Prologue to A Golden Lily Upon The Scale
When I felt that momentary wash of bliss, and I felt the sun's hot blaze beating down on my uncovered skin, I had a sense of déjà vu.
Sure enough, there he was, mahogany brown hair styled to appear messy with his creamy white skin slightly sun kissed, an effect granted by his power to manipulate his dreams but something I'd imagine no Moroi would be able to achieve naturally.
Adrian stared at me with both amazement and confusion, and I had no idea how to respond.
"Little dhampir," he said, green eyes flickering with curiosity. I felt the Dubai Chiffon knee length skirt I wore flutter between my feet. "This is not what I expected," he grinned.
I tried not to scoff. Instead, I felt my guardian instincts kick in. I instantly found my eyes wandering the perimeter, searching for any potential danger and registering our surroundings. Adrian and I stood on the side of a grand shining pool, with a view of high mountains beyond a shallow green fence. Behind me loomed a luxurious mansion, and guessing by the hot weather and the dry air, we were standing in what was supposed to be Palm Springs, where I knew currently Jill was at and Dimitri once was.
Adrian noticed me analyzing the location and laughed. I hadn't spoken to him for a while—not since our break up talk—and had no idea how he was coping. I always assumed he was drowning himself in alcohol and cigarettes, and was losing to a rotten liver, but his carefree smile turned out to be the opposite of what I imagined. He was happy, which made me so relieved.
Amused, I promptly placed a hand on my bare hip (Adrian sure knew how to dress me up, what with the long breezy skirt and a Bandeau bikini top) and flashed one of my mischievous grins. I was beginning to miss these spirit-induced dreams we shared.
"Long time no see," I said, and Adrian chuckled.
"That there is a understatement. I'm sure Belikov made it back in time?"
I took a seat by the tanning ledge on the surrounding patio and drew my legs up onto the surface. I kicked back and breathed, feeling completely majestic with the ways things were now. Of course a little Dimitri would make this pretend vacation perfect, but I didn't want to push my boundaries with Adrian. I still had no idea how much he still hated me.
"Dimitri's back at court, with Lissa, and everything is sailing smoothly. No unexpected spirit issues, no accusations of murder—nothing. Just peace and quiet," I smiled.
Adrian took a seat beside me. He ran a hand through his hair loosely.
"I doubt that. Lissa's the queen now. She's bound to have lots of shit on her plate to handle."
I tugged at the hem of my dress. "Well, she does," I said hesitantly. "But it's Lissa. If she can't handle it, no one can. She's a total boss when it comes to all the Moroi politics."
"That's creditable," Adrian mumbled. I took a sweet, quick glance to him and I couldn't contain it my curiosity any longer. The way he was just so happy—not once had he ever shown me this side to him before, not even while we dating.
I drew my hands over my knees and peered up at the handsome Moroi beneath my lashes.
"Adrian," I began. "You seem uncharacteristically bubbly."
I waited for his reply. He kept his eyes on the floating clouds and kept thoughtful.
"Does it have anything to do with ... Jill?" I pushed. Adrian sighed, but in a fluffy way.
"I'm in love, Rose," he said. "Head-over-heels in love."
A little part of me grimaced. "Adrian," I warned. "This is Jailbait we're talking about."
Adrian sat up and brushed me away.
"Not her," he snapped. "Sage."
I took a moment to register what he had said. I slowly sat up too, and with my eyes widening with the thought of my Alchemist friend, I mouthed, "Sydney?"
Adrian nodded proudly.
"But, Adrian! Sydney's completely ... you know ..." I found it hard to place the right words. Adrian leaned in, a devilish look to his face, and sparkled his eyes at me.
"She's an Alchemist?"
I gasped. "More than that! She's terrified of vampires."
Adrian's face fell then, and before I could throw a hand over my large stupid mouth, he pulled back and sunk back down onto his chair.
"Yeah, that seems so. She's definitely opened up to us—like, the gang at Amberwood and I—but sometimes I still notice her reservation to some of our ...habits."
Habits is hardly the word.
"How?" I asked. Adrian rocked back and forth and threw his hands behind his head. He looked so deep, so meaningful, and I could tell he was serious about Sydney. This wasn't some fling he was having with some girl he had met in Miami. It was the actual thing. He shared the look I sometimes saw on Dimitri's face whenever I caught him watching me. A look of protective love.
Adrian rolled the words off his tongue like darting firecrackers.
"She beautiful, Rose. Smart, funny, caring, loving, responsible, mature, easygoing, overwhelming! And the best part about it, she meets the criteria."
"Criteria?" I skeptically questioned. Adrian sighed all fluffily again.
"Remember what you said to me? That you didn't balance me like I needed?" I winced at the mention of our last conversation. I understood it was what was needed to be said at the time, but Adrian was torn apart because of that. Or so, I originally thought.
"Well, I found it. Her. She balances me. I want to change because she makes me feel like a better person. I know her like no one else."
"Then why don't you tell her?" I asked. Then I felt slightly stupid for saying that. If it was as easy as simply opening up to her, Adrian wouldn't be telling me of his unrequited feelings. He was the very thing she grew up to believe was an abomination—second to the Strigoi. I instantly saw the complications their relationship held and knew it'd take more than just words for Adrian to woo her.
