I lay in bed that night, questioning what had just happened. Had I really just kissed Royce King? I couldn't bring myself to except the fact that I had, nor the fact that he wanted me as much as I wanted him.
That night was the first night I dreamt of Royce, his eyes watched me in my dream. He walked with me to a forest, beckoned me to walk further and further, deeper and deeper. The forest grew, becoming a maze of trees, covered with a dark canopy of moss and leaves that made it gloomy and damp. It was scary, but with Royce by my side I felt safe.
I awoke to one of my Mothers maids laying out clothing for me at the end of my bed, I snapped at her "Elizabeth, get out! You awoke me from my sleep, which was incredibly rude. Out, out now!" She almost jumped out her skin when she seen the anger in my face, she immediately left. As bad as I felt for snapping at her, she deserved it. She'd taken away time that could have been spent thinking of my darling Royce. I relaxed again, hugging the covers while I thought of Royce.
Eventually the time came when I had to get out of bed, and get ready for the day. I slipped on my pale violet dressing gown, tied the belt in a lazy bow and drew the curtains. Condensation ran down the windows, and the ice covered pavements glistened in the morning sun. Winter was coming.
I took myself down to the dining room, passing a maid on the way and ordering her to make me breakfast. As it was a Sunday, my Father was home.
"Rosalie, darling... I have told before, you really must get changed before you even consider coming downstairs for breakfast." My Father lectured. I sighed, silly man. As much as I loved my Father, his rules and regulations were very old fashioned, even for a man born in the eighteenth century. This was the nineteen thirties for goodness sake! My Mother nodded along with him, which irritated me to a great extent. She was always one to point out flaws, never the good in people. She envied me though, because she could only find faults in my personality, not in my face. She knew she wasn't nearly as beautiful as me. This angered her.
My Mother and Father loved each other, but not in the way others loved. They loved each other like a brother and sister, only kissing on the cheeks when necessary, which showed off how their relationship was clearly an arranged marriage. They had a seventeen year age gap, my mother being forty and my father being fifty-seven. I wondered how my Mother, who married young at seventeen, could have possibly even considered marrying my Father who would have been thirty-four. I could never marry someone who was seventeen years older than me, Royce was only four years older than me at my tender age of eighteen and I considered that a big age gap. I could never have endured an arranged marriage, unless I loved the man I was assigned to marry, like Royce.
When I reached the dining room, my breakfast awaited me. A basket of various breads and a plate of numerous jams, butters and spreads sat on the table. I nibbled away at a slice of seeded brown bread, with a thin layer of crème-cheese on top. The door opened and the maid I yelled at this morning slowly walked in, and curtseyed. "Morning Miss Hale, I have a letter for you." She passed me a small rolled up piece of paper which was tied with a red satin ribbon. She awaited my nod of approval before departing.
I read the letter, smiling as I glanced down to see who it was from, Royce. I touched my lips, remembering the kiss from last night. I grinned, sitting back in my chair for a moment, taking deep breaths. The letter spoke of how he felt about last night, and how much he enjoyed it. He stated in the letter that he wanted to meet me for a winter walk in central park today, and he would be waiting there at twelve o'clock sharp. I didn't have a moment to lose, because I'd slept in I only had an hour to get ready before I'd have to leave. Panic set in.
I walked swiftly up the stairs and to the bathroom, filling the bath with hot soapy water. I rinsed my body and washed my hair. When I stepped out, I towel dried my body and slipped back on my dressing gown. I pinned my hair up into a loose hair style that left my hair cascading in curls down to the middle of my back. I applied my makeup lightly, and went to get dressed. I put on a slim fitting pencil skirt that sat high on my waist, a silky blouse and a pair of heels.
"Mother, Father…" I called as I put my double-breasted coat and leather gloves on. "I'm just away to see Royce, we're going for a walk in central park. I won't be long."
"Okay darling, please don't be too long as dinner is early tonight." My Father said.
"Goodbye Rosalie." My Mother said, through fox like eyes. Our bond was nowhere near as close as me and Fathers, she watched me like a hawk, ready to kill. Envying my beauty, freshness and dazzling aroma.
