I was surrounded by complete darkness. I reached up and touched the soft fabric that had been tied over my eyes. It was a soft, thick piece of material. It reminded me of flannel. I could almost picture the plaid details on the fabric as it brushed against my eyelashes.
“You can’t take it off yet!” I heard Nix laugh. “Just a few more minutes. I just need to finish the final touches.”
“I thought we were supposed to do this a few days ago, not the day of the ball!” I smiled.
“Well dressmaking is serious business and I wanted to make sure that this was perfect on you.” I felt her tug on the material at my back.
“As long as I don’t upstage the Queen then that’s all that matters.” I laughed.
“Trust me, upstaging the Queen was not my intentions while making this dress.” I could picture the sinister smile that would be on her face. “Now, are you ready?”
“Nix, I’ve been ready to see my dress since you brought me here two hours ago.”
“How do you know it’s been two hours?” She gasped. “You can’t see the clock.”
“I’ve been counting in my head!” I said. “What else was I supposed to do while standing here blindfolded?”
I heard Nix’s laugh from the corner of the room. “I don’t know think of a way to make Rupert fall at your feet.”
The smile I held instantly slipped from my face. I stood there in silence as flashes of Rupert’s face danced behind my eyelids.
“Nix,” I sighed. “I told you what he said. He’s made it very clear that he is going to spend the rest of his life alone waiting for his life-mate who’s probably married and has twenty kids with someone else.” I said bitterly.
I heard the sound of a zipper before Nix let out an aggressive sigh. “Well fine then. You can spend the ball searching for a sexy man to whisk you off your feet!”
I felt her fingers brush against the back of my head as she loosened the material that covered my eyes. I kept my eyes closed as she pulled away the blindfold. I shifted from foot to foot until she told me to look at myself. I slowly opened my eyes and let out a soft gasp as the sight of myself.
The dress was beautiful. The emerald silk material was soft against my skin. It went nicely against my skin tone. It made my skin look warmer, softer. My deep red hair, that hung in soft waves down my back was a striking contrast to the dress. The dress had long, tight sleeves that moved up my shoulders and came down the front of my chest in a deep plunging V. The dress hugged my breasts, leaving just enough to the imagination of those whose gaze would linger a little longer than what would be deemed appropriate. The material continued to hug my body past my breasts and down to my waist. The material began to flow away from my body, making my legs look longer. Half way down my thigh the silk of the dress split, leaving a long slit down the front. I poked my leg out. My leg looked long and thin, the three inch black velvet stiletto sandal on my feet added more length to my body.
I hummed in approval as my eyes moved up and down my body. I turned to look over at Nix.
“This is beautiful!” I smiled over at her. “Oh, wow! Nix your dress is spectacular!”
The zip that I had heard just moments before was Nix putting on her own gown. It was a beautiful navy gown that hugged her curves and flared out just at the knee. It was a lace bodice with lace off the shoulder sleeves.
“Thank you! It’s probably the best dress that I’ve made for myself.” She spun. The back of the dress had little buttons going down the spine and went into the open lace train at the back. “The trick to making dresses for yourself as a single women is hiding the zipper under your arm.” She winked as she lifted her left arm.
“That’s really smart.” I smiled. “I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to go.” I did a quick spin in front of the mirror before I grabbed my black clutch and made my way out the door, Nix not too far behind me.
The castle was light up like the stars in the night sky. Beautiful twinkling lights were wrapped around the trees and shrubs that lined the long path that lead to the main gates. Horses and buggies lined the long cobblestone path to drop off the guests that were invited to the celebration.
The door to our carriage opened, I accepted the white-gloved hand that was held out to me as I stepped down. I moved out of the way to let Nix step beside me. I looked over at her, a smile was spread across my face. She turned to look at me, her smile matching mine. She hooked her arm around mine and we made our way into the castle.
Excitement washed over me. My stomach was fluttering with butterflies as my eyes took in very magnificent detail of the castle. The hall was decorated with beautiful white, blush pink and red roses. Elegant white drapery was hung across the ceiling of the castle. The chandeliers hung throughout the rooms casting a beautiful warm glow over the room. Many guests were lingering in the hall outside of the ballroom. I smiled at the people we passed as we made our way into the main room.
