t w e l v e | Lights

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t w e l v e | Lights

"How's the nerves?" Alexander asked while looking out the window of the car.

I looked away from the window and glanced at him at his sudden question. I couldn't be blamed for being surprised, considering the car ride had been twenty minutes long and he hadn't said a thing till now.

The whole thing had seemed a bit over the top to me when the sleek black Mercedes had been waiting with the driver (an old man with kind eyes and an even kinder smile) who had introduced himself as Henry. Bernice had bid me goodbye before rattling off more things to remember as I got seated.

Alexander had then appeared a minute or so later, sliding into the back seat next to me from the other door. All he did was give me a nod before turning to the window, and that was that. Which was why I was a little taken aback at the sudden question.

"Surprisingly okay," I answered truthfully.

"Good. Because we're almost there."

At that, I turned to look out the window to see he was right. We were approaching a mansion that anyone could tell even from that distance had to be hosting some sort of celebration with how brightly lit it was from the inside.

Well, here goes.

Grandeur was all I could see just when I stepped outside the car

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Grandeur was all I could see just when I stepped outside the car.

Henry stopped the car in front of the steps of the mansion just like the guests before us, and a man wearing what looked like some sort of a black uniform opened my car door with a greeting smile and an offered hand. Getting out of the car, I looked ahead where the lights shone bright and the decoration even brighter. Distractedly, I noticed that Alexander had made it beside me and the car was now pulling away.

I looked to him, seeing him nodding towards the steps.

One deep breath, I told myself.

And now get moving.

I walked ahead with Alexander to the opening of what had to be—wait, a mansion couldn't be right. It didn't do the place justice. It was something only a step down from a castle but undoubtedly a step up from celebrity luxury.

The Marsdens were not messing around.

"Miss, your shawl?" The man by the door asked with a polite smile as we'd just made it up the steps and were barely inside. It took me a second to understand what he'd meant but when I did, I pulled it off and handed it to him; seeing him neatly fold it as he headed to the right to what I assumed was the coat room to hang it up.

I turned to see that Alexander had paused beside me as he waited and so I gestured for us to get going. That's when I realized that was the first time he was really looking at the dress I was wearing, which was interesting.

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