Wrong, she’d been wrong! Completely, utterly wrong. Richard didn’t love her: he hated her. That look in his eyes: that intense, passion-fuelled look; had been loathing, not devotion. Oh she was a fool.
Of course he had had to treat her kindly when she was a maid. Of course he had needed to engage with her in conversation, lest he seemed a condescending master. Of course ... of course he had had to hold her when he’d found her sitting in the forest, crying, and told her that he would help as much as he could...
Calling her ‘dear’ had been a mistake, nothing more. That was why he hadn’t been able to respond afterwards: why he’d quickly turned away from her as if rejecting the sight of her. He’d been disgusted with himself.
How?! How had she been so, utterly stupid as to think he returned her feelings for her? He was a lord. She was a mere peasant. She would never mean anything to anybody; which peasant man would ask for her hand when she had spent several years of her life in a manor?
Oh why had she fallen in love with him?
All those times she had thought that he cared, all those times it had been possible that she brought light to his eyes, all those private, wonderful moments during her career here... And really, she had just been a burden to him. What a fool she had made out of herself.
And now, she was bound here, her mother not having enough money to buy them a new house, living in the house of a man who probably couldn’t stand to see her face anymore, out of sheer and utter hatred.
‘You silly, silly girl,’ she thought to herself. And she kept repeating that phrase in her mind until the tears formed streams down the pale, snowy plains of her face.