Tanya leaned in towards the mirror and examined her new diamond earrings – a shockingly generous present from Nick. He had pressed the box into her hand earlier that night at dinner – romantically set up at a small table in front of the fire – with an earnest, somewhat bashful smile.
“I want you to have these,” he’d said softly, eyes glinting as he removed the rounded box from his jacket. “I want you to know how much – how much you mean to me.”
She’d blushed, smiled, and then opened the box with a gasp – winking up at her were two very genuine diamond studs.
“Nick,” she’d begun to protest, “you can’t -”
But he’d cut her off firmly. “Please,” he’d insisted, placing a hand on her arm. “You’re the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. I want you to have them.”
Tanya had accepted them, glowing inside and out.
She’d been wary of his attentions at first; aware of the fact that now she was the heir to a fortune and would have to watch out for men with their eye on her financial assets. But Nick was from a wealthy family and there was no reason he would be after her money. Plus Granny seemed to be over the moon about Nick’s attentiveness, so she slowly let her guard down and allowed his charm to wash over her.
Tanya had realized that certain things would be expected of her with regards to marriage and class, and she was completely fine with them. After all it wasn’t as if she had a poor boy from the wrong side of the tracks that was madly in love with her. Tanya had never really dated before; her previous rejection of her family’s stature had left her resolutely solitary. But now that she had accepted her role in the family – and subsequently in society – it was time to come out of the shadows. And waiting for her in the light was a rich, good-looking boy from the right side of the tracks courting her and giving her diamond earrings. She saw nothing to complain about.
Alone in his room, Nicholas thought about the look on Tanya’s face when he had given her the earrings. Women were so predictable. He loosened his tie and saw her again, beaming at him from across the table. His task was even easier than he thought it would be. And to be honest, it gave him a thrill to so easily manipulate someone’s emotions. Tanya was falling for him fast and as angry as he was at Amy for making him do this, he had to admit it wasn’t entirely tedious.
He chuckled to himself and pulled off his tie – Amy. He still couldn’t believe she had managed to blackmail him. Him! Nicholas Benedict. Well she would get what she deserved, obviously. It was a shame, really, he admired her drive but there was no way she could go on knowing what she knew about him. It would have to be taken care of, and soon.
Nicholas was unbuttoning his shirt when there was a knock on his door. Amy slipped into the room without waiting for a response, eyes blazing.
“Good evening, master,” Nicholas joked lightly. “What can I do for you?”
“Shut up,” Amy snapped. “This isn’t working, Granny is getting suspicious.”
“God you are so paranoid.” Nicholas rolled his eyes. “It’s working fine, you should have seen Tanya’s face tonight when I gave her the -”
“Shut up, Nick!” Amy looked wild. “I’m telling you she knows something! You need to fix this. I will not have anything ruin my plans! Don’t forget – if this fails, you’ll wish you’d never laid eyes on the Harwood house.” What happens next? Please return to the top of this episode to vote on what happens next!