Home > Love Bites (My Sister the Vampire #6)(12)

Love Bites (My Sister the Vampire #6)(12)
Author: Sienna Mercer

‘What’s wrong?’ she asked.

‘I stick out like a spider on a ballet shoe,’ Ivy confessed. ‘I mean, that vase . . . and did you hear my boots clunking with every step?’

Olivia laughed. ‘Those boots make a great racket whenever you wear them – and you didn’t break the vase.’

Ivy shook her head. ‘It’s different here. They have servants! And this formal dinner . . .’

Before Olivia could stop her, Ivy unzipped her suitcase and started rifling through clothes. ‘Wrong, wrong . . . No good . . . No!’ Ivy declared pulling things out. She pulled out her sweatshirt that said ‘Do I scare you?’ with a cute little cartoon of Dracula underneath.

Olivia chuckled but Ivy wailed, ‘Why do all my clothes have stupid slogans on them?’

Olivia knelt down and gently took her sister’s hands. ‘Calm down. It’s all going to be fine. You just need to relax.’

Olivia took Ivy over to her suitcase and opened it up. She took out the garment bag where she’d packed several nice outfits and pulled away a pink knee-length dress, a green empire waist dress and a light blue sleeveless ballerina-style skirt.

‘Those are all pretty,’ Ivy admitted. ‘But they are utterly you.’

‘Luckily . . .’ Olivia paused for dramatic effect. ‘I have this!’ Underneath the ballerina skirt was another one, darker blue and floor-length with a corset waist and cap sleeves.

Ivy reached out and tentatively stroked the embroidered hem.

‘But does it come in black?’ Ivy asked.

‘You can totally rock this dress,’ Olivia declared. ‘Black or not.’

‘OK.’ Ivy took the blue dress and held it up to her body, running her hand down the fabric. ‘You’re right.’

Ivy unzipped the dress and started to try it on, but from her sister’s frown, Olivia could tell Ivy was still worrying.

‘Ivy, remember what you told me?’ Olivia said.

‘Don’t let the coffin bugs bite?’ she replied, zipping up the side and twirling in the mirror.

‘This is our family,’ Olivia reminded her, ‘and they are going to love us just the way we are.’

Ivy took a deep breath and Olivia could tell she was forcing her smile. ‘You’re right. They will love me just the way I am . . . while I’m wearing one of your dresses.’

How weird, Olivia thought as she started to get ready herself. It was supposed to be me feeling like I didn’t fit in, not Ivy.

Chapter Four

A little less than an hour later, Ivy teetered at the top of a steep, twisting stone staircase.

How can I possibly survive this? Ivy thought. Four flights of stairs in these shoes . . . The heels weren’t high, but she was used to chunky boots, not dainty slippers. She gripped the handrail and willed herself not to collapse.

In front of her, Olivia stepped confidently down the stairs in her pink dress and silver Grecian sandals.

Ivy took a first tentative step, holding up the short train of satiny fabric that trailed behind the borrowed blue dress, and her ankle wobbled.

‘These shoes are impossible!’ Ivy declared, stopping.

Olivia turned back a few steps below her. ‘Just remember, toe first, not heel.’

‘I’m trying!’ Ivy replied.

What’s more embarrassing? Ivy thought, wishing Olivia had let her wear her own shoes. Boots with formal wear or falling flat on my face?

‘What if I get it all wrong?’ Ivy said. ‘What if I embarrass Dad in front of everyone?’

Olivia looked up at her. ‘You won’t. Besides, I’ll be right by your side the whole time. Now, come on.’

‘Good evening,’ Horatio said from the bottom of the last staircase, making Ivy jump. ‘May I show you to the drawing room?’

‘Yes, please,’ Olivia said.

More like show me to the firing squad, Ivy thought but followed anyway.

‘The guests have already arrived, including the Queen.’ Horatio led them back through the entrance hall and down one of the other long corridors.

Olivia gasped. ‘The Queen?’

Ivy stumbled in shock and nearly twisted her ankle.

They passed a fierce-looking suit of armour that was standing to attention, holding a huge battleaxe. Ivy half-expected it to come thumping after her, shouting, ‘Intruder!’

The sisters walked past a pretty young girl, a little older than them, with long, black braided hair wearing a white linen apron and black dress. She was heading in the opposite direction but paused to curtsy.

Ivy stopped. ‘Hi,’ she said. ‘I’m Ivy.’

‘Um.’ The girl glanced from Ivy to Olivia to Horatio. He gave her a small nod, as though granting her permission to speak. ‘Hello, miss. I’m Tessa.’

‘Hi, Tessa,’ Olivia said. ‘Nice to meet you.’

‘I love your bracelet,’ Ivy said, admiring the black eyelet ribbon wound around her wrist.

Tessa smiled. ‘Thanks. It isn’t technically part of my uniform, but Madam doesn’t mind.’

Horatio coughed lightly.

‘Ah, yes. Your guests are all waiting.’ Tessa curtsied again and hurried away.

‘She seems nice,’ Ivy said to Olivia as they walked after Horatio.

A few minutes later, Horatio paused in front of a doorway with two footmen standing on either side.

Stop worrying, Ivy, she told herself. This is no big deal. She paused for a moment and closed her eyes, wishing Brendan was with her.

The two footmen opened the doors at the same time and thirty pale faces turned to stare. Black dresses and sparkling jewels or dinner jackets and shiny shoes adorned people who were definitely from a different generation to Olivia and Ivy. This was the society that her grandmother wanted to introduce them to, the very top of the vampire food chain.

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