WIND BLOWS JUST AS I stand straight with the history book in my hands. It isn’t wet, why is that? I’m more than sure that the ground was wet from the rain.
Another whip of wind blows and I am engulfed with the strangely familiar scent. Mmm...
Black roses, woods, mint.
I bite my bottom lip, I welcome more questions as I stare at the staircase in deep thought. I shake my head along with the thoughts lingering on my mind and look down on the book.
A car suddenly nears me and a familiar one at that, I recognize that! It’s one of the cars from the mansion, the chauffeur leaves the car after it stopped just beside me, “Miss, Madame had been looking for you,” he says after bowing slightly.
I frown. Why?
But I didn’t voice out my curiosity and simply nod at him, “alright,” and walks to the car along with the chauffeur. We were met by Madame Dior who was standing in front of the Mansion’s door and looked quite like a bear who had her enemy steal her food that she had just hunt. In short— angry, furious, mad.
I gulp and step out the car, nearing Madame Dior. Madame Dior is the owner of the Mansion which means no less than that she is in charge of everything — what she says, goes. There had been so many chatters and whispers about her being quite the disciplinarian and overall strict. I felt agitated and uneasy, I was going to get in trouble, for Christ’s sake! I can see the girls look from their windows to watch.
Oh god. I walk towards Madame Dior, full of dread. “My dear, where have you been?!” was what Madame Dior greeted me with, her face of anger turned to slight concern.
“I took a trip to the library to get the country’s history book, Madame. I’m terribly sorry!” I answer her quickly. I could only think about the possible punishments that I would get.
Rather, Madame Dior’s gaze drops to my hand which was clutching the history book tightly. An expression flickers upon Madame Dior’s face for a quick second which was gone as fast as it was there. “Very well, I expect everyone for dinner at seven-thirty and no later,” she announces.
The smell, it’s there again. Black roses, woods, mint — why is this smell everywhere?! I inhale deeply, eyes closed, almost moaning from the good combination of the smell. That’s when I realize that I was standing in front of Madame Dior, I pop my eyes open to see Madame Dior purse her lips together and look as if she was in deep thought. I sigh in relief.
That would have been wordlessly beyond embarrassing.
“You may go back to your chambers, dear,” Madame Dior smiles at me with a nod when she seemed to finally dismiss what she was thinking about, then turns to the door, opening it and walking away. She enters the mansion, the smell turns stronger. Am I to follow it? The most I knew was that it was Dark— yet, why would Dark be here?
I shake my thoughts away for the nth time today and climb up the stairs to my chamber. I safely put the book under my mattress, on the top, just so I would feel it if in case someone decides to take it from me, unknowingly.
I lay down my bed and unconsciously drift into a deep sleep.
“My lady! Miss Amethyst, wake up, dear!” I feel someone shake my shoulders, my eyes flutter open and let out a slight groan. “We need to get you ready for tonight’s dinner!” My handmaid rushes.
“What do you mean?” I ask her, sitting up. I, then, notice a mannequin standing beside my vanity with an old fashion, corseted yet modern-looking dress in a black and gold color. The dress looked drop dead gorgeous but I respond with a shake of my head, “Oh no, I am not wearing that dress!” I protest.
“Every girl will wear a dress in one like yours with different designs and colors, dear! Madame had this dress picked personally for you!” Ofelia urges. What is it about me? I wanted to ask but decided against it.
“What is this? The 1800′s—?”
Ofelia cuts me off, “it is in honor of the dinner announcement in an hour, dear,” she says. With a sigh, I finally stand and walk to the mannequin, examining the dress.
“Are you sure this will fit, Ofelia?” I ask, turning to her with uncertainty, “Oh of course, my dear! Come, let’s get your hair and make-up done,” Ofelia ushers me to my vanity and starts helping me get ready.
I look at the girl on the mirror, where my reflection stands before me as Ofelia tightens the corset and ties it together. “Dear Lord, you look like a proper Queen, My lady,” Ofelia says when she finished the make-over, as she steps back, gazing at me. God, looking at myself in the mirror, I look ravishingly gorgeous. Almost as if the girl in my reflection wasn’t me.
I shake my head, “You give me too much credit, Ofelia. Rather, I should thank you for helping me get ready,” I reply.
“Well, quickly, then! We must head to the dining area,” Ofelia says, guiding me out my room and down the stairs, where there mingled the students of King University and lingered the familiar scent. The living room is crowded by young men and women dressed in a modern-looking yet old-fashion attires. One of the head housekeepers enters the room with a loud, booming voice, “Ladies and gentlemen! Please enter the dining area and find your seats!” She announces.
I enter the usually vacant and blank-looking dining room which is now decorated and shining brightly as Ofelia parts away from me, heading to the kitchen. Looking at the extent the staff had gone through to prepare this — this dinner announcement may really be quite important.
