C H A L L E N G E # 1 ; T H E W E L C O M E B A L L
ft all these amazing people -> @domschreave @princepercyschreave @calistapledger @madelynknightoftheselection @emmalynatwood @isabellafaulkner @ruby-stones @debbieker @theiahuntley @aikoellis
((there are some pictures in the fic, and I tried to equally distribute them but it didnt really work so theyre like kinda randomly scattered haha))
It’s tonight. It’s tonight. It’s tonight.
That was the sole thought running through my head as my maids helped me get ready for the welcome ball. I was happy that I at least knew some ladies. I smiled, remembering the nice breakfast I had with Aiko, Cal, Debbie, Devon, Emma, Izzy, Maddie, and Theia. They were all wonderful ladies and I was happy that I had their company tonight.
“Lady Aricia, you can look now,” one of my maids said, and I opened my eyes, looking at my reflection in the mirror, not recognizing the girl that was staring back. My hair was let down, with a deconstructed brain running in it. My eyes were done smokey, and I had on a pale pink lip gloss and minimal bronzer. I was in a pale pink dress- more like a gown, and it fit me perfectly and gently brushed the floor. I had on pale pink heels, which made me look taller then I was, and made sure that the dress wasn’t completely trailing on the floor. All in all, I couldn’t believe that the girl in the reflection was me.
I smiled, and hugged the nearest maid, repeating my ‘thank yous’ to her and all the other maids.
“It wasn’t a problem, Lady Aricia” they said, grinning at me
“Thank you so much,” I said, hugging them all again once more. They assured me that it wasn’t a problem, and then quickly ushered me out of my room.
I smiled at their behaviour, and started slowly walking down the stairs and to the ballroom, making sure not to trip on the hem of my dress.
The last thing I needed tonight was to make an utter fool of myself.
I walked into the ballroom, and was in awe. It was decorated beautifully, with tables upon tables of refreshments, and people in fancy dresses and suits, mingling around.
I saw Cal and the other girls speaking in a circle, so I decided to go and join them. Right as I walked up, they all smiled at me.
“Girls, you all look so wonderful in your pretty dresses!” Cal exclaimed, looking beautiful herself in a magenta mermaid style gown.
“Aw, thank you Cal! You look beautiful as well!” Maddie said, smoothing down the skirt of her mid length black dress with a gold bodice.
I nodded, “You all look beautiful!” I exclaimed, with a smile.
They all thanked me, and Izzy took her chance to speak, “Thanks Cal and Aricia! I agree, you all look so gorgeous!” she said, looking very happy to be here in her red one shoulder gown.
“Thank you so much, Cal! You look wonderful as well! You all look perfect!” Debbie said, smiling in her light pink to dark pink ombre dress.
Aiko grinned, “Thank you! Everyone looks so beautiful tonight!” she exclaimed.
Cal smiled, “So, how’s everyone feeling after the eliminations?” she asked
I smiled, “I’m happy I’m still here! I was so nervous during my interview, though”
Madelyn shrugged, “Well, I’m relieved that I’m still here, but I’m still a tad bit nervous”
Izzy nodded, “I am so relieved! I thought I was going home!” she said, with a laugh, lightening the mood.
Cal smiled, “Aww you girls, I would lay down my life before I let you get sent home. I don’t know what I’d do without you all, you have all made me feel so safe!”
We all gushed over her compliment, and agreed that no matter what, we would stick together.
“Hey, Isabella,” Madelyn started, looking towards Izzy, “didn’t Dom say he enjoyed your conversation?”
Izzy nodded, “He said something like that, yes! But we kind of had a difficult talk”
Cal frowned, “About your mother? I’ve heard how she is, Izzy”
Izzy groaned, “Oh gosh, you heard about her as well,” she said, bringing a hand up to her forehead.
“Oh no, what’s the matter with your mother?” Madelyn asked breathlessly, suddenly getting pale. I was about to ask her what the matter was, but I refrained from doing so, not wanting to put her into a position she didn’t want to be in.
