Noémie checked the details of the dress a third time, while Isabelle just stood there. She felt like a mannequin, ready to be dressed up by whoever her parents deemed fit. A sigh escaped her as she looked at herself in the reflection of the mirror. The dress was beautiful, there was no denying it. Isabelle didn’t even have much of a problem that she was getting married, it was more to who she was getting married.
He was a prick, to put it nicely. Rude, arrogant, and exceedingly stupid. If he was any denser he could pass as a proper mannequin himself. Also at least double her age.
She really didn’t want to be married to him, but her family was on the verge of losing all status and money. At 16 it was already late for her to get married, so her parents would surely not agree to cancel the wedding now.
“You are a beautiful bride, Isabelle!”
She couldn’t help herself and rolled her eyes, much to Noèmiee’s displeasure.
“Isabelle de Wilde, you will behave like a proper lady! Your parents would be enraged to see you reacting like this!”
Isabelle raised her hands in defense and shrugged.
“If I wasn’t at least pretty I doubt that numbskull would marry me anyway, non?”
Noèmie sighed loudly and shook her head.
“God have mercy on him, let’s hope he manages to tame you.”
Isabelle groaned annoyed and helped Noèmie to remove the dress. Her long auburn hair got caught in all the hooks at the back, making the whole thing impossible.
“Stay here I`ll find something to get your hair out of this.”
Isabelle nodded and watched her governess leave the room. Left alone with her thoughts she stared into the mirror, feeling like the girl looking back at her was a stranger.
The next morning would be the morning of her wedding, she really was getting married. She gulped, until now she always had pushed the thought away. It had felt so unreal that it was easy to not focus on it. But now… Now it was so close and it suddenly became real.
Isabelle could feel panic stirring inside her belly. She just couldn’t. No, she couldn’t marry! She couldn’t marry someone like that idiot, she couldn’t spend the rest of her days as some side decoration for another nobleman, never asked for her opinions. Pure panic flooded her system and Isabelle saw just one way out of this.
Without hesitation, she kicked open the balcony door and ran. She ran through the gardens as fast as she could, pulling the skirt of her wedding dress up. The dress got caught in the bushes and ripped but she couldn’t be bothered with it. Her lungs burned but it felt freeing to just run. Still keeping up a fast pace she ran into the forest, deep and deeper, without looking back. After what felt like an eternity she stopped.
Completely out of breath she let go of her, now very dirty, skirt, and looked around. The forest was quiet, thick and unnaturally dark. Thick fog started to cover the surroundings and a cold breeze made her shiver.
It started to dawn on her, that just running into a forest might not have been the revelation she had felt it was. She had no clear idea where she was, not even from were she had come from. A strangled sob escaped her, frustration replacing the panic she had felt.
A howl cut through the silence, making her jump. Then another one and another one. Getting closer and closer.
Isabelle cursed under her breath, picking her skirt up again. She had to run, not that she thought her chances as high against a pack of wolves but it was better than standing here and waiting for her death to arrive.
So she ran again. Soon she could hear growls from behind her, occasionally from beside her, forcing her to switch directions. Having no idea where she was all she could do was to keep running.
A faint light was shining through the dark fog, giving her hope. Even if it was her home, everything seemed better than getting ripped to pieces by wolves. It almost felt like her feet were flying, the growls getting more distant as she came closer to the light.
An old rusty metal gate came in sight and to Isabelle’s surprise, it was open. Without double thinking she ran through it, arriving into a small but beautiful garden. In the middle was an old and broken statue giving the whole estate an eerie feeling.
There was a dim light inside the manor. She slowed down, looking around, catching her breath.
Another howl made her flinch and she approached the door quickly. With a shaky hand, she knocked at the door, praying that someone would open and save her.
The door was suddenly opened and a tall man stood in front of her. Isabelle stumbled a bit back, taking his appearance in. He had long white hair, reaching down to the middle of his back, at this moment it seemed a bit disshelved. But what really caught her eye was his blood-red eyes and his face. While he was definitely a good looking man, he gave off a very feral feeling. He reminded her of a predator out of her biology books. She just stood there wide-eyed, not know what to do.
His lips curled into a smile.
She was ripped out of her frozen state, feeling unnaturally nervous.
“I-Uhm, I got lost and there are wolves….”
Feeling stupid she lowered her head in defeat.
“Please help me.”
He chuckled, opening the door wider, gesturing her to get in. Something in her instincts told her to stay away from him, but she had the choice between him and the wolves.
With another shaky breath, she nodded towards him and entered the manor. Most of the furniture was covered with white sheets, a usual procedure to protect it if the owner was gone for a longer time. Maybe he just came from a trip? Or was he about to leave?
She could hear the door closing behind her.
“I`ve waited for you Isabelle de Wilde.”