We were currently in separate rooms getting our measurements for our new garments done. Alexandre and Zara were in the room next to mine. I was in my undergarments, curling my toes uncomfortably on the plush, soft white carpet. I felt uncomfortable and exposed, as a reflex I tried to cover my body, to block it from the tailor's assistants' eyes. Since the tailor was male my father didn't allow him to enter the room while I wasn't presentable.
One of his three assistants scolded me and slapped my hands away from my body. The three young girls rushed about in the room taking measurements and bringing fabrics of different colors to see how they matched with my hair, eyes and skin color.
I sighed and looked outside the window to distract myself. Winter was coming near and the days grew colder and colder. The trees had lost most of their leaves and every morning there was a thin layer of frost on the grass. The day looked cold and sad, very little light filtered through the dense, white clouds.
I heard the background noise coming from the room next to mine. I heard Alexandre's soft voice followed by Zara's sweet laugh. And even though their room was less rich, colder and their clothes would be simpler I wished I could be there with them. I wished that I could share with them the same closeness that I didn't find within my own family.
After what seemed like hours of pocking, and prodding finally was over and I was free to leave. As I was walking to my room I saw Zara and Alexandre finishing off with their measurements. She was dancing by herself around by herself and Alexandre was watching her with a silent smile. 'He is stunning' was the thought that crossed my mind.
I stopped for a second to watch them. Suddenly Alexandre looked straight into my eyes; I gasped and continued walking towards my room. Embarrassment rushed through me, bringing a dark blush to my cheeks. I could feel Alexandre coming after me so I quickened my pace.
A strong hand grabbed gently my arm and turned me around. I closed my eyes not wanting to look at him. I didn't know if I was embarrassed because he had caught me staring at him or because of my thoughts at the moment.
"Why are you running away?" Alexandre said with a hint of amusement.
There was something about his tone that made me feel even more embarrassed so instinctively I turned defensive. I tried to push away from him but he still held both of my arms and wouldn't let go.
"I'm not trying to run away" I said forcefully, glaring at him.
He chuckled softly and pulled me closer to him. Even in the dimly lit room, I could see his blue eyes shine with amusement. Realizing that there was no escape, my shoulders relaxed and I simply stared into his eyes.
"Yes, you were." Alexandre replied calmly "I can smell it. There is no point in denying it."
'Along with other things' Alexandre thought while taking a deep breath. The sweet fragrance of her skin filled his nostrils.
Her slim body was so close to him that he could feel her warmth seeping into his body. She was in his arms staring calmly at him. She wasn't trying to get away from him and the usual fear and uneasiness were absent from her scent. Something unfamiliar stirred in him at the sight, making him tremble.
Alexandre waited for her to say something else but she remained silent.
"Zara and I are going outside for a walk. Would you like to join us?" Alexandre asked her.
Emily looked outside through the window and shuddered.
"But, it is really cold outside." Emily said weakly trying to find an excuse to get away from Alexandre and he saw through it.
"Is that the real reason?" Alexandre persisted determined to spend some time with her outside the manor.
Emily looked at him with uncertainty but finally she agreed.
"Alright; I'll just go to my room for my coat." Emily said doubtfully. Alexandre released her arms and she turned around to leave.
"We will meet you at the main entrance" Alexandre called out as she left. She just nodded without turning around. Alexandre smiled openly at her back knowing that his face was hidden by the shadows.
I walked quickly to my room and grabbed a scarf and my coat. I started to go down the stairs as fast as I had gone to my room but towards the last steps I started to question myself. 'Why am I acting this way?' I wondered. But before I could question myself further I had already finished descending the steps. I pushed those thoughts away and walked towards the door and opened it.
Alexandre was waiting outside by himself, his back resting against the wall.
"Where is Zara?" I asked.
"She is not coming; she decided to stay in and take a bath." Alexandre answered casually.
"Well umm… I'm not going either" I said taking a step back to close the door. Before I could close it Alexandre stopped me and dragged me outside with him, closing the door behind us. I was about to protest but he grabbed my hand and pulled me through the gardens and into the woods.
We passed the first trees; I stopped and pulled my hand away from him. He mustn't have expected it because he let go and I fell backwards.
"What do you think you're doing?" I asked him without moving from my place on the floor.
"I simply want to talk with you" He said while pacing. He seemed restless.
"Talk about what?"
"About your other suitors of course" he answered with a hint of anger. I sighed.
"What suitors? What are you talking about?"
"I am talking about your fiancé, Jack."
"What about him?" I asked feeling curious.
"He is trying to move into my territory and I will not allow that!" He emphasized the last word with an angry punch to a tree. I jumped startled.
"Alexandre you make no sense. What territory are you talking about?"
Suddenly his face was inches from mine. He was breathing hard and his blue eyes looked almost gray.
"I am talking about you and I have made my decision. I will not let him have you. I will court you and win you."