Madeline stood at the huge French windows in her bedroom and watched as the townspeople began pouring into her family's estate, she let out a soft sigh, she hated weekends like these more than anything than she could think of, she was always told to stand there and look pretty and to only speak when spoken too.
The exquisite hand-made Emerald coloured velvet dress, with gold trim, hung on the back of the door, albeit it was beautiful, in fact, it was more than beautiful, she knew how fortunate she was to have such expensive clothes and belongings when there are people going hungry in the world, but she had hated what her life had become since her mother died, her father had become a tyrannical beast, his temper had grown worse and he was a complete displeasure to be around, her older sister Celeste fell lucky and married into a loving family that adored her and to a man that spoilt her rotten with affection, Madeline felt a heap of jealousy towards her sister's new life but she knew that it wouldn't be long until her father would begin to start looking for a suitor for her, since turning 22 and still being unwed was considered strange, especially in this day and age.
"Miss Thomas your father is waiting for you downstairs" spoke one of the servents on from the other side of the huge oak door.
"Could you tell him I will not be a moment" she said in an apathetic tone, Madeline sighed before finally starting to get ready, she slipped on her dress pulling her corset tight and pinning her hair up into a simple yet elegant up-do and she was ready, well as ready as she would ever be, she made her way to her father's office where he was already waiting impatiently tapping his foot and rapping his fingers on the desk "Finally" he grumbled "we've got nearly the whole town here waiting for us and your pandering around doing christ knows what" his face red and puffy from the years of alcohol abuse and poor eating habits.
"I'm sor.." she began to apologise, but it was cut short "there is no time for apologies Madeline, now hurry up we have guests to greet, and then we can finally get these festivities underway" he stood up from the desk that was almost the same size as him.
"yes, Father" she forced a smile, the nervous butterflies fluttering around in her stomach, as they made their way on the makeshift stage, where the whole town and its cousin were stood before waiting for the mayor's grand speech, and this was Madeline's definition of a nightmare, the thought of all those eyes staring up at her made her feel physically sick.
"Welcome everybody to the 4th annual love of light festival" her father boomed loudly as he talking spoke to his people, but as he spoke Madeline's mind trailed, as usual, she couldn't wait to get this weekend out of the way, after her father's speech it was then her turn to mingle with the revellers, she had a long list of do's and don't's, like she was not to talk about private family life that was strictly forbidden, she was definitely not to mention anything about the string of street girls she had seen leaving the estate and stupid times of the morning, she had to smile and be polite even in the most uncomfortable circumstanced basically she was there to make sure her father looked like the perfect family man when he was anything but.She stood in the corner of the room, feeling lost and alone she normally had her sister Celeste there to keep her company, but this year she was flying solo, and it being a festival about love made her feel 10 times more lonely, her eyes were scanning the room looking for a friendly face or somebody she knew, anybody...
"Good Afternoon Miss Madeline"Anybody but himShe spun around and turned her nose up."Oh, Hello William" she replied politely even though he was the last person she wanted to speak to.
"Still no ring I see" he gibed as he glanced down at Madeline's ringless hand.Madeline's face flushed red "I'm not going marry the first man I lay my eyes on William, I'm not desperate" she replied more sharply than she intended, but the truth was she couldn't physically stand the man, his greasy black slicked-back hair, The little black sluglike fuzz on his top lip, his arrogance, everything about him made her cringe, William was everything she despised in a person.
"Well, I would hurry and tell your father that, because my father is in that office talking with yours as we speak" William goaded with a smirk on his face his lips "Mrs Madeline Carrington has a nice ring to it don't you think".
Madeline shuddered at the thought of it "William I wouldn't marry you if you were the last man alive and we were the only ones to help bring back the population, I'd prefer humans to go extinct that in any way have to procreate with you" Madeline scoffed, looking down her nose at him.
William took a step closer to her and gripped her wrist pulling her closer to him "when your father realises that I'm the best you are going to get, you're not going to have a choice, I mean you're slowly getting a lower list of eligibility, at this rate you'll be shipped off to nunnery in the middle of France somewhere" he seethed through clenched teeth, his face turning red with anger, Madeline scoffed and pulled her wrist away sharply, she felt a surge of anger run through her veins and balled her fist, she was just about to close her eyes and swing and punch him in his horrible, smug, little Weasley face when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Is everything okay here?" a man interrupted.
"mind your own business we're fine" William Spat screwing his face up making him look even more weasel-like than usual, and grabbed hold of Madeline's wrist again attempting to pull her away from the man.
"I wasn't asking you, I was asking the young lady here" he turned to Madeline who was for once lost for words at the handsome man standing in front of her.