“Who are you going with again?” Granny asked at dinner.
The Kingdom Banquet was tomorrow and Lyra had invited me to go to the salon with her and Amara.
“With my friends” I replied. To be honest, I wasn’t excited about going at all. The past week Granny had taught me how to walk in heels and that had given me bruises on my ankles. Everyone at school was staring at me when I would walk the halls with a limp. Tristan avoided me all week and whenever I called his house his mom just said that he was “busy”.
Granny gave me a ride to the salon and before I told her she could leave she explained to me what to do and what not to do but I just stared at the Stars. Virgo was looking really good and really bored because no one had moved the stars around for a while.
“Now remember don’t dye your hair a weird color but get a blowout” Granny explained “and also paint your nails in a natural color not something inappropriate and funky”
“Yes, I’ll try to remember that” I sighed “Can I go now?”
“Maybe I should come with you” Granny ignored me “I don’t trust you or those friends of yours”
I opened my mouth to protest but Granny cut me off “I mean Lyra is sweet but she has a bit of an attitude and Amara, don’t even get me started on her. Playing video games and sleeping for four hours a day, doesn’t she have anything better to do?”
“Bye” I said and away immediately after Granny was done. Now she had a problem with my friends.
I met Lyra and Amara outside the salon but they were having an arguement. “....I don’t care what my mom said, I am not wearing heels tomorrow” Amara said
“You have to wear heels with a dress” Lyra protested “What are you going to do? Wear sneakers?”
One thing I knew about Amara is that she hated wearing uncomfortable clothing, it surprised me how she agreed to have a spa day with me and Lyra.
“But the dresses are long you can’t even see the shoes” Amara said.
“That’s what I said to my grandmother but obviously she wouldn’t listen”
“But she needs to look tall” Lyra argued.
“Fine!” Amara bellowed “I will wear uncomfortable shoes for one night to make you stop talking”
“Actually it’s three nights for six weeks” Lyra informed.
“Don’t remind me” Amara and I said in unison. Amara pushed open the doors of the building and walked inside.
“Never mess with an Aries” Lyra said
“You’re realizing this now?” I asked and we both laughed our way inside. We weren’t the only ones there. Almost every girl fro school was there and the whole building was crowded.
Lyra saw the worried look on my face and she said “Don’t worry, I already scheduled our appointment. They’ll take us in five minutes”
“That’s a relief” Amara said.
The floor was covered with hair, the smell made me nauseous and it was extremely hot so I had to take of my coat and sweater.
A girl with dark hair and white skin lead us into a room and fitted the three of us into robes and towels. Then we got face masks and they put cucumbers on our eyes which Amara fussed about but Lyra calmed her down. After exactly fifteen minutes we peeled off our face masks.
“My face is glowing” Lyra said
“My face is oily” Amara complained
“Just rub the oil on your skin” Lyra informed “You act like you’ve never done a face mask before”
“She probably hasn’t” I said
“I haven’t” Amara confirmed “But it feels nice, I may enjoy this after all”
After that we got our nails done and pedicures, Amara couldn’t stop laughing because having a pedicure for the first time was a little ticklish.
“Belle, did you talk to Tristan?” Lyra asked me.
“I tried to but I don’t think he wants to talk to me” I replied.
“That’s crazy” Lyra said “Did you even call him?”
“I did but he’s never home” I explained “In school he pretends that I don’t exist”
Lyra stopped talking and glanced at Amara who wasn’t giggling anymore. “What happened?” I said.
“Nothing” they said in unison.
“Do you know why he isn’t talking to me?” I asked.
Amara hesitated “I’m not sure...but...”
“So you do know something?”
“She never said that” Lyra defended “Maybe he’s just worried about you and he found out you were going to the phsycologist and he also didn’t like how you ignored him for a really long time. That’s all” Lyra finished.
“You know about the phsycologist thing?” I asked.
“Yes” Lyra said. She looked sympathetic. “And so does Amara”
“And we also think that you shouldn’t have told anyone about your....you know” Amara said.
She was going to say that I shouldn’t have told anyone about my nightmares and that’s exactly what Tristan had said.
“I told you guys about it” I said angrily.
“Yes but we are your friends” Lyra assured “You can trust us”
“Forget this” Amara said “Let’s just forget about Annabelle’s nightmares for once and have fun”
Lyra looked and me and gave Amara a death stare. Can’t blame her though.
