‘Are you ready?’ I grinned and placed my hands firmly on her waist, tightening my fingers around the boning of the dress.
Cain’s eyes widened too, paling. ‘Fuck.’I nodded furiously. As they both passed behind a large group of tourists I leapt up, meaning to run for it. But before I could take a step forward I was pulled back down onto the cold wood.
‘Where do you think you’re going?’ Cain hissed, sounding uncannily like his brother.‘I’m getting out of here! They’ll recognize me!’‘You can’t!’
‘Then I’m coming with you,’ he declared, jumping up too as I made to move. I pushed him back down onto the bench and replied rather too quickly.‘No! I mean, I’ll be fine, I won’t run off.’ Hastily, I glanced up and saw the three guys, both glaring intently at me. They were gradually pushing their way through the crowds and I knew if they saw me properly they would instantly know who I was.
Cain’s eyes followed the parting crowd like a hawk surveying prey, before he turned to me. ‘Okay, okay, but please don’t run off, Kaspar will kill me. We’ll sort this out, just go!’
I did not need telling twice. I dove into a side-street and then through the crowds, feeling tears streak my cheeks. I didn’t know where I was going, or even where I was; I just knew to keep running.‘Here, you will need these,’ Lyla said, handing me a pair of crystal-white gloves. I pulled them on and they reached just past my elbows. ‘Don’t ever take them off,’ she instructed, and I nodded, turning to look at her properly for the first time.
Gone was the usual pink tinge from her hair, replaced by an even shade of deep chestnut. It was pinned up, a few loose strands falling around her face. Her dress was emerald and backless, the material falling as low as the hollow in her spine. The rest of the material flowed to the floor, where it pooled in a small train. She wore very little make-up – not that she needed it.She pulled an emerald sash over her dress, the Varns’ coat of arms emblazoned across the material in silver. The one maid who had remained came forward, placing a dainty, not to mention very expensive-looking diamond tiara on Lyla’s head, and handing her a pair of white gloves, almost identical to the ones I wore.
‘Well, I think I am ready and you certainly are. I must say, you are my most impressive achievement,’ she prattled.‘Thanks,’ I mumbled sarcastically.