•S E V E N T Y•

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♪ I pity the fools who believe in you                         Cause I know someday now they'll see your colors too ♪{Duffy—Rain On Your Parade}

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♪ I pity the fools who believe in you
                         Cause I know someday now they'll see your colors too ♪
{Duffy—Rain On Your Parade}

As her lavender skirts brushed over the main staircase steps, Céleste sighed.

Four days of being cooped up—except for her brief tea date with Sébastien—rendered her sore and stir-crazy.

So when she received a note from her brother to meet in the Winter Garden, she didn't want to refuse.

She should have warned Marguerite first; but ever since the woman rushed out of Harriet's room, two days prior, Céleste hadn't seen her.

Marguerite locked the adjoining door, refused all contact, and kept to herself. Céleste got wind of her mumbling and pacing at all hours of the day, and even at night—but she heeded Marguerite's request to be alone, though something pinched her belly at the thought of what she might be plotting.

And Johanna told Céleste Marguerite barely ate, but wouldn't divulge anything else; the serving girl wasn't allowed in the room either.

Erasing her thoughts, Céleste arrived at the bottom of the stairs and puffed out her chest. But she couldn't halt the memories—those from the seconds after Marguerite had disappeared. How Harriet had whimpered about her going to the authorities to have her arrested; and how Céleste had to remind her her father was the culprit, not her.

And how, after waiting an hour, Céleste realized Marguerite wouldn't return.

So for the next two long days, Céleste was alone again. Though this time, she couldn't eavesdrop on any conversations, as Marguerite kept all her thoughts internal—aside from the indecipherable mumbling.

Lost in her reflections, Céleste didn't realize she had arrived before the Winter Garden door until her nose nearly smacked into it. Tiny shimmering lights from the torches escaped through the glass, brightening the Long Corridor, giving her courage to enter. Courage to face her brother.

She inhaled and pushed the door as a wave of anxiety coursed through her.

Emeric hadn't spoken to her since before the Ball for Romain, and she was sure he was still angry with her. Esther vaguely mentioned at one point that they were fine, but Céleste was certain her brother still held on to the grudge—he always did.

And yet, he summoned her. To make amends? Or to reprimand her more?

As her gaze moved to the right, to the bench where she and Sébastien had confided their dreams to each other not that long ago, she saw her sibling. Clad in gray from head to toe, his dark blond hair combed back, as usual, Emeric stood tall though his shoulders slumped. He turned, hearing the ruffle of Céleste's skirts, and his eyes creased as he smiled.

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