Chapter 2- Grand Entrance
As the doors open, I try to walk at a steady pace whilst peoples’ eyes stare back at me.
I probably looked as stiff as a rock. Already halfway down the long, winding staircase, bile rose up my throat as nervousness began to creep in. I was already anxious to have people staring, but keeping a steady pace without letting my mask break is even harder.
As a sign of respect, while walking down, I faced and made eye contact with many people. As a response, they nodded and smiled back.
One set of eyes, in particular, caught my attention. Those crimson eyes are nothing out of the norm, but under their gaze, caused me to become entranced by them and at the same time it made me want to look away.
He was cute, or handsome, there isn’t really a difference between the two in my vocabulary. They both meant he was good looking. We stared for a few seconds until I broke contact, and continued my descent.
Finally, as I reach the end of this seemingly long instead of grand entrance, clapping began. As a formality, I curtsied as gracefully as I could then went back to my upright position. The clapping subsided. “Thank you for coming, from lands near and far, to celebrate my tenth birthday. I wish you all have a wonderful evening and enjoy the party!”
People cheered as I curtsied once more. The music resumed and I walk around trying to find my mother and sisters. Upon seeing my mother, I quickly stood next to her as people started to approach and introduce themselves.
It was hours upon hours of introductions. Okay, maybe I’m just over exaggerating. It probably was around an hour, but it was mostly parents who were interested in getting their sons and I together which will never happen. At least, my mom wouldn’t let it happen. She wants marriage to be based on love, and not political, which I am thankful for.
Then he came. Well more specifically his family. All of them had the same crimson eyes, and jet black hair making it known that their whole family was pure royalty. They walked towards us, and I thought I could sense a bit of hesitation between my mom and his parents, but apparently, I was imagining it when I saw them smile at each other and give hugs.
“Regina, I haven’t seen you in forever!” The woman who looked to be the boy’s mom squealed.
“Nor I you, Rachel” my mom smiled as they gave another hug.
“Nice to see you as well Richard. I hope you are both doing well” my mom breaks out of the hug.
“Yes, we are.” He nods and smiles sincerely.
“You better, because if I hear that you aren’t treating my best friend right, I will come and find you” my mom jokingly threatens.
“And I have no doubt that you will.”
During this exchange, the boy kept staring at me which was making me fidget. I looked down at my feet, hoping that he would look somewhere else.
Rachel seemed to notice this and quickly eased the tension. “Destiny, this is my son, Eric.”
I look up to meet his gaze this time.
“Nice to meet you,” I say politely, now less tensed knowing who he is. I don’t know why I was so worried, obviously that’s their son, why else would he be with them? Maybe I was just nervous because he’s been staring at me this whole time like some creepy person, watching my every move. Or maybe he is a secretly trained ninja, and is trying to read my movements for..... fun? What in the world are you thinking Tina? He does look familiar though. Have I met him before?
He nodded and had an amused look on his face as if he knew what I was thinking. Then, out of the blue, he took the back of my hand and raised it to his lips. “And I, you” and he kissed it while he kept his eyes on me the whole time.
My face turned red, as I blushed hard. No one has done that to me before, and I don’t know how to react. I felt my heart speed up, and there seems to be a pull towards him that I can’t deny. As he let go of my hand, I looked down at the floor, and I bet he was still looking at me and wore a smirk as well.
Oh, how I want to remove that smirk of his. As I thought this, I swear I saw his grin grow even wider, if that was even possible. I mentally scoffed.
What? Just because I’m a princess doesn’t mean I have to act nice and proper all the time. I have a life you know. I just act nice to those I don’t know.
Our parents just resumed the conversation and said nothing about our little exchange.
“Eric, it’s been a while since I last saw you, you were just a baby then,” my mother joined in the conversation, most likely to save me from my embarrassment.
“Yes, it was a shame that you weren’t able to come to his tenth birthday a couple of months back” Rachel piped in.
“I know, and for that, I am sorry”
“There is no need to apologize, Theo’s sudden disappearance, and raising your three daughters took a toll on you. The stress kept building until your body decided to collapse. There was nothing better you could have done. When I found out, if you came to the party, I would’ve dragged you back home to rest.”
