"Did you think about it yet?"
"Yes, mother, but I need more time."
The beauty that the room reflected was a striking contrast to Draco's face.
The walls were decorated with a gold paint on a white background, the small details imprinted on it making it more luxurious than it already was. The chandelier was sparkling, the sunlight reflecting on the glass. The long, French windows showed everything outside, or at least what's inside the castle– the garden, colorfully filled with roses, tulips, daisies, and every other flowers that you could think of; the petite looking tables and chairs, perfect for afternoon teas; and of course, the gigantic wall, my prison, that separated them from the world.
White, soft chairs made of satin were placed around a table, which was empty except for a teacup gone cold. The floors were completely covered with wine red carpets. There was a fireplace on the center of a side of the wall, never having to worry about getting cold. It was making cackling sounds, burning the logs of wood. Draco crossed his legs, fixating his gaze on it. If he stared quite long enough, his mother might go away. Might.
Heaving a sigh, Narcissa sat opposite her son. She massaged her temples briefly, resting her right hand on the armrest. She opened her mouth to speak, only to close it again. She wasn't even sure how to talk to her own son anymore, yet alone convince him. "How much more time? Draco, it's-"
"Mother, give me a break." Draco immediately cut her off, the familiar trail of her sentence warning that another lecture was coming. He hated to hear that tone. She sounded so tired with everything, and that means a lot because didn't even do much of her time. She almost sounded disappointed with him, but Draco couldn't help that. Could he?
He was tired himself. He felt the weight on his shoulders – it was tiring to fulfill all the responsibilities that his mother wanted him to do. It was exhausting, becoming the perfect man his parents expected him to be. "Please," he added with a murmur, his stomach churning unpleasantly at having to plead. However, desperate times call for desperate measures.
"I'll give you one more month." With that, she left the drawing chamber, leaving Draco alone with his thoughts and feelings, but mainly frustration.
"You sodding wanker!" Draco immediately followed the man, who started to break into a run. He didn't curse often, mainly because he was"forbidden to utter profanities at any one, or in any situation, no matter how frustrating it is." Who comes up with those shite, anyway? Nonetheless, it was liberating to say the least, breaking the rules his mother had set for him since he was a child, if not for the current state he was in.
Draco was chasing a stranger who just stole his favorite brooch. He was weaving through the thick crowd of the market area. It was filled with people and it was almost impossible to discern who was who, because everybody nearly looked alike because of their similar clothing style.
He was berating himself – not that it will change anything – for being so clumsy, and for leaving the castle in the first place. But he couldn't stand it there, not when he felt trapped inside the castle, as if those mahogany tables, silk white roses, bright candles, leather chairs threatened to choke him.
As soon as his mother left, Draco decided to take another tour of the town. It was a shame that the castle was solely separated from it. To ensure our privacy, and to prevent any iniquity from happening, father would say. When he would dress up normally – wearing only trousers and a shirt – to visit the town, nobody seemed to know who he was. Not a flicker of recognition.
At first, Draco was curious. He had no idea how people lived out there. He didn't know what they wore or what they did, what they talked about, or what they enjoyed for leisure time. He grew up with an exceptional education, but he was ignorant of what was going on in his own, soon-to-be kingdom. Oh, the irony of his parents' mindset. It was unnerving sometimes.
Pretending to be one of the townspeople, Draco would wander aimlessly, delving into the wonders of the town. The things that happened here astonished him. It was so different from the castle. People seemed to coexist for one another. There was no high or low class. There were only equal people who helped each other.
People from the market would trade food and give extra amounts of goods, just for the sake of it, out of the goodness of their hearts. It didn't matter whether you were poor or not because people would make a way to help you, to ensure that you eat your meals. The food! It was also very unalike from the ones served at the castle. Draco marveled at the rich flavors. He especially liked the sweet desserts, and he had a soft spot for strawberry cream tarts.
The local pub was noisy, but it was joyously so. Everyone would dance and sing, and even the performers seemed to enjoy themselves. People would share drinks, and sometimes drench their clothes with beer. The small orchestra Draco was used to seeing never had that kind of expression. They always looked bored.
Draco always longed to join them but he was afraid that it might blow his cover. People may not know his face that much, having stayed in the castle his whole life, but his mannerisms would immediately show that he wasn't part of them. He didn't belong there.
Panting to catch his breath, Draco halted for a moment, squinting around the crowd. He lost the man. Dammit! He worried his bottom lip, and tried to come up with another plan. With that speed, he would've already went to the other side of the town and Draco wouldn't be able to catch up, no matter how much of a fast runner he also was. It was annoying that the petty thief outran him. That bastard.
