Perfect Image

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Chapter- Perfect Girls Remember

“Whoo!” Cat high fived Andrain and Damien who were both standing on the sidelines, observing the fight, which she won, obviously.

She wasn’t one to boast about her strength, she lets people experience it first hand, after all, she had to be the best, she had to keep up her image of being the perfect heir to the throne.

Excel...

Strive to always be the best...

That’s how you become perfect...

We can’t let that happen again.

——-
His name was Luis Black, Cat’s first attentent, he was appointed to her when she was five and he was ten. He was not the most suitable person for the job, granted it was given to him as the attempt of the late Lord Black to get his son out of the house. Still, Cat thought he was a normal person, she needed to trust him.

She should never have.

He was put in charge of her protection, however, it seemed like he was doing the opposite of what his job entails. He would sneak Cat out of the palace and peer pressure her to do things that were unfit for royalty. He taught her to hunt and shoot down birds with the bows and arrows he stole from the armoury, her father would have frowned upon this, and while Cat herself found the act inhumane she was but a child. Still, that experience made her a brilliant shot and Luis saw the talent in her and sought to use it.

Cat had no idea what transpired in this Black family to make Luis such a person, one who was full of hate and taught her to resent her role as princess. As the year past, she grew more daring and disregarded her studies, this set her back and caused her to get in trouble with her tutors.

The whole plan was to earn her trust, Luis never once cared for Cat, he always just wanted her for what she can offer him, a ticket out of Floeya. One day, when the night was pitch black and not even the owls dared to make a sound, Luis broke the silence when he snuck into her room and woke her.

“Where are we going, Luis?” She had asked, rubbing her sleepy eyes as she dragged her feet and followed her attendant.

“You’ll see Cat,” Was all he replied with as he picked up his pace and made Cat chase him. “You’ve got to hurry up!”

“I’m trying!”

“Just make sure no one hears you okay?”

“Okay...”

The guards were off slacking, they saw none on duty during their great escape and this made Luis relived. He led Cat further along until they were outside of the castle it was almost too easy, they walked right out the door without anyone sounding the alarm or easing a brow.

“Luis... why are we outside?” Cat couldn’t help but draw closer to him in fear of the dark that seems to be like an endless abyss.

“You trust me right Cat?” He didn’t even answer her question.

Cat hesitated before she gave him a curt nod as her answer. “Good, I have some friends that would like to meet you,”

Friends? Why has she not met them before? Cat loved meeting new people wondered how they would be like, this made her smile as she trailed behind Luis with a hop in her step.

“My my, the girl sure is prettier in person,” A sultry voice sounded from the darkness, Luis led Cat into the woods and while she thought she had nothing to fear, young acts couldn’t help but feel antsy. “Come, girl, don’t be afraid...” The voice beckoned her and Luis gestured for her to follow him once again.

“Why thank you, madam... may I ask where you plan to take me? Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t want me to be out for long,” The young princess worried about them as well, even if her parents never seemed to be in her life, she felt as if they should know her whereabouts at all times, so as to not let them worry.

“You did well Luis,” The woman spoke again, her form finally coming into view, she was slightly plump but, it just seemed to add to her charm. She was in casual attire and looked down at Luis. “She would fetch a mighty sum.”

“Sum?” Cat repeated, her hands balled the rim of her nightdress. “Luis?” He didn’t turn to her, she called him again, and once again, he didn’t answer or even move to indicate that he had heard her.

Knowing she was in trouble, Cat did the one thing her mind was yelling at her to do them, run. She sprinted as fast as she possibly could through the dense woods since it was so dark her only hope was to find a safe spot to hide so she prayed that she didn’t collide into any trees until she found a hiding place.

“I thought you said she wouldn’t give us trouble?” The woman arched a dark brow at the young boy before her. “I don’t want my boys to be rough with the goods, it degrades the value. Why don’t you be a dear and fetch her for me? You have five minutes before I send the goons after her as well.”

