The night could not have been more terrible for Gwendolyn. She hated every damn ball she was forced to attend, with the suffocating old farts surrounding the area like roaches.
The dress her grandmother had forced her to wear was suffocating. The neckline was lower than her comfort and pressed against her breasts like two melons about to explode. The dress was a light blue color, sewn with shining ribbons and laces, something extravagant for her own taste.
The pink of her thin skin, exposed by the ambient lights, made her pallor even more characteristic. Her hair was tied up with the unruly curls forced into position, not wanting to rest above her head. How she wanted to end this night as soon as possible, choking on her appearance. She felt like she was about to receive her death sentence. She looked like a cow ready to be displayed for sale. To say that she detested everything was an understatement. And unfortunately, she had no choice but to obey. One day she would kill her brother. She had done so many times in her mind.
“You look lovely,” Ethan murmured dryly as he held out his hand for his sister to shake.
“And you look better than you have in days. Have you stopped rubbing yourself against the frayed cupboards?” she abruptly poked just to get a tighter grip from her brother's fingers digging into her hand.
“For God's sake, Gwen!” he groaned as his anger began to rise again.
“You two better behave yourselves tonight or else I'm going to kick your asses!” Their grandmother hissed from the carriage. It was never an empty threat, so the two siblings shut up as the vehicle door closed, and they were on their way to another night of “good” girls, stinky old men, and annoying jerks.
The ball was as sumptuous as any other organized in Veldra. Extravagant, decorated to the sounds of strumming muffled by murmurs of appetizing conversation between the opposite sexes. The hosts of the day, Lord and Lady Goustav, welcomed the guests with their wide, yellow smiles. Gwendolyn did not dislike the couple, but their mania for trying to win her over with excessively decorated and exorbitant food, and encouraging flirtations from their son towards her, was nauseating.
With a wry smile, she greeted the couple, not clearly showing some displeasure as she noticed Lady Goutav's attempts to flatter the accomplishments of her son—who could fill a pot with nothing—in a frustrated attempt to please the demanding Gwendolyn.
In a laugh loud enough to alarm the old lady and make the surrounding guests aware of what the fiery young lady—not in a figurative sense, but because of her temper—would cause a commotion that night, Gwendolyn managed to get rid of the irritating woman.
Now she prayed to God to be able to jump off a cliff. There she was, approached by none other than the buffoon Will Hornald, the epitome of everything that made her want to vomit. No sooner had she managed to get away from Abbey Goustav, —of course, her mother would make him bother her—now she was stuck with this abominable being. He was not only shorter than her, but also old, smelled like soaked leather, and was going bald. Although it seemed, he distracted this factor about his appearance by pushing a wig on his head that everyone knew was a fake.
“Miss Roz, it's a pleasure to see you again.” He whispered while taking her hand against her will and pursed his lips to kiss it.
Gwendolyn made a mental note to wash her fingers until her skin was raw.
“Sure, Lord Hornald.” She grumbled displeased.
“Tell me, did you receive the gifts I sent you?” His round eyes stared at her as if searching for some trace of hope that she would be satisfied with his gifts.
“Yes, I received them, thank you.” And I threw them in the trash as soon as they were seen, she thought.
“I heard from your brother that this may be your last season, dear.” He murmured while his hand still firmly held hers. For a man of his size, he had more strength than she expected.” You know, I think you would be a beautiful addition to the Hornald household.”
Gwendolyn resisted every opportunity she had to choke on the idea of becoming Lady Hornald, the wife of a stupid and disgusting man, —as she called him—who looked more like a raisin.
“In your dreams!” She boiled while forcing a pleasant smile, which only made her look constipated.
The idea of marrying her, proposed by her brother, still hadn't left her guts. The day she heard of Ethan's brilliant idea to get rid of her, shock decorated her beautiful features before even the lines on her face contorted with anger. Her grandmother, on the other hand, drank her cup of tea with great indifference.
“Are you threatening to SELL me?!”
“Aren't you overreacting?”
“If this isn't selling, I don't know what is! Ethan, you're a piece of crap!” foamed Gwendolyn in pure rage at her brother, whose face remained calm and passive.
“Mind your manners, Gwendolyn Belle!” Her grandmother shouted as the sound of the teacup hit the table.
“This is for your good, Gwen. I won't let my sister turn into a bitter old spinster.”
Gwendolyn's face contorted even more with anger.
“Even if our father was lenient in his ways, I don't allow this,” Ethan argued as he tried to stroke the angry face of his half-sister, who slapped his hand away.
The only thing Gwendolyn wanted was to scratch his face with her sharp nails. Physically hurting him would give her momentary relief.
“How did my son produce such idiots? It must be the Roz blood.” Her grandmother snorted as she loudly banged the spoon on the plate.
The anger that Gwendolyn felt now turned into deep bitterness. Her grandmother always used ‘Roz blood’ in an attempt to intimidate her, which certainly didn't work. It was a mention of her mother, a prostitute whom her father had fallen hopelessly in love with, and to the family's disgrace, she was born.
“What do you think will happen to you?”
“Are you worried?” challenged. Ethan gave her an irritated look. “I'll still eat, read, and sleep, as always!”
“It's about time for you to get married! Do you know how hard it is to prospect candidates with that temperament of yours?”
“It just tells you what a bunch of disgusting pigs they are!”
Ethan sighed wearily.
“I inherited our father's title, and you will do as I say!” Ethan growled while his blue eyes sparkled tempestuously. They were trying to compete with Gwendolyn's purple ones.
“You only want to sell me off, so you can continue your gambling while sleeping with prostitutes and maids behind the closet!” She boiled with rage. How could her brother think of selling her in that way? “Arranged marriage? Don't make me laugh!” She said in anger.
Her anger grew to the point that her eyes were flashing. Ethan could almost feel them burning him alive. Anger at his damn arrogant brother trying to turn her into a saint, while he enjoyed the fruits of sin freely.
“You must obey me!”
“The hell I will!” On the spur of the moment, she ended up scratching her brother's face.
“IT’S ENOUGH!” The sound of a cane hit both Boccoro brothers' backs as Kendra stood up. For an old woman of her age, she had surprising strength and an even sharper posture. “Don't be a brat, Gwen! You must respect your brother and whatever he decides. It's time for you to get married so that your rotten mouth doesn't tarnish the family's reputation even further! And as for you, young man, I'm keeping an eye on you. All young maids will be removed from this house. Stop copulating under my roof!” Her voice boomed as she looked at her grandchildren.
Although Ethan had been declared Earl, everyone knew that the one who would have the final word on his estates would be his grandmother, Kendra Cecil Boccoro.
“I wish to you even more hateful days, pig!” Gwendolyn hissed before turning and expelling herself from the room. The door slammed shut with a loud bang as Ethan threw a book in her direction, hitting the floor. This only resulted in another cane and a deafened scream that was more hate than pain.
Thank you for reading!
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