Chapter 4: May I have this dance
As Linda and I made our way inside the magnificent castle we were once again struck by its sheer beauty. The interior design was one from the early 1900′s which always seemed to fascinate me every time I came here. The walls were covered in tall portraits of the late Kings and Queens of Awa. The softly lit lights in the halls made the vibrant colors of the paintings come to life. It looked as if they were only painted yesterday but everyone knew that those were there for decades. It always amazed me how well kept the castle was. There was never anything out of order and every room was well organized.
After 5 minutes of walking, we finally made it to the staircase leading to the ballroom. We weren’t late but we were expected to be there on time or my mother would have our heads. Figuratively speaking.
As we descend the stairs, I couldn’t help but once again admire the beauty of the well-decorated room. The gold and silver decorations enhanced it, making the room look like it came straight from a fairytale I once read about in a book. I had imagined the ballroom in the story to be somewhat similar to the one I was currently in. I wondered why it did but then I remember that Scarlet was probably the one who asked for such a thing to happen.
As we continued to walk down the stairs a slow, sweet melody drifted through the busy atmosphere of the castle. Everyone present was sporting expensive looking masks that either covered their entire face or just their eyes. Everything looked and felt magical even though I’ve been to countless balls before. None have ever been like this.
Linda and I weaved our way through the crowd of nobles and champagne baring waiters as we looked for my father. After many greetings from anyone within our sight we finally found him at the corner of the dancefloor watching as Lizzy and a man who looked around her age danced with the rest of the men and women. Debating on whether or not I should find mother and Scarlet I decided to stay with my father. And I couldn’t help but wish that I had stayed home.
Hours had passed since we had been at the ball. Scarlet and Prince Marcus would announce their engagement at midnight. Which I couldn’t wait for since my feet ached from the endless number of dances I endured this evening. I tried to politely decline some of their offers but mother would glare at me, leaving me with no other choice than to agree.
After the last dance with a guy, I couldn’t remember I decided to escape to the back of the crowd. Hoping that I would have a moment of peace to finally catch my breath and rest my aching feet. After I yet again made my way through the cluster of people here, I tiredly released a breath of relief when I made it past everyone unnoticed.
“What are you doing at the back of the crowd? The fun is that way.” A voice behind asked. Making my escape short lived. I slowly turned around hoping it wasn’t the one person I tried to avoid during the few hours we were here. But of course, luck was not on my side.
“Looking for Prince charming.” I sarcastically responded. He just chuckled.
“What are you doing here? Aren’t you suppose to be with one of the princesses from a neighboring kingdom?” I questioned.
“I was but I left her a while ago. I’m not very fond of hearing about the number of different colors there are in make up kits or the number of shoes a closet can hold.” He groaned. I laughed at the torture that girl must have put him through. He deserved it. If I met her I’ll congratulate her on annoying Arthur for hours.
“Its almost time for Marcus to come out and announce his bride to be and the last dance is about to start.” He mumbled. I didn’t know if he was talking to me or himself so I stayed quiet.
Besides I hadn’t seen Prince Marcus or my sister the entire evening. I assumed they were still preparing for what they would say.
I was brought out of my thoughts when somebody held my hand and started pulling me. I looked up to the owner of the hand and saw Arthur grinning at me. I was a bit uncomfortable with him holding my hand but I didn’t comment on it. Everyone cleared a path as he leads us to the dancefloor.
He stopped and let go of my hand as he stood in front of me. But I could feel the burning stares of everyone in the room. It made me nervous and uncomfortable whereas Arthur looked like he didn’t care.
I watched as Arthur bowed a little, extending his hand to me before speaking. “May I have this dance Lady Rebekah Amelia Northwest?”
I curtsied before replying. “Yes, you may, my Prince.” It felt weird to say that but I have to be respectful and formal when we’re in a situation like this.
I took Arthur’s hand as he leads me to the center of the wide dance floor. As we made our way there I took in his appearance.
He was dressed in an expensive three-piece charcoal black suit. His dirty blonde hair was styled back making him look a little older than he was. His deep blue eyes stared intently at me through his silver mask as we moved to the pace of the slow music. The fabric of my dress flowing gracefully with every movement.
I didn’t quite like how close we were to each other. I was never one for dancing but I always endured it. I could feel how stiff my body was and I knew Arthur could too.
“Stop being so tense Rebekah. Relax and try to enjoy the dance. If I wanted to dance with a statue I would have chosen the one in mother’s garden.” He joked. I didn’t find it funny.
“I’m not really excited about dancing with you Arthur since you literally dragged me here. And my feet are still aching from all the dancing from earlier.” I mumbled. I could feel his chest vibrate from his quiet laughter. We didn’t say anything after that as Arthur turned elegantly, his body in tune with the music.
But even with his graceful steps, there was a harshness to him, letting you know you he was a man with power and control. That he demanded respect and he wasn’t someone to underestimate. I never really knew Arthur as such a person. He was always a laid back type of guy which usually made you forget that he was a prince. And he never really put his mind to one goal when he could have many. So seeing him like this was something new to me.
As we continued the never-ending dance I noticed that our dancing was somewhat perfect; everything from our breathing to how our feet moved in sync on the polished floor tiles. He guided me across the room as elegantly and gracefully as possible while keeping his eyes on me. It was weird when he seemed to only be watching me yet still aware of where to take me. Every movement, every angle seemed to be well planned in advance. And not a single movement felt forced. It almost felt natural to dance like this.
At that moment I mentally admitted that Arthur was an incredible dancer. After realizing that I might actually enjoy one dance tonight, I finally decided to let this be the only time I would flatter Arthur by dancing freely with him. Although I usually find dancing with anyone rather dull and boring.
I gave him a small smile as I allowed him to lead me anywhere in this one dance. He turned left, I went left. He sped up, I sped up. We became one with the song. Before the song ended he twirled me around while my smile grew wider. He even wore his own smile as we continued.
When it finally ended I curtsied and he bowed. that’s when I noticed the smiles on our faces and the small pants of breath that came from us. I didn’t notice at some point during the dance we had completely forgotten about our surroundings and were having fun. We were even the only ones dancing as everyone watched us. I turned with Arthur still holding my hand to see everyone looking at us with shock or awe.
I didn’t know why but I also didn’t let it bother me. I continued to look around when I saw Scarlet smiling at us and Prince Marcus glaring at us. I frowned as I felt Arthur pull me closer.
“The fun is about to begin Rebekah. By the time this is over it will be the one night you won’t forget.” He whispered into my ear before kissing my temple. My face heated up from embarrassment. I didn’t understand what he meant or why he just did that but I felt in the pit of my stomach that something was about to happen.
Who knew one little mistake could change everything.