Elaine slipped out of her chambers early in the morning. She tapped lightly on Eveline’s door and then quietly opened the door a crack and looked in. Eveline was curled up in a ball on the bed with a small blanket covered her. There was a girl sitting on the window seat with her head in an awkward position with her brown hair in her face. Elaine was just about to close the door when the girl on the window seat jerked awake.
She stretched slightly, getting all the kinks out of her body. She blinked and looked around the room, and gave a small little gasp when she saw Elaine standing in the doorway. She slipped off of the window seat and walked up to Elaine.
“Can I help you?” Harper whispered.
“Oh, no,” Elaine whispered back, “I was just coming to check on Eveline.”
“Well, she’s still asleep,” Harper said, “I’ll let her know you were here when she wakes up.”
“Thanks,” Elaine said, “I’m Elaine, her sister.”
“It’s nice to meet you ma’am,” Harper curtsied, “I’m Harper, Eveline’s lady-in-waiting.”
“It’s nice to meet you Harper,” Elaine said, “When she wakes up could you tell her to come to the library?”
“Thanks. Sorry to bother you,” Elaine said, smiling and closing the door behind her when she left.
“Harper?” Eveline whispered, shortly after Elaine left the room.
Harper turned quickly around to look at Elaine.
“Eveline ma’am,” Harper curtsied, “How are you feeling this morning?”
“I’m fine,” Eveline said weakly, “Tired, but fine.”
“You should rest today,” Harper said coming to the side of the bed, “You’ve had a trying couple of days. You need to relax for a day.”
“Oh, no,” Eveline said, “That’s not necessary. I’m fine.”
“All this running around and stress isn’t good for you. You need to rest.”
“I’ll take it easy today. I promise,” Eveline said, taking Harper’s hand and looking her in the eye, “Now, I should be getting dressed.”
Harper went to the closet to pick out a dress while Eveline got out of bed. While Harper helped Eveline get dressed she told her all about Elaine’s visit and invitation.
Eveline finally made it to the library door. Eveline could hardly see Elaine when she walked into the room; she was surrounded by books and papers.
“Hey,” Eveline said, sneaking up on Elaine while she poured over one of her books.
“Eveline!” Elaine cried, jumping and turning to look at Eveline, “You scared me,” she placed a hand on her heart as she waited for it to go back to normal.
“Sorry,” Eveline laughed.
“Don’t be,” Elaine laughed, “It was funny. Anyway you ready to get started on research? I’ve found tons of books in this library, and I’ve been pouring over them. I could really use your help on this. There’s just so much information to wade through.”
“Okay,” Eveline said, taking a seat next to Elaine, “What am I looking for?”
“Anything you can find that has anything to do with what is happening to our sisters.”
“Alright, I’ll try,” Eveline sighed as she picked up the book that was nearest to her and started skimming through it.
Eveline and Elaine poured over those books for hours. Eveline marveled at the fact. She didn’t think Elaine could sit still and be that quiet for so long. Elaine was the type to be on the go, doing something or saying something.
“Hey look,” Elaine cried out, gently hitting Eveline on the arm to get her attention.
“What?” Eveline asked, leaning over to look at where Elaine was pointing.
“Every girl in this family goes crazy,” Elaine read, “It doesn’t say anything as to the cause of it though. Wait a minute!” Elaine said, pointing at the bottom of the page, “Look at that! It says Mr. Hawberry wrote this manuscript. By the looks of it, he could still be alive.”
“Maybe,” Eveline said cautiously.
“Oh, I’m sure he’s still alive! All we have to do is find him and we’ll be able to solve the mystery!”
Elaine jumped up and started pacing excitedly. Her speech was coming out so rapidly that Eveline wasn’t able to keep up or understand a word that Elaine was saying, not that she was paying that much attention anyway.
She was too worried that Elaine wouldn’t be able to find Mr. Hawberry and her hopes would be dashed. She couldn’t bear to think of Elaine being unhappy. Her worries were soon dashed however. Elaine’s enthusiasm was catching and soon Eveline was getting swept up in the moment.
Eveline was so swept up in the moment that she didn’t even realize that Lauralie had come into the room and was standing there watching them.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Lauralie said with a hint of amusement in her voice when Eveline bumped into her.
“Oh sorry,” Eveline said.
“The king and queen have requested our presence in their chambers,” Lauralie said.
“Alright,” Elaine sighed, “We might as well see what they want.”
As Eveline walked down the hall she felt like she was a lamb being led to the slaughter. She was worried about what her parents were going to say to them.
“Welcome girls,” the queen said amicably as they walked into the room.
“Mother,” Lauralie said, leaning down and kissing the queen lightly on the cheek and taking a seat on the couch next to the queen.
“Mom,” Elaine smiled and nodded.
“Ma’am,” Eveline curtsied clumsily.
“Please have a seat,” the king waved them to the couch.
Eveline sat nervously on the edge of the couch.
“Sorry I’m late,” Helena said coming into the room and curtsying gracefully.
“We were just getting started,” the queen said, “Please have a seat.”
“You all know what’s been going on with your sisters,” the king started.
“Yes,” the girls said in unison.
“Well,” the queen jumped in, “Your father and I know how stressful it must be for you to deal with all that’s been going on lately, and you guys have dealt with it beautifully.”
“So we have decided to throw a ball in your honor,” the king said.
“Really?” Helena exclaimed, “We haven’t had a ball in ages.”
“Yes really,” the queen smiled at Helena’s enthusiasm.
“It will be held in three weeks’ time,” the king jumped in.
“Oh, I can hardly wait,” Helena cried, clapping her hands together in excitement.
Eveline felt her stomach drop at the news. She hardly paid any attention to all of Helena’s jabbering on about the ball. Eveline could feel her head swimming and she felt like she was going to be sick. Everything was fading in and out of focus and she wasn’t able to concentrate on anything. She felt she was suffocating in the room. She needed to get out of that room, and fast.
“Excuse me,” Eveline said weakly, “Can I be excused?”
“Is something wrong?” Lauralie asked with concern.
“Yes, No,” Eveline said quickly, “It’s… I just need some… some air.”
“Of course you may, dear,” the queen said, nodding her consent.
Eveline jumped from the edge of the couch and went as quickly as she could out the door. She pushed the door closed and leaned against it, resting her head against it and taking a deep breath.
A ball. She’d have to go to a ball.