• “Who’s the lucky man?” he asked her, a smile creeping on his face. Lily looked over at him; broken from her dreaming and felt her cheeks grow hot. The bellowing laughter of her father only made her feel slightly embarrassed.
    “Do you always have to creep up on people? How long have you seen me?” Her father only smiled and waltzed in his seat. They smiled at each other, each sharing the same private joke. Finally, he opened the door to the carriage for her and stepped out. He gave her a short gentleman’s bow and she curtseyed. She took his hand and allowed her father to help her in. He climbed in after her, closing the door as he did.
    Lily sat on the far side of the carriage, close the window as possible. She liked the view of the town rushing past her as she rode, she would really prefer to drive however. Though her being a girl, as well as only seventeen, she could not drive unless given permission. She did, however, enjoy riding with her father. He was childish at times and kept the mood of every situation light. He was well known as the man with a wide grin since he smiled all the time. He smiled so much; it was permanently stuck to his face. Lily liked that about him. He was a self-proclaimed peace maker.
    She watched as the houses that lined the streets slowly. Somehow her mind wandered from the houses to the men that she saw out of her window that morning. She couldn’t help but feel the difference between those two. They appeared to be different and yet, they seemed closer than what they looked. The way their eyes differed showed how they presumed themselves.
    The dark-skinned man, his features soft and more loving almost immature and pure, had seemed more nervous than the other. He seemed to not be used to the kind of attention he received when he first came. The more she envisioned him the more she could almost guess his personality.
    “Is it a boy?” she heard, turning to her father. She didn’t really have a comeback to say. His words caught her off guard like they always did. She stared at him, her mouth agape, lost for words at the moment. Her dad only smiled at her. “It’s a boy. What’s his name?” He liked toying with her.
    “What?” she asked, again, lost for words. Her mind was a complete blank. She couldn’t even come up with the three words she needed to say to stop her father from having his fun. Fortunately for her, he only smiled and asked no more questions.
    “I take it you haven’t met the new boys in town then?” His eyes, beady and blue, stared over at her from the corner. He took her silence for an answer. “I see. So how long did you plan to sleep this morning? I certainly hope not until this evening.”
    “This evening?” she asked, feeling clueless. “What’s this evening?” The permanent smile that was glued to his face slowly began to fade. He stared at her, his light blue orbs boring into hers.
    “The celebration of the Conner’s wedding. They are our friends after all.” The tone in his voice didn’t seem all that upset, it only meant he was slightly annoyed at the fact that she forgotten. “No matter,” he continued, “You’ll see them this evening, but first, the gifts.” Lily gave him a sideways glance. She couldn’t hide her own smile as her father gave an exaggerated burst of glee, waving his hands like a child. If there was one thing her father didn’t like, was spending money for one thing when it could be used for more important things. She giggled at the thought of her father expanding like a balloon and soaring out the window, but stopped as soon as she did. For if her father would leave, then there would be no one around to understand her like he did.
    She resigned herself back to the window. There was a feeling that she couldn’t even understand at that moment, but it felt saddening and horrible. She tried not to think too much about it and let the buildings fly slowly by.

    The time for the celebration of the Conner’s drew deadly close. Lily, who spent the entire day with her father, found herself being dressed by her step-mother. All Lily could do was stare at her mother helplessly as Vivian dressed her like one of the dolls that lined the headboard of her bed. Elaina only stared on, silently laughing to herself as she watched her daughter being dressed.
    Lily watched Vivian rotate around her like her own gravitational pull, or more like a vulture looking down on its prey. On the wall opposite of her, a grandfather clock ticked slowly, its pendulum swinging back and forth in a mesmerizing way. She watched the pendulum swing back and forth until she felt herself feel out of body. She heard the resonant sounds of Vivian’s footstep, the ticking of the grandfather clock, and the tapping of her mother’s fingers on the wall beside her, even the sound of her own heartbeat sounded as clearly as the ocean crashing into rocks.
    She felt her body begin to sway and her eyelids become too heavy for her. She didn’t feel her body as it fell slowly from the pedestal. She looked to her sides looking to see if anyone was going to catch her from falling, yet no one moved. Her mother was still in the same spot, still tapping her fingers along the wall and Vivian was still rotating around her like the vulture she was.