Another moderately short chapter. Will post 9 soon, hopefully.
Vivienna prayed that now that the Midnight Masquerade was over, she would finally have a chance to breathe. Her walk back to her room was a blur. Off in the distance, she was vaguely aware of what appeared to be an impromptu party. Cameras were flashing and there were girls laughing in high-pitched voices.
She wasn’t interested in any of that. She was all too eager to lock herself in her room and crawl under her covers. She laid there for a while with her stomach twisted in knots. Then, somehow, she drifted off to sleep. Vivienna was awoken by a rude knocking at her door. She tried to ignore it but it came again.
Vivienna finally sat up and pushed her hair out of her face. The room was pitch dark; she had slept the day away. She hoped it wasn’t one of the Orlins here to remind her that she was late for dinner. She hardly had any appetite at all. Vivienna opened the door a crack and squinted in the bright light.
“Pretty-eyes,” Simon said. “I’ve been knocking for a full five minutes. Are you in a coma or something?”
“I’m sorry,” Vivienna said. “I’m really not hungry...”
“What?” Simon demanded with an angry tap of his foot. “Do you think I care? Who do I look like? Your mom?” He sighed and handed her a cell phone. “Your father is on the line. Don’t ask me how he got a Coral City number or a phone capable of dialing it. You better talk like the wind.”
He tossed the phone at her and Vivienna barely caught it. Her hands were shaking. It was her father! She pressed the glowing screen to her cheek. “Dad?”
“Viv!” an enthusiastic but static-filled voice came on the line. “Are you okay? We heard about what happened, we’re so sorry!”
“What?” Vivienna asked. “What happened?”
Before her father could reply, Vivienna heard her sister come on the line. “How could the Prince break his bond with you! Dad is going to kill him.”
“Who?” Vivienna asked. As her father wrestled the phone back from Janut, Vivienna’s mind slowly put it together. The press had reported it as Prince Mars breaking his bond with her instead of the other way around. How else would they explain how it is that she ended up bound to Calbert? Inside of her clutched hand, the cellphone felt like a lava stone. She was sure it was going to burn a hole into her face before the conversation was over.
“Vivy,” her father finally managed. “You hang in there! Don’t do anything . . . drastic! Your mom and I are coming. I might be getting a job offer in the city soon. We could be moving as early as next week. Your sister is dying to see you.”
“More like dying to go shopping,” Vivienna replied, mockingly, before she reminded herself that she was supposed to sound sad and jilted by the illustrious Prince Mars. She might as well go along with the show. Vivienna didn’t want to think about what a person of Blake’s power could do to her if she didn’t. Even if Blake didn’t give the order himself, he was surrounded by people who looked out for his interests. They ruined her family once, they could do it again.
“Dad,” Vivienna finally said. “Don’t worry too much about me. I wasn’t too into the prince anyway. He was snotty, cold, vengeful; he reminded me of someone I used to know.”
“Are you sure, sweetheart?”
“Yup,” Vivienna replied. She reached over to her desk where Blake’s letter was still opened, looking very much like a ghostly leaf. She picked it up with two fingers and allowed it to flutter into a waste basket. “He reminded me of Blake Thorne,” Vivienna finally blurted into the phone.
“Blake Thorne?” her father asked and laughed nervously. “I haven’t heard that name in years. I didn’t know you still remember him.”
“You used to call him the demon child, I remember that.” Vivienna stared with resolve into the darkness. “I bet if Blake had lived he would be charming too, and a good dancer,” Vivienna said. “But he burned me once. I won’t let it happen again.”