|'Once and Always'|
|Book: Once and Always, Chapter 5|
Chapter 4: Familiars, and a Date
Chapter 6: A Family Matter
Chapter 5: A Heavy Heart
After a week of waiting, the Family Ball was here at last.
"Come on, we're gonna be late." said Hermione in their room on the evening of the ball. Hermione was wearing a nice dress, and so was Suzuka, with her hair tied in a ponytail behind her head
"Slow down Hermione." said Suzuka as she put on her earrings "The ball doesn't start for another hour."
"Aside from seeing your parents for the first time in a while, you're also having a date with Guiche later."
"I know." said Suzuka, now applying lipstick "But he hasn't said a word to me since he asked me out."
"Maybe he's getting cold feet."
"Knowing him, most likely. Alright lets go down, I said I'd meet my parents before the ball started."
This particular ball was a special one. For this ball, the dance would start with the "Family Dance". Girls will dance with their fathers, boys will dance with their mothers. Afterwards, the dance floor would be reserved for couples, and that was the part that Suzuka was looking forward to, the most.
"Mom! Dad!" said Suzuka spotting Saito and Louise once she got to the entrance hall. Her parents were also wearing formal dance attire
"Suzuka, sweetheart." said Saito as Suzuka hugged them both
"Ready for the ball darling?" Louise asked as Suzuka let them go
"You know me." Suzuka answered
"She's also having a date with Guiche Jr. later." said Hermione.
"Hermione!" Suzuka said covering Hermione's mouth
"Don't worry Suzuka. We approve of him." said Louise
"Yep. No matter how conceited he may be."
"He is not conceited!" said Drako, who just turned up with his parents. he, and his parents, were wearing formal dance attire as well "It took him a lot of courage to ask her out."
"Your doing from what we've heard." said Kirche
"I had nothing to do with it mother."
"Well well well, the gangs all here." said Guiche Sr., who just turned up with Montmorency and their son
"It's been a while hasn't it." said Saito
"By the way Hermione, where's your mom?" Montmorency asked
"Mommy couldn't come bacause she had to work tonight." Hermione answered "It doesn't matter, I don't have a daddy to dance with anyway."
"Fret not Hermione." said Drako taking Hermione's left hand "After the family dance, would you do the honor of dancing with me?"
"Sure." Hermione answered
"There must be love in the air." Kirche whispered to Louise
"I wouldn't go that far." Louise whispered back
"That reminds me," said Suzuka "isn't aunt Henrietta supposed to be here tonight?"
"She should've arrived already." said Saito
Saito was right. Once they entered the ballroom, Henrietta was already on the announcement stage with Osmond, and they together announced when it was time for the dance to start.
The family dance lasted for about fifteen minutes. When it was over, Suzuka went to get some punch for Guiche and herself before going to find him. Meanwhile, Guiche was waiting for her on the balcony.
"Suzuka, where are you?" Guiche asked himself
"Don't look like she's looking for you." said a voice. Guiche looked up and saw that it was Erlea.
"Erlea. What do you want? How was your dance with your father?"
"I don't have a father." Erlea responded "I was looking for you."
"I'm waiting for Suzuka, so go away."
"As I said, she's not looking for you."
"What makes you say that?"
"She's not really interested in a guy like you. But you're my kind of guy." She wrapped her arms around Guiche's neck
"Wait, miss Gamo."
Erlea leaned in to give Guiche a kiss, but stopped upon hearing a breakage of glass on the floor. Suzuka had found them, and dropped the glasses she was holding
"W-w-w- Suzuka!" said Guiche upon seeing Suzuka's face "This isn't..."
Before Guiche could finish, Suzuka ran off with tears in her eyes, and Guiche broke free from Erlea and chased after her.
"Score one for me. Happy heartbreak Suzie" said Erlea in triumph
Guiche chased Suzuka all the way out to the front courtyard and was able to stop her when he caught up by grabbing her wrist.
"Let go of me." Suzuka demanded
"Please, let me explain." Guiche begged
"What's there to explain? She's the one you want not me."
"That's not true."
"You were about to kiss her."
"But I didn't, that was her doing."
"But you didn't try to stop her. Just admit it, you like her, not me."
"It's not like that, please believe me."
"After what I saw, what am I supposed to believe? You've never been straight with me from the start. You don't like me."
Despite common sense, Guiche pulled Suzuka toward him, and kissed her on the lips, their first kiss, leaving Suzuka in a state of shock.
"Believe me now?" Guiche asked
Instead of answering him, Suzuka just slapped him across the face.
"Suzuka?!" said Guiche
Instead of saying anything to him, Suzuka just slapped him across the face five more times.
"YOU JERK!" Suzuka yelled, she then stormed past Guiche and back into the school
"What was I expecting?" Guiche asked himself. He then noticed a shadowy figure moving across the grounds and followed it.
Meanwhile, while the second dance of the night was going on, Suzuka made her way back to her room. Suzuka's departure was noticed by Louise, and she followed her.
