On time, at nine a.m. Darius was not in the big parlour.
But Adrian was. He sat comfortably in the big wing chair, looking at the newly designed room.
I spoke, while entering the parlour: “Soraya did do a lot of work. As a result the atmosphere seems friendlier...”
Darius entered the room shortly after me, holding a tablet.
“I would use the word feminine... I liked it better the way it was, but don’t mind me. I usually don’t spend my time in this part of the manor.”
He took a seat on the ruby couch and patted the place next to him.
“Sit yourself down, Maggie. I have prepared a lot. As you already know, the debutant-ball will take place on June 27th. Until then, we have approximately nine weeks left. This is a tight schedule. I hope you have made yourself some spare time, because I have a full program set up for you, that I expect you to take serious.”
I looked at my brother. I didn’t know him like that: prepared, serious – could this even be a character attribute of Darius’ – and sovereign.
I would have expected Adrian to come with such detailed preparation and I was therefore deeply impressed.
Darius started to recite of all my appointments and things I would have to do.
“You will have to attend several training courses in order to get to know the rules and habits of etiquette. On top of that, dancing lessons are not negotiable and we need to dress you differently. When we are at home, what you are wearing right now will suffice, but when you attend diverse official events, you will need to choose your clothing according to your social status. Otherwise the other ladies will be gossiping behind your back faster, than you can spell your name. And there is another important issue: We have to dress you like a real princess. This includes a special, tailor-made white gown, which is mandatory for the ladies that are introduced into society at the debutant-ball.”
At that revelation my mouth fell open and I watched Darius in astonishment.
“Who are you and what have you done to my brother?”
He had to laugh at that statement.
“This is all your fault. You turned me into a mother hen! I will not send my precious little sister unprepared into the lion’s den.”
After hearing those words, I had to laugh so hard that my belly hurt and tears fell down my cheeks. I accomplished to change my brother, who took everything with humour, into a momzilla.
That promised to be some tricky weeks...
“But I have still permission to shave my legs on my own?”
He grinned wickedly at me: “Of course! But I will check the result!”
We spent the rest of the morning on putting all the appointments into my mobile’s calendar and planned the following nine weeks in detail.
At the end, there was only one question unanswered.
“What happens with my life, once I am an official member of the high aristocracy? According to Niklas, I should not work anymore – at least not in my old job. So what am I supposed to do all day? Am I reduced to arm candy on social events, getting drunk five days a week, or what am I supposed to do?”
At this point Adrian joined the conversation.
“Something like that. No, to be honest: Of course there are events, which you attend to represent our family, but on top of that you should get a job. One that is appropriate to your status, charity work for example. Just see which projects you like and then you choose one or two organisations, which you will support in the name of Clan Romanov.”
“Wow!” I answered with a wry expression.
“So after the nine weeks of training, my life is going to be pushed backwards into the eighteenth century. I guess a veto is too late by now?”
Darius nodded and laughed out loud.
I went on. “How about clubbing? I liked the evening in the Collosseum a lot and I want to repeat it.”
Now, Darius put a hand on my leg and sneered at me: “Oh Sis, I bet you liked it. I guess you had a lot of fun and pleasure that evening.”
I had to laugh with him, as well and Adrian pressed his lips together painfully.
“But honestly, will going out with friends still be possible after my official introduction?”
Darius considered my question for a moment, then he replied: “It could be difficult!”
I looked at him shocked.
“Okay. You are the one that always knows a way to bend the rules to your advantage, otherwise you wouldn’t be you. But do you know what this means?”
He shrugged while nodding his head.
“It means, that we have to go out before the debutant-ball as often as possible.”
He was beaming all over his face.
“I am in, but we can only fit three evenings in your tight schedule. And no activities for you in private rooms. Who knows, who might recognise you at the debutant-ball...”
He then raised his hand for a ‘high-five’ and asked: “Agreed?”
I ‘high-fived’ him back and answered: “Okay! But please don’t portray me as a loose girl, who would do casual sex for entertainment! Malachy was an absolute exception.”
Adrian moaned in torment.
“Don’t worry.” I joked.
“I just want to dance. How high are the chances that I will meet him there again?”
These words made Adrian speechless and his eyes darkened.
“That was a joke! Sorry!”
To distract from the issue at hand, I brought up Soraya. “Bye the way! The last time at the Collosseum, you had a lot of fun time too, dancing with Soraya. Why should this be any different now?”
I stood up from the Sofa and went into the direction of the foyer.
“Is anybody as hungry as I am? I think it is time for lunch, already.”
Darius answered in amusement: “That attitude is something we have to work on, Sis. I guess that you want to be in a good shape at the debutant-ball, without shaping underwear and a corset.”
At that remark, I put my hands at my hips, trying to pretend to be filled with indignation.
“That is not a way to speak to a lady. I am perfectly good, the way I am. Don’t put yourself between me and my food, all you can do is loose.”
I turned around while laughing and left the room.