Chapter 2: Renaissance. -
Annabelle woke up in place very different from the church yard. She was in a very warm bed, made with velvet coverings of the richest blood red. As she got out of the bed she found the room she was in to be very small, with a lot of charm. A small white dresser stood in one corner next to a book shelf crammed full of books. There were two doors in this room, one stood open revealing a small bathroom to her, and the other, which she assumed led outside, was closed. Like the dresser all the walls and doors where white. Looking around she found clean clothes laying over the arm of a chair in the corner, near the bathroom. Attached to the shirt was a note.

"Please feel free to clean yourself up, and change your clothes. Just leave the old ones folded in the bathroom. I'll be in the library just down the hall when you are finished." A.L.

She looked at the initials wondering what they stood for, then deciding the best way to find out was too go see him, she grabbed the clothes and went into the bathroom to clean up.

She wiped a spot clean on the foggy mirror. Looking at her own reflection, she was clean but still looked messed up. There was a large bruise and cut on her face that would surly scar, and her upper lip was split and swollen. Her breathing was very shaky and painful from her broken ribs. Her chest was covered with bruises of every color. She sighed, looking down at her hands which were scratched and sore. She brushed her hair out looking at her reflection as little as possible. Once her hair was dry, and she looked as presentable as she could possibly get she went out heading toward the library, where she would find her savior.

He let his mind drift as he starred at the fire. All of his thoughts being occupied by her. He remembered how angry he had been to hear her screams, and to see those men so cruelly mistreating her. He sighed letting his eyes wander to the thousands of books around him. To think he had read them all atleast once. What a pitiful empty existence.

His thoughts wandered again to the girl. He had laid her to sleep in one of the bedrooms down the hall. How long he had sat there with her he didn't know. Yet he knew she was awake now, he could feel her movement in the old house, with only her and he there, it wasn't at all hard. He closed his eyes wishing he wasn't so tired.

A knock echoed through the doors. Pounding off the book shelves. He knew she was there, waiting. "Come in." He said softly. One door eased open. Looking toward it, he saw her look in, almost as if afraid. She stepped in looking at him very much like a frightened rabbit in the presence of a fox.

"Please, have a seat." He waved his hand toward the large chair opposite him. He watched her in the fire light as she came closer. Her long copper colored hair turned gold in Hugh of the flames. Green eyes never wavering as they watched him closely. The long horrifyingly thin body seeming to slither into the chair. For a long time they just watched each other. He studied every bit of her taking in her injuries and able to see her beauty that she was, with or without them. Finally, remembering his manners the host spoke.

"Would you like something to drink?" She blinked at him for a moment, then shook herself. "No, thank you." He nodded looking toward the fire. "I would like to thank you, for what you did, back in the church yard." She stopped looking away from him. He looked up at her studying once more, feeling her fear. "What can I do to show you my thanks?" She said at last.

"You need not do anything. I did what I did out of pure hate for them and their actions against you. Ending up in the presence of such a lovely being as yourself was just something extra." She looked up at him now; it was her turn to study him. His dark coffee colored hair falling almost perfectly straight down past his shoulders. His eyes shimmered with a darkness so deep it made her more cold, or maybe it was paleness that made his features seem darker. He sat with such a posture that it made Annabelle think of a noble king from a child's fairy tail. She seemed lost in the sight of him until he next spoke. "Might I ask you, who were those men?" Her eyes fell to the floor and she looked on the verge of tears.

"They were my family, my brother and father. Oh my God, what am I going to do?" Anger flared in him again, and his eyes narrowed as she put her head into her hands. Her own kin treated her so badly, he should have killed the old man when he hand him in his hands.

"Well, you may stay here as long as you would like. I am the only one who lives here so you wouldn't have to worry about anyone else. I promise you while you are under my roof you will never be harmed." He had risen to his feet and come to kneel in front of her taking her hands in his. "I am Alrick Lendrell, and I welcome you to my home." He brought her hands to his mouth and kissed them both; his lips gently brushing the abraded skin and pulling away.

"Thank you. You can't imagine how grateful I am for your kindness." She was trying to keep her voice steady but was having a hard time. He could see unshed tears lining the edges of her lower eye lid.

"It isn't a problem at all. Do tell me, will you stay, at least until you have healed some?" He waited patiently for her to respond.

"Yes, I would like to, thank you." She smiled, the first smile he had seen from her yet, and it was beautiful, her face was lit with her thankfulness toward him.
"My home is open to you. You may explore it as you wish, my books are yours to read if you wish. I dare say, there should be something here you will enjoy." She looked around her as if suddenly aware of just how many books there were. He stood her hand still in his. She too rose to her feet still starring around at the shelves. "Are you hungry? I don't usually cook often, but I've been told that I have a gift for it."

"I'll be honest, I'm starving." He smiled down at her as she looked up at him.
"Come I will take you to the kitchen." She nodded moving slowly, stiffness setting into her injured body now. Alrick was patient and kind as they made their way down stairs into the kitchen. Annabelle was amazed by the size and beauty of it. While they walked Alrick told her things about his home, his possessions, and a little about himself. She quickly found laughter wasn't something she was going to do much, because when she did a splitting pain went through her ribs and back and she nearly cried with the feeling. Alrick having to support her until she could regain steadiness.

Finally they made it to the kitchen, and Alrick helped Her into a chair before opening the refrigerator and beginning to look for something she could eat. He set his eyes upon something satisfactory and pulled it out. He set the white paper wrapped package onto the counter and began to busy himself with cooking, while he spoke to Annabelle.

"I hope you will find everything to your liking while you are here. If you need anything, if I can do something to make you more conformable, all you need to do is ask. Especially while you are still so hurt." He looked up across the counter at her as he finished the last statement. Her eyes met his she seemed somewhat sad, he could understand that.

"I'm sure everything will be just fine, this place is already so amazing, and it's easily a thousand steps up from my house." Fear flickered in the depths of those green eyes, but it passed quickly, and he knew she was beginning to feel safer now. He looked back down to his preparations, and worked as he spoke.

"Well, forgive me, but I'm sure you were hardly treated in a manner you deserve to be treated in." He rolled his eyes up toward her for a second, then returned them to the plate.

"No need to, your right. But that's what I've had, I can't remember too much from before my mother died." Now he understood better, the wife dies leaving a man alone with some young kids, one gets brutalized, and the other helps. What a way to grow up.