Loyal Liars

by Fiona F


Frivolous Parties
The soft tinkling of metal spoons clanking against glass goblets filled the air of the drafty ballroom and Alana stood alone in the corner, watching resentfully as her parents spewed lies in order to get what they wanted just a few feet away and feeling like an oversized decorated cake in the fancy evening gown that she had been forced to wear. A slight breeze came in through the tall windows and a couple of women to her left muttered about the state of their hair before flouncing away in search of a mirror only to be replaced by a harassed looking servant who closed the windows firmly before sticking his hand into his pocket and pulling out a handkerchief to wipe his brow. His black hair was slicked back and his green eyes sparkled in the glow of the warm lights reflecting off the hideous gold paneling.
"Rough night?" Alana asked quietly and he appeared shocked to find that someone was addressing him.
"You could say that." He replied nervously, forcing a wan smile before disappearing behind a pair of dancers who had just emerged from a chamber. The people who attended this party, graciously hosted by
Raymond Walter, were well off and although Alana had met each person in the room multiple times, there was one man standing on the edge of the dance floor whom she had never seen before. Her first impression of him was that he would be willing to go to great lengths to get anything that he wanted. He had a deep, commanding voice that effortlessly carried across the ballroom and the couple who stood across from him draped in Chanel and Cartier jewels were rapt with attention at whatever proposal they were hearing. The heavy emerald earrings that the woman wore were trembling as she frantically nodded and her husband quickly pulled out a small leather wallet, reaching his hand in and producing a checkbook which he glanced at for a moment as though debating his next move. Alana gazed at him for a moment before a cold hand grabbed a lock of her long black hair and she was pulled off her feet, stumbling slightly and grimacing at the impracticality of the four inch silver heels she was wearing. She could smell the mint leaves her father recently chewed still on his breath as he hissed in her ear.
"You little bitch! What do you think you are doing standing alone in the corner without an escort?”
“Firstly, I do not an escort to drink champagne and introduce me to the many guests of this party and secondly, Father, not everyone enjoys the monotonous drone of the same boring conversations from the same boring people.” She replied scathingly, her tone dripping with unconcealed disdain, her eyes nonetheless scanning the room for someone interesting to converse with.
"How dare you talk to me like that? I am your Father and your King and that if nothing else demands respect!" He growled and she forced out a laugh.
"I respect people who respect me, not powerful old men who think that they rule the world. Just remember Father, I know everything you do and I won't hesitate to expose you to the people of this country because, as you well know, without the people you are nothing."
She pulled away from her father’s grip and walked towards the man confidently, plastering on a fake smile that felt as though it was surgically embedded, stapled and glued to her skin. Her Father uttered a quiet curse but allowed her to go, returning angrily to the side of his loyal wife who handed him a drink before resuming
her conversation with Raymond’s wife-to-be. The woman extended her left hand out to Alana’s mother who gasped at the size of the diamond situated between a ring of rubies on her finger and Alana rolled her eyes. There were people starving in her country, she’s seen them huddled on street corners clutching tattered hats to their chests, begging for a spare coin to feed their empty stomachs and yet these people insist on spending millions on parties and jewelry that truthfully has no real value. Upon seeing Alana approach, the man concluded his conversation with the couple and turned her way, extending his hand and then quickly dropping it as Alana crossed her arms. Upon closer inspection, he looked more tired than he did from afar and his light brown hair was messy as though he had run his hand through it multiple times in distress. He stood tall, towering over everyone in the vicinity and his eyes were a piercing blue, filled with suspicion and something else that she couldn't quite place.

“You don't look familiar.” She said, her voice quiet despite the cacophony surrounding them.
“Alas, neither do you,” He replied graciously, raising one eyebrow in repressed mild interest.
First Encounters
“What a rude remark to make toward a princess.” Alana said, pretending to pout. His expression was that of shock for a brief moment, nonetheless his voice became lighter with the sense of opportunity.
"A Princess? That must've been an interesting way to grow up."
"Oh yes, living in a castle and getting slammed with a thousand dollar heating bill every month during the winter is great. Getting raised by servants and being forced to interact with condescending men and women who truly think that they are better than everyone else? What could be bad about that? The only bright spot is my ferret, Brina. I got her when I was sixteen as a coronation present."
"I have an entire Zoo in my backyard. I call it Neverland." He said excitedly while Alana stared at him, not able to tell whether or not he was lying.
"That's...original." She finally responded politely, "I'm Alana."
"Victor." He said quietly, taking her hand and leading her toward the bar.

The lights dimmed around them as the night wore on, the number of party guests receded slightly, however, they noticed none of this as they were deep in conversation laughing and talking about their hopes and dreams. It was after midnight and they sipped their champagne at the counter, in a faint daze.