"You still love him, right?" Connor asked in a softer tone; his gaze flicking over to her with sorrow filling those dark eyes. She was quiet for a while, her lips slightly quivering as memories of the past years came back to her; some part of her forever grieving the loss of the man.
"I...I do, I think. I'm not sure if it's love anymore..." It has been eighteen months since then; it was time to let go of him but it was easier said than done after all that happened between the two. She risked a glance at Connor before averting her eyes to the ground; caught between embarrassment and melancholy. "He wasn't a truly a bad man. Yes, his ideals or methods might be flawed; I don't argue that. But somewhere deep inside there was a caring heart, even if it was rare to take charge over his actions or words."
There were moments when his compassion wasn't directed at the Order; moments that were hard to forget, that had a great impact on her whole life. She sighed, lightly shaking her head; her companion probably didn't want to listen to her miserable feelings all day- though she could feel a sense of relief.
"I know; he seemed to write quite fondly of you in his journal." A light blush dusted her cheeks at the male's words; even if she's had the chance, she never looked into it to see if there was anything about her. She just hoped there wasn't more than what Connor already knew or assumed. Her interest was piqued again but she didn't ask to see it, the journal was meant for his son; she had no right or permission to read it.
"But how did you know that I still have feelings for him?" Her curiosity shifted, sure that she never brought up the man except for two occasions; neither in connection with her.
"The other day; when I carried you back to your room. You seemed content and peaceful nuzzling into his cloak that you had over your body." Her lips parted with a silent oh, still a little cross with him for that; his side and abdomen caused him pain even half a year later, yet he didn't heed her words to stop straining himself unnecessarily.
"I wasn't aware that you'd be back so soon." She was cautious about bringing the Templars up or his father; always afraid of an argument or awkward situation, that's why she never brought up acquiring the coat or the painting from the basement. This however wasn't so terrible, he shown understanding and kindness towards her; qualities the elder man lacked more often than not.
1777, New York City
Her hold tightened slightly on his father's arm as they approached two older men; one looking more of a gentleman than the other. She produced a small, and no doubt compelled, smile towards them as her father halted a step away. Her father was bringing her along to balls ever since she turned sixteen and there was little to unsettle her at such occasions; not even unwanted attention from elder officers made her this nervous. Her father gently patted the back of her hand as the other two finished conversing and parted ways for the time being.
"Good evening, colonel Robinson." His voice still had a hint of hostility though it was concealed with a reserved tone and a curt smile. Her father accepted the offered hand, shaking it with a firm hold before lifting up hers slightly.
"I don't imagine the two of you had been acquainted before;" he started, his gaze going back and forth between the two; "[Name], sweetheart, I'd like you to meet Haytham Kenway; head of the British diplomatic delegation. Master Kenway, she's my only daughter, Miss [name]." She couldn't decide from the grey eyes that shifted onto her what the other thought about her father's mistaken assumption; neither having the time to read his expression as her own gaze averted to the ground.
"Delighted to meet you, Miss Robinson." She didn't expect such a light hold on her hand; a somewhat intrigued oh slipping from her as the pair of soft lips touched against her own skin. It was different from how she remembered the other's touch from the previous time; but she could still notice the precise predator behind the mask of chivalry and etiquette.
"The pleasure is mine, sir." She offered with a brief curtsey, her eyes only flicking up to meet the steely gaze for a second or two before they averted again; a faint blush growing across her cheeks under the intense gaze.
As they talked, another officer walked up to them; a soft yet annoyed huff coming from her as her eyes settled on the man her father hoped to marry her.
"Miss [name], gentlemen." He greeted the little group with an unpleasant French accent; nothing like the one her new acquaintance had. She suppressed a grimace at the way she was addressed, not seeming to be noticed by either men. After a few muttered words, her father turned to the pair of them; offering an apologetic smile along his words.
"If you would excuse us for a moment." He only got a slight nod from Haytham; [name] took a step back warily as he watched the two men leave to continue their political conversation. It took her a couple of seconds to be painfully aware that now she was left alone with, if not under the care of, Haytham. She glanced over at him, wondering what excuse would work the best on him; however the warm breath against her neck cut her thoughts short.
"I see you chose a proper attire this time~" Her blush deepened on her cheeks; the colour close to that of the male's hair tie. [Name] looked around nervously; a soft sigh coming from her as she noted no one else heard the words of the other.
