my father tried to stop and died trying. Now it's my time to stop him, but I cannot do it alone."
"What is this plan?" Carter asked.
"The gold mine...." Dylan muttered as if he just figured it out, "that's what he's doing..."
"Dylan, how do you know this?" Irene looked up at him with a confused face.
"I have his blueprints on all his manufacturing buildings and there was a huge gold mine... Irene, what exactly is his mission?" Dylan asked slowly.
"He is planning to buy the United States of America..." she sighed.
Carter burst out laughing, "Oh my, Dylan you are in love with a crazy person... there's no way on earth that there is enough money to do that!"
"Actually there is.... there may not be enough of gold in that mine to buy it... but he's making fake gold.... fake gold that feels, looks, and smells like real gold. We have no idea what he could possibly plan after buying America."
"How would our government even believe that though?"
"Our government may not be stupid... but if given the offer to relieve all the debt after the Civil War... and him asking to be a part of the Congress... he no doubt will slither his way to power. Money is giving him this power, fake money. We look at Tomoha and see a beautiful city, however looking beyond that and seeing the filth it has become and the disrespect the rich have for the poor... that's all Maroni's fault. Many houses outside town have been bought by Maroni, but the money was not given and nobody has the authority to stop him. People are living in disparity and there's nobody to stop them from doing that."
"Well," Carter took a deep sigh, "this doesn't explain why you kill his men, and my brother."
"I knew your brother Carter, Andrew was a good man until he got to Maroni and knew of his plan. It was either I kill him, or he kill me. Obviously we both knew what was going to happen."
"Obviously there's something more deeper than this though. I feel like that's not the only reason you are planning revenge on Maroni. You could have killed him countless times... but you are looking for the best revenge, foiling his plans. Why? What is making you want this personal revenge?"
"He killed my mother," Dylan said, "and he killed her father. But he also not only left a personal scar on Irene and me, but he left a physical one on my future wife..."
"Wait what? You're engaged to her?"
"Yes, I can proudly say you are. Did you think we were just together?" Dylan stroked her hand.
"I had no idea you were serious about being together..." he looked aghast.
"Your tea miss..." Sophie said quietly as she walked in and Carter immediately stood up and walked over to her. Irene jerked herself forward, trying to protect Sophie but Dylan held her back. As Carter reached her, he knocked the tea tray out of her hands and listened to all the china shatter and the brown sweet goodness spill. Sophie and Carter had a good staring contest for around ten seconds until Carter said:
"You disgust me Sophie. How could I ever love such a lying, filthy maid who all she cares about is herself... how did I ever trust you? Don't even think of apologizing to me... don't even think about saying anything to me. I am done with this," he quickly slapped her and ran out the door, heading out of the house.
Irene immediately ran to Sophie and held her close as she burst into tears onto her mistress's shoulder, "Follow him Dylan, he might spill everything and reveal our location."
"Of course," he said quickly and kissed Irene's cheek, then Sophie's forehead. He then ran outside the door and started to follow Carter wherever he was going.
"I'm sorry," Irene whispered as she held Sophie. For once, she truly felt bad for what she did. Sophie might not ever get over this.
After that, Sophie went to her room and stayed there for hours. No news was heard of Carter or Dylan, so Irene stayed at the mansion with Rebecca, having the lunch she didn't get to have with her fiancé.
"You think she will be alright?" Rebecca asked as she jumped on one of the counters.
"For once," Irene slightly smirked, "I don't know."
"I'm sorry," Rebecca smiled, "could you repeat that?"
"You heard me, and I do not like saying things twice," she smiled back.
"Do you know how many weapons I found today inside your house?" Rebecca asked.
"According to what I remember... I have at least fifty lying around all over the nooks and crannies."
"Fifty?! I only found around ten! There were at least three in the tea room!"
"Hey, there could be a time I'm having tea and get attacked. You never know when someone could shoot right in those windows."
"Oh what a tea-saster," Rebecca grinned.
"That doesn't even make sense," Irene stared at her sister blankly.
"Well, I thought it was funny," she frowned.
"Stop trying to be like me," Irene smiled.
