"...not at home all night. What will people say. You will ruin us all," Delilah's mother hissed harshly. She continued her stern lecture as the twinkling light of dawn turned brighter.

The mother and daughter sat in the elder's private parlour. The servants had immediately informed her mother the very moment the newly engaged pair had arrived at the manor's door.

The Prince was currently in attendance with the Baron while Delilah had been led off by her mother as if she were an errant and unruly child.

Delilah sat on the silk adorned chair with a vacant expression on her face as her mother's words blurred in her mind. She was far too sleep deprived to keep track. The can't amount of sleep had not been enough.

"I can't imagine what sort of vile gossip will be uttered about us!"

"Mother, does it truly matter what anyone thinks?" Delilah interjected. She was growing weary of the acerbic speech and wanted some relief.

"Your father will be so disappointed," Her mother's lips thinned after the grim pronouncement.

Delilah for a second wondered whether her father would truly find her conduct reproachable. She had never stepped a toe out of line and did not know how her father would react. She was already despondent for worrying her family so.

"Mother can we please continue this conversation another time. I don't feel well rested enough to be awake now. We have far too many engagements for tonight and I need to rest," The girl tried to reason with her mother.

Months ago she would have let her mother go on and on but her backbone had firmed up enough to end the admonishing lecture.

"Have you no shame! They will all be talking about you. How could you dare show your face now," Her mother gasped as if seeing a befouled creature in place of her daughter.

"I dare, mother, because I have done nothing wrong," Delilah stood up. She meant to walk away, knowing she must be the one to put an end to the discussion when her mother pulled at her bejewelled hand and tugged Delilah closer.

"What is that on your finger?" The woman's voice decreased in strength. She searched her daughter's grey eyes for confirmation as her firm grip tightened around the ensnared fingers.

"An engagement ring," Delilah replied with a stony voice. She had hoped to share the news in public to avoid any immediate harassment but she had no choice now.

"They will think you are ruined..." Delilah's mother muttered.

"They, They, They! Who are these people that I must allow to judge my being? They are beneath my notice, mother," Delilah uttered as she headed towards the exit, "Damian wanted to offer for me the moment he came back. Nobody has been ruined."

"You are only acting with such arrogance just because you've snared a Prince," Delilah's mother addressed her daughter's back.

"No, mother, if Damian was a farm boy I would still say the same thing," The dark haired girl, uttered with such earnestness that her mother finally conceded defeat.

...

Damian exited the Baron's study with a silly, little smile. It told Delilah everything she wished to know. She jumped from her seated position on a bench outside the study and bestowed upon her fiance a beaming grin. The Prince's hands suddenly gripped her waist and twirled her in the air. Delilah was not certain her shriek was of delight or terror.

"What if someone saw!" The girl admonished as her feet faltered over the stone floor.

"Who cares?" Damian shrugged, easily.

"Yes," Delilah bit her lip, steadily gaining confidence, "Who cares."

She clasped her fiance's hand and entered her father's study no longer caring what anyone had to say.