Luis clicked his tongue and started his search, he has ventured into the woods more often than the princess, he was fully confident he could catch her. Meanwhile, Cat made an abrupt stop near a lake that led back to the palace, Luis would think that she would follow it instead if simply stopping there, he thought her too dumb to halt her escape. As if running away would do her any good, Luis was still stronger and had more stamina than she did at her age, she ran further upriver and tossed her shoes, which were only making her feet hurt and turned back to slip back into the vegetation

Footsteps, Cat knew who it belonged to and she held her hands over her mouth as she tried to still herself behind a tree that was her current hiding spot. She mustn’t make a sound, the night was dead quiet, she would be found out easily, she didn’t mean to shift her legs, however, she was too sore and loosened her muscles, the tiny pile of dried leaves rustled under her foot.

“You think you can hide from me Cat?” Cat shut her eyes to prevent tears, it was no use. “Once I sell you to those people, I can finally get out of this shit hole of a country. I never wanted to be a duke, not that I would even get the bloody title, I hate this place and you are my ticket out,” She never knew his intentions, how can someone hate being in Floeya? “Come here kitty kitty kitty...”

A hiss, a pair of ice blue eyes in the dark of night, it was a Panther, her mother’s house cat, that tended to like the outdoors too much. The feline must have been wondering out again when she came across Luis, she bared her fangs to Luis as she kept down from atop the tree Cat was hiding behind. How did Panther know she was here?

“A nuisance.” Luis clicked his tongue as Panther pounced on him, she was a large but agile Persian feline that didn’t hesitate to sink her teeth into Luis’s arm. The boy cried out in pain as droplets of blood dripped onto the grass, Panther didn’t back off as she circled him.

Luis was unarmed, yet, running was not an option, he was not going to disappoint, he clutched his right arm using his left hand and turned to face Panther again. Before he could make a move a voice called out in the distance,

“Find her at once!” The voice of the royal guards, Cat didn’t know who they were referring to.

“Wait! Help me!” She darted out from her hiding place, Luis eyes widened and then narrowed into a glare that was filled with resentment. The guards heard her cry, they were by her side in an instant, taking in the scene before them, Panther still ready to lunge at Luis while his arm was still bleeding. “Panther was trying to protect me from Luis! He was planning to kidnap me and offer me up to strangers!”

Luis glanced around to see the woman and a bunch of her associates, running in the other direction, of course, they wouldn’t risk coming back for him. He clicked his tongue as he faced the squadron of guards, he got onto his knees, awaiting punishment.

Exile, Cat still remembers how he was dragged and thrown out of the palace, instead of looking empty, he looked overjoyed. His hysterical laughter still haunted her on some nights, his last words making her paralyzed with fear.

“I’ll find you again Caterina Rainbell, you have humiliated me and I will once again find a way back into his disgusting place just to exact my revenge on you.” Cat had tried to act brave, still, she wanted to break down and cry like the child she was.

A perfect queen doesn’t cry in fear.

——-

Cat had originally refused the bet of letting the loser treat everyone to lunch, however, it seemed like they were still going to let Karl pay for their midday meal. The boys were arguing over where they should dine while Cat just trailed behind them as she waited for their decision.

“We should ask Cat since she beat you after all,” Andrain was the one that suggested this, the others seem to agree, they all turned to her, waiting for her answer. “Go on Catty, you deserve this,”

Cat wasn’t sure about that. “I’m really fine with any place, but... I really prefer a simple lunch at Doux.”

The boys all agreed, Karl was so relieved since he didn’t want to spend all his money in a fancy restaurant that would make his wallet want to murder him at the end of the day.

There was were people at Doux that day than usual, Issac wasn’t working the afternoon shift and was probably going to come in later to take the night shift. The five of them made themselves comfortable in the corner of the cafe, sitting around Cat, the Kevins twins to her left and Andrain and Damien on her right. They all made their decisions before letting Karl going to the counter to repeat their orders and pay for it as well.