Izzy frowned, “She doesn’t like the royals and organizes demonstrations against them and all that. I hope I convinced Dom that I don’t share her opinion!”
Madelyn sighed, “Oh, I see”
Izzy looked at Maddie worried, “Madelyn, are you alright? Would you like something to drink?”
Madelyn shook her head, “Oh, no, no. I’m fine! I was just worried for you, that’s all”
Izzy gave Madelyn a reassuring smile, “Don’t worry, I am fine!”
“I heard she reacted badly to you being selected, Izzy. I’m surprised it wasn’t on the news.” Cal said, and turned to look from Izzy to Madelyn, “Mads, you don’t seem fine, what’s- oh your mother…”
Madelyn frowned, “Yeah…” she trailed off, not liking the toping of conversation
Debbie frowned, not happy with her friend seeming so sad, “What is it, Mads?” she asked
“I’m so Mads. Debs, her mom is no longer around” Cal said sadly
Madelyn nodded, “Yeah, she passed away when I was 9”
We all hugged her, expressing our condolences, until Cal, Aiko and I decided to grab some drinks.
Suddenly, Cal had an idea, “How about after drinks, we divide and conquer? I want to see if Prince Evan will dance with me”
Madelyn nodded, “Okay, I’m a little nervous to go talk to all of the royals. I may try Alina first, since she seems nice”
I nodded, and had an idea, “Hey Cal, do you need a wingwoman?”
She frowned, “Whats a wingwoman? That sounds fun though, I’ve never had friends or flirted with a boy before but I’ve always admired Prince Evan’s literary nature.”
“A wingwoman is a friend who just goes with you to help you out when you’re flirting with someone!” I explained, laughing a little at the absurdity of the word.
Cal laughed as well, “Alright sounds fun! And Mads, you should try Princess Callie too! Just give her flowers and she’ll love you!”
Madelyn grinned, “Oh yeah! I’ll try that! Ooh, how about we take a polaroid together!” she exclaimed, getting really excited. We all huddled around the camera, and made funny faces as Madelyn snapped the button on her polaroid camera.
Just then, Theia walked up to us with a glass in her hands, trying not to spill her purple drink on her beautiful white dress.
“Have you guys tried this fruit punch? It’s the best” She gushed, chugging down some more.
Izzy laughed, “No I haven’t yet! I should get some though, does anyone else want some?”
Cal shook her head, “No thanks, I’ve already spilt some on myself. This is why you don’t trust a blind girl to get drinks. Thank god Isla made this dress water- well juice proof just in case. And the colour matches me dress!” she added, with a chuckle.
Theia laughed, “Yeah, the colour does match! Do you need any help?” She asked, smiling
Cal shook her head, and Emma complimented her on the functionality of her dress.
“I know! Isla is a god send. Anyways, are you all having fun?” Cal asked
Emma nodded, “Definitely. This ball is… well, incredible!” She said, and we all laughed at her awestricken expression.
Theia agreed, “I’ve never seen something like this before!”
We all nodded, and I felt rather thirsty, so I went over to the drink station, and just then I saw something that made my jaw drop.
There pitchers upon pitchers of drinks, and one pitcher in particular grabbed my attention. I picked it up, and poured its contents into a glass, needing to taste the drink to believe that it was there.
I added caramel sweeteners, just how I had it at home, and took a sip, moaning at the taste of my favourite beverage in the world.
I poured some more into my glass, added some more caramel, and walked back to the girls, feeling absolutely elated.
“Guys, have you tried the iced coffee! They had it hidden in the back, but oh my, if you add some caramel sweeteners, its tastes amazing!” I gushed
Izzy laughed, “That sounds like something Debbie would love!”
I grinned, “That’s great! Maybe I’ll take her there when I see her!”
Theia beamed, “Caramel sweeteners? There’s stuff like that! Oh my god!” she exclaimed, as excited as I was.
I nodded, “Yeah, its amazing!”
Just then, Madelyn came back to the group with the iced coffee in her hands, and took a sip.
