Once, she had it all.
A wealthy heiress, spoiled and coddled, never lacking anything that caught her eye.
Adoring nobles, fawning sycophants, doting parents, all at her beck and call.
She had thought that she could do anything, go anywhere, see anyone.
It was all an illusion.
She lost it all in one day.
He had seemed so dashing and exciting, this Gypsy rogue. He told her strange tales of far-off lands, of unspeakable beauty, of how it all dimmed by comparison to her.
It intoxicated her.
They had all warned her about him; she had laughed at their concerns. Roland? Hurt her? It was unthinkable. He loved her! So she went merrily along down the path of ruination, never heeding the warnings of her parents and friends. When he asked her to come away with him, she gladly took jewels from her home to pay his way for him.
They did not see her for three years.
When she returned, leading one daughter by the hand and carrying one inside her, she had changed. Her parents took her back, begrudgingly, hiding her away. They moved to another country and passed her off as a widow, hoping that they could marry her to an unknowing suitor.
She received all of this stolidly, no hint of emotion escaping her shuttered face. She had become brittle and cold, a frozen flower showing no sign of the death within. Her daughters she taught to hide their thoughts, and ruthlessly quashed any romanticism in them. They would not make the same mistake she had.
When the wealthy widower came to their gates, she recognized her last opportunity for social redemption and grasped it with her best veneer of gentility.
He never saw the poison.