After dinner, which was divine, Lainie, Lynx and I went up to my room to find something for us to wear.
Lynx stood in my closet and literally threw dresses out at Lainie and I.
“No, no, no, no . . . maybe, no, no,” he kept muttering.
“What kind of party is this?” I asked, sidestepping a flying dress.
“Not a ball but not casual. Like a club you’d find on Earth,” he answered. “Aha!” He pulled out a short, shimmery, black dress. “Lainie, this one is for you. It won’t clash with your blue hair. Go change and I’ll straighten your hair after.”
Lainie went into the bathroom. Her hair was naturally curly but looked amazing straight. It was short and fell just below her collar bones. Mine, on the other hand, was down to the middle of my back.
Lynx was still looking for a dress when he fell silent.
“Found it.” He held up a violet body-con dress with one strap. I internally sighed and knew I wouldn’t win an argument with Lynx about picking a new dress. I took it from him.
Lainie came out and I froze. Her dress was also body-con and it turned out it was backless. She was flawless. She looked as beautiful as ever in that dress.
“Gorgeous! Now sit so I can do your hair,” Lynx said. She sat at my vanity.
“You look amazing, Lainie.”
Her cheeks turned red. “Thanks, love.”
Lynx started to brush her hair and tell her how gorgeous she was.
Lainie, Lynx, Alexander and I were heading to the basement which had been turned into a chic ballroom while I was on Earth. Lynx had settled on a dark blue suit, with fabric similar to velvet and no tie. Alexander was still wearing armor but it was the nicest our palace had. His boyfriend must have gotten it for him. I was still shocked Lynx had an actual boyfriend.
My brother was highly attractive in everyone’s eyes. He didn’t have problems dating. Before everyone knew he was into men, girls swooned at his feet. They still sort of did. But never had he had a real boyfriend. Just flings here and there. Never a steady relationship. He must really like this guy.
Lynx led us and as we descended the stairs, I could already hear the music.
As soon as we walked in, it reminded me of pictures I had seen of the 1920s on Earth in America. It was extravagant. There were dancers in every corner of the room. It was dark inside but I could see the couches and tables. I barely recognized anyone. Enceladian music was playing loudly.
“Have fun!” Lynx yelled in my ear. Before I could stop him, he and Alexander wandered off.
“Okay. Let’s get some drinks.” I pulled Lainie to the bar. “Can I get two læs?”
The bartender, who wasn’t wearing a shirt, nodded and started making our drinks.
“What’s a las?” Lainie asked.
“A læ. It’s a drink. You’ll like it. It’s fruity.”
Lainie and I leaned our backs against the bar and scanned the crowd. So far, I still didn’t recognize anybody. They were extremely well dressed but there weren’t this many wealthy people on our entire planet. Maybe times had changed. I spotted Lynx and his boyfriend dancing to the blaring music. Alexander looked a bit awkward dancing in armor. His eyes darted all around the room, looking for threats.
“Who are all these people?” Lainie asked me.
I shrugged. “I’m not sure. I don’t recognize anyone.” I looked towards the couches and noticed a girl with silver hair heavily kissing some guy. I took Lainie’s hand and led her to the couches to sit.
The closer I got, the more I realized who the girl was.
The girl broke apart from the man and sure enough it was my sister. “Amelia.” She straightened her dress, which was incredibly short, and stood.
“I didn’t think this was your scene,” I said. I was exceedingly shocked but I didn’t convey it.
“I need to get away sometimes.” Her cheeks were turning red in embarrassment. Her lips were swollen.
I nodded. “Well, you have fun.” I briskly walked away with Lainie at my side. “That was so weird.”
As we were passing one of the dancers, who were on small circular stages, I recognized her. It was Golda, Caelum’s fiancé. She was wearing a purple wig but her eyes gave her away.
She froze. She stared at me like she was a deer caught in head lights. She got down off of the stage. “Princess Amelia,” she bowed, “how are you?”
“I’m good. You’re a dancer?” She was wearing a glittery gold dress that didn’t cover her butt and her breasts were nearly spilling out.
“Um, yeah. I guess you could say that.” She flicked her eyes to the ground.
“What’s the matter?”
“It’s just—Prince Caelum doesn’t know I’m here,” she said.
“Well, why are you here?”
“I need the money.”
“Golda, you’re marrying into the royal family. You don’t need to worry about money,” I told her. She didn’t mean money in the traditional sense. We mostly bartered on Enceladus. She must not have had anything of value.
“It’s for my little siblings. When I marry Prince Caelum, they’ll be left to live on their own. We don’t have any goods to sell.”
I had forgotten that she had twin siblings. They were just children. Around forty years old. They would be teenagers soon. “I’m sure that Cal will help them. They’re kids. They can’t just live alone.”
“I can’t ask him to do that. Pride,” Golda said.
“I understand.” Caelum and Golda were apparently a lot alike.
“Please, Princess Amelia, do not tell Prince Caelum that I work here. It would surely ruin our relationship. He would call off the wedding.”
