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Up the corset went. Breathing hard while using your weak muscles to pull the strings that would bind the white corset together, you nearly stumbled backwards as Delphine shot up straight like a stick. "Pull harder," she wheezed at you, causing you to almost look at her in disbelief. Her back was going to break at this point. Nonetheless, because you didn't want to be scolded anymore on this dreadful day, you did as asked. The rope-like strings burning your palms from the friction created during this exercise, you did one last pull and tied the knot.

Meanwhile, Rosa was sitting on the couch, watching the scene unfold. She looked gorgeous with her long, black hair falling loose down to her torso. Dark makeup lined her eyes to exaggerate them wonderfully and a soft pink was painted on her lips to match her dress. Already in her coral dress -- since you had dressed her first -- her posture was perfect, yet she looked really uncomfortable. Every now and then, she would glance at you, her eyebrows knitted and her lips curved downward.

The both of you had awoken this morning in low spirits, the situation burning in your guys' minds. Neither of you were to experience anything exciting tonight, with you stuck at home and Rosa forced to go to a Ball without her true love. The quick conversation your stepsister had with you this morning continued to stay on your mind.

"I wish we could switch places," she muttered hopelessly. She slumped down on the chair and rubbed her eyes. "What if I tell mother I want to marry Dean? Would she hate me for it? Would she be disappointed in me? I don't know what to do anymore. I don't even know what I want anymore. Even if I do marry him, a hard life would be waiting for me out there."

You comfortingly held Rosa's hand that was placed on the dining table. Every single time, anger grew in the depths of your soul towards that treacherous woman. The fact that it wasn't just you suffering under her watch, but her own daughter as well was awful. "Don't you believe in love? Stepmother shouldn't have the right to control who you marry. It makes her selfish, because if you are married to a loveless marriage, wouldn't your life be ruined?"

The dark headed girl did not response for a minute. Her hues lowering shamefully, she brought up an idea. "What if... I do find someone else? What if I can find someone with good income and fall in love with them? I... I sound like a terrible human being saying this, don't I. But I need to think of my future and though it would hurt so, so bad to let go of Dean, it might be for the best."

You had no idea what to say to this. Jaw agape and eyes wide, you could only stare at her in shock. Noticing your gaze, she shifted uncomfortably in her seat as her eyes watered in sadness. "It's your decision, I suppose," you murmured quietly.

"That's the thing! I have to make these big decisions soon that will change the entire course of my life, to which I am not ready for. I am terrified out of my wits. I have no idea what's out there. I still feel like a child trying to survive an adult's world," she cried out, her face twisting in frustration.

"I feel the same way. But together, we can get through this, okay?"

"Yes... of course. And I am so sorry for ranting so much. Lets talk about you. You out of everyone in this house deserve to go tonight, especially after everything you've done for us. It is unfair and I wish to scream to my mother about this -- I'm sorry." It was as if her emotions were going haywired, so she took a few deep breaths to calm down. "Do you... have any plans to what you'll do next?"

"I do not know," you responded truthfully.

At this point, what was there next for you? You wondered if you should just run away. Maybe if you tried hard enough, you could find someone who was willing to let you work for them. Because the life in this household was not worth it. Though you had a house to live under, you were working to gain nothing out of it. Basically, there was no future here.

The dark blue dress shimmered on the bed, sprawled out beautifully to show its excessive fabric. Gingerly picking it up as if it were to hurt you at its touch, you held the heavy thing and returned to Delphine. "Don't let it drag on the ground!" she sneered at you. Holding it up in the air even higher, you then lowered the dress once more at the girl's feet. Making a hole out of it, you kept it there until she stepped into it and then brought it upwards. Leaving it to rest on her shoulders, you tugged the zipper upwards and fixed any loose details.

"Delphine, Rosa. It's time to get going, my dears," a voice called out from the hallway. The door slowly opened to reveal stepmother, wearing a deep maroon dress that was not pretty at all. You hastily lowered your eyes before she could catch you staring. She set her attention upon her two daughters and gasped. "The two of you are looking absolutely splendid. I am proud of you both."

Rosa hurriedly stood up from the couch and forced a grin on her face. The skirts underneath her fell elegantly to touch the floor. In unison with Delphine, she uttered out, "Thank you mother."

"Now come. The carriage is waiting for us," the woman pointed out. Tapping her talons along her chin, she finally laid her vulture stare upon you. Her eyes mocking evilly, she sneered at your passive form. "You too, Cinder. Walk us to the carriage as you hold up my beautiful daughters' skirts. We can't have them be dragged on the ground and dirtied, can we?"

Your stomach did a somersault as you clenched your teeth. "Yes, stepmother." The three of them stepping out of the bedroom, you trailed behind like an insignificant peasant. Humiliated and exhausted, you bent down to grab the fabrics and lifted them up. On purpose, Delphine began walking ahead to make you stumble. Panting heavily, you slowly picked yourself up and continued. Down the stairs the four of you went, with stepmother leading. Your throat constricting by the second, you wished to cry: the dream you've had for the longest of time was coming to an end.

The door opened and you could get a good view of the magnificent carriage they rented. The white exterior gleamed in the evening's golden sun, with dark, fancy linings to decorate. The rectangular transportation was supported by two midnight horses, neighing in the front. The coachman sat there silently and professionally, reigning the large, proud creatures in.

Climbing up the steps and into the carriage, stepmother disappeared into it. The sisters were next, so you finally dropped the skirts and retreated away from the carriage. Wrapping your arms around yourself protectively, you could feel the pang of loneliness enter your heart. A slap of the reigns hit the horses and the ride began to move. It didn't take long before it left the gates of the property and you were officially alone.

Heavy. Heavy. Heavy. Your body felt heavy. There was nothing for you to do now except to start the endless chores stepmother laid out for you. If you tried hard enough, perhaps you could finish it before midnight and get a decent night's of sleep.

You closed the door behind you and leaned your back against the wooden surface. The silence was unnerving, but peaceful at the same time. For once, you did not have to hear stepmother's shrill orders. Reluctantly standing up straight again, you walked to the closet near the kitchen to find a broom. It was time to sweep.

As summer was slowly shifting to winter, with autumn in between the two, the days weren't just growing colder -- they were growing shorter as well. The sun quickly lowering from earth's horizons, the sky was dark and sprinkled with stars. So you lit some candles as you continued to clean the area. Using a wet towel to clean tables, chairs, counters, and furniture, you cleaned and cleaned to keep your tears at bay. Chores weren't the worst thing to you; in all actuality, they were helping to distract yourself from your emotions.

The sink had loose droplets. Drip. Drip. Drip. Annoyed, you turned the faucet off... just when something flicked at the window in front of you. Scared out of your wits, you jumped in fright, your heart racing against your chest. Perhaps it was just something that fell from a nearby tree and had hit the glass. That's right [Y/N]. You're safe. There's nothing to worry about, you mentally thought to yourself.

Immediately growing weary, you backed away from the kitchen and got to the front of the house. Double checking to see if the door was locked, you let out a breath of relief to see that it was. Then you went to your room to find a duster. Saving the kitchen to clean for last, you decided to attend to the other rooms to dust off any stray cobwebs you find. Picking up the purple, old thing, you were about to head out to start cleaning again, but had froze in fear when another sound was heard. This time it wasn't something to brush off as a random, natural occurrence, for it was clear that someone was here.

The door to the back garden was rapped on three times. 

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