I felt my mouth fall open in a soft gasp as I took in the space around me. Tables filled the room, but left a large space in the middle for people to dance. A large orchestra sat in the far right corner of the room. I could hear the beautiful melody of the piano as it played a soft tune. The rest of the orchestra sat silent as the blissful sounds of the pianos keys floated through the room.
“Why don’t you find us a table darling, I’ll find us some champaign.” She gave me a soft pat on the arm before she disappeared into the crowd.
My eyes followed her as she moved towards the bar that was set up to the side of the room. My eyes flickered back to the faces of those around me. I smiled, keeping my head held high as I walked through the crowds. I could feel the lingering eyes of men and women as I moved by them. I caught a flash of gold out of the corner of my eye. I looked over and saw a beautiful golden crown sitting on top of a head full of red curls.
I eyed the Queen from afar as she smiled and talked to the guests. Her hair was tied up at the nape of her neck. A few strands of hair were left out and curled into ringlets at the side of her head. The gold crown that sat on the top of her head was embedded with white diamonds and a large emerald sat in the middle. Her crown was a nice complement to the dress she wore. Her dress was a long gold gown that was glittering under the light. It had a plunging V neck like mine did, but came up across her shoulder in thick straps. Across her neck as a golden chain that helped secure the long white cape that flowed down her back. On the bottom of her cape gold roses and petals were sewn in. She looked regal, elegant, she was by far the most beautiful woman in the room.
My eyes shifted over to the man that she was talking to. He wore a black tux with a black shirt underneath. His dark hair was slicked back with product. He wore a ruby red tie to match the evil energy that surrounded him. Valerian looked tough. His posture was one of power, it oozed from his pores. I watched as he shifted his body so he was facing me. I quickly moved out of his line of sight, afraid of what would happen if he were to see me.
I moved behind a taller man who was speaking to a group of people, I ignored them as I watched the Queen wrap her arm around Valerians as they began to mix and mingle with other guests. I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding and escaped out the arched doorway to the side of the room. I found myself in a long hallway, large windows covered the whole outer wall. It reminded me of the long halls and rooms in the Palace of Versailles. I smiled at the thought. The large windows were decorated with long golden silk curtains. They pooled against the floor, mixing in with the sheer white panels that hung over the glass.
The heels of my shoes echoed against the marble floor as I walked along it. I was alone in the hall, no one else from the party had left the room to escape into cooler air. I moved down the hall, large oil paintings of past and present royal family members were hung on the wall. I was admiring the portrait of an older woman. Her eyes sparkled in her painting, the creases to the side of her eyes showing her age.
“I was wondering where I would find you.” I gasped in surprise. I turned to look at the person whose voice had spoken to me.
“Come find me mommy!”
I stumbled back, my eyes trying to focus on the man that moved towards me. I fell backward against the wall, my hand flew out to brace myself. My fist knocked the painting. It shifted against the wall, threatening to fall. My mind was a hazy fog, my eyes unable to focus on who had just spoken. I let out a struggled breath as I fought against the power that was trying to take over me.
“Come find me mommy!”
“Ariella!” The voice spoke again, he sounded far, so much farther than the voice of the little girl.
“Ariella, love, are you okay?” His voice came in fragments. I felt the pressure of his hands on me, holding me up as I struggled to keep myself upright.
I reached out, my right hand gripped his neck, I could feel the soft tickle of his blond hair against my fingertips as I clutched onto him. My eyesight was blurry, a chaotic flash of images clouded over my eyes as they rolled to the back of my head.
Rupert. I tried to voice out his name but it was just a command that got lost into the story my mind was forcing me to see.
“Where are you, baby?” The woman’s voice was playful. I could hear her shoes echo against the floor as she walked.
“Come find me, mommy!” The little girl giggled as she hid under the bench next to the window.
“Hmm, where could my little bug be?” The woman had long red hair that hung freely against her back. “Could my little bug be hiding behind the curtains?” The woman moved the fabric to the side.
