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Finding Love

By CeruleanMagic All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Chapter 1

Serenity sighed as she shifted through the boxes of her stuff. Her bedroom was a complete mess.

She took a moment to look around her room. A room that would no longer belong to her in a few weeks.

The room was in complete disarray; her clothes lay all over her oak bed, her books were thrown about her hardwood floor and desk, and old boxes lay scattered at her feet.

She was trying to organize her old stuff into what she would take with her and what was useless. After all, she was beginning a new life with Seiya. A life that didn't have room for all her old belongings.

As she continued scanning her room, a glittering object caught her attention. Bending down closer to take a look, Serenity took out a necklace. "Grandma Rose's necklace", she gasped.

Serenity hadn't seen this necklace since her grandmother had passed away, nearly 10 years ago. She had been 16 at the time and was unable to cope with the death of her beloved grandmother. So, the necklace had been packed away so she would not have to deal with the pain of losing the one person who truly understood her.

As she gazed down at the rustic necklace in her hand, she realized that the pain had now subsided, and in its place were the good memories she had of her grandma.

Serenity maneuvered her way around the boxes littering her room and made her way to the mirror on her dressing table. Watching her reflection, she placed the necklace around her neck.

The necklace was quite long, and it settled 2 inches below the neckline of her light blue summer dress. She lifted up the pendant and fingered the little rose vines that enveloped a crescent shaped moon, right in the center of the oval shaped locket. The moon was made of a light blue crystal.

Serenity tried to pry open the locket, but it remained firmly closed, just as it had those ten years ago, when she had first held it. She remembered that day, as clear as if it had just happened yesterday.

Like every Sunday she had gone to visit her grandmother, when her grandmother had opened the door and said she wanted to show her something. She had then gone into her closet and had brought back a velvet pouch.

" Serena, I want you to have this", said Rose as she held out the red pouch to her granddaughter. Serena was what everyone who knew her well called her.

Serenity took out the necklace from the pouch, and marveled at the beautiful piece. " Thank you grandma, it's beautiful!".

Hesitating, she looked into the clear blue eyes of her grandmother, "Are you sure you want to give it to me? Looking up at her grandmother, she thought she saw a sad smile, but it was gone in a second.

"Of course I do", said Rose with a smile. In the next instant, her grandmother's smile disappeared into a serious look.

"Listen to me Serena; I don't want you to ever feel like you're alone". Rose took the necklace from Serenity, and put it around her young granddaughter's neck. "This locket will help you find what your heart desires". "It will lead you to your destiny".

Serenity looked down to find the necklace hanging in front of her, almost reaching her waist. Opening the locket, she found it stuck. "A Locket?"

Frustrated with not being able to see inside the locket, she retaliated "It doesn't open, and anyways how would a locket help me find what I'm looking for? Grandma you're acting very strange…"

Looking up at her grandmother, Serenity saw a sparkle in her grandmother's eyes.

"All in good time my dear. One day, when the time is right, you'll see", replied Rose, as she turned away from Serenity.

After that, her grandmother had changed the subject to baking cookies, and had evaded any questions about the mysterious locket. She had passed away in her sleep a week later.

Snapping out of her memories, Serenity realized that her grandmother had given her the necklace right before her death.

If she had met her grandmother one week later, Serenity might have never known and received the beautiful necklace.

Fingering the delicate chain, she had another eerie thought. It's almost as if her grandmother had known about her incoming death, and she tried to prepare her granddaughter for something.

Serenity decided that after the wedding she would have the necklace repaired, so she could finally see inside that locket.

Ahh, her marriage. She didn't want to think about her upcoming marriage to the hotel business tycoon, Seiya.

She shook her head, hoping she could erase any thoughts of Seiya and marriage from her mind. She looked around her childhood room, and suddenly the room felt too small, too controlled, too cramped. Like her life.

Shaking her head once more to clear the negative thoughts, Serenity said aloud, "I need to take a walk, I need to get away from all this".

