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My Once Handsome Husband My Once Handsome Husband original

My Once Handsome Husband

Author: Erin_McLain_4927

© WebNovel

Chapter 1: A Bargain and A Race

In an elegant parlor, in a great manor in the middle of the Water's Edge Estate, two well-dressed couples sat chatting over tea. Spirits were high after they had finished the important business of the day. That morning they had all signed the contract that would bind their two young children together in marriage one day.

In the center of the room was a frilly bassinet holding a baby that looked like a perfect little cherub, with her rosy cheeks and wisps of chestnut hair. Her eyes were large and a beautiful ocean blue. She was barely three months old and now her future had been decided.

Sitting across the room with arms crossed and a frown across his little face was a boy of about four. He had black curls and dark green eyes and was not pleased to be sitting in this stuffy room instead of out playing knights with his younger brother. He was here though because his future had been decided that morning as well.

"Come here Vincent," his mother called from where she sat to one side of the bassinet, "Come look at baby Delaney. Isn't she lovely?"

"I want to go play," the boy pouted, making the adults chuckle.

"Come take a look Vince," his father tried now, "You're a very lucky boy to get such a pretty little girl to be your wife one day."

"I hate girls," Vincent cried, turning around on his stool so his back was to them. Again, the adults laughed.

"I can promise you boy, that's not going to last for long," the baby girls father laughed and Vincent's father joined in, clapping him on the back. Their wives told them to quit but were trying to hide their own smiles at the tease.

Vincent didn't care what they said. He hated girls and especially this baby one that was keeping him from getting to go play. He looked longingly towards the door and grinned when he saw his little brother Miles peeking in. Vincent glanced back at his parents who were back to talking about adult things and not watching him. He took the chance and scrambled down from the stool, making a mad dash for the open door.

"Vincent!" his Mother called, "Vincent get back here!" The two boys giggled, pleased with their mischief and took off out into the gardens.

Many years passed before the families gathered at the estate again, this time for a sad occasion. Vincent's father had died fighting dragons to protect their city with the kings army. Vincent and his Younger brother Miles dressed in black along with their Mother, Violet and kept up brave faces at the funeral. Their Mother had cried from the time their father died until the morning of the funeral but you never would have known it seeing her now, standing stony-faced as they lowered him into the ground.

Vincent, who was now twelve, was going to miss his father the most. He had barely began to learn the running of the estates and now it would all fall on him.

After the service the adults retired to the great house to have tea and talk while the children were set free in the gardens to play. Vincent and Miles were excited to see their friends, Duncan, Bernard, and the others. They ran out on the lawn with their wooden swords and went straight into a battle.

Up the hills a ways, closer to the house, a group of young girls in ruffled dresses sat in the shade of an old oak tree. In the center of the group was the chestnut haired Delaney Simms. Coming from one of the most wealthy families, eight year old Delaney enjoyed being the center of attention. She was an only child but she her parents had made sure she made many friends. She sat next to her best friend Selina now and watched the boys down the hill with their swords.

"You're so lucky Delaney," a chubby girl named Olive swooned staring down the hill, "Vincent is so handsome."

Delaney smiled at the girl, "Oh Olive you're just as lucky! Bernard is very handsome!" She knew that wasn't true but she adored her friends and wouldn't have said anything else. At least not to anyone but Selina.

"Bernard has a lot of freckles and he turns bright red if he gets nervous," a snotty girl with dull brown hair piped up from the edge of the group.

Delaney frowned at her and saw Olive's face turn sad. "Well Constance if you were betrothed to someone we could compare them but I guess we'll just have to wait for now." Delaney's words sounded like honey but all the girls knew the barb behind them.

Constance's parents hadn't set a marriage for her yet. It was a scandal that the other girls loved to whisper about and it was quite embarrassing for Constance. If her parents hadn't been able to make a match for her it could've meant that they were too poor or their status was too low or, even worse, that simply no one wanted her. No matter what the reason, it definitely wasn't good. The boys their age were all betrothed now.

Constance's eyes flashed daggers at Delaney who smiled sweetly at her and turned back to watch the boys. Mainly, her boy, her future husband. Olive was right. Vincent was handsome. Even at 12 he was already tall and strong, besting the other boys he was fighting against.

"I don't think Duncan is very handsome," Selina sighed from beside her. Delaney took her best friend's hand and gave it a squeeze. The girl was small and blonde with large light blue eyes that always made her look innocent. The boy she was promised to was definitely not as good looking as she was.

