The wedding ceremony that followed two weeks later was very unlike anything that Larcella had ever imagined for herself, not that she often took to such fantasizing. The entire affair was kept rather quiet, which was to be understood considering the terms of the arrangement and the image it would reflect upon the family as a whole. Although, Larcella wasn't sure if anyone would object. Familiar parties would most likely consider it a fitting way for her to end up: forcibly married in a degrading bit of circumstances. Yes, people far and wide would chuckle at the idea of the young woman who had acted with such cool superiority being used as a pawn in an everyday business transaction.
Even so, Master Vivek wanted to keep the entire situation quiet, just in case. Only close family had been invited to the wedding, which basically included the residents of the manor and Lunda's new family.
Larcella had been dreading Lunda's arrival at the manor. She would surely be completely incensed on Larcella's behalf, or even worse, full of pity and remorse that she would insist upon sharing with Larcella.
On the Thursday before the wedding, Lunda made an appearance in Larcella's chambers before Larcella was even aware of her arrival on the premises.
Larcella's prediction of her sister's behavior had been all too accurate.
"O, Lark, darling… say you won't go quietly," was Lunda's first exclamation, as soon as she entered the room.
As she set down her brush and glanced woefully at her canvas, Larcella wondered why her siblings were all so intent on disturbing her painting.
"As quietly as I would go anywhere else," was Larcella's short reply. Lunda simply rolled her eyes and sat down next to her younger sister.
"I know your attitude too well, Lark. But surely even you must be upset about aall of this. It's absolutely-"
"Ridiculous? That very well may be, but I have no right to refuse it. What would you suggest that I do about it?"
At this, Lunda's eyes filled with tears as she grasped her sister's hand.
"Show some emotion, sister! Any sort of feeling, some kind of opinion… Do you even care about where your life is going? I could not imagine your existence- no friends to speak of, not one spark of love in your heart. How do you live with yourself? How do you find satisfaction?" The desperation in Lunda's voice was almost painful. The tone was so near begging, so close to being hopeless.
The look of Larcella's eyes quickly quieted her sister, who was taken aback by the lack of emotion she found in them. If it were not a lack of emotion, Lunda could not be sure what it was. She could not have known that it would be better described as an abundance of feelings, so many so that it could be compared to blackness, whereas whiteness would the absence of colour. The infinity of colours in Larcella's expression were so confused and intertwined that they could not be seen, and so from her eyes came a look of such darkness and emptiness that it made Lunda's blood run cold.
"The feelings that I harbor regarding my present situation are none of your concern. My heart may be scarce of sparks, as you say, but at least I do not keep the fire burning so intensely that I will soon run out of kindling and be left to my own misery, which you so falsely believe already consumes me," Larcella deadpanned, never relieving Lunda of her chilling gaze.
Lunda's mistake became clear to her, and thus she gladly dropped the subject altogether and belatedly focused on a topic of less severity before excusing herself to the parlor downstairs.
Several minutes went by after she left before Larcella could resume painting.
Larcella received so few visitors following that encounter that she wondered if anyone in the house remembered her existence. This was, of course, wishful thinking on her part- Larcella was married to Master Ransford only a few days later, and that was that.
She had expected to feel different after being married. Lunda had harped on and on about her own excitement before she herself was wed, but Larcella just couldn't fathom how it made any sort of difference at all. There was a man who stood in front of her and avoided her gaze during the ceremony, and after that there was a carriage bringing her to her new manor. It was a very nice carriage, but other than that, she found the entire affair to be quite tedious.
Larcella's new home was not quite as large as her family's house, but this was only an observation on her part. She could have lived in a cottage and she wouldn't have minded it- she only wanted to be left alone, after all. Fortunately for her, there were no siblings, or nosy maids, or frequent guests at Ransford Manor.
Much to Larcella's surprise, she barely caught a glimpse of her new husband the entire first week she was there. She had her own bedroom on the east wing, and she had no idea where he himself resided. One afternoon she asked one of the kitchen workers where he spent all of his time, because Larcella had only seen him once in the corridor by accident.
"Master Ransford usually has business in town during the day, and in the evenings he likes to work in the library." the servant had replied. Larcella nodded and picked up her sandwich plate before turning to leave the room, but the woman called her back.
"Master Ransford will be leaving next week for Antiel, he'll be gone for quite a while, I believe. I'm sure he'll be informing you of this himself soon enough," she supplied. Larcella thanked her and left the kitchens, a thoughtful frown on her face.
The man had spoken barely a word to her since she had arrived at the house. Why was that? Why hadn't he sought her out, or sent someone for her, or at least shown her around the manor? Larcella found everything she needed easily enough by herself, but it would have been a fine gesture, definitely preferable to being ignored.
She knew that he had married her for his own financial purposes, but he had acquired a wife in the process. Was he simply disinterested in her, or did he want to let her alone as a way of making the time easier for her? Perhaps he even felt guilty and assumed that Larcella wanted nothing to do with him? This idea confused Larcella, as she had been under the impression that it was the husband's wish that was to be followed, and the wife's job to be set on his contentment, and not the other way around.
Even though she had not chosen this marriage for herself, she was still stuck in it and she would have liked to at least get to know her husband a little before he had to go away. She began to entertain thoughts of attempting to seek him out before his departure.
Her plans were not to be fulfilled, however. The next morning, she received a summons to the downstairs sitting room. It seemed as though he would be making the first move, after all.