"I suppose it is not fashionable," you chuckle to the first mourner you come across. She doesn't as much as bat her eyelids but stares at you coldly. She moves away before you can bow to her.
You had a plan today. You arrived with one. But it was no sordid intention of yours to wear a canary-colored suit when everyone is in black.
A splash of color in a space where dark patches can be found shuffling at snail-pace, that is what you are. A color that no one needs and the hour of the day, down to the minutes seem to loathe you for your daring. Your dare wasn't an intention but you had never thought the man would stoop so low to win. You're an eyesore, you're coming out bright as a flatterer and in this vulnerable round of the clock, you're at the cusp of a great loss.
The daughter of the Duke had caught your fancy since you realized that she was three years younger than you. This was when you were not far away from that figure in age and since then, your whole life had been devoted to the realization of this lifelong dream. This childish dream had been nurtured and matured with care. It had taken such turns that every one of essence and most at large knew that no one but you yourself was the closest suitor of the daughter of the Duke, Lady Camilla, a young woman whose tales of beauty were sung far away into the hinterlands. You both had grown close, and romance was a usual occurrence that passed between all your gestures. There was no mistaking the connect. It was simply a matter of all the right occurrences.
You had toiled hard and smart and aggressive under layers of calm unruffled exterior all these years. You had an inkling since the start that you had to rise up in the social circle of the world, and you had to make an acquaintance of such men and women as would bring you close to being able to make an acquaintance of the Lady herself. So you had to play your hand and you did, all this while. You had outmatched all the other suitors that stood in your line or had any possibility of interest. You had increased your wealth by all means necessary, wealth in abundance such as nobody around you had imagined you would ever bring yourself to be the master of. It was a grand story, worth a million copies of fictional memoirs after you had lived your life and committed all your commercial crimes. Then the public would buy out all the copies of your book because to them, you were an aristocrat, a lively adventurous story, rag to riches. Credible would your claim be when you would deny allegations of the crime being real.
Oh, those dreams! But here was your nemesis, Prince Charles. What a typical name, you had thought when you had first met him But you didn't know that here was also the man who could see through anyone at all in an instant. He took pride in it.
When you had thought and laughed inside at his name, you had given a rise within him to contempt that he never hid from the world, no sir. His daughter could marry whoever she wanted but his influence was like an iron hand in a velvet glove; he could influence whomsoever he wanted, insinuate suggestions that they would without a pause abide by.
Yet, he had met his nemesis too, in you. You could beat him at Cricket, with your chinaman and while batting your sharp shots met his deliveries and sent them running away to the boundary. The Duke was a fuming engine whenever he would find himself in the company of you. You had better not enrage him, he had said once, through teeth clamped and hissing at you across the grand dining table. Then, everyone except you both was on vacation. You had been waiting for an opportunity just like this, of a verbal duel.
The duel was short-lived. For though the Prince was a matching rival in World History, he could not last long. You had won, it was the hour of victory, of joy at being so near to the fruition of this miracle, you were almost announcing it to the world in your head, your tone all celebratory. That had been your mistake.
A grin from the Prince and a clutch at his chest followed soon. His heart stopped working long before he was taken to the hospital. Where were you then? You had left him there, you had let him be like that confident that it was all pretense. You had seen him sneer as if victory belonged to him. "No, it is mine! You fool, this deserved win belongs to just me!" you had almost shouted at him then. You had immediately left after a couple of seconds looking at the Prince.
But the dying man was a conniver. He played his last move, and played it devastatingly.
A week later they all came back from the vacation. You thought it would be a welcome celebration, and you arrived in the canary suit, a suit outrageous for a wake ceremony. You were shocked to realize that despite the efforts of your entire life, you were outwitted and defeated in your pursuit by just a single act. You were enraged and confused. Your mind was out of control realizing your lifelong quest had been spoiled by a person who was dead now. Your curses would not reach him, the soul had already departed for its destination.
What had it left behind? A disaster for you.
You notice the princess walking towards you. She is not looking directly at you, but looking down in proper mourning fashion. She comes to you, raises her head, and slaps you.
"Father was right," she said. "You are a horrible, horrible man."
And with that, she turns around on her heels and runs at a light pace sobbing faintly.
You try to reach out, explain yourself, but her aunt calls out to you from a couple of paces away to tell you to stay away from her. She says everyone knows you could have saved Charles, but you did not. That you always hated him when he was so gentle and fatherlike to you. She asks you to go away.
You go out reluctantly, nonplussed. You head straight to the Languid Lounge. You slide inside a booth and call out to the waiter to bring you a pint. You start drinking it but before the tempting rim of your glass reaches your lip, a light, slender hand lands on your shoulder and suggests you drink to Charles, to him finding peace. You turn your head slowly and find that it is Martin, Earl Martin, another nemesis of yours, aid to Prince Charles in foiling your plans.
He says, "You could do that at the very least now, could you not?"