The day had spun by as if we were on fast forward. Perhaps it was all of the information that overloaded my mind.
Or maybe it was from being overwhelmed by being so close to Paeris all day in a public setting.
The castle was beautiful, covered with crystals and beautiful deep purples, murals hand painted on each wall depicting what I assumed was Elven history. Each wing of the castle that I had seen had been meticulously pieced together from the wine all the way down to what type of sheets were on each person's bed.
I had been disappointed to learn that Paeris would not be staying with me in my wing of the giant building, though apparently his room was in the building somewhere. I had pleaded to see his room before my own, wanting nothing more than to see what kind of man he was.
Was he a slob? Was he a neat freak?
Instead though, Jonas had other plans for me. I was to be formally introduced to each of the Houses tonight during a great party. I was not enthused.
I had wanted nothing more than to curl up in my bed and nap after the long day, but I knew that if I slept, I would dream. Realistically I didn't think I could handle not having a restful sleep after the chaos.
According to Jonas, time was in the essence to introduce me as the soon-to-be ruler and prove my 'wonderful talents'. I had assumed he meant the powers that everyone claimed I had but I had yet to believe myself.
My room was beautiful, I had to admit that much. But it still didn't feel or look anything like home. My room back home had been full of little details that reminded me of things I had liked: nature, pictures I had drawn over the years, books of my favorite cultural topics, and a very out dated stuffed animal collection. Here, it was like a blank slate. Greens and golds flourished in the room, which I loved, and a large window allowed light from the sunset to stream in onto the bed. I had added my quilt to the layers of blankets and millions of pillows that cluttered the large bed. I still thought maybe I would get lost in there if I slept alone.
Could you imagine being swallowed whole by a bed?
There was a soft knock at the door, which made me groan with annoyance from the bed where I had flopped in exhaustion.
"It's open! Enter if you dare!" I called out in a very unladylike way before burying my head into a pillow.
"You're not ready?" A hidden Paeris asked in shock, disappointment clear in his tone. "Ray, you are expected downstairs in less than an hour."
"I'm the princess, right? I get to be fashionably late." I waved the air, not bothering to look up from my pillow. "Besides, I have nothing to wear, I smell like horse, and my legs are jello."
He laughed at my fit before I felt him sit on the bed beside me. "Well I can't dress you."
"Why not?" I groaned dramatically, though as I looked up at his raised brow and flirtatious smirk, I knew why. "Okay, well I don't even know where to start. The dressiest I've ever been was in my dreams and you dressed me for those." I said pointedly, tipping my toes at him.
I laughed and pulled my foot back to safety as he tried to nibble them.
"I have an idea. You go take a bath. I have someone who can help."
I groaned again, but couldn't stop my eyes from wandering over Paeris' body as he stood and walked toward the door. He was wearing a nice black tux with a pretty purple flower in his lapel, his hair slicked back neatly and his face now clean shaven. While I still preferred his face to have a little bit of a five o'clock shadow, he still looked amazing with soft, hair-free skin.
Turning to glare at the ceiling above me, I did as I was told - though begrudgingly - and drew myself a bath. I made sure to stay far away from the weird looking vials of mystery liquid at the edge of the tub. I had a feeling it was probably different soaps and perfumes meant to make me smell like a lady, but I was not a mad scientist and I was not about to smell like some kind of flower blew up on me like some of the ladies I had passed in the marketplace today.
Instead, I located a soft smelling vial that reminded me of my soaps from home. Lilac had always been my favorite scent and surprisingly, someone had known to had it available to me. I wondered if someone had riffled through my things before we left this morning to see what I liked and disliked.
I wondered what it was like to look into the life of someone else from a glimpse, though I assumed this was how my sister lived before - clean and lavish and proper. I wondered how my sister was dealing with the changes. Like me, she had been thrown into a new life, one where she had no control over anything.
I closed my eyes, twirling my fingertips around in circles in the warm water around me, enjoying the smell of lilac and vanilla as I pictured my sister in my mind, wondering if things were the same as I had left them.
Finally, after nearly falling asleep twice in the bath, I decided it was time to get out. It wasn't until I was out of the tub, standing around soaking wet and freezing that I realized I had no towel. Nothing to cover myself up with or dry off with. I growled at myself for being so careless.
I peeled open the door, looking out with one eye as I tried to keep the door closed as much as possible until I could tell if my room was empty or if Paeris had returned.
Of course, he had. But a friend was with him, her long legs and snobby looking face was distorted into a very flirtatious smile at something he had said to her. She was beautiful, blonde and glowing, and I hated how perfect she looked next to Paeris.
"Um. Hello? Naked princess here!" I called to them, causing the female to cut her laugh short and her face to go back to what I could only assume was her normal look.
"Your highness," Paeris mused, looking thankful for the interruption. "This is Laurel." She smiled as she was introduced and tip toed a bit closer to the door.
"Let me see, Paeris said you like people who are up front," She said, almost in a mocking tone, but I could tell there was some warmth there. "I am of Penum. Paeris thought I could help you get ready to meet the crowd." She added, tipping her head as if trying to get a better look at me. I closed the door a touch more to avoid her look. "Well? We have to change you yet, do your hair, find suitable shoes.."
"I don't have a towel."
Laurel rolled her eyes and looked over to Paeris. "I thought she was your... um," she waved her hand, as if trying to pull the right word out of him.
I was his what? Girlfriend? That definitely hadn't been established.
"I'm your what, exactly?" I asked him, opening the door a little more to shoot him a look of both curiosity and irritation.
"I didn't specify that you were my anything!" Paeris exclaimed, holding his hands up in innocence. At this though, I could tell he had started to inch toward the main door as if the environment had become too excitable for him and he needed to get out of there.
"Ah, right. He didn't specify. With his words." She said, shooting me a smirk that both made me want to roll my eyes and laugh at the same time. Laurel waited until he left before pushing open the door to the bathroom, causing me to yelp. "I can work with this."
As her eyes burned holes in my body, I could tell that this woman would either be my best friend or worst enemy by the end of the night.