Love Comes In Many Dangerous Forms


I walked into the kitchen and saw Jimmy sitting on the counter with his sippy cup. Vera handed me a bowl of oatmeal, and leaned against the pantry, “I know what you did.”

I sighed, shoving the spoon into my mouth, know exactly what she was about to say.

“You gave your food away again,” she scolded me as she sipped her tea, her brown eyes narrowed at me.

“It’s not even my food, it’s theirs; my parents steal it from them. I was just giving it back to those who work for it,” I shook my head pushing the bowl away. “I don’t deserve it.”

“Yes you do,” Vera pushed the misshapen metal bowl back to me. “Now eat.”

“I’m not hungry,” I waved her off, picking Jimmy back up as he held onto his tiny cup.

She rolled her eyes at me taking another sip of the steaming liquid, “You’re eating tomorrow.”

I raised my free hand in surrender, “Fine, fine.”

“Good, did you get her dress fitted?” she turned to the Audrey.

“Yes, but she shrunk it quite a bit,” Audrey glared at me. “You’re not allowed to lose any more weight.”

“My mother would have a heart attack if she heard you say that to me,” I told her honestly.

“The let’s go tell her right now,” her chestnut colored hair bounced in excitement as she thought of the idea.

I rolled my eyes at her as I leaned against the counter, “Do you have everything ready for tomorrow night?”

“Yes, we’ll set it up later today,” Vera answered me.

“What abo–” I started, but Audrey cut me off.

“The floors have been waxed, the windows have been washed, the ceiling has been dusted and free of any cobwebs, the invitations have been handed out, and the cook knows what to make for the party and your cake has already been made,” she ticked each one of them off of her fingers.

“Good, now have you passed the inventions to the villagers?” I ran my free hand through my still damp hair.

Audrey pulled the envelopes out of the drawer and handed them to me, “You have to help me hand the out, Nicole.”

I took taking the neat pile of envelopes my last initial was stamped in gold onto the seal of the stainless white parchment. I ran my index finger over the stamp, feeling the indent around the ‘B’ and smiled, “Let’s go.”


I adjusted my cloak as I slid off of Aiden’s back; my hand grasped the pile of envelopes. My smile seemed permanently cemented onto my face as I tied Aiden to a nearby tree as Audrey did the same with Tessa.

“Nicole?” I heard a small voice behind me ask.

I turned around and saw two familiar figures peering behind a large oak tree.

“Hey Juliana, Fredrick,” I smiled bending down to their level.

They looked at Audrey with untrusting eyes as she gave them a weak smile.

“It’s alright, she doesn’t bite,” I beckoned them with my free hand to come closer. “Now how would you two like to go to Princess Cassiel’s ball?”

Their faces lit up as I spoke those words, and I gave them two of the invitations from the top of the pile, “Now be careful with these, and don’t lose them okay?”

“Okay Nicole,” they said in unison, but Juliana asked me after she spoke, “Are you going to be there?”

I nodded, smiling slightly as she beamed up at me, “Will there be food for everybody?”

“Uh huh,” I told them. “The ball starts at eight o’clock, and I would love if you and your family would go.”

They agreed eagerly, “We’ll see you there Nicole!” Fredrick called to me as he grabbed his sister by the arm and walked towards their small house that was on the verge of collapsing.

I chewed on my bottom lip as I watched the house nervously; Audrey’s hand came down on my shoulder, “You’ll be able to help them when you take the throne.”

“But will it be soon enough?” those words left my unmoving lips.

“Let’s not think about that now,” her hand left my shoulder, and she took a handful of envelopes from the pile in my hands. “Let’s finish handing out these.”

I put on the best smile I could pull off for the rest of the day as I handed each one of the villagers their invitations until every one of them got one.

I was almost reluctant to go back to the castle, but I knew I had to. But it reassured me that the closer my birthday was, the sooner it would be over.

“What are we doing tonight?” I asked her, side-saddling Aiden as she did the same with Tessa.

“Well, we need to start beatifying you, and we should probably put rollers in your hair, so it won’t be a problem tomorrow,” she grinned evilly at me.

“Great,” I muttered under my breath in distaste.

“It’s not that bad, you baby,” she still had that smile on her face, and I groaned.

“Yeah it is,” I scoffed at her as she raced ahead of me, she was already at the stables giving Tessa to one on the stable-hands

I threw Aiden’s reins at her which she caught with ease and gave him to the same stable-hand, “Come on,” she smiled evilly as she jerked on my arm, nearly pulling it out of its socket.

“Ow,” I immediately pulled my arm back, massaging, rolling my eyes at her. “I’m not a Barbie doll, Audrey.”

