I pulled the brush through my hair and studied my reflection.
Blonde hair, the colour of cornsilk, tumbled past my shoulders in natural waves. Eyes, a bright blue shade stared back at me with an emotion that only I could decipher. I wasn't a big fan of "wearing my heart on my sleeve" as they would say which meant that a lot of the time, people didn't know if I was upset, or if I was hurting. I kept it to myself.
Another figure appeared beside me.
'Matt,' I smiled.
'Hey,' he smiled back at me, a deliciously sweet smile that sent butterflies racing through my stomach. 'Guess what I found?'
'What?' I turned around to face him.
He simply handed me a white piece of paper, folded in half.
Puzzled, I opened it and read the words aloud.
' Alexandra & Courtney,
I have left the kingdom with my beloved Lucas as we both feel that we cannot fit in here. I cannot live in fear of my father, and i refuse to marry a man i do not love and do not want to marry. You both have been amazing friends to me and i wish you both well for the future. Please do not try to find us
Your Friend Always Ailsinn Xx.'
'Wow,' I gasped. 'She's run away.'
'I know, do you think she's gonna be okay?'
'Who cares about that,' I replied, a little too abruptly. 'We've gotta show this to her father.'
'What? No, you can't do that, she'll get into trouble.'
'Exactly,' I purred.
I stood up, but he blocked my pathway.
'Elizabeth, why do you want to hurt them all so much? Lately, I hate to say it, but you seem a little...cruel.'
His words jolted through me, cold and painful. I couldn't help the tears that began to fill my eyes. How could he think I was cruel? If he knew what I felt, what I endured day after day...
I turned away from him sharply, refusing to look at him. I didn't want him to see these unexpected tears. He was the only one capable of hurting me, and that was precisely what he'd done. I'd trusted him not to but it seems as though that trust was all in vain.
'Elizabeth?' He pulled lightly on my arm, but I jerked out of his grip.
'You think I'm cruel.' My voice cracked and I blushed furiously at my childish behaviour.
'Oh, Elizabeth! I didn't mean to make you cry!' He pulled me towards him and enveloped me in a hug, resting my head against his chest. I tried resisting at first, but his warm embrace melted my pain and anger and I soon relaxed into him. 'I didn't mean it like that. I just meant, you haven't been yourself. You seem a little distracted. Particularly the other night, with Alexandria's ball.'
'I'm sorry,' I found myself apologizing, something I very rarely did. 'But I have my reasons.'
'What is going on?'
I pulled away to face him properly, deliberating whether or not I should finally tell him. Looking into his chocolate brown eyes filled now with nothing but love and trust, I made my decision.
'A couple of years ago, my father grew ill. We were incredibly poor back then and couldn't afford medical attention so you can guess how it ended. He died a few months later, when I was fourteen years old. It was tough on us, particularly as my mother had to bring me up by herself. She had distant relatives but we never saw them so we didn't expect any help from them now. However, the next month we received a letter written in elegant writing and on the envelope was a stamp from the Kings court. It said that we were to pack our things and go and live with my Aunt and Uncle for a while, a well known Lord and Lady at the time. We were astounded by their kindness, after all, they'd never done anything to show us affection before but nevertheless we were destitute and mother was desperate.
The next day, we set off for their palace. It took us a total of fourteen hours to get there and by the time we arrived, we were all absolutely shattered. However, introductions were to be made. There were three teenagers laughing and joking in the courtyard and I itched to join them. One of them seemed to be in charge and she had the most magnificent hair, a fiery red that fell to the middle of her back in waves. I was so envious. She looked up and saw me staring and so she made her way over, her friends in tow.
"Hello," she said. "My name is Alexandria, what is yours?"'
'Alexandria,' Matt breathed beside me.
I nodded and continued with my story.
'I was a small child with a nervous disposition and as a result of this I had developed a slight stutter.
"E-E-Elizabeth," I would stammer. Her friends giggled at me. Alexandria fought a smile.
"Well Elizabeth, welcome to my home."'
'Wait, your Aunt and Uncle lived with Alexandria?'
'For a while, yes. Alexandria's father was kind enough to take us in and for this, I was extremely grateful. I tried my best to get on with the girls, but I was fifteen years old and I had become quite rebellious, due to my father's death. We shared nothing in common, to me they were strait-laced snobs. They often seemed to turn their nose up at me and I wasn't quite sure whether it was intentional or not. They would leave me out of their chatter, no matter how hard I tried to blend in, so after a while, I gave up. I would watch from the side lines as they went about their lives enduring the same loneliness and each day my heart grew colder and I began to detest them more and more until I found myself hating everything about each of them.'
'And you've hated them ever since,' Matt finished off for me.
'But you cannot blame them for something that happened years ago. You must forgive and forget.'
'Matt, when you've had a childhood as rough as mine, then you have permission to tell me that. Until then, excuse me.'
I stood up and made my way to the doorway and this time he didn't stop me. I continued on down the hallway with the letter gripped tightly in my hand with only one person in mind: Lord Skydance.