"Oh come on, you have to admit it. We are related so there are plenty of things we have in common."
"Ok I can admit we have things in common, but we have things not in common too."
"You know that's everyone right? We all have something in common and things not in common."
"Maybe mother should have sent you to that nice and dainty private school. You probably would have turned into the Queen of England or some brilliant scientist."
Rebecca blushed, "Well, even if all those things sound great, I think it's better to be here with you. It feels good to try and fix what was once broken... I hope Carter can learn that."
"It's harder to fix something that was broken for a while though. Every minute he doesn't apologize, the apology will be harder to accept," Irene shook her head. Suddenly there was a knock on the door.
There was never a knock on the door.
"Are people supposed to knock on the door?" Rebecca whispered.
"Uh... that usually means they're uninvited," Irene whispered back and headed towards the door.
Rebecca grabbed her, "No. If it someone sent to kill you, I should answer the door. Maybe I can prevent them from entering the house." Irene nodded and grabbed a pistol hidden in one of the cabinet drawers, hiding behind one of the columns next to the door.
Rebecca opened the door, and appeared a familiar blonde face with curly hair.
"Um, hi, I'm looking for Irene," Katherine looked upset, but also confused to find a strange woman in a very fancy dress.
Irene came out of her hiding spot, "Katherine, what's going on?"
"It's Dylan. I'm afraid he and Carter were talking in the saloon and then a huge bar fight started happening and now the prostitutes are after Dylan and all these people are fighting."
"That seems to have escalated quickly. What do you want me to do?" Irene asked blankly.
"Irene... your fiancé is getting attacked by drunk men and scandalous women and you aren't going to help?" Rebecca asked, a little shocked.
"I was just kidding," Irene smiled and whistled for a horse, "nobody touches my cowboy."
"That's more like it," Katherine smiled.
"I'll go with you guys," Rebecca said. Irene and Katherine looked at her.
"In that dress? You'll get torn to shreds in this town. Perhaps if you wanted to go to town you rampage through my closet, or perhaps Sophie. Besides, I need a family member to watch the house. Keep those guns safe," Irene smiled and jumped on one of the horses that showed up. Blackie came of course, panting next to the tall, brown horse ready to run with them.
"You two are related?" Katherine jumped on her own horse.
"Sister, yeah," Irene smiled as she adjusted the reigns.
"I never knew you had one."
"Most, if not all, don't. Not that it matters since we look nothing alike. She'll be considered less of a target."
"Are you afraid she'll get hurt?"
"No, she's a Dawes. If she gets hurt she'll just get back up. I am afraid of people using her to get to me though," Irene fixed her saddle, "Alright, let's go."
The two had arrived at the saloon in a matter of minutes to find windows broken and a huge crowd inside. Irene immediately got off and ran inside only to find everyone was fighting, fighting everywhere. There was fighting on the bar, on the tables, on the stairs to the second floor, and of course fighting on the floor. Irene's eyes immediately scanned around to try and find Dylan, and found him in the corner with a couple women, and he looked strange. Irene could almost see it, it was the same face she'd feel on herself many times.
There were times when she debated sleeping with another man, and the mental debate inside her head was always too much. What made it worse now was the Dylan had that same issue before he came to this town, and now it was shoved back in his face. He looked so helpless that Irene couldn't bear it any longer. She ran right past all the fighting and punched the first girl in front of Dylan.
Dylan was shocked, but there was also a smile of happiness on his face, "It has never been any better so see you."
"Have a problem with hitting women Marshall?" Irene smiled.
"Oh yes, it would very ungentleman like to do so," he reached to grab her hand but a prostitute smacked Irene.
"Dawes! Can't you see I was doing a deal here?!" she yelled, the makeup was streaming down her face due to the extreme heat and sweat she gave off.
"The Marshall belongs to me," Irene shoved her into the other group of prostitutes, "I branded him." At that instant, all the prostitute's eyes just widened and they instantly were on their knees, begging.
"Miss Dawes we didn't know," they entreated, "we never knew you had branded him. Just don't hurt us!"
