The Winner's Crown

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Chapter 12

I wince as the brush runs over the exact spot where the king pulled my hair yesterday.

"I'm sorry. I will try to be gentler." Venus looks at me in the mirror across from us and I nod quickly. Sara had just left the room moments ago to ready herself for the ball. But Venus volunteered herself to get me ready since I have no clue how.

I feel her hands twist the center of my hair into a bun. But she leaves some hair still down so that the style looks unique. A symbolic message really.

"Which dress suits you better?" The princess asks me, holding up two gowns by my head. I look at each of them.

"Does it matter all that much?" I ask, not quite caring which dress I end up wearing.

"Of course it does! You want to be presentable!" Venus cries, and I stare at the dress options again.

"Who will be there?" I ask as I continue surveying my choices. One dress is shorter and the outrageous color orange, but the other I do kind of like. It is blue and and spreads out to the ground with rhinestones and pearls. I never would have thought of myself liking lavish things like these fortune costing gowns. But after getting a taste of it upon my arrival, it has never faded away. I point at the dress I prefer and Venus stands me up, fitting it around my body.

I am not modest. I never have been, since I live in a large household. But I am not fully naked either. I have on this thing that is to help my upper body stay in place, and of course underwear. Something I am accustomed to.

"My family is obviously the hosts of the event. And the people invited are purples and pinks from the villages. They all received invites, and I doubt anyone won't attend." The princess tells me, poofing out the bottom of the dress so that it lands all around me in a perfect trail.

"That is a lot of people! How will they all fit inside here?" The question burns inside me even though I know the answer.

"My home is a very spacious place. And we have the garden as well as the interior, so I wouldn't worry too much about that." Venus laughs. One more question sticks inside my head until I release it in one breath of air.

"And...the others? The one's I met in the kitchen?" I bite my lip, refusing to meet the princesses eye.

"They will be attending as well."

"Who..." I trail off, trying to find a way to make the question sound relatively normal. I don't, and so I go on. "Who are they? They are lower class, like me, right?" Now it is Venus's turn to avoid my gaze.

"I don't think we should be talking about that."

"But this is my life. I need to know why." I try to urge her into telling me, but she instead grabs the orange gown off the bed I'd slept in last night, and walks to the glimmering diamond door.

"I'm sorry. I know you deserve to know. And I know this is wrong. But I... really am sorry." Her eyes look teary as she says this. "I will alert Desmond to bring you to the ball." That is the last thing she says to me before she has left the room.

I turn myself around, floating on a cloud of fabric that is this dress. Staring at myself in the mirror, I practice a curtsy. My ankle does not agree with this gesture though, and I go crashing down to the floor. The dress cushions my fall and I do not get hurt. And even though no one is standing in the room watching me, I am still embarrassed. Why did I do that? I am not a blue. I am not even a purple or a pink.

Why I am invited to this ball, I have no idea. But it must not be a good thing. I am a yellow. And I never should have experienced the things I have in the past few days. The dresses, the palace, the diamonds, it is getting to be all too much! I wish I could go back in time, live the life I was meant to live. And just like Carolyn suggested, I may not have live a lavish life back home where I belong, but I was with my family, my friends.

I was happy.

