ALEXANDER TOWERED OVER HIS DAUGHTER, eyes locked onto hers, brow furrowed. Kira sat upright and swallowed hard. He exhaled with a grunt then paced the room.
Kira longed to push her father into revealing his news, but knew enough to remain quiet. Instead, her mother interjected, “Alexander, please. What did you and Colonel Vershinin discuss?”
“He consented to dissolve the marriage agreement.”
Kira clapped her hands before using them to conceal a big smile that spread across her face.
Alexander frowned and continued, “Under condition.”
Kira’s eyes widened. “Such as?”
He held up a finger. “First, I am to provide him with an allowance. It seems we will now be supporting his gambling. Second, Kira is not allowed to attend any social events where he might be present.”
“That suits me very well,” Kira interrupted.
Her father gave her a stern look. “Lastly, under no condition are you allowed to marry—the Lieutenant.”
“What?” Kira bristled.
Her mother held her hand up to silence Kira then spoke, “Alexander, I think you should approach the Tsar to find an honorable man with wealth for our daughter.”
Kira jumped to her feet. “I refuse to marry anyone except Roman Pavlovitch.”
Alexander shook his head. “Between the Tsar’s beloved railroad project and an upcoming peace conference, he has no time to waste on such inconsequential matters. Besides, now that the gossip is out, no one with status would consider her suitable for marriage.”
Kira’s mother started to whine. “Maybe we can look towards France or God forbid, England.”
“I will elope,” Kira said
“If you dare to continue in that manner you will be cut off from your dowry,” her mother scolded.
“I don’t care.”
“You can’t possibly think you can live without money after having it all your life.”
“I can’t possibly imagine my life without him,” Kira replied.
“Ladies please, we won’t resolve anything with this bickering, And, I don’t want to lose my strong-minded daughter to an elopement. I’ve found out that the Lieutenant is being groomed for a high-ranking military career.” Alexander sighed, “He may be our only hope.”
“What of the last condition?” her mother said.
“It is my opinion that the Colonel is more afraid of the court gossip regarding his health should a leak occur than holding us accountable to a marriage.”
At the moment, Kira believed her father had acquiesced to her marrying Roman. Her body radiated with a warmth and joy that she had never experienced before.