"He is handsome," Delaney protested trying to reassure the other girl, "And besides, Duncan is smarter than all the other boys! He'll grow up and make lots of money! You'll always dress in the finest dresses with the best jewels! We'll all die of envy!"

Her friend smiled and hugged her. Delaney looked down the hill at the gangling, pale, red headed Duncan covered in freckles who always seemed to be tripping over his own limbs. He wasn't much to look at now but she hoped for her friends sake he would grow into himself. And he was indeed as smart as she'd said.

Duncan and Vincent were best friends from the time they were very small. Delaney's parents had learned this and wisely, had made sure their daughter got to spend lots of time with his future wife. The girls had become fast friends.

"The boys always get to have all the fun and we have to just sit here," came the voice of a younger girl with her own golden pigtails and a pout on her rosy lips. Little Cora was to be Delaney's sister-in-law one day, marrying Vincent's younger brother Miles. She was a little wild for a six year old but the other girls were sure she would grow out of it.

"We are having fun Cora," Selina patted the other girls hand.

"I want to play too," Cora whined loudly.

"Alright," Delaney said then coming up with a plan, "Let's go down and play with the boys." The other girls turned to her in surprise. Delaney knew it wasn't proper but if she was honest, she agreed with Cora and would much rather be down running around and having fun than sitting under a silly old tree.

She stood and set off marching down the hill. The other girls scrambled to follow her. Delaney watched Vincent with his wooden sword battling a worried looking Duncan who was just trying to keep up. They had been betrothed since she was a baby and she had still only ever spoken a handful of words to him. He tended to ignore the girls. Delaney would make sure she wasn't ignored this time.

It didn't take long for the boys to realize the girls were heading their way. Duncan caught sight of them and froze, leaving himself open to be walloped in the head by Vincent's wooden sword. "Wait stop!" he cried, "Look!"

Vincent turned to see the girls marching towards them being lead by the very girl he would one day marry.

"We've come to play with you," Delaney announced stepping up to the group and giving them her prettiest smile.

"You can't play with us," Miles laughed, coming up to join his older brother, "You're girls!"

"We can too," Cora exclaimed, "Girls can run and play just the same as boys!" She stuck out her tongue at Miles then. Delaney bit her bottom lip to try and hide her smile.

"We're not playing. We're fighting," Duncan explained diplomatically, "Girls aren't taught to fight with swords like boys. It wouldn't be fair."

"Then we can all do something else," Delaney put her hands on her hips, "We could play..."

"You can't play with us," Miles interrupted, "We're big and strong and fast. Girls aren't anything like that."

"We are too!" shouted Cora.

Delaney frowned at the boy, "That's simply not true Miles. I know for a fact many of us are very fast." The group of boys broke into laughter making the girls frown all the more.

Delaney could be very kind but she was also known to have a temper. Miles Adair was making her blood boil. "I bet I could beat any of you at a race!" she snapped, crossing her arms and glaring at him.

Miles smirked, "You couldn't beat Vincent. He's the fastest of all of us and he'd definitely beat a girl!"

"Well, he won't beat me," Delaney turned to Vincent, "I'll race you right now. And if I win you have to play with us. Something we can all play together."

Vincent had been quiet, listening to the leader of the group of girls. This was the girl he'd marry one day. He guessed she was a little pretty but he didn't really care about all that. "Alright then I'll race you."

Delaney's eyes went wide. She had never imagined he'd agree to it. It was most improper. She set her face though and nodded. She was a stubborn girl and couldn't back down now. She had to beat him. She couldn't let the boys be right.

Without waiting another moment, Delaney sat down on the grass and quickly removed her heeled shoes and pulled off her white stocking until she had bare feet. "Delaney what are you doing?" the ever nervous Selina gasped.

"I'm going to win," Delaney stated, "And I can't run in those shoes."

The other boys roared with laughter when Delaney stood and looked Vincent straight in the eye, "I'll race you to the oak and back. Who ever gets back and crosses the finish line first wins."

"Alright," Vincent gave her a small smile, impressed with her determination. Behind her, Olive and Constance moved to join hands and stand apart with their arms spread wide to make the finish line.

Vincent and Delaney moved to stand beside them, both bending down, preparing to push off when the race began.

"Alright!" Miles yelled over the cheers of the other children, "Ready! Set! Go!"

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