“Ooh, Aricia, this coffee is good!” she exclaimed, hurriedly drinking some more.
I laughed, “I know right! Slow down, though, we wouldn’t want you to choke!”
Cal frowned at her coffee, “Oh no, I’m going to be up all night now!” she complained, “But… coffee also gives me a boost of confidence. I’m going to ask Prince Dom for a dance! Dancing with a blind girl would be quite the experience!” she said with a laugh
“I’m scared to ask him to dance!” Madelyn exclaimed
Emma smiled, “You both can do it, I’m sure he’d have a great time!”
Cal turned to look at Mads, “I’ll tell him you want to dance after me,” she said, smiling at the look of relief of Madelyn’s face.
“Hey, do you guys mind if I take pictures of you?” Emma asked, smiling. We all nodded, and posed for the pictures, laughing hysterically.
“You may see me with my camera later too, for some candid shots” Emma said, smiling.
Madelyn laughed, “Me too, I can’t let Emma have all the fun!”
Izzy smiled, looking at them with awe, “You are so passionate about photography! That is lovely to see” she said, and I nodded in agreement.
“Thanks Isabella,” Emma said, “I figured while I’m here, I though try to take as many pictures as I could to remember”
“Do you two have any problems with your camera?” Cal asked, “I would love to advance on the technology!”
Emma and Maddie both nodded, and arranged a time with Cal so she could fix their cameras for them.
Emma grinned, “Oh look, Cal! You can ask Dom now, he’s not talking to anyone!”
I nodded, “Yeah! Go for it, Cal! Good luck! You’re going to do great!” I exclaimed, smiling.
Cal smirked, and smoothed over her dress and hair, “Alrighty then, have fun ladies, but not too much fun! This girl is gonna take down a man”
I laughed at Cal’s comment, and we all said bye to her as she walked off towards Dom.
I excused myself, and made my way over towards the drinks station, so I could grab myself some more of that heavenly iced coffee.
I’m going to be up all night now
I shook my head, and reached for the pitcher of iced coffee, but I jerked my hand back when I felt another hand. I turned and looked at the person, who was wearing a beautiful pink dress.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there!” I exclaimed
She shook her head, “Oh no, it’s alright, go ahead! I already had a lot of this glorious thing” she said, laughing as she held up her cup, “I probably have to stop now, cause my nerves will suffer later!”
I laughed, thankfully finding someone who enjoyed iced coffee as much as I do, “It is glorious! And I think I may have had a bit too much myself! Anyways, I’m Aricia, its great to finally properly meet you!” I exclaimed, and extended my hand.
The girl took my hand, and shook it with a smile, “Hi Ari! I’m Debbie! Aren’t we in the same hall?”
I nodded, so that’s where I’ve seen her before!
“Yeah, I think so! I think we’ve seen eachother around but never spoken,” I said, and she nodded, “So, Deb, tell me a bit about yourself!”
“Well, I’m from Sota, and my family has a farm there” she said, with a smile, “Where are you from, Ari?”
“I’m from Lakedon,” I said, smiling at the mention of my home province, “I used to live with my father, but I got kicked out when I entered the selection. Oh well,” I shrugged, “Its probably for the best, though. He didn’t even care about me and I could barely stand him. Anyways, what did you grow on your farm?” I asked
“Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that,” she said, a sympathetic look on her face, “My dad didn’t react well either when he found out that I’m going to apply for the selection,” she sighed, “Parents are complicated” she concluded, and took a small snack from the table.
“About the farm,” she continued, gratefully moving away from the topic of fathers, “we are more focused on milk products but we have vegetables too, such as potatoes, tomatoes, corn, carrots, lettuce… you should come visit us when this is all over!” she exclaimed, talking animatedly.
I nodded, “I’m sorry that happened to you! And of course! I’d love to visit”
Deb smiled, and turned around to see people dancing, “Look, there’s prince Dom! He looks even more handsome tonight, don’t you think?” she giggled, and I laughed along with her
“Yeah, that he does” I laughed, and gazed at the dance floor.
