"I must say, you have a beautiful kingdom," Eric said as we stood on one of the castle’s balconies, gazing at the kingdom. I tilted my head slightly and smiled. "It really is," I agreed. I could feel his eyes on my but refused to look at him. I heard him sigh. "I wish I could figure you out right now," he said suddenly. "Excuse me?" I asked and looked at him, not bothering to hide my surprise. Eric’s eyes caught me off guard a little. He and Shane looked so alike. Same eyes, same build, they even shared some of the same expressions. But being alone with Eric was light-years away from the same as being alone with Shane. Around Shane, I always felt exhilarated, excited, comfortable, I just felt like myself, like I didn’t have to hide. I could just be Rosaline. He made me feel like I didn’t have a care in the world. Eric pulled up his shoulders. "I can’t figure you out, princess."
Eric smiled faintly. "Why are you so guarded?" He asked. My mouth fell open slightly. Guarded? Me? "I don’t understand," I said. He chuckled a little then looked back towards the kingdom. "You haven’t told me anything about yourself and I have been in your kingdom for a week now," Eric said. "What would you like to know?" I asked. He looked at me and shrugged again. "Anything," he said. I thought a little. "Well... for one, I’m surprised that you think I’m guarded. My sister always says I wear my heart on my sleeve," I said and felt my phone vibrate in the pocket of the white shorts I was wearing. Eric nodded. "Can I ask you something personal?" He asked. I stiffened. "Okay," I said. He took a breath. "How do you really feel about this arrangement?" He asked.
I searched his eyes for a few seconds, letting the weight of that question rest on my shoulders. I took a deep breath then looked away. "I... I’ll get back to you on that," I said. Eric straightened up. I looked at him. He smiled at me. "I understand. It can be very overwhelming," he said encouragingly. He took my hand, bent down and kissed it. "Thank you for the tour," he said and walked off. I watched his tall figure disappear through the satin curtains. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath then reached into my pocket. I checked the bbm.
::Meet us in the library when you finish? Planning Chanelle’s party. She’s staying over for a while.::
I sighed and put the phone back into my pocket then headed towards the library, luckily it was nearby. I truly wasn’t in the mood for party planning but being around Chanelle usually cheered me up and I haven’t seen her for a while. I heard giggling as I approached the library. When I walked in, I first saw Rosie and Chanelle sitting on the couch opposite the door then the back of Shane’s head. I almost rolled my eyes. Nice one Rosie, I thought. Rosie and Chanelle looked at me. "Hey," they both said simultaneously only Chanelle said it with more excitement. She stood up and jogged towards me with outstretched arms and a massive grin on her face. I had to smile a little.
"Hey," I said when she hugged me tightly. "Aaaaw, I missed you," she said. I giggled. "I missed you too," I said and we let go of each other. "Where have you been? I haven’t seen you in two months," I said. "Oh, well you know about the trip to Spain and I was here last week but didn’t know where to find you so I spent the day with Matthew," she said. I snorted. "I’m sure he looked that," I said. Chanelle got a confused expression on her face. She giggled a little. "What do you mean?" She asked. I looked at her. "Seriously, Chanelle?"
Shane stood up and interrupted my thoughts. I lost my breath and almost groaned. Did he have any idea how good he looked with glasses? Shane held my gaze strongly and I bit my lip to keep composure. Chanelle turned to look at him. She smiled then looked back at me. "If that’s the brother, I can’t wait to see what the fiancé looks like. You lucky girl," she said. I looked at her and tilted my head, not feeling the least bit amused. "Oh, come on," Chanelle groaned. "The boy is a hard ten, his brother can’t be much less," she said.
I smiled a little and walked with her towards the couches so we could discuss her party. I met Shane’s eye. He smiled and made my heart skip a beat then gestured towards the spot on the couch next to him. I looked at Rosie. She smiled secretly at me and I shot her a look that meant "quit it". That tour with Eric really put me on the edge. I shook my head and sat on the couch. When Shane sat next to me, his arm brushed against mine and my heart gave a little flutter but I willed it to calm down. Chanelle sat down opposite of us. "Okay, just to get you up-to-date, I’m having a masquerade ball," Chanelle said with a clap of her hands. I raised an eyebrow. "How original," I said sarcastically. Chanelle and Rosie both laughed.
