Ok this is my first story on fictionpress… So if see anything wrong with it… or just tell me how it is! Please review!

Chapter One

"Raine Celeste! You had best be not reading those books again! I expect you to be downstairs in half a candlemark in your blue dress, ready for dinner with the Duke's son!" Raine groaned, slamming her book shut. She opened her mouth to make an excuse but Mother beat her to it.

"No buts! I do not want a repeat of last time. You will be down here or Lord help you!" Raine gave a sigh, resigned to her fate. She trudged her way through the corridors, made dim by twilight outside. As she passed her sisters room, Jacqueline, she heard screeching.

"Amy, I told you Lily Pink! Not Summer Dusk! Do I have to do everything? Now what will Charles think of me? Summer Dusk does not set off my hair colour properly! You are lucky we are not off to court today."

Raine chuckled at her sisters 'disaster', wondering at how shallow her sister had become. When they were younger, they would always be seen running around the pastures, getting dirt on their knees and mud on their faces. But that had all changed six winters ago, when Jacqueline had turned fourteen and made her first appearance at court. Raine was eleven at the time. Jacqueline had come back after a week, completely different. She started to use powder all the time and never had time to play with Raine anymore. Men started to make frequent stops at their house, hoping to win the hand of the Marquess's lovely daughter. Jacqueline had blonde hair framing a pale, delicate face with blue, almost grey, eyes. Jacqueline had inherited Mothers blonde hair whilst I received Fathers hair and eyes: the rare auburn hair with cobalt eyes.

When she entered her room, her maid, Ambre, bustled up to meet her.

"Oh, Mistress! Quick, quick, there is not much time! The Marchioness picked this dress out for you, with these shoes, and this make-up…" Ambre went on as Raine tuned out, used to Ambre's rambling. Ambre had been her maid since she was a baby, and Raine thought her more of a motherly figure then her real mother. After being tugged into a tight corset and silk dress Raine sat down on a plush chair whilst Ambre put on make-up. Raine hated the dresses and fuss, much preferring a blouse, pants and being on the back of her horse, Sungrass.

"All down mistress! And with a few minutes to spare! Quick, downstairs before they arrive," Ambre said, hurrying around the room to pick up thrown around articles of clothing. Raine braced herself and strode into the Drawing Room where Mother and Jacqueline were already entertaining the Duke's son and the Duchess.

The Duke's son stood up and took her hand and kissed it whilst the Duchess just nodded her head. Raine lowered herself into a deep curtsy, acknowledging their station above hers.

"My dear Raine, this is Lady Amelia and her son, Charles," introduced Mother, a pleasant smile upon her face. Raine's face immediately closed up, her expression one of polite interest. Mother poured her tea, starting a conversation.

"I hear you are quite the horseman Charles?" When Charles nodded an affirmative, Mother continued. "What a coincidence! Raine is a very avid horsewoman, you can always find her in the saddle!" Mother tittered, throwing Raine a meaningful look. Raine felt herself become irritated. Mother was trying to play Matchmaker. Jacqueline noticed this too and glared at Mother, trying to communicate that this was her man, not Raine's. Raine looked at Charles again. He was fairly handsome with his dark hair and green eyes. She tuned back into the conversation.

"Do you play, Jacqueline?" Lady Amelia asked.

"I play a bit," Jacqueline answered, fluttering her eyelashes. Raine nearly let out a very unlady-like snort. Jacqueline could play the piano better than anyone else in the family. Jacqueline rose gracefully and sauntered over to the piano. She began to play a very complex piece, the notes blending together beautifully. Raine closed her eyes, remembering the days when her and Jacqueline were inseparable.

"Come on Ray! You're nearly up there! Just a few more branches!" Jacqueline called down from the top of the tree, the wind making her hair dance in the wind. Raine was still struggling up, gasping for breath. She gave one last push and she was at the top of the tree.

She gasped in delight at the sight around her. England lay spread around her, with it's rolling green hills and towns lying scattered across the land. It was truly a beautiful sight with the cloudless sky and the sun shining brilliantly down on the land. Raine closed her eyes, completely at peace.

