Miles plan had worked quite well, actually. That was a surprise to Roselle. It was not too long ago the Roselle had been part of plans like this but under more nefarious pretenses rather than innocent pretenses. But the past is the past right? Roselle could only hope the Miles never learned about her past and previous involvements. She was 25 now but her youth was filled fun and excitement. Although, it was, often full of bad decisions. Decisions that she knew Miles father would highly disprove of. She would be scum in his father’s eyes. She knew herself was not good enough for Miles.
To gain entrance to the party, Roselle had assumed a fake identity of one Victoria Brookhaven, a princess of a newly formed British colony on an island south of Boyce. She was not allowed to discuss the details, her father’s commands. One of Roselle’s friends, Lem, was in a relationship with a wealthy city lady by the name Clara. Clara was only 23 and she had a pity for the plight of the outsiders and was more than willing to help undermine Miles’s father at the party. She allowed Roselle to borrow a beautiful blush colored dress. The corset was tight and detailed with an intricate lacey pattern. The skirts were full and accented with gold stitching for embellishment. Lace three-quarter length sleeves gave a sweet touch to the dress and covered perfectly her “x” tattoo that forever marked her as an outsider.
Clara smiled sweetly at Roselle. “You do make a convincing princess.” She said. Roselle looked in the mirror and hardly recognized herself. She agreed with Clara. Roselle sighed softly to herself. What was she getting herself into? There would be expectations on her that she could not reach, assumptions about her that would not be true. She could never be a princess not matter how much Miles would want it to be true. What is the harm in pretending though? She thought. “If anyone questions you, give them hell.” Clara said to Roselle.
Clara and Roselle arrived at the party. The extravagance and elegance of the party was beyond comparison. This was truly a royal event. Through the crowd of beautified girls and suave men, Miles spotted Roselle and a smile found it place upon his lips. “Well, Lady Victoria you look stunning.” He said as his gray-blue eyes took in her appearance. It was surely different than the pants and worn shirts she would wear. “Thank you Sir Milton.” She said with a sweet smile and flutter of her eyelashes in a mocking. She coolly repressed the urge to laugh.
“May I have this dance?” he asked in his typical gentlemanly fashion. Roselle consented and the pair headed towards the dance floor. One of his hands was placed lightly on the small of her back and the other held her hand gently, never too tightly. The moved lightly on their feet and swiftly around the room matching the rhythm of the music. The two of them were moving in perfect synchronization. Roselle found a peace that had been long gone.
“You dance quite elegantly.” Miles told her .
“It is just one of my many secret talents.” She said with a coy smile and a soft laugh.
“You are just full of secrets, aren’t you?”
“You have no idea.”
A slower and softer tune carried throughout the room. Words became hushed and gentle as Miles gently pulled Roselle closer to him. Her slender frame pressed against his tall one. “You are the most beautiful lady in this room.” He whispered softly and warmly into Roselle’s ear. The words were so sincere. A soft and grateful smile appeared on her pink lips. She allowed herself to relax and enjoy the moment; she melted in his arms. Her head rested on Miles chest; she was close enough to hear his steady and rhythmic heartbeat. Roselle had not been called beautiful in such a long time, she forgot that she was. She forgot what it was like to hear those words. She forgot what this feeling was, feeling close to someone. Warmth filled her body as her cheeks became flushed. The feeling of having a person care about you and actually care about them in return. The feeling of reciprocated feelings, few things felt better.
And there it was. Roselle admitted to herself, not aloud, that she cared for Miles. Her life had been happier since she met him. She hadn’t felt this way for a person since…
“Excuse me, the song has ended and Milton promised he would dance with me this evening.” A sharp voice said hiding its meanness with a sweet, although false, smile. Miles seemed to wince as she addressed him as Milton.
Roselle and Miles had not even noticed that the song had ended and that they were still dancing. Both seemed embarrassed and self-conscious of the incident. “I’m sorry; I did not mean to be so selfish.” Roselle said to the blonde haired blue eyed girl. She was taller and more slender than Roselle was. Roselle felt the blonde girl eyeing her up, trying to figure out if she was a threat or not. Roselle curtsied to the pair and Miles announced he would come and find her after the dance was done.
