I asked Granny for the most recent newspaper and she handed it to me. I started reading out loud. Granny didn’t even pay attention to me, she was writing letters and choosing wedding decor.
“The King made a very serious accusation this evening when reporters and photographers were at the palace interviewing the royal family as well as the Virgo family” I read.
I tried to focus on the words but they looked like alphabet soup. I skipped a few lines and finally got to the part where the king said:
“.....I was delighted when Antonio presented her daughter to my son but I’m not sure his daughter is fully committed to him” I quoted.
“I would also like to talk about the uprising in the kingdom. That I would say is a problem that people have made because of the pairing system, I almost shut down those people but now that Ms. Virgo has refused the people think they can reject the system”
“I blame the Virgo family, especially Ms. Virgo for what is happening in the kingdom” the king finished.
I made a ball out of the newspaper and tossed it to the side. Granny made no comment, she continued scribbling her letters.
“I don’t understand” I said “All this happened yesterday and the uprising has been going on for weeks, how can he blame us mainly me for that?”
“What was he talking about?” Granny asked.
“In case you haven’t noticed, I have no idea” I shouted.
“Where did you go yesterday?” she asked.
“We went to the palace, remember?”
“Annabelle!” Granny yelled “You know what I mean”
“I am not telling you” I insisted.
“This is exactly what I was talking about” Granny said “Now everyone is going to treat us badly because of you”
“Because of the king, he is accusing me of the cause of the uprising” I raged.
“I have no idea how I’m going to fix this” Granny worried “For years and years I have cleaned up after you and Antonio but you keep messing up”
“What are you talking about?”
Granny ignored me and went on “I don’t know what the king will say to me about this maybe I should write him a letter.....”
“Granny” I shouted.
“What?” she said through gritted teeth.
“What are you talking about?”
Granny’s expression changed and she looked shocked I heard all that. “Go to your room”
This time I listened to her and went to my room. I spotted something underneath my bed, I reached down to grab it. It was a a flier for Senior Prom. Lyra.
She must have dropped this when she was here. I read the flier and prom was tomorrow night. Why didn’t Lyra tell me about this? I stargazed for a while, it helped me forget about the whole uprising and everything else.
I was staring at Ophiuchus when out of nowhere it lit up but not like stars shining light up but it’s aura was green. I didn’t make that happen. As far as I know I am the only descendant of Ophiuchus, so who made that happen? And also how did they make that happen?
I thought about prom all night. I actually wanted to go. I kept thinking of which dress to wear and how to style my hair. Lyra had rubbed of on me. I couldn’t wait to get to school.
Granny didn’t wake me up the next morning so I was late, she didn’t pack my lunch or make me breakfast. When I searched the kitchen for a snack I realized the we were out of food. How could that be?
“Hey Granny?” I called. She was still in her room doing who knows what. I left the house on an empty stomach.
I walked to school as fast as I could but something kept distracting me. All the trees and flowers I passed were withered and dry. That never happened, someone forgot to water them or sprinkle stardust on them. The plants have finally gotten sick of living without the Sun.
I almost missed first period but I managed to sneak in the back of the classroom.
We had two free periods before lunch so me Lyra and Amara decided to meet in the art room.
“This place smells of paint” Lyra complained.
“That’s because we’re surrounded by art supplies” Amara pointed out.
I pulled out the flier out of my bag. “Lyra you left this at my house yesterday”
Lyra hesitated, I handed it over but she didn’t take it. “That’s not mine” she stuttered.
“Yes it is” I insisted. Flashing the piece of paper in front of her face.
“How do you know that’s mine?” Lyra quizzed.
“Is it?” Amara asked not looking up from the book she was reading.
Lyra’s face flushed. “Yeah it is” she admitted. She snatched the paper out of my hand.
“Why didn’t you tell us about prom?” Amara asked.
“I didn’t want to be annoying” she said glancing at me. I had to look away, what did she mean by that?
“Okay” Amara said. “Awkward” she muttered.
“Are you going?” I asked.
“I don’t know” Lyra replied “Maybe”
“I think we all should go” Amara suggested.
“This coming from you?” I added.
“Stop saying stuff like that” Amara grumbled.
“Are you sure?” Lyra asked doubtfully.
“I’m in” I agreed raising my hand.
“Me too” Amara chimed in.
“Alright, fine I’ll do it” Lyra said.
“Now all we have to do is convince the Tristan and Lewis” Amara put in.
“I’ll go look for Lewis and Belle can talk to Tristan” Lyra bubbled. Thank the stars, she was back to normal.
“What am I gonna do?” Amara wondered.
Lyra and I exchanged looks. Lyra spoke quickly “You can sit here and decide what you’re going to wear tonight”
Amara rolled her eyes playfully and went back to reading her book. I found Tristan on the football field. I had to wait because they were in the middle of a game. I sat in the bleachers and watched but my mind drifted toward the stars. The sky looked grey and blue with streaks of purple, there were shooting stars. One thing I noticed since this morning is that everything looks sad and glum.
“Belle” Tristan yelled from the field. That snapped me back to reality.
“Coming” I shouted back. I got up and walked over to him.
“Hey” I said.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“Question,” I started “Are you going to prom?”
“No” Tristan was confused, I would never ask him something like that.
“I don’t want to” he said. “Why do you ask?”
“Because everyone is going and I think we should too” I told.
“Are you asking me....” Tristan started.
I interrupted him “No, that is totally not what I meant”
“I meant that we all should go as friends” I finished.
“Right” Tristan smiled. “Smooth” he added.
I punched him lightly. “Okay, I’ll go” he agreed.
“Gotta go” he said and ran off.
Lyra had somehow convinced Lewis but he didn’t seem excited about it. We spent all of lunch talking about prom.
