• The clock seems to tick far slowly then in actuality, like the heart of prey in the midst of a feeding... It goes by so slowly, agonizing, tensing my already anxious body ever further with the steady tic-toc of turning gears. Staring does no good to this cause, and I steal myself from looking at the torturous clock, staring at the floor at my feet.

    Dressed in travelling attire, my hands pluck furtively at the sleeve of my coat, my right foot beginning to tip-tap in tandem with the tic-toc. So much noise, so much time... my mind reels inside the boney confines of my skull, trying not to turn to the worst of thoughts.

    "Aveline... where are you?" I mutter with a strained tone of worry, getting up from the upholstered parlor chair, beginning to pace back and forth like a caged predator. She should have been her by now, it was quarter past the hour, fifteen minutes of almost impatient waiting, and still... she had yet to arrive.
    But I refuse to give into my fears of the worst, and try to busy my mind with less gruesome and heart-strained thoughts. She would not flee, she... she loved me. She would be arriving any moment now, smiling that beautiful yet somehow always tenacious smile of hers, stretch her olive toned hand to me, and pull me away from this place.

    The vision stirs me and grants me a moment of respite from panic and doubts... In a moment, if my heart could still even but shutter, the door relates the sound of knuckles rapping on wood to my sensitive ears; I all but abandon my state of calm and collectiveness and dash to open the door.
    "Aveli-!" I start, only choke off in an instant at the sight before me. My dear sweet Aveline, how I worried so she would not arrive, but she is not alone on the door step. No... clasping her beautiful ebony hair twisted around a strong pale hand is someone I bid never to see again upon my departure...

    "Closette, care to introduce me to your friend? Hmm?" Jeromie almost seems to purr, in a seductively silky tone that seeps into my ears, making my teeth grit reflexively in disgust... Aveline looks at me with wild green eyes, her lips pulled almost white in a grimance as she struggles to free her hair from the painful grasp of her elder. I can feel every vein in me burn with anger; anger I barely manage to contain and hide within me.

    "Jeromie, please, come in..." I say in the most formal tone I can scrounge up, stepping aside as smoothly as possible to welcome him inside of my home. He tuts with a cheshire grin, yanking on Aveline's hair ever so slightly, causing her to gasp and whimper in weakness at her incapability to escape the pain.

    "Mlle.Sinclaire, I fear tonight I cannot accept your hospitality, but must insist that you accept Senator Mavorly's this evening. If you would be so kind as to let me... escort you, we may depart now. I fear to decline would be unwise." he finishes with a spark in his eyes, as if silently goading me to resist and deny the invitation.

    My mind writhes with many thoughts at once, urging me to deny and try to steal Aveline from his grasp, to flee into the inky night as we had intended. To fight Jeromie until his cheshire grin remained plastered on his deadened face... Everything but the wise choice, which finally struggles its way to the surface and transmits the words I need to speak, if I have any hope of seeing Aveline free.

    "I accept this invitation M.Velasque. Would you mind removing your hand from Aveline? I much rather not have to remove it.." I say coolly, awaiting some sort of reaction from the man besides the removal of that cold pale hand. He grants meno such thing, simply yanking his hand out of those beautiful locks, shoving Aveline to me like shoving an unwanted animal onto the street.

    "Very well. Follow me." he says in the most inviting way... that conveyed to me feeling of dread.

    I hold Aveline to my side as we leave the comfort of my home, brushing my lips over her temple and feeling her cool skin almost warm compared to the chill of my lips. I shiver, brows furrowing with worry as I feel the dampness of a tear hit my bare collar. I hold her tighter, my arm slipping around her petite waist, fingertips pressing lightly into her material covered flesh.
    "Shhh..." I whisper soothingly, moving her along the cobbled pavement after our escort with growing feelings of upset. Senator Jacob Mavorly... an impressive figure in their society was seeking their presence. One might assume this an honor, but I... I knew this night was already lost. Aveline and I had lost our plans of escape, there was none to be had. I had done something unspeakable, something that did not abide our laws...

    ...I close my eyes for a moment, memories cascade into my vision...