In the morning, after dressing, I prodded Allie with a pillow, and when she wouldn’t wake up, I poured some water on her face. She groggily stood up and dressed. “Will you braid my hair? The crown braid that your sister does sometimes to your hair?” I nod and she sits down. After a lot of struggling and tugging, I managed a decent braid on her hair. “Venetia, come here! Look what I did to Allie’s hair!” My sister slowly walks in, running a hand through her blonde curls. “Why did you wake me up? I don’t have to wake up until seven.”
“Oh, sorry. But doesn’t it look nice?”
“Yes, it looks great.” She said, sitting down on my bed.
“Why don’t you have to wake up early?”
“Because the Queen’s daughter is going to Fredicksburg, and she asked me to accompany her.” “Why you? I’m her lady-in-waiting.”
“Maybe because I am older, and I can take care of her in a faraway court.”
It turned out that the Queen had wanted my sister to take her daughter because she was more responsible. Since I had the day off I decided to go visit Geneva the town and palace healer. One day, a few weeks back, I had to get something over for the Princess’ headache. And when I arrived, Geneva was crouched on the floor, tending to a small child while murmuring to the young man who must have been her apprentice. I stood there, watching them both work over this child, desperately trying to save her. When they did notice me, I was leaning against a desk, my chin propped up on my hands. “Well, well, well. Looks like somebody’s interested.” Geneva laughed, picking up several tools from the ground. “So sorry, I just came in, and you were, well, and so I thought I would just wait.” “It’s perfectly fine. What can I do for you?” “The Princess has an awful headache, and is lying in bed moaning. She wanted me to come find you.” “I’m assuming you’re her lady-in-waiting?” I nodded and watched her flip through a large book, and when she found a particular page, gestured to her apprentice, and he ran off into the storeroom. When he came back, he handed me a small cloth sack, and a piece of paper with instructions on it. “Just give this to her majesty, and with a couple hours of rest and maybe a sip of water or two, she should feel better. Give it to her with tea, so that it doesn’t taste too bitter.” “Thank you, Geneva.” I smiled and dashed off, but not before she invited me to come back, whenever I would like.
I walked out of my room, turned left towards the kitchen, hauling a large basket, while attempting to tie a knot in the cord that held my cloak on. I was so busy concentrating on the basket and the cord strings, I wasn’t watching where I was going and ran right into someone. Prince Ezra.
I rocked back on my shoes, and landed right on top of my basket. Standing up, I realized that I was blushing a deep red, so I tried as best I could to keep my face down without being rude. I dared a quick glance in his direction. Oh, thank goodness! He was still standing, yet he was picking up something off the ground. It was the spilled herbs. What a gentleman. I wouldn’t mind spending more time with him, rather than his sister.
“I think you dropped this when we ran into each other,” he said with a smile. He blue eyes sparkled in the sunlight, giving them a nice appearance. Victoria, you can’t fall for him. He is going to get married soon and then your heart will be broken.
“Thank you, your Highness” I said.
“Of course. Now, please excuse me, I must be on my way.”
I curtsied and left quickly, but not before he gave me a dashing smile. I tried to keep a straight face, yet on the inside, my stomach was filled with butterflies. He smiled at me! No Victoria. Your almost as bad as Allie. Just imagine what would happen if you react to your feelings. Lock them away. Lock them away as you were taught.
Hmmm… that girl looked quite familiar. I must admit I was quite surprised I ran into her. I did not hear her coming, which is quite strange since all the servant girls wore boots that made a clicking sound when they walked. I must admit to myself that she is quite pretty, no not pretty, oh what’s the right word? Ahh… beautiful, even in the servants clothes you can see her beauty. The way she holds herself even though she has to work. Oh how I admire people like that.
Arggg… stop these thoughts! I am getting married in a few months; it is my duty to my country! I must not let the petty thoughts of imagination lead me astray. Anyhow I still can’t shake the feeling that I know this girl from somewhere. Oh well.
I had arrived at Geneva’s a few minutes after the collision with Prince Ezra. She called me into the storage room where she keeps all of her herbs and medicines. I sat there with her organizing the herbs while she told me about what each one does. “Victoria, do you think you can handle this? I need to figure out some new medications?” I nodded, and she collected a large journal from the desk and went upstairs. I was so focused on the herbs that I didn’t notice the knocking on the door until a man and a boy came in. I told the boy to lay down on the cot, and ran up the stairs. “Geneva, you have a patient!” She jumped up quickly, and dashed out the door, tying on an apron. Thinking quickly, I I went out and pumped a bucket of water. By the time I had come back Geneva had laid him down on the cot, and was feeling his forehead for a temperature. She then began to dip rags into the water I brought and put them over his face, so that his temperature would go down.
