The woman woke up and her sweat killed her already sore body as it came in large, uncomfortable patches in her T shirt.

But the sweat itself, was nothing compared to her tears. They wanted to come down like drops of rain from her face. It hurt her desperately to know that she would never be able to stop her tears from coming out of her like water. That there would never be anyone there to console her.

So she stopped her tears as she should have long ago. Instead, she lay on the floor, her head propped up by a small hard cushion. For a moment she just stared up at the window ceiling before she could drift into her sleep again. the rain came down pitter patter and thunder rumbled outside.

Her breathing became more even as she heard this and her eyes closed again. She had a big day ahead of her tomorrow. And skilled though she was, she needed the day to let her mind relax as it formulated the plan...

As her eyes closed again...she braced herself for the nightmare that had plagued her since she was a child...

Viscount James Orwell of Cheltenham sat quietly besides his father at the dining room table for lunch, his thoughts over clouded and his mind elsewhere altogether.

His artistic fingers were placed thoughtfully on his chin and his mind was thinking about a thought that was far far away from the latest twist in politics his family was discussing.

His mind was more on the painting he had begun and been unable to finish because of his father's constant badgering. How much blue should he have added? Was the color sufficient enough for an entire painting? How would he begin the tones? Should he over coat it with charcoal pencil colors?

And when he had finally finished probing himself about that, he thought of how his team would play for the next rugby match they were soon to have at the royal stadium. It was against Prince Robert and his team and James had a mind to thrash him.

The Prince and he did not get along at all. Probably because of the fact that Robert had dated James's younger sister once upon a time and had left her for some supermodel that he was now living with.

Robert was supposed to marry her. He had left her standing at the alter...it was a rather big scandal and one that had cost his family dear. In pride certainly...and especially in honor.

His sister had been quiet since.

Her vivacious and energetic manner had disintegrated to a haunted look and sometimes a sad smile...the words she spoke were no longer witty or humorous instead, they were sober and unhappy.

He had tried to break her shell...he knew he was the one she adored the most out of the family. But she had just smiled sadly whenever he spoke and said "Don't ever waste your time on love, my darling brother...not unless you want to be broken."

He looked at her now, across the table. A lovely, soulful, quiet woman with dimmed grey eyes and a short bob of black hair to highlight her soft features. He tried to connect something there that was torn and broken.

He failed.

His father, he Earl looked at his son and said "James, my boy...is something troubling you?"

He bit back the urge to say yes, my sister's pain which I cannot see you worrying about anytime soon!

Instead he said "Nothing, father." and looked at his plate.

His father had blamed his sister for the embarrassment the family had to endure. He hated his father for that. Victoria could get any man she wanted. And she knew it. She just chose not to strengthen her heart enough to have it broken again.

He sighed...other than matters of the heart, she was such a powerful woman. She refused to let anything break her. Not her sisters jibes or her father's heartless eyes.

His mother glanced at her son and then dismissively began to talk to her youngest daughter about the brand new function that apparently the queen was going to be attending. She was worried about her son, but knew better than to talk when her husband did.

His younger sister, Faye...now she was the selfish, nasty one. She didn't give a damn about anyone in the family.

Bloody bitch.

And immediately he felt guilty for thinking that. But ever since she had been a young child, she had hated the fact that her elder brother would take control of the estate instead of her.

And because she knew Victoria was his weak spot, and she chose to bring up her failed wedding every time the three were alone. It pleased her to see Victoria's unhappy face and sad eyes fill with tears.

Faye was jealous of Victoria. She hated her beauty and her kindness, her pure simple sweetness and her charm.

He saw Faye's eyes give Victoria a malicious look and then she looked back at her food nodding happily at her mothers words.

He ran his hands through his collar length raven hair, pushing it back from his face. Excusing himself from the table he threw his sister a small smile. Her eyes smiled back at him.

He was going to win this game just for her.

Her eyes watched carefully as he walked towards his car. "He's pretty..." she whispered to herself, for it was true. Any woman would think the same. The Viscount had raven hair that brushed his collar gently and a set of crystal clear cobalt blue eyes. His mouth was sensual, almost too sensual and the high cheekbones and aristocratic nose completed the picture. Tall, built like a whip with strong biceps and a lanky frame, he looked like he had just stepped out of the covers of a magazine.

She smiled as he bent down and picked up his car keys giving her a good view of what she considered a cute butt.

She had been watching him for hours now. Her plan had to be perfect. After all, it was the way she had been trained. And being the skilled warrior she was, nothing could go wrong. The car started up and she kept away her binoculars. Her hand was on the steering wheel as she followed the car into the estate.

He had won his game. Apparently, there was still some eminent rivalry between him and the Prince.

The man was protecting his loved ones. She admired him for that. She had read about his sister's broken wedding in his file. The match she had just witnessed a while ago was clear brotherly protection.

She shook her head gently as if to ward it off and then looked at her watch.

"Six O Clock." she looked up at the darkness now overshadowing the estate. Her eyes followed the car and watched him get out and into the house. Still she waited from her hiding place within the abandoned tree house. A car came out of the quickly falling navy blue and she noted that this was his mother and youngest sister.

The second to leave was his father's limousine. The sleek black car disappeared behind the feline looking red Mercedes. Her smile vanished from her face. She put her mouth on her head set as she waited for the signal to come. She heard the deep male voice say "All Clear, Caroline?"

"It's show time."

Author's Note:

sorry this part is slightly, okay, very predictable...but I just wanted you to get used to the character of James Orwell and his family background. The next chapter is not as predictable as you think. It has some significant twists. (Wink, wink!).

I'm taking part in an international story writing competition! Wish me luck!