"Okay, I am starving so I’m gonna go get something from Misses White and be right back," Rosie said and stood up. Chanelle nodded. "I’ll come with you. I am craving her cupcakes lately!" She said and stood up as well. "Anything for you guys?" Rosie asked when she looked at Rose and me. "Blueberry muffin," Rose said, smiling. "Same," I said.
Rosie smiled then walked out with Chanelle following close behind her. There was a silence all of a sudden. "Chanelle sure is an interesting character," I said. Rose gave a laugh and I smiled at her. She leaned back against the couch and stared ahead. She shook her head. "I love that girl. She makes you smile at anything and at any time," she said. I nodded. "So what do you really think about this party idea?" I asked. Rose looked at me. Her eyes searched mine for a second and I wasn’t sure what she was thinking. I felt my heart rate picking up speed when she looked at me like that. "I like it. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a masquerade and I love dressing up," she said. I just looked at her for a while.
Did she have any idea how beautiful she was? Beautiful eyes, beautiful voice, beautiful personality. Then there was that mysterious beauty, where you weren’t sure what was hiding in her mind. Rose was a very assertive person; she didn’t wear her heart on her sleeve. "I’ve noticed," I said. She titled her head slightly. "Okay, fine, I know," she said and looked away then sighed but still smiled. "But the best memories I have are the ones where I don’t have to be princess Rosaline, when people don’t see me as my title but who I really am," she said and shook her head a little then pulled up her shoulders.
"Sometimes it feels like that’s the only thing they see when they see me and that’s all they expect me to be," she said. I smiled. "I understand the feeling," I said and turned so I could face her. Rose turned as well and looked at me, smiling faintly. We stayed in silence for a while. "Shane..." she started then bit her lip. I nodded. "Yeah?" I asked. She looked down. "I’m sorry if I’ve been cold to you over the last week. I just didn’t know how to handle this," she said. I smirked. "I didn’t either," I said. She smiled a little. "I mean, it was just one kiss right? I shouldn’t be avoiding you over just that. It’s not like we fell in love," she said. I froze for a second, trying to absorb what she had just said. I almost sighed. She has no idea, I thought. "Yeah." I faked a laugh. "We’ve been really immature about this," I said and dropped my eyes briefly. "Look, I don’t know how we’re gonna do this but can we just start over? Forget that day in town ever happened?" She asked. I took a deep breath. "Yeah, sure," I lied and faked a smile. There was no way I could ever forget that day.
I looked up from the piece of paper on my desk to see Chanelle standing next to me. Before I could react, I wondered how she got into my room without me hearing her. My room was big and my workstation was at the far back of it. "Hey," I said, hearing the smile in my voice. I stood up and Chanelle opened her arms. I hugged her, getting lost in her sweet scent. "Whatcha doing there?" She asked, looking at the blank page on my desk. I looked at the page then at her. I put my hands into my pockets. "Speech for the engagement party. I’m supposed to do the welcoming," I said.
Chanelle smiled at the page then looked at me. "Typical Matthew," she said putting her hands into the back pockets of her denim shorts. "Finishing something even though it’s not even due for another month," she said. I smiled and looked down shyly. "Yeah, that’s me," I said. Chanelle walked past me and sat in my desk chair. "So, what brings you here?" I asked. Chanelle shrugged. "Rose and Rosie are in a fitting so I figured I’d come blow off some time here," she said as she flopped down on the chair and looked up at me.
I looked at her then leaned against the desk. She bit her lip and her smile vanished. "I, uh, I broke up with Rowland," she said. My first reaction was a smile, but that instantly dropped into an expression I couldn’t understand. She broke up with Rowland. I tried to look concerned. Gosh, I hoped that’s what it looked like. "What happened?" I asked. She shook her head and looked away.
