A.N. Alright everyone, this is my first work ever, it might come slow but I promise to plow through, I have a feeling once I get going I wont be able to stop…which if you think about it benefits everyone! At any rate, if you have found this then that means that you'll probably enjoy it, AND also reviews please! I need to know what you all think. Plus the first chapter is already partially written so it will be along before long! Enjoy!

Prologue

The hundred or so mourners stood all along side the newly filled grave, bowing their heads in prayer. Some wept, others stood there in silence, paying their respects to the remaining family. Sadly the only family left was two daughters as the wife had died in childbirth after the second child was born. One was just old enough to marry, but the other was still nine years of age. Oh there were relatives to take care of them, yet they were, in essence, orphaned.

Annabel MacDonald stood there stonily, holding close her younger sister Braeley who huddled next to her like a shadow, leaning in and feeding off the strength of her older sibling. Tears poured from Braeley's eyes yet oddly enough Annabel's were quite dry. Annabel looked around wearily; something just felt, well, wrong.

Only two months ago father had been fit and running the estate as he always had. Then he fell sick. No one could figure it out. Medics were brought in yet they all said the same thing, it must be something internal. That it looked like something akin to the common cold, just a bit more severe. That it would go away with a few days of rest and some herbal tea. Instead of getting better though, he had gotten worse and within two months he had passed, leaving his two daughters to be cared for by their relatives.

The girls' mother's brother and his family had been staying with them for about a year now, living off the generosity of her father once they were evicted from their own estate on the grounds of one of the brother's gambling debts. Annabel and Braeley's uncle was a slimy figure, his wife a greedy woman with beady little eyes. Their three sons lived there with them, although the oldest was twenty-one years of age, the same as Annabel. Each had at least three chins and bloated guts to match. Annabel found them leering at her openly rather often and she thanked God that Braeley was only just nine.

Annabel knelt down to Braeley and the little girl slid her arms around Annabel's neck, clinging tightly and shedding tears on Annabel's thin cotton day dress. "Braeley, don't worry honey, I won't let anything happen to you." It might not have made sense to Braeley at the moment, but Annabel promised with all her heart that things would not get so bad as to where it would endanger Braeley.

As the two comforted each other at the grave side of their father, their uncle stood with his oldest son at the back of the crowd, able only to skim above the heads of the mourners to where his two nieces stood mourning at the very front. "Henry," said Robert Anderson, "everything is working out perfectly. Now that my sister and her husband are gone we can move in on their vulnerable daughters. The damnable father took far longer to die from the poison I was putting in his drink every night than I thought and I was getting worried." A small smile split over Frederick's face as he relished the fact that their plan had been set in motion and was unfolding flawlessly.

Henry smiled conspiratorially, "And now we just have to force Annabel to marry me and we'll be in full control of all her precious money and this massive estate," he grinned with pride. Just then one of the mourners glanced over and, upon seeing his face lit up despite the present circumstances, shot a confused glance their way. Robert cuffed his son over the head and warned him in a deadening tone to behave in a 'respectful' manner. Henry dutifully cast a doleful look across his face and shuffled along behind his father to catch up with the rest of their family.

Standing there and staring down perpetually Annabel finally let it hit her and the tears began to fall freely. Braeley saw and hugged her all the more fiercely. Just then her uncle Robert came up behind her and, putting an arm around her just a bit too tightly, said with a nasty smile that she couldn't see, "Don't worry honey, we will take good care of you."