•S I X T Y - F O U R•

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♪ The moment that I step outside                                          So many reasons for me to run and hide ♪{No Doubt—Just A Girl}

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♪ The moment that I step outside
                                          So many reasons for me to run and hide ♪
{No Doubt—Just A Girl}

Céleste froze, watching the Princess, her dark hair bobbing up and down as she ran a few steps into the Ballroom and snagged Marguerite's unknowing hand. She then yanked the woman out, and the doors shut behind them.

Marguerite's surprised face lingered in Céleste's mind for several moments before she realized she had been holding her breath.

Unsure if Sébastien had witnessed the scene, she turned to him only to find that his jaw had dropped, his eyes narrowed on the Ballroom doors.

Her heart thrummed in her chest. "Oh, so you saw that too..."

He angled to look at her, replacing his jaw. "Cordelia is not supposed to be anywhere near the Ball. Why... would the guards let her in? And why did she take Marguerite?"

He gazed at something over Céleste's head, somewhere by the royal dais.

She wanted to turn around, but Sébastien held her in place, his arm still linked with hers. She frowned, wishing to release a moan of discontent. "What is it? Tell me, I can—"

"—No." His features hardened as he returned his unusually cold eyes to her. "I think I know what is happening. I... will be back." He squeezed her forearm and released her; and before she could utter another word, he scurried through the crowd and slipped past the doors, his forest-green frock coat floating behind him.

Stuck in the midst of an ocean of unknown faces and bright colors, she backed away. The nobles had long since stopped looking at her, thank the Heavens; but surrounded by their overwhelming perfumes and twinkling jewelry, her head spun.

Struggling to keep her balance, she scanned the room for familiar features; but all those she knew were otherwise occupied. None had seen what happened, or none cared to rescue her from the dance-floor where Sébastien abandoned her.

She was alone.

As she continued to march backwards, a few curious onlookers observed her, their lips thinning and noses turning up.

I cannot make a fool of myself!

Fanning her face, she flashed a wide smile. "Oh! What a delightful Prince! I-I need a drink!" Her voice was loud enough that the women who had been staring wrinkled their noses and turned away, returning to their gossip.

As soon as it was proper, Céleste scampered over to the buffet table, desperate to be out of the spotlight. She had seen enough already, clutching on to Sébastien's arm, drowning in Clémentine's mysterious glare, witnessing Marguerite's capture—

Her breaths were quick as she approached the table and pivoted, slowing her strides, and only stopping when her back was an inch from the thick clothed surface.

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