They descended the large staircase mustering the biggest smiles they could bare, both of them subtly cursing the other under their breath.

Once they reached the bottom, they immediately separated from each other, the nobles made a pathway for Cal as he walked through the crowd, many women stuffing his waist coat with their handkerchiefs. He walked at a fast pace towards his family, who were seated on the far side of the ballroom, pulling out the ladies tokens as he walked.

He took his seat next to Katerina, slumping down into it rather harshly. Katerina sat with her nose behind a book, as usual. He tapped his fingers against the arm of his chair rapidly.

"Oh stop that, Cal, it's impolite and completely annoying," scolded his mother who sat next to him.

He continued to glare forward at the crowd in front of him, still tapping his fingers.

"Cal!" She whispered once more.

He looked at her lightly and stopped his fingers, quickly turning back to the crowd, "Disobedient child," she muttered, almost too low for him to hear.

He smirked mischievously at the crowd, laughing to himself on the inside. Katerina dropped her book, shaking his arm rapidly, staring in front of them towards the staircase.

"What, Katerina?" He asked, irritated.

"It's her, she's being announced!" She said quickly.

"Mademoiselle Ariella du Montamorte!" Called the announcer.

Ariella rushed quickly down the steps, trying her best not to be noticed. She would've tripped half way down if it wasn't for the railing.

Once she reached the bottom, she silently cursed Mae. She had dressed her in the most uncomfortable thing she had ever worn in her whole life. The bodice was much too revealing, it kept riding farther and farther down her bust as she walked. Gold detailed silk spilled out from the bottom of her corset, which was pulled so tight that she could barely breath at all.

Cal spotted her from across the room, he followed her with his eyes as she crossed through the crowd of people until she met a young gentleman of whom she greeted with an embrace.

Cal eyed them suspiciously, he couldn't help but be jealous of the gentleman. He rested his cheek on his fist as his frown became more and more pronounced while he watched the two talk.

"Oh come on Ariella," whispered Louis, "Its just a silly little dance, what's the worse that could happen?"

"No."

"Please?" He begged, "For me?"

She tugged up her bodice that was slipping down her chest again, "I can barely walk in this dress, let alone dance in it!"

"You're so stubborn," he sighed, pausing a few moments before his lips curved up into a mischievous smirk, "I guess I could make you dance with me.."

He pulled her hand, tugging her along to where people were gathering to dance, "No, Louis!" She hissed.

He continued to pull her across the room, laughing all the way, "it'll be fun-"

Louis stopped abruptly in front of a tall man, both of them coming to a halt against the mans chest, "The lady says she does not want to dance," said the man.

This time, Ariella knew who the royal was. Prince Cal, known for his scandalous love affairs and his impeccable good looks.

"Your Highness," they both said simultaneously, Louis dropping into a bow while Ariella into a curtesy.

"You may rise," he muttered.

They both looked up at him, his Carmel eyes pierced Ariellas as they stood staring at each other for the longest moment. His golden curls glimmered against the crystal chandeliers above them, matching his gold trimmed blue waist coat and jacket.

"Well," said Cal, finally breaking their trance, "I presume you, being a gentleman and all, wouldn't force a lady to do anything she wouldn't want to do?"

"Oh never, your highness," said Louis nervously, backing away from the prince, Ariella still following closely behind him.

"He was just playing, your Highness," she said shyly.

"Then I presume you two are courting?" Cal asked, still eyeing Ariella.

Louis let out a laugh, "No, No.. we are just close friends."

Cal's frown turned into a large grin in a matter of five seconds after Louis had spoken, "Lovely," he muttered, shoving past him.

"Well, that was strange," whispered Louis, turning around to Ariella.

But she had disappeared.


~
A/N: shoutout to ojclarke for reviewing my novel so far, it's really great to get constructive feedback from other authors! Go check out her book The Devils Daughter!

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