The blonde girl turned her charm on as her voice softened and her eyes grew wider. Long black eyelashes made her blue eyes stand out even more. She knew what her best features were and how to use them. “So Milton, who was your little friend? I do not think I have ever seen her around.” She said as she pulled herself self as close as she could to him. “That is because she does not live here. Her father has started a new colony on an island south of here. It is confidential though. Why are you so interested in her anyways? You are not worried about some competition are you, Adele?” Miles said with a little smirk on his face.
Adele had become very interested in Miles. Not because she actually liked him but she wanted his power, his fame, and his wealth. Life was about being on top for Adele. Just to be seen dancing with Adele increased her power. Sure she spread a little gossip about her and Miles, but it was all about the game. If she could get it in the peoples mind that she and Miles should be together, she could convince his father that they should be together. It was all a game to Adele and she was going to win.
She was sneaky and conniving. But she was oh-so gorgeous, that men did not seem to mind being used by her. “I am not worried. I’ll let you in on a little secret Milton. Your father adores me and when it comes down to it, he’ll persuade you to marry me.” She said in a husky whisper with her plump red lips softly touching his ear. Miles laughed slightly as he looked Adele straight in the eyes. “I’ll let you in on a little secret my dear Adele. My father does not control my life.” He said with a straight face. The music ended but before Miles could pull away Adele tightened her grip on Miles. “We will just see about that.” She said with a beautifully devious smile. She winked seductively at Miles as she walked away her light blue skirts flowing behind her. Her hips sashaying rhythmically as she left.
Miles had found Roselle just as he had promised. She was with a group of older ladies and gentlemen. There was laughing and smiling. Roselle was schmoozing with them. Instead of being the rough and wild girl in the woods, she held herself as a respectable lady in upper class of society. She seemed so refined. And yet, Miles found that he did not like when she acted like that. He liked her liked her stubbornness, her unpredictability. She was acting just like everyone else right now. But he knew these people would not accept her for who she really was. Why do we always like what is wrong for us? He thought sadly to himself.
Despite that sad thought, the rest of the evening was rather enjoyable. There was laughter and drinks. And most of all, Miles’s father seemed to like Roselle…or rather Victoria Brookhaven.
“Victoria, your father seems like quite the business man. He sees an opportunity and takes it.” Miles father said with…was that smile?! “I like that quality. We need more men like that in Boyce. Men that can help us prosper. Ambitious men are a dying breed.” He added as he shook his head. Roselle was playing her part so well that his father seemed none wiser. Although most of the things Roselle was saying about her father and her background were lies, the best lies had a thread of truth running through them.
Some might say that Roselle’s father was some kind of a business man. But he was most definitely ambitious and opportunistic. His life was also full of risks; however those risks had nothing to do with a business. The fact that each lie had some vague truth to it allowed her to sell her made-up past to anyone who asked. Was it all alarming to Miles that Roselle was such a good liar?!
The party was dying down as a small group of people were left. Among the group of people was Roselle, Miles and his father. And, unwantedly, Adele appeared with a smile of confidence, which suggested she knew something that no one else knew, placed upon her face. An uneasiness settled into Miles stomach, instinctually he placed his around Roselle’s shoulders as Adele approached. She had been nowhere in sight since her confrontation with Miles.
“Victoria you just seem to have quite an interesting life.” Adele said as she maneuvered her way into the conversation. Dirty looks passed between the girls, unnoticed by anyone else. “Why do you keep a lot of it such a secret? I’m sure we would all love to hear more about you. I mean, we know everything about everyone who lives here Boyce anyways. It is so boring. You are something new and fresh!” Adele said trying to convince the others to prod Roselle for more information.
“I am really not at liberty to discuss it. It is just a precaution to protect my father and his investment from untrustworthy people. People who like to manipulate others for their own gain. I’m sure you know all about that sort of stuff.” Roselle said keeping her poise and grace all the while sending a jab at Adele’s character.
Adele let out a throaty laugh that ended with a devilish smirk. She clapped her hand slowly and the other guests looked confusingly at Adele. “Well done. Well done. You are quiet the actor aren’t you? But Miles should have warned that nothing gets past me. You might have been able to trick these other kind folk, but not me.”
Miles grip tightened on Roselle in a protecting manner. He realized his sense of unease was not unwarranted. Miles’s father’s brows furrowed deeply as a look of anger and confusion spread across his face. “Milton! What is she talking about?!” his voice commanded.
“Father I-I can explain.” Miles said nervously. Roselle just remained calm as she took note of where the exit in the room was. If Adele had not proof of anything then Roselle could talk her way out of it. However, if there was some undeniable proof just besides words, Roselle would run.
