Week 2 entry for October: Brigit's Flame
Note: Oh, my. It's 11:56 here, and I really hope I managed to get this in. Heh. I did this in such a hurry, just now, but I hope it still is okay.
Sometimes, Kathryn wonders why she wants to be one of them.
Perhaps it is because everything in that room looks like a lovely, lovely fairy tale.
“Miss Kathryn Rose, what on goodness’ earth are you doing just standing there, and poking your head into things you’re not supposed to be concerning yourself with?”
With a start, she stops looking into the hall, from her corner behind the secret compartment that leads to the kitchen, and quickly looks up—only to find the head maidservant looking at her with such utter disapproval. Her mouth is set in a thin line, and it is all Kathryn could do not to shudder—because really, getting the woman angry is not what you want when you’re working under her.
She tries on a big, bright smile.
“Oh, hello, Miss Melice, I didn’t see you! Um, I was just looking out, you know, a quick peek, to see who needed some water or food or anything or—ow, ow, ow!”
“You little wench! Get back to work now and stop snooping!”
“But I wasn’t snooping—”
And her ear is twisted, much to her dismay. Several minutes later, Kathryn could practically hear her head buzzing from the very heavy reprimand—mostly involving irritated words, and a promise to be given extra work tomorrow. She sighs, and thinks that maybe it is for the best—because really, her snooping is already giving her mind too much imagination, of what it would be like to be inside there, and to mingle and dance with all that beauty, all that loveliness.
She is just a servant, and that is just a dream. Of course it couldn’t happen.
Cinderella is just a fairy tale, after all.
Kathryn turns around and goes back to where the kitchen is, to start her work and make herself useful—
—and she stops.
Because it is the voice that she’s always been dreaming to say her name, and sweep her off her feet.
Or at least, that’s what she tries to tell herself—because this voice is safer, and better to dream about than...someone else.
She turns around, and her face softens. She smiles.
“Prince Luc. Hello.”
The handsome prince grins, his light brown eyes sparkling and his face looking so, so perfect that it almost takes her breath away. He holds out a hand, and says the words she has never thought she’d hear.
“Would you like to come to the ball with me? I have a dress that you would look adorable in.”
Maybe sometimes, fairy tales could come true.
He doesn’t know why he doesn’t recognize her the first time she comes out.
Her hair is the same color, and so are her eyes—silky black threads flowing in curls on her shoulder, and gray orbs that seem to look like smoky fumes most of the time. Perhaps it’s the dress that distracts him at first, because he has never seen her wear such a thing—it’s almost as if it’s made for her, the way it flutters around her knees and gracefully embodies her being.
She is in the arms of his brother, the Prince. They are dancing together in the middle of the hall, him whispering in her ear, and her smiling softly, and looking at him with such sparkling, happy eyes and swaying gracefully to the music that it seems like she almost belongs here, with all these royalties and all these blue-blooded people that are born with golden spoons in their mouths.
His mouth goes dry, at the way her skin glows, and the way her smile emphasizes it.
His hand tightens on his wine glass, as Prince Luc whispers further in her ear, and touches her waist as they dance, making her lean her head a little bit more on his shoulder, her smile growing.
He knows she is just a servant of the palace, but sometimes, he couldn’t help himself from thinking that she is the bright joy of this whole place—which is why he has always treated her with such contempt, and never a kind word or gesture.
Michael Edwards has always been contradictory that way.
Sometimes, he wonders why she always looks out of place when she is dressed in her cleaning garments—she looks better as a princess, with her lovely face and her kind heart.
He tries to tell himself she isn’t lovely. He tries to tell himself she is annoying, and not at all compassionate.
He tries to tell himself he doesn’t want to be near her, because her presence is just sometimes too intoxicating that he doesn’t seem to want to do anything at all except touch her, and feel what it’s like.
His brother presses a kiss on her cheek.
Michael doesn’t realize that the glass in his hand is already broken.
She will never understand how it’s happened, and why it is happening. One minute, she is out in the hall, a place she is not supposed to be in, had it not been for the kindness of the Prince—then the next minute, a few moments after Prince Luc has gone to get some drinks, she is being dragged on the arm by a looming figure that she doesn’t recognize yet, in all the rush that the gesture holds. She is stunned, so maybe that is why she doesn’t protest—she merely stares at the figure, until they are in another room, where the lights are out and the sounds of the laughter and merriment are far away. Only whispers now, that filter through her ears, and makes her know that at least she isn’t taken too far away.
It is only when he turns around to face her that she recognizes.
It is only when he speaks that her heart flutters in a way that she doesn’t want it to.
“P-Prince Michael. I—”
“What are you doing with my brother?”
The words are blunt, as they always are with him. With her. She doesn’t understand why he is always angry at her, when she has done nothing to him, nothing at all. Sometimes, it hurts—but she doesn’t let the hurt get to her, she tries not to. As usual, she ends up confused, and trying to explain what shouldn’t be explained in the first place.
