That was strange.
I didn’t go out last night with the others. I was too busy trying to complete my essay before the deadline. Maybe it is Ava who was too drunk to realise she slept in the wrong bed.
"Ava, get out of my bed," I moan as I rub my eyes.
A deep voice groans, making the hairs on my skin stand on end. I perk up to see an unfamiliar blond man laying next to me.
On instinct, I scream, pushing myself off the bed and crashing onto the floor. The man sits up abruptly, confused.
"Is there something wrong?" He asks innocently.
I point at him.
"Who are you?" I gasp, "What are you doing in my room?"
I look around and realise something.
"My…room?" I mutter under my breath.
Sure, the room had that French Renaissance look but now it looks so real, from the draped red curtains to the crystal chandeliers. Everything was more luxurious and less of an imitation.
"My lady, did I scare you?" The man asks, "You seem deeply troubled."
I lift myself off the floor.
"Who are you?" I ask again.
He raises a brow.
"You must have hit your head harder than I thought," he laughs.
"This isn’t funny!" I utter, "Who are you and what are you doing in my bed?"
"Is this some kind of…roleplay?" He asks.
I scoff and roll my eyes.
"You're useless!" I groan.
"What is there to say?" He says, "I saw you on the street and asked if I could paint you for a reward. Then we spent the night together. I thought it was clear from your lack of clothing."
I look around the room, searching for some clothes to cover myself but it is just frilly dresses. I pull on a silk robe to cover myself and slip into some slippers. The man gets out of the bed.
"Where are you going, my lady?" He asks.
I dash out of the room and into a slightly familiar hallway. But it is filled with people dressed in servant uniforms.
I try to manoeuvre around them as they gasp and nearly drop their trays at the sudden sight of me, like a rat trying to escape.
"Who is that?" Someone asks.
They squeal and move out of the way. I look around the hallway trying to find an answer. I could see the similarities like in a Spot The Difference puzzle. The lights are still on the wall but the bulbs are quite different and old fashioned. The wallpaper is a little darker and dusty with intricate golden patterns. The carpet is red instead of the usual cream colour. It doesn't look like a hotel. It looks like someone's private mansion.
A maid walks up to me, wrapping a big robe around me.
"You shouldn't walk around with little clothes on!" She hisses, "It is improper! And you'll catch a cold!"
She leads me into another room.
"Quite a way to start the morning," she sighs, "we normally have to sneak them out. They don't just crash into the hallway and cause a ruckus."
I look at her, quite confused.
"What?" I gasp.
The maid sorts out my messy hair before walking towards a table.
"It is okay," she says nonchalantly, "I have some clothes for you. I can sneak you out before the Master and Mistress come down for breakfast."
I shake my head, trying to wrap my thoughts around what is happening.
"What is happening?" I ask, "I was sleeping in my assigned room and I woke up with some random man next to me!"
The maid looks at me in awe.
"Oh," she sighs, "don't worry about that dear. He takes to bed every woman he paints. Apparently it fuels his 'inspiration'. It is best to forget about last night."
"What do you mean?" I stammer, "I didn't…I didn't sleep with him! I don't even know who he is! I woke up in my room and he was there…in my bed!"
The maid stares at me blankly. I whine and rub my head, taking a seat nearby. I try to gather my thoughts, trying to figure out what is happening. The maid approaches me as I rock myself back and forth.
"Are you…are you alright?" She asks.
"This is Hotel Villeroy, isn’t it?" I ignore, putting forward my own question.
"Yes, the holiday resort of the Renauds."
"What do you mean by the holiday resort?"
From prior knowledge, I knew that the hotel owner was called Adèle Leandres and that it used to be owned by some rich aristocratic family about a hundred years ago.
"A hundred years ago…" I mumble under my breath.
I walk over to the window, pulling the light curtains apart. I gasp at the sight of the streets, my hand covering my lips. The streets were clustered with old looking automobiles jumping up and down on the cobblestone roads. People are dressed so modestly, frilly umbrellas propped up to shield themselves from the intense morning sun. This isn’t the 2023 I know. It is almost as if I am somewhere else. A time so different to my own. As if I travelled through time.
I turn to look at the maid who shuffles uncomfortably.
"What year is it?" I question her.
She looks at me as if I were a fool and bursts into laughter.
"I am sorry," she immediately composes herself, "you must know, it is the year of our Lord, 1923."
I shake my head in denial.
"That is impossible," I snicker emptily, "it's supposed to be 2023. 2023."
"That would suggest that you're one hundred years from the future," she laughs.
The maid reaches for a newspaper from nearby, trying to prove that it is 1923.
"Here," she says, "1923. You see. Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon just got married a few weeks ago. On April 26th. Quite the wedding, I heard."
I take the paper in my hands and heave.
"This is a joke…" I say, "this is a sick joke!"
I start walking around the room, as if I am in some prank show and I had already seen through it all.
"Ava, is that you?" I laugh desperately, "Ava, if it is you, this isn't funny. It's so cliche and obvious. Come out…Now!"
But nothing happens. I just stand there, looking like an idiot. The maid looks at me as if I were mad but she hides it.
"Who is this Ava?" She asks, "Is she a companion of yours, my lady?"
I bite down on my thumbnail, a picture on the wall capturing my eyes.
"This painting…" I mutter to myself, "I've seen this. It was hung in the foyer. I remember because Ava was joking about it and saying how much the woman in the painting looked like me…but…it can't be…"
It is like looking in the mirror. Like a painting of myself.
"Yes, the Master's nephew painted this," the maid answers, "he said he saw a woman in his dreams a few weeks ago. Drove him quite mad. Searched all of Europe just to find this one girl from his dream."
The maid rolls her eyes, not noticing the similarities.
"He must have told you this," she utters, "that is why he brought you in. To see if you have any resemblance."
She stops as she looks at the painting then back at me then shrugs.
"Wait a minute…" she mutters.
I gulp, clutching my hands against my chest. What are the chances? The chances that this could all be a dream and I was having one big lucid dream after I overdosed on coffee.
Or this could be something straight out of a fairytale, and I was thrusted back in time, for some reason that I have to find out.
I just need to pray to the gods that it is the first option. I do tend to have the craziest dreams anyway.
Thank you for reading!
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