“You are to me, now let’s go,” she whined, stopping her feet like a two year old.

“And you call me a baby,” I shook my head at her as I brushed by her, my mouth set into a permanent frown when she squealed and ran – or in my case, being dragged – all the way upstairs to my room. Tristan was leaning against my dresser, his arms were crossed over his chest; a small smile was on his lips as he watched the four others in the room. Vera was sitting down on the end of my bed, braiding Carly’s blonde hair. Jimmy sat beside her, staring intently at Blaine, subconsciously rolling his small car on the covers of the bed.

“Hey sweetie,” I greeted him, kissing his cheek.

“Hi Cassie,” he smiled widely at me, exposing his small white teeth, he grabbed onto my index and middle fingers, holding them in his hand.

“Where’s Elizabeth at?” I asked Vera as she placed a few daisies in Carly’s perfect braid.

“With Athen,” she explained, her soft brown eyes look at me. “Are you feeling better?”

“I’m fine,” I sat on the soft bed letting Jimmy play with my fingers as Audrey started ransacking my bathroom and vanity.

But suddenly she stopped short, as did everyone as we heard the clicking of high heels against the marble floor. Hillary.

“Hide,” I mouthed to Blaine who immediately melted into my shadow, and I pulled Jimmy closer into my side, shielding him from my sister.

“I thought you were back,” was the first thing that came out of her mouth as she walked through the opened door. Her face was masked by globs of makeup; her hair was perfectly curled with her tiara that she never took off. Her hazel eyes were glaring holes into my brain and her tight lips were pulled up into a smirk. “Oh and you have a welcoming party, how sweet? Too bad your boy toys aren’t here.”

“What do you want Hill?” I hissed at her, leaning over Jimmy as my grip tightened slightly around him.

“Aw Cass, I’m hurt, I just wanted to talk. You know girl to girl, sister to sister, princess to slut,” she sneered, but then smiled sweetly as she spoke the last word.

“You must be talking about yourself,” Audrey defended me, baring her teeth at my sister. “You might to get self-esteem checked if you’re calling yourself a slut, just a little advice.”

“Shut up, Prostitute,” Hillary snapped, not tearing her glare away from me.

“I don’t appreciate you using that kind of language in front of children,” I informed her. “And Audrey is not a ‘Prostitute’.”

“Selling away your body, and then she gave all the money to her master. Now what does that sound like?” she grinned as Audrey crouched in front of her, a growl ripped through her throat. “And you’re the one to talk Cass, isn’t that what you did? Except you claimed it as rape which you told everybody and instead of money, you got him to kill Michael for you. I know the truth Cassie, and you can’t hide it anymore.”

“Hillary, please,” Vera pled; her normally happy face was broken and torn.

“I don’t have to answer to you anymore, Vera,” she snapped, her voice was like ice.

I clicked my tongue against the roof of my mouth, “You remember Tristan, don’t you Hillary?”

Her stone cold face turned confused, but then she spotted the figure standing by my dresser, and her mouth dropped open slightly. But he didn’t look at her, he was still staring me, his violet eyes narrowed slightly at me – like he was trying to understand something.

Her words came out incoherent gasps, until I heard, “How?”

“That’s why I’ve been gone, that’s why I go away for so long. I look for him, but you knew that. I told you and Mom and Dad that he was still out there, alive. But you didn’t listen to me, like always do,” I glared at her.

“Like I’ve told you before he’s not our brother anymore. And he is worse than dead, he’s one of them,” she spit in my face. “He lost the chance to be my big brother when left me.”

“Hillary,” he reached out to her, but she backed away shaking her head angrily.

“Do not you worthless scum! I have only one thing to say, you made the worst mistake of our life when you chose that filthy bitch’s life over your mortality, but I guess it was worth it because now you can see what a lying whore she turned into,” she spat venomously and she spun on her skinny pointed heel and ran out of my room without another word.

“Well she’ll be nominated for the sister of the year award,” Audrey rolled her eyes, slamming the door shut and locked it.

“She didn’t mean that, you know?” I bit my lip as I turned toward Tristan. “She still loves you.”

“And you?” he sighed, running his hand through his dirty blonde hair.

“She stopped caring about me a long time ago,” I murmured, stroking Jimmy’s hair, trying to calm down.

“Hillary tried to kill Cassie a few months ago,” Audrey explained, pulling my hair up, exposing my neck. “She tricked Shane into doing that to her,” she jabbed her finger pointedly at the large scar and then let my hair loose. “And I wouldn’t doubt that she will try to murder her again.”

