"I'm so glad you're back! I missed you!" I cried after we were done hugging each other.
"I was gone a day!" He laughed.
"So? I still didn't get to see you." I said, calming down a little.
"So what did you do yesterday?"
"You'll never believe it!"
"Did you get married... six times?"
"No!" I laughed and play punched him, "I bought boy's clothing and-"
"Yes, I thought that if Nicky could dress up like a girl then I could dress like a boy."
"But why? Wait what?" He looked confused. Why wouldn't I want to dress like a boy? I thought to myself
"To disguise myself, silly!" I didn't understand how he hadn't gotten it already, "I wanted to go out in the real world again, you know Vermillion Street, and I thought I would be safer for me if people thought I was a boy."
"You went to Vermillion street again?!" He asked, suddenly sounding alarmed.
"Yes! It was amazing, no one ever suspected I was a girl! I had so much fun I-"
"Deirdre! You could have been killed!"
"Killed? Maybe but I didn't so it's all good." I said, I little angry with the way he was treating me.
"It's not all good! You have no clue how they live, most of them hate the upper class. They could probably tell that you were not one of them, promise me you'll never go there without me again!"
"No!" I said, suddenly feeling defiant, "They might have suspected something at first but they believed me. Can't I go again?"
"No! It's too dangerous, I don't know what I would do if something happened to you!"
"Tristan! I'm grown up, I can take care of myself!" Why did I even ask him in the first place? Its not like he really has any say in what i do!
"Maybe in this world but not there, you couldn't last a moment there if things went wrong."
"You're just like the others, you think I'm stupid and incapable!" I yelled, feeling really hurt.
"No Deirdre! That's not what I mean! You know I don't think you're stupid, its just that it's a completely different world down there, you have to fight to survive- you don't know how to fight."
"I don't need to fight."
"There you do."
"No, let me prove it to you! I'll dress up as a boy and go with you to Vermillion Street, then you can decide for yourself if they believe me and that I'm safe"
"It's still dangerous-"
"Please Tristan!" I gave him my best puppy dog look, "I'll be with you, if anything goes wrong you'll be able to fix it!"
"...Fine," He sighed, "But don't go out again until we go together."
"Alright, so when do you want to go?"
"I don't know." He didn't sound to thrilled.
"Tonight?" I asked hopefully.
"I'm so excited!" I cried happily.
"This isn't a game, Deirdre." He said, suddenly serious, looking me dead in the eyes.
"Life is a game, Tristan!" I laughed, grabbing his hand and pulling into the ballroom.
"Let's dance!" I said. He didn't look as happy or excited as I was but I didn't mind; he would soon see that everything was fine, he was just worried about me.
"Sure." He answered and led me out unto the dance floor.
We danced together for only a few moments until someone cut it, after that I hardly saw Tristan. My followers surrounded me and wouldn't let me go, some where perceptive enough to see that I wasn't enjoying myself and began to ply me with questions.
"What's the matter?"
"Yeah, why are you so down?"
"Is it because Mark isn't here?"
"Who?" I asked confused, Mark?
"Don't play dumb! Mark, the one you've been in love with since you met him."
"How can you pretend you don't remember!"
"He's the one with the gorgeous blue eyes!"
"And red hair!"
"And strong arms!"
"And the most handsome smile!" The other girls continued like this for at least five more minutes.
"You're right. It's because I miss...Mark." I lied, hoping this would shut them up. Sadly, it didn't. They giggled and started planning how my "romance" with Mark would progress until we were married and then they went on to plan the wedding. Arguing about which one of them would be maid of honor and who would be their escort. I just tuned them out, trying to figure out how I could get away to talk to Tristan- we still needed to decide on a place to meet.
"Deirdre, are you even listening?" One of me followers asked in an annoyed voice.
"Sorry, what did you say?" I said, looking up.
"I said, 'Do you think you're in love?'"
"I don't-" I stopped, was I? "Yes, I think I am." I answered after a few moments, surprising myself. I was in love? Well that would make sense, but admitting it was different. Yes, I loved Tristan but loving and being in love were different somehow. I sighed, me in love...
"Deirdre can I talk to a moment...alone?" I looked up to see Tristan stand in front of me, my followers had shrunk back from him as if he would hurt them.