"Just get out of here," Irene clenched her jaw and the several women escaped the bar, running back to their hell-holes.
"Branded me?" Dylan asked, fixing his collar.
"We'll talk about that later," Irene jumped on an empty table and shot her revolver at an angle above her in the ceiling. At the loud "BANG" all the other men stopped fighting and looked at her, their hands still holding the piece of clothing of another man.
"How the hell did this happen?" she raised her voice.
"Well, Jimmy here owes me money," A voice said and let go of the young bloody farmer. Irene jumped down from the table, putting her heated revolver away, and walked towards them.
"So you beat him to a pulp because he owed you money?" Irene asked.
"No, it was more of an accident. You see, I accidently dropped my drink on him after I got a little frustrated. It just got out of hand," Jimmy said.
"So... why do you owe him money?"
"He owes me a couple of dollars because his farm is on the land he is renting from me. And if I don't get that rent, I have to kick him out," the older gentleman shrugged.
"I can't pay him. The winter came too soon and my crops are freezing. I won't be able to sell the rest of my wheat until a day comes where they aren't frozen," Jimmy sighed and wiped the blood from his nose.
"How much does he owe you?" Irene asked and dug through her vest pocket.
"Twenty three dollars," he said. Irene grabbed some money out of that pocket and pulled out some money.
"Here's thirty," she handed him the money and looked at Jimmy, "next time, harvest early. Don't be lazy." She then walked over to the bar, everybody staring at her, and she placed the remaining ten dollars on the bar, "drinks are on me."
The men cheered and ran to the bar, leaving Irene, Dylan, and Jimmy in the main seating area.
"Miss Dawes," Jimmy looked at her, "thank you."
"It's nothing," she slightly smiled. He smiled back and headed out of the saloon, running away from his trouble. Katherine walked in, seeing that the ruckus was over.
"Well," she said, "you obviously handled that better than the Marshall."
"Hey, I was under attack by ladies. I didn't know what to do to them," he defended himself and slid his hand into Irene's, holding it softly. Irene gently squeezed it, letting him know everything was okay.
"Ok then," Katherine laughed, "I guess you and Charles owe us another debt for saving your guy's life."
"Would a nice dinner suffice as one of those?" Irene asked.
Katherine's face lit up, "It would yes. Shall we say seven o'clock?"
"Hey," Dylan walked into Irene's room, well now it was their room, but he always wanted to knock first, "Can we talk?"
Irene turned around from changing into a more formal outfit for the dinner later tonight, "Of course Dylan. We can talk whenever you want."
He ran his hair through his wire-curly hair again, "I just wanted to thank you, for earlier today. I just... I felt like I was hopeless when those women were all over me, touching me and things. I felt like I was another person. There was this guy, who wanted to just give in, to let those girls do whatever. Then there was me.... who all I thought of was you. I almost gave in Irene, I almost let them have their way. If you didn't show up, it would have gotten bad, and I would have never forgiven myself."
"Dylan," she walked over and whispered, "but it didn't happen. It's okay. The one thing the devil likes best, is shoving those old temptations right back in our face when happy times are coming. He knew if you didn't resist that, the wedding could have possibly been ruined."
"You would have not married me if I did that?" he whispered, a little hurt.
"Of course not... I just wouldn't want to marry a guy who could never forgive himself. I wouldn't want you to wake up everyday and see my face, and think of how you 'betrayed' me."
"Okay... I like the dress," he smiled slightly, trying to change the subject.
She smiled, "I thought you would. You going to change or not? I mean you don't have to, it's not that formal of a dinner."
"No, no," he started unbuttoning his shirt, "I can change."
"Good," Irene smirked and watched him strip his upper clothing.
"Still fascinated in my body hun?" he asked smiling, seeing she was watching him change.
“Darling,” Irene leaned against the wall, still watching him, “I will always be fascinated in you.”
“You mean my body right?” he headed towards Irene, since she was near the closet.
“No,” she shook her head, “you.”
“I see,” he smiled and pushed the curly strand of hair on her face behind her ear, “Well, I can say that I will always be entranced by you.”