“Why would she do that?” he asked appalled.

“She absolutely hates Cassie for ‘winning’ the competition between them, Cass becomes queen and Hillary turns into a nobody,” she continued, spraying my hair with water so it would be damp and set the white clothed sponges next to her. “And I looked your scores, you should have been voted for every time, you would have kicked Hillary ass big time.”

“It really was rigged,” Vera sighed, twisting a lock of her hair back into her bun.

I leaned against the bedframe, closing my eyes as Audrey and Vera rolled the sponges into my hair.

Hopefully, tomorrow would be a better day, but I sincerely doubted it.


“Wake up, Birthday Girl,” I heard a soft voice whisper in my ear.

I groaned, turning away from the voice.

“Can I flip her now?” another voice pled. Audrey.

Aw damn.

“I’m up, I’m up,” I surrendered, giving up the cover of the warm sheets. “No need to flip me off the bed, and almost break my neck, like you did last year,” I narrowed my accusing eyes at Audrey who was looking innocently back at me.

“Happy birthday, Baby Girl,” Vera smiled at me and set down a sliver tray in front of me with orange juice, pancakes, and a small bottle of syrup all placed onto the tray perfectly.

“Thank you,” I smiled at her and started cutting the pastry into small pieces and drizzled the thick syrup on top. I staked one of the pieces and popped it into my mouth as Audrey started unraveling the hair sponges out, releasing each lock of hair that was now a perfect bouncing ringlet.

“What’s the schedule today?” I asked after I swallowed, and downed part of my orange juice.

“Just getting you ready for the ball, that’s pretty much it,” Vera shrugged tucking one of the ringlets behind my ear.

“Thank God,” I shoved another bite into my mouth and gave the plate back to Vera.

“All of it,” she ordered, crossing her arms across her chest, refusing to take it.

I sighed and did as she said and she took the tray happily and set it on the nightstand, but then her eyes snapped towards the door.

“Please tell me it’s not Hillary again,” I closed my eyes, knocking the back of my head against my wooden bedframe.

“It’s not her…” Audrey trailed off, taking the last ringlet out of its casement.

I reopened my eyes and looked at the door.

“Hey,” Shane spoke softly, looking at me with desperate eyes. “Can we talk?”

“Um yeah,” I felt my mouth turn down slightly in confusion as I looked at him.

“Let’s go, Audrey,” Vera commanded, taking the tray leading her out the door.

“But-but… her hair!” I heard her protest.

I let out a small short laugh, “The hair can wait, Audrey.”

She glared at me, pointing a single finger at me, “You touch it, and you die.”

I raised my hands up in surrender, “Trust me, I won’t.”

She seemed satisfied enough with my answer and sauntered out the door, knocking into Shane’s shoulder, but he didn’t pay attention to her.

“I’ve never seen you with ringlets before,” he mused, obviously avoiding the subject. “It suits you.”

“Thank you,” I felt my face heat up when he didn’t avert his eyes from my face. “What is that you want to talk about?”

“I want to apologize about the other night,” he sat on the end of the bed, hi green eyes never broke contact with mine. “I’m so sorry that didn’t tell you about your family, I truly am.”

“There’s nothing to forgive,” I shook my head at him. “I guess it’s what I get for not telling them about what I have.”

“I still should have told you,” he frowned at me and then looked around my bedroom. “Were you here alone all night last night?”

“It was just me and Jimmy, Blaine might have stayed, but I’m not sure. Why?” I tilted my head to the side as he glared out the window.

“I don’t feel comfortable with you just here with Jimmy, you don’t know who’ll come in when you’re unprotected,” he explained, his eyes scanned the calm forest, no black-purple fire haunting me.

“I can have Blaine stay with us, I don’t think he’ll mind,” I felt my chest swell in a way that was mildly uncomfortable, but at the same time it made me feel strange – in a good way – so I welcomed it.

“Blaine can only kill one person at a time, and that takes minutes.”

“I could have Audrey or Vera here with me… unless; you would like to stay here again. You don’t have to though, I would understand if you-” he pressed his finger against my lips, saving me from rambling any longer.

“I would like to make sure you were safe myself, if you wouldn’t mind,” he pulled his hand back, and I gave him a small smile.

“No, no I don’t mind at all,” I shook my head, biting my bottom lip as I looked up at him.

“And what about your parents and Colton?” he smirked back at me, stepping closer to me, so that he was only a few inches away from me.

“I’m fine with that,” I raised my eyebrows at him. “Are you?”

“Uh-huh,” he leaned down so that our lips were only centimeters apart when I heard my bedroom door slam open.

