Sunday Stories: Sleeping Beauty – Part Three
So here’s the eagerly anticipated (haha—I wish!) third installment of my old fairy tale story. I thought about posting the second part of the first chapter, but after looking over it I decided it was too short and really didn’t add much to the story, so I’m sharing Chapter Two today instead! For those of you who are new to this blog, I post a section of an old story or short novella every Sunday. For the last few week few weeks, I’ve been posting sections of a Sleeping Beauty story that I wrote when I was twelve! (Way, way back in the day) You can read the last few installments here, if you need a little backstory. 😉
And now, without further ado, Chapter Two!
For my twelfth birthday, I decided I was going to have my first ever birthday party. Daniel convinced me it would be fun and my nurse, Flora, assured me that she’d take care of everything.
“Don’t worry, darling,” she whispered, plaiting my hair into two long braids down my back. It was the morning of the party. “I’m sure every child in the village will have the time of his life.” She tied two green bows in my hair to match my first long dress.
I wasn’t sure. I’d never even met a child from the village, much less played with one. I’d only gazed at them longingly from inside my dark carriage. What if they didn’t like me? What if no one had fun?
Flora kissed my forehead and gave me a quick hug. “Don’t worry, darling,” she repeated, patting a dark braid. She stood and smoothed her grey bun. “Well, I must go see that everything is ready. The guests will be here in about an hour, Valerie.”
Alone in my room, I stared at myself in the mirror. Why did my dress have to be so pretty? I was sure no other girl in the kingdom had a fancy dress quite like mine. Why wouldn’t the queen let me wear an old, cotton one?
I sniffed and wiped an eye angrily. I wouldn’t cry right before my party. What would the children and servants think if they saw the heir to Caledonia red-eyed? I straightened and squared my jaw. “Princesses are never to show emotion,” I recited. They must remain calm and collected at all times.
I heard a rock hit the window. I rushed over and pulled back the heavy curtains. Daniel stood below me, grinning in his new party clothes.
He waved and mouthed the words, “Come down.”
I giggled. How like Daniel. But no way was I going to get all dirty right before the party. Or was I?
My smile stretched from ear to ear. I nodded and rushed down the stairs.
“Happy birthday, your highness,” Daniel said solemnly.
I nodded, my face as still as a stone. “Thank you.”
“Would you care to accompany me on a stroll?” He held out his elbow and I primly grasped it.
As soon as we were out of sight of the castle he swung me around. “Like my new party clothes, Val?” Daniel posed proudly.
“Marvelous!” I clapped my hands, admiring his dark blue tunic and breeches. “And me?”
He clasped his hands and rocked back on his heels. “Lovely. Say, Valerie, how’s it feel to be twelve?”
I snorted. “Exactly the same.”
“Say, wanna go see if we can catch any bull frogs before the party starts?”
“As long as I don’t get too dirty.”
He placed his hand over his heart. “You won’t, princess. I promise.” Daniel grabbed my arm and ran to the pond, being careful not to let mud splatter on my dress. “Look, there’s one right there!” He lunged at the big, brown bull frog sitting on a rock.
A more beautiful day for my party I couldn’t imagine. The sun shone brightly and the flowers were just beginning to bloom. The air smelled fresh and the trees fluttered in the breeze.
I stood before one hundred children, in my slightly dirty party dress, bright-eyed and tongue-tied.
“H-Hello.” My voice sounded rasp. I licked my lips and tried again. “Thank you for coming to my p-party.” A snicker arose from the crowd. Ugh! My face flushed pink.
“We’ll begin with a game of tag.” I turned and nodded at Flora. Then I walked into the crowd. Daniel gave me a smile of encouragement.
“The princess will be ‘it’ first,” Flora announced. “Ready, set, go!”
I ran toward a girl about my age. She barely moved. I tagged her instantly.
Oh, how I hated that! I was no different from these children. Why did people treat me like I was a china doll? Once the curse was broken, they’d respect me. They’d beg to be my friends.
Daniel rescued the party by tagging me himself, but the cold look in that girl’s eye bore into my memory every time I thought about that day.
To be continued….