Q U A N D A R Y
(n.) a state of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation.
"KAEL, I SWEAR if you're doing what I think you're doing I'm going to freaking kill you!"
"Listen, more people will get hurt the more we resist," Kael said while she led them down the stairs. "I have a plan."
"We surrender," Natasja concluded as they stood at the door. Right behind the brown oak were the french mob. What person in their right mind would surrender just like that?!
"No, I don't want to," Paris hissed. "God knows what they'll do to you and Bleu's family! We have to fight back!"
Kael gently and firmly held her upper arms and stared at her in the eyes. "They have Bleu's parents. They have us surrounded. They have weapons. They can shoot us as soon as we step off the porch. This is the safest choice we have."
"They have my what?" Bleu harshly whispered when she had overheard, her heart pounding.
Kael sighed and let go of Paris, her fists curling. She wouldn't look at Bleu. "Your parents went out for a stroll and I respected their wishes of having no one go with them." There was regret and anger in her tone. "Idiotic decision. Later the mob sent me a message." She pinched the bridge of her nose, not saying anymore.
"They told us to surrender or have everyone executed," Natasja continued. "These are professional assassins. They can make it look like we never even existed and the police wouldn't be able to smell a thing."
"I've failed you," Kael's fisted hand trembled in the soft light of their lobby. "I couldn't even do something so simple and basic and just do my job."
Paris shook her head. "Stop. They were the ones who didn't want protection tonight. You did what you could."
Natasja agreed and held her lover's hand, stroking the top of her hand with a thumb.
"Let's surrender, then," Bleu nodded. "As long as they don't hurt my parents." This was serious. Fear gripped her heart at what the future held. Oh God, please let my parents be ok.
A silent agreement took place between the four of them and taking a deep breath, Kael opened the door, raising both her hands up and the girls following suit.
Immediately, hands grabbed their arms and Bleu yelped in pain.
"Hey!" Paris growled. "Don't hurt her. We're already surrendering, you asshole."
"Vous dites encore un mot, et vous allez le regrettez." The burly man sneered behind Paris. Say another word and you'll regret it.
Paris was just about to retort but the look Kael and Natasja were giving her made her keep her mouth clamped. They were surrounded by men with guns and it was a fight they would surely lose especially with Natasja and Kael cuffed.
Without another word, the darkly dressed men dragged them across their lawn and loaded them into black SUVs. Natasja and Bleu got placed inside one and Paris and Kael in the other. In the car, there were already two french men in suits and dark shades, guns in their hands lying calmly on their laps. They sat on either side of the girls, not speaking. And as soon as the girls were seated between them, they were blindfolded.
Bleu fought the panic that was rising in her chest as she tried her best not to strain against her cuffs and hurt her wrists. She couldn't see anything, couldn't move, and she couldn't seem to breathe.
"Where are my parents?" She asked. "You took them, didn't you?"
No one replied and Bleu fidgeted against her bonds. Beside her, Natasja gently nudged her, implying for her not to move and just be quiet. Hopefully they'll find out soon.
It was about twenty minutes of the car driving and turning. Before long, it came to a stop and Bleu heard car doors outside opening and slamming shut.
Something sharp pierced through the skin on her arm and Bleu flinched at the sudden intrusion. The last thing she remembered was the sound of a loud whooshing outside and the gush of hot air against her face. She blacked out.
Pain throbbing in her head. Her hands numb. Her body limp. She tried to open her mouth but found it difficult because of how dry and parched it was. The only sound Paris could utter was a low moan.
The blindfold was suddenly taken off and Paris groaned at the sudden bright light against her eyes. She scrunched her eyes and weakly raised a hand to block some of the light out. She squinted painfully, everything blurring.
And then came into focus.
The sunlight was directed towards her, and she found herself reclining on a king-sized bed, with soft velvet sheets of pristine white. With another groan, she pushed herself up with her elbows, turning her head to see who took off her blindfold. Whoever did it wasn't in the room anymore.
"Where the fuck am I?" Paris sat up slowly, noting that the throbbing pain in her head increased as she did so. She rubbed her eyes and head to try to get some of the pain off before looking at her surroundings. She was in a large room. An unlit fireplace was across the large bed she was on and the room was decorated with persian rugs and antique decors. The white color of the walls and two pillars contrasted perfectly with the brown of the antiques. The room itself was huge, with plush white sofas and even a bar installed in it. The bed was within a few steps to the balcony.
The smell, the decors, the paintings: Paris knew this place.
She was in Monaco.
"Oh no, no, no," She immediately got up, ignoring the vertigo that hit her and made her stumble slightly. She ran to the door, trying to open it, but it was locked. She quickly turned to try the balcony next, and saw that it too, was locked.
Paris frustratingly ran a hand through her brown locks, squeezing her eyes shut and taking deep breaths to try and calm herself. Where could the others be? Where's Bleu?
She sat on the bed for a moment to steel her nerves. She was in the royal palace in Monaco. Screaming for help wouldn't do much. She knew all the security guards here were probably working for her uncle.
