Proserpine Alice was in a foul mood that evening. She was forced into a party she didn't even want to attend by her mother, reasoning that her father had spent a lot of money to host the party in her honor. She was forced by her mother to wear a white lacy big gown that would have suited more for a bride (Even if eventually she didn't wear it). Her father once again introduced her to the 14th suitor this evening and forced her to spend some time with him. After humoring the poor suitor, she bumped into Aunt Janis who seemed to hate her for no reason and started to gossip about her flaws and imperfection. She didn't care. Then she bumped to Eris who just freaked her out as she lead her to the (male) cousins who tried to flirt with her and it disgusted her to no end. Alice knew that the real reason this party was held was because her father hadn't host any party for the last two years, and her graduation just being a good fake reason on why it was held.
When she overheard her mother badmouthed Aunt Angela and ended caught up in a petty cat fight where both of them are drunk, Alice finally could no longer keep her temper. She ran off to the back garden to calm herself down. She cursed herself for having this kind of family. What had she done in her past life that she deserved these dysfunctional families? Her almost crazy mother, an aunt who hated her for no apparent reason, cousins who freaked her out. What's next? A talking pet who can read minds, perhaps?
Alice sighed/groaned in aggravation. She paid no mind to the cold wind and damp air as she walked slowly to the dimly lit pavilion. She needed to avert her attention to something else or she would lose it, and she had made a promise to herself that she would not be as crazy as her mother! She started to hum her favorite song as she walked and it immediately calmed her nerves. When she arrived at the pavilion, she counted her steps to five, while still humming, and then crouched down to open a hidden lid on the floor. Inside there were her bow and arrows that she kept hidden from her mother.
Her mother never approved of her archery training, claiming that she was a lady, and a lady shouldn't possess a weapon no matter the circumstances or reasons. Once, she even attempted on burning her bow in the fireplace. She had run away then, not caring if her mother searching for her restlessly. She came back a week later and speechless when she saw the state her mother was in. After that, she had never run away again for fear of her mother's safety—who knows what she'll do to herself when she was out of her sight.
But Alice was unable to abandon her passion for archery, no matter what her mother claimed. She trained under Diana secretively at the middle of night when everybody was asleep then hid her bow and arrows under the pavilion floor. Nobody would be able to find them without digging under the floor first and besides, almost nobody came to the pavilion anyway. The pavilion was as good as abandoned.
She was about to replace her bow string with a new one, cleaning it with alcohol, and coating the bow hinges with oil to make it durable. She worked as she hummed along. When she was halfway replacing the string of her bow, she heard someone approaching. She snapped her head to the source of the voice and saw a man a few feet from the pavilion and approaching. She was panicked, thought this man was one of her father's intelligent who was assigned to spy on her or something. Her mother sometimes using her father's intelligent for her own wishes to keep an eye on her.
"Who are you?"
"Relax; I'm one of the guests." That sentence comforting her considerably and her stiff shoulders relaxed. "It's not like I'm a robber or something." He continued on but she didn't answer, just examined him as he entered the pavilion smoothly. He was infinitely handsome—not handsome like people inside. People inside insisted that handsome was having blond hair, tan skin, and blue eyes. No, he wasn't like that. In fact he was mysteriously, dangerously, darkly handsome. His obsidian locks was messy and wild despite his obvious effort to tame them down, his skin was porcelain pale, and his eyes—oh, they were blue alright, but not that warm sky blue or healthy turquoise—they are pale icy sapphire eyes. As he stepped on the doorway, he eyed her, "What are you doing out here? Shouldn't you be inside?" He inquired.
Alice didn't like being interrogated; she frowned at him. He didn't have any right to question her motive. "I could ask you the same thing." Then she turned away to ignore him and attend her bow and arrows to sit on the floor.
"What are you doing with those things? You're not intended on killing somebody, are you?"
Alice almost laughed at the panic in the man's voice but she just rolled her eyes at the ridiculous question. "Off course not, silly. I'm here because I need some fresh air and I also lack of training." She said without even bothering to meet him in the eye. She was busy replacing the string of her bow.
There was silence for a few moments before the man broke it, "So… you do archery?"
She knew she should be sarcastic and should say things like "yes, Mr. Obvious" or "thanks for stating the obvious", but it was her favorite topic of conversation and nobody ever bothered to acknowledge her skills at archery. So all she did was look up at him, who was already sitting on the bench beside her, and smiled genuinely—for he was the first one other than Diana or Minerva (or sometimes, her father) who showed interests in her archery skill—and simply said, "yes." Then she attended her bow string again.
"Well, what are you doing now?" He asked.
