Cal glanced around the ballroom several times, he had followed her past her friend just moments ago. She was gone again, almost as if she had vanquished into thin air.
"Mademoiselle!" He called after her for the third time, but she continued to shuffle through the people.
The atmosphere around them blurred together as if the whole world slowed down. The music and the people, the ladies laughing and the men's clinking of champagne glasses. The twinkling candlelight of the chandeliers and the beautifully painted ceiling above them gave off a golden glow to the room. As he chased after her, there was no one in the room but the two of them.
Eventually, she came to a stop behind the string quartet. She hoped that the Prince had lost her track and would not find her.
She was predominately bewildered. The Prince had gazed into her eyes for the longest moment, it was if he had glimpsed into her soul. It was in fact his eyes that had captured her, she didn't hear a word he had spoken the entire time. She was memorized by the way he moved. There was no escaping the feeling of butterflies she felt at that very moment. But she would not put herself into that kind of situation. Fancying the Prince was not on her schedule, the very schedule she had to keep in order to leave the palace without being matched with a suitor.
And so she ran. It was something she had always been good at.
Cal stood perplexed in the middle of the ballroom. He had lost her again.
He continued to scan his surroundings for his mystery lady, or better, Ariella. He now thought, maybe it wasn't her mystery that grasped him, maybe it was her as a person. He was entrapped in her soul, in her being.
Her complexion seemed almost Spanish in a way, with her long dark hair and piercingly green eyes. But unlike the ladies from Spain, her skin was almost as pale as snow. In those few moments he had with her, he had memorized every aspect of her face, the slight curves and indents. The light sprinkle of freckles and the rosy flush across her nose and cheeks. She was beautiful to him, in every way one could be.
He wanted her, body, soul, and mind.
Ariella stood behind the quartet for a good ten minutes before finally deeming it safe to enter the festivities once more. She had to find Louis and tell him what happened.
Louis paced the ballroom searching for his friend, asking some of the other debutantes if they had seen her. Most of them gave off a snicker when he said her name, but they seemed overly anxious when they noticed Louis approaching them. There was something about his charm that enticed the ladies, his hair was dark, pushed back and tasseled as if he had just run his fingers through it. His physique wasn't as admirable to the ladies as his features, for he was more tall and lanky. Though his natural wit and charm won the ladies' attention.
A dance was starting in the center of the ballroom, several couples lining up along the dancing area. Cal now stood along the back wall of the room, drinking champagne as he watched the ball around him. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed someone approaching him, Sylvie.
"Ah, my Prince," she breathed, elegantly placing herself before him, "Would you care to dance?"
Cal looked somewhat irritated by her presence, but decided that accepting her offer would most likely please his mother, "Well of course, Princess."
He softly pecked her gloved hand before leading her to where the others were gathering to begin the dance. As he placed his hand on Sylvie's waist he breathed in the most lovely scent, something like roses.
Though it wasn't coming from the princess. He glanced to his right, and of course, there stood Ariella. She was in the arms of her friend, who seemed to be enjoying every single second that his hand was on her waist. Cal glanced back to Sylvie right as the music began and all of the couples fluttered about the floor to the fast tempo.
"How is his Highness enjoying the festivities?" she said, gazing up at him through her long eyelashes.
He glanced back to Ariella once more before answering, "Very much so, Princess. And yourself?"
"Very much indeed," she said as she followed his gaze over to a dark haired woman, whom she caught staring right back at her with a curious expression. She looked back up to Cal, "Who is that beautiful Lady to our right?"
Cal glanced back to Sylvie bewildered, he had missed everything she had just said, "I'm sorry?"
"The lady," she said glancing to Ariella, "Who is she?"
"Oh of course, that is Mademoiselle Ariella du Montamorte," he sighed, "Why do you ask?"
"Well, she has been staring at you all night."
Shock began to transform his face, but he regained control almost immediately, "Has she now? I hadn't noticed."
Ariella's mind wandered to the Prince. Her first impression of him was that he seemed emotionless, soulless. But when they met each others eyes she felt something she'd never felt before. She didn't understand him.
She wanted to meet him personally, she wanted to know him for him. The only Prince she had ever known was his public face. Scandal after scandal and courtship after courtship. She didn't know who he was personally, and she longed to.
"She is quite beautiful," Sylvie sighed to Cal, "Do you know her?"
Cal looked back to Ariella once more, meeting her eyes. She glanced to the outdoor balcony of the ballroom then back to him just as the music slowed down into its final ritardando.
"I'll see you later, louis," she said, then broke apart from his grasp before the dance had even ended.
"Ariella!" he called after her.
"If you'll excuse me Princess," Cal said, bowing to Sylvie as she curtsied to him. He turned back toward the crowd of people and began to make his way towards the balcony. Cal wondered what Ariella meant by wanting to meet him, he cowered at the thought of her telling him to leave her alone.
He could feel his mother's stare on his back as he exited the ballroom, but for the first time in his life, he didn't care.
Ariella was already outside, glancing over the balcony to the gardens below. She looked behind her to find the Prince standing in the doorway with an odd expression resting on his face.
"Mademoiselle," he said quietly, acknowledging her with a brief smile.
"Hello," she said softly.
He walked towards her slowly, taking her hand and bringing it to his lips, "Now, for what do I have the pleasure of meeting you here?"
His caramel eyes pierced hers as they had before, making her melt from the inside out, "I feel like I need to know you," she whispered carefully, "That must sound absurd, but something there inside my mind told me to trust my instincts."
He looked down to her heart shaped face, then lead her to the balcony edge, he looked down to the gardens for a long moment. Everything about her drew him in, her voice, her face, her scent, "I cannot promise you that you will like what you learn about me, but I am willing to share with you the darkest parts of me," he said softly, his voice deep and silky, "The first time I saw you, I knew I could trust you."
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~Watty's 2018 Longlist~Previously featured on Wattpad Picks~ Mademoiselle Ariella du Montamorte is the most unladylike lady that ever graced the court. She is trapped in the debutante season in the hopes of finding an unwanted match, but her reckles...