Something at the corner of her eye caught her attention. In her panic and distress she didn't notice the piece of white paper laying atop the table beside her bed. She grabbed it quickly and read it.
Please do wear the dress prepared in the closet for dinner. We're going to be having a lovely little family reunion.
The rough but legible cursive it was written in gave Paris the chills. She knew the letter was from her uncle. She crumpled up the paper and walked to the walk-in closet that was built in the room.
In the vast expanse of it, only one dress was held up in perfect display and Paris would be lying if she said it didn't impress her. The dress was sleek but not revealing. It was studded with gems and jewels that Paris wasn't sure was real or not, but knew they contributed very much to the dress's elegant design. It was strapless, and made to fill Paris' slim tall form perfectly. This was a dress made for an actual fairytale ball, not just some dinner with family. Unless, of course, her uncle was feeling extra.
The dress was stunning, but Paris felt like being a little rebel. So she shut the door to the closet and looked in the mirror.
She was still in the pajamas she had left the house in. Her hair was a mess. Her face bare of makeup.
She didn't have time to dress up and look pretty for her own death sentence. There were other things to do. She figured her uncle would give her about an hour or two to "get ready" for dinner. That's plenty of time to put what little of her plan left into action.
In the room, there was one telephone. Paris' uncle knew that Paris had no way of contacting the police since he had it rewired to be like that, but she knew there were a few places he didn't think to block.
She punched a few numbers in by memory, crossing her fingers, hoping that even after a year it was the same number and more importantly, hadn't been blocked.
The phone rang. Oh thank goodness. Someone picked up.
"Hello, is this Mr. Hobbs? Yes, I'd like to ask for a favor..."
When she had told him what was happening, Mr. Hobbs was surprised at first, but nervertheless agreed to help. He was always such a down-to-earth kind of guy. It's why everyone loved him.
When she had said goodbye, she disconnected the phone call and within half a second her fingers were putting in another set of numbers.
"Hello, Chang residence."
"Brooke! I need your help."
All in all Paris had called three people and discussed her plans with them. Her plan was ridiculous and might never work, but it was worth a try. Her uncle was probably going to kill her anyway.
And just as she put down the phone, footsteps sounded outside her door and it was unlocked. Paris quickly scrambled to sit up on one of the sofas and presented herself with as much dignity as her one-year of training as princess could muster.
"Princess," one of the palace guards bowed, his suit in impeccable condition. "Dinner is served and your presence is needed."
"Oh, yeah," Paris stood up to her full height, easily intimidating the guard but he showed no sign of it. "Of course."
The guard raised a brow at her current state and outfit, but didn't say a word as he led her through the long and vast hallway. Pictures of the generations of royalty were hung up and Paris ignored them all. She had memorized their names, the years of their births and deaths, and even who they married. All of that and more were jammed into her one-year training as princess. Heck, she even knew of her uncle's family.
In a moment, they were standing outside the door that would lead into the dining room. She didn't realize she was holding her breath when the guard opened the door for her.
She almost slumped in relief to find that Bleu's parents, Bleu, Natasja, and Kael were seated at the mahogany table. At the head of it, sat a handsome bald, burly man with a beard that was impeccably cut to his liking. His green eyes were dark as he regarded his niece. He wore an Armani suit that was tailored to fit his tall, fit height. Many people would have imagined him to be an evil, fat, short french man eager for the throne. In reality, he still had the handsomeness of the Grimaldi genes. But the evil in him due to his thirst for power was unspeakable. He had murdered so many.
What Paris found odd was that no one was cuffed to their chair, and were all sitting in a relaxed manner. As if this truly was another dinner with close family.
"Welcome home," her uncle spread his arms. "Please, have a seat. Everyone is already here." He gestured for Paris to sit, which was directly across her parents and right next to Bleu.
"I don't think we've properly introduced ourselves," her green-eyed uncle cleared his throat. "You may call me Uncle Dante."
Paris opened her mouth to reply but Dante tsked and held up a finger.
"I have one rule here: Unless I'm directly talking to you, anyone who makes any movement to try to escape or leave, says violent words, or does anything of suspicion will be," he casually gestured around him. "Killed immediately."
Paris almost let out a gasp. Her uncle wasn't bluffing. A red dot moved on the foreheads of her friends and family, and she had no doubt there was one on hers too. Any wrong move and her brains are blown out.
"You see," Dante continued, his ringed fingers intertwining. "We have a ball tonight, and all the regents and elites will be here. And now, I may want you off the throne, but that doesn't mean you'll be useless to me."
Paris clenched her jaw. I am the Crown Princess, the rightful heir to my father's throne. What the fuck is this bastard talking about?
Dante leaned forward. "So let's make a deal," a small smile played on his lips. "Do what I tell you to do tonight, denounce the throne, and I'll let your family and friends go, unharmed. I'll never interfere with your life again."
Silence filled the room and everyone looked at Paris for her response. No one made a noise or indication of any communication with the princess in fear of their trigger being pulled.
