Simon took hold of both her hands. “Look at me, Alessandra.” She raised her eyes to his. “I vow to you now, with all my being that you will once again be the carefree girl of long ago. You deserve happiness. You deserve love. You deserve life.”
“I beg of you, Simon. Do not pledge yourself to quixotic promises.”
“Trust me, Alessandra.”
“I cannot. I had given all my trust to another man and he betrayed me in the most horrendous way.”
“I will not force you to trust me. But I do promise that one day you will.”
“You are setting yourself up for failure, Simon. I will never, ever, trust anyone again. Especially a man. Not even you, Simon Thane Bevan, Marquess of Heavensford.”
“In time you will, Alessandra. I swear my life upon that promise.”
“Then you’re a fool.”
“You say that now, but your view of me will change.”
“You know this to be fact, do you?” Alessandra turned her gaze towards Simon’s dark brown eyes. “You seem so sure of yourself. But you don’t know what it has been like for me. It’s so easy for a man to use those two little words. Trust me. With the right charm those two little words become seductive. Manipulative.” Alessandra turned away. “Deadly.”
Simon leaned into Alessandra’s ear and whispered ever so gently, “With the right man they mean happiness. Love. Life.”
Alessandra wiped away a tear and rose from the bench.
Simon stayed behind as he watched her walk back towards the house; towards her room of self-inflicted solitary confinement. And towards the unrelenting demons that haunt her every moment of quietude and every hour of wakefulness.
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