Chapter 6: Flourishing Attractions
Sitting on Genevieve’s bed I stared at the very expensive piece of art in my palm; a beautiful, expertly carved brooch engraved with several rubies, emeralds and diamonds. It was the thing that Andre had placed in my hand right before vanishing into the market crowd. More than its handsome price, what bothered me was the fact that somehow Andre knew I liked that very particular brooch at the shop where we stood bickering, and bought it so fast that neither I nor Genevieve realized he did. One more thing added to the list of strange things Andre did. With passing days the list was starting to grow in length.
I was pulled out of my reverie by Genevieve’s voice. On looking around I found dozens of dresses in every colour lying on my bed next to Genevieve’s. I gave my friend a perplexed look, eyeing all the mess on my bed, which got me awarded with her special death glare.
“You need to decide on what you are going to wear, since you said yes to your very charming Mr. Ozera’s invitation.”
Looking at the brooch I sighed inwardly, it was one more reason for me to go to the ball; I needed to return the brooch, so might as well pick a dress.
“But I am not going alone, Genevieve you are coming along.”
“Then, I need a dress too,” she stated in a matter of fact manner.
“By all means you do.”
After hours of trying multiple dresses, hunting for the perfect accessories and travelling in our carriage, finally Genevieve and I stood outside Andre’s house. It was beautiful to be exact. Small lanterns bordered the pathway through the garden to the main building, giving minute flickers of light, forming the impression of being diamonds glittering in the night sky, embedded in beautiful flowers.
Andre and Caroline were personally on the door with few other men greeting every arriving guest. Caroline seemed to be ecstatic at our arrival, and pulled me into a warm hug. Andre waited for Caroline to step aside, before he bowed courteously, smiled at me and welcomed us to his home.
He ushered me and Genevieve inside where it was warm and cozy. Countless candles lit every inch of the big hall that was currently hosting a considerably large number of people. Soft, soulful melody wafted across the room and people danced to it leisurely. Andre asked me to dance with him, while another gentleman approached Genevieve. Since Genevieve left my side to dance with the anonymous man, I was left with no choice but to dance with Andre, which was just what I did.
It started out as strange, but after a while I realized I was enjoying the moment with Andre. He pulled me into a useless but interesting conversation regarding most mundane of the things while we still danced. We danced away most part of the evening. I was having fun, laughing and enjoying myself a lot and felt at ease with Andre, till the moment he stepped closer to me and looked at me with something in his eyes that I could not predict, and whispered onto my ear the words I never would have expected.
“I like you a lot, Eleanor.”
He leaned even closer to me and kissed me. Surprisingly, I found myself replicating his motions and kissing him back.