I used to kiss him with my eyes open. Now I have learned to kiss him with my eyes closed – to let the feeling envelop me like wrapping paper covered in glitter – gritty but still pleasant to look at. Even with my eyes closed I have not given him a whole – only fragments of myself because I know, one day he will forget about me and find another. Our wrapping paper moments will be nothing but diminishing dust. I do not think I am worthy of a memory – perhaps as an escape – never as his lover.
I sit in the window seat watching the villa grounds – waiting for something to happen. Waiting for his driver to cruise over gravel and through heavy metal gates; waiting for Mattias to tell me I have been sent for; waiting for him to come up and see me. I know I am not the only one waiting. Even though I am worth nothing, they fall beneath me. He does not reveal to them his red anger and cool blue sombre. Yet I, I live in his purple palace – treasuring his tragedies and short temper. He trusts me.
I wait for a while. Nothing happens. I stare at the clock, the wall, out the window – nothing. It has been another day of waiting for absolutely nothing. Perhaps he is running late. Perhaps he really has forgotten about me... I undress. I had a good feeling about this dress. Perhaps it will resurface or maybe I’ll never see it again. I draw my bath, adding luxuries as I please: scented soaps, moisturizers and rose petals.
I sit in the tub – breathing, thinking, soaking so that I can be as smooth, as delicate, as fragile as a rose. I can’t help but wonder if I am just a flower to him. A flower that could fall or be clipped from its plant at any given moment. If I do fall - the descent of a blossom will always be beautiful.
This dress isn’t as flashy as the other one.
“Madame.” Matthias the head butler nods to me as a measure of respect. For that I will forever be grateful. “Dinner is being served as we speak. The master, as you know, does not like to be kept waiting.”
I breathe in and smooth my dress. “Matthias.” I nod to him, merely dismissing him I'm opposition to his kindly gesture. I take another breath in and scrutinize my appearance before I make my way to the dining hall.
The hallways always feel longer than they actually are. The vertical planks of varnished wood and narrow walls push against me. I can feel the gaze of his ancestors, icons and even him in all his grandeur. They scrutinize me as I have myself- only harsher.
The lonesome sound of my heels clicking bounced back at me. Tap, tap, tap. Slow, measured - what I hoped was regal. My hands float lightly above my abdomen and my chin never lowers. I enter the dining room. No heads turn to look at me.
He always sits at the head of the rectangular table - back to the wall, below the large portrait that skillfully depicted his piercing blue eyes and immaculate tastes. The both of them peer down the room mercilessly at the six of us, spearing no judgement.
My seat sits between two others. I did not have the pleasure of sitting next to him. Of course much to my disapproval. I wonder what those two did to get there. Did they offer extra favors? Did they bribe him with money? It was senseless to think these things. It simply could be the fact that I arrived after them. Perhaps he considers me inexperienced, but haven’t I made up for it in the last 3 years?
I glance over at him then back to the soup- lost in thought. He hasn’t once spared a glance at me. His eyes are tired, but his shoulders stand upright. He rests his utensils gently on his plate and surveys the room again. In unison we lay down our utensils immediately after him and lower our eyes. Perhaps he’d choose me to lie in with him tonight. I shift and sit up in my chair hopeful.
He sits back in his chair and looks carefully from face to face. His gaze stands steady. “Farren.” His voice deep and silky. His eyes roll over her like cool waves.
I hate it how he calls her name so sweetly.
I clench my jaw and sit back in my chair. Farren - one who wonders. I wonder where her dirty little hands will “wonder” tonight. I grit my teeth.
“You are all permitted to leave the dining hall.”
He always says it with such finality.
Our chairs slide away from the table in unison. It echoes in the one thing we share - disappointment. One after the other we file out of the dining hall. Well, all of us except Farren.
My footsteps were no longer alone in the hallway yet the hallway still feels longer than it actually is. None of us speak to each other. None of us so much as to even turn our heads. We recognize competition and here - you either respect it or destroy it.
I decide not to head back to my room. I know I cannot sleep with the burning hatred I have for Farren at this very moment. I walk out to the garden.
My favourite spot is the bougainvillea bushes at the west wing. It would appear as though the gardener had given up on trying to tame them. The bushes run wild. Some of it's vines run along the guard wall, others tower towards the sky while others jut out to the front. I don't mind it. Actually, I prefer it that way.
It reminds me of my sister. She was once a wild and daring darling before sickness invaded her body. Now she is weak and on the brink of death. She was my reason for coming here. I have to be careful for she may not be the only one that matters.
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