“And that is exactly why I didn’t want anyone to get involved in my psychological problems” I snapped.
“Belle, that’s not what I meant” Amara apologized “What I was trying to say was that...maybe you should try and forget about this and relax and have fun”
“I guess you’re right” I said even though I didn’t believe a word of it. I can’t forget my nightmares, I have them every night. “Thanks” I said.
“Awww.....you two are going to make me cry” Lyra said sarcastically.
Later I got my nails trimmed, buffed and painted golden. According to Lyra gold goes with everything so it would compliment all my dresses.
My eyebrows were plucked, I got eyelash extensions which were really heavy. My entire body was waxed and moisturized. A tall girl with blue hair rubbed something hot on my face, it felt nice but she took a piece of white paper and pulled it off my cheek. I tried not to scream.
“You still have hair on your face” the girl said.
“Are you going to wax it again?” I asked fearfully.
“Of coarse not” she replied. I sighed in relief but just then she added, “I’m going to have use a thread”
I swallowed nervously. The wax had given me terrible acne and the girl said it was because of my skin type. The thread was a torture device. After she was done, I got a cooling mask and a moisturizing mask. That got rid of most of my acne. I’ll just have to cover the rest with foundation
Lyra’s mom drove me home and Amara’s brother came to get her.
“If you need help getting dressed tomorrow you can call me” Lyra offered.
“Thanks” I said “If I have trouble I’ll ask you”
“Bye” I said and got out of the car.
I didn’t get highlights like Granny had told me to so I braced myself for the worst. I nervously walked to the kitchen, Granny was washing the dishes. I knocked on the open door, Granny flipped around.
“Annabelle” she yelped “You’re back”
I stayed quiet and waited for her to insult me.
“Now come close” she said “Let me look at you”
I stepped forward. Granny studied me, playing with my hair and eyeing my face.
“Well?” I asked.
“You look.....presentable” Granny said plainly and trodded into the living room.
Presentable? It was better then what she usually says to me.
“Annabelle” Granny called.
“Yes?” I said.
“Now remember, tomorrow is half day at school and the palace is two hours away so we leave at five o’clock but the banquet doesn’t start till seven thirty” Granny explained.
“What about my therapy session?” I interrupted.
“Ask your father about that”
I stared at my reflection for a long time because I didn’t look like myself. Is this what everyone does? Cover their faces with cosmetics to hide who they really are? No offence to Lyra who looks beautiful with or without make up.
At dinner I asked Dad about going to the psychologist and his answer was “First of all, she’s not just a psychologist she is also a therapist” he sounded almost angry. Granny stared at him as if she was trying to stop him from saying something. I hate when people do that. Dad blushed, something he never does.
“Hope says that you can have therapy sessions on Thursday for the next six weeks because of the Kingdom Banquet” he finished.
That was strange but I knew better then to ask why he was being like....that. I finished my dinner in silence, Granny kept going on and on about tomorrow’s schedule.
I tried calling Tristan but his mom said he went to bed early. I had a restless sleep filled with the most uncomfortable dreams ever.
I saw cubical buildings that looked like no one had lived there in decades. It was raining, which is only possible if the king allows us to activate the machine that creates artificial rain. There was a weapon shed and archery area.
The scene changed, some people were fighting using star stones. Star stones can be very powerful, in battle warriors used them to drain the power of their enemies. That power is the ability to control the stars, star stones can be moved just as easily as the real stars although they do make you dizzy.
What I was seeing was obviously a training center. But what for?
“The rebellion has started” said an unknown yet deep voice.
“The rebellion always was” replied someone.
I couldn’t see anyone’s face, it was all blurry.
“Ever since the time of the Ophiuchus, the rebellion always was” they continued.
“Yes but now they are dead, all of them”
“Not all, one still lives” a voice replied with hope.
“I do not believe that”
The two voices belonged to men. One older then the other.
“We should all have hope” said the older one. “When the time comes she will help us”
“How do you know it’s a girl?” asked the younger person.
The scene changed, I could see people sword fighting and practicing archery and polishing star stones with stardust. There was an entire collection of star stones, that must have been a really long trip to space and a lot of Stars.
I woke with confusion. I lay in bed wondering what I saw, I think it was an army base but it looked nothing like the Army of Stellaregno. I pushed those thoughts away remembering what today was, The Kingdom Banquet. I felt a tingle of excitement.
