|Pretty Little Heart
Author: Mere Nova PM
The Seducer finally discovers the One He Once Seduced, who continues to keep away from him for fear of getting her heartbroken. Will he be able to convince her not to worry her pretty little heart? ONESHOT. Final Story of the "Based on Music" Series.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 3 - Words: 8,210 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 05-24-12 - Published: 05-21-12 - id: 3024529
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"How is it that you get the pretty, demure dress and I get the fucking man trap?"
Thirty minutes after Adelina agreed to attend the annual masquerade ball with Julie, she found herself regretting her decision.
All because of a beautiful but very daring black dress.
Beautiful because of the beautiful, shimmery sequins that adorned the silk-chiffon floor-length dress.
Daring because of the deep v-neck that would make even the most confident woman take pause.
And since she feels like she's anything but confident…
There is no way in hell she can wear this dress.
Julie, however, thinks differently. "Oh come on, it's not that bad, Del. It's absolutely stunning, and you have the body to rock it. When I saw it, I immediately thought of you. There's a hot body underneath the layers of adorable cuteness, and the dress will definitely accentuate that!"
Adelina gives the dress the once over. "I can't wear this! You know I don't wear stuff like this!"
Julie waves her off. "Relax, Adelina, relax! No one ever wears anything safe to a Masquerade Ball. That's why they are such grand, magical affairs. And this dress will definitely be grand and magical on you."
Adelina is not convinced. "Maybe so, but…"
"No 'buts', Adelina! You simply must wear it! My friend and I made a deal – she'd loan us these dresses for the ball as a form of advertisement for her shop! I promised her that we would do it, and I do not break my promises."
"I didn't make any promises! So technically, if I don't wear that dress, then I won't be breaking any promises!"
Julie continues to wave her off. Adelina gets the feeling that her apprehension amuses Julie, and there is no convincing her. Defeat curdles in her stomach.
"Oh, Adelina, you needn't be so modest." Julie's voice is so syrupy sweet, Adelina suspects that she may have a new cavity. "You are a beautiful, gorgeous woman and this dress will enhance that. And you needn't worry about the plunging neckline. A stylist will be over to help you get dressed and to use as much double-sided tape as you see fit."
There is no way to get out of this, is there? "Julie, I'm not so sure about this…"
"I know you aren't! But trust me, when the stylist comes and gets you all ready, all of your fears will be abated." Julie pinches her cheek a little too much…ow… "Trust my dear, you shall be the Belle of the Ball in resplendent dress. With the exception of myself, the other women will pale in comparison to you!"
Adelina sighs, truly defeated. I guess I'm wearing the dress then. The last thing I want to do is piss Julie off. "If you say so."
"I know so, my dear! Just you wait and see!"
Adelina gives her friend a weak nod while gazing at the dress. Under normal circumstances, this sort of thing would excite her. The Masquerade Ball is quite possibly the biggest event on-campus during the entire school year. She's heard of people shopping for their outfits the day after school starts – in September. Tickets go on sale in January – and sell out in a matter of minutes.
Julie strong-armed her way into getting the tickets when they became available and apparently, it wasn't pretty. She wouldn't admit it, but its rumored that things got physical on the way to buying the tickets, and a few overzealous undergrads learned too late as to why they shouldn't mess with Julie Pierce.
The Masquerade Ball is held at the Royal Duchess Hotel – the swankiest hotel in town, complete with opulent surrounds and spacious stained-glass domes. Add to that great food, fancy masquerade masks, and a rocking DJ, and it makes for a night to remember.
Well, it would have been, if she hadn't met Henry…
No…I'm not going to think about him. I just can't…
"I'm so looking forward to the ball!" Julie's chirpy voice dissipates her thoughts. "Every woman wants to feel like Cinderella once in their lifetime, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Hopefully, I will meet my Prince Charming, and then I can live happily ever after."
Adelina sighs. "It's always fairy tales with you, isn't it?"
"It most certainly is not!" Julie puffs up her cheeks and stares at her roommate with a dour expression. "I am well aware of my place in a reality that prefers the concrete to the abstract. But that will not stop me from hoping and praying and dreaming for my happy ending! It is our right as humans to find contentment."
"I can't disagree with you there." Adelina lets her fingers drift across the dress, trying to make peace with the frock she is destined to wear for the ball. "In any case, it should be a fun night, with Rafe being our date and all."
"I know! He's such a party animal isn't he? I've specifically ordered him to behave himself. Grace has asked me to take several pictures of him at the ball, and the last thing she needs is a photograph of her beloved in a compromising position."
"You make it sound like he's a horny bastards and we're his paid escorts, Julie."
"Oh hush, you know what I mean!" Adelina stares enviously and Julie's frock – a black tea-length dress with a white petticoat and elegant lace on the bodice. I know that's her kind of dress, but seriously, why couldn't I wear that? I think I could rock it. "In any case, he's promised to be on his best behavior. Personally, I think he'll do anything to retain the honor of having two beautiful dates to the ball."
"Yeah, two beautiful dates who just happen to be his roommates whom he considers 'like sisters' to him."
"No one there needs to know that! It'll be our little secret. For all everyone will know, he's a lucky man with two beautiful ladies at his side. Unless…"
Adelina is taken aback by Julie's intense stare. Uh oh… "Unless what?"
Julie gives her a warm, knowing smile. "Unless a certain gentleman who clearly fancies you decides he wants to escort you to the ball so he can have you all to himself."