“Hey, Deb, I’m not a great dancer, but do you maybe want to go dance with me?” I asked, with a smile.
She grinned, and we both grabbed eachothers arms and made our way to the dance floor, grinning.
We both went over to the dance floor and waiting for the next song to come on. When the next song turned out to be another slow song, I groaned.
“Are all these songs going to be slow?” I asked, dragging a hand down my face.
Deb giggled, “I’m afraid they will. I wish we could change the rhythm a bit! Something to make us move more!”
Suddenly, the song changed, and something a bit more upbeat begins to play. I look towards the guy who was playing the music, and he shot a wink towards me. I rolled my eyes and turned back to Debbie, “Hey, this is actually danceable!” I exclaimed, and moved along to the rhythm.
Debbie starts moving along with the music as well, and we were both laughing at how terrible our moves were.
“So, have you talked with some of the royals?” she asked, smiling.
I nodded, “Yeah, aside from Dom, I’ve spoken to Percy, but that’s about it!”
She gave me a knowing smile, “Percy! How is he, I haven’t had the pleasure to speak to him yet. I’ve only spoken to Evan and Alina”
I rolled my eyes at the look on her face, “He’s cool. You should talk to him when you can. How are Alina and Evan?” I asked
She smiled, “Alina is the sweetest person on earth! Evan is not a talkative man, but he’s a good guy”
We both continued talking about other trivial things, and we eventually both went our ways. I was getting tired of all the dancing, and my feet started hurting, so I made my way over to one of the large windows, and looked out. I saw the vast expanse of the palace grounds, and I could even see the beach!
“Lady Aricia, would you like to dance?” a voice asked from behind me, and I turned around faster than the speed of sound. When I turned around, the face of Dominic Schreave was staring back at me, his eyes glittering in the light.
“Sure, but I should warn you, I’m not the best dancer,” I said, and he nodded.
“Don’t worry about it, we don’t have to do anything too crazy,” he said, smiling at the relief on my face.
“That’s great, thanks!” I exclaimed, and he nodded, pulling me out to the dance floor.
“So, how have you been enjoying the palace so far?” he asked, starting to move us in a dance. I placed my hands on his to stabilize myself, because as I mentioned earlier, the last thing I needed tonight was to fall while dancing with the Prince of Illea.
I smiled, remembering all my experinces in the palace so far, “Its been nice! The food is wonderful, and I’ve spoken to a lot of the ladies, so I’m in good company,” I grinned, remembering my day with Izzy, and my chat with Percy, “Also, have I told you that its beautiful here!” I exclaimed, smiling at his laugh. It was truly a beautiful laugh, and I found myself thinking that he should use it more often.
“Probably,” he said, with a chuckle, “So, I hear you’ve been seeking company with people other than the other selected,” he accused joking, raising his eyebrow with mockery, his eyes glinting with amusement.
I laughed, “Well your cousin did seek me out and talk to me in the music room”
He smiled, “Yeah? And what did the two of you talk about?”
I shrugged, “Nothing much. We just talked about music, and he helped me out with a piece. Nothing big.” I said nonchalantly, trying to keep the smile off my face.
“Anyways, enough about me,” I continued, trying to get the topic of conversation off of me, “How are you enjoying the selection so far? Do you think you’ve found your future bride and queen?”
He shook his head, “Hmm.. I don’t like to think of it in terms of that. I prefer to just have fun with it as I go”
I nodded with understanding, “Well, that’s a nice way to look at it. I bet it reduces the pressure that you probably- and most likely- have on your shoulders”
He nodded in agreement, looking down at me, “Absolutely it does”
I smiled, changing the topic of conversation to something more lighthearted, “So, any new music that you’ve listened to recently?” I asked
He laughed again, its melodious sounds filling my ears and making me content to just be like this forever. Dancing with Dom, in a ball with my friends and plenty of iced coffee.
Sounds like heaven to me
“Not really,” he said, and I was wondering what we were talking about again.