"Of course!" I said, trying not to laugh- I found the situation hilarious for some reason. Maybe it was the fact that they were so afraid of Tristan, I don't know.
As soon as we were out of sight I burst out laughing, Tristan started laughing too. It was a good two minutes until we stopped.
"I got tired of waiting." He said.
"I was wondering how I was going to escape them!"
"Do you think that was a little too dramatic? They looked disturbed." He chuckled.
"Not really, the 'alone' part was funny though. They probably think you're proposing."
"Or kidnapping you!"
"Would you? Please!" I laughed.
"That would be nice...but they probably would have the whole army out looking for us within five minutes and that would be hard to get away from."
"Hmmm, that would be a little difficult." I said with mock seriousness.
"I guess that means no kidnapping."
"Too bad. So where are we going to meet tonight?"
"At your house."
"No, then I'll have to walk back."
"To get out I climb down from the house next to mine." I thought it would be better to leave out the jumping part.
"Figures," He rolled his eyes
"You would find some dramatic way to get out, please tell me its not dangerous."
"Oh, that's not too bad I guess….please be super careful."
"So, I guess I'll meet you at the house next to yours."
"Okay, what time?"
"Umm, probably around midnight. I have to wait until most of my family is in bed before I leave." I said.
"Alright. That sounds perfect, I'll be wearing a blue coat. Hopefully that will make it easier for you to find me."
"Don't worry about that! I'll be able to find you just fine, but will you be able to find me," I laughed, "We better get back. I don't want them getting to worried."
"Well they might tell my mother that I'm alone with some suspicious looking man, and that definitely wouldn't end well. If that wasn't an issue I wouldn't care."
"Oh, well that makes sense. I wouldn't want your mother attacking me...Wait! How am I suspicious looking?"
"Well you have the classic 'bad boy' look going on, you know the dark clothes, the mysterious look, the whole 'I need to talk to you ALONE' thing!" I started to laugh, "And the fact that you scared half my followers almost to death. The poor things."
"And here I was hoping I could fool you!" He laughed.
"Silly boy, no one can fool me!" I said jokingly.
"That's good to remember," He smiled and took my hand. We walked slowly back to the main room, neither of us really wanted to go back inside. He let go my hand as soon as we entered the main room and we each went our separate ways.
Thankfully my mother wasn't feeling well so we let sooner than usual, I didn't get a chance to say good bye to Tristan but I knew I would seeing him soon so I didn't worry. As soon as we got home I began to wish that we hadn't come home early, time was dragging by so slowly I was afraid midnight would never come!
I tried to read to pass the time but I ended up reading the same line over and over again, I couldn't concentrate on anything. What I really wanted to do was take a nap but I was afraid I wouldn't wake up in time so I settled for just looking out my window- watching the people go by.
Finally it was eleven thirty, everyone was asleep and I sent my maid off telling her I would undress myself. As soon as she was out of ear shot I threw off my clothes and pulled my boy's clothing out from its hiding place. I was dressed and unto the room of the neighboring house ten minutes later.
He was standing there on the street, alone and looking beautiful. Had I just called him beautiful? I laughed to myself.
"Ello sir, would ya be wantin a polish?" I asked in my best accent. He spun around and stared.
"No I'm fine…" He paused suddenly staring hard at my face, "Deirdre?" He whispered, unbelievingly.
"Sorry sir, but my name's Dare. I don't know a Deirdre." I tried to keep my face serious but I couldn't, I smiled and began to laugh.
"You make a good boy!" Tristan laughed.
"Thanks!" I said, "I told you I could blend in!"
"You're right…" He sounded stunned, "I should have believed you."
"So are you ready to go?"
"Right, Dare. I don't think we can go tonight."
"Because there is something-"
"But Tristan you promised!" I was beginning to get upset.
"What!" I said angrily, I wanted to go out!
"What?" I asked again, but quietly this time.
"I got a message when I got back tonight, I have to leave."
"I'm not sure, probably early tomorrow. Some one is being sent to escort me so I'm waiting for them to arrive."
"Well then you still have a little time, right" I asked hopefully.
"No," He stepped closer, "Deirdre, I still have to get packed and get everything ready, believe me I would rather spend time with you but I can't."
