1. A Seal of Approval

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Welcome to White! I hope you enjoy the story. Please remember to hit the star at the end of each chapter to vote if you've enjoyed it. I also love reading comments and try to respond to all of them.

For now, thanks for choosing White,

R A Black x

In the silence, I could hear the urgent thud of my heartbeat. The coldly grandiose room stood behind me, four-poster bed and heavy embroidered curtains the backdrop to my reflection in the mirror. Everything hinged on that night. If I was the perfect White ambassador, if I could show them I could be one of them, maybe things would start to heal between us. This was it. This was my chance to be welcomed into the fold.

I studied the sad face staring back at me. I forced the lips into a smile. It was convincing enough. My hair had been pinned up by one of the maids, who had also brought my dress in for me. I preferred to dress myself. My face looked alien and old with its lips painted, and eyes dusted with a soft shimmering powder. I looked at least two decades over my hundred and sixty years. Better to look eighteen ages old than the sixteen I had. Better to remind the men that I was ready to bed, not a child anymore. At least that's how my parents saw it.

I stepped back from the mirror to take in my full appearance, tugging awkwardly at the ballooning skirt of the shimmering blue gown. I was just glad that I'd managed to arrange having one without a train. Just then, my sister Juliet burst impolitely into the room in an over-embellished gown of the same hue, dripping all the way to the rug with crystals. I held my tongue and didn't say anything about her lavish taste. It would only have earned me a severe tongue-lashing, and in turn would have been an insult to the poor seamstresses who had suffered Julie's fits of rage and tantrums putting it together.

"You look lovely," I remarked, smiling. Best to practise the insincerity early on. "Who's to be your companion this evening?"

The corners of her mouth pulled her glossed lips up into a smile that decades of conceit had moulded into a smirk.

"Oh, you may have heard of him..."

Guillaume? Gaspard? Some invariable White or Gold prince whom she's taken to sleeping with...

"... his name is Gaston. His father owns Phoenix Ointments, the cosmetic company."

"Yes, I know it. Everyone knows it."

"Well, dear Catherine," she chuckled, "I had to assume you might not."

I narrowed my eyes at her, trying to suss what she meant by that. She flicked her eyes over my expression and then around the room indifferently.

"Anyway, Father's not quite given Gaston palace-entering approval, so I'll be meeting him upon our arrival," she announced. "He's matched his suit material with my dress fabric."

"How lovely," I replied, smile so tight I felt it might split my face in two.

"Shame you have to go unaccompanied," she sighed, locking her eyes onto mine.

"Sure," I bit. "Just do me a favour and don't tell our parents Gaston's coming from my chambers when he inevitably gets caught sneaking out of the palace tonight."

This was a particularly nasty habit of my sister's. Not only did her lies lead my parents to believe that I was - in their own words - a brazen whore, to make matters worse I seemed like a whore who went after my own sister's suitors.

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