I went into the storage room and grabbed handful of leaves that were supposed to help with fever. Hoping that it was the right mixture, I crushed them, put them in a teacup, and brought it over to the fire. Dipping the ladle into the boiling water, I carefully poured the water into the cup, trying not to spill any on my hand. Letting it steep, I cautiously handed the cup to Geneva, who handed it to the boy. “ I know you probably don’t want to leave, but I think you should be getting back to the palace now. You can come back tomorrow, after the breakfast. I thanked her, then grabbed my cloak and was out the door. I walked back and decided to enter into the kitchen, figuring that Sarah would be attending to the Queen. As soon as I stepped in the door, I came face to back with Sarah. I tried to quietly back away, but I hit the door, and when it swung out, I fell into the dirt. “Victoria! How nice of you to show up.” She was standing in the doorway, her arms crossed and her eyebrows furrowed. “Please, get up, I need you to do something for me.” She took me by the arm, tugged me forward, through the kitchen and out into the hall. “You don’t by chance know where your friend Allie would be, do you?” “She’s probably still working in Lady Winsor’s rooms.” “Perfect!” she took me by the arm again, and with a painful grip, dragged me down the hallway towards the rooms of the court ladies. Allie worked for Lady Charlotte Windsor, a daughter of an Italian duke. Lady Charlotte was 17, tall and graceful, with long auburn hair that fell around her in pretty waves. I had heard some rumors that she was Prince Ezra’s betrothed. I hope it’s not her though.
Sarah dragged me relentlessly along, not waiting when I tripped over a (fill in something). “Lady Winsor? Are you in there?” Sarah had stopped at a large set of double doors, and now was impatiently tapping her foot, her hand still around my wrist. The door opened slowly, and Allie’s head poked out. Her mouth was in a perfect O. “Oh. Lady Sarah.” She curtsied low, not making eye contact with either of us. “What is it, Allie?” Lady Charlotte pulled the door open, and pushed a smile on her face. “Hello Lady Sarah. Do you need something?”
“Yes, I need to borrow Allie, so that these two,” pointing at Allie and I,” can do some work for me.”
“Oh, Okay,” She said hesitantly “Allie can you come back tomorrow at 8?”
“Yes, Lady Charlotte.” Allie really liked Lady Charlotte, and never called her that unless Sarah was around.
Allie stepped out and reluctantly shut the door. “Lovely. Follow me please and try to keep up. I think that we both know what you did, and I am very disappointed.” We both nodded as Sarah took off down the hallway, leaving us to catch up.
“Do you think this had to do with Prince Ashton?” Allie leaned towards me, keeping her voice down,”I really don’t know, I can’t think of anything else.”
“Keep up you two!” Sarah snarled at us.
After a few minutes of walking we finally made it to the front of the palace. It was where the dining hall and grand staircase was.
Sarah turned around to look at us. “I want you,” she said pointing to me,” to clean the grand staircase.” I rolled my eyes and gave Allie one last glance as I walked away. Once I reached the base of the stairs I saw a large bucket with a rag sitting next to it. I slowly picked it up and started to walk to the top of the stairs. I rolled up my sleeves and thrust my hand into the bucket to start.
After my arms were sore from scrubbing, I only had seven left and decided to take a small break to relax. As soon as I put the rag in the bucket and sat down, I heard someone’s footsteps. I silently swore under my breath and grabbed the rag again. “Are you done yet?” called Lady Sarah. She looked at the staircase and nodded with approving. “Good, once you are done here you can clean the floor, and then you will be done. She walked back over to check on Allie.
I finished the stairs a few minutes later and threw the rag down onto the floor. I got on all fours and began to scrub the floor. After what seemed like a few hours, I sat back against the stairs relaxing. I was wondering if Allie was done or not. After a few moments, I began to take the pins out of my hair that pierced my head.
“What lovely hair you have. Such perfect curls.” Lord Ashton was walking down the stairs casually holding a book. “Your Majesty” I stood quickly and curtsied to him.
“Why are you cleaning the floor? Your dress will be dirty.”
“Umm…well you see…”
“What is your position?” he asked. “I am the Lady in waiting for the Princess.”
“Ahh, My sister. Of course. Such a pretty girl like you wouldn’t be a common servant. So this I must ask, why are you cleaning the floor?
“I really don’t know, to be honest. Lady Sarah just said that I had to do this,” I looked down as I said this. He laughed. I, becoming more self-conscious began to pin my hair back again.
“Well considering that you are a Lady in Waiting, I assume you will be attending the masquerade ball in the square?”
“Yes, I am rather looking forward to it.” As I said this I bent down and picked up the rag.
“Well, I’ll make it a point to see you there.” He strode away tapping the book he was holding. I carefully picked up the bucket, making sure that I did not spill it on me and began to walk to the kitchen, wondering what just happened between Prince Ashton and I.