Chapter 5:

Lavister Hall

The Rise of Outcasts

“Where is Bernard?”Bookmark here

I asked the maids that were busy dressing me up. This night was the most awaited one.Bookmark here

“He went out with your father.” One of the maids replied.Bookmark here

I just wanted to ask certain things about Lavister Hall. It's not like I trust him or anything. Tonight's whole plan is completely unknown to him. Bookmark here

There was dead silence in the room. The only sound I could hear was the ticking of the clock. My heart was beating at a fast rate. I started to have indolent thoughts again. Bookmark here

Calm, calm. Relax. Bookmark here

Suddenly the door opened.Bookmark here

“You are still changing?” It was Fina.Bookmark here

“I am almost done.”Bookmark here

She, disregarding any sense of moral obligation, burst into my room and sat on the sofa with her legs crossed. Dismissing the fact that I, the upcoming head, was still in the middle of changing while being surrounded by maids, she acted as if she owned this place. Bookmark here

I got what she was trying to do and I really appreciated that. She must have thought that I might not be doing good mentally with all this pressure, so she burst in to divert my attention.Bookmark here

“You are not going to change?” Bookmark here

“You don’t need to worry about me. There is still plenty of time for us.”Bookmark here

“Us?”Bookmark here

"Sophia and I were discussing what to wear. She seems pretty excited about this event."Bookmark here

“When did you two get closer?” I asked with a surprised expression.Bookmark here

"Just recently. Sophia took the initiative and started a conversion with me. We barely talked before that."Bookmark here

“That’s good to hear…I guess.”Bookmark here

That’s weird. Sophia suddenly approaching Fina? Don’t tell she was trying to get the information on father’s order.Bookmark here

It seemed like Fina understood my troubled expression.Bookmark here

"You need not worry." She said with a smile.Bookmark here

After maids were done dressing me up, we spent some more time talking in my room. Bookmark here

Someone knocked on the door.Bookmark here

"Looks like it's Sophia. Well then, Nicolo, see you at the hall." She went out as she waved her hand.Bookmark here

I could see my little sister standing outside with her head down.Bookmark here

"Geez."Bookmark here

Things could be really awkward with her at the ceremony.Bookmark here

I put my legs on the table and kept staring at the wall in front of me. I was going through the plan one more time. Bookmark here

Time passed by and the awaited moment arrived. I was accompanied by guards, butlers, and my brothers. A special red and black tuxedo suit was prepared for me and it fitted me just fine.Bookmark here

A white car was waiting for me outside. I sat on the back seat and we started to move. We were surrounded by a bunch of jeeps, filled with men holding weapons. Security was more tight than usual. Bookmark here

It took us 15 minutes to arrive. Bookmark here

Lavister Hall. I was staring at the front gate.Bookmark here

“Getting nervous?”Bookmark here

"Shut up, Riccardo.” Bookmark here

I was already feeling weird about having a protocol like this. I took a deep breath and start moving. The guards opened the doors for me. The bright light blinded me for a second. Even though I was blinded, I could hear soothing music playing. My vision started to come back and what I witnessed was a beautiful hall brimmed with the lights of the chandelier. A lot of familiar faces. Bookmark here

"Hey, Nicolo. You looking nice in that suit." Fina called me out. Bookmark here

"Thanks."Bookmark here

Fina was wearing a maroon masquerade gown, looking beautiful as always. Sophia was standing alongside her, wearing a similar dress. I tried to give an awkward smile but she turned her face away. I was expecting that. Bookmark here

I ignored her and went to greet our guests. Bookmark here

“Nicolo, my boy, look at you. You were just a kid the last time I saw you.” Mr. Salvatore spoke as his wife was standing and smiling.Bookmark here

"Hehe! What about you, uncle? You look healthy as usual."Bookmark here

"HAHAHA, you think so?" Bookmark here

I don't remember much about Mr. Salvatore; he owned a mill in Lower End so his worth was high enough to be in this ceremony.Bookmark here

Similarly, I greeted other nobles that were present in the hall and the ones that had just arrived. This was getting exhausting. At least this hall was chill with an air conditioner otherwise, I would have been dead by now. Bookmark here

I took a break and grabbed a glass of what seems to be Bloody Mary, a light alcoholic drink. Just then, someone put his hand on my shoulder. I turned around. It was Marsia and Valentino. Bookmark here

“Yo!”Bookmark here

The hall was so big that I didn’t even notice them. Bookmark here

"Where is Risa?"Bookmark here

"There." I turned my gaze in the direction pointed by Valentino.Bookmark here

"Oh, my darling Fina, it's been so long. I really missed you." I should have expected that.Bookmark here

