Chapter 3: Masquerade Ball
“Are you prepared for the ball tonight, Rebekah?” Asked a smirking Arthur as we made our way through the halls of our high school. When I woke up this morning my body ached from the abuse of yesterday’s shopping trip. If I could, I would really make shopping for hours, illegal.
“No, I am not prepared for the ball your family is throwing in honor of Scarlet and your brother tonight. In fact, I would like nothing more than to be at home with a good book and not be in a room filled with power-hungry nobles.” I replied. I really didn’t want to be at the ball. But my mother made it very clear that I needed to be there and that I must not bore the young men with talks of fictional characters. I had to be polite and speak about political matters. Which I hated more than anything.
“So, where is Linda? I didn’t see her today and usually, she has a lot to say when I’m around. Her sense of humor is always lovely to hear.” I looked at him like he just said he was in love with a tree. If he liked Linda’s verbal abuse then I’m really starting to realize why his parents agreed to let him out the castle. His head was messed up!
“Well, Linda’s at home helping Scarlet prepare for her big night,” I said before trying to leave this annoying prince’s side. Everyone was starting to spread rumors about us and it’s only been one day. I swear the rich have nothing to do but gossip about every little thing the Royals did. It’s very irritating especially when you get mixed into the gossip drama.
As for Linda she wasn’t exactly “helping” Scarlet. It was more like Scarlet dragged her away and started demanding that Linda gets everything for her while she gets her “beauty” sleep. I could imagine the many ways Linda is trying to murder my sister right now. Unfortunately for her, my mother was going to watch her like an eagle. So, murdering Scarlet was off the list.
“I see... So that’s the reason she hasn’t shown up today. Poor Linda.” He mocked as I walked faster. But he still managed to catch up to me. “Before I forget there was a change in the theme for the ball this evening. It’s a masquerade ball and everyone is required to wear a mask. By now all the nobles and other citizens attending the event should be well informed. I thought you should know beforehand.” He continued. A masquerade ball? I thought this was just a normal ball to announce their engagement. Where am I going to get a mask?
“What do you mean it’s a masquerade ball? It’s just an engagement ball. I don’t see the point of having everyone wear a mask when its just Prince Marcus formally announcing Scarlet as his Fiancée.” He just smirked which made me suspicious. What was the Royal family planning?
“It is, but there has been a small change in plans. You needn’t worry about the reasons behind the changes. You will find out soon enough, my dear Rebekah. But I’ll tell you one thing. It will be a night with a twist and one you won’t forget.” He replied before going into his bag and pulling out a beautiful gold mask. It was covered in a stunning gold and silver embroidery around the edges and a single diamond in a gold flower in the center of it. On the right side of the mask, a single pure white feather was attached. Overall it was the most gorgeous mask I’ve ever seen.
Before I could ask what he was doing with it, he placed it in my hand. I looked at him in confusion as to why he was giving it to me. The mask looked like it would be worn by royalty. More specifically a Queen. That’s when it dawned on me that this was probably for Scarlet.
Arthur just winked at me and started walking away. But he stopped a few steps away from me before answering the question I didn’t even ask. “If you’re thinking that mask is for Scarlet, it’s not. It is for you alone so don’t lose it. By all means, you must wear it to the ball and don’t worry little lamb you’ll know why this evening.”
He left me standing in the hall shocked and beyond confused.
I’ve never seen our house in so much chaos before. The servants were going up and down the stairs in a frenzy. I could hear my mother’s voice as she barked orders at the servants. I didn’t think it would be like this when I arrived home. But I guess it was a bigger deal than I thought.
I’m sure Linda must be at her breaking point by now. I’m worried about her but I’m not about to get my mother’s way of making my sisters look like perfection.
Instead, I made my way to my father’s study hoping to escape the confusion in the house. I would rather read a new book than to be dolled up. Besides my father always has the best books in his library and I’m always in there reading about new adventures. How I wish I could be like the main characters in those stories. Free to venture from one village to another, trying new dishes and meeting new people. That’s the life I crave for not the one I was given. Of course, I love my family but I sometimes wished it was simpler. A normal family going on vacation and having fun. Not only visiting new places just for business purposes.
I knocked on the wooden door and waited for my father to let me in. Soon after a quiet come in was heard. I entered my father’s office to find him looking stressed in the seat of his big, black office chair behind his large oak desk. He looked like he aged 10 more years since this morning.
“Father are you okay? Are you sick? Do I need to get mother? Why do you look so stressed out?” I frantically questioned as I tried to figure what to do. Instead of telling what to do to help he just chuckled.
“I’m fine Rebekah. No need to worry your mother she’s already busy getting Scarlet and Lizzy dressed. Speaking of which why aren’t you getting ready for the ball.” He inquired. I looked at him in disbelief. He didn’t look like he was fine and yet he was worried about me getting ready for the ball.
“You know I’m not much a dancing and dressing in the finest clothing type of girl.” I grinned as I tried to hide the fact that I was worried. He looked like he didn’t want me to fuss over his appearance. So, I’m going to try and be normal for now.
“That is true. Scarlet and Lizzy have taken after your mother. But you, my youngest daughter have always been more like me. Buried in a new book trying to escape the reality of the life we have to live.” He chuckled. My father and I always thought alike. Unlike my mother who has always put looks and wealth first. I guess you can say I’m always a daddy’s girl as others would put it.
“Rebekah, you should go to your room and get dressed before your mother gives you one of her lectures. And we leave in an hour.” He stated. I nodded in agreement before heading towards the door. I was hoping to stay in here and read a good book before we leave. But now that we were leaving earlier than expected I have no choice but to go.
“I’ll take your leave now father but are you sure you’re fine? You look rather pale and I’m starting to get worried. Is there anything I can do to help you?” I asked. He just turned in his chair to look into the gardens before speaking.
“Its nothing you need to worry about my dear. Everything is going perfectly. Tonight it will all make sense.” He answered. What was going to happen tonight that made my father so tense and Arthur overjoyed? I get the feeling it had nothing to do with Scarlet. But what could it be?
“If you say so, father.” I nodded and exited his study.
“Lady Rebekah you look marvelous in that dress. I just knew it was the perfect one for you.” Gushed Linda. We had just arrived in front of the enormous castle of the Kingsley Royal family.
The castle itself was bathed in beautiful, golden lights that were seen from a mile away. The entrance was filled with expensive cars as well as men and woman in the most expensive clothing Awa had to offer. Everyone looked breathtakingly beautiful yet sophisticated and elegant.
“My dress for tonight is nothing compared to the others. It is simple and plain.” I mumbled. My dress was a simple baby blue silk halter dress that clung to my hourglass shape with only my arms exposed. It was a floor length dress with a few small rubies on the top half of the dress. It wasn’t flashy but it was formal enough for such an event.
“That may be true Lady Rebekah but when such a dress is worn by you it looks anything but simple.” She complimented. I gave her a small smile.
“Do you have a mask, my lady? If you do I suggest you put it on and then we can go inside. Wouldn’t want to keep Mrs. And Mr. Northwest waiting on us.” She grinned. Scarlet, Lizzy and my mother had left earlier than us while father and I left together with Linda. He was already inside while I tried to brace myself for the evenings’ celebration.
“Let’s get going Linda and remember to be as polite and charming as always even if Arthur is around. We don’t need him in the infirmary again.” Her lips twitched. I knew she wasn’t going to hold back like the last time if he was near. I quickly took the gold mask out of my purse and gently adjusted it on my face. Linda gave me a questioning look but I just shrugged my shoulders before composing myself as we made our way to the doors.
Little did I know wearing that mask was going to be the biggest mistake of my life...