The little girl squealed in delight. “No! I’m not there!”
“Well, where else could you be?” The woman moved towards the bench that the little girl was hiding under and sat down.
The little girl covered her hands over her mouth she tried to hold in her giggles.
“I’m stumped baby girl! I don’t know where you are!” The mother laughed. “You’re so good at hiding!”
“I’m right here!” The little girl laughed as she wiggled out from under the bench. The mother laughed in delight and scooped up the little girl.
“You were under here the whole time?” The woman looked at her daughter and tucked her red hair behind her ears. “Well, I don’t know about you but I’m ready for lunch. How about we go have some sandwiches and tell Daddy how good you are at hiding?”
The little girl jumped from her mother's lap and ran down the hall. “Let’s go get Daddy!” The little girl stumbled over her feet as she ran.
I shot up, gasping for air as my mind spit me back into reality. I blinked as my sight came back. I flexed my fingers, they were gripped onto the arms of a person. I frowned and looked up at the face that stared down at me.
“Are you okay?” His voice was soft, caring.
I frowned and looked at him. His light hair as styled back, but a few pieces had fallen out of place and over his eyes. I reached out and brushed them back as my eyes moved down his body. He wore a black suit jacket, with an emerald green vest and bow tie over a white dress shirt.
“Let me guess, Nix made this for you?” I reached out and felt his suit jacket. I fiddled with the emerald green pocket square that poked out from the pocket over his left breast.
“Yeah. I see where she got her inspiration from.” His heated gazed travelled down my body.
My eyes followed his. I looked down my body, I was half laying, half sitting on a bench. The left side of my dress had fallen back from my leg and pooled against the ground to my side. The material had ridden up slightly, exposing a little bit of the black lace underwear I had on.
I felt his hands move down my arms, his calloused fingers felt soft against my skin. I watched as his fingers trailed down my arm, goosebumps covered my skin. My breath hitched in my throat as my heartbeat fast under the protection of my ribcage. I watched as his fingers began to grow warm, and a soft golden light came from them.
Our eyes locked. His fingers trailed across my waist and up over the exposed skin between my breasts. His fingers moved to the side of my neck. I watched his eyes follow the path of his hand. I let out a slow breath, trying to even out my erratic breathing.
Normal… I thought to myself as my mind swam. I could feel the fast beat of my pulse on the side of my neck, I knew that he could feel it too under the heat of his fingers.
“R-Rupert…” I whispered, staring at him wide-eyed. I didn’t understand why this was happening all of a sudden.
His eyes locked back to mine, they flashed gold before they settled back to his regular violet hue. He blinked a few times as if his thoughts had finally caught up with what his hands had been doing. He snapped his hand away from the side of my neck, and stumbled away from the bench.
“I-I uh…I should go.” He looked confused as he stumbled over his words. His eyes flashed down to his glowing hands. He balled them into fits and shoved them into his jacket pockets. He turned his back to me and quickly fled to the door to head back into the ballroom.
I pushed myself up off the bench and stumbled after him. My legs felt like jelly under the full weight of my body.
“Wait!” I reached out and grabbed his arm. “Hang on a second!”
He turned back to look at me, his eyes had gone back to gold. I took a half step back, my eyes grew wide.
“Rupert -” I began but didn’t get to finish. The next thing I knew, Ruperts arms were around my waist. He pushed his body against mine. I stumbled back into the wall, he moved with me. My hands moved to his chest, I watched him closely.
“What are you-” In a flash I felt the heat of his lips against the side of my neck. My thoughts turned into jello. My hands moved up his chest and gripped onto his shoulders. I dug my fingers into him, as he pressed his lips against my skin.
My mind became clouded, my body hummed with pleasure. I tipped my head back, allowing him to kiss up my neck further. I felt his one hand softly glide over my breast before he continued his movements to the side of my face. His long fingers wove into my hair, he gently tugged on it. I let out a soft gasp. He took this as an invitation to press his lips against mine.
