*A/N*- Greetings to all my lovely readers! I haven't been updating lately... so to apologize an extra long chapter for you all!
Reviews and comments are appreciated.
"What is it that you want from me brother?" I asked Eugene who called for me earlier in the day. We were both sitting on a bench by the courtyard behind the manor house.
"I was given a report on your progress in school a couple weeks before. And I'm disappointed in you Lillian," he said gazing off in to the distance.
I sighed, "Its nothing new Eugene…"
"But I know you could do better! That's why we're going to have a match!"Eugene said standing up. I smiled this also was not new, Eugene was a one who believed in improvement and whenever I was home he would challenge me to a duel to improve my skills.
He walked over to the middle of the grass field. I ran to the center dragging my long skirt with me "How do you suppose I fight in this condition Eugene?" I asked gesturing to my skirt.
He gave me a lopsided grin "Afraid to get dirty?"
I stuck out my tongue at him and stood in front of him legs a foot apart.
"Let me see what you got." Eugene announced looking at me with twinkling eyes. I rolled up my sleeves to my elbow and ran toward him dead center. The first tingles started from my shoulder then lengthen to the palm of my hand. A small ice-like dagger appeared in to my hand "Ahhh!" I yelled aiming the dagger toward my brother. He gave me a small smile then suddenly vanished. I halted to a stop looking around. Where did he go?
I suddenly froze "Never ever stop moving in a middle of a fight" Eugene whispered in my ear. How did he get behind me? I quickly tried to elbow him in the stomach until he vanished yet again! How does he move so fast?
He reappeared a couple feet away from me I thought quickly until finally concluding what to do. I looked at the bottom of his feet and imagined ice. Just like that, a sleek cover of ice appeared below his feet Eugene yelped when he slipped and fell on his bottom. I started laughing Eugene stood away from the ice and dust away at his pants he smiled "This time I won't play!"
He circled around me until making his move. He pointed a finger at me and a burst of water shot out from his finger. I quickly ducked putting both my hands out in front of me an ice-like shield came before me. The water, which I thought was cold, was actually hot it melted through the shield slightly scorching my finger until I quickly pulled away. Think, think, think Lillian! While in the middle of thinking, a cold gusty wind forcefully blew past me making me lose my balance. Trying my best not to fall I did a somersault and stood back up again. I pumped my fist up in the air in victory. Great save Lillian!
I looked around until resting my eyes on Eugene who was still standing far from me. I conjured up two ice daggers in my hand. If I throw these two in the same direction, he would most likely run to the right. However, if I threw them in two different directions then he would have no choice but to run toward me… I hope I am right.
I threw one dagger to the left and one the right. Eugene focused on both daggers trying to dodge them both. I have at least two seconds until he finds me. I picked up my feet and dashed toward him chanting softly under my breath I disappeared and reappeared behind him holding the third dagger to his neck.
"I… win," I announced trying to catch breath.
"No I did," Eugene chuckled… but behind me? Wait a minute. I had my arm held around the neck of a…water clone. The clone melted to a puddle. I dropped my ice dagger in defeat and dropped to my knees.
Eugene bent down to my eye level he placed a hand on my shoulder "You could do better than this. I know you can."
I smiled at him "Can you show me how to conjure up a water clone?"
He grinned "Sure…"
"There is a ball tonight for the announcement of the engagement between Eugene and his fiancée Fiona Prombridge. It is also a debut for Gregory entering the adult society. In a way this is your first appearance is it not?" Samuel said fixing my curly brown hair.
"My last appearance was when Eugene became Duke when my parents died four years ago... So in a way yes," I said.
"Are you nervous?" Samuel clasped a beautiful diamond choker necklace around my neck.
I shrugged. I was only twelve when I made my last appearance now that I am sixteen I was going to be more wary of all the nobles and royals. They're only there to see if you tremble and fall apart. They are not our friends. I stepped out of the room in a deep purple strapless ball gown that ruffled in layers below the waistline. My curly brown hair was now curlier because it was done in ringlets down my back. I saw Greg across the hall looking dashing in a dark blue silk vest paired with a black tailcoat and matching trousers.
His face brightened a little when he saw me. "Lillian you look gorgeous!" he exclaimed he began to twirl me around. I giggled "Thank you Greg."
We began to walk to the direction of the ballroom. Mindless chatter, violin playing, and clinking of glasses soon filled our ears.
"How are you feeling?" Greg asked.
I smiled "Shouldn't I be asking you that? You are the one making his first debut."
