Julian had chosen to forego the mask; he instead wore all black, with a simple crown of silver leaves in his hair. He left his hair down, and Melissa had said he looked like an elven prince.
Lu, the clockwork jackal, was asleep by the fire. Julian had no idea how Melissa had gotten the thing inside the ball with her, but she had. He kept his gaze on the creature, waiting for Melissa to arrive.
He reached for the glass of water on the table. He kept looking at the envelope, it had indeed been an invitation to a ball. The correct name had been on it as well.
He knew his fears of rejection were irrational. But constantly looking over his shoulder for over twenty odd years of pretending to be someone he was not had given him a feeling of sinking into a void of his own mind...
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Part one of this story is here [link]