“Hey Sasha, come look at this.” Placing the sleeveless wedding dress, I had just been admiring, back on the rack I walked over to where Kelly and Ruby stood huddled together fawning over their latest find. As soon as I was within arms length I found fabric in my face as Kelly thrust a dress at me. I could hear them saying something as I attempted to push the dress away, but I could not for the life of me understand either of them as they were talking over the other to be heard.
“Woah. One at a time guys I can’t understand you, and Kelly I can’t see the dress if you keep trying to suffocate me with it.” I laughed gently taking the dress from Kelly, so I could see it more clearly. I gasped in wonder at this beautiful A line wedding dress with long flowered lace sleeves, a high rounded neckline, a beautiful silver jeweled belt with a simple white rose in the middle of the belt, and a flared-out tulle skirt. It was as though it had its own limelight as my eyes twinkled in awe at its majestic beauty. I knew just by looking at it that this was going to be my dress.
“You should try it on.” Ruby suggested grabbing my shoulders and steering me toward the dressing rooms at the back of the store. I could only grunt in reply to transfixed by the spellbinding dress in front of me. Finally, I am pulled back to reality as my friends push me inside one of the dressing rooms and close the door behind me with a snap. Stumbling a little I manage to catch myself before I fall still gripping the dress between my thin pale fingers. Straightening myself I gaze around me at the small mirrored room where my sea blue eyes stared back at me from every angle. Walking over to the little wooden bench nailed into the wall I carefully place the dress on top of it before pulling my black shirt, with a heart on it, over my slim pale shoulders. Placing my clothes on the bench I scope up the shimmering white dress and begin the process of trying to squirm into it. I huff in aggravation my fiery red hair swaying from side to side as the zipper refuses to close. I felt like an elephant as I hopped, wiggled, and squirmed trying my hardest to get into this beautiful size 2 dress that refused to cooperate. I could practically hear the dress laughing at me as I struggled.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity I managed to force the zipper up. I could feel my lungs howling in protest as they were refused air. Forcing my legs to move against the lack of blood flow I slowly made my way back to my friends who were sitting a short distance away on a metal bench.
“Oh!” I hear Kelly gasp as they noticed me struggling to walk.
“Tadah.” I weakly smiled stopping in front of them.
“Isn’t it lovely.” They both exchanged a glance hesitating to answer my simple question.
“Um. Well it is beautiful on you but…” Ruby glanced at Kelly her eyes pleading for help. Sighing Kelly gave me an apologetic look before responding.
“The thing is Sasha it looks a little tight.”
“No, it’s not. I just need to get used to it is all.” I huffed my vision blurring as I swayed from lack of oxygen.
“Sasha your turning blue.” Kelly pointed out.
“We just need to get a bigger size is all.” Ruby cheerfully announced jumping to her feet and walking over to the rack. Leaning against the wall I watched as she rummaged through the different dresses looking for a bigger size. After a few minutes she returned empty handed a frown on her face.
“I’m sorry Sasha, apparently they expect every girl to be a size 2.” She sighed unable to locate anymore sizes of the dress. The twinkle immediately disappeared from my eyes as I gazed at my feet in sadness, my hands balled into fists as I clenched my teeth in frustration.
I hated how the world expects women to be perfect in every way. Not allowing any room for error. This was the 10th dress I had tried on with the same result. I could feel tears of frustration welling up in my eyes as I turned my back on my friends and stumbled my way back to the dressing room. Once inside I sadly pulled the zipper down and gasped as air came rushing back into my lungs once again. It was such a shock that I ended up having to grab the door knob just to steady myself while my body got used to being able to breathe again. After a moment I was able to let go of the door knob. Pulling the dress off I placed it gently onto the bench and slowly got dressed back into my shirt and jeans. Slinging my purse over my shoulder I grabbed the dress and headed for the door. I paused one hand on the now open door as I sadly gaze at my hourglass figure wishing I were just a little bit smaller even though I was skinny already. Sighing I tore my gaze away from the mirrors and headed back to my friends who were watching my every move with concern. Hanging up the dress I gently ran my hand down its beaded tulle skirt before walking away for the last time.
“Let’s just head home.” I sigh deflated.
“Sure, we can try another shop some other time.” Ruby soothed patting me comfortingly on the back as I dragged my way out of the boutique. I could feel the shop keepers’ eyes boring into our souls as she watched us with disdain. Her lips pressed into a thin line as we left without buying anything. I could practically hear the insulting words floating around in her head wanting to come out, but she remained silent as she glared daggers at our retreating forms. Reaching Ruby’s car, I stopped outside the backseat door as Ruby unlocked it.
“Hey Ruby, I actually want to be alone right now, so I am going to walk home.” I stated forcing a smile. They exchanged a glance their hands resting on the door handle of the car.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea? Ditching the guards to go dress shopping was one thing, but walking back to the palace alone?” Ruby doubtfully said worry lines creasing her forehead.
“You are still a princess Sasha. Who knows what crazy person is waiting out there to kidnap you.” Kelly agreed removing her hand from the door and crossing her arms.
“It will be fine. The palace is not far from here. Besides if I get into trouble I will just call my fiancé to come get me.” I reassured smiling as I held up by blue butterfly cell phone as proof. They exchanged another glance obviously reluctant to leave me alone.