"Don't worry about it…its okay, really."
"Please don't look so sad!"
"Sorry, " I tried to smile, "So are you going to be gone long?"
"I'm afraid so." We just stood there silently, I was trying not to show how upset I really was- I didn't want to make this harder for him.
"I'm sorry, I really am." Tristan explained, "I don't want to leave, but I have no choice."
"I know. It's okay, I'm sure I'll see you soon." I said, forcing myself to smile.
"I need to go back home and pack my things. Can I come see you tomorrow, to say good bye?"
"Um...I'll be home until around 2 O'clock."
"Wonderful. So I'll come see you as soon as I can."
"Yes, good night."
"Good night!" He kissed my hand and began walking away.
"Do you need any help getting back in?" He turned around and asked after he had taken a few steps.
"No, I'll be fine. Good night!"
"Good night!" I sighed and turned back towards the stairs. I was about to start up the stairs when a thought struck me, why did I have to go home? I could still go out; I could go to Vermillion Street without him. So I did.
I went to the same bar I went to the last time, I came in quietly, hardly looking around me this time. I plopped down on a stool and asked for a mug of beer.
"What's the matter, hun?" Asked Mary, the woman behind the bar.
"Nothin," I mumbled.
"Aw now hun, you can talk to me! What's the matter?"
"There's this...girl," I paused.
"She doesn't like ya?"
"No, no he-she likes me...I think. But she's leaving for a long while, an' I don't know what to do."
"Aww, I'm sorry, hun. Did she say she'll wait for ya?"
"No...I don't think he-I mean she, knows how I feel."
"Well then ya should tell 'er!"
"But what if he doesn't like me back? What if he won't talk to me afta' I tell 'im?"
"Then he isn't the one for you."
"But-" I stammered, Mary leaned forward and whispered,
"Ya got ta tell 'im, lass, if ya truly love 'im then its worth the risk! Don't let 'im go juss cause you're scared- then ya'll regret it for the rest of ya life."
"What should I say?" I whispered back, instinctively leaning forward as well.
"What ya feel, that's all. Nothin more, nothing less." I nodded and sipped some of my beer, I was trying to put together in my mind what I was going to say.
"And don't worry, hun, you're secret is safe with me." I looked up.
"Secret?" Was she talking about what I had just told her?
"I know ya ain't a boy." She whispered. I gasped, taking a quick glance at my clothes to see if anything was out of place, it looked fine to me.
"Is it that obvious?" I whispered, suddenly feeling stupid.
"No, hun, its jus dat I've been workin 'ere for quite a few years 'n have seen a lot of tings. Ya get real good at reading people."
"What gave it away?"
"Well ya seemed to polite, clean, and proper for most boys your age so I figured sometin was different 'n watched ya more closely, dats when I noticed ya kept touchin your hay like you was used at makin sure your hair was lookin good 'n den jus now wit your story ya kept slippin and sayin he instead of she so I pieced it all together."
"Wow, you're good…" I paused, "Do ya think anyone else knows?"
"Mmmm I doubt it, as long as ya don't go kissin no boys or forget your accent ya should be fine, Lass."
"Thanks, its jus that-"
"Don't worry, I understand what ya are doin an' why. An' I won't tell a soul." I sighed in relief and smiled at her.
"Thank you." I whispered.
"Don't be thankin me!" she laughed, "Get on home, ya hav' a lot of thinking to do!" I nodded and got up to leave.
As soon as I got home I sat down at my desk and began to write, I knew that I probably wouldn't be able to get up enough courage to tell Tristan how I felt in person- I would have to write a letter. Besides, that way I wouldn't have to worry about anyone listening.
It took me at least two hours to write the letter, I kept writing and rewriting until I had say all I wanted in a way that didn't sound super corny or creepy. Then I folded it up and went right to bed.
All the next day I was so nervous and worried. He was going to be gone for a long time, would he remember me? How would I be able to go back to my old life now that I knew what life really was? Would he get hurt when he was gone? Would he fall in love? Or get married? I had so many questions that my head began it hurt, I tried to put them out of my mind but I couldn't. Thankfully my mother was too preoccupied that she didn't notice how out of sorts I was.