Chapter 22- The Festival of Eleanora
“Who’s Eva?” I asked Don.
“She’s Beatrice’s right hand and a friend of your mothers,” I hummed in remembrance.
“Beatrice and Eva are the prime suspects... Look into the idea of blackmail too,” He nodded his head as if he already planned on doing that and I patted him on the shoulder before kicking myself off the table and strolled over to my mother who was stood with her arm linked with my fathers and a bright smile on her face.
“There you are!” Mother gleamed, leaning in to hug me and I rubbed her back.
“Are you enjoying the party?” I asked and she chuckled with a nod.
“We were just talking to Alistair, I haven’t seen him in so long,” I turned my head to the man mum mentioned and he dipped down into a bow at my gaze.
Alistair St. Claire. The duke of Asteria, a small city on the outskirts of Lazarus. I didn’t talk to him much before but from the times I did, I knew he was a good man.
He had pale skin and dark hair with blue eyes, looking much younger than his age but the same could be said about my parents.
“It’s an honour to be here, my King,” I waved him off.
“Stop being so formal, you’re a friend of my mother’s,” I outstretched a hand for him to shake and he chuckled, shaking it with a nod of the head.
“How’s Asteria?” I asked.
“Good, thanks to your leadership skills,” I shrugged, not bothering to disagree with him since it was the plain truth.
“How’s it going with catching Alpheus? Do you need any help?” Father asked and I shook my head, gesturing for a servant to come over with a glass of wine.
“Not that kind of talk here, please,” Mother glared up at father.
“Right, sorry,” He mumbled with a small smile gracing his lips as he leaned down to kiss her on the forehead and I casually looked away while sipping on my red wine, only to choke when I saw someone who finally decided to show their presence.
“Isn’t that a fine looking lady?” My older brother stepped beside me and I glared at him.
“Where did you come from?” I asked.
“Over there,” He pointed to a random place behind him that I didn’t bother looking over to and instead, looked ahead at the lady who was capturing the eyes of everyone in the room before she had even been announced.
She looked absolutely stunning.
The once loud room which had been filled with chattering and talking was now dimmed to hushed whispers as everyone looked at the ethereal woman that stood at the top of the staircase in a beautiful golden gown.
Like me, it seemed that everyone else couldn’t get their eyes off of her.
Her golden locks were tied into a bun with a few strands left out to nicely frame her face and she was dressed in a golden-coloured dress with her amber eyes shivering with shyness but it only made her look that much more beautiful.
“The guest of honour, lady Eleanora,”
Once more, the hushed whispers became baffled as we all watched Nora slowly begin to descend the marble steps, holding onto either side of her dress with an adorable, concentrated look on her face.
I couldn’t help but smile at the sight. Has she never worn heels before?
I handed my wine glass over to my brother before unknowingly making my way over to the bottom of the staircase and waited for her to approach.
Upon a closer look, I realised just how mesmerising she looked.
The spaghetti straps of her dress only defined her collarbones and made any normal man want to plant kisses there. Unfortunately, I was no exception. I wanted to take that simple silver choker off her and gift her a much more expensive one but I knew she probably won’t like that.
As if just noticing my waiting form at the bottom of the staircase, a smile graced her features as she quickly tip-toed down the last three steps.
I outstretched my white-gloved hand for her to take and she did without hesitating which made my heart thump with pride and I wanted to shove it in all the men’s faces here.
But apart from the simple choker she wore, she was bare of any other jewellery. I frowned at that bust chose not to say anything.
“Sorry, I’m late. I got lost,” She whispered.
I chuckled. Of course, she did.
“You look ethereal,” Her cheeks heated up with a delicious blush and I bit my lip to hold back a groan at the innocent reaction that didn’t give an innocent thought to my head.
And I said I’d get over her easily.
What a fool I had been.
“Thank you,” She mumbled out, diverting her gaze to the ground.
“You look handsome too,” My lips crept up into a smirk at the compliment. Of course, I knew that but hearing it from her made it that much better.
“Thank you,” I stepped back, her hand still in mine and with one hand respectively placed on my lower back, I leaned forward into a small bow and raised her hand to place a soft kiss to her knuckles with closed eyes.
I felt her jump and held back another smirk as my lips lingered on her hand for a bit before I pulled away and stood back up to tower above her.
“Would you care for a dance?” I asked.
“If you would like,” She nodded and I pulled her closer to me, holding onto her waist as I lead her to the dance floor where a few people had started dancing once more.
Holding her hand in mine, I pulled her by the waist until our chests were pressed against each other and stared down at the top of her head until the music started up again.
Following the steps, we twirled around the floor and slowly, I felt her relax into my arms and couldn’t help but smile as I temporarily let go of her waist so she could spin with our interlocked hands placed above her head.
Her light laugh was like music to my ears and I could spend hours listening to it.
She clearly wasn’t the best dancer but she wasn’t the worst either and yet, I would pick to dance with her over anyone else in the world any day, in a single heartbeat.
I pulled her back to me and smiled down at her while she nervously stared up at me with a small, cute smile of her own.
Then, I let go of her hand and moved both my hands to rest on her waist and pulled her up into the air, spinning us around and laughing with her as she gripped onto the fabric on my shoulders.
Slowly, I brought her back down with my hands tightly resting on her slim waist and her hands still gripping onto my shoulders.
We didn’t move.
We simply stared at the sparks in the eyes of the others with a deep longing hidden under all the heavy emotions that were waiting to erupt between us.
And carefully, I felt myself pulling her closer to the heat of my body while her hands melted down to rest on my broad chest, I licked my lips when my eyes moved down to gaze at her plump, pink lips.
Then, quickly, my hands moved up to rest behind her neck and I pushed my head down to claim her lips with mine. Or at least, I tried to do that.
“Brother. I think you should go greet the other guests,”
Not once have I wanted to beat my older brother up as much as I want to right now.
“I-I’m going to get something to eat,” I stared after Nora as she quickly dipped her head down to a curtsy and ran away, holding onto the fabric of her dress.