Irene wrapped her arms around his bare neck and pulled her face closer to his, “I love you.”
“I know,” he smiled and kissed her gently, “I love you too.” Irene kissed him back, biting gently on his bottom lip. He held her waist, pulling her closer as he kissed her harder. His hands traveled up the back of her dress and he reached the metallic zipper.
“Not today cowboy,” she whispered and kissed his lips gently, “we have guests.”
“Oh so if we didn’t, you’d let me?” he smiled and still kissed her slowly.
She smiled, “Perhaps, but you already have seen me naked haven’t you, and it’s not Saturday yet.”
“Irene, darling, that was a total accident, plus... I turned away and didn’t see much.”
“Oh please Mister Marshall, I know you saw more than that scar,” Irene smirked and Dylan blushed.
“Alright so maybe I did,” he let go of her, and she released her arms from his neck as he walked behind her to the closet, pulling out a silky black shirt. “How’s your nose?”
“That’ll look good on you, and it’s okay, just sore from your kissing,” Irene turned and helped him button up his shirt. He let her take control and then grabbed his cologne of Irene’s dresser and sprayed some on. Irene smiled, taking the sweet, dark scent in and basking in it.
“You’re amazing, you know that right?” he smiled back and kissed her neck softly.
“Oh I know alright, there’s a very handsome man who tells me so everyday,” she grinned as his prickly facial hair rubbed against her tender neck.
“I just say it everyday because it’s true, and I want you to know that everyday so you never forget.”
“I don’t think I could forget how amazing I am,” she joked and he stopped kissing her, looking into her eyes and smiling.
“No, no, I don’t think you could baby,” he laughed and kissed her lips.
Irene paused and heard a slight noise, “I think they’re here, it’s best that we head downstairs sweetheart.”
“Excellent idea,” he wrapped a hand around her waist as he guided her out of the room and down the lovely wooden staircase. They saw Katherine walk in with Charlie right behind her, holding hands. Irene deducted that they were probably still together after what had happened, that she had forgiven him, but they were cute together.
“Ah, there’s the lovely couple,” Charlie smiled as he saw Dylan and Irene walking down together.
“There’s the couple that was capable of keeping us together. We still thank you for what you did,” Dylan shook Charlie’s hand firmly, “and I hope we can get to each other better.”
“Of course Marshall,” Charlie ran his fingers through his sandy brown hair, “I’ve heard many great things about you.”
“Well then,” Dylan started dragging Charlie into the tea room, “we have lots to talk about.”
“I can see that your fiancé and mine are enjoying each other’s company. Knowing Charlie, he will talk for hours to no end.”
“Knowing Dylan,” Irene smiled, “so will he.”
Dinner was being served and everybody except Sophie was present at the table. Irene sat next to Dylan and Rebecca, as Katherine and Charlie sat at the other side together next to Birdy.
“So, what exactly does Charlie do? I mean, you were the boss for the project for Maroni, what exactly do you do?” Irene asked.
“He’s a spy, works for the government and Maroni is to be kept an eye on so they sent him out there. He was just posing as the boss,” Dylan answered and smiled.
“I can see you two enjoyed talking together,” Katherine sipped her soup and grinned.
“The only thing we did not talk about was how you met,” Dylan mentioned.
“I worked at my father’s store in town, he happened to walk in, and of course attempted at flirting with me,” Katherine smiled.
“It worked pretty well,” Charles laughed and kissed her cheek.
“Rebecca, you’re a pretty gal, you got someone special?” Katherine asked.
Rebecca actually looked calm and not a nervous wreck as Irene thought she’d be, “Nah, there’s very few gentlemen in this world.”
“What do you look for in gentlemen?”
“I would say someone exactly like Dylan, but I do not want to upset my sister,” she said and everyone at the table started laughing.
“Hey,” a quiet and meek voice said. Irene turned and found Sophie coming down the stairs, wanting to join them for dinner. She looked terrible, her faint makeup was rubbed off by pounding tears, and her eyes were red.
“Howdy,” Dylan got up from his seat and walked towards Sophie, “we’re having an amazing chicken pot pie and tomato soup. You should try it.”
