Chapter 5: Surprises and More Surprises
Tired of sitting around, Genevieve and I decided to go out for a walk around the market streets; buy things, look around and see what is happening in the real world and get some fresh air that did not come from the Carter estate; which was now starting to feel like a prison to me. I have no idea how Genevieve relived the same old routine day after day stuck in her house; I would have long gone over the edge of madness if I would have been in her place, which I thankfully was not in. I had, since my teenage days, developed a habit of sneaking out of my house and wander around the city; which displeased my father absolutely, but the habit just got stronger as the days went by. Something about breaking the stereotypes and standards preset by the society brought me gigantic amount of satisfaction.
Exiting the carriage on the first sight of commotion other than that created by ourselves, taking it as a sign that we were out of the isolation of Carter estate, Genevieve and I, accompanied by four of her father’s appointed guardsmen, started walking on the rut carved, dirt pathway that eventually led to the crowded and busiest market of the town.
After a while of basking in the sun, walking and talking about absolute nothing we could notice the clusters of trees on the roadside thinning and a few more steps ahead of us disappearing completely, allowing small houses to paint our view. We were nearing the town center, evidently. Number of people walking around increased considerably. The buzz of numerous people talking instantaneously, the mechanical clicking of carts moving around, and the occasional strum of musical instruments greeted us into the unmarked bounds of the market.
Noticing a rather large band of drunken musicians absently walking in our direction, the realization dawned upon me that it may be the perfect opportunity for me to do what I wanted ever since we left the Carter manor. I grabbed Genevieve’s hand and whispered on her ear, as discreetly as possible, the singular word ‘run’ as I bumped into the people in the front of group on purpose, and forced my way through the string of people, running as fast as the crowd would allow, keeping Genevieve’s hand in my grip. Getting out of the group of dismantled and confused musicians, I made Genevieve run a bit more with me followed by hiding behind a large pile of cloth rolls outside a shop, and watched as her guards went running ahead. A triumphant smile made its way on my face. I once again had done myself proud; the guards were off our backs, now we could completely enjoy our time out. Genevieve seemed a bit scared, but I could see the flush of excitement on her face as well.
Linking our arms through each other’s we walked leisurely through the streets stopping at shops and carts to look through plethora of clothes, jewelry and other artifacts of interest. We were looking at the contents of a jewelry shop when I heard one somewhat familiar voice.
’Hello there, Ms. Black”
I just had to turn my face slightly to be able to view the source of the origin of the voice standing to my right, with Genevieve on my left.
“Andre, what are you doing here?” I inquired, feigning nonchalance.
“Nothing much dissimilar to what you are doing.”
“Oh since when did you start to wear necklaces Mr. Ozera?” butted in Genevieve.
Smiling, I elbowed Genevieve in her stomach, a little too hard, to make her stop with her ever so entertaining conversational skills.
“Seriously, Andre what are you doing here?” I asked him once again.
“I am just here to know the reason for your refusal.”
“Oh my, Ms. Black, I am heartbroken now, you send a letter saying you would not come to my party and then do not even care to remember it.”
For a moment I was starting to feel guilty, but seeing the smirk playing on his handsome features squashed all the guilt.
“I have other plans with my friend, so I would not be able to make it to your house, Mr. Ozera, nothing personal against you.”
“Ms. Genevieve can come too.”
“I am afraid, not.”
“Give it another thought Eleanor.”
“You got beautiful eyes.”
“What?” I looked at him, surprised at the sudden compliment.
“Accept the invitation”
Before Andre could say much else’ the irritated shop owner told us to step outside if we did not intend to buy anything and were keen only to indulge in our bantering; we obliged without a word of protest. I took hold of Genevieve’s arm and started walking down the street at a rather fast pace, but Andre was not an easy one to lose. He was hot on our heels, pestering us, or more appropriately pestering me, with random compliments and the question again and again that whether I will join his banquet, or whatever it was, or not. Even after my saying ‘no’ countless times I did not see Andre’s resolve wavering even in the slightest as he kept following us. Just to stop him from creating anymore scene than he had already created, I was forced to say yes.
As to my utter disappointment, I spotted Genevieve’s guards running towards us sweating and heaving along the way. As the guards approached us, Andre pressed something into my hand, smiled and left without a word since he had accomplished what he wished for. Not long after, Andre disappeared into the crowd just as suddenly as he had appeared from the depths of it. All four guards, on the payroll of Mr. Carter, surrounded us and walked us back to the carriage which in turn took us back to the prison; oh forgive the slip of my tongue, it was Genevieve’s house that I wished to refer to.