"I did tell her, Rose," Adrian retorted. "I told her everything—Hell, I even kissed her."
My stomach dropped in shock. "You did what?"
"I kissed her! And I'm not saying it was a mistake. It was probably the best thing I've ever done in my life—no offense."
"But ..." Adrian paused. "But I didn't get to her like I wanted to. All I did was shake her up, make her realize, and possibly sent her running to the Alchemists begging for a transfer." Sydney isn't the type to do that. "I'm at a complete lost, Rose. I haven't talked to her for weeks, and I don't know who to consult."
My fingers drummed across my leg. "So you pulled me into you dream for advice?"
"Not intentionally," Adrian mumbled. "I was just thinking that you'd be able to help me. I must have passed out while thinking that."
"Passed out?" I sighed. "Are you drunk?"
Adrian grew defensive. "Do I look drunk?"
"You probably are wherever you're passed out at," I snapped. "Look, Adrian, don't tear yourself up just because of one little set back. I bet Sydney's thinking about you right now—I bet she can't get you out of her head. All you need to do is play the right cards and risk it if you want to win the loot."
"Easier said than done," he said. "Sydney ain't some cowboy wannabe who's had a thing for me since we met. She was terrified to begin with. It was hard."
I glared at Adrian and decided to ignore his comment on Dimitri's Clint Eastwood fantasies. I stood up then and decided to flex my arms. Sitting there was probably the longest I've had to stay in one spot in a while, considering I've been drafted into hectic shifts among the guardians as of recently. Once I was done stretching, I grinned.
"If Sydney was easy, don't you think she'd lose her charm?" I asked. Adrian's face went blank.
"Well, look at it this way. She's just playing hard to get—"
"Sydney's a complete newbie when it comes to guys; that much I can tell. If you be completely honest with her, and don't give up, she'll snap out of denial straight away."
Adrian stood up and joined me by the edge of the pool. He dipped a toe into the pristine blue water (he was dressed in knee length shorts, a rarity, and a short loose dress shirt and wasn't wearing shoes like me) and sighed.
"You can't say that she's fallen for me yet. Just because she kissed me back means nothing."
Sydney kissed him back!
I sealed my lips shut and tried to hide my gleaming excitement. I wouldn't have known those two were hitting it off real well if Adrian hadn't told me, but I was happy they were. Putting aside their obvious differences, they were perfect for one another. I clapped Adrian on the shoulder and gave him a thumbs up.
"After your confession, she'd have to be stupid not to have fallen for you. And I speak from experience."
Adrian looked at me with surprised eyes, but then settled into a look of relief. He was as happy as I was to be back to being friends.
A loud sound ricocheted in our dream. Twenty-three loud knocks in the far distance had Adrian pouting.
"I think that's the Amberwood gang."
My hand squeezed Adrian's shoulder.
"Got get her, tiger," I joked, and he smiled.
"Be good, little dhampir," Adrian said. "Make sure you don't spoil Belikov too much."
The sound of my laughter faded as Adrian drifted into looking like a mirage.
As I tossed and turned, my eyes slowly began to open. Not that I really remembered them being closed in the first place.
I sat up and laid a numb hand on my forehead. Those spirit dreams always made me a little queasy after a while. I found the large bed I was sleeping in empty on one side, and frantically I brushed hair out of my eyes and glanced around the room. Surely enough, I found Dimitri, dressed in his usual dust coat and reading one of his western books in the corner. He looked up when he felt the presence of eyes on him, and he looked shocked—handsomely shocked, of course.
"Roza," he said softly.
I answered him before he asked.
"I just had a lovely dream, that's all. All the talk about love made me want to see you."
Dimitri raised an eyebrow, oblivious to my topic of love with Adrian, and placed his book down onto the coffee table. He then got up and walked over to me, sinking onto the bed beside me.
"I'll always be here when you wake up," he said before laying a dozen soft kisses on my forehead. I smiled into his chest and embraced him tenderly.
If Adrian and Sydney could share just an ounce of what Dimitri and I felt for each other, I knew it would make my day, and surely Adrian's.
This is the prologue to my novella, A Golden Lily Upon A Scale, which takes place after The Golden Lily and is updated daily until the release of The Indigo Spell. Be sure to check it out!
Please, read the following chapter A Golden Lily Upon A Scale, and review any of my pieces for me! It'll be so helpful!
Also, I'd love to know—who do you like better: RoseXDimitri or SydneyXAdrian?
I'm all for Sydrian.
Once again, thank you for reading!
Sneak Peek from Chapter Two of A Golden Lily Upon The Scale!
"You came here because you felt guilty." In a flash, I saw Adrian start towards me. He came so close to me; so close that I couldn't snake away as I was benched between him and my car. His haunting eyes were on me.
"If you don't love me, just say so," he whispered at last.
And that's when my voice was caught in my throat. The one time I needed it—the one time I got to set things straight between me and Adrian once and for all—I couldn't.
Why couldn't I find my voice? Why couldn't I say that I didn't love Adrian?
It couldn't be because I did ... right?