“Your secret is safe with us, Golda. Don’t worry.”
She nodded in gratitude and went through a door at the back.
“That was Cal’s fiancée.”
“Oh,” was all Lainie said. I looked at her and she was rapidly blinking.
“What is it, love?” I stopped her in the middle of the dancefloor.
“My mom was an exotic dancer.”
I had no idea. Her mom died last year of cancer. “She was?”
Lainie nodded, her eyes glistening. “She had me when she was nineteen and all her family practically disowned her so she had to dance to put food on the table.”
“Oh, ån, I’m so sorry.”
“I miss her.” I didn’t actually hear Lainie but I read her lips.
“I know,” I said as I hugged her.
We walked back to the bar and Alexander was there with our drinks. “Princess Amelia, Miss Lainie. I made sure they were clean,” he said.
“Thank you, Alexander.”
“Clean?” Lainie asked.
“Not poisoned,” I clarified.
“Is that a real concern?” she said and sipped her drink.
“So, Alexander.” I decided this was the perfect time to get to know him. “How long have you worked at the palace?”
“About seven years, Your Highness.”
“You can just call me Amy,” I offered.
“That would be disrespectful, Your Highness.”
I nodded and knew he wouldn’t have agreed. “And that’s how you and my brother met?” I asked.
“Yes. I was assigned to be his personal bodyguard when his died last year in the coup.”
I didn’t know that Lynx’s guard had died. That guard had practically been Lynx’s best friend when he was a child. He was a strong brute of a man with the biggest heart.
“You really care about my brother, don’t you?” I asked after I noticed Alexander staring at my dancing brother.
“And he really cares about you,” I said.
“Amy,” Lainie warned. She knew I was getting too much into a matchmaker role.
“Well it was nice talking to you, Alexander.”
He bowed again. “Your Highness, Miss Lainie.” He made his way through the crowd to Lynx.
“He’s nice. Good match for Lynx,” Lainie commented.
I agreed with her and we drank our læs.
“Let’s dance!” Lainie finished her drink minutes later and it occurred to me that drinks on Enceladus had much more alcohol in them than drinks on Earth. We had a higher tolerance than humans. Lainie was already buzzed but I let her drag me to the dancefloor.
We danced to several of songs, with time in between so Lainie could order another drink. I loved feeling her body as close to mine as possible, moving to the rhythm.
“Amelia . . .” I looked at Lainie but the hymning voice wasn’t coming from her. “Amelia.” I looked around the room. I glanced at faces but no one was looking at me.
“Amelia,” the voice sang again. It was so familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on who it was. Chills rose on the back of my neck and my arms. It was suddenly cold in the room.
I spun around and came face to face with my ex, Alessa.
“Princess Amelia Ladus,” she greeted in a slithery tone.
“Alessa Lois.” Alessa was my very first girlfriend. We dated for a year.
She leaned in and hugged me tightly. “It’s good to see you, Amy.”
“You too.” I released her. “Lainie, this is Alessa. Alessa, this is my girlfriend.” This was painfully awkward.
Lainie had had another drink and so she was highly intoxicated. “Pleassssed to meet you,” she slurred.
“Oh yes, I’ve heard about Princess Amelia’s human consort. She is pretty, I’ll give you that.”
“Thanksss,” Lainie said.
Suddenly Alexander was at my side. “Oh, hey. Can you please take Lainie back to my room?”
“Of course, Your Highness.” He slung Lainie’s arm over his enormous shoulders and they walked out.
“So, how have you been?” Alessa asked me. She led me to a tall table next to the couches.
“I’ve been alright. And you?” She looked amazing. And I mentally scolded myself for noticing. Her red hair was curled into loose waves and her brown eyes were bold. She was wearing a low cut shirt with a body hugging skirt.
“Oh just peachy. My father is sick. I’ll be duchess soon.” Alessa’s family were the leaders of the Invisibility Division. Her mother passed away when we were younger.
“I’m sorry,” I offered my condolences.
“How do you like Earth? Is it as filthy as we’ve heard?”
“Not all places are. Some. But I like Earth. It’s different.”
“I bet.” Alessa put her hand on mine. “So, when are you coming home?”
“I don’t think I will. I love Earth and my girlfriend.” I slipped my hand away from hers.
“Mhm,” she said, not convinced. “If you ever get tired of human sex, you know where I am.” Then she simply walked away.
She left me with my jaw open. I had forgotten how forward she was.
I recovered and weaved through the crowd to leave the party.
I passed a few drunken party guests up the staircase to my room. They were trying to be quiet but failed miserably.
I tiptoed into my room. Lainie was sleeping on my bed. I yanked my dress off and put on some pajamas. I slid into bed next to Lainie and she stirred.
“Five more minutes, mom . . .” she mumbled, half asleep. I winced.
“No, Lainie. It’s me, Amy. We’re going to sleep.” I gently pulled her onto my chest where she promptly fell back asleep.