He seemed genuinely wondered. She didn't look up so she didn't see when he scooted closer to her. "I'm replacing the strings. It's important for a string of a bow to be replaced regularly; it made the bow stronger and more durable." She said as she plucked the bow string to test it.
There was a silent pause for a few seconds before he commented, "you seem to know these things pretty well."
She smiled. Finally, there was finally someone who acknowledged her. She was so glad—her mood lifted considerably. "Ah, my friend, Diana, was the one who introduced me and taught me archery. I guess it was contagious after all." She said with a cheerful smile as she poured a little alcohol on a small cloth to clean her bow. Then she looked up at him briefly, "I'm guessing you're my father's colleague, Sir?" She inquired as she kept scrubbing the metal bow.
He lifted an eyebrow, "your father? As in Mr. Hawk?"
She rolled her eyes, "Who else?" she inwardly frowned. Here we go again.
"Well, technically I am." He answered. "You mean you're his daughter?"
She frowned more as she finished scrubbing, "yes." Another person who will treated her like a gold—another person who saw her as what her name and not as who she is. She frowned. She hated being treated like this. "Why are you really here, Sir?" She met his eyes with defiance, daring him to treat her as her name.
The man paused for a moment before avoiding her stare, "just like you, I'm here to catch some fresh air too. I'm not much of a party person." She lifted an eyebrow. Not a party person? That was new. Her father's colleagues were usually businessmen and party people. "So I guess your name is Alice, then?"
Her eyes widened. How did he know her name? Then she remembered about her gossiping aunts and mother—especially Aunt Angela. She never knew when to keep her mouth shut, especially when she's under alcohol's grasp. "Yes. I am. I bet it was Aunt Angel who had told my name to you." It was a statement not a question.
He shrugged absentmindedly. "Nah, I don't know who they are. Those women just kept flocking around me and I just happened to hear your name around their useless gossiping. Honestly, I don't give a damn." Alice lifted an eyebrow in amusement at his vulgar words. She smiled discreetly. She's glad he was at least not a person who would sweet-talk in front of her. She hoped her opinion about this man is not wrong. "I'm sorry, Milady, I don't mean to curse." Alice blinked then scoffed at that.
"Please, you've been talking to me informally until two seconds ago. So what? Now that you've known my identity is my father's daughter you intend to be formal with me now?" She frowned in obvious dislike. "Don't give me that crap." Alice met his eyes in defiance, "I've grown sick of sweet-talks and fake-chivalry. I'm sure you've already know that those people inside are just hypocrites—hence the real reason you are here with me right here right now." Then her eyes softened as she stared at him. "You, Sir, I think you are different. So please don't make me regret that opinion of mine."
He gaped for a few seconds before he grinned, obviously amused. "Forgive me for trying to be polite then."
She scowled, "Well, I don't want you to be polite. Just treat me like I'm a normal 22 year old and not Queen Victoria." She grumbled.
She heard him chuckled. "So you're 22?" He inquired.
She glared at him as he questioned her age, "got a problem with my age?"
"Not at all. It's just that… I don't expect you to be so young." He answered.
She rolled her eyes, "well, then how old are you, Uncle?" she retaliated playfully.
The man frowned, "hey! Don't call me 'uncle', I'm not that old! I'm just 27 years old."
Now a couple of emerald eyes widened. "Really? You're young enough to be one of my suitors and instead you worked with dad? How come dad has such a young colleague?" Alice thought that this man should've at least more than thirty years old because her father's colleagues were at least 35 year old in average.
Now his grin was full stretched. "Would you rather like me be your suitor then?"
Alice wrinkled her nose in distaste, "Please. My mother has turned down all of the suitors. She thinks nobody deserves me. You know my mother, do you not?" The man shook his head. Alice knew that his father spoke of her mother very seldom. She then lowered her voice, "Well, don't speak of this to anyone, but my mother has some mental illness. She has daughter complex." She whispered quietly. The man lifted an eyebrow. "You can imagine what it was like, right? She is completely tied to me and unable to let go. She has never accepted that I'm no longer a child—always being around with me, holding my hand everywhere as if I'm just seven year old who needed guardians all the time. She never allowed me to be out of her sight and she still strictly controlling my bed time, even in my age." She sighed, not seeing the look of disbelief in his face. "What's worse is that she had chosen ones whom she thinks fitting to be my friends and I'm not even allowed to socialize until my sixteenth birthday. I only got my freedom recently because I've studied abroad the last five years." She was silent for a minute then she huffed, "why do I even talk about this with you? I hardly know you!" she huffed in exasperation in her own stupidity.
