Just a quick note, the original gown Celia was supposed to be presented in (from the King and Queen) was green, but I changed it to gold.  

Also, special thanks to Nightlylioness for the song, I've always loved that movie and especially the song and I'm so glad your message reminded me of it =)

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Chapter 31 - Golden Girl

{The High Ball, Day 2}

Celia's POV

I took one last look in the mirror, and it seemed too good to be true that I could be satisfied by my appearance for the second time. I loved the way the pale gold dress caught the light and shimmered every time I moved. It looked even prettier than it had two months ago when the King and Queen had given it to me.

Finally I left the comfort of my room and headed down the deserted hallway. This time though it was not for being late. I had received the note this morning, a summons to be at the ballroom one hour before the ball. Everyone not being presented remained in their rooms, though the excitement and laughter filtered out to ring down the halls like a procession.

Soon I wasn't the only one walking as girls timidly inched open their doors to enter the hall. Each held a cream coloured piece of parchment with curly red writing just visible between their clenched fingers.

The sight made me loosen the tight grip I had on mine for fear that the heat of my fingers might cause the ink to run.

Most floated down the hallway as if in a dream, and for many of them it probably was. I was glad to see mine wasn't the only face pale with worry.

At least I fit in, I thought dully, at least I looked the part, though from glances I kept getting I knew I still stood out. The question was whether it was in a bad way or good.

The few girls before me turned a corner and held their skirts up to climb a set of stairs I had never used before. I knew where it led though, and followed the bodies that swirled around me in a near daze.

I was grateful to have people to follow since I wasn't paying the slightest attention to where I was going. My mind was elsewhere, on another set of stairs that I had never walked before.

Unconsciously my steps slowed down, as if in anticipation of the ordeal to come and I bumped into another girl behind me.

I jerked out of my trance and turned around to apologize, only to be looked over in contempt and pushed roughly past by a girl in a dark orange dress.


They were always judging.

The stairs opened out into a wide room bathed in bright candlelight. Most girls were crowed here now while yet more arrived, each with the telltale cream card.

At the end of the room towered the ornate double doors that opened to the ballroom.

A mounting sense of dread mixed unpleasantly with an eruption of butterflies from my lower stomach.

Standing before the doors was an older woman with a sour look on her face trying to establish some kind of order. Around the room castle attendants begged for quiet and finally the loud din fell to a quiet hush of anticipation.

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