I surprisingly find my seat on the side of the end of the main table, to my right is a vacant seat. Facing me, is Madame Dior’s daughter, Mira, who sits beside her brother, Caleb who is facing the vacant seat beside me. Madame Dior walks inside the dining area after everyone has taken their rightful seats, she looks around and a pleased look reaches her face, nodding.
She walks in front, everyone’s eyes following her every movement. She faces us, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we are gathered here tonight for a special dinner announcement,” she starts, looking at every student seated, then at the house staff. “The prince of Mystic Kingdom, Damien Alexander Americus Dark Erasthai King, will be staying with us starting next month,” she walks over the vacant seat next to me, placing a hand on it, “And will soon be seated here,” she finishes. Gasps, whispers and some giggles from the girls filled the dining area. However, I could only hang my mouth wide open at the announcement. Beside me? Me?
“Settle down, settle down!” Madame Dior says, “In his presence, I want each and every one of you to be at your best behavior, manner and etiquette, am I clear?” She asks. A chorus of, “Yes, Madame Dior,” is heard throughout the room, she nods and takes her seat at the head chair on the main table — I suck a breath.
And in the same moment I did, the scent enters my nostrils. I furrow my eyebrows, didn’t Madame Dior say next month? I wonder. I look around the dining area as the servants rush around the place, setting food on the tables in front every person, going in and out of the kitchen. But how can Dark be here and go unnoticed? The place is too bright.
“Is something the matter, dear?” Someone asks from beside me, I turned to see Madame Dior, “Oh! No, nothing Madame,” I deny with a smile. Madame Dior nods and soon, the food is placed before everyone, and they start digging in.
Midway the excellent five-course meal, she stands again and announces more information about Dark’s arrival, especially the way things would work when he finally arrives — such as the fact that we would have to wear these types of dresses inside the mansion starting next month, on his arrival, to “make him feel as though he is still in their palace.” Madame Dior’s words, not mine. Others are the way we speak and address him, or rather, his majesty. Cue on eye roll. Other announcements addressed the cleaning schedule and who will his maid be, events, meals, and rules that came along with “befriending” him.
Yep, I know what you’re thinking. I know right?
As dinner finished, everyone started standing up and leaving the dining area, some stayed and gossiped about the upcoming arrival of Dark. Turning my head to Madame Dior, “Excuse me, I must head to my chambers now.”
“Very well, dear. Mrs Dane (Ofelia), kindly assist Amethyst to her chambers,” Madame Dior calls out and Ofelia hurries her way to me.
“Oh no, I can manage,” I say in protest, “Ofelia, you may get your rest, thank you for your help,” I nod at Ofelia, standing from my seat and turning to Madame Dior, Caleb, and Mira, nodding to them, “Thank you for tonight,” I say, stepping back, I curtsy. I leave the dining area and start walking up the stairs — which to be honest is a very long trip due to being at the fifth floor where apparently, I stay alone in — or at least — that’s what others tell me.
The housekeepers tell me otherwise, even my handmaid tells me otherwise. There is at least one more person staying on the same floor which is right across my door, was what Ofelia said and claimed. I didn’t exactly know what and who to believe since I never caught anyone entering or leaving the room across mine.
I thought about it as I walk up the final set of stairs when the scent becomes stronger, more clear, more distinguished. As I place one foot on the floor, it seemed like someone had held their breath — probably just me. Maybe. I continued, setting my other foot on the floor and walking in front of my door, but the moment I placed my hand on my door knob, I hear a frustrated groan from the room behind me.
There had been someone in this room all along.
I walk and stand in front the door, forming my hand in a fist to knock on the door. I gulp.
I knock on the door quite quickly, “Hello? Are you okay?” I ask, hoping the person on the other side of this door would hear.
I shiver and decide to leave it alone, going inside my room as quickly as I could, I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. I huff to myself and started wriggling out of my dress which did not do much. I started to patiently untie the corset until it was finally loose and step out of it, leaving it there and walking to my closet to change into my pj’s.
I fall asleep still inhaling the alluring and comforting scent and the thoughts of what could happen a month from today.
The next day, the news about Dark staying inside the mansion was blowing up in the school, every conversation I could hear as I walk on the hallways along with the girls that was a part of “the group,” consisted of Dark.
All they did was talk about Dark, even more than ever before.
How they’ll try to befriend him, how he’ll look like up close and personal, what his personality is like, some even plotting to be his Queen one day. Conversations that I could only roll my eyes at. Though I admit that I can’t be a hypocrite and say that I had not been wondering what he was like, I doubted he’d be friendly. I doubted he’d let anyone get that near him.
But alongside those conversations were conversations about why I was assigned to be seated next to Dark. That was a question that I wondered about before I had drifted off to sleep last night but didn’t bother thinking much of it.
“Hey Kira,” Audrey greets, I turn to her and hum in response.
