•E I G H T•

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♪ Everyone knows, all about my direction              And in my heart somewhere, I wanna go there ♪{Justin Timberlake—Say Something}

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♪ Everyone knows, all about my direction
              And in my heart somewhere, I wanna go there ♪
{Justin Timberlake—Say Something}

Céleste's slippers glided on each step as she followed Marguerite upstairs. But her thoughts, as usual, were elsewhere. Wondering why the Princess' gaze would linger for so long on Marguerite; why she would appear so cold, so unhappy with someone she didn't yet know.

Marguerite's travel cloak swayed as she ascended, her back stiff, body poised. Céleste stared at her gracious movements, curious—did the Princess perhaps know her, and was unappreciative of her presence?

Once at the top, her thoughts hushed as she took in the area.

The yellow color scheme from below had disappeared, replaced with bright turquoise hues. Detailed portraits and landscapes hung from almost every wall, entrapped by white marble pillars. Glowing chandeliers sprung from either side of the paintings, illuminating a polished wood paneled floor. In places, a thick, red carpet lined the walls, cushioning the ladies' steps as they walked.

Straight across from the stairs were two oak doors separated by a Totresian Castle painting. Gleaming plaques with inscriptions rested on the wood, and Marguerite tiptoed closer until she was able to read them. "This is Harriet's room." Slipping to the other door, on the left, she blinked. "And this... is someone I do not know. Perhaps lady-in-waiting's chamber." She stepped away to stand before the castle painting. "The girls will each have a lady, eventually."

Céleste advanced further to be level with Marguerite. She turned her head to the left, noticing another hallway containing more grand doors with inscriptions on them. "I assume some of the ladies are down there?"

Marguerite nodded. "There are... there may be more rooms around those corners," she said, her voice strong at first, but then hiccuping, turning hesitant. "From what I understand, this floor is is reserved for debutantes, lesser nobles, chaperones, and non-royal ladies-in-waiting." She waved around herself; and in a sudden movement, she scurried backwards. A few steps later she twirled around and hurried up to an area to the left of the stairs.

Céleste followed, confused, and stopped in her tracks when she and Marguerite found Cristina, standing in the door-frame of another room. She stared at a set of steps near her, leading further up. "The royal floor?" asked the brunette, watching Marguerite. "This is where they put me? To taunt me?"

Setting her gaze on the majestic stairs, Céleste noticed a beige, almost golden-threaded carpeting covering each step. The banister was dizzyingly high and curved up to a dark opening in the ceiling.

Marguerite shrugged. "Not to taunt, Cristina." She inclined her head in salutation, and pivoted away, Céleste on her heels. She lowered her tone. "That area is reserved for royals and higher nobility, or their representatives. Your brother's room is up there, as he is here in your father's name—and as a Marquess, your father has much privilege in the castle."

The Golden Girl (#2 in the GOLDEN series) ✔Where stories live. Discover now