Imperfections finally livesssssss. Sorry it took me so long to update :') I wasn't quite sure what to do for the next chapter… and I'm still not sure what to do for the rest of the story, actually, haha. I've had half of this chapter sitting around forever, so I decided to just get it out of the way.
btw I finally got to play Sunshine Islands! And I married Will… I was torn between him and Pierre for a while :'(
This was true love, he was sure of it.
Not that Will had ever had experience with genuine romance before. Of course, he'd been pursued by many maidens in his adolescence, but he found they were only charmed by one thing – his money. Once the novelty wore off, they quickly lost interest. "Oh William, it's not you, it's me," They'd say, before flitting away on the arm of the next eligible bachelor. He didn't mind so much, though. Who was he to stand in the way of a young maiden's happiness?
Chelsea was so different compared to those other girls. She didn't seem to care that he came from money, had the best upbringing and education and that he would one day inherit his father's prestigious company. What she cared most about was Will himself – his feelings, his dreams, his true self.
This was his chance at happiness. His heart was practically bursting at the seams. He had to tell Chelsea how he felt, before he exploded…!
But what if she didn't feel the same way? The realisation struck him in the middle of the night, after a terrifying nightmare in which he had confessed his feelings. The Chelsea of his dreams had just laughed and laughed, clutching at her sides and turning blue in the face, until she collapsed from oxygen depravation. It had worried him so much, he couldn't go back to sleep!
"Is there something the matter, Will?"
The soft voice brought him back to reality. Sabrina blinked at him over the rim of her tea cup, the curiosity in her eyes literally magnified by her large glasses.
"You've been rather distracted lately," She continued on, thin eyebrows connecting into a frown.
He smiled in what he hoped was a reassuring manner, "O-Oh, no, there's nothing to concern yourself with. I'm quite fine…"
Sabrina was frowning at him. Will tried to focus on the little things around him, sipping his tea, nibbling at some cake, tracing his finger along the pattern on the fine white china, but when he glanced up, his cousin was still watching him with a surprisingly stern gaze – the patented stare that reminded him of his uncle and his father. Sweet and demure she may be, but Sabrina was first and foremost Regis' daughter.
"Erm, well… perhaps, I do have… something on my mind," He mumbled.
"Would you like to talk about it?" Sabrina offered kindly.
Will hesitated. He had wished to speak to his uncle first, 'man to man', but Regis was currently much too preoccupied chasing after a treasure hunter – or in his words, a "Dirty rotten scoundrel!" – who had apparently invaded the mines and was coveting his beloved jewels.
He could feel the flush creeping along his neck, "It's… it's a little embarrassing…"
"I won't tell a soul!"
"Well… all right," Will sighed, "But you must promise not to laugh at me!"
With a soft sigh, he placed his tea cup down onto the coffee table. "I-I… I believe… I've fallen in love."
Sabrina covered her mouth with her hand, "In love? With who?"
Will stared at his hands. This would be the first time he'd say the name aloud – to someone who was able to talk, at least. Could he bring himself to speak the name of an angel?
"Chen?" Sabrina gasped.
"N-No! Although, I'm sure he's a very nice gentleman…" Will mentally shook himself. He took a deep break; it was now, or never. "The one I love is… is Chelsea…"
"Oh, of course, Chelsea," His cousin murmured, nodding in understanding, "I noticed you've been spending quite a lot of time with her lately."
"It's foolish, is it not? We have only been acquaintances for a few months," Will lamented.
Sabrina tittered softly, "I think it's sweet."
"But she could never love someone like me. We come from two different worlds!" Will wrapped his fingers tighter around the base of his teacup, as the crushing weight of despair came to rest on his shoulders, "Chelsea is so down-to-earth, so real… I, on the other hand…"
"Any girl would be lucky to have you, Will," She reassured him, "And besides, you don't know how Chelsea feels about you."
Chelsea's smile came to mind, so gentle, so warm. How easily it had managed to ignite this passionate flame inside him. His pulse began to race again. "I-I suppose…"
"Love is about timing!" Sabrina declared as she rose to her feet – there was a familiar gleam to her eyes, one reminiscent of the look that overcame his mother when she became immersed in her romance novels. "You need to sweep her off her feet!"
"How do I possibly go about doing that, Sabrina?"
Sabrina thought for a moment, "I know! Why don't you invite Chelsea to the Fireworks Festival?"
"I-I wouldn't dare! What if she rejects my offer?" That would be so utterly devastating, the thought alone had the potential to stop his heart from beating!
Sabrina gave her cousin an encouraging smile, "What if she says yes?"
"C-Chelsea, would you do me the honour of accompanying me to the Fireworks Festival?"
No, she'd laugh at that.
"H-Hey Chelsea, wanna go to the Fireworks Festival with me? The night will surely start off with a bang!"
…She'd definitely laugh at that too.
Will's shoulders sunk with a sigh. This was in no way as easy as Sabrina made it sound.
Almost an entire week had passed by since he'd spoken to his cousin; he'd spent the majority of it wandering around the archipelago while in a love struck daze. The rest of his time was dedicated to perfecting his invite. At the rate he was progressing, however, time would soon elude him: the Fireworks Festival was a mere two days away.
His forlorn gaze turned to the sea and he watched as the waves crashed against the sandy coastline. If he didn't grasp this opportunity now, it would be lost forever. But if he made one wrong move, Chelsea would be lost to him forever…
"Oh my, look, a prince!"
Will came close to jumping out of his skin at the voice. He swerved around on heel – what if someone had overheard his soliloquy?
