Savannah pulled her hand off as soon as their hands connected, Marcus was left with his hand hanging in the air, he waved it off with a simple smile, "of course, I must be the devil himself right now, but I mean no harm" he uttered, looking through the window. Savannah felt relieved once his eyes were no longer on her.
The street sounds grew louder, it was hard to make out what was going on outside the carriage, the images clashing through the window were not helping either.
Savannah observed the man in front of her, was he upset because of Savannah's reaction? She could only tell he was lost in his thoughts, perhaps he wasn't fond of this 'arrangement' either, his hand reached his face, many times his lips had tried to emit a sound… anything but still nothing came from them, Savannah noticed how the street noises became lighter until the only thing to hear was the tired steps of the horses and the carriage being dragged.
"Listen.. Samantha…" Marcus almost muttered, "it's Savannah, my name IS Savannah" she replied, her tone showing her growing displeasure, "well Savannah, listen, I'm not a fan of this charade, don't get the wrong idea, I need to get married, soon" Marcus continued as he placed his piercing eyes on her "this is a strictly business arrangement, don't get your hopes high".
The tension inside the carriage was growing thick; both didn't notice the horses came to a stop until the driver opened the door offering his hand to the young woman, "The Imperial Gardens sir…"
Savannah hastily took the drivers hand as she rushed outside the carriage, she couldn't believe she was in company of such vile man. The landscape before her eyes was so beautiful she almost felt her mind being carried by the gentle breeze. She took a few steps forward, dazed by the sight of blooming flowers and seemingly carefree people.
"Nothing like a good walk to ease the mind" Marcus said, as he was now standing by her side offering his arm, which she took in a really unkind way, "I had no idea there was such a place" she kind of replied towards Marcus, her eyes widened.
Marcus allowed the warm air fill his lungs, the mixture of sweet and dirt reminded him of simpler times, "looks like I'm not the only one who found some peace here" Savannah uttered not looking at Marcus, he nodded as both started walking into the Imperial Gardens.
An hour must have passed by the time Marcus dared to brake the calm between them, "I'm sorry about earlier, I'm desperate" he confessed, "aren't we all" Savannah replied as she motioned him to approach a nearby pond, as they came closer she let go of his arm and rushed towards an empty bench in her own carefree way.
Marcus followed her in his gentlemanly way, "what has your Uncle told you so far?" he asked not taking his eyes off hers, "nothing really, he said something about a temporary arrangement, and that I was to obey his command" Savannah Sighed openly showing her discomfort.
"Well it is not like the end of the world is it?" Marcus asked, she remained silent. "Well, I guess I'll be doing his dirty work then", he sighed, still no response from Savannah, "but would you trust my word?".
Savannah simply nodded, he thought hearing something, but could not make sense out of it, "I'm not going to lie, as I said before, I need to get married soon, my father passed a few months ago" he uttered in a monotone voice, "I'm sorry" she said, "well, don't be, he wasn't worthy of anyone's sympathy" Marcus Continued, his eyes lost somewhere between the pond and his memories.
"Don't think of me as an ungrateful son, he kicked me out not a month after my mother died, his mistress took over my mother's place while she was still in her dying bed, of course I was not wanted there" Marcus spat, hurt in his words. "my father only carried a decaying nobility title with no money behind it, my mother on the other hand was from a rising family with enough wealth" He remained silent for a moment.
Marcus was confused he was pouring these feelings on a stranger, he was not looking for some comfort words, maybe he just needed to vent, her wide eyes on him, her whole attention turned on him, made it easier. Not wanting this outsider to know more than she should he continued.
"bottom line, I'll have everything that was rightfully my mothers, well whatever is left of it and that rotting title if I marry a young female from a notorious family, that's where you come into the plan" Marcus said in a mockingly tone which Savannah found utterly annoying.
"I still don't see the 'temporary' accommodation uncle spoke of, and I have the feeling you are hiding a big deal from me, that can't be the only reason to rush into a marriage with the first bystander you run into" Savannah said quite exasperated.
Marcus fixed his linen shirt before answering, "It would take ages for me to explain everything to detail so you could approve of my perspective, and even if I was in such desperation to acquire your approval… you just would never understand, besides I have told you enough" he said obviously in a defensive tone.
Savannah sighed, "There is no need to be rude, and you still haven't answered me".
"fine" Marcus said in a very upset tone, "you marry me, we pretend to tolerate each other for a while, I inherit a modest fortune and a title to go with it, we make a fateful journey, you die, I mourn you, we move on"
Savannah chuckled covering her mouth, Marcus eyed her "I'm sorry it looks taken from a cheap novel, and dare I ask how is that we move on if I died, or the whole killing me plan is going to remain a secret, you know for the sake of your cheap novel" she said still giggling.
Marcus rested his head on his hand, trying to look severe and not give into laughter; again she had turned the tension overgrowing the moment into nothing. "Well I promised your uncle you'll be compensated, you would change your name and I don't know the rest is up to you, of course we will be faking your death, and that comment on my master plan, well, It hurts" he said finally giving a wide smile.
After that they remained silent for about an hour, both lost in their own thoughts. Marcus playing with his clothes, Savannah twisting her dark curls. "Would you at least consider this, I can imagine far more terrible situations than being married to me… for example you could end facing a venomous snake… at least I am not that poisonous" Marcus said trying to ease things between them, clearly not succeeding.
"what is in this plan for my uncle, besides getting rid of me?" Savannah interrupted, "a lot" Marcus said dryly.