Ugh…she just had to bring him up, didn't she… "I don't think so, Julie. Besides, he probably didn't buy a ticket for the party."
"Nonsense! You know I've got connections when it comes to this sort of thing. If he wanted to be your escort, I have ways of making it happen!"
Adelina can feel her hairs standing on end, and swallows back the bitterness churning up from her stomach. The last thing she wants to do is turn Julie on to her true feelings. "Well, he hasn't asked me, so I'm guessing he doesn't want to go. I guess it's not his kind of thing."
"Well, maybe if you mention it to him, he'll change his mind."
Stay calm… "I don't think that's possible, Jules."
"And why ever not? I'm sure Henry would love to take you to the ball. You two have been getting a long so well. Anyone can see how he's into you."
"Uh…" If this continues on, I'll have a meltdown. I need to end this. "I'm sorry, but I don't see it happening, Jules. Besides, I'm okay with Rafe being my escort. We've been planning this since September, and I'm really looking forward to it."
Adelina offers her friend a weak smile for good measure. For a few moments, it seems as though she has appeased her roommate. But when Julie strides over and grabs both her arms, she knows that she's in trouble.
Oh crap…she isn't going to leave this alone…
"What going on, Adelina?" Julie asks with urgency. "Something has happened with Henry, hasn't it?"
"N-no," she stammers. "Why would you think that?"
"Because it's clear to me that there is something going on! A few weeks ago, you'd kill for the chance to spend every with Henry. We'd barely see you here at home because the two of you would be off somewhere, bouncing about. And now I hear that not only has he not asked to escort you to the Masquerade Ball, you seem to be okay with that?"
Adelina wilts under her roommate's scrutiny. "It's not a big deal, Julie. I'm sure he's just busy…"
"So am I, and so are you, but people always make time for the things they care about! And I've watched Henry make time for you time and time again!" Her eyes narrow, and Adelina feels her gaze burning a hole through her heart. "So tell me, what's wrong?"
"I'm telling you, there's nothing wrong. Really!" She doesn't sound as calm as she'd like to. "Don't get so worked up about – "
"You're hiding something from me!" Adelina winces at her friend's accusation. "Has something happened between you two?"
"Ah…" Please leave it alone. "I don't want to talk about it, Julie…"
"Now, I know something is wrong!" Julie pulls her closer, and searches her eyes even more. "What happened, Adelina? You have to tell me what happened right now!"
"I really don't want to talk about this, Julie!" If she says anything, then that would mean she'd have to tell the entire sordid tale of seduction between two strangers – and how a one-night-stand turned into something much more intense… "Please, just leave it alone, okay? It'll all work out I promise."
"Seriously, it'll be fine." Another weak smile. "Anyway, I've got some assignments due soon, so I'm going up to my room and work on them. If you'll excuse me…"
Adelina manages to free herself from Julie's tight grasp, keeping her emotions in check. The last thing she wanted to do was lose it front of Julie. Not only did she hate crying in front of people, but also Henry would be in mortal danger if Julie mistakenly assumed that he'd hurt her somehow.
If anything, I'm the one who screwed up…
She'd been avoiding Henry since that fateful night at his apartment – the night he finally put two-and-two together. At first, it started innocently enough – just two friends eating cupcakes and making fun of a douchebag dudebro – Henry's roommate. But then, he just had to conclude that because she associates herself with cuteness that there was no way that she could be sexy, and she just HAD to prove him wrong.
And the night went downhill from there.
Thinking back, she didn't understand her actions. Why on earth would she strip down to her skivvies just to prove that she could be sexy? She'd never done that sort of thing with any guy and it was very out-of-character for her. But past events already proved that with Henry made her want to do stranger, daring things…
Like tempt a complete stranger in a bar.
Like sleep with a complete stranger in a swank hotel room.
Like befriend him as her normal self even though they shared a sexy secret.
Like strip for him in order to prove that she could be as sexy as the next girl.
Lord. And she thought she was such a good girl.
Her last daring action proved to be the catalyst needed for Henry to realize her true identity. Of course, he didn't come out right out and tell her. He didn't need to. The question he asked her said everything he wanted to say – and more.
Adelina…why did you leave me all alone?
The question cut her more deeply than an outright "I know who you are" ever could.
Since then, she found it difficult to face him. He hasn't made avoiding him easy for her, though. He always manages to find her, and he always insists on talking to her. He has so many questions…and she doesn't know what the tell her. The fear keeps her from facing him, and the shame enshrines her in a vicious cycle of shame and anger.
Shame…because she knows she hurt him by leaving him alone in the hotel room.
Anger…because it took him so long to discover her identity. He always looked for one part of her – never all of her.
And fear…because no matter the sparks that flew in his apartment, she felt like he'd always desire the woman he met at the lucky lounge, and that she'd always have to be that woman.
She couldn't deal with it anymore. It was all a big mess. Even if she yearned for him, even if she just wanted to throw herself into his arms once again, she vowed to keep her distance no matter what.
It's better that way…even though she knew that argument was completely bullshit.
Adelina slips into her room and sighs heavily. She may have staved off Julie for now, but she wouldn't be able to forever. But that's okay…for now, she just needed to relax and get her mind off things.
She looks over to her reflection in the mirror.
The reflection smirks at her, amused by her needless emotional drama. You're such a coward…
Adelina blinks and stumbles back in the surprised.
Did…did her reflection just ridicule her?