Hidden Identities

Disclaimer: I don't own anything in the entire world! Except, maybe, my car, a few books, some clothes, oh, that one pencil, and, um, maybe, a coke can and . . .

Summary: What if Hattie had not danced by and snatched off Ella's mask? What if Char had asked Ella THE question? What will Lela do?

Author Notes: Thank you, Ruby, for telling me about those mistakes! I did the whole chapter late last night and didn't remember everything! Thanks for pointing those things out. Hopefully this rewritten chapter will be better! Next chapter out soon! ***Ella and Char did NOT stroll in the gardens yet. Pretend they've been dancing and inside all night. ***

Chapter One: The Question

Three nights. Three balls. Three fun-filled evenings with my most favorite person in the entire world. Char. Now, it was all coming to an end. The clock ticked slowly towards my impending fate. My fate of never being with Char again. I could only hold him here, while we danced for one last night.

Char was talking about his resolution to never marry. I couldn't believe it. Never marry? Why, he is the heir to the realm. He has to marry! And I'm trying to turn his attention away from love and marriage. It truly breaks my heart to hear him say such things.

'Smile, Ella,' I thought to myself. 'Make this a night to remember. No crying or giving him any clues to who you really are.'

"I hope everything has been wonderful for you here," Char smiled. "I want this to be a night to remember."

How ironic that I was thinking the same thing.

"It was the best time I've had in a long time," I said. "I'm so excited to tell everyone at home what it was like to meet the prince and what everyone was wearing and . . ."

'He isn't even half listening,' I thought. Char seemed to be staring into my soul through his eyes. A flicker of something passed through the pupils as I ended my rambling.

Char tightened his hold on my waist. My eyes widened. What was he going to do?

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Hattie, the evil witch, dancing dangerously close to Char and me. She seemed to be drawing closer and closer with each beat of the music. Had she figured out that it was me, Ella, and not Lady Lela of Bast?

"Um, I think I am getting a tad bit warm," I whispered to Char. He nodded.

"Would you like to go out to the gardens?" Char asked. I smiled and took his hand as he led me off the dance floor. "They are quite beautiful, don't you think?"

We walked around a thick red tapestry and the night air hit me with a blast of cold. It felt refreshing after the cramped air of the ball room. Char and I stepped down some stone steps to the dark gardens that spread below us. Even in the dark I could see the colorful flowers and blooming trees. Tall hedges wound themselves around into an intricate maze. Char grinned mischievously at me.

"Want to go in?" Char asked pointing at the maze. I bit my lip. Mother had told me when I was younger that mazes were for lovers to go into for some "romantic time". I coughed and he laughed. "I won't go that far, Lela."

"All right, then," I replied. My sense of adventure was overwhelming me. I wanted to go through the maze with Char.

Char took my hand and pulled me to the entrance. A wave of foreboding hit me as I took the first step in. I almost stopped, but the smiling face of Char pushed me on.

"My great-grandfather built this for his wife when they were lovers. They used to meet out here for rendezvous at night." Char explained. "In the center of the maze is a beautiful fountain. Would you like to see?"

"Yes!" I cried excitedly. Char laughed.

"You remind me of some one I once knew so much."

Oh, that's not good. I don't want to start talking about myself. I don't know if I could hold my emotions in if we delved deeper.

"Really. Oh, look it's a star!" I pointed to the sky. Char laughed as I mentally kicked myself. The sky was clear and millions of stars were shining. "I mean, there's the big dipper."

"You know constellations?"

"Is that bad?"

"No, I just never thought that you were a star girl."

"I'm full of surprises," I said and took a step closer to Char. He smiled and stepped closer to me.

"I look forward to discovering them, my lady," he whispered. His breath was warm on my cheek. I blushed and Char's face became close to mine. I closed my eyes, waiting for Char to kiss me. This wasn't right, but I couldn't stop myself.

"Charmont?" a feminine voice rang out from behind us. I whirled around. That was Hattie's voice! What was she doing out here?

"What's she doing here?" I whispered to him. Hattie's voice came from near the entrance of the maze and that was about five minutes from where we were.

"I have no clue, but come on!" Char grabbed my hand and we took off running and giggling away from Hattie. Laughing, we rounded corners and took different passage ways. Finally, we rounded a corner and came upon the center of the maze.

A fountain was splashing in the moonlight. Flowers gathered around it and cool grass covered a circle around it. Fireflies danced to the night in the air and the breeze lightened.

"This is magical," I whispered. We walked over to the fountain. I sat down and played with the cool water with my hand. Char stood nervously beside me. He was obviously debating something.

"Can I ask you something?" he asked. I nodded and turned towards him, thinking he was going to ask me something about life or whatever.

"Ask away," I answered. Char knelt down on the grass beside me and took my hands. My whole body felt suddenly cold. This wasn't good. Not at all. I laughed nervously. "Um, maybe later, actually. Look at those fireflies."

My attempts at diverting him were no good. He continued staring at me with those wonderful deep eyes of his. I felt myself drown in them.

"Lela, I know I've only known you for a little while, but I feel like I have known you my whole life. I haven't felt this way about a person for a long time. I have yet to see your face, but I don't care what it looks like. I have thought a lot about this and I think it would be the right thing to do. A lot of marriages are based on friendship."

He paused and then he said the four little words that I didn't want to hear most in the world. The words that would be his ultimate happiness for him and myself, but also, his ultimate downfall.

"Will you marry me?"


Author Notes: Mwahahahaha! Cliffie! What will Lela, or Ella, say? Stay tuned for the next chapter! Review everyone! Tell me how you like it and if I should continue! Review!!!

Chapter Two Preview: The Answer