Oh yeah, I asked him if he liked any new music! Come on Aricia, get your head back in the game!
“Oh, well I’m still loving the classics, so if you finally decide that they aren’t boring,” I said that last part in air quotations, quoting that Dom had told me that he thought classical music was boring during our interview, “then you can hit me up” I finished
He laughed, and agreed, and we both continued swaying around as the songs changed.
“So,” I began, and Dom diverted his attention to me, “Are you enjoying the ball so far?” I asked, and he smiled.
“Absolutely,” he said, and looked me up and down, before his eyes met mines again, “Are you starting to get a hang of this dancing thing?” he asked.
I laughed, the idea of getting used to all this seeming absurd, “Well, not really. I think I’m better at other things rather than dancing,” I smiled, “Have you been dancing since you were a kid?” I asked, and he smiled
“Yeah, just lessons to be able to survive at balls like this” he said, looking around the room.
“That’s nice. Do you like dancing?” I asked, because in all honesty, he seemed like he belonged on the dance floor.
He shook his head, “Nope, not really. But its alright when theres a gorgeous girl in my arms” he added, smirking.
Woah, that escalated quickly.
I laughed at the absurdity of my situation. The heir of Illea was flirting with me?
I shook my head, trying to stop my laugher, and looked at him, “Wow, Dominic, are you trying to impress me with your compliments?” I asked, smirking.
He scoffed, “Obviously. I’ve got to start weeding out girls somehow, so I’ve been trying to figure out which girls are made uncomfortable by my compliments.” He explained, and I nodded.
“I see. Has that been working for you so far?” I asked, smiling.
He shrugged, “Mostly”
I nodded, and asked the question that I have been dreading all night, “That’s good. Have I passed your test?” I asked, slightly nervous for the answer.
He nodded slightly, smiling at my predicament, “I think so” he concluded, and I released a breath that I didn’t know I’d been holding.
I smiled broadly, “Phew! Now I think I can stop worrying about embarrassing myself in front of a prince” I said, laughing.
He nodded, smiling, “Well that’s good”
We both continued dancing, the smiles never leaving our faces. After a few songs, Dom and I both agreed to stop because I, for one, was tired. We both said our goodbyes, and I walked around the ball room, so I could refill my glass with some iced coffee.
Oh boy, I was going to be awake all night
I got to the refreshments station and refilled my glass with the heavenly iced coffee, and I drank it down in one gulp. Just as I was about to grab some more, I saw a tall figure standing by the window that I occupied earlier. His dark hair was slicked back, and even without seeing them, I could imagine his bluegreen eyes twinkling in delight.
I set my glass down, and made my way over to him, trying carefully not to trip on the hem of my gown.
“You’re looking lonely, Mr. Schreave,” I said, and he turned around, smiling, “Care to dance? I’m not the best, but maybe I can give you something to laugh about.” I asked
He nodded, “Yeah, okay, sure,” he said, and we both made our way over to the dance floor, our hands finding their places as we begun dancing.
“How are you enjoying the ball so far?” I asked, slightly preoccupied with my attempts to get into a comfortable position.
He nodded, smiling down at me, “Oh, it’s been great. How about you?”
I grinned, reminiscing on the events of the night, “It’s been wonderful! The iced coffee is heaven! The only problem is the dancing…” I trailed off, slightly embarrassed, by my dancing ability- or lack thereof.
He shook his head, laughing, “You’re not that bad, you know”
I smiled in disbelief, “Well, thanks! I’m just happy that I’m not falling all over you,” I laughed, and watched his eyes light up as he laughed as well.
“Yes, that’s very good,” he said, leading our bodies on the dance floor.
As we were dancing, I remembered something that I wanted to tell Percy, but I hadn’t had the chance to.
“I forgot to tell you that I can play the piece completely now without a problem! Thanks for all your help,” I said, referring to the time we spent together in the music room.
He smiled happily, “That’s great!” he exclaimed, seeming happy that I could finally play the piece completely, “Soon, you’ll be just as good as me.”