Risa was hugging Fina tightly while my sister seemed to be really confused. She was not aware of the close friendship between Fina and Risa. Fina didn't even mind her over-the-top behavior in a place like this.Bookmark here

“How are things on your end?”Bookmark here

I whispered in Valentino’s ear. Bookmark here

“They will start things the moment your father begins the ceremony. Speaking of your father, where is he?”Bookmark here

“He went out with Bernard a while ago; he still hasn’t come back.”Bookmark here

"That's something to worry about. We need to be more cautious." Valentino spoke in a concerning tone. Bookmark here

He thought for a second and turned towards Marsia.Bookmark here

"Marsia, you come with me. Nicolo, we are taking our leave. We will handle things regarding your father, you just need to be on high alert. Inform us if you feel any disturbance. Trey is sitting in the right corner of the hall; just tell your concern to him."Bookmark here

“Understood.”Bookmark here

"See ya." Marsia slightly waved her hand and they both mixed with the crowd. Bookmark here

I leaned my back on the wall and took a sip of Bloody Mary. It was alright. Bookmark here

"You must be Nicolo's younger sister. What's your name?"Bookmark here

I saw Risa, after playing with Fina, now shifted her attention towards my sister.Bookmark here

“So…Soph….phia”Bookmark here

“Sophia! That’s a cute name. Come with me.”Bookmark here

Risa grabbed Sophia’s hand and went off on her own journey. Bookmark here

"She is acting a bit different today." I said as I stood beside her???.Bookmark here

"Of course. That's because of me."Bookmark here

"What do you mean?"Bookmark here

“Nicolo.” Fina said that in a surprisingly serious tone. “You should give more attention to her.”Bookmark here

"Huh?"Bookmark here

"Care to know how we got this close?"Bookmark here

“How?”Bookmark here

“About 2 weeks ago, I found her crying in the middle of the night at the top floor of the mansion.”Bookmark here

I was sweating.Bookmark here

"I think you know why. I don't intend to pry into your family matters but it just hurts me to see her cry like that. I am observing her for a long time and now, she always seems to be a very lonely person. Her brothers are mean to her. Her father doesn't care about her because she is a girl. She probably misses her mother a lot as well. No real friends either. It must be hard on a kid like her. I tried to approach her multiple times but it didn't work. That night, she was vulnerable that helped me get close to her."Bookmark here

"I slapped her that night. That must have been really heartbreaking especially from what you just told me."Bookmark here

"Definitely. That's why I asked Risa to spend time with her."Bookmark here

“Good call on that.”Bookmark here

"Stop mocking me. You should consider it more prominently."Bookmark here

"But Fina, did you think what would happen to her when you leave High End tonight? You leaving her like this will surely hurt her more."Bookmark here

"I did think about it. The only option is to come back for her after the takedown."Bookmark here

We were whispering at this point. Bookmark here

"That's the only option, I guess. We can't take her with us as it's way too dangerous."Bookmark here

"Obviously, not. I would rather leave her crying rather than taking with us."Bookmark here

There was still time sometime before the clock hits 12. Father still hasn't arrived yet. The music was rather nice so I was getting into the mood. I turned towards Fina and pulled my hand out.Bookmark here

"Care to dance with me?"Bookmark here

"Oh my! Quite a gentleman, aren't we?" She was chuckling. "With pleasure."Bookmark here

With that, she grabbed my hand and we started dancing in the center of the hall. All the eyes were focused on us as I was the main person in this ceremony and Fina was my fiancée. Both of us received some elite training so our dance was elegant enough to make others speechless.Bookmark here

Every other couple stopped dancing because of us as we danced through the center of the hall. I spotted my little sister, who was with Risa. It was kind of hard to tell but her facial expression told me that she was both happy and sad at the same time. Bookmark here

After making few more rounds, we stopped because we were exhausted at that point.Bookmark here

The entire hall was filled with applause. That went on for a while. After that, I, along with Fina, Sophia and Risa went to the next floor and sat on the balcony. It was getting a bit uncomfortable there with all those people and I needed some fresh air.Bookmark here

"That dance was quite something." Risa said excitedly.Bookmark here

“Of course, our dance training was hell, right Fina?”Bookmark here

"It still gives me chills thinking about that. But, at least, it was worth it."Bookmark here

Just then, a pebble came flying at us. We looked down, it was Trey.Bookmark here

"It seems like he is calling me. Fina, come with me for a second." With that, both Risa and Fina went out.Bookmark here

I was sitting alone with my sister on the balcony. Crap, this was getting awkward. Bookmark here

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FINA!!! Why did you leave me in a situation like this?Bookmark here

Real Aire
Joe Gold
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