Paris was hooked. This is her chance at a normal life. Her loved ones would be safe. She looked at the faces around her, their eyes telling her different things. Finally, she looked at Kael. Her expression was calm, and Paris knew that look. She wanted her to decide for everyone.
Her uncle smiled, leaning back. "Well then, I'll release you wonderful people to get ready for tonight. I am disappointed, however, that you didn't put on the dress I prepared for you, princess."
Paris was disgusted but put on a dashing smile, remembering the red laser tagged on her family's foreheads. "I'll put it on tonight, Uncle Dante." Then she muttered under her breath so she wasn't heard, "Fils de pute."
"Good girl." He smiled again then stood up, adjusting his suit. "Your task is quite simple. I want you to seduce Count Florence Ferrari, the most wealthy man in Europe. Get him alone, and my men will handle the rest. It won't be hard to spot him. And after that, I'll have you sign a contract denouncing the throne and then you're free to leave."
Does this bastard think I'm some sort of slut? Paris clenched her fist under the table.
"Dinner will be served tonight and all of you will be attending, so technically I never broke my promise of a family supper." He took out his iPhone and brought it to his ear, speaking in french. He waved at them and walked away, leaving Paris and the rest alone with a room full of people with guns.
"Oh," he added, stopping at the door and speaking to one of the men. "Séparez-les en paires." The guard nodded.
"You," one of the them pointed his gun at Bleu. "Accommodate the princess to her room. Prepare there. You have one hour."
And not a word or sound was made as the pairs were escorted back to the rooms.
Bleu sat on the bed, having changed into the red lingerie the palace had prepared for her to wear with her dress. Her dress was a navy blue color with jewels and glitter that made it resemble the night sky. It was draped over the chair, and Bleu hadn't touched it yet due to being deep in thought.
The bathroom door opened and Paris walked out.
"Would you mind zipping me up please?"
Paris' white dress clung to her every curve and line. A long slit ran across one side, so that her long trim leg peeked when she walked. This was not the traditional dress for a princess. This was modern, exquisite, and made Paris look sexy as hell and untouchable.
Bleu swallowed hard, standing up to walk over to the tall brunette. She had forgotten she was only in lingerie, her focus was entirely on Paris.
She watched Paris' eyes darken at the sight of her in such sheer underwear, and she felt that arousal again. She moved to stand behind her, accidentally trailing her hand along Paris' waist. She couldn't help but stand a little closer than necessary, her warm breath dancing across the brunette's bare back. She trailed a finger down the curve of the princess' spine as she bit her lip. Paris had such a sexy back. She heard a sharp intake of breath at her action and she couldn't help but place an open-mouthed kiss to the base of her neck.
"Bleu, stop playing and just zip me up already," Paris' voice was lower than usual. "We don't have much time."
"Of course, milady." Bleu brought the small zipper up slowly, allowing her knuckles to caress the smooth skin it ran along.
When it was done, Paris stepped away and Bleu felt a slight disappointment at the loss of her presence.
However, her libido kicked in when she watched Paris bend down slightly to pick up her dress. God, everything she does is sexy.
"Here," she walked back to Bleu. "Let me help."
Bleu didn't miss the way those green eyes raked down her half-naked body, lust evident in them. The blonde beauty chuckled as she took the dress from her and stepped into them, bringing them up to her chest. She could see that the V at the front of the dress went all the way down to her midsection, creating a deep valley for the sides of her breasts.
Paris zipped her up, doing the exact same thing Bleu did to her, making her tilt her head and close her eyes. Soft skin against soft skin.
This is the kind of sweet revenge I don't mind. She wanted so badly to say the words to her, but was afraid of how they made her feel. We don't have to be naked to feel such intimacy and - dare I say - love. She makes me feel safe. She makes me forget the world for a moment, and that's hard to do when all that's in your head is the world around you. When she's in my head, there's no space for another thought. The girl in front of her smiled, and her heart skipped a beat. I think it's starting to apply to my heart too.
Before she could speak, soft knocks sounded at the door, and they righted themselves as a woman timidly poked her head in. "Princess? We're here to do your hair and makeup."
Bleu sighed. She'd find the time to tell her soon.
An hour later, both women stood in front of the large, full-length mirror, the ladies who entered before having gone already to attend to their other duties. Both Bleu and Paris had their hair done up in sophisticated buns, each styled differently. Their makeups were done to perfectly accentuate the features on their faces, making their colored orbs pop. Necklaces and earrings adorned their ears and neck. They looked like the perfect power-couple.
"Holy shit, we look good," Bleu breathed.
Paris chuckled. "We've always looked good together."
Bleu couldn't help but blush a little at that. "Are you really going to step down from the throne?" She asked her after a moment.
"We'll see," Paris sighed. "If it means keeping everyone safe, then yes."
"Paris?" Bleu softly said as she held her hand.
Knocks sounded at the door.
"Princess, the ball is about to begin."
"So I've heard," Paris muttered. "Let's get this over with. By this time tomorrow, we'll be free."