“What are you wearing?” I asked Amara.
“And who are you taking?” Lyra asked.
“I’m taking my books and wearing my couch” Amara joked.
I choked on my sandwich and Lewis spit out his milk. Tristan covered his mouth but Lyra just rolled her eyes and said to Amara “Dummy, you can’t do that”
“It was a joke” Amara pointed out.
“And you guys said I wasn’t fun” Amara muttered.
“What about you Lyra?” I turned to her.
“An evening gown” Lyra said casually.
“Please tell me the guys don’t have to wear a tux?” Lewis sighed.
“Yeah, you do” Lyra confirmed.
Lewis and Tristan groaned and I chuckled. Lyra and Amara were getting dressed together but Lyra had to get her hair done first.
“What color are you dying it now?” I asked curiously.
“My dress is blue so I’m going to get rid of my purple hair for one night” Lyra informed.
“Then what color” Amara broke in.
“I’m getting highlights” Lyra said.
“That sounds nice” Amara encouraged.
At home Granny was watching TV and didn’t even look at me when I came home. Her eyes were red from crying. Dad was home early and I told him about prom but he didn’t say anything about that.
He looked tired, like he hadn’t slept in days. His hair was a greasy mess and his tie was coming loose.
“Are you okay?” I asked him. Granny got up and left, dabbing at her eyes.
“I’m fine” he grumbled.
“Well you don’t look fine” I pointed out.
“Then stop looking” he snapped. I backed away.
“What did the king say?” the words were out of my mouth before I knew it.
“What do you think?” Dad challenged.
I started to talk but Dad cut me off. “You know what?” he screamed “Just forget it, you have no idea what I’m going through”
“What do you think I’m going through?” I shot back “You think I can handle all this?”
“You have no choice” Dad yelled. Granny walked out of the kitchen and watched us fight.
“The King already hates me, so I don’t think there’s any marriage anymore” I confessed.
“What?” Granny shrieked.
“You can asked Dad about that” I said crossing my arms.
“This is why we are going to starve to death” Granny worried. What is she talking about?
“Mother, everyone who supports the rebels is going to die” Dad said.
“What are you guys talking about?”
“Nothing” Dad said.
“Tell her” Granny insisted.
“No” Dad disagreed.
“Tell me what?” I pleaded.
“Because of you everyone thinks that we are with the rebels” Granny started “Have you read the newspapers?”
“I just did!” I yelled.
Granny pulled out a piece of paper from her pocket and handed it over, I snatched it and started reading.
“What is this?” I asked. Halfway through.
“What does it say?” Dad questioned.
“It says that I’m supporting the rebels by refusing the pairing system and that is why the riots and uprising is spreading” I read.
“That’s ridiculous” I muttered.
“That’s true” Granny snarled.
“Annabelle, the talk we had at the palace is making things worse” Dad said.
I couldn’t hold it anymore. “Tell me something?” I started “Only the king heard our conversation that day so why did he tell the kingdom?”
“And if they know that I’m not committed to Prince Alec why is the wedding still on?” I raged.
“I don’t know” Dad yelled.
“I know” I said “It’s because everyone is annoyed by the pairing system and the king blamed the uprising on me when it’s his fault”
“Annabelle!” Granny shrieked.
“the king said so himself that he ‘questions my commitment’ then why is the wedding still on?” I quoted.
None of them answered, Granny looked ready to strangle me and Dad had anger spread all over him.
I slowly walked to my room waiting for one of them to stop me but they didn’t. The more I thought about it the more it made sense. Now the king is punishing the kingdom and blaming it on me.
I wanted to take a hot bath but the water was as cold as snow. I stood still in the bathroom while cold water washed me. I felt weak when I got out, not emotionally weak but when I looked in the mirror I saw that my skin was wrapping around my bones. I looked like a monster from a horror movie.
I realized that I almost looked like Dad, I remembered his wrinkled skin and weakness. The same with Granny. All this stuff frightened me and my feelings were a mixture of confusion and depression.
My star stone around my neck felt like it was piercing my skin, I took it off and threw it across the room.
Looking at myself scared me so I moved on to my dress. I picked out a grey dress streaked with silver, the neck and bodice was embroidered with black and silver beads. The dress short and the hem fell above my knees, I had to wear black tights which were made of net so you could see my pale legs.
I braided my hair across my head and my makeup was a little dark, I had to use a lot of concealer under my eyes. I chose big heels and a leather jacket. I sprayed a small hint of perfume.
I went to the kitchen, Granny was sitting at the table reading a newspaper. I swung the door of the of one of the cupboards open.
“There’s no food” Granny told not looking up.
“That’s impossible” I said.
“See for yourself” Granny challenged. I checked, I found nothing.
“Did you go grocery shopping?” I asked.
“I did but the stores were out of stock” Granny said.
“What does that mean?”
“It means you should look around you” Granny looked at me angrily. “We are going to be extinct”
“You’re crazy” I said.
“Don’t talk to me that way” Granny warned.
“How did this happen?” I asked.
“It was going to happen any day now” Granny said.
I felt relieved when I walked out, the heels would have broken both my ankles and I regreted wearing them.
Everyone was gathered in the school gym which was now decorated with balloons and colorful lights.
There were three tables lining the walls, stacked with snacks and drinks.
I found Tristan and Lewis, Tristan was wearing a tuxedo and so was Lewis but his was blue. Lyra and Amara weren’t here yet. I hung out with the boys until Amara showed up, she was wearing a long yellow dress with a black coat and silver flats. Her hair fell around her face, she had curled it for the event.
“Didn’t Lyra come with you?” I asked.
“She’s coming” Amara answered.
Just then Lyra walked in looking like a princess.