Author's note: This is from Seraphina's point of view
- - -
As much as it might sound selfish, there is something good that came out of Aldus's eternal sleep. I finally have a goal in my life.
I mean, it's not like I was doing things without a reason so far, but wishing for a happy eternity with Duke is not exactly a solid goal in life.
Since I woke up in my father's lab in Venice, I was doing things as my father told me, and on my own, I placed in front of me short-term things like to read a book, learn a skill, figure out a recipe, make a pill, perfect an ability, meet with Duke.
And even before that, my only goal was to finish my education and leave my so-called parents, but I never thought about what I would do after that.
I guess I was never the planning type.
However, now I have a tangible thing in front of me: wake up my father.
It's specific, measurable, achievable, and it gave me a purpose..
I'm aware that it will not be a simple feat to accomplish. If it's easy, many would do it before me, but I will take it because giving up on reviving my father is not an option.
If I give up, that means I accept my father's sacrifice so that Duke and I can live, and that's absolutely not acceptable.
I refuse to compromise.
I refuse to settle.
I love Duke with every fiber of my being, but I can't pick Duke over my father and be happy with the outcome.
What's the point of being Miss Mezzanotte, an immortal with all these resources, knowledge, and powers, if I need to watch my loved ones suffer?
I'm doing my best not to fall apart after Aldus left me abruptly. It caught me unprepared.
I'm not ready to face this world without my father and that's why I will wake him up and then I will give him a good scolding for going into eternal sleep without permission!
"Miss, our destination is in sight!", Mitch called, and I looked at the darkness all around us from the speedboat.
What am I doing on the speedboat? I wish I knew.
Today is the last day of Duke's celibacy exercise and I thought that we will spend it together, waiting for midnight to strike before we rip our clothes off and indulge in each other until we collapse from exhaustion, drenched with our bodily fluids and happiness, yet Duke said that something came up and he was busy and that we will see each other later.
Later, he said, but it's already past eleven in the evening, and the whole day other than 'later, love', I didn't get anything else from Duke as he was unreachable.
Sergio and Ash were also unavailable, and that made me think they have an emergency at the Eclipse.
It's just like Duke to keep problems to himself and to deal with them without burdening me. It's not like I can help him out anyway because I suck at finances.
I was fine to wait it out, but the clock was ticking, and I was getting restless.
And then it happened…
About three hours ago, Mitch told me that he will take me to Duke with his signature stoic expression and, "Mr. Orsini gave me the instructions where to take you and a note to keep it a secret. He wants to surprise you. We are to leave in half an hour."
Considering the clues Duke left me (secret, surprise) and that it was close to eight in the evening, I assumed that there will be a fancy dinner and dancing involved.
I put on my floor-length custom Versace gown that hugs my body in all the right places and has a big V-shaped dip in the back that showcases my skin.
I'm wearing high-heeled shoes which give me a height boost to appear only about ten centimeters shorter than my Duke. I don't like when I look like a dwarf compared to Duke when we are dancing.
I've got my hair and makeup done in record time while thinking about the luxurious place that might be the top suite of a hotel, or maybe one villa with majestic views, but now I think that this is a trap, and I will become food for the fish.
One helicopter ride later, now I'm on a boat, moving through the darkness, and I'm surprised that my destination is… another boat?
As we approached our target, one light became a cluster of many that expanded by the second, and I realized that this was a boat with three levels.
"Here you are, Miss…", Mitch said and gave me his hand so that I hop from one boat to another. "Enjoy your evening."
"You are leaving?" My voice came a bit panicky.
"The invitation was for you only, Miss. I'm just the driver.", Mitch said like it's a totally normal thing.
Well, normally, it would be normal, but this was NOT normal!
I was on my own, in the middle of a large body of water, on a boat that's surrounded by darkness, without a clue where I was exactly.
Out of all the powers I had at my disposal, I wished for one that comes with a GPS.
Mitch powered on the speedboat and he gave me a nod before driving away.
With the sound of the engine fading in the distance, only the soft swooshing of the sea was heard as it hit the boat I was standing on.
Great now what?
I looked at the boat that was new and nice and clean and… abandoned.
What happened with stealthy servers that would ensure we have food and wine with candles, flowers, and soft music? A fireplace, maybe?
Why did this look like it came from a scary movie where only the masked man with a machete survives at the end?
Mitch wouldn't pull a prank on me. Did he drop me off at the wrong place?
"Duke?", I called, and I've got no response.
This was supposed to be a surprise and I didn't like it.
I swear, if this is Duke's idea of a joke, I will make sure to plan for a proper payback!
It took me a few endless seconds to look down and notice a trail made out of rose petals.
With nothing else to do (unless I decided to swim back to the shore), I decided to see where that trail will lead me.
Yeah, yeah... I know. This is how all scary movies start, with the heroine following a predictable path that will lead to the guy with a machete.
Inside of the boat was elegant with wooden floors and few small area rugs. There was a sitting area, a bar, and a fancy chandelier hung from the ceiling. Two doors at the opposite side were closed, but the petals showed me to go up the stairs to the upper deck.
After confirming that no one was there, I moved to follow the trail and my sight fell on the tablet that was propped to stand on the bar.
It had a counter going and I panicked when I realized that it was showing seconds backward.
12… 11… 10… Should I run out and jump in the water?
7… 6… 5… Is this thing going to explode?
2... 1… 0… I closed my eyes, as I braced myself for the calamity.
I opened my eyes and stared at the tablet which showed 00:00:00 blinking.
I released the breath I was holding.
Wait! What if something DID happen, but I'm still not aware of it?
I nervously glanced around. Still nothing.
"If there is a camera recording me, I want to say that this is NOT funny!", I grumbled.
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