"Please, don't tell it to my father, sir." Preferably it should remain their secret for the rest of their lives but she had no control over the man and what he told and to who. She risked another glance at the chiselled face that ofttimes had a blank yet strict expression; this time however the thin lips pulled into a smile, watching with satisfaction how her expression jumped from embarrassment to panic in a single second.
"Come." A hand took hers in a delicate manner, guiding her across the crowd of people to a secluded balcony; both relived and on the edge from being alone with the man. But if anything, she was confused what he wanted after the other night; a run-in that didn't go too smoothly.
"So? What now?" As she spoke, her brows arched up from their natural state, one slightly higher than the other. She didn't expect the male to make a move on her; neither considered to be harmed in the privacy of the spot. Even though she was right about extremities, she was still caught off guard as firm hands pressed her against the wall; much more similar to the furious grasp she remembered.
"Who are you working for?" His voice was cold and threatening; much unlike the one he used in front of her father. Yet, it still wasn't as unpleasant as the other major's who'd hopefully engage her father long enough. "You're one of the Assassins; Achilles' new apprentice, I take." There was a certain disdain in his voice as he spoke the name of another man; someone she only heard of in that moment.
"What, no!" She exclaimed before biting her lip to cut back the shrill sound of her voice; not knowing where the other got this idea from. She was far from being an assassin; while she was agile and capable of climbing buildings of the city, killing someone else for payment or a higher cause was never her ideal. She maybe wasn't as innocent as she looked but it was only a pastime for her own amusement; not intending to cause any harm or damage. "I'm not working for that man...what was it? Ah, Achilles..."
His lips pressed into a thin line, exhaling with an audible and clearly frustrated huff; he was expecting another answer. He wasn't convinced the damsel in his grip was telling the truth; though on closer inspection, he would've been able to tell she didn't bore the Assassin insignia anywhere. His whole body pressed against her, eliciting an ambiguous gasp; his lips dancing a hairwidth away from her ear. "If I discover I've been lied to; I'm not going to rest until I see you dead."
She tried to moisten her dry lips; starting to grow nervous and take the repeated threat seriously. The paleness of her cheeks slowly turned into a dark crimson as the other's weight kept her trapped against the wall; the position not making her as uptight as enticed. [Name] wanted to turn her head to the side, to see if the ever observant eyes were stormy as she imagined; or if the man shown no signs of resentment. Her motions halted after a second, warm lips touching against her skin as she involuntarily closed the distance between them. She grew hesitant over pulling away, intrigued to see how Haytham would react yet cautious not to add to his animosity. The adrenaline coursing through her body triumphed over her better judgement, her eyes closed as her own sought the other's lips; gentle at the moment but capable of cruelty. The moment of shock her actions caused were enough to slip away; yet she only shuffled to the other end of the balcony.
"Seduction won't work on me, Miss Robinson." His voice was back to the natural, collected manner with a hint of warning in his words. She giggled, it wasn't her plan until being challenged to; there was already something in the man she found attractive but couldn't quite point it out. She could feel the other's hand come in contact with her once again, drawing her towards the inside of the hall. "Let's head back before your father starts to worry."
She obeyed the guiding hand on her waist, annoyed by gazes that flicked their way; yet it was still better they believed what transpired between them was improper in an intimate way rather than being aware of the truth. To ease her mind, she was comforted by the thought her chaperone couldn't make it to the current event; she would never hear the end of it. She was not surprised to find his father still conversing the same man by the side of the dance floor, though the topic already shifted to something lighter. Her father's eyes lit up as the odd pair walked back; probably she was the centre of the discussion, the thought making her shy into Haytham's touch.
"Miss [name]," the younger man started; her lips twitching in discomfort when she was addressed by her given name against her request. "It would be my pleasure to dance with you." She glanced from his conceited expression to her father; hopeful that she'd say yes and allow a chance for the army man to swoon her.
"I'm sorry, Major André but I already promised my first dance to Mister Kenway." She glanced up at him with a pleased smirk, feeling as if she got back at him for the earlier smug comment about her dressing choices. There was only a split second she had to be nervous about the man not playing along; that didn't mean she was safe from a scolding squint.
"Maybe at a later time then." She could hear the disappointed man while being led among the dancing couples, wishing to avoid the unwanted man and his attention for the rest of the night. Her chest heaved with a relieved sigh once she was face to face with Haytham; oddly finding comfort and peace in his light hold.
