I was wearing a blood, red dress.
I looked like a piece of meat. Waiting to be ravaged alive.
Isabella had dressed me in the most ridiculous dress. It was a deep red, chiffon frilly dress that came off the shoulder, that were matched with red stiletto heels. Heels that will no doubt make me hobble all night long.
Alexander takes my hand and slowly guides me out of the carriage where before me stands a majestic castle. It was covered in snow with tall towers, thick columns and ice surrounds all the windows like silver tinsel. Even the roof was covered with ice crystals. There was a wide stone, staircase leading up the doors where two enormous bats made out of crystal, guards the entrance.
Outside, the place was crowded with people and different creatures in their formal attire. They make their way slowly up to the castle arm in arm. As Alexander leads me towards the castle, I couldn’t help but trip over the dress. Its length was ridiculous. By the time we got inside, I had lost count to how many times I pushed the dress away from my feet.
“Stop fidgeting, you look beautiful.” Alexander mutters.
I shoot my head upwards and widen my eyes at him. “Beautiful?”
He does not answer me.
Had I just imagined that?
He peers down at me, then reaches behind me and unclips the clip holding my hair up in a chignon. As soon as he removes the clip, my raven coloured hair cascades down my shoulders. “Now, you are.”
A strange sensation flutters inside my chest at his words. I did not know the meaning of it nor what it meant other than I could not look at him. I bite my lip and lower my head.
Only my parens had called me beautiful. Even then, I did not understand what it meant or believed them.
He chuckles at my response and wraps one arm around my waist, causing me to gasp in surprise. “Before we go inside, I must tell you a few things.”
Like what? I wonder to myself. Surely this isn’t going to be some sort of vampiric ritual or something more disturbing than that. Or is it? Is that the reason why he’s brought me with him? Am I the sacrificial lamb waiting to be slaughtered?
“Oh, no.” I mutter under my breath as I stop dead in my tracks.
Alexander notices me stopping and leans down to my ear. “What’s the matter? You’ve gone all pale.”
“Am I here to die?” I stutter.
He looks taken aback. “What? Of course, you’re not going to die. Did you not listen to anything I said to you yesterday?”
I think back to yesterday when he told me that he means me no harm, but him bringing me here still leaves an unsettling feeling in my stomach.
I nod to his question and lower my voice. “I heard you, but why have you brought me to a place that is crawling with blood thirsty creatures?”
He puts my hand in his and leads me down the length of the hall. “As long as I am next to you, nobody will come near you. Besides, the reason why I’ve brought you here with me because I thought you might like some time away from the palace, but if you’re uncomfortable we can turn around right now and not look back.”
“No, I wish to stay.” I shake my head repeatedly at the thought of going back to the palace. When Alexander informed me that I’d be joining him to the ball tonight, I wanted to cheer in delight. I would’ve agreed to do anything. Any excuse to leave the palace.
“Very well, then. Now, when we enter the ballroom, remember to smile, be kind, respectful and civil towards the creatures.” He mutters into my ear. “Show any kind of hostility towards them and they will not like it. Not one bit.”
I repeat his words repeatedly in my head and nod. “I understand.”
The hall was but dark and spooky. A deep red carpet ran the length of the hall with black walls adorned with portraits and grey gargoyle candle sconces. Alexander and I walk in silence down the shadowy hall until we come to a stop behind two, wooden gargantuan doors. It soon opened revealing an odd looking creature, dressed in formal attire.
He peers over at us. “Is that you, Alexander?”
He was four feet tall, had green coloured skin, unruly hair and large pointy ears.
I tilt my head at the creature, wondering what kind of being he was.
Alexander grins at the creature. “How are you, my old friend?”
The creature bows before Alexander. “Very well, my good sir.”
“I am glad to hear.” Alexander motions to me. “This is Jane, my companion for the evening.”
I greet the man with a small smile, but he does not return it. He instead smiles at me in discomfort and bows awkwardly. “Good evening, miss.”
“Evening.” I respond.
The creature studies me nervously and slowly moves his gaze back to Alexander. “The guests have all arrived. They have been eager for your arrival. I hope you have a lovely evening, sir.” The creature turns to look over at me and lowers his eyes. “And you miss.”
“Thank you, my dear friend. I am sure that I will.” Alexander takes my hand and leads me into the ballroom.
The moment I step foot inside the room, I gasp at its beauty. I had never seen anything like it in my life.
“Wow.” I whisper as look around the room. I couldn’t describe it in one word.
The room was square, with black walls. Inside, there’s floor to ceiling windows on each side of the room, with rich, luxurious red curtains draped from them. From the ceiling appointed an enormous, crystal chandelier. In the back of the ballroom, glass doors opens to an outdoor courtyard. Maybe later when I’ll need some air, I’ll go and explore more.
