“Hey hey!” Bianca says while entering after I answer the door. “Boy, do I have a story for you. Though I doubt you’re in the mood for chit chat, what with you going to the capital and all tomorrow.”
“Believe me, I would love to clear my mind.” I said. “Great! This date outfit is killing me though, I’m going to need to steal some threads.” She says while ascending the stairs. “Knock yourself out. You know where to go.” I say. Bianca is practically the sister I’ve always wanted. Not that I don’t have any siblings, I have two brothers: one is in college, and the other moved out a few years ago to be closer to the company he works for.
After slipping on a pair of my old workout clothes, Bianca and I were chatting away on the floor. “I can’t believe you are leaving me here all by myself.” She says while wiping away faux tears.
“You are so dramatic.” I say while rolling my eyes. “Anyways, didn’t you have some story to tell me about your boyfriend.” “Oh right!” She says quickly piping up. “You won’t believe what he said to me on our date today…” She began to recount her evening for me.
After what seems like hours of chatting, the pizza we ordered arrived. My parents had gone out to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary with a dinner. They offered to stay with me to spend time together, but I assured them that I was fine since Bianca was coming over anyway.
I placed the box down and Bianca quickly digged in, I followed her lead. “Just think. This is probably your last meal you’ll be eating with your hands.” She says while raising her slice to her face. “Dramatic much.” I say.
“It’s true!” She says. “Don’t they always use like a bajilion pieces of silverware at the table over there. At least that’s what it looks like any time the royal family shows up in those candid photos they print in the paper.” She adds. “Well, I doubt we will be eating with them often…” I say.
I still wasn’t quite sure how things were going to be like once I arrived at the capital. Anxiety began to creep into the corners of my mind.
For now however, I decided to enjoy the moment while it lasted – for things would surely be different when I returned, whenever that’ll be. I sighed before taking a bite that was bit more than I could chew… hopefully that wasn’t some kind of bitter omen.
Bianca was putting a great effort in trying to keep my fears at bay. “I hear Lakeland boys are cute.” She says as we sit to watch some TV. “Does being born in the capital immediately make them attractive?” I say sarcastically.
“Beats me.” She says. “All I know is, regardless of how you perform in the initiative, if you could come back with a number or two… that’d be great.” She adds with a wink and a nudge. What’s with all the relationship coaching I’m getting today… first mom, now Bianca. Was my love life that pathetic? I mean I did have a boyfriend in high school. Granted that was like 5 years ago, but still.
I don’t even remember trying to fall asleep, but Bianca and I somehow managed to pass out without even getting ready for, or into, bed properly. The announcement indicated that I needn’t pack – everything required would be provided upon arrival it read. Some kind of security measure I presume.
As I fall deeper into my last night of stress free slumber, I silently pray that the night drags on for as long as possible. For as excited as I was, I was growing more and more terrified.
The morning passed by in a blur of goodbye hugs and kisses with my parents and Bianca. As I didn’t have anything else to take aside from my mind, wallet, and phone, I felt oddly bare when I stepped into the car. The drive to the kingdom was short, or it could’ve been long, I fell asleep so I wasn’t too sure.
The car dropped me off at a staircase on what I assumed was a wing of the palace. I couldn’t bring myself to climb the stairs. My nerves were getting the better of me. Well, The Elite technically have until midnight to arrive, since I’m not so sure I’ll be allowed to roam the capital once the competition starts, why not wander while I can.
I follow the same path I was dropped off on leading to the palace in the opposite direction, hoping it will take me towards the center of the city and not further away from it. I’ve never been to the capital before. Most people don’t unless they live in the wealthier regions.
After what feels like hours of walking, I end up in what I believe is the heart of the capital. One of the parliament buildings, and a large square surround me. I expected here to be much grander than home, but I was still taken aback at the fine architectural feats and luxuries around me.
I window shopped a few boutiques, walked past a few bakeries, and even stopped to admire some children playing in a playground. Life here seemed much more calm than back home. I was busy scanning movie titles at one of the many theaters so I didn’t notice…
… the sound of rushing footsteps drawing nearer.
We happened to round the corner at the same time and whomever was running was going too fast to stop. She bumped right into me and the force of her impact knocked me off of my feet. Literally.
I feel back on my head, hard.
I was normally quite quick on my feet, and my reflexes are extraordinary if I say so myself, so when I heard the sound of more footsteps approaching the corner, with me lying there like a pancake, I felt more embarrassment than pain.
“Lina! Watch where you are going.” The voice called out. It belonged to a man, I assumed. I had my eyes pressed shut, hoping to disappear into the ground.
I felt him crouch down beside me. “Are you alright, miss?” He asked.
“Sorry!” I heard a girl’s voice say. I sighed and opened my eyes, and what I saw took my breath away.
The man’s, or should I say young man’s, face was inches away from my own as he extended a hand to help me up. He was attractive. Ridiculously so. I didn’t consider myself a superficial person, but Bianca’s voice rang in the back of my head. I hear Lakeland boys are cute… Cute was an understatement.
After what I’d hoped wasn’t too long a time of me gawking, I accepted his hand and allowed him to pull me to my feet.
“Thanks.” I said. I couldn’t quite meet his eyes. “You there! STOP!” a voice called in the distance. “Seb! They’re here! We need to go.” The girl, and origin of my embarrassment, said.
“They have an accomplice!” The other voice added. “I’d advice against you remaining here.” The boy said, still holding my hand. “We don’t have time! Just grab her and run!” The girl says while beginning to take off herself. I didn’t have time to be shocked or confused, my reflexes that failed me earlier kicked in, and I began to run with the two strangers. From what exactly? I wasn’t too sure.
Thanks for reading! Sorry if the pacing seems slow so far, I’m building up to the more eventful chapters, promise! Feel free to let me know what you thought, and also let me know what you think of the chapter lengths… too long? Short? Since this is my first story I’m writing in a while, I’m quite rusty & am making tweaks here and there. Take care~