His lips moulded against mine. He pushed his body closer to me. I could feel every inch of his muscular body. The heat radiating off of him was scolding hot. My hands moved up his neck, and into his hair. I tugged on it, desperate for him to be closer.
I felt his left hand move down my body. I felt his fingers slowly slide under the silk fabric of my dress. The heat of his fingers against my thigh caused me to let out a soft moan. He slid his tongue into my mouth, hungry to kiss me deeper while his fingers slid ever so slowly under the lace material at my hip. He rubbed the pad of his thumb against my skin before he moved his hand around to my ass. His fingers dug into my skin, I hissed at the welcoming pain from his grip.
“What are you doing to me.” He groaned against my lips.
My stomach clenched at his words. The huskiness of his voice sent my body into overdrive. My hands moved back down his chest before they fiddled with the buttons on his vest. I quickly pushed the material away, desperate to feel his skin against my own fingertips. I felt his fingers tickle down the back of my thigh before he gripped my leg just above the crevasse of my knee. He hoisted my leg up against his hip causing our bodies to push even closer together. His right hand tugged on my hair again as his mouth left mine and trailed back down my neck and over the exposed skin of my chest.
I whispered his name as my head fell back against the wall. My body vibrated with need as his mouth closed in on the soft tissue of my half exposed breasts. My fingers wove back through his hair, I pulled hard on it, wanting his mouth back against mine. He complied, his lips were warm and wet against mine.
A loud bang at the far end of the hall had us jumping apart. My leg fell back to the ground, I stumbled as I tried to keep myself upright. I gasped in surprise, my foggy brain slowly began to clear. I blinked and looked up at Rupert. He was looking at me in utter shock. He quickly stepped back from me, and fixed his shirt before doing up the buttons of his vest. I watched him reach down and re-adjust himself. I blushed and looked away.
He shook his head before he turned and began to walk away. “Normal.” He shouted.
I watched him as he walked back into the ballroom. My eyes landed on the group of people that had just walked in, their noise was what brought us apart.
“Normal.” I whispered as I pressed my fingertips against my swollen lips.
Whatever the fuck that means.
I closed my eyes and let out a soft groan before I fixed my dress and ran my fingers through my hair. I gave one last huff of air before I followed Rupert out of the hall.
Instead of following Rupert back into the ballroom right away I made a quick right and headed into the women’s restroom. I walked in and made a b-line for the first open stall. I closed the door behind me and leaned against it. I let out a groan as I mumbled incoherent words to myself, thankful that I was the only occupant in the room.
I heard the door open and the click of heels against the marble floor.
“Ariella?” I heard a familiar voice ask.
“Nix?” I asked, as I unlocked the stall door.
“Jesus! There you are. You know when I said find a table I actually meant find a table.” She said as I came out from behind the door. Her eyes travelled up and down my body. She opened and closed her mouth while she tried to find the right words.
“You look like you were just someones desert. You’re fucking glowing.” She moved towards me.
I sighed. “I can explain-”
“No. Ariella, you’re actually glowing.” She grabbed my hand and pulled me over to the mirror. “What the hell did you do?” She ran her hands over the glowing magic that had surrounded my body. “Oh God…” I heard her whisper.
“I um…I may have kissed Rupert…” I blushed.
She looked at me shocked. “You kissed Rupert?” She asked, as if she didn’t hear me right.
“Well I mean technically he kissed me…but…” I shrugged as I looked at my appearance.
“A kiss of golden light…” She mumbled as she moved her hands over the aura of light.
“What’s that?” I asked confused.
She shook her head. “Nothing to worry about darling. Clean yourself up, and stop thinking about him. If you don’t you’ll be glowing for hours and everyone will know what happened.” She winked. “I have to find Rupert. Don’t leave this stall until you stop glowing!” She pushed me into the stall, and pulled her compact mirror from her purse.
She quickly left the bathroom, clearly in a rush to find Rupert. I closed the stall door and once again locked it in place. I pulled my dress up, and used my shoe to push down the lid to the seat. I sat down, making myself as comfortable as I could.
“It’s going to be a long night.” I whispered to myself.