Sunday Stories: Sleeping Beauty – Part Seven
Soooo excited for “Chasing Jupiter” to come out this week! Hopefully, I’ll have lots to blog about. 😉
Anyway, hope you enjoy this week’s installment of the “Sleeping Beauty” story I wrote when I was twelve! You can read the past installments here. I’m off to eat a TON of food and hopefully have a wonderful Christmas with my family! 🙂
Over the next few months, while I waited for my gowns to be finished, I visited Daniel’s family every day. I grew to love them so much. I loved his mother in all her loving sweetness, the twins and their mischievousness, and I loved Ruth, as dear as she was.
Sometimes, when I went to visit Ruth, she’d be asleep. So I’d sit on the edge of her bed and sing softly to her.
Her favorite song to wake up to was an old Caledonian lullaby called, “There I’ll Be.” So I’d rub her legs and murmur,
“Close your eyes, little dove,
Fly away, little dove.
Soar away to dreamland,
There I’ll be.
Listen, little dove,
Come back, little dove.
Fly home away from dreamland,
There I’ll be.”
Once, Ruth asked me to tell her about the day I was born. “Daniel said you tell it real pretty,” she whispered. Her eyes were sunken back into her head and her skin was white as snow. She could barely lift her shoulders off the pillow.
I reached for her hand and rubbed gentle circles into her skin. I tried not to let her see the teardrops glistening in my eyes as I started my story.
“And there was much rejoicing in all of Caledonia,” I finally finished.
She smiled softly and closed her eyes. Within a few seconds, her breathing deepened, and I knew she was asleep.
I stared at her pale face. Her long, dark lashes stood out stark against her papery cheeks. I sighed. She must miss Daniel. Will he be back before she leaves us?
No! I straightened. She’s not going to leave. She’s going to get better, have five children, and live to be eighty-seven.
But the truth hurt.
Mother arrived with my royal trousseau of dresses the next day.
“Valerie,” her voice was smooth as honey. She glided into my bedroom, arms spread out. “Why do you look so surprised, sweet?”
I shook off my shock and managed to curtsy. “I wasn’t expecting you again so soon, Mother.”
She looked over my nightgown, bare feet, and messy hair. “I see.” The pause seemed to stretch on forever before she smiled. “Well, I just had to come. To see you in your new gowns and introduce you to your new tutors.” She turned and waved in the dresses as a new wave of shock flooded me.
“Hmmm? Oh, yes. Just tutors for, you know, posture, table manners, ballroom dancing, etiquette… nothing special.” Mother pulled the first item out of the trunk of new dresses. It was a white silk nightgown with blue ribbons. “Oh, how lovely.” Mother smiled sweetly at me.
My mind was still whirling at the thought of all those tutors.
Mother pulled out a midnight blue ballgown, glistening with a thousand crystals. “For your first ball,” she explained.
My first ball? As in, there’d be more than one?
She frowned at my confused face. “Is there something wrong with my choices?”
I looked at the yellow silk “supper dress” she’d just placed on the bed. I’m not right for the life of a princess.
It didn’t take long to get used to tutors. Not that I enjoyed them. But seeing as my life was suddenly centered around them, they became like a big, annoying family to me. Sure, they all had their moments when they were kind or funny, but for the most part Dancing Master was too picky, Singing Mistress was too harsh, and Posture and Manner Masters were both too old and crabby. The only one I liked was Writing Mistress.
Writing Mistress loved words as much as I did, and always encouraged me to work my hardest at using them. Along with Hannah, she was the only other person I confided in. I even let her read some of Daniel’s letters.
“Princess Valerie,” she once told me. “Your life is a story, just waiting to be told. So open up and tell it to the world.”
To be continued…