I did as Mama said and kept the conversation about this mysterious man to myself. Papa didn't take me on another walk, nor did Colin. Instead, he asked me what I wanted and tasked our servants with picking it up. I was getting annoyed.
"I have to get out of this house," I groaned, banging my head on the wall.
I looked at my window and bit my lip. Several times I've wanted to sneak out. I knew better, though. Papa would find me and I would be punished most harshly.
I flopped onto my bed and stared at the ceiling, thinking again of this man. I had smelled him three more times over the week and I hoped he would appear. I wish I could know his name. The invitations had been sent out and RSVP's were coming back in waves. It was the first time we had a public party for me and people were excited to see me in person.
I sat up. There it was again! The scent! It was close by and I tried to get downstairs. I was just in my nightgown, though, and growled as I struggled with the damn robe. I fumbled in my haste, though, and it was gone by the time I got to the foyer. I stomped my foot in agitation. In the downstairs office, Papa was complaining.
"The party is tomorrow," he said. "They could have RSVP'd sooner!"
"Give them so leniency," Mama replied as I ran in. "They could have been- Kendra!"
I snatched the invitation from Papa.
I gaped at my parents. Papa was annoyed and took it back from me.
"What has gotten into you?" he asked. "And why are you down here in just a robe!?"
"What?" I asked, distracted. I looked down. "Oh. My robe. Right. I'll just go change."
I drifted back to my room, my mind a jumble of thoughts. His name was Mathias and he would be at my party! I sat down at my writing desk and dipped my quill in the ink. I got my journal from its hiding spot and opened it to the most recent page.
Does the year matter anymore? Not to me it doesn't. I've stopped keeping an eye on it. I will be here for eternity. What's the point?
I smelled him again today. His name is Mathias Lance. He sent a last minute RSVP. Of course, Papa is very upset but he'll get over it. I can't wait to see him!
Should I write him a letter? Women in New York spray love letters with perfume. What would he do if I slipped it to him at my party. It could end up being embarrassing. Asking him for a late night walk wasn't a good idea. Mama did that and lived miserably for ten years....
Papa doesn't seem very excited about my star anymore. I don't understand. Maybe the'll change once he meets Mathias. Should I tell Papa who Mathias is? I am very confused....
I do know one thing, though: If I continue feeling this lonely, I will go mad.
I sensed Mama so I quickly blew on the ink and shoved my journal under my mattress.
"Come in," I said.
"This came from Mrs. Tresser," she said, passing me a card. "Your dress is ready and she apologizes for it being late."
"Wonderful! Can you take me?" I asked, batting my eyelashes.
She sighed. "Your father will not like it."
I pouted. "Does he always get to have things his way?" I complained, changing into a dress.
"I will take you," she said, laughing. "You can be the one to tell him, though."
I chuckled. "All right." We went back to the office. He was writing something. "Mama and I are going to get the dress."
"Alone?" he asked, putting his pen down and narrowing his eyes.
"We will be fine, Erik," Mama said. "Besides, Ilya will be here soon."
"Very well," he said after a while. "Do not go anywhere else," he lecture. "Go to Mrs. Tresser's and come right back. I will know if you go somewhere else."
"Okay," I said, already walking to the door. "Whatever you say, Papa. Come on!"
Mama laughed as she grabbed our parasols. As we walked, I put my head on her shoulder. I loved my parents with everything in me. Mama still felt guilty about having to turn me. It was either that or death, though. I bit my lip and tried to push those memories to the back. I was excited to see my new dress.
"What upsets you?" Mama asked and I sighed.
"I forgot you can pick up on my emotions," I said.
"One of the perks to being your mother," she said.
I laughed a little. "I was just thinking about what happened," I admitted.
"Kendra," she sighed. "You know what happens when you dwell."
"I know," I muttered. "I couldn't help it, though."
"Well, we are here. I am excited to see this dress, too."
A nearby man opened the door for us and we thanked him, walking in. Mrs. Tresser beamed at us.
"I really am sorry it's late," she said but I tossed my hand.
"Don't worry about it. Where is it?"
She led us into the room that had curtained stalls for changing. Mama and I gasped in unison. The dress was on a mannequin. It looked even more beautiful than I thought it would!
The outside was sapphire blue silk. The sleeves fanned out and were slit from the middle of my upper arm and down. There was black fabric underneath the dress. At the waist, a black ribbon was stitched in leading to a buckle with our family crest - two deer on a hill - on it. Just under the buckle, the skirt was slit to reveal the black silk underneath.
"It's gorgeous!" I said and Mama helped me into it.
"I'm glad you think so," Mrs. Tresser said. "I know we didn't talk about the black but it would match your beautiful hair."
"Oh, it's perfect," I promised.
I stood still as she made sure the dress was the right length. I wondered what Mathis would think of it. Would he like it? Would he think I was beautiful? I already knew I was beautiful, but now with the possibility of a young man being with me, I started to doubt it.
"Everything is as it should be," she said finally. "Let me just put it in a bag for safe keeping and you'll be ready to go."
I changed as Mama paid for the dress. Mrs. Tresser put the dress in a large black bag with a hanger poking out of the top. I draped it across my arm. The sun was setting and I knew Ilya would be there when we returned. I was excited to see him again. He had been part of the rescue of Mama and, at the same time, me.
When we got home, I could smell him and passed my dress to Johanna. I tiptoed into the parlor where Papa and Ilya were waiting. Ilya had his back facing me. I could tell they were in a serious conversation but it was almost my birthday and I hadn't seen Ilya in three years. I launched myself onto his back.
He laughed and spun me. Papa looked annoyed but amused at the same time.
"Uncle Ilya!" I said happily and got down so I could hug him normally.
"The birthday girl," he said and hugged me back. "I am so glad I can come for this one."
"Where is the dress?" Papa asked.
"Johanna is take it to my room," I answered. "It's gorgeous!"
"So, your father says you have gotten your first scent," Ilya said and I blushed but nodded.
It was always easier talking to Ilya about this than Papa.
"Yes. It's strange, though. It keeps disappearing. Is that normal?"
Ilya sat me down. "No," he said. "But you are not, either," he added when I looked dismayed. "Do not worry, Kendra. I am sure it is nothing. Will he be here tomorrow?"
I nodded. "Will his scent overwhelm me again?" I asked. "I don't want to faint in the middle of dancing with him. That would be so embarrassing!"
He laughed. "No. Now that you have experienced it, you will be able to handle it." He glanced at my papa who left reluctantly. "Kendra, you have to remember to be careful."
I nodded again. "I know. Mama told me about what happened with Papa when he thought...."
"It is more than that," he said when I trailed off. "To find a star in the middle of puberty is harder than normal."
I tilted my head. "Why?"
"Because your blood thirst is increased, remember?"
"If you try to mark this young man, you may end up killing him."
I blushed again. Puberty was one thing, but talking about marking someone with Ilya was different. That conversation was to happen between Mama and I.
"I will be careful," I promised.
He smiled. "Do you want your birthday gift now or tomorrow?"
"Now," I said eagerly.
"Tomorrow!" Papa said from the other side of the door and I rolled my eyes.
"Oh, fine," I grumbled and Ilya laughed.