“Times up, her hair can’t wait anymore!” Audrey yanked my arm, and drug me into the bathroom before I could even look at Shane again. She pushed me down into the chair and examined my curls.

She seemed happy and a sickly sweet smelling cloud of mist washed over me, of course she had to bring out the hairspray.

“Haven’t you ever heard of knocking?” I coughed as I took in a breath hoping that I wouldn’t have any toxic air around me, I was wrong.

“Not when my best friend is in a room alone with a boy, who obviously is attracted to you, and on your birthday. And we all know what happens on birthdays,” she said the last part in a singsong voice.

I felt like my face was on fire as she spoke, “You’re wrong, and that wouldn’t happen. We weren’t doing anything,” I told her honestly as she pinned the curls to my scalp so I had a loose up-do.

“’You weren’t doing anything’ well what the hell was he doing with his lips that close to yours, Miss-It’s-My-Birthday-And-I-Know-Everything?” she tapped her foot impatiently, her arms crossed with makeup brushes in hand.

“I have no idea; I didn’t even know he was going to kiss me… How do you know that he wanted to kiss me?” I frowned as she.

“Cassie, are you sure that that freaky genetic defect with your eyes doesn’t make you blind? Have you ever been kissed before?”

“Yes I have, seven people to be exact,” I sighed as she applied powder to my face, “Six were forced upon me, five of those were guards and the sixth one was my rapist,” I reminded her.

“And your seventh one?” she bit her bottom lip. “And stop bringing them up, they don’t matter anymore, especially since it’s your birthday, four of them are dead anyway.”

I smiled weakly at her, “My seventh person was actually my first kiss; I was seven.”

“Okay, who was it?” she demanded, her chin jutting out slightly.

“It’s was Michael,” I chewed on the inside of my cheek, trying to keep from smiling as she traced my lips with lipstick.

“Aw, that’s so sweet,” she awed, but then the window blew open and a gust of frigid air surrounded me.

“Hey,” I couldn’t hold back my grin any longer as I felt him tuck a strand of hair behind my ear.

“That’s him?” Audrey’s jaw went slack as she looked around the room.

I nodded, getting up so that I could close the opened window, and locked it.

“Happy birthday, Angel,” I heard him whisper in my ear.

“Thank you,” I breathed, turning to where I heard his voice – still, I saw nothing.

“Um, could you please not destroy Cassiel’s bathroom, again,” Audrey stated awkwardly.

All that was heard was his joyous laugh.

That was odd. I thought to myself, last time I saw – heard – him; he was distressed, enough so that he would break my bathroom to make his point. Maybe whoever, there were only two people who would scare him, was bothering him backed off and left me alone.

“Let me finish you up,” Audrey shoved me back into the chair and continued with my makeup.

I sighed and answered each of her questions she threw at me. Most of them were either about me and Michael or me and Shane.

“Why do you keep talking about it, nothing happened,” I told her as she brushed mascara across my lashes.

“’Nothing happened’ my ass,” she rolled her eyes screwing the cap back on the tube of black oily clay. “He likes you, Cassie. Half of the men out there would marry you in an instant if they had the chance, most of the male servants and guards stalk you through the halls and watch you when you go outside. Are you blind?”

“They do not stalk me, they just have places to go,” I waved it off as she placed the onyx stone tiara into the mesh of hair.

“Yeah, exactly where you are,” she flicked my nose lightly and moved so that she wasn’t blocking the mirror. “What do you think?”

I stared at the girl in mirror. Her pale complexion was smooth and soft, a light tint of pink clouded her cheeks. Her freakish purple eyes were framed by dark eye shadow with a very slight violet blending around the edges. Her long thick lashes casted shadows across her cheeks from the bright light hanging above her head, making her skin glow. Her perfect bow shaped lips were soft and coated in a deep red gloss. Her hair was a cascade of golden ringlets that hung down loosely; her tiara sparkled as she tilted her head to the side, her dark red lips were turned down slightly.

I knew that girl was me, but it wasn’t. That was the girl my parents made up to be, the girl who eager to please them, the girl who would do anything for her family just to love her again. I wasn’t that girl anymore.

“You don’t like it?” she bit her lip, worried.

“No, I do. It’s perfect,” I gave her a weak smile, getting up from the chair. “So where’s my dress?”

“Right here,” Vera smiled as she leaned against the door way, dress bag in hand.

“Hey,” I smiled, turning away from the dreaded mirror.

“We need to get her in her dress, the guests are already in ballroom and Colton is outside,” Vera told us handing Audrey the bag which she opened immediately.

