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Silent Night is a short side story by Robert Thier that takes place between the second and third book of the Storm and Silence series. It is available to read for free on both Wattpad and the Radish Mobile App and was initially uploaded on November 2016. It was written in appreciation to readers for their support in voting for Storm and Silence in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Romance. The story switches first person narratives between the two main characters, Lilly Linton and Rikkard Ambrose.

Synopsis

A dark night. An even darker mission. Mr Rikkard Ambrose is stalking the wintry alleys of London, doing something he has never done before…

But does he do it for himself – or is it a sacrifice for someone special?

Plot

24 December, 1839

Mr Ambrose sneaks through the freezing streets of London with Karim when someone suddenly appears in front of them. Mr Ambrose reacts by incapacitating the stranger. Karim pins the man to the wall and interrogates him at knife-point, demanding to know who has sent him to follow them. The terrified man responds that he is not following anyone and is only going to the local orphanage. Mr Ambrose spots a small present on the ground and orders Karim to let the man go. Mr Ambrose grabs the man and threatens him one last time, saying it would be the last thing he ever does if he ever tells anyone whom he's seen. Shoving the stranger away, they both continue their journey, with the streets growing darker and the houses becoming shabbier. They finally stop in front of an establishment and Mr Ambrose affirms from Karim that the owner is discreet. Stepping inside the warm store, he approaches the man behind the counter and asks him to show him the store's merchandise, stating that he needs to buy a Christmas present.

Meanwhile, back at the Brank residence, Lilly is left alone with her twin sisters and aunt, forced to entertain three suitors that her aunt has invited for Christmas Eve. For dinner, Leadfield serves them the usual meal of porridge and potatoes and afterwards, Aunt Brank suggests that Lilly dance. Before she can attempt to escape, her older sister Maria has already sat down at the piano, insisting that she dance. Lilly then dances with one of the suitors, a gangly man named Jedidiah—rather a painful experience as he steps on her foot repeatedly. When she finally decides that she has tolerated enough, she tells him she is going to grab a drink from the kitchen but instead grabs a coat and sneaks out into the back garden. She leaves the house and decides to find sanctuary in Empire House, snacking on food that she has stored in her office. As she mourns her situation on spending Christmas alone, the door to her office swings open to reveal Mr Ambrose standing in the doorway.

He stares at her, frozen, and then asks her why she is there. Whilst formulating a response, he notices she's hiding a chocolate bar behind her back, then deduces aloud that she felt miserable at home and has come to the office for peace. Lilly vehemently denies it, saying she is there to file some papers she has forgotten. When Mr Ambrose sarcastically retorts if the food she has brought will also fit into the folders, she grudgingly admits that she is miserable and the office is the only place she thought to go to. When she asks why he is there, he lies and says that he has forgotten to file some papers. He then orders her to help him bring files before marching into his office.

A few minutes later, Lilly enters after him, carrying one of the files he has distractedly told her to bring, and sets it on his desk. After glancing at the file, he looks up to notice Lilly is staring out the window sadly. When he enquires what is wrong, she glares at him, asking why he cares. He responds that he does not and is more concerned about her work efficiency being affected, asking her why she has brought the wrong file. She started to argue back—then inhales sharply, apologising and stating she will fetch the correct one. As she starts to head back, he grabs her and spins her around, caging her between him and his desk. She starts to curse him when he admits that he made up the file—only to cut off her insults mid-word when he abruptly embraces her. He steps back and hoarsely confesses that he did not go to Empire House to work but to contemplate about the present he bought, reaching into his pocket and setting a small package wrapped in brown paper behind her on the desk.

She turns around to look at the package and when he admits it is for her, stares at him in disbelief. He hands it to her when she asks to see it and after thanking him exaggeratedly, she opens the present. In her hand is a small yellow figurine of a dancing piggy. She examines it and thanks him again confusedly. Mr Ambrose stares at her intensely, asking her if she remembers. About to ask what he is referring to, she then realises and her ears turn red. Lilly turns the figurine until the bottom points up and sees the inscription he has painted on it: "In memory of a memorable night." [1]

After some silence, her fingers slowly clutch the figurine tightly. Looking up at Mr Ambrose with tears in her eyes, she tells him it is the most important thing she has ever held in her hands. When he asks her if she likes the gift, Lilly describes it as miserly, cheap and ridiculous before saying that she loves it. Her hand grasps his cheek and she asks if she can share her Christmas food with him in appreciation. He responds positively and she starts to walk in front of him—abruptly stopping when she notices something hung at the top of the doorway. Mr Ambrose follows her gaze, noticing the piece of mistletoe. Lilly says she has heard about the mistletoe tradition to which he retorts that traditions are useless and antiquated. She steps closer to him and cups his face with her hands, pulling him down to her and kissing him, then asking if it feels useless. In response, his arms wrap around her and he pushes her back into his office, slamming the door shut behind them.

Chapters

  1. Mystery in the Dark
  2. Making Memories

Characters

References

  1. Storm and Silence, Chapter 69 (Wattpad version)/Chapter 39 (Radish/Published version): 'Seeing Stars'
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