The Chosen Bride

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A Lady Remains Elegant

Katherine stepped off the elegant staircase, her eyes meeting the crystal blue ones staring back. Her heart fluttered as she came closer to him, his arm outstretched to her.

His warm hand curled around here as he brought her in closer to him, “I have never seen a woman so beautiful.” Drake whispered as he led her in a waltz.

“You say that nearly every day we see each other.” She replied, smiling softly.

“I have learned that if you do not tell the one you love that they are beautiful then you could lose them. I am not ready to lose you.”

She rolled her eyes, “I assume all of the girls you associate yourself with get told that on a daily basis.”

Drake simply smiled, “Think what you want, Princess.”

She raised her head, “I will.”

He leaned into her and whispered, “Because no matter what you think, you will always choose me.”

She pulled away from him and walked towards Lady Eleanor who stood at the back of the room, swishing her fan back and forth.

“I thought you went dancing with him in order to win his heart and yet you come back empty handed.” She muttered as Katherine stood beside her.

Katherine smiled, “Change of plans. Care to start dancing with me?”

Lady Eleanor shook her head, “Oh no, I certainly do not dance.”

Katharine smiled and tugged her arm lightly, “For me?”

Lady Eleanor sighed, “For you.”

She smiled.

Her plan was going to go exactly the way she wanted it to.

Katherine grabbed another glass of wine off of one of the footmen who passed her and took a large sip.

“Mademoiselle, I think you should slow down. I am afraid of what this much wine could do to you.” A concerned Earl warned as he looked around the room.

Katherine slurred forward, and pushed a finger into her chest, “I... I know how to hold my liquor, Monsieur.”

Eleanor, who leaned against her, let out a joyous laugh, “She does! This one,” Eleanor grabbed her hand a raised it high into the air, “She’s been holding liquor down since before you were born!”

The two of them burst into giggles.

The Earl gave her a nervous smile and started to back off, “I think I should fetch your footman to take you ladies home.”

Katherine shook her head vigorously, knowing that for some strange reason she had to stay, “You, Monsieur, just do not want the embarrassment of two very,” she giggled and exchanged glances with Eleanor, “very drunk ladies.”

“At least you can admit it.” The Earl murmured.

Eleanor pushed herself off of Katherine and staggered towards the Earl, “I,” she held up a single finger, “I have an important mission to accomplish. There’s a certain King that needs a piece of mind!”

Katharine smiled, “Bon chance!”

The Earl watched as the once elegant lady pushed and shoved her way through the crowd of aristocrats before turning to Katherine, “Excuse me, I must attend to Lady Eleanor’s side.”

Katherine turned around quick, or rather too quickly, as she stumbled her way out of the noisy ballroom.

Her head was spinning, partly from the wine and partly from the men she had associated herself with.

Why has she danced with all those men? Was it even worth it?

Sure she had caught Drake’s gaze from across the room, burning a hole into the back of her head but that never seemed to make up for the other men for Drake had the same woman on his arm the whole time.

“Stupid heels.” She murmured, kicking off her shoes. It was hard enough to walk without the heels.

“I always heard those things were a pain.”

Katherine turned around, “How dare you...” Her voice faltered as she stared at the emptiness of the room.

I could have sworn I heard a voice. She thought to herself, pressing her fingers to her temple.

She staggered towards the stairs, feeling her head starting to spin.

“I shouldn’t have had all those drinks.” She muttered before tripping nearly to the floor.

A large muscular arm suddenly caught her and placed her back on her feet, “I hope you are being careful Katherine. Drinking can be dangerous.”

Katherine glared up at her savior, “I-I can hold my liquor!”

The man nodded, “Alright, you can hold your liquor then.”

“I am stupid.” She muttered as the man hoisted her into his arms.

“How so?”

She sniffed, “I did this to get back at Drake. I was so jealous because he had another woman and so I thought that by getting drunk and hanging out with other men, I would have my revenge.”

The man chuckled, “Yes, but you never asked him who his lady friend was. In fact, it was his sister, visiting from Austria.”

She brow furrowed, “Fuzzleballs, I thought for sure it was his...”

“Mistress?” The man asked, his eyes meeting hers.

“I-I...” She trailed off and swallowed, “I think I am going to be sick.”

He quickly set her down and let her empty out her insides.

Tears traced their way down her cheeks, “I am such an embarrassment.”

The man picked her up again, keeping her tight to his chest much to her surprise, and started to take her up the stairs, “No you are not, Katherine.”

She sniffed and curled in closer to the man, feeling safer when she got close. His scent, one of the forest that she had once lived in, surrounded her like a warm blanket.

“Your right.” She murmured, sniffling.

“How so?”

“I am nothing but an imposter. Someone pretending to be something she is not. I am merely this... Thief from the streets posing as Eleanor’s cousin.”

The man remained silent as he walked her into a room.

Katherine had wanted an answer from him, something about how dare she pretend or something about how we did what we did to survive, but the man just stayed silent.

He stayed silent as her eyes drifted close, getting too heavy for her to force open.

And he stayed until morning.

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