19 19. Twin and Tussle

If you have never had venison, let me tell you—

Venison is awesome.

And by awesome, I mean that the deer is very much alive and prancing around in my stomach. And I know this feeling. I am all too familiar with nausea that it is my second nature now. I am pretty sure I am about to hurl yet again out on this dinner table if I don't run right this moment.

"Oh, dear. What's the matter?" Louisa suddenly exclaims,

It's a little too loud for my liking and she has a knack for choosing the most critical moments to yodel about. She feels like a callus on my finger, irritating in a way but not quite life-threatening. The desire to throw a meaningless party of my own is now quickly draining away after actually experiencing what parties are actually. None of that wild vibe, only manners but it's pretty in its own way.

"Nothing, Just…" My voice is croaky as I wave my hand away dismissively. I take a huge gulp of water, I should suck it up and wait for Elian to make some appearance.

Louisa reaches over, rubbing her hand sympathetically over my back. I cough out to cover up for my pallor, feeling the zooming stares of the old nobles on the dining table and one distinct pierce from my left. Vance has an entirely different composure from his brother, similar yet not. I glance over to my left and there it is, his scrutinizing eyes holding his stare on my face. This simply can't be normal.

Distantly, my stomach churns but I push it aside.

"Do you have any questions?" I snap at Vance who is languidly resting his chin on his palm.

"Who? Me?" He gives a deep chuckle, almost in bewilderment. The smile disappears immediately and he leans in closer.

I could feel Louisa also lean in near my other side and I close my eyes to calm myself because half of me wants to disappear in thin air right now. Pride and Prejudice? Count me out. I love my bed and my liberty to make a fool of myself in the dim blue light of the club.

"I don't see Elian around today. He's usually here hanging about like a dog, yapping about reputation and whatnot."

"I...wouldn't agree." I reply carefully, unsure whether he was being sarcastic or just plain rude.

"Don't act like a goody-two-shoes, Adian. I know you." He laughs and then looks at me expectantly. Is he...waiting for me to laugh?

"That's what everybody says…" I say into my water glass, laughing awkwardly as I take a sip.

Vance leans in even more closer and I lean away from him. My shoulder comes in contact with Louisa's who is intensely eavesdropping on everything. Vance whispers not quite close to my ear,

"Stop releasing your pheromones. That's quite sneaky."

I glare at him, not amused in the slightest. This sleazy liar. Pregnant omegas do not release pheromones because there was no need to. I have done my research.

"Quite delusional, aren't you?" I taunt jokingly, but my voice wobbles slightly as the venison puts pressure in my throat.

"This party is quite dreary…" He continues in a low tone and everyone's ears expand to catch his words, "Shall we take it somewhere more lively?"

"Ha! No thank you. Very lively here with these folks…" I turn and raise my water glass at the old men who sit in front and they stare back with wide beady, round eyes, "...who don't talk at all."

My stomach churns again and I can hear it distinctly this time. I swerve my eyes around the room, hoping to catch a familiar flash of a tall guy who looks like he has a stick up his ass.

At this moment, Louisa sees that I am not replying to Vance and finds the need to intervene against him for my sake as another omega beside me.

"If you would stop that appalling behavior. Lord Vance. Can you not see that you are bothering Sir Adian?" She chides to him, leaning to the front of the table.

Vance doesn't look troubled in the slightest and instead, he blinks at her mockingly,

"The Duchess has spoken, hasn't she? Another one of your helpful opinions?"

"What do you mean?"

"Stop poking your nose into my affairs. It's not pretty to have stupid judgments about every single thing you come across."

"I am doing only what is needed. You should not be flirting with someone who's married." Louisa is riled up visibly and her cheeks go slightly. I raise my hand up in alarm, wordlessly telling them to stop and notice that they are about to head into a heated argument.

"Now, guys, there's no need to–"

"Flirting?!" Vance thunders over me, drawing my voice out, "Why> If you haven't noticed, Sir Adian is a good friend of mine. I don't see why you need to involve yourself with my matters." The last part is heavily stressed and the air around us has tightened. I take in a deep breath and my back is pasted at the back of my chair with concern.

"Do I seem like a fool to you? I have seen how you parade yourself in whorehouses, you are uncouth!"

"I see, it must bother you to see that since you should be in one. You omegas are polluting the noble blood."

Shit. I gape at Vance. He looks absolutely mad, his hand is gripping the wine glass a little too tight.

"You." I clamp a hand down his arm and speak in a parent-like tone, "I don't know you, but you need to stop."

Vance rolls his eyes and continues talking casually, again rubbing his thumb on my arm. Ugh.

"So anyway, I have ordered this magnificent–"

I stand abruptly, feeling a heavy suffocation envelope around me. I need fresh air. The chair screeches back and the general bustle around dies down. It's not just the people at my dining table but the whole room that is now gaping at me with their full attention but I can't care less.

"Woah." Vance breathes out and his hand reaches out for mine, "What's with you? Sit down."

"Ju…" I look down, and blankly look at him, who is this man? I turn, attempting to walk away from the scene but Vance tightens his grip, holding me back. His face is filled with

"Just...excuse me." I quickly mutter and snatch my hand away from his grip.

I don't look back when I walk away, wildly looking around the party hall. It is huge and I feel my mind muddle as I pass through one unfamiliar face after another. A girl with a long nose, a man with furry eyebrows, an old lady with glittering earrings. They all peer at me gingerly as I walk past them in a hurry.

"Adian! What's wrong?"

I hurriedly glance behind me, and Vance is right behind me, nipping at my heels. Brushing him off hastily, I head for the large entrance door but it is blocked with a large influx of guests coming in.

Shit, there are more people coming in?

The room is wide, massive even but it was still filling up. Aside from the large lavish staircase landing in the middle of the huge room, I notice that there was only one other door on the left side of the room. A lot of large ventilating windows through the walls but no, only one relatively small door. And it didn't seem logical to just go for that small door.

I stop in my tracks and stare down at my white shoes.

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Running away seems so enticing right now.

My mind has stopped working and without another thought, I head straight for the entrance doorway. And with that, I am submerged in the swarm of people at the doorway.

My shoulders hit against the shoulders of faceless people and I mumble a series of apologies as I push my way through the crowd. They are occupied elsewhere, making small talk among themselves that they don't pay attention to my mumbles and gasp indignantly as I push myself through the congested mass. Voices are coming in from every direction and I push through harder, needless to say, that breaking party etiquette is the last thing on my mind.

Call me a coward.

From among the mingling swarm of hands, a hand shoots out towards mine and grabs it. I halt and whip my neck backward.

Vance stares at me with his intense eyes and as we standstill, the people behind who were crowding the entrance slowly disappear. It is not an illusion but rather they actually drift into the room and I am left alone with Vance in the emptiness of the hallways.

"Let go." I order him quietly, keeping an eye at the back to make sure that nobody was looking over here.

Vance gives me a challenging look and tightens his grip around my hand..

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