How had it come to this? Everything was under control until ... well... it wasn't.
I stood in the mirror and puffed my ascot to give myself more of a regal look. Mother and Father may be putting me into exile, but I would at least leave with dignity. I had told my man servant to not pack my best suit yet so I could wear it to the dreaded farewell dinner tonight. Although, come to think of it, all of my trunks were mysteriously gone from my chambers.
Ah well. Perhaps they had been put in the carriage early. Ah well. I had stored away the belongings I truly wanted with me under the bed. The next morning I was to leave for the kingdom of Norfolk, but I had no intentions of going. Chantal had other arrangements for me and I was going to leave as soon as everyone had gone to bed.
I was still baffled by everything that had happened. Chantal and I had taken every precaution, and then Father burst in on us quite unexpectedly while she had been feeding. I double checked to be sure my collar was hiding the bite marks on my neck. Although I could have them show simply to see the look on Mother's face.
"You're not going to show them off, are you?" a young girls voice said from the doorway. I smirked when I saw it was my younger sister, Lucienne.
"Do you read minds now?" I asked her.
"Only yours," she answered. She walked up to me and straightened my suit coat, unable to look me in the eyes.
"You won't be seeing her when you're gone, will you?" she whispered.
"No," I lied with a sigh. The truth was I hadn't seen Chantal in days. I had no idea if I would see her or not. "Will Beau be visiting you while I am away?"
Lucienne shook her head quickly then tucked her long brown hair behind her ear. "No," she said quietly. "It is over between us. After everything with you and Chantal... I knew I had to end it before Father and Mother found out."
At least there was one less thing I had to worry about. Beau was the one who had turned Chantal and while he was charming, he was also dangerous. Lucienne was lucky I hadn't gone to Father and Mother myself about her affair with him - or had shot him in the heart with my pistol. However, she had been faithful at keeping my secrets. The least I could do was keep hers.
"Good," I told her. I lifted her head up so her eyes finally met mine. The moment I had a good look at her face I regretted it. Tears were forming and I could see her trying to hold them back.
"Would you like an escort to dinner?" I asked and made a sweeping bow, making her crack a smile.
As we walked down the staircase to the dinning hall I couldn't help but notice how mature Lucienne looked. She still wore her hair down long, but she was undoubtedly the image of a young woman. She held her head up high to greet our parents, her long dress fell gracefully at her feet, and along her eyes were the traditional tattoos of royalty she had received when she turned seventeen. I felt a pang in my chest as I realized she was no longer the little girl. It had been years since she had crept into my room anytime she had a nightmare or thunder had frightened her and I would have to read to her in order to fall asleep again. She was a woman now.
Mother and Father were standing at the bottom of the staircase, looking at us solemnly. Behind them were our carriage drivers. The front door was open and I could see men lifting a trunk into a carriage.
"What's all this?" I asked cautiously.
From behind his back, Father pulled out the sack I had hidden in my room. "The maid found this under your bed this morning," he answered.
"I am not to leave until the morning," I said stiffly. "You had said you wanted a proper goodbye tonight."
I let go of Lucienne's arm and grabbed my sack from Father's grip. "This is not what I would call a proper goodbye."
"Aldric," Mother said. "We know you are upset, but this is for your own good."
I snapped and looked at her. Normally, I would have hated to see her so upset, but she could have stopped all of this. "My family sending me to a strange kingdom and not allowing me to know when I will return is for my own good? How? Explain this to me. I would love to hear it."
"Aldric, please..." Lucienne begged from the stairs.
I ignored her. "I had ended everything because you asked me to!" I yelled. "I have done everything you asked of me. Is this how you treat the heir to your throne?"
"This is exactly why you need to leave," Father said hotly. "The future king of Epping should not and will not behave in this manner. I will not allow it. Take him away."
The men grabbed each of my arms and tried to drag me away. I fought back as hard as I could, pulling my body away from theirs, trying to run back to the stairs. They were too strong for me and before I could do much else I was outside in the bitter cold. I had not even been allowed to put on a proper coat. The air bit at my skin and I could see my breath puffing out of my mouth as I yelled. They shoved me into the carriage and slammed the door. I opened the window and called out to Lucienne. She ran to my side and hugged me around my neck.
"They did not tell me," she said.
"I know," I told her, wishing I could hug her back. My little sister... who knew when I would see her next. "I'll write as soon as I am able, I promise."
She nodded vigorously as she stepped away.
With a lurch, the carriage began to move and pull away from the castle, almost making me hurl from the sudden movement. As the carriage exited the premises I looked behind me to see Lucienne waving, tears streaming down her face. I weakly waved back then sat down in my seat with a huff. I closed the window so I could preserve some warm air inside and not freeze to death.
Although, that may not have been such an awful alternative. I heard my stomach growl.
What a fantastic farewell dinner party the king and queen had thrown for me.
Blogtember Prompt: Write a fictional story starting with the sentence "To say I was dreading the dinner party was the understatement of the century."
The main story(stories) that I have been working on have been a re-telling of Snow White which will cover four novels if all goes according to plan, with other fairy tales scattered throughout. This little snippet is a bit of a prequel to the first novel. Although I won't tell you which fairy tale character Prince Alvis is!
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If you're visiting from Meg's blog (or anywhere else for that matter), hi and welcome to my little corner of the internet! If you want to learn more, check out my About Me page and the Get Caught Up page which features some of my favorite posts. Also, every Wednesday I feature a fictional female character that I think is a great role model. I have a page for that too if you want to see who I've featured so far. Feel free to email/Tweet/Facebook/comment to say hi, ask questions, or chat! I'd love to get to know you better.