VIII. Graduated from the Academy
Until that moment where James kissed her.
She was touching her lips again as if that would bring back the tingling sensation where his lips have claimed hers. She was looking at the mirror again before Darla was shaking her head and focused. She breathed out before she was putting on the sash that will be her status as the speaker of the ceremony.
The ace of every class that she took and beat those seniors that were above her. Her parents would be proud of her achievement.
If they knew that she was graduating that day but she did not send any 'gram to them. She did not want to surprise them that she will be going home now. She will be free to travel anywhere she wanted when her parents were not constricting her.
And Darla Lockwood intended to be that for a little more. She had a mission to do after all.
"You can do this, Darla. You will be the best version of yourself and your parents will not be asking you to marry anyone," she said as she was smiling at her reflection. Then, she took a deep breath before she was closing her eyes before she went out of her chambers to get to the ceremony.
Darla stopped to look at the chambers that have been a convenience to her for the last four years. And now, it was time for her to go through some hardships that she knew she would do nothing more if it means that she will be helping the orphans and poor in Norkins. Darla smiled before she closed the door and marched to the courtyard.
The headmaster was looking at her as if she has grown horns in her head. Darla tried to control the nervousness in her stomach as she was looking at him. The headmaster was arching his brow as if trying to ask Darla if she was ready.
She nodded before the headmaster was going on to the podium and addressing the crowd that will be graduating from the academy. Some of them will be staying for they have their callings in the research that they wanted to pursue.
As well as Darla but she had a better calling in Norkins. No one will know her true mission at heart. Sure, she had been helping some of the tutors to get the answers that they have been looking for.
And she did help them but that was it. It has been done for she will be focusing on her mission.
The headmaster was talking about something else before she was taking a deep breath as he was calling the Ace. She went to the podium as the graduates were looking at her.
She walked to the center of the podium and she was looking at them. Taking her time to calm herself and composted her thoughts for the speech that she was supposed to deliver. She was the youngest Ace in the academy's history.
As well as a woman. Not once Ace was supposed to be a woman. But she changed that. She has changed the history of the academy and education alike in this country. Darla was focusing on the crowd before she smiled and she was starting to say what she had been recollecting about her speech last night.
"In many years, the Academy has produced proud graduates that they will be helping the community to be a better place. Be it in Art, Music, or innovation that will help others to survive. Everyone was unique in their own way and will have their own place in this world.
"Ever since I was little, I have been dreaming that I will be attending the Academy earlier than my peers and be the best student that I could and learned as much as I can from my tutors. I have achieved that here and helped them to gain knowledge and gave back to the community.
"That time has ended for I will be graduating from here. And I was the first Ace that was both young and a lady. Some might say that I was ambitious." Some whispered before her. Darla only smiled.
"But that doesn't mean I should not stop dreaming to be ambitious. And I have done what I was hoping for when I was at the Academy. I just wanted to say that even though I am an Ace, however, I am like the rest of you. We're graduating and some will be returning home to help your community. I will too and I hope that no matter who I was or what I have become, it did not diminish the most important to me," she said as she was looking at the crowd. All of them were older than her and some might not think to take her advice to their hearts.
But Darla can only try. And try with all her might.
"Be it community or any mission that you wish to accomplish in your life, just remember that no matter who you are, you're the graduates of the Academy and it was our duty to serve and give back to the community. Thank you," she said before the crowd boomed and applauded to her as she stepped back from the podium and made her way to take her seat amongst the graduates.
There was a party to celebrate the graduates before they took their paths tomorrow. Darla was among the person that will be heading toward their new home.
Norkins, that's her new home.
She had established something between a group of helpers that were willing to fight for her cause. They will be leaving for Norkins as soon as Darla was making her way to Norkins. However, she did not wish to stop at Scatterford to greet her parents. No, she will only be sending a 'gram to them to tell that she has gone on a mission.
And she hoped that they will understand.
She sipped on the wine that she procured from the servants that were passing them around. She was leaning against the wall as she was taking in the scene in front of them. She was sighing before she was sipping on them as the music was starting for the dance to commence.
Darla hated dancing.
She tried to slip away when someone was holding her hands. She turned around, ready to give some peace of her mind when something lumped in her throat.
No, it cannot be!
She cannot believe her eyes as she was looking at the brown hair and blue eyes as she was trying to avoid the day after they shared their kiss.
Darla's first kiss and owner, James Flemington.
"I was wishing that I will be seeing you around here," James said as he was looking at her face. He must see the confusion of why she did not know that he will be attending the party as well.. James smirked.
"For being the youngest Ace, you surely don't know that you will be meeting me here, my lady," he purred before Darla noticed that they were cut off from the party where they were in a secluded area.
Not everyone will hear her scream if she wished to.
"Oh, don't be afraid, Darla darling. You know I would never hurt you," James said before his thumb was caressing her wrist.
"Unless you want me to,"
"What do you want, James?" she asked, breathless for it has been forever since she called her mortal enemy's name. it was caressing her mouth like sweet honey that she could be drowning in.
No, she will not be succumbing to her feelings now.
"I want a dance with you since you will be going away tomorrow," he said before Darla was arching her eyebrow at him.
"And you don't? somehow I don't believe that" she said before James smirked.
"Would you like to know?"
"I don't want to know. I just want to avoid you if possible so that we can never see each other again," she said with ease before something was covering James' eyes. Then, he blinked and it was gone. James smirked.
"Come on, Darla darling. Just one dance. What could hurt, right? we both made sure that we were not suitable for each other. You hate me and I thought you're the ugliest lady in my life. Still do," James said as his thumb continued to caress her wrist.
It should not hurt. But it did and she did not know why.
"One dance?" she asked before James nodded at her.
"One dance. That's all I ask," he said before Darla sighed. She nodded before James took the wine glass before he gave it to the passing servant as she was lead to the center of the hall. Darla was focusing her eyes on his handsome face as another set was starting to play.
It was a waltz.
She was gripping his hand before he was holding her waist. Then, they danced as James led her own. She was moving around in his arms gracefully as they were focusing on each other. She did not know what was happening around her as Darla can only focus on James' sapphire orbs before he turned her around and her back was hitting his hard chest.
She gasped before James extended her arm and she was spinning back into his hand. He slipped his hand to her waist as they were focusing on each other. The music ended before Darla was disentangled from his arms.
"I should be going," she said before Darla was taking her steps to leave the party as she can sense James' eyes were focusing on the back of her head.
I don't like him. I hate him, she thought but of course, her heart was aching in a different, thousand ways that said something else.