First off I want to apologise for the ridiculous amount of time I have taken to update this story! Due to the fact I have exams and I'm on the way to getting my own original novel published (SQUEEE) I've been extremely busy and had to put this story on hold :( I hope this is worth waiting for but it is a little short, I'm worried if I give too much away too early on, this story will run dry and I don't want that to happen! Please give me the benefit of the doubt and I will update this story whenever I can, I am just really really busy and stressed out of my mind. Sorry again! Enjoy!

After the disastrous incident with Prince Edward that had occurred away from prying eyes I made it my mission to stay within the company of others for the rest of the evening. Once I re-entered the banquet hall, I was found by Alice and Lord Jasper who although were almost completely absorbed by each other, managed to include me in discussing the ball and it's variety of attendants. In particular the, in mine and Alice's opinion, very handsome and distinguished Grand Duke Eleazar Denali of Alaska with his equally as lovely Grand Duchess Carmen and their two...vile daughters. Grand Duke Eleazar was a very wealthy, very powerful and one of the most intelligent and interesting men I had ever come across. My father had always been close friends with him and many of my childhood memories were infused with the times he would read to myself and Alice with our 'cousins', the Lady Irina and Katherine (whom we called Kate supposedly out of affection). Alice and I had taken to calling him Uncle, for he had been a brother to my father in the time of his greatest need and had been so kind to both of us throughout our entire lives. Lord Jasper was not well acquainted with him and his family but he had heard of his kindness to us and to other peasants who resided near his manor and he already, despite never having spoken to him, regarded him well.

"Isabella, Lady Irina is approaching us," Alice hissed, "Jasper? I think it is time that we danced!"

"Alice! Do not leave me!" I begged angrily, seeing Irina from across the room.

"I think you are absolutely right, as always!" Lord Jasper agreed wholeheartedly, grinning as he offered my sister his arm, "Shall we?"

"Lord Jasper!" I exclaimed quietly, becoming more and more panicked as Lady Irina began to make her way towards us.

"Princess." Jasper bowed quickly before sweeping off into the middle of the floor with Alice, both grinning like infants playing a practical joke on one of the friends.

I scowled.

"Isabella!" Irina cooed, slithering towards me like a serpent. She pulled me into an embrace, "How lovely to see you! And especially on an evening as this-your very own engagement banquet! Ah, I really didn't believe that you were betrothed when my father told me the news-we all thought that I would be the first to wed..." She left the sentence to trail off and linger in the air.

"Yes, I know. You have been telling me this for the entirety of my childhood." I replied curtly, "Are you enjoying the festivities? I believe the dinner was the best I have ever had-the roast beef was divine."

"Yes, the festivities are wonderful...but aren't you delighted that your betrothed is so delightfully handsome?" She asked, shamelessly.

"What I think of my betrothed is my concern and my concern only." Over Irina's shoulder I saw my father gesture for me to join him at the foot of his throne, "I'm sorry, Irina, but my father is asking for my presence. It was lovely talking to you." I smiled so insincerely it hurt my face and then leant in to kiss her cheeks before leaving her side and walking away as swiftly as possible.

I walked quickly towards my father who sat on his throne next to King Carlisle who sat on the adjacent throne my mother often claimed as hers. When I arrived, I curtseyed to King Carlisle.

"Your Majesty," I greeted him politely.

"Princess Isabella," King Carlisle responded warmly, "I do hope you are enjoying the ball-it is rather spectacular!"

"It has been...wonderful," I said. Despite his son and heir's ungentlemanly behaviour which I reluctantly admit I rather enjoyed, "the feast and the dancing has been most enjoyable. But father," I curtseyed again, "you asked to see me?"

"Isabella, we are concerned with the whereabouts of Prince Edward-do you know where he might be? I noticed that you re-entered the hall without him." My father asked.

I felt my face flush with heat and then proceeded to lie, "Prince Edward and I went for a brief walk around the gardens but...he asked that I go ahead of him and return to the ball. He said he needed some time to contemplate what is to come."

King Carlisle frowned, I hoped he did not see through my words, "Fair play, Princess Isabella." he then turned to my father, "The prince will return soon, we need not worry about him assuming there were guards nearby?"

I nodded, "Yes. A pair."

"Then we must not worry and enjoy the festivities!" King Carlisle stood, "Charles, may I have permission to dance with your lovely wife, Queen ReneƩ?"

I managed to keep a perturbed smirk from my lips. My mother? Lovely? When evil ceased to exist then would my mother be lovely.

"Of course," My father replied evenly, "if the favour may be returned. I believe I have not had the pleasure to dance with Queen Esme as of yet."

"Of course," He said with a smile and looked out over the bustle of dancers, "I see my wife is dancing with the Earl of Angeles-the swine. I would be delighted if you took her away from his company."

"It is done, my friend." My father responded and the two descended from the raised thrones and disappeared into the crowd.

Standing on my own, I felt extremely lonesome. Much to my disgust, with my future with Prince Edward, I knew that this would not be the last time I would feel alone. I longed for Jacob, my body ached for his touch...I felt my spirits lift at the thought of his visit the next morning. But what would we do? What could I do to be with him?

It was at that moment, Prince Edward returned into the hall, looking as clean cut and handsome as I had ever seen a man look. He searched the room and eventually his eyes landed on me, causing a peculiar pang of adrenaline in my stomach. He nodded. I reciprocated. And then he strode over to where Lady Irina stood, offered his hand and they sailed into the centre of the dancers where every pair of eyes could see them. I felt my throat constrict with irritation...and jealousy. Two emotions I shouldn't feel in the slightest. I glanced subtley around the room, aware of the looks of scrutiny emanating from certain Lords and Ladies who saw Edward's behaviour as uncouth. It was a tradition that newly betrothed royals only danced with their betrothed and no one else-it was seen as almost adulterous in the early stages of what was seen to be a marriage.

Alas, I understood his actions. I sought out Edward in the centre of the ball room and once he noticed my gaze, he smiled knowingly at me and oddly enough, I found myself respecting him. It was then I knew the games had begun and Edward had made the first move.

As of now, it was my turn.

Please review! More apologies for the late update!