"You need to get away from your life", something inside her added.

Grabbing a small black cardigan from her closet, Serenity ran down the mahogany staircase to the main foyer of the house. Popping her head into the kitchen, she thought it wise to tell the head maid that she was heading out.

"Maya, I'm going out for a walk", she called out to the young raven haired maid, who was preparing the tea.

Maya looked up from the teapot in her hand, "But Miss Serena, Madam will be home any moment now from her function. Will you not join her for tea?", she added pointing to the brewing tea.

"No, no, I really need to clear my head", Serenity said pulling her cardigan over her shoulders.

Maya still looked distressed at the thought of refusing tea, so she added, " I won't be far, I'm just going to walk around the estates." "I'll be back soon". Giving a warm smile, Serenity walked out of the kitchen and through the front doors of her house.

Maya shook her head at the retreating back of the young mistress. The young miss had been very distracted lately. Maya sincerely wished to see the smiling face of her mistress once again.

As she walked down the huge roundabout driveway and towards the sheltered woods her family owned, Serenity thought about her family.

She didn't think her mother would be too disappointed that she wouldn't be there for tea. Serenity felt relieved about missing tea time as her mother would want to obsess endlessly over all the small details regarding her wedding, the details that Serenity herself hadn't even thought about yet. Besides, Serenity was sure that her mother would be late to tea because she was currently the hostess of one of the biggest charity auctions held in London.

Indeed, Emily Vanderbilt's grand parties were usually the talk of the entire city, if not the country. Serenity hoped that Sammy, her younger brother, would be back in time for her mother's arrived.

Samuel Vanderbilt, being a 16 year old boy was out with his friends, and had promised Serenity that he'd be back before their mother caught him missing. He had been going out with his friends a bit too much for her mother's taste, so she had been keeping a closer eye on Sammy lately.

Serenity smiled as she thought about her mischievous younger brother. He was definitely annoying, but she loved him nonetheless.

Serenity moved onto thoughts about her father, William Vanderbilt. Her father being a prominent businessman was away for yet another business trip. He was the CEO of the luxury hotel chain, Vanderbilt Hotels.

Her father had gotten increasingly busy over the past year, as the hotels were now being introduced over in Asia, and so she barely saw her father anymore.

Lately the only time they spoke seemed to be when any important decisions about the wedding needed to be finalized. She wondered whether anyone would even know if she disappeared.

As she entered the forest at the edge of their large estate, Serenity pulled her sweater closer about herself. The autumn wind was cool today, but her sweater helped keep her nice and warm.

Walking further into the forest, she listened to the crunching sound of her footsteps on the leaves scattering the ground.

The trees in this forest were very old and tall, and since it was fall, they were shedding their old leaves in what seemed to be colorful waterfalls, every time the wind picked up.

Serenity looked up at the trees and looked past the colorful leaves to the sky behind the trees. She could still see the sun at the edge of her vision, behind the trees, low in the sky.

Since the sun hadn't set yet, Serenity knew she still had some time before had to return. Serenity had wandered these woods as a child, but there was still a large portion of the woods she hadn't seen.

Today, Serenity wanted to travel down to the unknown end of the forest. There was a small river down that end, which had been forbidden to her as a child because it could be dangerous.

As she reached the fork in the path, Serenity travelled left, towards the river. Paying attention to the untraveled path, she maneuvered herself around the large rocks and tree roots scattering around the ground.

She wasn't exactly the most graceful person, so she had to work extra hard not to end up on the ground.

After nearly half an hour she had reached the river and looked in awe.

The river had clear green water flowing steadily. There were many trees around this area, giving it a peaceful glow.

Serenity's eyes were drawn to a particular tree, near the edge of the water. It looked to be older than the trees around it and it had a soft cushion of leaves strewn around it.

Something about the tree drew her to it. It seemed different, ethereal even. As she drew closer to the tree, she saw carvings on the bark of the tree. Someone had carved delicate vines surrounding a crescent moon.