I nodded, silently agreeing with his statement, and subconsciously assessing my own ability, wondering if it were possible to be as good as Percy one day.
As I was daydreaming about my possible musical future, I felt Percy’s gaze resting heavily on my face, his head cocked to the side.
I should probably stop daydreaming whilst dancing with princes
“So,” I began, shaking my head to clear the image that was appearing, “are you working on any new pieces as of late?”
He shook his head, “Not really. I don’t have much time for the piano anymore”
I frowned, trying to imagine my life without playing the piano or the guitar. For me, music was just a pastime, but an important one that I couldn’t possibly live without.
“That’s a shame,” I said, understanding Percy’s situation. Sometimes life gets in the way of things we really want, but sometimes life gives us the things we really want, and we should go along with it either way.
He shrugged, and his trademark smirk quickly appeared on his face.
“Yeah, but now I have more time to spend with gorgeous girls,” he said almost seriously, though I could detect the undercurrents of humour in his voice.
I rolled my eyes and laughed, “Wow, only you, Mr. Schreave, can pull compliments out of nowhere and still make them work”
He grinned bashfully, happy that I noticed his secret ability, “It’s a skill,” he drawled, chuckling at the end.
I laughed, realizing that nobody could work their words as well as Perseus Jackson Schreave ((ooc; currently dying of laughter because of that middle name hahah xD))
“What else do you like?” I asked, trying to gauge the full personality of the boy I was dancing with.
He shrugged, “I don’t know. I mean my dream is to travel the world,” he said, nonchalantly.
I made eye contact with him, and relished in how his facial expression changed when he was talking about traveling. His features softened, and his eyes seemed to glimmer even more, with unspoken adventures hidden behind them.
“I’ve always wanted to do that as well,” I said, “I really want to visit Europe! It seems like such a beautiful place!”
He nodded, “Yeah… it is. Or the parts I’ve been to, at least. But there re so many places I’ve never been to.” He said, almost remorsefully, as if he felt bad that he hadn’t gone to those places yet.
I nodded in agreement, “Where have you been to in Europe? And the world is so massive, there are many places that the entirety of humankind haven’t laid their eyes on yet. I hope we can see them all one day…” I trailed off, imagining a future where I could travel the world, and see all the sights. Then I imagined a future where instead of going to all of those places alone, a smiling Percy Schreave accompanied me everywhere. Showing me everything from the 7 wonders of the world, to the wonders of sushi.
I shook my head, trying to erase that image from my head, and focus on the task at hand. In my desperate attempt to clear my head of images from the future, I almost missed Percy’s next comment.
“I’ve mostly been to the capitals of European countries. London, Paris, Moscow, etc.” he said, smiling at the old memories that he must have, stored inside the inner corners of his mind.
I smiled, “That’s cool! I haven’t even left Illea yet!” I exclaimed, and the smile slowly slipped off my face as I remembered why. Flashbacks from my past flashed before my eyes, from my parents awful split, to my father not caring about me at all.
That’s why I want to get away, I realized, as I swayed in Percy’s arms, To get away from my past
I looked up at Percy again, just in time to see him shrug, “Most Illeans never leave the country,” he said, a mildly concerned look on his face. If he noticed my slip into the past, he never brought it up. During the remainder of our time dancing, we talked about small things, resulting in me laughing so much that I forgot why I was sad in the first place.
Eventually, my feet started throbbing, and my iced coffee withdrawal symptoms kicked in, so Percy and I concluded our dancing, and went our separate ways. After I finished talking to Percy, I started to walk towards the refreshments, but I realized that I didn’t need iced coffee to clear my head and that I just needed fresh air. I silently stepped out of the ballroom, and aimlessly wandered the halls, until I remembered the balcony I discovered on my adventure with Izzy. I walked around a bit more, until I found the balcony, but something was different about it today. Instead of it being empty, there was a dark-skinned girl standing there, hunched over the railing.
