Behind the Smile: Chapter Ten - The Party

"You again Ivan," Alice widened her eyes innocently. Ivan??
Chapter 10: The Party

Alice stared at Beth for a long time. They sat on Beth's bed.

"Sure Beth?"

"Yepp, I'm sure," Beth said confidently.

"Sure??" Alice asked for a hundredth time.

Beth sighed tiredly. She started to feel annoyed with this situation.

"Yes Alice. You can go and replace me to go to the party. Felix said that only one permitted to go there, so you're the one who should go okay? I have a problem with crowds right now. They give me headaches," Beth stated finally.

Alice fiddled with the hem of her gown awkwardly.

"Don't feel bad about it. Besides, you already turned 18, so you deserve to go to that occasion. It is once a year you know," Beth added as she pinched Alice's cheek gently. She smiled.

Alice did not give any reaction at all. She lowered her eyes.

"If that is okay, I will go," she carefully added. She raised and started to go to the bathroom.


Alice breathed in and out deeply. She started to feel hysteric. The place is full of people and she's alone. She hoped that Beth will be there, but that is not going to happen.

Ohmygod. What am I thinking? I couldn't back off now. Felix is going to kill me. He could not afford to lose his kind and charming mask that he used all this while. The so-called kind guardian that still wanted to take care of two abandoned girls although he's not that well enough. She gritted her teeth when she thought about it. Ahh well, she need to play her part in Felix's game anyway. To be charming to the people. There's no turning back since she's already here.

She straightens the wrinkle at her dress and starts to walk towards that door.


Ivan was talking with some of the girls when something catches his eyes. He looked at that direction. He was mesmerized.

That is the girl whom he met the other day. Who, yes, he fell on top of her accidentally. She looks dashing with that blood-red gown.

The gown is simple but attractive and she looked gorgeous. She let her hair down today.

He smiled as many people turned their heads to stare at her and she seems oblivious by it when she walked from the door. She seemed nervous somehow.

He quickly approached that girl and was amused as the girl seemed to recognize him. Quite pleased with the start, he boldly held the girl's hand and kissed it.

The reaction that he got was... the same. The girl looked at him disgustedly. Interesting. This girl never failed to amuse him.

The low song already started. Ivan quickly held out his arm asking her for a dance.

"May I have this honor to dance with you first?" He smiled charmingly.
Sensing her discomfort, he quickly added, "Not to worry, we're going to switch partners. It's part of the dance."

She was hesitated but without revealing anything more, she quickly took his arm and started to dance with him. Hmm, interesting again. He thought the girl wouldn't take his arm and just walked away.


Oh God. The guy was gripping her waist too tight. She continued dancing with him expertly without even stepping on his shoes.

This guy is the one she found a couple of days ago. The one who fell on top of her. She was so shocked seeing the very same guy here, in the party. Well, Alice was too nervous to notice people until this guy approached her.

She sighed.

"Why are you sighing? Don't want this moment to end, am I right?" The guy said easily.

Alice was too startled to reply. What is he thinking about? Self-obsessed creature...

"What is your name?" Alice asked. Just to be polite. However, the guy seemed pleased that she's asking such question. On second thought, maybe she shouldn't ask. Oh God.

"Ivan. What about yours? Is it beauty? If your name is Beauty, It fits beautifully," he grinned charmingly.

Okay. She shouldn't ask him. Crap.

Alice just can stare at him in disbelief. Wh... What planet this guy from? Is he nuts or he quotes too many Shakespeare for him to be like this. He must be reading some corny or cheesy novel to begin with. And his name should be cheesy or cheese. She narrowed her eyes.

"Unfortunately, it's not beauty. It's Alice. ALICE," she said dryly.

"Still a beautiful name," Ivan smiled suggestively.

The pattern of the dance is being changed. Alice twirled away. She was so relieved that they were dancing in group where the partners will be changed now and then. She twirled back and smiling, hoping that she will be dancing with another man. Much to her disappointment, Ivan was the one who held her hand and danced again with her. She bit her lips annoyingly.

"Hm, you seemed did not like the idea of seeing my face again," Ivan said as he waltzed with Alice.

"Obviously?" Alice suggested as she stared at him loathingly and with that, he shut up.

The pattern of dance is being changed again. Glad to go away from Ivan, she twirled away. At the corner of her eyes, she saw how Ivan pushed the guy that supposed to dance with her to another girl. She chuckled.

"You again Ivan," Alice widen her eyes innocently.

"Look Alice, I am so sorry if I offended you in many wa-"

"Uncountably," Alice cut in as she nodded her head in agreement.

Ivan paused and smiled at her apologetically.

"Yes, from the start we met everything just turned upside down. I am really sorry about that. Let's fix that?" He tentatively asked as he twirled Alice.

As Alice carefully was digesting this, she stared at Ivan's eyes. They look so mournful. She softened her heart. Maybe it's not wrong and Ivan will not hurt her. Maybe it's fate.

Alec smiled a little at her. He knew that a group of girl going to be crazy because of his smile right. She ruffled his blonde hair and stared at his dark eyes.

"Yes. Let's fix that thing." She smiled.

"Good," he sighed with relief.

"I almost wanted to hurl you and asked you what the hell are you thinking about," he said it. Alice laughed. She started to warm up towards Ivan.

Without Alice knowing, Felix was watching her from the shadow.

Alice is talking animatedly with Ivan when someone tapped her shoulder. She turned around.

"Alec!!" Alice exclaimed and quickly hugged him. She beamed at him.

"Fancy seeing you here, Alice. Do you enjoy the party?" Alec asked as his gaze slide at Ivan.

Following his gaze, Alice turned and she smiled back at Alec.

"I really enjoyed it Alec. I never been to this kind of party before," she added after she took a sip from her drinks.

"You already grow up Alice. I am so proud of you," Alec said as he smiled. Alice stared at him. Puzzled. Grow up? Proud? Alice managed to laugh a little.

"Stop it Alec, you said as if you are my dad or brother!!"

Alec coughed awkwardly.

"Well, I guess, I need to go back early. Have something to do. So... you must have a good time Alice!" He pat Alice's head.

He threw one last look at Ivan before he departed.

"Did you really know him, Alice?" Ivan asked after a while.

"Of course I know him. I just spoke with him," Alice stared at Ivan puzzled.
Ivan did not say a word. He just looked at the figure that gradually disappeared into the crowd.


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Published: 8/2/2012
Bouquets and Brickbats