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Apr 9th, 2021
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  1. >"What are you doing?"
  2. >The voice that startled you from your silent contemplation was haughty and high-pitched; you could peel an apple with the grating tone.
  3. "Just lookin'."
  4. >"'Just lookin'?"
  5. >She sounded incredulous, as if no one had ever said something like that to her.
  6. "Yeah. Gotta problem?"
  7. >You spun around so you were facing her, all the while you splayed yourself over the railing of the balcony, a smirk settling over your features.
  8. >Her face was red, and you could only guess as to why.
  9. >"I've got a few, hayseed."
  10. >You took a deep drag of the cigarillo burning in-between your fore and middle finger, contemplating what you would say next.
  11. >All the while her face grew from a soft pink to boiling red.
  12. >Now you could see the anger flashing behind her cerulean eyes.
  13. "Care to enlighten me as to what those are?"
  14. >Oh yeah, that would cause an aneurysm for sure.
  15. >And Diamond Tiara didn't disappoint.
  16. >"This is *the* party of the year, and here you are. Smoking on my balcony. I thought *you* of all people would be inclined to wine and dine some future clients, but I guess a lowly hayseed like you can't even comprehend-!"
  17. >You cut her off with a chuckle and a large drag of your cigarillo.
  18. >The great white cloud that escaped your lips was almost as affronting to the woman in front of you as your lackadaisical attitude.
  19. >Her jaw - and her asshole, you assumed - clenched.
  20. "Chill out. It's a party."
  21. >Her fuming gaze turned almost catatonic as she glared at you.
  22. >If you were anyone else you would have caught fire under her acidic look.
  23. >"Yes." She bit out, "It *is* a party. My party. One at which you are proving how utterly pathetic the Apple family is."
  24. "Don't bring-"
  25. >Her lips curled into a smirk, and suddenly you were faced with the girl that spent all of her time mingling with others that were just as savvy as her in the realm of passive-aggressiveness.
  26. >You stopped short and you could feel your face twisting into a grimace.
  27. >"Your family into it?" She finished for you, "Hard not to, considering you're the last of them."
  28. "Don't."
  29. >She laughed, high and cold and cruel.
  30. >"Daddy only invited you because your grandmother signed a deal with the Rich family a few decades ago. Otherwise you'd be just another beggar on the street."
  31. "Watch. Your. Mouth."
  32. >You knew it wasn't true.
  33. >Her handwriting was on the invitation, you knew it couldn't have been her father, or one of her servants.
  34. >Yet, your jaw worked up and down as you tried desperately to keep your tongue.
  35. >"What are you gonna do, hayseed?"
  36. >She was in your face now, a smirk on her lips and her wide-brimmed dress nearly flattened against you.
  37. >You sucked in a deep drag of your cigarillo, savoring the sweet taste as your face screwed up.
  38. >Diamond Tiara didn't even react when you blew a ring into her face, besides a quick blink of her eyes.
  39.  
  40. >"What."
  41. >She jabbed you in the chest.
  42. >"Are."
  43. >Her hand came up to rest on your collar, gripping-
  44. >"You."
  45. >Tight. Controlling. Strangling.
  46. >"Going."
  47. >She tugged you down, now you were centimeters apart.
  48. >"To."
  49. >Centimeters... Millimeters... Atoms...
  50. >"Do."
  51. >Her lips were like plush velvet, and her taste couldn't be defined.
  52. >Mint, and something sweet.
  53. >You pressed into her even as she tried to back away, her blue eyes wide and unfocused.
  54. >You kissed her harder and looped an arm around her waist, drawing her in further.
  55. >It was a hot kiss, heavy and demanding and needy, but she didn't demand of you, you demanded of her.
  56. >Your tongue swept past her lips and into her mouth, your lips claimed hers, your arms roamed her body; a conqueror, if nothing else.
  57. >And then she began to kiss back.
  58. >Her eyes fluttered close and her lips began to massage yours.
  59.  
  60. >You broke away first to take a small drag of your cigarillo.
  61. >She was stunned, eyes shut and lips still puckered.
  62. >It took a few more seconds for her to open her eyes and look at you, and when she did it was with eyes that were as cruel and calculating as they always were.
  63. >As a Richs' had always been.
  64. >"You kissed me." She stated.
  65. "Yeah."
  66. >"You got your filthy farmer germs all over me."
  67. "Pardon me."
  68. >She scowled at your smirk.
  69. >"This doesn't change anything."
  70. "You're right. You're still a bitch."
  71. >"And you're still a barely-literate hick."
  72. >The harsh pull of tobacco that flooded your body kept your tongue in check for a moment longer.
  73. >You kept her waiting, for a second, for a minute, for an hour.
  74. >Just long enough.
  75. >"Still literate enough to know you're signing away your life tonight."
  76.  
  77. >She scowled further, but this time she looked over your shoulder instead of at you.
  78. >She didn't say anything, but you could hear it all the same.
  79. >~"I must do my duty."~
  80. >It made your stomach roil and twist in disgust.
  81. "Why are you out here?"
  82. >It was all you could say, burdened under the weight of what you wanted to say.
  83. >"I wanted to know why the only guest I invited tonight was sequestered away on a balcony instead of at the party," Diamond muttered bitterly.
  84. "Well you did. You can go inside now."
  85. >"I am able to, yes."
  86. >Neither of you wanted to address how she relaxed further into your embrace.
  87. >You finally pulled away and turned back to face the railing of the balcony.
  88. >Your cigarillo burned almost down to the nub, and with a flick of your wrist it was sent into the night.
  89. >Her hand fell on your shoulder, and for a moment you didn't want to push it away.
  90. >It was soft and un-calloused, the hand of a noble that hadn't seen a hard day's work in their life.
  91. "Don't."
  92. >She squeezed.
  93. "Stop! Go back to insulting me, or something. Anything. Just... Don't."
  94. >You swiped your hand over your eyes and it came back burdened with moisture.
  95. >"You know I have to," She whispered, pleadingly, as if that were any excuse.
  96. "Yeah."
  97. >"My family expects it. I expect it."
  98. "I know."
  99. >Your hands gripped the silk fabric of her dress, your arms trembled as she spoke even as you willed her to keep quiet.
  100. "I know."
  101. >You buried your head into her neck and drew deeply of her overwhelming perfume.
  102. "I know, okay? I know. I know about your family and mine and everything. I know."
  103. >~It doesn't mean I like it.~
  104. >You kept your tongue from wagging, you knew it would only hurt Diamond more.
  105. >More than you already have.
  106. >You sucked in a sharp breath - all flowers and perfume - and let it out in a great huff as you pushed her away.
  107. >You kept her at arms length, your smile brittle and your jaw jutting in grief.
  108. "I'll come in later. After. After you and him... After. Just, later."
  109. >She drew your hand up so you were cupping her cheek, and instinctively you drew a tear away from her pale face.
  110. >"I'm sorry."
  111. "Yeah," You sighed, "Me too."
  112. >She turned away now, and with a few elegant paces she was gone, hidden in the massive Rich mansion.
  113. >You sagged against the railing and your fingers sought out another cigarillo.
  114. >It was a guilty pleasure, smoking, usually, but tonight it was demanded by the beating of your heart and the dancing of your stomach.
  115. >You sucked in a sharp drag.
  116. >Your eyes were misty and your heart was heavy.
  117. >Diamond would marry who was picked out for her and you would do the same.
  118. >Continue the Apple family legacy one way or another.
  119. >In that the pair of you were the same.
  120. >Burdened by expectations, and demanded to be what you're not.
  121. >You sucked in a deep drag.
  122. >What both of you are not.
  123. >Free.
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