•T H I R T Y - O N E•

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♪ If I smile with my teeth                                             Bet you believe me ♪{Paramore—Fake Happy}

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♪ If I smile with my teeth
                                             Bet you believe me ♪
{Paramore—Fake Happy}

Never had her eyelids felt so heavy as she pried them open the morning after her unfortunate meeting with Clémentine.

Marguerite yawned as she pulled the covers from over her head, gathering a slither of light from the closed curtains.

A pitter-patter banged on the window; a familiar sound that brought back a horde of memories—good and bad.

She tossed the covers off, passing a hand through her tangled hair, and sighed.

Just another day in paradise.

She stood from the bed, rubbing her arms for warmth as she realized her fire had gone out. The lack of flickering flames cast the room in a gloomy, almost gray aura. The pale pinks of the bedspread appeared faded, and the greens of the walls and curtains had a dark, nearly black tint.

Nothing that helped Marguerite's mood in the slightest.

She rang Johanna's bell as she checked the clock near her dresser.


She drifted off to the window, eyes scratchy. With her fingertips she caressed beneath them, sensing the puffiness, imagining the deep charcoal smears tinting her face.

She pushed her curtains aside, fully revealing the wet scene outside. Her room had a direct view on the gardens, and with this weather, they resembled a washed out watercolor painting. The once bright green bushes contrasted with the dreary gray sky, its tears pouring onto anything daring enough to stay outside.

The same tears Marguerite wished to shed, but couldn't release.

She shuddered, remembering her sleeping visions of Clémentine and Adelaide. Their icy eyes of different shades glimmering as they shook hands. Colluding together, conspiring, leaning over to whisper into each other's ears and cackle. Loud and uncaring of who heard them. And smiling as their gazes met Marguerite's.

Her heart ached at the thought.

Then came the image of Antoine standing at a distance behind them, cackling just as his mother and wife had. But the sound was crueler—piercing and petrifying. He claimed he had never loved Marguerite, and it was all a part of his mother's plots.

She shivered, holding onto the curtain, wrapping its fabric around her as she witnessed the storm outside.

The same storm seemed to thunder inside her.

She remembered Cordelia's cold stares, her arms folded, her nostrils flaring. A majestic green dress flowed about her as if it had arms extending out to choke Marguerite. And Jules, running around in the background, giggling as he kissed each of the contenders. He winked at them, promising them marriage. Royalty. A frilly life at court full of wonder and riches.

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