C1 Matters of the Heart
I open my eyes slowly gaining recognition of my surroundings.
As with every day I wake up, I take note of the curtains.
Soft pink with gold stitching, it perfectly mirrors my person.
Each morning, I look to it in hopes that my mother would be by its side.
Yet always, I am sorely disappointed to find a maid ready to tend to my needs.
It is what I get after all, for being my mother's accursed child.
The result of her misfortune and her sole reason for being tied to my no good father.
Their marriage was a scandal that swept the nations, as word got out that the young heir to the throne of Niarciss, wedded to cover the growing evidence of his darker desires.
Pale, raven haired, and green eyed.
More importantly, a haunting reminder of the troubles of my mother's youth -having only come freshly into womanhood when she became with child.
Still I wonder why I do not receive a sliver of her love.
She had been infatuated with my father since little girlhood.
It makes no sense, but I accept some things in my life never will.
The attendant was not there.
So my gaze travelled from the curtains to my bedside, sure I would see her then.
The young palace maid steps aside and curtesies deeply.
I nod and make to speak, but the words die in my throat when I realize she had moved away to reveal my mother, standing in all her regal essence by the edge of my curtain.
I take in a deep breath, unsure of what to say as her grey orbs pierced mine.
"Mother." I finally say, but this comes out as a mere whisper.
"Is that the best way you can greet the woman who brought you into this world?" she says a cynical smile playing on her bright red lips.
"No Mother, I suppose not."
With as much reverence as I could muster for the woman, I curtsied and gave a more befitting response.
She only nodded and said no more.
I try my best to remain complacent, but a shameful need makes it's way through me.
"Have you come to see to my birthday preparations Mother?"
My feet slide over polished floors, leaving my bedroom slippers behind.
"No. I have come to see you become a woman fit to be queen one day."
Dismay and confusion settle over me, but still I trail behind her ornamental skirt.
"What ever do you mean by that Mother?" I say, gently clasping my tiny hands together.
"Oh, you will see soon enough. Now let Agatha get you ready for the day." she says, before her overbearing garments leave a trail of gloom.
The young help merely smiles sheepishly, and tries to lift my spirits.
I ignore the stubby woman's words, rather stretching my hands so she can strip me.
I need no pity.
My birthday festivities are in full swing by the time I'm in royal regalia.
My feet glimmers in uniformity with my pale gold dress. And like the fluffy fabric, flowed in waves behind my ears.
I can feel combs of the silver tiara on each side of my skull, and I chin up as it pins a mesh veil down the length of my knee length hair.
"You look exquisite princess." bubbles in my ear as it nears the corridor.
My maid had been the one to echo the sentiments of many others, and I wonder if my mother would find me half as beautiful.
The intended sigh is sucked in, when delicate fingers touch my shoulder.
I look up to see none other than my mother gently appraising me with her eyes.
"Good day Mother. I have done as you asked and let Agatha tend me. Do you intend on making a grand entrance with me?" I say, half expecting to be disappointed again.
"Indeed. Come, let us walk together." she says, firm lips betraying neither displeasure nor eagerness.
I blink, trying to figure out whether I had heard right or was showing signs of partial deafness.
"Don't just stand there, move along now." she says, drifting further by the second.
In a most unladylike manner I quicken my strides to catch up to her.
We round a corner, and from there I see the only mop of white hair I could recognize from a mile away.
The owner turns around and I see the darkest pair of blue, only the night sky could rival.
The eldest child of King Markolin of Berdonia.
Though five years my senior I do not mind a possible future one day.
Seizing the opportunity, I observe how quickly his boyish features are becoming more masculine by the day.
"Tut tut tut."
My head whips in the direction of the noise, and my cheeks burn hot as I see I had been caught by none other than my Mother.
"I'm sorry Mother." I whisper, afraid to look in her eyes and see disappointment.
My lower lip trembles at the thought, and I clenched my jaw to keep myself from crying.
Instead, her slender hands lift my chin ever so gently so my downcast eyes would meet her gaze.
"You like him do you not?" she says, quirking beautiful arched brows.
"-His handsomeness captivates you, and mere presence is like a heady potion. You struggle for the right words to say. And when he gives you his exclusive attention, it is as if your heart just soared over the moon?" she says knowing all too well.
"Well, yes mother."
Her fingers dig into my skin, and gaze paralyzes me so I cannot look anywhere but her stormy eyes.
"My dearest daughter, it is time you realize that life is not a fantasy, and fairytales do not exist. One day you will be queen, and by that day I hope you will have learnt that you are a better leader heartless. Love will only render you vulnerable, and painful reality...make you wish you never dreamt." she says, an echo of a smile tracing her lips.
Fear disorients me so much that I cough on saliva, and she releases my chin, dusting imaginary dirt off her fingers.
"Do you not see that there is no happy ending?" she says, and I follow her finger to the garden below.
Gevin whispers something in a older girl's ear, and she threw her head back, her red curls bouncing as she laughed.
It hits me so hard that for a moment I'm sure flesh is replaced by glass, and my heart is shattered into tiny shards.
A salty liquid rolls down my cheek and she coos quickly wiping it off.
"Now now dear don't cry, everyone is waiting to see the heir of this dynasty..." she says with patronization I had mistaken for affection back then. "...Always smile, as someone beyond their understanding and hurting."
I try, and after some seconds I feel control return as the tears no longer threaten to spill.
Moving my eyes from the smiling pair, I breathe in as stare at woman whose stance I now understood. "Yes Mother."
For the first time she gives me her hand and we descend the stairs.
"Now the celebration can really begin."