That afternoon, Amie and I extensively used my credit card.
At the end of our shopping tour, we had to ask the shop workers to send us the clothes home, as we didn’t have any more capacities to carry them by ourselves.
Packed like donkeys, we found a nice Italian place to have dinner.
We laughed a lot, recounting the shocked faces of the shop assistants, when they realised that the simple dressed girls were in reality totally loaded with money.
Amie put a fork with pasta into her mouth and washed it down with a sip of red wine.
“Maggie, I really have to tell you something!”
She put down her fork on her plate, grinning cheeky like a boarding student, who had locked away the headmistress in a broom closet.
“Yesterday evening, I had my shift together with Matt – you know which one I mean – the nice one. We flirted a little, as usually, and joked around and somehow our conversation got in the direction of the Aristocracy itself and their royal houses.
In the end we specifically talked about the house of regents and – not offensively spoken – what makes those snobs so special. Matt mentioned that there is something special about their blue blood serum, but due to the lack of descendants in this house, he is not sure about the truth of this rumours. Now listen carefully!”
Amie theatrically sipped on her wine glass to increase my curiosity.
“Allegedly this blue blood serum is able to turn every Aristocrat in transition without the help of the healers and to top it off: It should even be possible to change humans into half-bloods – of course without the house-typical abilities, but it still includes the much longer life span and an official access to the Aristocracy.”
I was impressed by these findings and replied: “Wow! It would be amazing, if it were true. But why hasn’t anybody heard anything about that rumour so far?
I didn’t anyway, I haven’t been part of Clan Romanov for that long and to be honest: I have never been interested in gossip or anything at all, regarding the aristocracy. But you have been changed a long time ago…”
“Who knows if it is even true? Besides this would be a scandal, because it would mean that you don’t necessarily have to be born a half-blood to be part of the Aristocracy. Think about the consequences of that rumour being true. Suddenly the high and mighty society could be joined by humans. That would be a revolution…”
I looked at Amie with big eyes and said: “I don’t think, that there is any truth to the rumour. Something so big couldn’t be contained.”
That was the end of the topic for me.
We changed our conversation to other subjects and Amie raved about Matt and Darius and the debutant-ball and she swore her infinite friendship to me, if I would bring her to that event.
The restaurant owner almost had to throw us out in order to close up his place for the night.
The next morning was my farewell party at the construction company, where I had been helping out for the last two years.
I brought coffee and donuts for everyone and said my goodbyes.
I had also brought my travel bag, so I could catch the train to Ignis right after leaving the office.
I was in a good mood.
The day was equally characterized by an end of something old and the beginning of something new. I was positively curious for everything that was to come.
I arrived in Ignis in the late afternoon.
Darius was already standing on the platform to pick me up.
When we arrived at the parking space, he led me to a fancy, red ‘MINI john cooper works’. He put my traveling bag into the trunk, went to the kerbside and tossed the keys into my direction.
“Here Sis. If I remember correctly, you always wanted to have one of those, am I right? Now, that we are officially siblings, you can’t refuse my gift. And by the way, I have no pleasure in constantly picking you up at the train station…”
I grinned like a Cheshire cat while hopping like ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ around the car.
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am totally stunned!”
I made no effort to climb into the car, so he got out of the car again and almost forced me to take my seat at the driver’s side.
“I am happy for you, but we still have to drive at least half an hour until we arrive. So would you please start the engine of the vehicle so we can be on our way?”
We arrived in the early evening.
I drove the MINI through the gateway, parking it in the middle area.
After killing the engine I said: “I think I’d prefer to practice the parking again. It’s a new car and I am not accustomed to it.”
Then I let my eyes wander over the property.
“It seems like nothing has changed here within the last two years.”
Darius shook his head.
“It did. Wait until you see the inside of the mansion. Soraya seems to have taken a liking to interior design. I forbade her to change anything in regards to my private rooms and of course your rooms were off limit as well. Everything is exactly as you left it two years ago. But the rest of the house… you should see for yourself…”
He made a funny face, which I couldn’t read.
“Let’s put it that way: She has a soft spot for interior design and Adrian has a soft spot for her. You will see what I’m implying when you go inside.”
Now I was curious.
Darius looked at me and replied: “What do you think about a tour? Leave your travel bag in the car. We can get it later. I am really happy, that you are home, Sis!”
He gave me a little peck on my cheek and got out of the car.
I followed him hesitantly.
From outside I didn’t notice changes to the mansion, but inside a lot had changed, especially in the main areas.
The rooms, which were used for visitors and other official events, were now painted lighter and therefore seemed somewhat more feminine.
Before the redecoration especially the public part of the house was designed masculine. Dark colours, heavy red satin-drapes and red upholstery, which’s patterns were interrupted by golden woven lines.
Of course the colour ruby played an important role in the interior of the mansion because of it’s identifying feature of belonging to the royal ‘House of Warriors’.
But now it was combined with crème coloured walls. I was not sure, if I liked it. And there were other question circling around in my head.
How much did Soraya know? Being a human typically meant that you had now idea about the existence of the Aristocracy. This part of the world should be oblivious to humans.
Therefore did Adrian influence Soraya’s mind? - Okay, this relationship was not my business and I didn’t want to think of both of them at that time.
Darius led me to the other rooms, excluding Adrian’s and mine. Mine I should still know, and Adrian and Soraya seemed to be keeping to themselves.
Under no circumstances, would I want to surprise them in an intimate situation. This experience was definitely after my rope-less bungee jump on the idiot bucket list.
I felt a little strange here.
Two years ago I assumed that I would grow old here, in this mansion with Adrian, being happy und the luckiest girl in the world.
Then Daddy Niklas came and my bubble of a perfect world burst.
Back then, I fled in a hurry to Atonia to get away from the situation or better said, to block it out.
I didn’t contact Adrian for almost half a year, ignoring his calls and messages.
Even as he stood in front of my apartment door, I asked Amie to deny my presence.
To be honest, I am not very proud of my behaviour. Adrian deserved better.
Now, when he is finally happy again, I don’t have the right to waltz into his life, just for the sole reason that there is nothing that would stand in our way, now.
But to be perfectly honest, I still missed his closeness and the proximity that we shared. Especially now that I am back in this house in which we used to live together.
If I were over him, I wouldn’t have lived like a nun for the last two years – at least I did until I crossed paths with Malachy.
I was curious whether I would meet him again and how I would react then. I wasn’t as tough and brave in reality, as I pretended to be the night we met.
When Darius finished his house tour we went to the dining room and ate dinner.
Adrian and Soraya didn’t show up here either. After Darius und I were full, we decided on an appointment for tomorrow morning.
Then we could talk about everything concerning my official registration as a new family member of Clan Romanov and my ceremonial introduction into the Aristocracy’s high society.
I said goodbye, got my travel back from my car and went into my private rooms, which were situated on the first floor of the mansion.
I simply wanted to be alone, to be able to ponder over my thoughts and lick my wounds. Adrian’s complete ignorance of my person since the moment I set foot on this property felt like a punishment.
I guessed that me not telling him about my meeting with Niklas in person, but sending Darius as a messenger instead, didn’t score me some extra points on the friend’s barometer either.