He chuckled "I don't know how I'm feeling!" He ran his gloved hand through his hair in frustration as we neared the stairs.
Finally, at the top of the stairs, we stared down at all the nobles and royals' who suddenly fell silent. They watched us with amusing looks. Greg held out his arm I gratefully took it and we began walking down the grand steps one at a time.
Reaching the marble floor, they all opened up a little path for us and we began walking toward the table where Eugene and Fiona sat. I looked straight ahead not evening sparing any glances at anybody. They pretend to respect and obey the high council nobles…
Once seated the music resumed and everybody began minding their own business. I breathe out in relief. Moreover, this isn't even the beginning!
"Lillian let me introduce to you Fiona Prombridge my fiancé." Eugene said.
I stood up from my seat along with Greg. I curtseyed in front of her "Nice to meet you Fiona." Greg followed me by bowing. She laughed flipping her artificial blonde hair back "Indeed. I'm so happy to finally meet you two." She gave us a big toothy grin with her gums showing and everything. I grimaced sitting back down "She is so fake" Greg whispered to me. I smiled "You are totally right."
Greg then stood up from his seat "Where you going?" I asked. "I have to face the crowd. This is my debut after all…I can't spend the party sitting down at the table," he said. Looking composed and imperious, he walked toward the crowd and in to where the beasts prey. I sipped my glass of wine nervously…
They're constantly watching us…
I scanned the crowd finally finding Rachel in a deep red gown surrounded by a group of handsome young men and then found Xavier and Trevor flirting with girls. I tried to get their attention from my seat but failed. Looks like I have to venture out there…
The noble men absorbed my every move from behind their glassy eyes. While the rich women judged me by the expensive clothes, I wore.
"Why Lillian you look just like your mother the late Duchess!"
"You look absolutely stunning Lillian!"
"Lillian how are you? How is your brother?"
"Have you found a husband yet Lillian?"
All I heard from them was Lillian this, Lillian that! My name continued echoing in my ears like a repeated beat to the drum. Do not call out my name so freely! - was all I wanted to scream to them.
Keep your composure, keep your chin up, and walk with dignity.
I gracefully walked away from their quizzical words giving them a knowing glance, a word or two, or nothing at all. These or not acts of sympathy or affection. They want to corrupt the High Council Nobles and Royals from a distance as best they can. They are low-status Earls, Counts, and Barons compared to us. Do not answer them if you do not want too. We hold the upper hand and they have no advantage.
I finally reached Rachel I put a hand on her shoulder to get her attention. "Lillian! Hello darling!" she gave me a hug then a peck on the cheek. "Will you excuse me!" she said to a group of overly infatuated boys. We walked over to the far corner "I needed to get out of there. Everybody was making me nervous!" I exclaimed waving myself with an invisible fan.
"I know… it gets a tad too stuffy when everybody watches you! I saw you with your brother's fiancé earlier. She looks awfully pretentious!" Rachel said. I rolled my eyes "Urgh tell me about it…"
Trevor and Xavier appeared before us "Hello ladies!"
"Yes! Just the person I need! Tell me a joke Trevor," I said.
Xavier put a hand on his chest pretending to look hurt "And what am I?"
I gave him one look and said "A women manipulator." Xavier scowled at me.
"Uh… okay what do you get when you cross a duck and a rooster? A bird that gets up at the quack of dawn!" Trevor said bursting out in to laughter. We all looked at him strangely.
"That was not funny…" Rachel said crossing her arms to her chest.
"Don't don't you get it? Ducks go quack so…uh…forget it." Trevor mumbled looking down at his shoes.
"So is that your brother's fiancé? She's pretty but sort of- eh" Xavier said pulling at his tie awkwardly.
"What do you mean eh?" Rachel asked.
"She doesn't look natural you know… her blonde hair is obviously fake. At least your hair is real! I don't like fake women." Xavier exclaimed.
"Really?" Rachel blushed patting her blonde hair, which was held up by an intricate hairpin.
"Whatever… I don't care who my brother marries!" I said watching Fiona laugh at something Eugene said.
"Oh I got another joke, why can't your nose be twelve inches long? Because then it would be a foot!" Trevor said excitingly he looked at us waiting for us to laugh. I cracked a smile "That was corny Trevor!"
Trevor's smile immediately turned in to a frown "That wasn't funny? Then it looks like I have to take extreme measures." He began tickling me.