“He’s going?” I frowned as Audrey helped me out of my nightgown and into the mass of purple and black fabric.

Vera rolled her light brown eyes, pulling the corset stings so tight so that I could barely breathe, “You keep forgetting that marrying him in a month.”

“A month?” I gaped at her. “I haven’t even been fitted for the dress let alone seen it. And I don’t even have a ring on my finger.”

“It’s already been made and finished, you’ll start being fitted for it next week,” she explained tying the ends of the ribbon at the bottom of the corset into a neat black bow.

“Great,” I sighed. “Where’s the mask?”

Audrey scoffed as she reached for the black lace mask and tide it to my head, “Perfect,” she grinned, trying to turn me so I could see myself, but I pushed her away.

“Can we just go, please?” I told her tiredly as I walked to my bedroom and opened the door revealing a rather impatient Colton.

“Are you ready?” my question stopped him in his track and turned towards me.

“Um,” he stared at me and it was starting to make me uncomfortable.

“Yeah, yeah,” Audrey rolled her eyes. “She looks beautiful, and you don’t mess up your make up or your hair,” she ordered me.

“Okay,” I raised my hands in surrender wanting to hide back in my room again.

“Good, now give her the ring,” she commanded.

“What?” he frowned at her.

She let out an irritated huff, “The engagement ring? You’re marring her, remember? Do I have to remind everyone?”

“Oh, right,” he took the piece of silver out of his pocket and handed me the ring.

I placed it on my left ring finger, not really paying attention to it.

“You’re hopeless,” Audrey groaned. “I have to go help out downstairs; I’ll see you in two minutes. And Dog you better behave yourself or I will have to put a leash on you.”

I almost laughed, but quickly caught myself, “Sorry about her.”

“Let’s just go,” he sighed.

There was peaceful silence surrounding us, which helped me get my mind off of being judged by all of the stuck up humans who loved to put other people down because it made them feel better. But knowing that the villagers were down there too helped me the most.

I hooked my left arm around his, “Ready?”

“No, not really.”

“It’ll be okay, at least I hope,” I gave him a weak smile as we approached the door, the guards opened them and we walked in unison through the doorway. My eyes traveled around the open room which seemed awfully crowded. I saw a little figure waving at me. Jimmy.

I smiled at him and noticed Shane was standing next to him. I gave him a slight nod, so nobody but him would notice.

I rested my right hand on the wrought iron railing, keeping shoulders back and my chin up. I had to keep pace with Colton; I couldn’t be behind him or in front of him. I stared straight ahead, afraid to face the people that were determined to make my life a living hell.

I did smile at the villagers that I did see. You could easily pick them out of the crowd; they were the only ones not wearing masks or ridiculous dresses. I let out a sigh of relief as we reached the bottom floor, and the middle of the room was ours. No one said a word as he wrapped his hands around my waist and took my left hand as I rested my right hand on his shoulder.

The orchestra started playing then, the melody started out soft and slow. Colton led me; it was a simple box step. But as the music became more elaborate, so did our dance. He twirled me and dipped me in harmony with the music. Every step was perfect, every motion we made was flawless, and we never broke eye contact.

Minutes later our dance was finished, I smiled and curtsied as he bowed. Our audience applauded us as he took me by the arm and led me into the crowd. We were immediately swarmed by the bystanders.

I plastered on a false smile as they gushed out their questions. I couldn’t understand most of them, all words molded together in one incoherent mush.

I turned to Colton, “I’m going to go find Jimmy.”

He nodded and I made my way through the crowd until I found Jimmy.

“Hey sweetie,” I picked him up, propping him up on my hip as I kissed his forehead. “Are you having fun?”

He nodded enthusiastically, “You danced so pweety Cassie.”

I laughed, “Promise me you’ll dance with me next time?”

He grinned, “Okay.”

I saw Shane smiling next to me.

“Well don’t you look hansom,” I smirked. “Where’s Carly?”

“With my mom,” he answered. “You look stunning.”

“You can thank Audrey for that,” I tried to ignore the blush that flooded my cheeks.

“Her eyes are up there, idiot,” Audrey snapped jokingly at him.

“Audrey,” I gaped at her.

She laughed as she walked away, “Love ya, Cass!”

“I’m so sorry about her, I think she drank something she shouldn’t have,” I bit my lip nervously, my face felt.

“Its fine Cassiel,” he stared after her with a slight frown.

“I want to dance,” Jimmy rested his head against my shoulder.

I smiled, “I have to go, but you have to save me a dance,” I called over my shoulder.

I didn’t hear a protest, so I guessed that was a good thing.