It was hard to remember any noticeable trait of the man, but he did remember seeing a scar on his forehead when he turned around to see whether Draco was catching up. The scar had a curious shape. If he recalled correctly, it was a shape of the lightning bolt. Although, thinking about it now, he couldn't just march into the palace and ask the guards to find him. It would be obvious that he was out in town. His parents would disapprove it. They'll think the townspeople are influencing me in some bad, mysterious way, tainting the perfect prince they want me to become.
He would have to improvise, then.
Checking his watch, he turned to the direction that would lead him to the castle, wrapping his jacket tighter around him. It was getting cold. But for now, I need to attend another tea party. Draco groaned. He never understood the point of that blasted party, anyway.
Draco sat languidly on the bench at his veranda, one hand kneading and massaging his shoulder. He finally got some time for himself, and he sighed in relief, thanking the gods and goddesses that he was finally alone, and not with those airheads who talked about the weather and how beautiful their dresses are. Or anything relevant to those topics that didn't have any depth. Did creativity die out after Shakespeare?
Upon hearing footsteps, Draco sat up straight, regaining his composure. He wouldn't – shouldn't – let anyone show that the next king was slouching. His brows furrowed in confusion when he craned his neck to see that nobody was in his room. No one even knocked. He snapped his head to the edge of the veranda, only to see a shadow quickly running into the other direction.
Panicking, Draco turned his head to see if he could grab anything to use as a weapon, but nothing remotely useful was in sight. He slowly walked towards where the shadow ran off, only to see the silhouette of the man trying to find a way to break in into one of the rooms. "Wait!" The figure froze.
Something glinting on the silhouette caught his eye. Is that my–?
"You fucking bastard!" Draco marched towards the man, not even caring if he was unarmed or not, and that he could be in danger because he didn't know whether the man was just a thief or psychopathic murderer on loose. He never read the towns' newspaper anyway, if ever they had one. "You stole my pin!"
The first thing Draco heard was a chuckle. He wasn't sure if it was a nervous chuckle, or just a chuckle chuckle. Maybe it was a bit of both, considering that the man raised his palm in complete surrender, shifting his weight from one foot to another. Was he mocking him?
"You got me. But you did have a hard time trying to catch me earlier."
Draco saw red. He stalked towards the thief and viciously hauled him by his collar. "What the fuck are you on about?" Draco gritted his teeth, his eyes landing on the now-familiar lightning bolt-shaped scar on the man's forehead. And that piqued Draco's curiosity. Where did he get such a scar? When? Why? How?
"Easy there, I didn't know first-class people talked and acted like this." The man's lips quirked into an amused smile, his hand touching Draco's arm lightly, trying to remove himself from his grip. Draco gripped tighter, glaring at the man's cheekiness, snapping out of his trance. "Besides, I think you're more interested in this." He pointed towards his forehead.
"That's what you think." Draco gave his best bored expression, although he was dying to ask about the scar. Damn his curiosity.
"Okay, how about I give you this pin and you release me?"
"You are going to give me my pin, regardless of anything. I can't believe you just tried to negotiate with me like that!" Draco gaped at the offer the man was making, his eyes blinking in disbelief, certain that he misheard him. No such luck.
"All right, I'll give you your pin but then you'd have to release me anyway." His voice tone suggesting that Draco was stupid – but maybe I am, how can I be tricked twice by the same person? – was back again. It made Draco's jaw clench, but he did loosen his grip.
"Here. It's an odd-looking pin, but interesting." Draco snatched his brooch from the pre-offered hand, tucking it safely on his pocket.
"You can leave. Now."
"Ouch." That bastard dramatically placed his hand on his chest, feigning hurt, soon chuckling as if he found this whole thing amusing. "I wasn't even here for ten minutes."
Draco promptly ignored him. He made his way back to his bench, huffing a breath he didn't know he was holding. His eyebrows were still knitted into a frown. He wasn't sure what he was going to do if the man kept pestering him.
"So what's your name? Is this your house or something?"
"Was that an attempt to make a conversation?" Draco stared in barely concealed incredulity. It was supposed to be a sarcastic remark, but he made it sound more like a genuine question.
"Touchy. So why were you in the marketplace earlier, wearing clothes likethe townspeople?" He eyed what Draco was wearing right now, raising his brows. Draco was no longer in simple trousers and shirt. What he wore – it reeked of money: perfectly tailored pants and button-up. The thief reminded him of his mother. Pestering. Nagging. Not shutting up, maybe?
"It's none of your business."
"Hmm. Mysterious." He tapped his chin, peering at Draco, as if trying to see through him, to see the truth behind his façade. "I like it. Challenging, you know?" Draco rolled his eyes.
Draco stood up, planning to retreat to his bedroom. He made himself clear, so the annoying bastard should find his way out. He was taken aback when he saw him extend a hand towards him. I'm asking him to leave and he's offering his hand? Draco just stared at him, speechless.
To be continued