I stepped out the door, the ground was slippery underfoot. I made my way to Central Park, flourishing with excitement at the thought of meeting Royce. When I reached Central Park, Royce awaited me. He wore a tweed jacket, tailored trousers and had his hair slicked back into a perfect style. "Hello Royce." I smiled.
"Hello, darling Rosalie." He replied, he then kissed my cheek and linked my arm. We walked around central park, swimming in each other's company. We spoke and walked for forty minutes or so, turning this way and that speaking about utter rubbish.
"Rosalie, darling…" he spoke, "May I ask you something, rather personal to us?" For the first time in my life, I'd heard him stutter as he spoke. It didn't take away from how attractive he was, merely added to it.
"Yes, Royce, what is it?" I frowned.
"Well, we have been attracted to each other for quite some time now," he started "and I know we feel for each other. Last night was just perfect, splendid." He paused, thinking about what to say. I smiled, waiting for what he was trying to say. Even though I thought I knew what was going to be said. "In all due respect, I was wondering, could we possibly be officially in a relationship?"
I stopped dead in my wake. Had he really just asked me to be in a relationship? Everything had happened so fast, we'd only met a year ago and last night was the first time we'd spent a long period of time together, but I knew what I wanted my answer to be and my heart spoke before my mind. "Yes." I replied, "Oh, Royce how I've waited for this for so long." Should I have waited to ask my Mother and Fathers permission? I worried about their reactions. I was clearly too late to change my mind.
He grinned at my response, and suddenly I was against a tree trunk, pinned against it by his beautiful body. He pushed against me, and began to kiss me passionately. I couldn't believe he was doing this, the park was mostly empty but this was still completely and utterly out of place and wrong. Yet, I did not tell him to stop. I wanted him to carry on. I captured the moment, memorising his lips. His hands held my back, his gentle touch being unexpected from a man like him. I wanted this moment to last forever, never to end.
All too soon it was over, he walked me home and gave me a quick peck on the lips before we parted. His mood had changed slightly, it was distant. Yet, he was still vacant. I closed the door, even with his slight mood change at the end it was still an amazing afternoon. I walked in, exhausted. I was officially in a relationship with the most perfect man I had ever met. I took my gloves off and placed them on the piano stool, then hung up my coat. I stood against the wall and tried to catch my breath.
"Darling, how was your walk?" my Father questioned, as I walked into the drawing room. My Mother and Father sat in opposite arm chairs, he held a book in his hand and she held two knitting needles and a basket filled with wool in hers.
"It was wonderful Father, but I must talk to you and Mother first before I discuss the walk." I knew Father would approve of my new relationship status, but I wasn't so sure about my Mother.
"Yes, darling…?" My Father questioned.
"Father, Mother... Royce and I are now officially in a relationship." I kept serious, shoving the grin that wanted to be unleashed to the back of my head. I needed to act mature about this.
"That is wonderful news darling, I'm so glad." My Father stood up, and hugged me tightly before sitting down again.
My Mother glared at me in disapproval. She was disgusted, and I knew that was only the start of it. "Rosalie Hale, are you meaning to tell me that you got into a relationship with a man without even asking me or your Father? You disgusting-"
"Now, now honey. Don't be so old fashioned, Rosalie can make her own decisions in life." My Father interrupted, standing up for me.
"Old fashioned? You won't even let her walk downstairs in her nightgown." She shouted back.
"Only because it is bad mannered for a lady to be seen in her nightdress." He scowled.
"Oh Hector, do be quiet. This Royce didn't even ask for your permission to get into a serious relationship with our daughter. We do not know who this man is!"
"Don't 'oh Hector' me Victoria, you've had your say and I completely disagree. I've known Royce before he even worked in the bank, he is a well brought up, well-spoken and a decent man." My Father stated, glaring my Mother in the eyes.
My Mother ignored my Father, and turned to me, "Rosalie Hale, if I do not meet this man in the next three days and approve of him, you cannot be in a relationship with him. End of. I forbid it!" She glared.
'I forbid it.' Those three words, said so often by her, but for once they actually scared me.