This was all she wanted: her sister next to her, the warm wind playing with her hair and the sun beaming down at her.

"Raine," her Mother hissed, elbowing her in the side. She immediately sat at attention, looking at Charles.

"Charles has just asked for a tour around the stables, my dear. I think that is quite a good idea! Would you like to show him around?" Mother asked, her lips smiling but her eyes giving her the if-you-don't-do-this-you-are-dead look. Raine smiled sweetly.

"Of course I would love to," She rose from her seat and walked out of the house with Charles at her side. As they made her way to the stables, Charles tried to make conversation.

"You have beautiful grounds here, do you not?" Raine kept the smile in place, nodding. "Our grounds are not near so beautiful, as they are not situated in countryside such as this." Raine just kept nodding politely to all his questions, utterly bored inside.

They reached the stables and Raine stepped inside, breathing in the familiar scents of horse and hay. She led Charles over to her horse, Sungrass.

"This is my horse, Sungrass. I've had her for two winters," She explained, rubbing the palomino stallion affectionately on the nose.

"He is a stallion! Should gentle ladies like you ride a horse this proud?" He exclaimed.

She frowned slightly; annoyed that he would put her in the same category of one of those shallow, selfish ladies.

"Actually, I ride him all the time. If you would like, we could go for a ride out on the grounds tomorrow. You may choose any horse, except Sungrass," she challenged. She was beginning to wonder if Charles was anything but a well-spoken brat.

"Yes, that would be quite enjoyable. I think it is time for dinner, let me escort you back in."

Raine nearly snorted at this formal talk. Escort her back in? Lord in Heaven he is formal! She thought.

Dinner was served with much grandeur due to the visitors.

The Duchess looked extremely uncomfortable trying to sit down. This was due to the fact that she was dressed in the latest fashion: stiff and gaudy fabrics draped over a tight corset. She also had white powder on her face with bright red powder on her cheeks. She sent a prayer of thanks up to the Lord that she didn't have to wear something like that. She thought her dresses were bad enough!

The servants strode out of the kitchen with their hands laden with foods emitting a delicious aroma.

They sat the dishes down in front of all the guests with many flourishes. They let the Duchess and Charles take their food first, the Duchess taking the smallest amount possible without offending the Marchioness and Charles shovelling it all on his plate.

The dinner went excruciatingly slowly for Raine, who wanted to get out as soon as possible and head for the library.

Raine breathed a sigh of relief. Almost finished!

"Raine, did you hear that? We have been invited to court for the day tomorrow, all thanks go to Charles for suggesting this brilliant idea!" Raine started at her mother's voice, finding that she had been daydreaming again.

Wait… court? I hate court! She thought. She had tried staying away from court as much as possible, but when asked by the Duke's son? She could only accept the invitation with fake gratitude.

"Court? Why, I haven't been to court for a while! Thank you very much for this opportunity!" She said with fake cheeriness. Her mother shot her a sharp glance but other then that no one else noticed Raine's false merriment.

Finally, dinner was over and she retreated to the library. She curled up on a chair near the window with her favourite romance book, and lost herself in the magical words.

I wish I was like the protagonist, she sighed, as she gazed out at the starry sky, to have love and be loved would be the most beautiful feeling.

"Lady Raine?" A male voice inquired at the door. She jumped and slammed the book closed, whipping her head around to stare at the newcomer. It was Charles.

"Yes?" she answered, curious at what had brought him to one of her only solaces.

He entered the room tentatively.

"I…I'd like to thank you for accepting my invitation. This means a lot to me," he said hesitantly. Raine's eyebrows rose. It means a lot to him?

"Um… That's fine. I'm quite excited about it," she lied, studying him in the candlelight. His face looked a bit flushed and he was shifting from foot to foot.

"Yeah, I am too. See you tomorrow," he farewelled, striding quickly out of the room.

Raine gave a little shrug, and then went back to her books. A thought occurred to her before she fell asleep. I won't be able to show him I can ride…