“Hello?” I called out, approaching the girl cautiously, as to not disturb her.
The girl whipped her head around, and looking at the face, I realized she was Lady Ruby.
“Oh, hello Lady Aricia,” She said, tucking a lock of hair behind her.
I walked up beside Ruby, leaning on the railing and letting the wind whip through my hair.
“hello Lady Ruby. What are you doing out here?” I asked, gazing at the moon
“Ohh, I just needed a break, giving my body some time to sober down a bit, but I don’t know if that’ll work,” she said, holding up a bottle of alcohol.
I nodded in understanding, “Ahh, I see. The first step of sobering up is probably to get rid of the alcohol” I laughed, and she nodded.
“Yep, that’s why I need to finish this,” she said, and raised the bottle to her lips, gulping down the whole thing in one go, and placed it on the railing, “So, why did you leave that electrifying party, my dear?” she asked, turning to look at me
I shrugged, “Well, my feet started hurting from all the dancing, and I had to run from my emotions, as usual, but mostly I wanted to stop hearing that music”
She laughed a little, “Its not that bad,” she retorted
I looked at her incredulously, “Well, when you’ve been dancing and listening to it all night, it gets a bit repetitive”
She nodded, “Touché. So, any interesting thoughts about our dear prince so far?” she asked
Which one, I wanted to ask, but I shut my mouth.
“He’s alright. He’s nice and has a good taste in music, except he doesn’t like classical. But, I can probably convince him that classical is wonderful by the end of the selection. How about you my dear?” I asked, winking at the use of Ruby’s earlier nickname. She rolled her eyes at my jab, and responded.
“He seems very nice indeed, but I am not so confident about my time here as you are,” she said sadly.
I frowned, “Why?” I asked. The girl standing beside me right now, even though I barely knew her, seemed interesting.
She shook her head, “Apparently I’m very boring. I talked to Alina earlier and she mentioned that I shouldn’t really worry about that but I don’t think he seems very interested, in me atleast,” she sighed, and looked down at her glass, “Gosh, I wished I had more of that sweet liquor,” she sighed again, seeming lonelier by the minute, “I don’t even know why I am telling you this,” she said, slightly shaking her head.
I shook my head vehemently, “hey hey hey,” I said, placing a hand on her shoulder, feeling immense sympathy for a girl I barely knew, “If you need someone to talk to, I’m here. You should never hold your true emotions inside because they will destroy you”
She looked directly at me and gave me a small smile, “Thanks, that’s very kind of you. I am just so used to barely talking to anyone ever and never even talking about my feelings and thoughts, that it feels so wrong speaking up about anything now”
I gave her a small sympathetic smile, “Yeah, it’ll take some time, but it’ll all work out at the end” she smiled at that, and the look in her eyes made me change the subject, “So, how was your life back home? Where are you from?” I asked, realizing that I didn’t even remember the province that she is from.
“I am from a very small town in Dakota, with a tiny gymnastic club and ballet school which partially represented my entire social contact I received until now. What else is there to say?” she trailed off, looking into the sky wistfully as she thought about her past, “Well my parents are wealthy jewellers, I was born a 4 and trained to become a 2 and am a only child”
I smiled softly, “Oh, that sounds cool. Did you like your life in Dakota?”
She frowned slightly, “It mostly sucked, if it didn’t I wouldn’t have been so desperate to get away. Most people I know aren’t very nice, including my parents”
I frowned back, understanding the part about the parents, “Although that sucks, at least your parents were in your life. My mom cheated on my dad with his best friend and ran away with him when I was young, and after that my dad became a coldhearted man who didn’t care about what I did. So that’s why I tried my hardest to get out of there. If I wasn’t selected, then Id be off to university in the fall, and doing some stuff there just to get away from home,” I concluded, remembering the life that may await me after the selection.
She grimaced, “So apparently both of us have awful parents,” she laughed, equally bitter to her smile, “You know, I came here to live life at its fullest but now that I tasted it, fear is consuming me. I always worry that I don’t have enough time left to experience everything I want to do. And there is always my mothers threat in the back of my mind,” she said, her voice slowly getting softer as her sentence concluded.