"Uh..." She lifted her hand then dropped it again. "He, uh, he was cheating on me." Chanelle looked at me. I couldn’t help but smile in my mind. I always knew the guy was an ass. "Oh, I’m... I’m really sorry to hear that, Chanelle," I said. Chanelle nodded and looked away then sighed heavily. She slapped her hands on her thighs and stood up, suddenly smiling again. "But you know what, I refuse to waste anymore of my time on him. I’d rather use it for more fulfilling things." She said and gestured with her hand towards me. "Like hanging out with you," she said. I smiled and stood up straight. "What do you want to do?" I asked. Chanelle smiled as well. "You still owe me another round at archery," she said. I gestured with my head towards the door. "Well let’s go then," I said and started walking. I felt her hand on my shoulder and stopped then looked at her. "Yeah?" I asked. "One more thing. Look, Matthew, you’re the only person I could think of asking this and I’ll understand if you say no but I’d really appreciate it if you don’t," she said. I raised my eyebrows and turned to face her. "Okay, ask me," I said. "I need a date to the engagement party."
I turned around in the mirror room, checking out every angle of the dress I was wearing. The room was in the shape of a hexagon, every wall was a mirror, even the door, and there was a little round podium in the middle, so you could stand on it to examine yourself better. I wore an evening gown. It was strapless and black at the top that bushed out into a feathery black and purple. I was crazy about it! "Hey, you almost done?" I turned to see Rosaline walking in from the dressing room. We both gasped at the same time. "You look amazing!" We both said at the same time then giggled about it. I could see she was thinking exactly the same thing I was. "Finally we get to wear different styled dresses to a party hey," I said. Rose nodded. "Yeah, at least no one can think we’re twins at the party," she said and got up on the podium with me then looked at our reflections.
I smiled at the two of us. Rose’s dress was an elegant black gown with a slit at the bottom that made her strides look more gracious because of how the bottom flowed with her movement along with her. The top of her dress was strapless and there was a sliver ribbon hanging loose at her middle. "You know, you’re really beautiful, Rosemarie," she said. I blinked and looked at her in our reflection then smiled. "We’re twins, so you’re actually complimenting yourself as well now," I teased. Rosaline smiled then shook her head. "I know but there’s something different about you lately. There’s this gentle glow about you." Rose smiled and looped her arm around my waist.
I blinked again. Rosaline was beautiful. I always saw her as the prettier one even though everyone said we looked the same, she always had a shining personality that made me feel inferior. "Plus, with those freckles, you’re even more adorable. Especially now that you are older. Remember cousin John’s face when he saw you last Christmas?" She asked touching my nose gently. We giggled a little. "Yeah, I suppose I finally grew into them," I said remembering the surprise on our cousins’ faces when they saw me last Christmas. They always teased me about my freckles when we were younger because they didn’t understand freckles but during the last two years, even I had to admit that they complimented my face and I especially liked them because it was something I had, that Rose didn’t. It set us apart. It was something I didn’t have to come second in or share with her.
"Come on, I think we’re good with these dresses," she said and guided me out of the room. Rose and I got back into our casual clothes. "So you wanna go watch a movie in the cinema after this? Dinner isn’t for another three hours," Rose said as she tied her black sandals together. I bit my lip. "Yeah, I’ll meet you there. I just want to make a quick stop in grandpa’s study today," I said quietly. Rose’s eyes met mine with concern. "Oh." She stood up and pushed her curly hair out of her face. Her curls hung loose over her shoulders today. "Well take as long as you need, okay," she said and smiled encouragingly.
Rose knew how much I loved our grandfather and she knew that I never fully accepted his death. There were times when I just needed to be in his study, so I could feel like he was with me again. We hung our dresses on the many rows of hangers and walked out of the room. I took a hairgrip from the bottom of my dress and twisted my hair up then gripped it into place with the hairgrip.
"I’ll see you at lunch," Rose said as we went our opposite directions. I nodded and gave her a slight wave then walked down the hall, greeting a few guards as I did. When I finally reached the study, I couldn’t find it in myself to walk in immediately. I stood by the frame of the door and just stared at the piano on the inside.
*BriBri: Lol. I find their relationship so cute. Is that weird? Loving the relationship between the characters I've invented?
*The-word: Here it is.
*Anne: Haha. Don't worry, I love writing about them.
*Spohie: Promise the next chapter is FILLED with Ethan.