“Ready?” I asked Jimmy who was still propped on my hip; I took his hand in my free one.

He nodded smiling.

I started twirling us in a circle, not really paying attention to the music or the people glaring at us with accusing eyes. That is until something rammed into my back, I turned around to see a man towering over me with an apologetic look on his face. He had dark ebony hair with eyes to match. His skin was pale, but had a slight touch of olive tome to it. He was dressed in a perfectly fitted black tuxedo and a simple white mask that covered the right side of his face.

“I’m so sorry,” I excused myself immediately.

“I believe it’s I who should be apologizing, my princess,” he bowed not tearing his eyes away from mine.

I smiled slightly, trying to ignore the feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me to run.

“Perhaps I could make it up to you with a dance?” he mused, extending his hand a smirk seemed to be permanently set on his face.

I smiled timidly and set Jimmy down after I located Vera nearby, “Jimmy could you go over to Vera for a minute?”

“Otway Cassie,” he told me, but he stared at the nameless person who stood next to me.

Bit my lip as he took my hand and placed wrapped his hands around my waist as I hooked my arms hesitantly around his neck. He moved us in a circle, always repeating and never ending. I felt very vulnerable under his gaze. I sighed in relief as the song came to an end, but he didn’t let go, until I pulled away.

“I hope you have a lovely rest of the night,” he kissed my hand after he spoke those words. I didn’t know why, but I felt like it was a threat.

“You too,” I smiled hesitantly as he released me, and left without another word.

I felt a cold shiver work its way down my spine as I turned away from where he stood, and walked towards Vera and Jimmy.

“Who was that?” she asked me, offering me a glass of water.

“I have no idea,” I looked back to where he was standing, but was no longer there. I just shook my head as I downed the glass and placed it back onto the tray.

“Where’s Nicole?” I heard a familiar voice behind me.

I automatically turned towards the familiar voice and saw the two little red heads standing a few feet away from me, but once they saw me they bowed and then immediately ran off. I was about to go after them, but Vera caught me by my arm, “They don’t know your Nicole.”

I sighed, “I wish I could tell them.”

“I know,” Vera let go of me and fixed one of the curls that was about to fall out.

“Thank you,” I picked Jimmy up and he rested his head against my shoulder. “Are you tired sweetie?”
He nodded weekly and when his face brushed against my neck I froze.

“Cassiel?” Vera looked back at me worriedly as I gently pulled away from Jimmy placing my hand on his forehead.

“Jimmy, are you alright?” I bit my bottom lip as I pulled my hand back and saw that my palm was tinted a dark pink. It had been burned.

“I’m just hot,” he blinked at me.

I nodded mutely I heard Vera, “What is it Cassiel?”

“Um, nothing,” I gave her a weak smile, and start looking for Athen and Elizabeth. I found them dancing contently in perfect tune with the music radiating from the orchestra above. “I’ll be right back.”

Athen was the first to take notice of me and he let go of Elizabeth, and stood in front of her, like I was a threat.

“Hello Cassiel,” she smiled at me pushing past her husband and hugged me. “Is there anything we could do for you?”

“’We’?” Athen scoffed turning away from us.

Elizabeth gave Athen a wary look but shook her head and turned back to me.

“Actually I was hoping you would watch Jimmy for the rest of the night,” I chewed on my bottom lip, my grip on Jimmy’s body tightened.

Elizabeth gave me a tender smile and was about to answer, but Athen hissed at me, “Why should we? Haven’t you done enough, we shouldn’t do anything for you or your pathetic family. If anything you should be the one waiting on us, serving us.”

“Athen,” Elizabeth snapped at him lightly.

“It’s the truth Elizabeth,” he defended himself.

I sighed shaking my head in disbelief, “I know that you hate me and my family for what happened to your family and the rest of your kind, but I just need this one thing and then you’ll be done with me.”

He walked up to me, his hate filled eyes glared down at me, “I will never do a thing for some worthless bitch who sits on the throne that was once my friend’s.”

“You took an oath to protect all members of species, Jimmy is a vampire. And he is Blaine and Clara’s son; I know that they were and are your friends, and I know that they would protect Shane and Carly if they could. Why don’t you do the same for Jimmy?” I stated my eyes stinging. “Please watch Jimmy, I don’t know what else to do.”

“What’s wrong?” Elizabeth stepped forward and gently placed her left hand on my shoulder staring into my eyes intently. “You look like you just saw death.”

I let out a shaky breath, “I feel like I’m about too.”

Elizabeth frowned, “Have you told anyone?”

I shook my head, “No I haven’t, and I would like it very much if you didn’t tell anyone.”