“Go I will call you once I get home I promise.” Sighing they nodded before getting into the car and driving away. Stuffing my hands in my blue jacket I made my way down the gray cement sidewalk as the street lights around me flickered to life at the setting of the sun behind the mountains. I frowned as a drop of rain splashed against my face. Gazing up at the sky I groan internally as another drop of rain hit my face followed by a strong gust of wind howling mercilessly through the branches of the trees by the shops I passed. Wrapping my jacket tighter around myself I picked up the pace wanting to get home before it got too dark. I jumped as a flash of lightning struck one of the trees by me causing a large branch to come tumbling toward me. Diving out of the way I land hard on the ground ripping the knees of my jeans in the process. Shaking I pushed myself into a sitting position and glanced back at the smoking tree branch now laying on the sidewalk right where I had been only moments before.
“That was a little too close for comfort.” I thought breathing a slow shaky breath as I once again pulled out my cell phone and unlocked it. Scrolling through the various different numbers I stopped once I reached Aarons and quickly pressed call. Placing it to my ear I waited listening to the ringing sounds as it got in touch with my fiancé.
“Sasha? Where are you? Your dad is over here raising the dead worrying about y…” He suddenly stops as my dad snatches the phone our of his hand. Next thing I hear is my dad Screaming at me for being so reckless and ditching my guards. I haven’t heard him this mad since Conner, my childhood friend who is now head of the royal guards, and I stole one of the limos when I was 16 to take it out for a joy ride. We ended up driving it straight into a lake by accident. My dad could barely speak as he yelled at us. We ended up having to wash every single limo by hand as punishment for our little adventure. We owned 20 huge limos at the time. So needless to say, we did not do it again.
“Yes, dad I understand. See you soon.” I sighed hanging up. He was sending out the guards to pick me up though I knew the moment I stepped foot onto the palace grounds he would be there waiting to scold me. Sitting down on the edge of the sidewalk I pulled up a book on my phone to read while I waited. It had only been a few minutes when I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end as a pair of eyes trained on me from the shadows. Glancing nervously around the area I scanned the road for the source of my unease. All seemed quiet as crickets chirped quietly in the bushes, while the wind howled hauntingly through the trees. Biting my lower lip nervously I debated whether to just start walking and meet them halfway. Suddenly A loud clap of thunder boomed overhead making me jump. Not wanting to stick around where I felt uneasy any longer I jumped to my feet and began heading toward the palace.
I was just rounding a corner when a loud squealing of tires sounded behind me. Next thing I know I am engulfed int eh headlights of a blue limo. Breathing a sigh of relief, I begin heading toward it. I am only a few feet away when I stop turning sheet white as I realized something important. We don’t own a blue limo. We have many limos, but we have never gotten a hold of a blue one. Turning on my heels I quickly scurry away from it as I desperately try to reach the palace. I squeak in terror as I hear a door slam behind me followed by hurried heavy foot steps as the driver gave chase. Breaking into a rum I madly glance around me looking for anywhere I can hide, but all I can see is closed shops surrounding me. I am just deciding whether to try to fight when I feel a hand close around my arm before I am jerked backwards against someone’s chest. I struggle screaming my head off trying desperately to get free. I manage to loosen his grip enough for me to break free but not for long. I am barely able to take a step before the attacker grabs me again and spins me to face him. I tried to see his face in hopes of identifying him latter, but it was covered entirely in a ski mask.
“You thought I wouldn’t find out? You are mine Sasha. If you think I am ever going to allow anyone else to marry you. Than think again. If I can’t have you, then no one can.” I whimpered in fear at his whispered words. I had no idea who this dude was. So why did he claim to know me. Better yet why does his voice sound so familiar. I didn’t have long to think about this as he began dragging me toward his limo. Releasing one of my arms he yanks the backseat door open where I can see something on the inside doorknob which I assumes to be a child lock. I was inches away from being forced inside when 5 bright pink limos come barreling around the corner toward us. My attacker growled in frustration as he desperately began trying to get me into the limo. Bracing my feet against the bottom of the car I leaned my weight against him resisting as much as I could in an attempt to buy time. My efforts soon paid off as a new voice floated toward us.
“Let go of my fiancé!” I fall to the ground as my attacker is wrenched away from me releasing the pressure on my arms. Messaging my now bruised arms I gaze up to see Aaron standing in front of me as he faced my attacker who glared daggers at Aaron his hands balled into fists.
“This is not over. I will be back, and Sasha will be mine.” He seethed pointing threateningly at Aaron before racing toward his limo. The guards who also came with Aaron attempted to intercept him, but he only dodged them as he jumped into his car and sped away the backseat door still hanging open. I tried to catch the license plate number, but it had been covered up with a thin metal plate. I watched as it rounded a corner followed closely by 3 of the guards’ limos as they attempted to give chase before disappearing into the night.
“Are you ok?” Aaron gently asked walking up to me and extending his hand. I stared at him still in shock over what just happened. Sighing he grabbed my arm and gently helped me to my feet.
“You’re safe now. I promise I will protect you.” He soothed pulling me in for a hug. Resting my head against his chest I slowly began to relax as I breathed in the musky smell of his leather jacket. Looking up I gaze into his smiling face and feel my heart melt beneath his emerald green-eyed gaze.
“We should be going your dad will be wondering where we are.” I pouted a little as he pulled away before grabbing my hand. Leading me to one of the remaining 2 pink limos he opened the backseat door holding it open for me. Walking forward I stop one hand on the door. Gazing down the road where the attacker disappeared I frowned as once again I tried to figure out why his voice sounded so familiar.
“Is everything ok?” Aaron worriedly asked as I still had not gotten into the limo. Shaking my self out of my thoughts I send a reassuring smile his way before getting into the limo allowing Aaron to follow me inside. The sound of the engines starting could be heard as the driver turned on the limo and drove toward the palace.
“Something tells me this is only the beginning.” I thought to myself as Aaron placed his hand on mine. Staring out of the window I silently watched as the shops disappeared into the night as we headed home.