“I was dancing with Prince Luc, your highness. He asked me to come to the dance, I—I wasn’t doing anything wrong—”
“You were flirting with him.”
She blushes, though she knows she is doing no such thing. He steps closer. She shakes her head, and tries to explain again.
“You were. Don’t deny it.”
For a moment, a spark of irritation flares, and it is reflected in her eyes. Suddenly, she is not so patient anymore. Who does he think is? She decides that the best option is to just leave—and she does just that, her head bowing slightly with a muttered goodnight, then holding herself high as she starts to walk out of the room.
She is stopped, by his hand on her arm again. He pulls her closer, and unable to help it, she stumbles and is pulled, her face now inches from him. She tries to get away, but he wouldn’t let her.
His blue eyes are so, so cold, it’s almost scary. There is a fury in them that she has never seen before.
“Your highness, I wasn’t flirting with him. It is best if you understand that, because your brother and I are just friends and—”
“Friends don’t touch each other like that.”
The spark of irritation grows. “We are not touching each other in any inappropriate—”
“I know what you’re after,” he interrupts once more, his voice cool and calm. “You are flirting with him to get in his bed, so you could con him to fall under your spell and get some money out of it. That’s it, isn’t it?”
She doesn’t know why, but suddenly her temper snaps—and before she knows it, she is lunging at him, her eyes firing up, her fury dictating to do what she does next.
He lets her arm go, as her hand connects with his right cheek, and for a moment, she is stunned once more—the sound is sharp, and very clear.
She realizes what she has done, and immediately backs away. But she doesn’t stop glaring, as she turns around, and prepares to stalk off and leave, just leave. She takes a step, her heart hurting, because he has always been cruel, and—
Kathryn manages no more than a startled gasp, as he grabs her again, and wheels her around.
“Take your hands off me.”
“Don’t you dare do that again.” His voice isn’t cool now, but molten hot. His eyes have grown in fury, all but scorching her with his look. Her heart is beating so fast, but she tries to ignore it, and tries to glare again, holding her chin up in a movement of utter courage.
“I will do anything I please, and I can be with anyone I want, even if I am just a servant. Now take your hands—”
“Your manners are still not intact, I see. It looks like I need to teach you a lesson.”
“I don’t need—” She tries to shrug his arm off, but he tightens his grip. “Prince Michael, you are rude and unintelligible and—”
Her breath catches in another gasp when he suddenly, abruptly drags her against him. She feels her body slam against his, his arms coming around her. Her gray eyes flash in shock when she sees those hot, dangerous blue eyes, and realizes exactly how he is going to teach her the lesson.
Her heart beats even faster.
She tells herself it couldn’t, it shouldn't, as he grips her hair, his gaze burning into her.
He utters only a sentence.
“Let’s both stop talking for a minute.”
And his mouth closes over hers.
She fights him. She likes to believe she does. She has been prepared to fight him, to hiss and scratch and claw, the minute she realizes what he is up to. What he’s been intending to do. He has no right, no right to do this to her. No right at all, and she knows that.
His mouth is hard and hot, and plundering hers in a way that leaves her no choice but to feel it. His body is hard, pressing hers close in a way that leaves her no choice but to be molded against him, to feel the same body tighten with every growing second. She could taste the anger on his mouth, as well as the frustration. And something else, something that is coming dangerously close to the surface.
Her breath hitches.
She realizes that Michael Edwards, in a fairy tale, is the villain—the dark man who would make sure she does not get her happy ending. But she kisses him back, anyway, because her knees are weakening and her blood is simmering and everything is becoming a big, big blur.
Her heart is aching, and wanting for him to be kind to her, for just a moment—the way he is kind to everybody else.
He has no right to make her feel this way—and she knows she needs to stop him sometime.
But she wants him to go on and on and on.
Like fuel to the fire inside her.
Eventually, the kisses turn soft, and sweet—he pulls her closer, so gently, as if she is the most fragile thing he has ever handled. His mouth moves, raining kisses on her face, and it is all she could do not to melt, as she grips his arms, touches his hair, and lets herself drown in the feeling.
She tries to tell herself he is cruel, and will never be kind.
She tries to forget the lovely heart he has, when he is with his family.
She tries to never remember his face that she always sees in her dreams, even when she wants it gone.
It has no right to be there.
Abruptly, he pulls away, and leaves her cold once more. She opens her eyes, and finds that it is still dark, and still silent—and he is looking at her with something she could not understand, and something she wants to, so much.
Then he leaves, without a word. Without a look back.
And Kathryn stays, her heart still beating fast, and hurting.
Because fairy tales can be cruel.
Because Michael Edwards is the man she loves, and the man she is never going to have.
He is getting married tomorrow.