Then she heard the man chuckled. "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone about this. Besides, this means you've confided in me enough to tell me what you've been keeping in your heart, right?" he smirked.
Alice sighed, "You could say that."
Got nothing else to say, they fell in a comfortable silence for a while when the man broke it. "I would like to see your archery skill."
Her wide emerald eyes got even wider if that was even possible as she grinned even wider. "You really want to see?" She asked with a hopeful glint in her emerald eyes.
The raven haired man nodded firmly and Alice smiled happily. She quickly stood up from her perch on the floor, taking her bow and arrows with her; she smiled as she took his hands and pulled him to the wide clearing of the garden. "You're the first one who is interested in my archery skills other than Diana and Minerva, and my dad, off course." Alice said cheerfully as she let go of his hands. "They said I do well enough that Diana had nothing more to teach me. And she's a pro, mind you." She laughed as she ran towards the center, next to where he stood. She prepared her stance; left arm holding her bow while the right hand stretching the string with an arrow, prepared to shoot. Shoulders relaxed, both feet opened as wide as the shoulders, both eyes opened, and she relaxed her stance. She released the arrow and a second later, the arrow embedded on the center of the circles.
Alice noted that his sapphire eyes widened at the display then he nodded, "not bad," he murmured. "Not bad at all."
Alice frowned and pouted at the comment. "Not bad? That's all? No 'great' or 'terrific'?"
She noticed that the man almost burst out laughing. Instead, he chuckled, "being arrogant, now, aren't we?" he teased. At that, Alice huffed; she frowned, pouted, and folded her arms in front of her chest childishly. He laughed again. "Seriously, no wonder your mother doesn't want to let you go." He commented. The brunette girl lifted an eyebrow as a sign for him to continue. "You're too cute to let go."
Alice could feel her own cheeks flushed and she looked away shyly. "You're just saying that." She said timidly. She was about to say something else but a familiar annoying voice was heard from across the field.
"Alice! Kore, dear! Where have you gone?"
Alice groaned sullenly at the familiar sound. She picked up her bow and arrows. "I'm sorry, I have to go." She said as she reluctantly spun around and walked away.
"No worries, we'll see each other again."
The brunette snapped her head to him at that. "What do you mean?"
A knowing smile appeared on his lips. "I meant what I said. I'll definitely see you again—no matter how. That is, if you want us to meet again."
Alice seemed to be considering it, and then she smiled timidly, "I'd like to see you again."
"Kore, dear! Answer you mother!"
That annoying voice interrupted, but they have yet to see anyone near them and the voice was still a little far from them. The man daringly continued, "I'm glad. Then, you'll just have to wait for me, then." Alice's face dropped at that. His sapphire eyes softened, "don't make that face—you'll make me smothering you in no time. You're too cute." Alice blushed again at his direct compliment. "Just wait for me. I'll make sure to see you as soon as possible."
"Kore, my daughter!"
"Will you tell me about yourself by then?" Alice ignored her mother's calling as her face beamed.
He nodded with a kind smile. "I'll tell you everything you want to know."
Alice snapped her head at the voice. It sounds way closer than then. "You should probably go. My mother doesn't like to see me being close with men—and I should hide my bow."
The gentleman trotted to Alice and held her right hand close to his lips to kiss the back of her palm. "Then I should bid you good night, milady." He smirked then he turned without a word or a second glance as he walked towards the back terrace inside.
Alice was only able to stare at his retreating back in a daze. In that instant, she forget one crucial thing; she forgot to ask his name! She was about to follow him to ask his name when suddenly her mother's voice appeared just behind her. "Kore! Oh, thank Goodness you're okay! For a moment there, I thought you were being kidnapped or drugged or something." Alice stood stiffly as her mother embraced her. Then she pushed her gently to look at her predicament and—as she predicted—her mother's eyes hardened, "what's this, Kore? I've told you, you are not allowed to wield weapons! You know how much I dreaded them!"
Alice sighed. "Yes, Mom. I was about to put them away." She said resignedly as she put away the bow and quiver. "Let's just go back inside, Mom. I will tidy these later." She put her arm around her mother's shoulders—ironically—like a mother would done to a pouting child, as her mother kept ranting about why she thinks her daughter shouldn't wield weapons or what she thinks about girls who fights. She never cared what her childish mother thinks—never did.
Yup, basically just the re-telling of chapter 1 in Alice's perspective. Well, I have nothing to say, so if you have any questions or suggestions, or perhaps correction of my grammars, please type them in the box below or you can simply PM me. Thank you for reading and digital cookies for you all :)