Reckless Magic (Page 31)

“Well, aren’t you going to do something?” I accused, tired of being told what to do.

“Lilly Mason lied to me, and she lied to the Crown Prince, she is on her own. I cannot help her.... no one can help her,” he nearly growled the words before closing the door behind him.

I stood in the foyer, flowers in hand, staring at the door. I was so angry I could spit.

“He’s right dear; you do have to do what Kiran asks,” I turned to see my aunt standing in the door-frame leading to the kitchen, arms folded, with a concerned look on her face.

“Ahhh!” I let out a small scream of frustration, threw the flowers on the floor and stormed up to my bedroom. If I was going to be treated like a child, then I was going to act like one.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

I rummaged through my closet, throwing piece after piece of clothing into a pile on my bedroom floor. I couldn’t decide what to wear, against my will, to the dance. My nice clothes seemed too dressy and my casual clothes seemed too dumpy. I contemplated wearing the Kingsley uniform just to spite Talbott, but decided that he wouldn’t care and I would look like an idiot.

I’d never been to a dance before and I didn’t know what to expect. My high school experience had thus far been a disaster and the last thing I wanted to add to my long list of high school embarrassing moments was an opportunity to willfully show off what lack of dance moves I had. The only thing, in fact, that could get me to go to the dance was a royal decree, which was apparently what I was up against.

I was not sure if I even took the whole Monarchy thing seriously yet. It didn’t seem real and the truth was I had a hard time believing there was a King out there that actually had authority over me. It was even harder to believe that one day that King would be Kiran.

I rolled my eyes and began to rummage through another section of clothes. I paused on a black strapless dress I had worn to a funeral for one of Aunt Syl’s coworkers. The dress was tight-fitting, but had a ruffle that started mid-thigh and ended at the knee. To the funeral I wore a black, cardigan to cover up my shoulders, but I could go without one for the dance. I stomped my foot, frustrated, realizing that this date was the last thing I wanted to do tonight.

I found it hard to believe that Kiran was doing this with my best interest in mind. It seemed more like a way to torment me more than anything else. A date with Talbott, who completely lacked personality and didn’t like me anyway, all while watching Seraphina Van Curen throw herself at Kiran sounded more like torture than a high school rite of passage.

“How are you doing sweetie?” Aunt Syl peeked her head in the door and talked softly, soothingly. She had probably heard me stomping my foot and grumbling for the last couple of hours to know that I was just a little upset.

“I have nothing to wear,” I pulled my head out of the closet and glanced at the clock: 6:30. At least I had already showered.

“This came for you,” she said tentatively and stepped all the way into my room, pushing the door aside with a large white box, wrapped in a soft pink ribbon.

When I didn’t respond, she walked over to the bed and laid the box on top of my rumpled covers. I could see her watching me out of the corner of her eye, while she opened the box and revealed soft pink silk wrapped in silver tissue paper.

Since I didn’t move to examine the contents of the box, Aunt Syl did the honors by slowly unwrapping the tissue paper and pulling out the garment. She held it up, with a soft gasp. The dress was absolutely stunning; the material completely pink silk, with gold embroidery at the hem. The top cut into a deep v in the front and in the back with wide cap sleeves, while the bottom flowed out into an a-line skirt with detailed pleating. Left in the box I could see a pair of gold strappy stilettos.

“Who’s it from?” I asked, although I could probably assume.

“Oh here, this came with it,” she handed me a piece of ivory cardstock, embellished with an elaborate snake circling around to eat its own tail; surrounding the snake were dainty lilies and intertwining with the snake was an ornate golden crown. I realized I had seen a lot of snakes recently and pondered their meaning as I grudgingly read the hand written note.

I wanted to be the one to take you tonight.

Know that I’ll be thinking of only you.

“What a bunch of bull-sh--“

“Eden,” my aunt cut me off sharply. “It is a nice gesture, and a beautiful gown,” she held it closer and sighed softly. The dress was beautiful. I stepped closer to examine it and rubbed the soft silk between my fingers. I couldn’t find a label and wondered what designer was responsible for this magnificent creation.

“No. I am not going to play these games,” I said firmly, letting the material drop from my hands. I walked back over to my closet and ripped the black funeral dress from the hanger.

“Absolutely not,” my aunt shook her head. “Come with me if you’re going to be stubborn.”

Aunt Syl laid the pink dress very carefully onto my bed, laying it out perfectly. She touched it one more time and gave another soft sigh, before turning on her heel and beckoning me to follow. We walked down the hall into her bedroom.

The master bedroom was gigantic and looked like a page directly out of pottery barn. Her bed always perfectly made, was adorned with a lavish comforter and probably fifteen pillows. I imagined that it was also gathering dust since she was never here to sleep in it. We walked past her settee and 52” flat screen TV and entered her bathroom.

