rachelcoker



{Belated} Sunday Stories: Sleeping Beauty – Part Eight

I’m pretty sure I have a really good reason why I didn’t post this yesterday. But the truth is, I can’t think of one. I wasted the afternoon away chatting on the phone, editing photos, and meeting my friend for tea at Starbucks. (Yes, I am the freak who hates coffee–You just learned something new about me)

Anyway, laziness or stifled teenage rebellion prevented me from posting my weekly “Sunday Stories” on an actual Sunday. But I really just drew the suspense out to make you all want it even more, right? Am I right? Well, maybe not. But, either way, here is this week’s installment. You can catch up here, if you need to.

Fairy tale

Chapter Six:

Before I knew it, I was almost sixteen. It had been nearly two years since Daniel left, and he wasn’t back yet.

All Mother would tell me was, “He’s needed right where he is.”

Now that Mother lived in the same castle as me, she came to see me a few times a week.

“Your father and I have decided,” she said the morning before my sixteenth birthday, “That we cannot wait for a prince any longer. Valerie, we simply must do something. Your father and I think we should hold a contest. The bravest, strongest, handsomest, gentlest prince of all shall be the one you may fall in love with and have to break the spell.” She beamed as if this were the best idea ever.

I was enraged. How dare she pick my husband!

Mother looked nervous. “Now, this is the only way, Valerie. You must have the right prince, you know.”

I couldn’t take it any longer. “No, Mother! It’s not the only way!”

Her eyes flashed. “Do not raise your voice to me!” I’d never seen her so angry. Her face was red and her green eyes shimmered. I looked down instantly.

“If you say so, Mother.”

I’d have to marry a trophy.

*

            Ruth got worse every day. Her fever raged and she was hardly ever awake.

I once brought Hannah, but the sight made Hannah cry so badly I felt my heart break at the corners. Why couldn’t Daniel come home? She called out his name in her sleep. She needed her brother.

I held Ruth’s hand and wiped her forehead with a wet cloth. Ruth tossed and cried out. “Shhh…” How much longer would she last?

Hannah shifted nervously. “The queen will be arriving shortly, Valerie.”

“Goodbye,” I whispered to Ruth. I kissed her mother and stepped out of the house, holding my skirts up as I trekked back to the castle.

“Valerie.” Mother was already in my room, arms stretched out, waiting for me when I returned.

I ducked her embrace. “Yes, Mother?”

Her smile froze. She dropped her arms and adjusted her wine-colored gown. “Oh, I was just coming to tell you to pack your things. We’re leaving for the palace in the mountains the day after tomorrow. We’ll hold the contest there.”

Leaving? With Ruth so sick? I could never leave her. I made a promise to Daniel.

“Mother…” My voice broke. I threw myself on my bed and sobbed into the pillows.

“Valerie, darling, what’s wrong? I thought you’d enjoy going away for a few months. Everyone will still be here when you return.”

Would Ruth still be here? I stood and rushed out of the door. I couldn’t even cry on my own bed without Mother hovering over me.

*

            “Ruth.” I had to leave in a little less than an hour. Ruth opened her eyes for the first time in days and smiled faintly. She looked at mother.

“Ma,” she whispered. Daniel’s mother rushed to her side and grabbed Ruth’s hand.

“Yes, sweet?”

“Ma.” Ruth coughed. “Don’t be…” Her voice was weak. “Don’t be sad when I leave. I love you all.” She glanced at each sibling before her gaze returned to her mother. “Tell Daniel I love him, too.”

I could see her grip on her mother’s hand tighten and then drop. “I’m ready now,” she whispered. Then she closed her light blue eyes, a peaceful smile on her lips.

Daniel’s mother sobbed.

“Princess Valerie,” Hannah said from the doorway. “It’s time to go.”

*

            Every attempt at conversation Mother made in the carriage died. I stared out the window, seeing nothing as I blinked away tears.

“Is something troubling you, dear?” Mother finally asked.

I shook my head sadly. She’d never understand my grief for the loss of a peasant. Beside me, Hannah squeezed my hand. My only friend. Besides Daniel, who I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever see again. Where was he?

“Mother,” My voice quivered. Be brave. “Where is Daniel right now?”

Mother’s dark head lifted from the book she was reading. “Who?” She blinked rapidly.

“Daniel. The stable boy you sent away two years ago.”

“Oh. I really haven’t the slightest idea, darling.” She turned back to her book.

Hannah sighed beside me. She was probably remembering the look on Ruth’s face when she called out to him.

“Oh, and by the way, Valerie.” Mother didn’t even look up as she spoke. “Many fine, handsome princes have spoken with your father since the other day. I spoke to one myself and he had much to say of his own wealth and intelligence.”

So basically he was vain. Great.

“I’m presenting them to you tomorrow.”

Tomorrow? I didn’t have much time to get out of it. I pressed my lips together. But there’s always a chance.

“Of course you’ll have maids attending you at all times until then.

Pop. My bubble burst. Why, of all the princesses ever born in Caledonia, why did it have to be my birth that Malkaka was not invited to? Why did I have to end up being the one cursed and absolutely helpless, unable to have any say in my own fate? I was stuck wishing and praying for a kind-hearted prince who loved stories. But what were the chances of that?

To be continued…

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Comments

  1. * Hannah says:

    Why can’t you post more each week, Rachel? WHY?? 😦 I am so enjoying this! I don’t care what you think about this story, it is GOOD, and I LOVE it!!!! Can’t wait until next week!!

    P.S. – Have you seen the Hobbit yet? 😉

    | Reply Posted 4 years, 5 months ago
    • * RachelC says:

      Aw, you’re too sweet! 😉 No, I haven’t seen the Hobbit! Or Les Mis! But I plan on seeing both soon! 🙂

      | Reply Posted 4 years, 5 months ago
      • * Hannah says:

        Good! Have fun! 🙂

        Posted 4 years, 5 months ago
  2. * Emily says:

    Ooh, Rachel, it keeps getting better and better! Now I must find a way to wait patiently until next Sunday… 😉

    | Reply Posted 4 years, 5 months ago
  3. * Jenna C. says:

    Ooooooh!! This sorta sounds like Brave in a way 😛 But I like it!!! 😀 Also…even though I’ve never tried coffee, it doesn’t really sound appealing…so tea is my friend 😀 and hot chocolate 😉

    | Reply Posted 4 years, 5 months ago
    • * RachelC says:

      Really??? I’ve never seen Brave! But I did write this back in 2008, so that has to count for something right?? Yes, I love tea, although I’m not a fan of hot chocolate either! I prefer hot apple cider! 🙂

      | Reply Posted 4 years, 5 months ago
      • * Jenna C. says:

        I haven’t seen it either, so I’m just going by the trailer 😛 😀 oooh apple cider is good! 😀

        Posted 4 years, 5 months ago
  4. * jewelofmygarden says:

    I have gotten seriously hooked on this story! Pllllleeeeeaaasssse make next Sunday\Monday come faster!!!!!!!!

    | Reply Posted 4 years, 5 months ago
    • * RachelC says:

      Oh my gosh, you’re so sweet! 🙂 I had no idea everyone would like this story so much, haha!

      | Reply Posted 4 years, 5 months ago


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