Watched by the World

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            “How?” Brook asked as a large plateful of bacon, omelets, and biscuits slid steaming to her.

            “Basically,” Nathan explained, “I’ll just take you on another date, but this time with the paparazzi at every corner. Yesterday was a practice session for today’s practice session.”

            “Practice what?” Lily asked while Angela wiped some crumbs off of her cheeks.

            “She has to look worthy of the Walker family name, so we’re going to expose her to some society today,” Nathan said, picking up the hot towel on a silver tray from the butler standing by.

            “Can I go?”

            “No.”

            “Where are we supposed to go anyway?” Brook asked.

            “Charity work. Just going to an orphanage for toddlers,” Nathan replied somewhat reluctantly. Apparently, the idea of little grimy munchkins didn’t sit well with him. Brook, on the other hand, shoved away her unfinished breakfast and enthusiastically dragged her fiancée out the door.

            “I can’t believe it!” Brook laughed as she pulled Nathan down a corridor. “I love kids! We never had a lot at the old hunting grounds since they usually starved-” Here her voice faltered, then picked back up.

            “But they were still full of spirit and cheerfulness despite all that! Let’s go right now!”

            “Not so fast,” he smiled, yanking his hand out of hers. “You need to be properly dressed before anything.”

            “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing right now?”

            “The mistress of the heir of the world needs to be first seen by mass media in womanly attire; not a hoodie and sweats.”

            “It’s not a fashion show, you know.”

            “It kind of is.”

***

            “Stop slouching,” Nathan managed to hiss through the corner of his smile.

            Brook managed to straighten her back before a camera clicked somewhere at the entrance of the supermarket a few feet away. “This is torture. Why couldn’t we take the car?” she whispered with a false smile as photographers’ eyes bored into her back.

            Nathan laughed as if she’d just said something funny. Brook heard another subtle camera click right behind her, specifically in the direction of a trash can they passed.  “Bear with it,” he quickly muttered humorlessly as they crossed a street. “It’ll ruin the whole point of this exercise if you weren’t exposed to as much publicity as possible.”

            A couple chattering school girls passing them fell silent. They immediately broke out into whispering as Brook and Nathan continued to walk away.

            “Is that really-”

            “It is.”

            “So that must be-”

            “Brooklyn Avery.”

            Brook blushed as the girls said her name simultaneously. It sounded as if they were trying to curse her into the deepest part of hell by uttering her name with as much hate as possible.

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