Diana was a woman of means. Of course that translated to the fact that her late husband had been of means. Naturally the money he had went to his heir, but since young Nathan wouldn't be of age to enjoy his inheritance for sometime it fell to Diana to look after it.
She was someone used to the finer things. Her ebony locks often had small golden highlights that were woven into them by her house maid. The young girl was pleasant, sweetly natured, and quite beautiful for someone of common birth. For Diana it was something of a game to play with her emotions.
After all, she was practically of noble birth, or she was at least as close to noble birth as one could come in this most modern age of the United States. Being of means, wearing the finest dresses, enjoying the Galas held by the up and coming new blood. The railroad tycoons were more often ready to show off their wealth.
Some she held at her estate, or rather it was young Nathan's estate she held them at. It was something to behold, a house that was at least five score larger than the small mayor's home which boasted being a twelve room house. The estate was sprawling, covered both sides by dense and forebidden woods.
The forest was something she had attempted to forget. Her truth existed out there, her past, her reality, all of it lay past the finery of the home she so enjoyed, and instead it rested in a small cave deep in the woods. A cave that she knew all too well. Many commented on the fact that she was so lovely, so beautiful, and of course she was courted, but she would not fall so easily into their traps.
She explained that her heart belonged to her late husband, and that she would not be able to share it with another. For many it seemed a shame because of how lovely Diana was. She was athletic, but motherly, fine figured, but light on her feet, stern, but kind. In truth she was a fine prize for any that would be so lucky to claim her, but she was not a prize to be caught.
James Talbert did not see it that way. Diana represented more than a beautifully sculpted woman to him. She was an unobtainable desire, a taste of forbidden fruit that he was being denied time, after time, after time. She was kind in her rejection, but it was a rejection all the same. He could not secure her late husband's assets because they were left in her care until her son came of age. He could not impress her with his wealth, his powerful empire he'd commanded, and of course she was not inclined to be impressed by his confident and willful mind.
It was troublesome to see one such as her, unwed, unclaimed, living as though she could make her life without the care of a man. He'd heard once of others like that, willful, prideful, hard working women that believed their place was at the side of any man and never below. Some of the others had explained that such women simply needed to be shown their proper place. To quote his most trusted friend, a good rutting usually breaks even the most willful filly.
The six tumblers of whiskey had taken this thought and twisted it. The gala was one held at her estate, she would accompany him outside, to the veranda on the east side of the estate, and there he would make his intentions known. She would be his, willing or not, and he would claim her this evening. He took the now empty tumbler, filled it once more, and approached her.
Her smile was heaveningly, her red gala dress spoke of the untold riches of her late husband, and her soft brown eyes reminded him of happy memories. Oh, how it would be a joy to see those eyes opened with surprise, that beautiful mouth opened with untold joy, and the musical sounds of a woman enjoying her moment of love and lust by the hands of a man that was powerful enough to take what life owed him.
He never once halted in his approach, he never once stopped, and he certainly never considered the possibility that this would end badly. She was his, she had to be his, and he would ensure that she understood that by the evening’s end.
“Miss Timide,” he said his words slightly slurred with liquid courage, “I understand that the eastern side of your estate has an exquisite view of the woods themselves. That a person could stand there and see out into forever.”
She smiled at him, “Qui,” she said gently, “It is truly beautiful. If you care to see, please, you may visit it. I know that my girl, Sofie, will gladly open the doors to the Vendera for you.”
He smiled, the trap had been laid, and like any man worth his salt he sprung it, “Of course, but I had hoped that the very fine lady of the house would be willing to show one such as myself her estate,” he said in a poor attempt to appear humble, “After all, many were the times that you were shown the estates you visited by the hosts themselves.”
She seemed to study him for a moment, “Very well,” she said in the same gentle voice before she turned back toward the young couple she had been visiting with, “I apologize, and I shall return shortly, adieu.”
They gave a smile, nodded, and she motioned toward him to follow. He did not stumble, he showed no signs of weakness. The eastern side of the estate was far enough that her euphoric sounds of bliss would not be heard. She opened the door, and he stepped through. In truth the sight was truly awe inspiring. The woods were so close, the smell of life in the forest was as intoxicating as the whiskey he drank, and his eyes went to her.
“Tell me,” he slurred confidently, “How long has it been since Benard passed?”
She sniffed, “My sweet Benard passed two years ago,” she said her voice thick with emotion, “Not a day passes I do not yearn for his touch.”
“Then yearn no more,” he said as lust painted his words with intention, “Know that I shall be twice the man he was!”
His hands found their mark, the top of her dress, ripping it open, exposing the single most beautiful set of breasts in all of Christendom, he grasped them both. Her voice was not euphoric, nor was her touch angelic. She lunged back, her soft brown eyes wide in untold fury.
“You dare?!” she shouted in untapped rage, “YOU DARE?!”
He would claim her, and he moved toward her again, his hand grasping her throat, pinning her against the door, The other attempting to rip the dress more, to expose the beauty that waited for him, and suddenly he felt something off. His stomach burned, and he stumbled back. His eyes went to the inch deep slash that had been made. He drunkenly looked at her, seeing the snarling woman before him. Her fingernails were claws, her face had distorted until it resembled a wolf’s face more than human, and her soft brown eyes were that of a predator.
No one heard the screams, the pleading, the sound of flesh ripped from bones, but upon her return, forty minutes later, Diana Timide explained that Mr. Talbert had decided to venture out into the woods. None questioned it, after all, he was something of a demanding individual, powerful in his own right, but still one that tended to get what he wanted. A few of the men suggested that they should look for him.
“Qui,” Diana said softly, “We shall, but only if he doesn’t return in an hour's time.”
The hour came and went, and all went to search for him. There were no signs of anything wrong on the veranda, no signs of anything more than the forest waiting. A few brave souls took lanterns and left to search. They reported back, a few hours later, that there was no sign of him. The next morning another search was held, and it continued into the day after that, and the day after that. It wasn’t until nearly two weeks later that his shoe, and a few bones were found.
The local authorities called it an accident, a poor decision made by a drunken man, and Diana couldn’t agree with their assessment more. It had been a very poor decision made by a very foolish and drunken man.