I squirmed away from his hands and yelled out profanities at him while laughing aloud. I suddenly stopped laughing and felt a chill run down my back. Someone is watching me. They were watching me with discretion and it was not just the nobles. I whirled around to face the person.
Dark purple hair.
Those cold silver eyes.
He was watching me from a distance, face calm and emotionless. He turned away from me and began walking to the opposite direction away from the ballroom. Where was he going?
I pulled away from Rachel, Trevor, and Xavier to follow him.
"Hey! Where are you going Lillian?" Trevor called out.
I ignored them and continued down the red carpet corridor after Gale.
Why am I following him anyway? That I did not know.
He made a right turn and out in to the cold night air of the terrace. The chilly air finally made contact to my skin and I shivered.
"Lillian" I heard him softly whisper. My heart seemed to jump from my chest when I heard his voice calling out my name.
"Ye...yes?" I stuttered.
He chuckled softly and ran his hand through his slicked-back hair. It was usually down with his purple bangs falling over his eyes but for this occasion, it was combed back.
"How are you?" he asked smiling.
Did he just ask me how I was doing? Oh, my goblins this man… can he be any more confusing. I rose one eyebrow at him "Um…I'm fi-fine."
His smile slowly turned in to a worried frown he took one-step towards me and that was all it took to close off the space between us. I felt my heart beat against my chest so loudly it was ringing in my ears. Why is he so tall? I stared up at him and now that I have a closer look at him, he was not at all perfect when looked at closely. He had a noticeable beauty mark right below his eye his nose was not exactly symmetrical, and he had slightly chapped lips.
Wait a minute-why am I observing him. I took a step back his eyes followed me. Did he notice me observing him earlier? A blush surfaced my face I nervously ducked my head down so he wouldn't see my red face. "Are you truly okay Lillian? You could tell me anything…," he said quietly reaching out to touch my curly brown ringlets.
"Don't touch me so freely!" I suddenly found myself saying. I smacked his hand away but quickly pulled my hands away "Oh my goblins! That was an accident-I'm so sorry!"
He looked at me eyes twinkling and a smile across his face. "That's all right… it was not intended of me to touch you. I should apologize."
I chuckled nervously and looked up at the night sky. The stars twinkled and seemed to dance across the sky with delight. "Why do you constantly pester me?" I quietly said.
Gale suddenly laughing it sounded almost like a trombone playing gleefully with the rest of the orchestra. It sounded… almost nice. "Me pestering you? I could ask you the same."
I blushed even darker "What?! How am I bothering you? You…you stare at me with those enticing silver eyes of yours…you-"
"My eyes are alluring to you?" he started laughing so hard tears started sprouting from his eyes. I widen my eyes in surprise and smiled… this was certainly new!
"Come on Lillian! Who stares at me during Potion class? Who is it that sneaks glances at me in the dining hall and in the corridor? Who followed me outside to the terrace tonight?" Gale said smiling widely.
My jaw dropped open and my face probably turned in to the color of a tomato.
"Admit it Lillian… you are attracted to me." Gale smirked leaning close to my face our noses almost touched.
I tried changing the subject "That's beside the point! Why do you call out my name with familiarity? I barely even know you and I don't call you by your name!"
"Oh but I know you," he whispered.
I put my hand to my chest when my heart made a sudden flip-flop inside of me. "What-what do you mean?" I asked.
His silver eyes twinkled with mischief "You really don't know?"
An image suddenly flashed through my mind, I gasped and staggered backwards. I finally knew "Si-Silver?!" (Chapter Three)
He grinned and leaned back against a pillar "Yup! I was the cat…"
All those times I spent talking to Silver… I was actually talking to Gale. I even slept with Silver and bathe-oh my goblins!
"You dirty pervert!" I yelled blushing crimson red. I was about to slap him but he caught my hand before I even touched him. A surge of heat flashed through my arm when he touched me. I jerked my hand away from him and looked at him. He felt it didn't he? That warmth…
His eyes suddenly darken and stir with unknown emotions. He slowly approached me, hands trembling he reached out for my face.
"Lillian?" I heard someone call out from behind me. Gale froze and quickly pulled away. His intent was still unclear to me was he going to touch my face? "I-I have to go. Excuse me…" Gale quickly said he walked away.
"What are you doing out here?" Samuel said walking toward me.
"No-Nothing… I just needed some fresh air!" I said I quickly shielded my face away from him because once he sees my face he would see right through to me.
"You shouldn't be talking to him…" I heard Samuel say as I walked back inside.