Sitting at the window, I watch Sara down below as she waltzes out into the garden. She is so young, but she has the pressure of royalty always on her mind. I feel bad for her. She never chose to be a part of this, but she was born, and therefore it has to be this way. She is wearing her usual color of soft pink illuminated by her hair strung up in braids. Adorned on the puffy sleeves of her dress and the scoop neckline, are rosy flowers that seem to make her look even more kind. As if she isn't too nice already. No, I take it back. No one can ever be too nice.
There is a knock on the door and I spin around, looking as Desmond walks into the room. He stares at me in my dress and smiles as he bows politely. I look at him confused. Why is he bowing to me? I clear my throat, ready to ask him the question, but he beats me to it.
"Wow, you look beautiful." He stands up from his bow and walks forward. Gently he takes my hand's in his and my eyes pound deeply in his. No one had ever called me beautiful before. Except my brother Kenneth, and of course my parents. But they do not count, not really. No one of my interest had ever called me pretty or beautiful, or anything of that kind. Wait! Did I actually just think the thought that I have been too scared to admit to myself all this time?
"Th..thank you." I stutter, not knowing what a girl is to say in this kind of situation.
"And I look alright too?" He raises his eyebrows, a usual smirk playing across his face as I blush.
"You look great." Reaching up I straighten his tie with my hands and he looks down at my fingers as I do this. I don't pull them away right away, intrigued by his behavior. But when I do he pulls them back by the fingers, planting a kiss on one of my hands. I can feel my face get 1000 times hotter at the motion, but I don't care. All I can think about is how I wish this could really happen. But it can't, and we both know it.
He is a blue, and I am a yellow. And just like I have repeated over and over again. We do not belong together. It just cannot happen, and it never can. But as his lips disappear from my skin, I realize how much I want this to become a relationship. Maybe is everything was different, and we found each other in a normal life, then maybe we could end up together. But I do not believe in reincarnation, nor the possibility of anything being "normal." This is normal. The society that is today has never told us otherwise. It has always been this way. Status and power has always taken the lead.
"What are you thinking about?" Desmond takes my mind off of my thoughts, if just for a split second.
"Never mind, it's alright. Do you think we should get going now, or would you rather stay here a while longer?" He asks me, returning my hand down to my side. I try to hide the disappointment from my face, but I'm almost sure he catches it. But instead of getting angered, he just smiles and laughs lightly at my foolishness of this possibility between us.
"Uh yes, let's go now, they are probably waiting for you anyways." I tell him, and he lends me his arm as we begin walking out the door and to the ballroom that will for sure begin to crowd and overflow with upper class people. It will be like a children's classroom down there I assume. People talking too loudly and bustling quickly along as if they are late for some high up event.
But I am ready. Or at least as ready as I will ever be. This is the night where things will finally make sense. I can feel it.

The guards at the two huge oak doors open them swiftly for us to walk through and we enter. Desmond walks casually in, but I try to be as proper as I can muster up. Of course, it is hard. I have no experience in these things. But in the ballroom people are dancing. No one stands still in the corner, everyone here is dancing. Or waltzing, as they call it. No one looks at us as I expected they would, to try and see the eldest prince himself.
Desmond looks at me and I understand what he is trying to say. But I do not know how to dance, and there is no way to tell him that as through eye contact. And the orchestra playing in the back of the ballroom is almost too loud to hear anything being said. It looks like a fairytale in here. But I suppose everything has been so far.
"I can't dance." I try to tell him, and he luckily by some miracle hears me through the loud noise booming all around us.
"It's easy. I'll show you." He answers back and I breathe a sigh of regret as I follow him onto the dance floor. I am not wearing heels luckily this time, instead wearing flat shoes that still weirdly look elegant. But I won't crush his feet when I inevitably start dancing like a fool. But instead of dancing the normal way, the way I always fail at, he tries something different. And something I am certainly not expecting.
He lifts me up into the air and places me right on top of his own feet. And then, we start to dance. Or he starts to dance, with me standing right on top of his two feet. I am so glad I didn't wear those stupid heels again! That would have been a complete nightmare in this particular situation.
"See? Easy." He laughs as I stare at his feet dancing across the floor with mine right above his. I smile as well, his charm finally catching up to me.
I look up from the ground, watching as he sticks my arm out for me, and suddenly I am on my own again. On my own two feet again. And I am twirling around as he continues on spinning me before bringing me close again. And then we are slowing down, not dancing, just moving close together so that his chest touches mine. And it is calm while it lasts. I never thought that I could like dancing. And yet with Desmond, it is so easy. Too easy almost. I have never been in love. And I am not saying that I am. Just that it is possible. And possible, that is a big deal to me.
I never thought I could be in love. And yet here I am thinking about this like it is so easy. Desmond stares down at me and I look back up at him. He opens his mouth just a little, leaning down slowly. My face does not go red, my body does not shake in fear, I have no reaction except that my face starts to lean up to his, almost like a natural reaction. Like magnets being attracted to one another.
And then suddenly the lights of the ballroom go brighter and we both lean away from one another in shock. At the entrance to the ballroom, where Desmond and I had emerged through earlier, is the king. But he is not alone. He is accompanied by his wife, the queen. And standing right beside the queen is none other than Carolyn Bennett.
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