“Alright dear,” she smiled weakly at me, like she was genuinely concerned for me.

I kissed Jimmy’s cheek holding back the tears that threatened to escape, “I love you so much Jimmy.”

“Love you too, Mommy,” he tilted his head to the side trying to study my face, but I handed him to Elizabeth because I knew if I held him for one more second I wouldn’t be able to let him go.

“I hope you have a great rest of the night,” I parted with that, and started forward, that is until Hillary stopped me.

“What do you want Hill?” I snapped as I glared at her too innocent expression.

“I just wanted to offer you a drink, that’s all. I want things to go back to the way they were,” she explained offering me a frail glass that was filled to the top with deep red liquid. Red wine.

“I don’t drink, Hillary,” I pushed the glass away walking past her, but she caught me by the arm, her nails dug into my skin.

“Come on Cass, it’s your birthday. One drink, please? For me?” she smiled forcefully.

I narrowed my eyes at her as she let go of my arm and I took the glass and pressed it to my lips, just to humor her, I had no intention of drinking the liquid. I saw the eagerness in her hazel eyes and I pulled the glass back a few moments later, staring down at the contents that it contained. I saw little whit specks floating across the top of the wine. I let the glass slip out of my hand and it broke into hundreds of pieces across the marble floor.

“You might want to use a liquid poison next time, Hill,” I hissed in her ear as a few servants cleaned the floor.

Her eyes snapped to mine behind her pink feathered mask, “Bitch.”

I just rolled my eyes and walked away from her. I leaned against the far corner where no one could see or find me. I took the stupid mask off, blinking so that my vision was clear again.

“Are you alright?” I heard a familiar ask beside me.

“I’m fine,” I tried to convince not just Shane, but myself as well.

“I saw you taking to Hillary, what was that about?” he stood next to me his green eyes staring at me through his black mask.

I sighed, “She tried to poison me; I didn’t fall for it though.”

I saw his fists clench slightly out of the corner of my eye, “She shouldn’t be able to do that.”

“But she does,” I shrugged. “It’s not that big of a deal.”

“Are you serious?” he stared at me with an unreadable expression.

I blinked at him but he shook his head mutedly at me, offering me his hand, “Would you like to dance?”

“Sure,” I smiled taking his hand gratefully as he led us to the edge of the dancers, not bringing any attention to us thankfully.

A new song started and I immediately recognized it as my lullaby, “How?”

“I wrote down the sheet music and gave it to them,” he explained. “Tristan helped, it’s sort of your birthday present from all of us, since we couldn’t buy you anything. I know it’s not much but-”

“It’s perfect,” I smiled as I cut him off. “It’s actually more than perfect, thank you.”

“You’re welcome and happy birthday, Cassiel,” he wrapped his hand around my waist and took my left hand in his as I rested my free hand on his shoulder.

“Where’s Jimmy?” he asked me turning us in a full circle.

“With your mom and dad,” I tilted my head to where I left them and saw Elizabeth easily dancing with Jimmy and Athen with Carly.

He nodded, frowning slightly, “How did you convince my dad to watch him?”

“He’s Clara and Blaine’s child; I guess that was enough for him,” I explained shrugging.

“I’m sorry about him; he just doesn’t understand that human’s aren’t the evil ones. He believes King Derik and Queen Amelia. I tried talking to him yesterday, but he wouldn’t listen to me and said that you brainwashed everybody,” he started at his father, disappointment clouded his features.

“Its fine,” I brushed it off. “I’ve heard worse.”

He sighed, closing his eyes like he was holding back his anger, but his eyes snapped open and he looked towards his left, “Your friends are in trouble.”

I looked over and saw Fredrick and Juliana cowering under one of the guard’s gazes. “I’ll be right back,” I hissed tearing myself away from him.

“I’m coming with you,” he followed me, but kept his distance.

I approached them and saw the guard reach for the leather whip that was attached to his belt. He was about to bring the weapon down on them, but I quickly stepped in front of them. I hoped that the guard would realize that I was there, I wasn’t so lucky.

I heard the crack of the whip smack against my abdomen before I registered the pain. But when I did, I almost collapsed onto the floor; Shane steadied me before I could. I knew that wasn’t normal; there was vampire venom on that whip.

I heard Shane growl at the guard who was on his knees, his shaking hands were covering his face, “F-forgive me, m-my princess,” he stuttered fearfully.

I winced as I brought my hand to where my wound was and saw blood dripping from my fingertips. There wasn’t much, but damn it hurt like hell.

“Tell me why you about to strike these children,” I ordered sharply.