“Do you think we could change seats the day he comes?” Audrey asks me expectantly. To be honest? I doubted Madame Dior would approve of it. “Sure, I’ll ask Madame Dior—”
Audrey cuts me off. “Oh no, I don’t think she’ll mind, let’s just change seats, okay?” She presses, making me do nothing but nod.
“I’ll have to go now,” I say, forcing a smile and walking away from the group, I make my way to my locker, taking my phone out and sending Cole a message.
I run to the library and close the door behind me silently, looking around for a seat where Cole could spot me. I took the nearest and first seat I saw and soon, Cole walks in the library, looking around until his eyes landed on me. He closes the distance between us and sits beside me.
“Cole, I’m going to sit next to Dark,” I say hurriedly as soon as he took his seat. Cole rolls his eyes, “I know, Daise. I live in the same mansion you live in,” he answers with a “duh” tone.
“She’s using you, I told you,” he says, cutting me off. I ignored him and continued what I was about to say, “Audrey told me to switch places with her the day Dark comes without telling Madame Dior,” I tell him and he scoffs in response, “Why can’t you look for better girl friends?” He groans out, obviously annoyed at my choice of friends.
“I have you,” I answer him with a smirk, teasingly.
“I’m not a girl!” He protests with a scowl, the librarian looks up from her computer and turns to Cole and me, giving us a sharp glare. “Don’t do it,” he adds in a whisper with a warning glare, I simply sigh.
“Cole?” he hums in response as he seemed to be searching for something inside his bag.
“I’ve been smelling this weird scent—”
“Must be you,” he cuts me off, making me laugh silently and punch his arm playfully with a death glare. “Seriously!” I insist, then started telling him about what happened down the staircases which he commented with an, “I told you, stop going there,” which I ignored by continuing with my story about the possible person living on the same floor in the house as me.
“I’m telling you, Daise. Don’t do it, I don’t want you to get in trouble,” he warns me once again.
I sigh and nod at him, “Okay, I won’t,” I tell him, smiling.
“AHA!” He says abruptly, he takes his hand out of his bag, revealing a beautiful silver necklace and anchor pendant.
“Remember about the trip I had with Dad that I told you about? I saw this and just thought you’d like it,” he says, grinning widely.
My eyes widen, “Oh my god, are you kidding? It’s beautiful! I love it!” I exclaimed, hugging him tightly.
“Whoa there,” he chuckles.
I pull away, grinning. “Here, let me put it on for you, hold your hair up,” he offers and I grab my hair, forming it into a ponytail. He puts it on me and locks the clasp.
I let go of my hair and look down on the pendant resting on my chest, I smile, “Thank you so much, Cole,” I lean in, kissing his cheek.
“We should head to class,” he says after placing a kiss on my forehead and I nod in agreement. Standing up, he holds his hand out for me to take and I place my hand on his to stand.
I knew to myself though, that I would at least try, anyway. If I didn’t at least try, I could only imagine the misery that the group would try to put me into. The group, which we never really named, but others call us perfect six, was — is — the most well-known girl group in the university from high school, consisting of Audrey Arterberry, Eleanor Jewel, Charlotte Ellison, Samantha Curtis, Nova Dean and I, Kira Reine Montgomery.
I spent the rest of the school hours under the radar and decided to eat lunch in the library. On my time spent inside the library, I would wonder if Dark did the same to stay hidden, unseen. I wasn’t entirely sure how no one sees him— probably some sort of magic, I think to myself, jokingly. Unfortunately, I unconsciously drift off to sleep and am awaken by the librarian shaking me lightly into reality three hours later, telling me that she was going to close. Though appalled at the realization that I had slept that long inside the library, rendering me late, I could only thank my luck and the librarian for not locking me inside the university’s library.
It was already quarter to seven. The sky is dark as small droplets of rainfall from the sky continuously albeit slowly and gently.
I stand at the bus stop, waiting for the bus. It would arrive in fifteen minutes. I shiver from the cold. I look up the dark and starless sky, breathing in — with no doubt, Ofelia must be going ballistic by now.
I look around me, examining my surroundings, the problem was that the university is easily emptied because of the mansion’s curfew and I doubted that anyone would still be here — except me. I inhale and my heart started to thump against my chest faster as the scent that had been following me since yesterday enter my nostrils once again — that all too familiar scent.
I could do nothing but look around. Dark. I start to fidget from where I was standing, still looking around, trying to make out a figure of a person. Just then, a body crashes to mine, making me fall on the wet cement ground. I groan in pain, “Oh god.”
Pain shoots to my hips, where I had first landed when I fell.
I look up.
I gulp nervously, the scent is so strong. I stare— or maybe I was already gawking— at the man standing above me, the familiar ash-white blonde hair, his cold eyes staring down at me with no sign of guilt whatsoever that he had knocked me over.
Everything goes black.