Chapter 17 - Errand For Master Dylan
Anna could hear the sound of dress shoes clicking upon the floor as the young man who spilled the champagne approached her. “Since it was all my fault,” he said, “I’ll help you out.”
He was getting closer. Anna could sense his ill intentions, so she backed away from him, fearfully surveying her surroundings. “No, the fault was my own. You don’t need to help,” she said, but the young man just smirked as if he found her amusing.
“What do you mean I don’t need to help? You don’t even know how I plan to help you.”
“Regardless of whatever you’re going to do, I’ll be fine.”
“Well, I won’t. You ended up like this, so, of course, I should take responsibility! That’s what gentlemen do, after all.”
As if he was anything like a real gentleman! His eyes were akin to a predator’s in the midst of stalking its prey, a malicious sparkle lingering within their ominous depths. Anna knew that if she were to make a mistake at this moment, something terrible would happen to her. She was terrified.
A moment of silence passed, then…
“Stop right there!” he shouted.
Anna lifted her skirt to keep from falling over it and immediately starting sprinting in the direction opposite of the young man. The further she fled from the party, however, the darker the hallways became.
Although the man was drunk, he was tenacious, and his determination to catch her had been sharpened into a fine, frightening point. It didn’t take long before he caught up to her and seized her wrist. “I made you spill those drinks, so I’ll help you change your clothes. Why are you running away?” he asked, chuckling lowly as he pulled Anna close.
She shrieked. “Please don’t do this!” Intoxicated or not, the man was still, nevertheless, a man. He was stronger than Anna, and she didn’t have the skill to fight him off. “Please,” she begged once more, “don’t do this. Please!”
He dragged her by the wrist. Incapable of fighting him off, Anna could only scream as she struggled, fear made manifest in the frantic ring of her voice. The man opened the door to the room closest to him and forced her inside of it. “I haven’t even done anything yet, and you’re already telling me to stop. Quit whining!” he hissed.
He grabbed her shoulders and spun her around, forcing her to face him. His breath reeked of alcohol.
Suddenly, a different voice spoke out from the corner of the room. “What’s all this?” it asked.
Anna instantly recognized it. Dylan. Dylan was here.
“Goodness,” the frightening man huffed. “Looks like another gentleman’s already claimed this room. Let’s move this somewhere else, then—”
“Please, help me,” Anna pleaded desperately.
Dylan didn’t reply. The man lifted himself and renewed his grip upon Anna’s wrist.
“Young Master, please!”
She was pulled out of the room with a jerk of her arm as the man shouted at her, demanding her to shut up. Turning to another room, he quickly entered it and threw her in. Anna cursed at Dylan and his feigned ignorance.
At that moment, someone ripped the man’s hand away from Anna, kicking him brutally in the backside. The man toppled over with a loud tumbling sound and lay sprawled gracelessly upon the floor. “Argh, who are you?!” he groaned.
In a flash, Dylan sat upon the man’s bust and began to nail his fists into the man’s face. The thin man whimpered weakly, incapable of moving amidst all the pain. Dylan stopped, glared at the man for a moment with wrath burning viciously in his eyes, and then dismounted, leaving the man abandoned on the floor as he walked away.
Dylan took Anna with him. He brought her to the room he was initially resting in as she trembled in his grasp. “Pathetic,” he cursed aloud. Fuming, he tore his tie from his neck with one quick, coarse movement.
Assuming he was addressing her, Anna felt insulted. “There was nothing I could do!” she cried. “He was the one dragging me around and throwing me in rooms—”
Dylan turned to her, baffled.
“—so why are you calling me pathetic? Picking out girls he doesn’t even know and forcing them alone with him, drunk out of his mind—he’s pathetic! Not me!” Anna screamed. Her back hit the wall and she crumpled to the ground. Tears streamed down from her large, round eyes.
“No, I wasn’t—what I was saying was… I wasn’t talking about you, but that scumbag…”
Dylan closed the distance between him and Anna, aware that she must have misunderstood him. She was wiping away her tears with a shaky hand; it didn’t look like she would calm down, no matter what he said. He picked up the tall glass of champagne he had been drinking before he was interrupted earlier, handing it to her. “Drink it,” he offered. “It’ll calm you down a bit.”
With him sitting by her side, Anna clenched her eyes tightly shut, taking the glass and gulping down its contents. She didn’t stop until she emptied it.
The room was dark. Only silence remained, and neither of them tried to say anything. Dylan’s right arm settled against Anna’s left, and the slight touch distracted him too much to move away. He wondered if the scent of champagne he detected was coming from him or her.
It didn’t matter, either way. He allowed himself to enjoy the light fragrance as he sat, idle, in the quiet of the room.
At that moment, Anna’s head fell onto his shoulder. The soft sound of her steady breathing only had to travel a scant few inches to meet his ear. ‘No way,’ Dylan thought, turning to look at her.
Drunk off a single glass of champagne, Anna had fallen asleep upon his shoulder.
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