“Cate!” Cat looked up to see a familiar black haired navy eyed girl wave at them, Vera practically pushed Andrain aside to sit next to Cat, he didn’t seem too pleased. “I’m surprised to see you lot here, you kids seem to have too much time on your hands.”

“We did just finish watching Cat beat up Karl,” Andrain shoved Vera aside and looped his arm around Cat’s shoulder, the redhead tensed, Vera smirked.

“I knew you could do it,” The older woman batted Andrain’s hand away and he pouted while Damien and George snickered. “So He has to buy lunch now?”

“That was the deal, speaking of which, why are you here?”

“I got bored and came out here for a snack or something, Issac was so reluctant to let me leave the house. When his boss called for him to come in early he immediately accepted and told me to wait here,”

“Wait. You’re staying at Issac’s place? I thought you were safe! You can always just remain at the Crowne manor until this entire thing blows over! You don’t even need to go work at Le Chats anymore!”

“While I die a slow death of boredom? No thanks, I need something to do in his dead town. Plus, Le Chats doesn’t have that many employees, I just can’t close it down until Lucas departs if he even wants to leave.”

Vera made a point there, maybe that was why Andrain clenched his fist and didn’t say anything more, the atmosphere grew heavy and by the time Karl returned with the meal (he had to make multiple trips) he also sensed the tension. Vera then excused herself to order her own meal, by the time she returned, Issac had also entered, he shot a smile to the girls and a glare at Andrain, the boy grinned at him, which only seemed to further aggravate Issac, who snarled before making his way to the back room.

“I think I’m going to head out first.” Vera didn’t eat much, she only ordered a jelly doughnut and a cup of coffee.

“Didn’t Issac tell you to wait for him?” Cat voiced, she knew it was better if Vera left with her attendant instead of going out alone. “I don’t mind keeping you company,”

“It’s okay,” Andrain stood and pushed his unfinished meal aside. “I can take you back Ve.”

“Maybe we should ask Issac first,” The two ignored Cat, the redhead turned to Damien and Karl, expecting backup. The boys only returned to their meals, not wanting to get involved and while Cat understood why she really couldn’t believe their cowardice.

“It’s quite alright Cate,” Vera slings her purse over her shoulder, since when did she carry a purse? “He’s done enough for me.”

That statement was more dismissive than Cat would have liked, she then noticed that Issac was finally ready and out from the back room, he made a beeline for the older girl.

“Vera! Where do you think you’re going?” Issac grabbed her arm and Vera sighed.

“Back to your place, trust me for once alright? I know how to take care of myself,” She didn’t even meet his eyes as she said this.

“And let you put yourself in harm’s way again? No way in hell,”

“You’re not my guardian Issac, I am fully capable of taking care of myself like the adult I am.”

“I wouldn’t mess with her either Issac, but, she’s safe with me,” Andrain stepped in front of her and Issac took a step back.

“Fine. I’ll just bring her to the front door and be right back in time for my shift, in return, you can help me take care of Cate alright?” Issac sighed, this was the only thing he can think of that would satisfy both parties.

Andrain only gave a curt nod as his response and waited as the pair exited the cafe, he turned back to Cat.

“I don’t like your brother.“He stated matter-of-factly.

“I’m sure he doesn’t like you either, your even.” Cat gave him a small smile and patted on the seat next to her, inviting him to sit down again.

Andrain paused, there was a commotion outside, fearing the worst, he ran out and Cat followed, the boys did the same.

“Get the fuck away from here. Now!” Cat thought Issac had already left with Vera, instead, the girl was hiding behind his form Cat didn’t understand until she shifted to see who Issac was talking to.

Cat felt faint, she stumbled a little and her back touched Andrain’s chest, he placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder and shot her questioning gaze.

“Andrain is he...” Cat pieced the puzzle in her mind.

“Lucas Lionheart.”

——

A/N: Hey guys! That’s right, I’m not dead as you all hoped, then again, when I see an author not update for years the first thing my mind goes to is ‘oh welp they ded, time to steal their originality!’

Just me?

Cool

XOXO,
Nieve

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