“They were about to eat your food, your highness,” he explained. “I was ordered to strike anyone who wanted to steal from you and your family.”

“Who ordered you?” I demanded as a bitter taste filled my mouth.

“The king and queen,” he answered immediately. “Please forgive me princess.”

“I accept you apology, but mark my words if I ever heard you or a member of your guard harm another person, mortal or immortal, the punishment will be severe,” I warned him and he nodded, and ran off into the cover of the crowd who was watching the whole scene play out.

“Are you alright?” Shane asked me staring at the small gash.

“I’m fine,” I muttered, pressing my hand against my side and winced.

But then I heard a small voice behind me, “Nicole?”

I turned around and saw Juliana staring at me intently, trying to see my true identity. I smiled at her and nodded, “Hey guys.”

She wrapped her arms the best she could around my skirts, “I knew you were the princess.”

“Did you now?” I laughed, trying to ignore the pain was radiating throughout my body – the venom was spreading.

“Cassiel,” Vera emerged from the sea of people and immediately grasped my hand. “We need to get that cleaned.”

“Alright,” I sighed. “Bye guys.”

“Bye Nicole,” they smiled and ran off to region with their parents.

Vera and Shane helped me to my bedroom and Vera led me to the bathroom closing the door behind us leaving Shane in my room. She unlaced the dress and examined the wound.

“It’s not too bad,” she let out a sigh of relief, and started cleaning the gash. She taped a piece of square cotton to my side and helped me into my white silk nightgown. “I cleaned out as much venom as I could, it should wear off in about an hour or so.”

“Okay,” I wetted my lips as she guided me to my bed and pulled the covers back.

“I’m going to help Audrey with the guests,” Vera gave me a small smile. “Love you, sweetheart.”

“Love you too, Vera,” I gave her a reassuring look and she left without another word.

“I’m going to go help her,” Shane decided after a moment of silence.

“You’re not staying,” I frowned sitting up slightly.

He pushed me back down gently, “I’ll be back soon.”

“Alright,” I bit my lip as I watched him leave shutting the door behind him.


It was probably about thirty minutes later when I heard my door open again, but it was too dark to see if it was Shane or Vera. I searched for my lamp’s switch, and found it and immediately turned the small plastic knob and my room was filled with light.

The figure standing at the end of my bed was most defiantly not Vera or Shane. I recognized it as the strange man I danced with earlier tonight. He was still wearing his mask and was dressed in the same tuxedo.

“May I help you with something?” my fingers tightened around my bed sheets as I spoke.

“Yes you can,” he smirked down at me as a terrifying familiar voice escaped his lips. And he removed his mask.

His hair suddenly turned a dark blonde, and his black eyes lightened into a deep blue. His olive toned skin shredded into pale flesh.

I held back my scream as he walked closer to me.

“Hello, my love,” he brushed his hand against my cheek and I felt ice shoot down my spine.

“What do you want?” I managed to keep my voice even as I cringed away from his touch.

“I think you know,” he tilted his head to the side like he was talking to a child. I wasn’t a child anymore.

But then he was gone and Shane walked through the door, “Cassiel?”

I opened my mouth to speak but I couldn’t make anything come out.

“What is it Cassiel?” he asked me stepping closer to me, but I shook my head.

“I-I-I have t-to go,” I stuttered out tears falling down my cheeks and I fumbled out of the covers. “Wh-where’s Jimmy?”

“With my mom, downstairs,” I ran out the door before he even finished his sentence.

I made it halfway down the stairs when I heard Vera’s blood curdling scream, and I felt cold.

I rushed into the ballroom and nearly tripped on something, and I gaged as I saw Isabel Nevatrix’s body lie in front of me.

But I looked up and saw my worst nightmare unfold before me. My family’s’ bodies lied across the floor. Surrounded by their blood.

There were twenty-seven bodies exactly on in that ballroom. Dead. Their bodies were scattered carelessly around the large room, some were on the tables, some were perched up against the walls, but most were just ripped apart. The smell of death stung my nose and I let my sobs rip through my chest as I stared at one body in particular.

Colton’s was the worst and I could read the sentence carved into his bare chest. Your next, my love.

And then his name was engraved below that.

I felt Shane behind me who probably had been there the whole time, “Who’s Blake Locke, Cassiel?”

“He’s my rapist,” I let myself fall to the floor, lying next to my sister’s cold body as the purple flames engulfed the room.
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I'm crying and smiling right now, I think I'm crazy haha! TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK!!!! PLEEEEEEEEEASE!!!!!!!!!! I mean it, and happy birthday Emma ;D love you baby girl!