All three of them started to laugh like the old childhood friends they are, and I suddenly felt like the fourth wheel or whatever you want to call it.
All of a sudden, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to face the person.
I was met with hazel eyes and blonde hair that belonged to Aiden, my closest and probably only guy friend and longtime crush. He was one of the sons of Lord Michael, a dear friend of my mom, and now one of his sons, is a dear friend of mine. He was a few months older than me as well.
“Happy Birthday Tina” he gives me a friendly hug and a wide smile.
“Thank you” I hug him back.
I want to tell him that I like him, but there is always something getting in the way whenever I try. One time, we were walking outside of the castle and I was about to tell him, then came a splash of water that drenched me from head to toe. A maid had accidentally dropped the bucket of water while cleaning the windows.
Another time, it was a clear and sunny day, and we were horseback riding. It was the perfect opportunity to tell him, but then all of a sudden, it started pouring rain. Once again, I got drenched. But I don’t get it! I’m pretty sure it was sunny when we went outside!
Maybe it’s just my bad luck with water. Or maybe my timing is not as perfect as I think it is.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Eric, who was once listening to our parents’ conversation, was now facing Aiden and I with what I think was hostile eyes.
What happened to make him so grumpy all of a sudden.
As Aiden and I were catching up with each other, Eric kept watching, and it made my skin prickle with nervousness.
Aiden looked over my shoulder to see where my eyes divert to every so often, and he seemingly gets what’s going on.
“Shall we dance milady” Aiden does a bow while holding his hand out.
I giggle as it reminds me of the old times when we were dance partners during our lessons of proper etiquette and manners. Wow, that made me sound old.
“We shall” I give a small curtsy in return and put my hand in his with a smile on my face.
Aiden and I danced a couple of songs, and I really wanted to confess right then and there (since I thought perfect opportunity) but decided against it. I didn’t want to ruin the moment in case something like the other incidents occurred. We then decided to take a small break.
“Would you like something to drink, princess?” he asked politely,
“You know you don’t have to be so formal with me’”
“I know” and he just left it at that.
“And yes, I would like something to drink. I’ll go with you”
“No I’ll get it” he insisted.
“Okay. I would like le-”
“Lemonade. Always the same, you never change” he cuts me off with an amused expression.
“Hey! Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
He just shrugs and begins to walk off.
“Stay there, I’ll be right back”
I nod even though he can’t see me.
As I look around, some boys begin to approach me asking for a dance, which made me wish I had gone with Aiden. I was hesitant to agree, but it would be rude not to dance, and it would be something to hold against my family, so I accepted a dance for each person who asked, which in fact was many, probably around ten or so.
After those ten dances, I just denied the next person who asked saying that I was already exhausted for the night and then I apologized. It wasn’t all a lie, it was partly true.
I then remembered that Aiden went to go get me a drink, but I left him to go dance. Immediately, I start to look for him, not knowing where I would go. First, I went to the place he told me to stay, and I looked around. Nothing.
When I found Crystal and Serena, I asked if they had seen him, and they shook their heads.
I felt guilty that I had forgotten about him. I was just so occupied with the amount of attention and pressure on me at the time, it just slipped my mind.
I searched and searched for him like a mad woman. I asked people I didn’t even know if they saw him, but every time, the answer I was looking for wasn’t given.
Sighing, I walked towards the balcony for just a moment of fresh air. I rested my arms on the rail, taking in the scenery. Tonight was a full moon, and it was beautifully reflected in the small lake that had a path leading to a gazebo right in the middle of it.
In addition, there were two sets of stairs to my right and to my left leading down to the royal grounds.
Next time I see Aiden, I will apologize to him for sure. Hopefully, he won’t be mad at me for standing him up like that, especially when he was doing a favor for me.
Maybe then will be another opportunity. I can’t just keep it hidden. I need to let it out and to do that I need to tell him. If I don’t, I will never know.
If likes me the same way, maybe we can spend more time together to find out the next step, with our parents’ permission of course.
If he doesn’t then I will accept it and try to move on, which will be hard considering since I’ve liked him since I was very little. He is very nice and sweet and was my rock whenever I broke down and couldn’t handle things anymore.
As I made up my mind, my train of thought was broken when I heard a voice behind me.