The bathroom itself looked like a spa, but the real treasure was in the back…. her walk-in closet. Aunt Syl’s only vice was clothing. She loved shopping and had a closet full of clothes to testify. Aunt Syl was really quite the bombshell. Her thin frame and trendy sense of style made it easy for us to share and swap, so I was excited to see what she had in mind.

She took in a big breath as if paying homage to the closet gods and let her fingers slide across the racks of clothes until she reached the back. I saw her slowly, and carefully, picking her way through the many formal dresses she had accumulated. Her fingers brushed softly, almost reverently over their various materials, moving them out of the way gently. Finally, she came to rest on one. She pulled the hanger down and turned around to face me.

I smiled. This was one of her favorite purchases. She picked it up in the middle of the summer and hadn’t had a chance to wear it yet. The emerald green dress was strapless and short, with a curving bodice. Small black and gold beading covered the front, giving it the look of a corset, while the waist was cinched even smaller with an oversized black belt. At least it would give me curves.

I took the dress from her and gave her a small kiss on the cheek. I turned to head back to my room, but not before I grabbed a pair of killer black heels. Once in my room I dressed in seconds, maneuvering my body in ways I didn’t think possible to get the zipper all the way up in the back. I slipped on the heels and pulled my black waves into an unruly bun at the base of my neck. It was messy, but it would have to do.

I headed to the bathroom, where my makeup awaited. I was in the middle of painting on a quick retouch of bright pink fingernail polish when I heard the doorbell ring. They were just going to have to wait. I smudged my black eyeliner on, while Aunt Syl answered the door. A little bit of mascara and some bright pink lip gloss and I was ready to go.

I grabbed a beaded black clutch and stuffed it with the essentials, and made my descent down the staircase. I always imagined the walk down the tall, wooden staircase, to be somewhat magical on my first date when I was a little girl. Unfortunately, I never imagined my first date to be with someone who despised me, to a dance where I was sure to make a fool of myself, by orders from a Royal Prince who likes me but has been forbidden to talk to me; but I never had much of an imagination.

Talbott waited at the foot of the stairs, more pink chrysanthemums in hand; well, they used to be my favorite flowers. As my heels clicked on the staircase, Talbott looked up to take a look at me. The moment his eyes took me in, they nearly bugged out of his big head. His mouth dropped open and I could see that he was struggling for words. I would have taken it as a compliment except the look on his face made me more self-conscious than anything.

“Y-y-y-you can’t wear that,” Talbott stammered out.

“Why not?” I asked defensively and finished my descent down the stairs.

“Because, you can’t,” he said simply, not really giving me a reason.

“Yes, I can,” I argued back with attitude.

“Where is the dress Prince Kiran sent you? You have to wear that one,” Talbott took a step forward and I thought for a moment he was going to push me back up the staircase.

“No, I don’t have to wear that one. I don’t have to do anything. You’re lucky I’m even going to this stupid dance,” I brushed passed him and out the door, leaving him to stare after me completely unsure what to do.

“Eden, behave tonight,” Aunt Syl called after me, fidgeting with a camera she never got to turn on, as I made my way hurriedly towards Talbott’s retro limousine.

The chauffer tried to get out of the driver’s side quickly, but I beat him to it, leaving him just as confused as Talbott. I yanked open the door and threw myself in to the back seat, landing on something soft, but not quite a car seat. I looked up and saw Kiran looking down at me, confused and surprised.

“Excuse me,” I said irritably, and maneuvered quickly, and as lady-like as possible in my short skirt off of Kiran’s lap.

“You’re excused,” Kiran replied slowly and somewhat befuddled.

“I didn’t expect anyone to be in here. I mean, I thought it would just be Talbott and me,” I tried to explain, and crossed my legs self-consciously. Suddenly, I was rethinking my choice of evening attire.

“It’s a double,” Kiran cleared his throat, never taking his eyes off of me. Talbott finally began to make his way down the walk and towards the limo. “Didn’t you like the dress I sent you?” his smirk was suddenly there and I watched his eyes appraise me.

“No,” I replied simply.

“I think I like this one better too,” Kiran cleared his throat again and I couldn’t tell if he was nervous or annoyed. “Thank you, for coming tonight,” he said sincerely.

“I didn’t think I had a choice,” I looked out of the window, hoping for a distraction. Kiran was dressed in a nicely tailored black tuxedo, shiny shoes to match. His dirty blonde hair was slicked back away from his face, accentuating his strong facial features. I had never seen him look so handsome; it was distracting me, and making me forget how mad I was.

“Don’t be so grumpy Eden,” Kiran scolded playfully, before half standing to sit next to me on the seat that was facing him. Talbott burst through the door of the limousine and I noticed for the first time that he was wearing a tuxedo as well. Apparently this was not just an ordinary high school dance.

“Wouldn’t you prefer to sit over here Sir?” Talbott had not yet recovered from my dress and was still awkward as he took a seat across from us.

“I will Talbott, stop worrying so much,” Kiran scooted closer to me as if to spite Talbott before turning towards my face and wrapping his arm around me.