Again, she let the male lead her along with his steps; falling into the rhythm of the song with ease. Her eyes were on the male's chest, unable to bring herself to look up at his face; afraid of what expression she might see. Her escape from his gaze didn't last long, eyes rosing to meet the grey orbs; his voice compelling her to lift her face.
"Why do you want to evade his advances so much?" She blinked, refraining from biting her lip to win some more time to figure the answer. She didn't quite expect the other to notice her reluctance to be close with the other but caring about it surprised her more than the fact he wasn't blind to it like her father.
"He...John is just too...boring?" It was more of a question, unsure how to put her feelings into words. The man in question was respectable, a perfect candidate to be her husband in her parents' eyes; yet even though the fact he was quite skilled not only in political and militaristic strategy, but talented in many art forms that added a softer side to him, he wasn't in her favour. Au contraire to the one she was sharing the dance with; Haytham was many things John wasn't although she had yet to explore the mysteries of the Brit.
"A rebellious young lady is hard to please." Haytham murmured the statement more to himself, easily seeing through her; understanding unspoken words of what she found undesirable in the major. It was relaxing she didn't had to explain herself, speaking of such improper things that often crossed her juvenile mind; but it was alarming how little time it took for her to be an open book in the male's eyes.
"Although, I don't understand why are you so concerned about me." She saw no reason for him to be interested apart the mistaken theory of where her loyalty lies; unless the odd encounter proved enough to appeal. She didn't have the chance to find out, her partner leading her off the floor at the end of the piece; glad that at least her father was seen without the major.
"Ah, simple curiosity upon seeing you prefer a stranger's company over someone you're surely better acquainted with." While there was truth in what he said, she wasn't sharing the opinion wholeheartedly; she wasn't choosing a stranger's company...she was only going with the most convenient excuse to reject the major. She wanted to correct him but his attention was on her father already; the light hold slipping from her waist. "I have to admit, sir, your daughter is a remarkable lady. It would be my pleasure to keep you company but I have to leave early tonight."
A soft pout started to form on her lips but her father's chiding gaze was enough to stop her visible expression of regret. She was enjoying the company for more than keeping her away from certain guests; playing with the fire and keeping danger an arm's length away was an amusing thought. "I hope to enjoy your company once again, Mister Kenway."
"Rest assured, Miss Robinson, this wasn't the last time we crossed paths." Definitely; now that she was serious about having her way with the man. Her smirk was masked by the polite smile; cheeks blushing worthy of an innocent lady as another kiss was pressed to her hand as farewell.
She huffed in annoyance, irked by the words that were repeated to her the second time though in a little different manner. She paced up and down the living room, her flaming gaze only stopping on the old lady a couple of times; the scowl on her face just further aggravating her chaperone. Somehow the old woman learnt about her little...adventure...on the latest ball; suspecting the news spread from her father through her mother to the woman who now in turn scolded her.
"Your behaviour was unacceptable, young lady. Your frivolity could bring trouble for your father." She rolled her eyes, not feeling guilty for so shamelessly enjoying the company of the Brit. If anything, the constant reminders of what was proper and what wasn't would only result in her rebelling more.
"I told you; father left me in his care when he excused himself to have a private conversation with John André. That man is a bad influence; I don't want to be anywhere near him." Her voice was shaking, her attempt to keep herself collected was futile when her reasoning fell on deaf ears. Of course she was the one at fault for daring to enjoy time with a new acquaintance more than the person everyone around her wanted.
"Don't put the blame on your father; it was your duty to excuse yourself and join a party of your fellow ladies." She groaned, fed up with all the tiny details of etiquette that was forced onto her; conversing about limited topics with girls whose only ambition was to marry rich was just as awful as settling with someone who can't satisfy her needs thoroughly. "It's unacceptable for you to meet him again more than necessary."
"What do you mean?! I meet whoever I like, you're not my mother or father to tell me what I can do!" She never really got along with the woman, unable to learn and remember all rules and guidelines; and even then she always found something to criticise [name] over. Her voice now came close to a screech as she retorted; the pent up anger bursting forth. "And even if you were; I'm of age already and do what I please!" With that, she stormed out of the salon; leaving her shocked chaperone behind the slammed door. It wasn't hard to trace her steps, stomping across the manor to her room; the door once again slamming behind her back.