“Don’t mind if I do,” Sophie said and walked with Dylan to the table, sitting at the end of the table next to Rebecca and Katherine. As Dylan sat down, he grabbed Irene’s hand and they both thought the same thing, that Sophie acted well, but did not seem well.
“So, Irene, what are your next steps for Maroni?” Charles asked, already finishing his soup.
“My plan is to first stop his gun and ammunition factory nearby. It’s the closest factory but also the most dangerous. Dylan here has the blueprints to it, and we are trying to get more people involved, preferably people who are willing to fight. After we destroy that, we will continue on with the other ones.”
“Well then count us in,” Katherine grinned and nudged Charlie.
“Good, so Team Irene and Operation Savior now has...” Birdy finally spoke and started counting on her fingers, “we have around eight people.”
“Certainly not enough to raid an entire factory and destroy it,” Dylan said, “but if we had three more Irene’s I’m sure we could do it.” The table laughed, even Sophie.
“Well, if we can get Carter back, it’s possible we can influence the others involved in the police force here. I’m sure they will be smart to figure everything out and join us,” Charlie said.
Again, for the second time of the day, there was a knock on the door.
Everybody got quiet and looked at each other, as if they didn’t know what to do. Irene looked at Rebecca to answer, and she slowly got out of her chair and headed towards the door. Dylan pulled Irene away from the gold curtain-covered windows and towards the kitchen.
Rebecca opened it to find Carter there.
“Can... can I speak to Sophie please?” he asked quietly, fixing his hair.
Rebecca looked at Sophie, then back at him, “That depends on what you plan to say to her.”
“It’s an apology, to both Miss Dawes and Sophie. However, I wish to speak with Sophie alone, and before I speak to Dylan and Irene,” Carter looked nervous and started to sweat.
“Come in then,” Rebecca let him in, and turned left to the dining room. Sophie looked really uncomfortable, her arms crossed and her fingers shaking, and she looked at Irene for help.
“Just go,” Irene whispered and nudged her.
As soon as they reached the quiet and magnificent library, Carter began speaking, “First off, I really-”
Sophie slapped him hard in the face, leaving a red residue on his face and Carter speechless.
“-First off, I really deserved that. You deserve to slap me a million time in the face, but before you do, I want to tell you that I have been the worst boyfriend, or whatever we are, to you. I never should have treated you that way, and when you told me Irene was Elizabeth, I should have stopped and listened at first, because now it all makes sense. I was talking in the saloon with Dylan earlier, and um... I realized that I am an ass, but also that I need you. Everyday, it’s you that wakes me up, gets me out of bed, and makes me want to see you. You are my everything, and I was so stupid to let you slip through my fingers and I just want you to forgive me. I don’t care if you do not love me anymore, I just want you to forgive me.”
“I forgive you,” Sophie smiled and held his hand.
“I also... need to tell you that what I just told you, I can see it in Dylan. Irene means everything to him, and I can see that now. Hopefully, Irene forgives easily.”
“Well, she usually does, there’s only one person whom she really hasn’t forgiven yet, and that’s Maroni,” Sophie sighed.
“What he did is unforgivable though. If my family was killed and in danger, I would do everything I could to see them avenged, but I won’t avenge my brother on Irene, but on Maroni.”
“Glad to know,” Irene smiled as she walked into the library, not bothering to be silent as the doors opened loudly.
“Miss Dawes I uh...” Carter gripped Sophie’s hand.
“It’s alright, you’re forgiven, and please, call me Irene,” Irene stuck her hand out.
Carter shook it, “I’m sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused between you and Dylan. I never really meant to hurt either of you, I was just so blinded by the lies that I did not see the truth.”
“It’s fine Carter, don’t punish yourself so hard,” Irene shrugged.
“It’s true what Dylan said, you are so much different than what people predicted or talk about you,” Carter explained.
Irene smirked, “The only way to truly know a person is be around them, however, most people don’t like me anyways.”
“I wonder why that is Miss,” Sophie smiled and Irene jokingly rolled her eyes.
