Tantara! May I present Her Royal Highness, Princess Iona Lotte-Jewels!
The party was in full swing! The great hall seemed to glow around the many guests, the gold ceiling reflecting elegant, and sometimes blinding light onto the faces of the hundreds gathered within the massive space. The waiters were wearing costumes of silver, and were expertly weaving ad ducking through the crowd, passing around plates of food and glasses of champagne. The women wore dresses of very conceivable colour, a variety contrasted by the men dressed in black or grey suits. There was music and dancing, and laughter and chattering. The noise was deafening, voices and instruments rising and falling and occasionally being interrupted by a shrieking laugh from an aging aunt or the sharp blast from the announcing trumpet. Everyone was having a whale of a time!
Tantara! May I present Lord Nick DeSilver, and his wife and business partner, Lady Elle Gette De-Gold!
Another pair of pretty shoes descended the stairs which led from the front door into the hall followed by a set of smart black boots. Guests were still arriving, despite the late hour, fashionably late and hoping to be greeted personally by their two hosts. But alas, they were not as late as the organisers of this great occasion were. It was getting to the point of being rude: they had thrown this party in honour of themselves, but had neglected to show up. The guests were holding back with their remarks, however. It would not do to show contempt towards their hosts, particularly ones with so much intrigue and magic surrounding them. The fabled curse and the unveiling of the mysterious Prince and his new bride, which was the reason for this grand party, was enough to quell even the most impatient.
Tantara! May I present Duchess Ivana Taykma Klozoff, and her husband, Oliver Klozoff!
The clock struck one. The lateness of the hour changed the atmosphere within the hall. The music had gone quiet, the musicians taking a well-earned rest, and the gossiping had begun.
‘I heard she was a commoner before they got married.’
‘Yes, but her beauty is equal to none.’
‘She managed to break the curse?’
‘It’s said he was turned into a beast, and she was the only one to tame him.’
‘A beast? How ghastly!’
‘The whole kingdom had been thought dead and destroyed for years.’
‘She must be quite some lady.’
‘They used to be the most wealthy, the most respected kingdom.’
‘A beast and a commoner, you say?’
‘I wonder what’s taking so long?’
Tantara! Tantara! Tantara! May I present, Their Royal Highnesses, and your gracious hosts, Adam and Belle!
The crowd hushed excitedly. The only sound was a faint giggle coming from the top of the stairs. A pair of dainty, yellow-gold slippers appeared on the top step, next to a pair of bright blue boots. The crowd looked on, completely silent, completely horrified, as Beauty and the Beast descended the stairs.
They were dressed resplendently, in shimmering gold and royal blue. They were both as handsome as anyone had imagined, Belle with her dark hair, soft skin and large eyes, and Adam with his chiselled cheekbones, and blonde hair down to his broad shoulders. They were unbearably beautiful together, even with the small mistakes; the hair out of place; the crumple in the clothes; blushing tint to both their cheeks. Their smiles were dazzling, untamed, both of them almost laughing as they teetered down the stairs, clutching fondly at each others arms, and stumbling often as they sneaked non-so-secret glances. They were so obviously in love. It was so obvious why they had been late.
They stopped at the second bottom step and looked out at the completely silent crowd.
‘I thought this was a party?’ Exclaimed Adam. His voice was deep and strong, echoing easily around the hall. It had a slight growl to it, and reduced most of the women, and some of the men, to jittery messes.
‘Oh my!’ Cried Prince Stuart Pendus, and fell to the floor in a faint.
‘Stu!’ Cried another voice, as another young man rushed to the paralysed Prince’s side.
Belle and Adam faltered slightly, before gathering their wits, and with a few pointed looks at their silvery servants, the music began playing again and extra champagne was being passed through the hall. Soon the party look from the outside as if nothing had happened. There was talking and mingling and even a few dancers, and you could only see the slight franticness and instinctive shock of the guests movements if you looked closely. Beast and Beauty mingled and tried their best to placate their guests, but no matter what they did, they seemed to merely invite more shock and scandalous gossip.
‘His laugh is like a roar, made me jump out of my skin!’
Can you see? She’s serving the champagne herself.’
‘We actually spoke to them, she speaks so knowledgeably.’
‘And he hugged us in greeting. Actually hugged us!’
‘It was wonderful!’
‘It was inappropriate!’
‘Can you see where his hand is?’
‘Why doesn’t she swat him away?’
‘That is so improper.’
‘Oh, the way he eats!’
‘Has he not eaten at all today?’
‘Look at the way they look at each other.’
‘They are clearly in love.’
‘In lust, more like…’
A scream is uttered from within the crowd! Lady Constance Paininmyass had fainted! Belle was fussing over her, apologising again and again. The Beast, who had become separated from her, was struggling to make his way through the crowd.
‘We were just talking about my favourite books!’ Protested a distraught Belle. ‘All I said was thrilling adventures keep me up all night!’
Gasps echoes out from where the collapsed Constance had fallen. Outrage followed. Aunts and mothers were ushering their nieces and daughters towards the exit. Older men were following their disgruntled wives, and the young bachelors were looking appalled, trying to please their potential matchmakers and guardians of the younger women.
Soon the great hall was completely empty except from the scandalous couple. Belle was enclosed within Adams large, strong arms. Her tears for the incident had dried up and she looked into the face of the man she loved. He smiled down at her and all at once they burst out laughing, tears streaming down both their faces for entirely different reasons now. The silver servants who had been hiding behind the grand pillars of the main doors relaxed. Their beloved couple were fine. They went about their duties smiling and laughing.
(thank you to Ella for helping with the terrible name-jokes)