“Yes Miles, please explain to your father how you invited an outsider here.” Adele said. There were gasps from the small crowd. “Yes that right, Victoria is not even her real name. It was all a trick, she just wants to steal Miles, from you Lord Sutton ,and his money.” A sly smile of satisfaction played on her lips. Victory was so sweet. But Roselle attempted to play cool. She had tricked people this far, why not a little more?
“I have no clue what you are talking about.” Roselle said in a very calm and confident manner. “I think you made this story up because you are jealous. Jealous that Miles spent more of his evening with me than you. Jealous that he likes me more and that he does not find me nauseating. I think you’re jealous because he was going to announce that he chose me over you. You fabricated that lie so that Lord Sutton would reject me and you would marry Miles and get his money. I don’t care for money, only true love.” She said with the sweetest smile on her face. All lies have a thread of truth to them.
Adele was infuriated. Her cheeks flushed red with anger as her eyes narrowed onto Roselle. “You disgusting lying bitch.” She snapped. And in a flash, Roselle was not even sure how it happened, Adele had ripped Roselle’s sleeve completely off revealing the large black “X” that marked her as an outsider.
Sounds of shocked echoed through the room. “See! You have all been tricked by filthy, good for nothing, outsider. She’s tricked Miles into liking her. This has all been a ploy! I say—“before Adele could finish her thought Roselle had made a run for it. Mile’s chasing after her leaving his father seething.
“Roselle! Roselle stop!” he said as he caught up to her holding on to her wrist. If Roselle had not been wearing this stupid dress Miles would not have caught her. She would not have been wearing this stupid dress if it weren’t for Miles. She would not have been in this whole ridiculous situation if it weren’t for Miles. “Why did you run?” he asked as he took deep breaths to catch the ones he lost while running.
Roselle turned around and looked at him, fighting tears. “What was I going to do? Do you think any of them would have cared to hear my defense, my reasoning?” she said, her voice full of hurt.
“I would’ve protected you.”
“That wouldn’t have done anything. They would all believe that I tricked you into liking me. That I was trying to con you and your father.”
“Roselle, I don’t care. I like you, I care about you. I wouldn’t let them hurt you.”
“It doesn’t matter if you like me and I like you. Miles, don’t you see that this won’t work?”
“It could though. I’ll leave my father and run away with you. I don’t like it here anymore than you do. I am not like them. I don’t belong here.”
“Yes you do. I belong out in the Greenwood and you belong here. We don’t belong together. I should have never led you on like this. I’m not good for you.” She said as she looked down in an attempt to hide her tears. She had not felt this vulnerable and weak in a long time. She was always the tough one, the one that was never too attached, the one that rarely cried. Miles tilted Roselle’s head back so he could gaze into her green eyes once more. A finger gently wiped away her hot tears that streamed down her cheeks. He was always so gentle with her.
“No, you are the best for me.” He said with a sweet smile as he leaned into to kiss her. She let it happen; she was not going to deny that she didn’t want it to happen either. His lips met hers first with a soft brush but it grew more deep. He kissed her in such a way that took her hurt away. Warmth filled inside Roselle. It was passionate kiss that left her wanting more. However, it was not enough of a kiss for her to forget the pressing situation. A situation that would not be mended with one simple, warm, rhythmic, passionate, kiss. Miles pulled her closer to him but Roselle pushed away.
“Miles, no.” she said softly as she tried to gain courage to speak again. “I can’t do this. It is better for both of us if I just go. I’m sorry.” Roselle told Miles as her voice cracked at the end. Surprisingly he let her go. That is not to say it did not hurt. Perhaps he would visit her tomorrow, once things cooled over. Then they could actually talk…and maybe kiss some more. Miles watched as Roselle’s slender shadowy figure disappeared into the darkness.
Roselle let lonely salty tears roll down her face. No one ever hurt you when you were a lone. Alone was best for Roselle, she decided as she walked alone back to small quaint house. However, it appeared as though a fire was lit insider the fireplace sending an illuminating beam throughout the rest of the room. Roselle thought nothing of it, she assumed it was Lem. He was probably curious as to how the evening went and if any other men danced with Clara.
She opened the door with a sad have smile on her face. That expression was one quickly replaced by shock. “James?!” she said in utter disbelief. Then all went to black.