I put on my fur coat, which I hadn’t worn in a long time and my leather boots. I pinned back my hair and let it flow down my back. And for a minute I think I actually looked pretty.
I wanted to look like myself before all the dresses and makeup hide me for the next six weeks.
Granny was freaking out because she couldn’t decide which dress I should wear but while she was lecturing me about that I sneaked out.
I took Granny’s car and drove to school. My first class was English and Tristan was there too. I had to make things right before tonight. At lunch I sat next to him and this was our conversation.
“Hi” That was me.
“Hey” Tristan replied.
Silence. Then Lewis Sagittarius interrupted.
“What’s with you two?” He asked.
“Nothing” Tristan and I chorused
“Why are you mad at me?”
“I am not mad.....I’m just...”
“Mad” I finished for him.
“Belles, no” He said apologetically.
“Why are you not talking to me then?” I asked.
“He’s talking to you now” Lewis said. Tristan glanced at him and I said “I mean why were you upset?”
“Because....you pushed me away” He said but I could tell he was lying.
“That’s not it, you’re lying” I said and Lewis said something that sounded like “Jeez, women”
“You went to the psychologist, didn’t you?” he questioned.
“Yes, and in the words of my father ‘she isn’t a just a psychologist she is also a therapist’” I quoted.
“What’s the difference?” Lewis asked.
“No idea” I replied.
“And why do you care if I went or not?” I asked.
“Because I’m your friend and the psychologist could have said you were crazy and taken you to a mental hospital” Tristan explained and I was left speechless.
“That...actually makes sense” I admitted “I’m sorry”
“It’s not your fault” he said “What did you tell her anyway?”
“Not much and I don’t think she can figure out what these nightmares mean” I said “Can we just forget about it?”
“If that’s what you want” Tristan softened up and smiled. It was nice to see his smile after a long time. “Yes, I would really like that”
“Then okay” He said.
“Awww, you guys are so cute” gushed someone from behind. It was Lyra and behind her, Amara. They sat down next us and I whispered to Tristan “We’re good now right?”
“Of coarse, we are best friends remember?”
“Yes, I remember”
“Are you guys gonna be mushy all the time now?” Lyra asked batting her eyelashes.
“What?” I bellowed “We are not being mushy”
“Denial” Lewis said. Tristan and were staring daggers at him. But then he started laughing followed by Lyra and Amara and in the end it became an inside joke.
“So, who’s going to the palace tonight?” Amara asked.
“Everyone” we chorused. Then came laughing.
“It’s not like we have a choice” Tristan said.
“Yeah” I agreed “But it will be fun”
“I heard they only serve seafood” Lewis said.
“Eww, gross” Amara said. She is a very picky eater. “When did you two become friends?” she asked curiously. Amara obviously didn’t like Lewis and she hated the idea that Tristan was his friend.
“Since....” Tristan started to think.
“Since that day in History class when I helped him cheat on the test” Lewis answered.
“Yes” Tristan agreed.
“We’ve been friends ever since” Lewis said.
“Alright then” Amara looked away.
“Well, Annabelle isn’t the only friend Tristan has” Lewis pointed out.
“Yeah she’s not” Lyra said.
“Tristan has us too” Amara added.
Lunch was awkward for all of us because there was tension between Amara and Lewis. She never like Lewis because he was better at school than she was.
My dress for tonight was a short green thing with a square neck and sleeves that covered my elbows and fell to my knees. It looked great with my red hair but the worst part was that the heels were killing me.
I did my make up a little more intensely than I usually do and my hair was done up in braids and I added gold pins. I also wore a gold bracelet, tiny star shaped earrings and I replaced my star stone necklace for a golden chain.
Then Granny came to check on me.
“Annabelle” Granny said “You look pale”
“Thanks” I said, rolling my eyes.
Granny picked up a brush and started powdering my color bones and any visible skin. I pulled away and said “Granny you are covering my skin”
“Well, it’s sometimes hard to wear your own skin” Granny said “I’m making it easier”
“Granny, that makes zero sense” I said. But she continued cover me with powder.
“Why are you covering my arms?” I asked. “Stop!” I protested, she listened.
“Okay, and your father is here the carriage should be here any minute and then we are leaving” Granny slammed the door and I took one last look in the mirror. I actually looked pretty.