Chapter 1- When I First Saw You
The first time I saw her, I thought I was dreaming.
She stood in the centre of the golden room, ballgowns and tuxedo’s clustering around her in sickeningly colourful waves and with her arms interlocked behind her back, a radiant smile bright enough to rival the stars and maybe even the sun itself, sat on her face.
I thought I was dreaming. At first, I thought she was a seductress entrancing me in my sleep, making me feel so awake despite my clear unconsciousness but it wasn’t a dream. With eyes glimmering as innocently as hers and an unwavering smile as melodious as hers, there is no way that I could have been dreaming.
Despite the flock of people fluttering around me, waving their hands in my face and begging for a dance, there was only one woman whom I wanted to dance with.
One step at a time, I found myself slowly advancing towards her. With each step I took, her voice grew clearer and more beautiful until I found myself stopping a few feet away, her back turned to me, unaware of my looming presence.
She quietly talked to a woman that stood half a head taller than herself until eventually, the woman caught my gaze and her jaw fell open, eyes widening in surprise but what I found more amusing than this woman’s reaction was the reaction of the woman that had managed to successfully catch my attention.
“Alright, you don’t need to exaggerate. It wasn’t that surprising,” She waved a hand in the woman’s face until the other woman finally snapped out of it.
“Hello,” I decided to interject, succeeding in catching the attention of the woman and finally... as if I had been waiting for this very moment since I was born, she gracefully turned around, her crystallised blue eyes meeting mine.
“Hm. Oh? Hello,” Her small smile grew into an adorable grin and she covered her mouth with her hands, eyes squinting as she kept her gaze on me.
Not only the other woman but at that moment it felt as though the rest of the ballroom had disappeared and it was simply the two of us, our long-awaited souls finally meeting.
“Is something funny?” I heard myself ask.
“Not at all, Mister,” Mister?
Her hands fell back down to her sides and she smiled at me, tilting her head to the side while she quietly observed me and I found myself doing the same but my simple observation didn’t stay simple for long as I quickly lost myself in my imagination with her being the centre of it.
“Is there something on my face?” She asked, moving a hand to land on her cheek.
“Not at all...” I started, shaking my head and locking my arms behind my back while simultaneously leaning forward until I found our faces being closer than what would have been deemed appropriate but all the while, I didn’t let our gazes slip even once.
She blinked, surprised but didn’t say anything.
“...It’s just that... I don’t believe I have ever had the luxury to see such beautiful eyes,” One of her brows raised as if she were confused but the depths of her eyes and the slight reddening of her skin told me that I had succeeded in flattering her.
She had sapphire blue eyes in a mesmerising shade that I had truly never seen before. A smooth and flawless warm ivory skin tone and dark blonde, almost a light brown hair colour. With a small heart-shaped face, she had a cute jawline and perfectly pink lips that I couldn’t keep staring at for too long.
“Well then, the same could be said about me,” She whispered softly, surprising me when she mimicked my same pose by locking her hands behind her back and leaning forward, a small, mischievous smile on her face.
“I have never seen green eyes before. They’re beautiful,” Giggling, she stood back up straight, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear and watching her, I stood up properly too, standing a head taller than her.
“What is your name?” I asked.
“My name?” She echoed and I nodded.
“Arianna Monroe. It’s nice to meet you, Mr Callisto,”
“You know my name?”
“Everyone knows your name... Or have you forgotten that you’re arguably the richest man in the world?” She raised a brow and without a second thought, I heard a small laugh escape my throat which seemed to have surprised me more than her.
“Well, I guess your company is just that thrilling,” She rolled her eyes at me and I found myself smirking at the gesture, knowing that one day I would do something about her bad habit of rolling her eyes at me.
“Miss Arianna Monroe, would you like to accompany me on a walk around the garden?” I asked, outstretching a hand for her to hold.
Her gaze fell from my face down to my gloved hand and the woman nudged her to take my hand which she did and I smiled at her. Instead of smiling back as I had originally expected, she nervously itched the back of her neck, a small blush on her cheeks as she stared at the floor.
We walked down the cobbled pathway of the large garden, her chaperone not far behind us and curious guests peeping out from behind windows and doors.
“What is your age, if I may ask?” I started.
“I’m 18 years. And you?”
“Don’t you know?” I joked.
“All I know about you is your name and that you are the richest man in the world, apparently,”
“Apparently?” I echoed.
“Yes, I’m copying someone else’s words,” I hummed, staring at her face for a moment but she was looking at the floor which we were walking on.
“I am 25 years of age,” I said which was enough to have her looking up at me again. We stopped walking and I turned to face her and she copied me, rose bushes lining the sides of the path we had been walking on.
“It’s lovely to meet you, Miss Arianna Monroe,”
“Just Aria is fine,” She nervously laughed, itching the back of her neck again. This time, I gained the courage to outstretch my hand and touch hers.
“Then... Aria. I ask the same of you,” With a warm smile, I urged her to say her thoughts aloud and it felt like years before she did.
But when she finally did, I had managed to confirm one thing.
I had to have her.
“It’s nice to meet you too. Ambrose,”