‘I would like to apologise for last night, Diora. I didn’t know you were going to be there, not at all!’ Francis put his hands up in a defensive mode as we approached his car. The memories of last night came flooding back into my mind - it was beyond disastrous.
’It’s okay, I mean, how would you know we were there? Although, I’m pretty sure your... partner most likely has a tracking device on my man,′ A silly joke with a tad bit of truth behind it. It was weird how she was there, unless the word got out or even worse, Night told her. However, she’s always there. Always. I looked back to see a distress looking Francis. His frown morphed into a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.
‘Something wrong?’ I eyed him. He shook his head laughing, opening the door of his car and gesturing for me to go inside. He quickly followed suite on the other side. Something that I have noticed a lot was the lack of bodyguards - a royal without any bodyguards.
’I’m sorry if I frightened you a bit out there, I just felt a crawling feeling inside of me. Aloisa is probably crazy enough to do that. Diora, if you take anything from today, take what I say; don’t trust anyone.′ He started the car without giving me a glance. I felt an uneasy feeling swarming inside of me; ”don’t trust anyone“. Those words replying in my mind for a good few minutes, taking everything in.
‘So, does this mean... I technically can’t trust you?’ I gave him a side glance, watching his every movement carefully. The corners of his mouth slowly turned up at the side, he gave me a quick glace before looking at the road ahead of us.
‘Have I ever given you a reason to not trust me, Diora?’ His words hung in the air for a good few minutes. It was true, he never given me a reason to doubt him, not one.
‘I got another question ,’
‘You have a lot of questions today, but sure, go ahead,’ He chuckled.
‘Technically two, but-’
‘Technically four, but go ahead, Dior.’
‘Why aren’t there any bodyguards around you? In fact, I haven’t seen any, never,’ Once again, I looked at him intensively. He continued to smirk, giving me a side glance, his eyes lingering on mine for a minute, a long minute.
’How are you so sure of that, Diora? Let’s just say, I love living as normal as possible, and I always feel have bodyguards, lot’s of them. However, they’re always at a respectful distance and disguised well to not draw attention. Any more questions, princess?′ The way princess rolled out of his tongue so smoothly caused swarms of butterflies to flutter in the pit of my tummy. I shook my head and looked away, too afraid he’ll see the forbidden desire. I wish Night was like him.
The drive was short and sweet, with good music to cover up the blaring silence between us. He held the door open for me as I fixed my white wrap around skirt to ensure I wasn’t showing more than I had planned. Like the gentle man he is, Francis stretched out his hand before me and guided me out of the door.
‘Wow, that’s one heck of a hotel...’ I trailed off, taking in the enormous building before me, that was layered with fancy balconies on each floor. Francis laughed sweetly behind me, but I was less than amused. As much as I love to get under Night’s skin, going to a hotel was not ideal.
‘With all the respect I have for you, I don’t think this is very approp-’
‘Don’t worry, Diora. It’s a restaurant. Excuse me for laughing, I found your reaction quite adorable and amusing,’ I looked away, my cheeks flushing with embarrassment. ‘I must say, as much as I love your cute crop top and skirt, unfortunately, this place is formal dining.’ I stopped in my tracks, looking down at my black crop top with short cuffed sleeves and the short white wrap skirt paired with some my random sliders. As you can see, I am the epitome of ″formal dressing″
‘No worries, I thought this might be the case so I ordered you a dress and it should be here. There’s a bathroom you can change in.’
‘I- I don’t know what to say, you shouldn’t have, honestly! This whole thing, it’s really not needed.’ I looked at him with a sheepish smile. This seriously wasn’t needed, and as much as I would love be go out, as friends, for lunch, I seriously would of much preferred something... simple.′ Francis face snarled up for a quick second before relaxing into his usual bubbly smile. To say I was taken back by the sudden mood switch was an understatement, or maybe I was just imagining everything under the scorching sun that glared down at us.
’No worries, Diora. What’s the good in us arguing outside a 5 star Michelin restaurant, when everything has been reserved and I made sure to reserve a very exclusive spot for us. I know how much you love your privacy, so let’s go in, shall we?′ I nodded my head slowly, and hastily walked beside him into the enormous beige building with black window doors.
‘Sir Francis and Diora Dallian, welcome to The Duchess. If you don’t mind, we will take Diora away temporarily to see that she is appropriately dressed in the finest attire,’ The man in a black suit with white gloves spoke in a sophisticated tone, all the while, never once addressing me by looking at me, but just by name. Instead, his eyes were gloved on Francis, his face not giving any sort of emotions.
Before I knew it, a bunch of women in black body con dresses with bold red lips whisked me away from Francis and into the hallway. The gently pushed me inside a golden room filled with mirrors instead of walls. The room was enormous and in the middle of the seemingly vacant room was a white leather quilted rectangle block with a black dress neatly laid on top paired with accessories and black rectangular heels. I slowly walked towards the clothing, picking the dress up and admiring the softness and the mesh one shoulder split sleeve - reminding me of my mother’s dress the night before.
‘Do you need help?’ I gasped and jumped from the sudden disembodied voice. I looked up at the mirror to see the women that forcefully guided me into this room where still in the room, all aligned in one horizontal single line. It was eerie how identical everything looked down to the long hair with a fringe, to the body con black dress with thick shoulder straps and the same shade of red lipstick. The only difference was their complexions and their name tags. They all looked at me with glossed over eyes, it was like as if they were starring into the void - no emotions in their eyes. Nothing.
‘I-I think I’ll be quite alright dressing myself, thank you,’ I put the dress down and turned to follow look at them instead of looking through the mirror. They all locked eyes with me, their stares lingering on me for a little longer than a few seconds. And just like that, they walked in a single file outside the door and making sure to make a statement by slamming it shut.
I sighed with relief when I could no longer sense their presence. This place was beyond what I had expected, however, I trusted Francis and his decision to bring us here. No matter how creepy the hostesses and host seem to be. He wouldn’t do anything to hurt me, whereas Night on the other hand, this sort of things would be on the top of his priority list.
Without much thought, I put on the dress and the rest of the accessories and heels. To say I was surprised was an understatement. How was he able to find such a perfect fit? The dress hugged my body in the right places and the ruche slit giving it that modern touch of flare pairing well with the one sleeve mesh.
‘I look, I looks good,’ I whispered breathlessly I turned around to check myself from every angle. Although my fave was free of makeup, I was more then thrilled to see my hair dried in soft curls and not with one frizz to be seen anywhere. This was it, I was dressed and ready to see how this lunch would turn out. I could feel the fluttering butterflies pile up in the pit of my stomach, and the sensation of my stomach going up as if I was on a rollercoaster ride with gravity pulling me back down in a harsh manner as I’m ridden down from great heights.
I slowly opened the door and there the women were standing, all in a single file line. They all starred at me with lifeless eyes as the continued to stand like statues. I gave them a small smile and stepped out fully with my clothes still in my hands. One of the women stepped forward outstretching her hand.
‘Sir Francis as ordered us to collect your clothes. These will be sent back to you at the end of your stay here.’ Without waiting for another answer, she grabbed the clothes off my hands and walked away. I starred in the distance she she walked off to, the three women remaining ushered me to walk forwards, as they guided me between huge fancy hallways.