“It is most obviously the looks, duh,” Irene smiled and then looked back at Carter, “we have some extra chicken pot pie. Care to join us?”
“That sounds delicious actually,” he smiled and walked with Sophie back into the main part of the mansion. Irene stood there and now counted to herself. Around nine people Irene, we can do this. I think this will actually work.
The several days went by extremely fast, so fast that in a blink of an eye it was already the night before the wedding. Dylan was working late in order to give up most of tomorrow and Sunday, so Irene was usually at home all day either training or reading. She was hanging some of Dylan’s clothes up when he walked, his usual plaid shirt in jeans, but this time covered in dirt.
She looked at him and smirked, “Been rolling around in the mud, you pig?”
“Oh yes indeed hun,” he took off his cowboy hat and set it on the small table near the fireplace. He then walked over to Irene but she stuck a hand out in front of him.
“Shower first, then you can kiss me all you want,” she smiled and he jokingly frowned, but backed up and started stripping.
“Well, then, might as well save water and shower together,” he softly chuckled.
“Oops, too bad. I already showered today,” she giggled and turned her head, preventing her from seeing any “vulgar” body parts.
“Rats, maybe another time then,” he laughed back, “I’ll be out in three.” At that, he grabbed a towel and headed into the small bathroom. Irene picked up his clothes and threw them into a small dirty hamper meant for laundry. After that, she grabbed her Bible, then sat on her bed as usually did when waiting for Dylan. For some reason, she was feeling rather nervous. Usually people were happy for a wedding, but her nerves kept building up inside of her as each second was a little bit closer to being married.
She never imagined in her life she would ever get married, especially to someone of the extent of Dylan. He had his flaws of course, but he would always be perfect for her. Just her, nobody else. She was happy that something like this could happen to her. All her life, she thought a happy ending seemed impossible, out of reach. But now it seemed that everything she never knew could happen were. She knew she did not deserve this, nobody deserved someone like Dylan, or friends like Sophie and Birdy, or siblings like Rebecca. Now, as she was so concerned of her father’s death, she forgot to look at the things that were still in her life; she realized that there was so much more that could have come out of that terrible fate, but she was blinded by hate that she didn’t see it.
Irene laughed to herself as she thought these things because it reminded her somewhat of Carter. Carter was a good ally to have now, Dylan was a great one to begin with. What good thinking of Sophie that she would fall in love with a man that would help Irene solve her revenge. She tended not to think it as revenge, but she was avenging instead.
“Everything okay?” Irene looked up to find Dylan in some soft cotton pants and no shirt, just drying his wet hair with a towel. He looked a little upset at her, not with her, but he noticed something seemed a little off.
“Of course,” she smiled and put the book back on her nightstand, then looked back at her gorgeous cowboy, “just thinking.”
He put the towel at the edge of the bed and then slowly climbed on the bed towards her. When he reached her, he kissed her forehead and stroked her cheek, “Thinking? Oh no, that is not good. Women shouldn’t be thinking, then the get ideas... and then they just get all dangerous.”
“Oh but you love dangerous women Marshall,” Irene smirked.
He smirked back and touched her nose with his finger, “That’s incorrect. It should be ‘I love a dangerous woman’. There’s a difference you know.”
“Major difference sweetie,” she said and kissed him gently.
“What were you thinking about anyways? Having second thoughts?” he got off her and moved towards his side of the bed, between her and the solid wall.
“Not at all, if anything they were the opposite of that really. I was thinking that I was really grateful to have met you. I realized, that you always said that you needed me, but I think all along it was me needing you. I needed someone to support me and help me get through this, and it’s all happened because of you. I can literally say you are the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
He sighed, but smiled, “I know baby, and I can be happy to say that in about maybe twenty-four hours, I get to call you my wife.”
“Hopefully this sleep will go by faster then,” she yawned. Dylan leaned over her and turned the light off, knowing that the best way to get rest was in darkness (as everyone knew that). He got under the covers with her and cuddled next to her, feeling her warmth after a cold shower.
“I love you,” he whispered and kissed the back of her neck.
“Love you too,” she mumbled back, and for once her world was in perfect balance.
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