A young maiden with bouncing blonde curls was skipping along the beach towards him. Behind her, another dark haired boy trailed along after her, looking rather sullen.
The little girl – whose name was Eliza, if memory served him correctly – batted her eyelashes at him, "Will you play with me, Sir Will? Or take me for a romantic horse ride?"
"Romantic?" The boy Charlie exclaimed.
Will's eyes searched for a means of escape; the beach was vast, but unfortunately the children had him cornered near a cliff. "On any other day, it would be a pleasure, but I'm afraid I'm rather preoccupied at the moment–"
Eliza's pleading stare bore into his soul. There was no way he could say no to a maiden – even a youthful one.
"Um… I suppose I could–"
Charlie suddenly jumped in front of him and pointed an accusatory finger at Will's face. "Don't go near him, Eliza! He's a vampire!"
Eliza crossed her arms, "What are you talking about? Will is a prince, the only man befitting of my beauty!"
"Have you seen his uncle? And his cousin?" Charlie cried, "They're all pale and skinny, with dark hair. I bet they'd suck your blood dry the minute you turn your back."
"But Will isn't like that."
"He's even more dangerous because he can blend in with the normal people! A day walker! I bet if he stands in the sunlight, he'll sparkle!"
Eliza tutted, "What kind of vampire sparkles in the sunlight, Charlie?"
"I-I can assure you, my family and I are very much human," Will interjected feebly. It was no good; any attempts at fleeing would be in vain.
The boy rolled his eyes, "Which is exactly what a vampire would say."
"I still don't believe you."
Charlie balled his hands into fists, "Then… then I'll prove it!"
Eliza folded her arms, "How exactly?"
"Uhh… with garlic! Yeah, they hate garlic!" He proclaimed, "My dad should have some in the store! I'll be right back!"
"Charlie, wait! How could you leave me alone with a potential vampire?" Eliza cried after her friend, but he had already darted off halfway down the beach, before the words even left her mouth.
Will glanced at Eliza, "I promise I'm not a vampire."
"Even if you are, I don't mind. You will always be a prince in my eyes," She murmured dreamily.
Will let out another tired sigh. It was going to be a long afternoon.
With his posture slumped and his eyes focused on his pristine polished shoes, Will followed the trail through Sprout Island, dejectedly making his way back home. His afternoon had been frittered away playing vampire hunter – which turned out to be rather quite fun; it reminded him of his childhood, participating in games of hide and seek with the gardeners – and he was no closer to perfecting his invite.
Though, perhaps it wasn't a matter of perfection. As Sabrina had said, love was about timing, and Chelsea didn't seem to care for rehearsed words and actions. All that truly mattered to her was honesty.
And honestly speaking, Will was undeniably, unmistakably, head over heels.
Will suddenly came to a halt in front of the inn. Clenching his hand into a determined fist, he came to his decision. The next time he saw her, he would march up to her and – no doubt bumbling and fumbling – he would ask her out to the Fireworks Festival.
His heart skipped a beat. He knew that voice: he heard it in his dreams, whispering sweet nothings into his ear. Chelsea.
And she was in close vicinity. Will found himself frozen on the spot. Ever since reaching his epiphany, he had been unable to look her in the eye, unable to utter a single coherent syllable in her presence.
Another voice, Pierre's, reached his ears. "Oh Chelsea! What a coincidence, I was just on my way to bring this to you. It's curry… my own secret recipe!"
Will heard someone shuffle across the path, followed by a lid popping open. He detected the scent of roasted spices on the wind. "Wow, Pierre, this smells great," Chelsea said.
"It's your favourite, right?" Pierre sounded giddy, "Haila allowed me to borrow her kitchen for a few hours. Mine is being upgraded you see, and I simply couldn't go a day without cooking…"
"A gourmet always needs to be training. Even stopping for just one day exposes you to the risk of your tastebuds growing dull again…"
Somewhere between Pierre's rambling and Chelsea's murmurs of agreement, Will recovered enough to take a few steps forward. He peered around the corner; Chelsea and Pierre were standing outside of Haila's Café. The purple clad gourmet seemed on edge and very red in the cheeks.
Will turned away, facing the way back to Verdure Island. It was wrong to eavesdrop like this, especially on his friends. Yet, he couldn't deny the temptation to keep listening was incredibly overwhelming…
Pierre played with the brim of his top hat, "Um, although, I have to admit, I have an ulterior motive for making you this dish today–"
"What is it, Pierre?" Chelsea cut him off.
"I… um… I-I…"
"Well, spit it out," She chuckled.
His words came out in a breathless rush, "As you know, the Fireworks Festival is this Thursday, and I was wondering if you, maybe, I dunno, wanted to go with me?"
Chelsea's brow dipped in confusion, before lifting in surprise. "Pierre, I–"
"I know, I know, you just want to be friends." Pierre sighed, knotting his hands together, "It's because I talk about cooking too much, isn't it? You probably think I only care about your produce, but really, you're very kind, well, most of the time when you're not stealing my hat–"
A hand came out and covered Pierre's mouth. The gourmet stared wide-eyed at Chelsea.
Her lips curved into a gentle smile. "I was going to say yes," She said.
Pierre jumped backwards, "Wait, what, really?" He gasped.
Chelsea nodded. Pierre let out a cheer, reaching for her hand, "I promise I'll make it the most memorable Fireworks Festival of your life!"
"Of course it'll be memorable... it's my first!" Chelsea teased.
Their fingers intertwined.
And it was at that very moment Will felt his heart shatter into a thousand pieces.