I shook my head, “well you are still young. You have your whole life, probably a good 100 years left, and 100 years is a long time,” I looked to her, and seeing the sullen expression on her face made me remember what she had said, “What do you mean, threat?” I asked, concerned for the broken girl standing beside me.
“If I don’t find a husband, I wont e able to go back home ever again. And that would mean my career would be over as well,” she sighed, shaking her head, “But at the moment, I try not to think about it”
I gasped in shock, “Oh god, that’s serious! It’s the same for me, actually. My dad found out that I entered, and I got kicked out of my house…” I trailed, then I thought of an idea, “hey, maybe if the selection doesn’t work out for either of us, we can both be roommates!” I exclaimed, and Ruby’s face brightened.
“We should totally do that,” she giggled, “maybe in a nice little down at the sea so I can finally learn how to surf. It could also be near the big loud city of Angeles, so we could wander through the streets at night, hearing music pulsing around every corner,” she said, dreamily staring at the moon.
I smiled, liking the sound of that, “That’d be great,” I said softly, staring at the soft waves lapping the beach.
“So, have you got any exciting plans for the time you are still here?” she asked, slowly turning her attention from the night sky to me
I sighed, “well, not really. I just want to enjoy all the experiences, and hope that everything works out well. You?”
She shook her head, “I’ll just enjoy making my own choices and trying not to think about how stupid they are,” she said, giggling slightly at something she thought.
I laughed at her attitude, “I agree! You should let loose and have fun,” I said, smiling
She laughed, “I’m trying very hard, ok? My next goal is actually to finally taste some chocolate cake!” she exclaimed
“Ah, we should go to the kitchen one day and try the cake!” I exclaimed, laughing along with Ruby.
She laughed harder when she heard my laughter, “We definitely should. I need someone to protect me so I wont die of a sugar overdose!” she yelled, bending over and laughing even harder. I laughed along with her, not caring if people could hear our laughter from inside the ball.
“Same, Ruby, same!” I said, trying unsuccessfully to stop my laughter.
“We’ll probably die together, just like Romeo and Juliet,” she said, her laughter reducing to a mere chuckle.
I shook my head, grinning at her Shakespearean reference, “Wow Ruby, very pessimistic,” I chuckled, and she laughed as well, “Is there anything that you want to do with your life?” I asked, and she sighed.
“To fall in love? I would also love to finally make friends. I don’t know if I am good at that, and if I’ll be able to put my trust into people, but I really want to try that. And you, Aricia?” she asked
I smiled, “That’s wonderful, but when the right person comes along, you’ll know to trust them. I also want to fall in love with someone who loves me back, and didn’t just settle for me because they couldn’t get someone else, you know?” I asked, hoping she understood, “My dad chose himself over me, my mom chose my dads best friend over our family, so I want someone to choose me first instead of pushing me aside for something or someone else,” I sighed, thinking about my past.
Ruby nodded, “That’s very understandable, Aricia. I am certain that there is a person out there who will choose you, no matter what. And I really hope you will find this person very soon,” she said, smiling softly.
I grinned, “Thanks, Ruby. I wish the same for you as well”
She nodded, thanking me, then shivered slightly, “Shall we go back? Its getting a bit chilly out here,” she said, looking at me.
I nodded, “Sure!”
With that, we both walked inside to the ballroom, and went our separate ways, and as I walked around to grab my long-awaited drink of iced coffee, I realized that Ruby and I could have a wonderful friendship over the horizon.
As I consumed my iced coffee, I spoke to Isabella, both of us talking about trivial things before she retired for the night. I finished drinking my iced coffee as I looked around the ballroom, admiring the beautiful decorations, and everyone dancing around. I stood there, and thought about all the wonderful things that had happened tonight. As I placed my glass on a tray and walked out of the ballroom to head to my room, the thoughts of this wonderful night never ceased to stop playing in my mind.
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