"Guiche de Gramont Jr., you jerk, you jerk, you jerk." Suzuka said to herself was she collapsed on her bed with tears in her eyes. A second later, her mother walked in the room.
"Suzuka? Sweetie what happened?" Louise asked as she sat down on Suzuka's bed
"You wouldn't understand." Suzuka replied, her face hidden in her pillow.
"Then explain it to me until I do." Suzuka didn't reply "Suzuka, look, before I married your father, I used to get so jealous when I saw him with other girls. He kept saying that I didn't understand the circumstances behind his being with them, and that's what got me into trouble with him the most. But with time, I learned to keep a cool head, and hear him out, so that I could understand. So don't tell me I won't understand. I understand that you would normally confide this sort of thing with aunt Cattleya, but I'm still your mother. You can tell me anything."
Suzuka looked up, and looked right into her mothers eyes. That look she saw, told her that she would understand what was going on.
"It's Guiche Jr." Suzuka said after a pause "I saw him with Erlea Gamo earlier. She had her arms around his neck and was about to kiss him. When I saw that, I felt my heart constrict, and I ran out, and Guiche followed me. When he caught up with me, I accused him of liking her more than me. He tried to tell me otherwise, but I wouldn't believe him. Then, he pulled me close and, practically forced a kiss on me. He then asked if I believed him, but I just slapped him several times, because I still didn't know what to believe. He kissed me. He kissed me, and I can't even be happy. All I felt was anger. And I'm still angry. Oh mom, my head is such a mess, I don't know what to feel. I...." Suzuka couldn't go on, and just broke down
"Come here." said Louise, and Suzuka hugged her while sobbing in her chest. This moment was cut short, as they both heard a loud explosion from within the academy.
Guiche Jr. had followed the figure all the way to the Headmasters office, but was spotted. He managed to blast the person through the wall and back out into the yards.
"I'll ask once more, 'who are you?'" Guiche demanded, when he landed on the grass. His wand pointing at the figure
The person didn't answer
"Don't make me ask again." Guiche powered up a spell, but before he could cast it, the intruder cast a spell at him, and knocked his wand out of his hand.
Thankfully, this scuffle was heard, and everyone emerged from the building. Before the adults could do anything, the figure had vanished
"Guiche! Son, are you all right?" Guiche Sr. asked as he and Montmorency helped him up
"I'm fine father." Guiche Jr. said. He then caught sight of Suzuka standing with her parents nearby. Suzuka just looked away when he saw her, refusing to meet his gaze. After a few seconds, Guiche gave up trying
Later in Osmonds office, after all the students were sent to bed, Louise, Saito, Kirche, Colbert, Guiche Sr., Montmorency, and Henrietta, met in there to discuss what had happened.
"So what do you think that was?" Saito asked
"I don't know." Osmond answered "From what Guiche Jr. told me, the intruder was after something in this room."
"What could they want?" Kirche asked
"Again, I don't know. But I can say that I keep some valuable documents, that Her Majesty entrusted me with, in this room. I also keep a collection of ancient spell books with very powerful magic in here. They may have been after either of them."
"But who do you think that person was?" Henrietta asked
"I didn't see their face, but I saw enough to determine that it was a female. Plus, she had a very familiar aura. Though it wasn't as strong, it greatly resembled Omeggadon." said Osmond
"But Omeggadon's dead." said Guiche "You think she has some connection to him?"
"Precisely. We must be on our top guard from this point forward. Your Highness, have the Musketeer Force stationed at this school from tomorrow onwards, just as a precaution."
"I understand." said Henrietta
"By the way Louise." said Saito as they left the room "Suzuka was acting strange earlier. What's going on?"
"I'm sorry Saito." said Louise "But she said it was her problem, and not to tell you."
"I understand." Saito replied
Meanwhile, in Guiche Jr.'s room;
"So, what happened between you and Suzuka?" Drako asked
"Erlea tried to get at me, Suzuka saw it, I tried to make it up by kissing her and insisting that I didn't like Erlea, but she just slapped me, called me a jerk, and now she won't even look at me." Guiche explained
"You really are an idiot." said Drako "Forcing a kiss on her is the worst thing you could've done."
"You don't have to tell me that."
"If you had confessed to her a long time ago, this wouldn't have happened. Because you took so long, she was bound to get the wrong idea seeing you with another girl." Drako crossed to the door "I'll ask about what happened in the yard tomorrow. But for the rest of the night, you had better think about what you did to Suzuka." he left the room
"I don't have to think, I know what I did. I hurt her real badly." Guiche said to himself
Meanwhile in Suzuka and Hermione's room;
"Um... Suzuka." Hermione said "would you mind if I...
"No!" Suzuka snapped, laying in bed, not looking at Hermione "You're sleeping in your own bed tonight." Suzuka turned and saw Hermione's hurt face "Hermione, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. It's just... I need to be alone tonight. Please understand."
Hermione made a face, that clearly said she understood, and nodded. She then got into her own bed.
Suzuka meanwhile, was left to ponder in bed on what happened in tonight, and try to work out how she really felt at this point.