“Would you like to dance?”
I swing my head over and widen my eyes in panic. “Dance? I’ve never…”
“What? Danced?” Alexander frowns.
I shake my head at his question.
“Well, would you like to?” He asks.
I take a deep breath and release it. “Okay, but I cannot promise that I’ll be very good at it.”
He chuckles as he leads me slowly towards the dance floor. I could not help but cringe and look down at the ground, watching where I placed my feet to avoid falling over the fabric of my dress.
I could not believe how many people were here. I look at the dance floor where I see numerous of couples dancing gracefully together. The males were dressed in flawless tuxedos while the females were dressed in elegant gowns. I could not tear my gaze away from the sparkling jewels they wore around their necks, wrists and in their ears.
When Alexander and I walked through the crowd, I notice all the creatures there, stop their movements and bow at the prince. Alexander paid no attention to them. He instead comes to a stop in the middle of the floor, smiles down at me and lifts me up in the air, only to place me on top of his feet.
“Comfortable?” He asks with a smile on his face.
I look down at my feet resting on top of his and frown. “I don’t know about you, but I certainly am. Surely, this isn’t comfortable for you?”
“Be quiet. You’re as light as a feather.” He pulls me close to his chest, puts his hands on my waist and begins to dance.
I try to ignore the stares from all the different creatures and place my hands on Alexander’s muscular shoulders. As we swayed side to side, my thoughts go back to the odd looking creature.
“That creature that greeted us at the door, what is he?” I ask curiously.
His eyebrows rise. “You could not tell?”
I shake my head. “Creatures do not look like that where I’m from. I have never laid my eyes on such a peculiar creature in my life.”
He nods in understanding. “He’s a goblin. The last of his kind.”
He nods again. “He has served Lilith’s family for many years.”
“He seemed kind.” I peer up at him. “And he seems to know you fairly well.”
Alexander gives me this knowing look. “That’s because he’s seen me visiting Lilith on multiple occasions.”
“Oh.” I look away in embarrassment.
“Will you eventually marry her?” I ask in wonder.
Alexander scoffs. “Absolutely not. I have no desire to marry.”
I rise my brows. “Ever?”
He shakes his head.
“Neither do I.”
He looks at me questioningly.
“I cannot be a blood servant and somebody’s wife. It is impossible.”
He gazes into my eyes. “You can marry if you so wish to. I will not stop you.”
“Do not joke of such of things.”
“I am not joking. I am being honest.”
“If that’s so then, answer me this. Where will I find a husband in this sort of life?”
Alexander studies me. “I don’t think you’ll have that much trouble finding a husband for yourself.”
He looks away and immediately I notice his expression changing from being serene to anger.
“What is it?” I turn my head to see what it is he’s looking at, and thats when I feel a trill race up my spine.
As he was crossing the floor towards us, he’s smiling wolfishly at me. His golden hair was slicked back, revealing clear, porcelain skin and was dressed in a dark suit, a white dress shirt adorned with a deep, red bowtie around his neck.
In that moment, a waiter approaches Alexander and I with a tray full of champagne flutes.
He looked almost handsome.
Alexander takes two from the tray handing one to me and one for himself. “Here, drink it slowly.”
“Well, well, well, you decided to show after all.” Phoenix takes one flute off the tray and waves the waiter away.
Alexander rolls his eyes and takes a sip of the champagne. “It’s not like I had a choice.”
Phoenix chuckles darkly. “Nevertheless, Lilith will be happy to know that you’ve showed your face. You know how much these functions mean to her.”
I listened while I slowly drank the champagne, but I could still feel Phoenix’s intense stare on me.
“Where is Lilith, anyway?”
He points out to the courtyard. “She’s outside talking to a few of her close friends if you wish to see her, but if I were you, I wouldn’t greet her just yet. I’d keep my distance.”
I rise my head and look up at the faerie.
“Well, if you’re goal was to make Lilith jealous.” He glares down at me. “Congratulations.”
Alexander scoffs. “What on earth are you talking about?”
Suddenly, the entire room goes silent. Heads swing in the direction of the doors leading out to the courtyard to see an angry looking Lilith marching towards us. She wore a white, strapless silk dress with a slit up her left leg. She looked almost bride-like, but why did she look so furious.
As soon as she joins our little gathering, I couldn’t help but take a step closer to Alexander.
“Why do you look so angry, Lil?” Alexander asks. “Aren’t you happy to see me?”
“Why have you brought that thing to our engagement party!?” Lilith seethes.