A/N: For now this can be read by anyone. But has faint innuendos, be careful. Planned to be for over-sixteens, but this chapter is fairly clean. The next chapter won’t be.
Prologue: Pure Jealousy
The gown was a bright red, with rubies at the hem. The seamstress had never seen a design like it. It was to be made from the finest silk, to wrap around a woman’s slim waist; a flaring skirt to twirl with, smooth fabric that would cling to her legs…
She admitted that she had imagined it to be for her, but it was obviously meant for a noblewoman, not a poor, dumpy person like herself. Several times while making it she had pressed it to her body, closing her eyes, as if trying to press the lovely piece of work into herself, so that she might have it. Not that she could ever stuff her body into the tight dress.
Sighing, she put the magnificent gown down, carefully arranging it so that it would not crease. She had seen too many expensive gowns spoiled by a single crease.
She wondered who it was for. A tall woman, surely. With long limbs, lithe and graceful enough to be a dancer. Hair the color of fire to set off the glittering gemstones. A figure to fall in love with.
For it had to be love, for anyone to order the likes of such a gown. Such a gown was looked at with awe, and surely not even the rich could call it a frivolity.
She pulled at her own mousy-brown hair, looking with disgust at her body in the mirror. How she envied the mysterious woman. To have someone love her … the seamstress didn’t know love. Her parents had left her as a baby – probably because they couldn’t stand the sight of me – at the doorstep of the orphanage.
Sewing was the only thing she was good at, but it was not a thing someone would love her for. She knew it. She had tried and she had failed. At love. At success.
In the end she was still a poor little seamstress stuck in a small town.
That’s what she thought, or at least until a man wearing a suit walked in, asking for the very dress she had pined over for months. It wasn’t a love-at-first-sight meeting, far from it.
She had been dreaming again, draping the gown over herself, dancing to her own music. Gasping, she blushed and put down the dress, clasping her hands together tightly. He would never forgive her. She would never be paid, and …
The man was about twenty, with jet-black hair and icy blue eyes. His suit was immaculate, and judging from its appearance, this was the first time it had been worn. It probably was, too. This man looked like an aristocrat with money.
The seamstress blushed again as the man remained silent, her mind conjuring up an image of how ridiculous she must have looked, dancing with a gown she could never have paid for in a million years. A gown that belonged to someone else, no less.
She tried to apologize: stuttering and stammering her way through words that made not the slightest impact on the man as he studied her features, his gaze travelling from her thick ankles to her too-wide waist, to her ample bosom, and double-chins.
She was thoroughly mortified – to think he had seen her! That the piece she loved was the piece that caused her humiliation! That the owner was the man. He could sue her. Her small embroidery shop would be closed down. He would ensure that no one ever gave her work again. She was done for.
After all, he was nobility and she was a peasant.
A tear rolled down her cheek slowly, gathering momentum as it fell. The man raised his hand, but instead of the slap she had anticipated with a flinch, he rested it gently on her shoulder.
His voice was so beautiful and it promised her a world of things she never would have dreamed of by herself. It was rich and melodious, unlike the coarse sounds she made. It told her … of miracles. It told her … she wasn’t alone.
It told her lies.