As if unable to resist, she reached out and touched the carvings, feeling the smooth depressions on the rough surface of the tree trunk.

Wait a minute…startled she looked down at her grandmother's necklace. Picking up the oval shaped locket, she compared the engravings on her locket with the carvings on the old tree. They were the exact same! What did that mean? , Serenity thought.

Was there a connection between her necklace and this tree? There must be a rational explanation. She rationalized that this engraving must have been a popular one back in the day. They were probably from the same era.

"I'll check it out at our library when I get back to the house". She had come here today to clear her head. She wanted to sort through her feelings before her wedding.

Serenity looked around, and found that this magical tree had the best spot. She sat down on the cushion of leaves and brought her legs to her. Placing her chin atop her legs, she looked out at the river and gave herself over to her thoughts.

Her wedding to Seiya was essentially a business merger. William Vanderbilt knew that merging his business with Seiya's company would make him the largest entrepreneur in all of London.

I'm just a tool that my father could use to make him more money. But, she hadn't really minded. She had let herself be used.

Seiya was always a gentleman to her; he was very kind and gentle. Her mother had assured her that he could always take care of her; provide for her.

That was enough wasn't it? Serenity knew Seiya probably cared for her, if not loved her. He'll make me happy.

Looking out at the rushing water in the river, she wondered why she felt empty inside.

What about love…a little voice demanded inside her head.

Love…many had claimed to love Serenity during the years she spent in university. Men found Serenity attractive, but what they thought was more attractive was her bank balance.

They had all loved her for her money; no one had tried to know the real Serenity. She always knew she would have to follow her mother's footsteps; marry a suitable man and take care of the estate while her husband earned.

She had accepted that she would have a marriage of convenience, not of love. When her parents had told her of her betrothal to Seiya, she had already given up on love and was happy to find such a sensible man.

Her mother had always reminded her that Seiya was quite a catch. Not only was he rich, but he was handsome too. With long raven hair, clear blue eyes and broad shoulders, he was accustomed to women throwing themselves at him.

Serenity had agreed with her mother, but inside she had thought his hair too long and his eyes the wrong shade of blue.

Picking up a bright red maple leaf, Serenity twirled the leaf between her fingers. When she had resigned herself to marry sensibly, why was she feeling so restless as the marriage drew closer? She now felt she wanted more than just security.

She wanted to do something in her life. She did not just want to be a trophy wife; she wanted her life to have meaning.

Marrying sensibly didn't seem the right choice anymore. She wanted passion. She wanted excitement, adventure…all in all she wanted more.

Serenity felt a sharp prick of pain, and she looked down to see that she was gripping her locket so hard that the vines from the engraving had pierced her skin.

A drop of blood fell onto the locket as she brought her finger to her mouth. The wound wasn't deep, and it didn't pain much. Taking her finger out of her mouth, she noticed that the bleeding had subsided and as she was about to wipe the locket off, she saw the crystal in the middle of the locket glowing.

Alarmed, Serenity touched the crystal and felt that it was warm. It had never glowed before. Why was it glowing now?

As Serenity wondered about the crystal, a drilling noise started in her head. She stood up to try and stop the growing shrieking in her head, but as she stood, the world around her began to sway. Holding onto the carved tree she tried to steady herself.

The drilling in her head was subsiding, but now she was hearing the sound of galloping horses coming nearer.

She looked around but immediately regretted moving her head so suddenly as her head was pounding. But one thing was for sure; there were no horses heading her way around her.

The sounds were all in her head and they were growing in intensity by the second. They were coming closer and closer. Who "they" were, she had no idea but all she knew was that her head felt like it would explode.

Suddenly everything turned black and the ground beneath her feet gave way.

The pounding and deafening shrieking in her head stopped. She gave herself over to the darkness, as a realization shook her.

She wanted love. She wanted someone to love her, for herself alone.

Before the darkness took complete hold of her, the last thing she remembered was a pair of deep blue eyes, blue eyes that were entirely the perfect shade of blue.

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