“Elsa! Come on! It’s your sister’s birthday today!” Gerda’s voice was soaked in suppressed excitement as she slowly, and as silently as possible, opened the door to my bedroom.
I was already awake when she came in, but just barely. I had only managed to get out of my bed and put on my robe, my sight still a bit hazy and my mind like an ice swirl.
“My sister… my sister’s birthday?” I half yawned, now thoroughly confused.
Gerda stifled a laugh. “The one you’ve been preparing for in months, silly. Don’t you remember? Are you even awake at all?”
I let out a giggle. “No, not quite yet.”
I blinked a few times as Gerda snuck through my room. As her hands reached for the door knobs for my closet, I stared blankly at her, wondering how someone could be awake earlier than the sky outside my bedroom window. Gerda stepped away after working a little bit with the closet doors, revealing the dress inside. I gasped, now fully awake. And though it was wonderful, it was not the beauty of said dress that made me dizzy and excited for the day to come. No, it was the purpose of the dress, the very reason it was made, the very reason she was happy in just that moment, but also the very reason she felt an inner fear growing, a fear that just a dress wasn’t good enough.
You see, a couple of months before, in the early spring, I received a letter signed by a variety of Kings and Queens of countries in the Northern Union. The letter stated, in short terms, that they were worried about my marital status. Several fitting bachelors were mentioned; mostly being the brothers or sons of the very people writing the letter. At first, I was disgusted with the idea. I was alone, yes, but alone and free. I was no damsel in distress that needed a man to come save me. I had my sister! But in the weeks to come, I felt as if the royals were right to be concerned. Anna and Kristoff only grew closer, but Anna and I were slowly falling apart.
I decided to do something and invited all the men on the list for Anna’s birthday, of course asking her first. She said yes, of course. I was the Queen after all. And by the way, what could it hurt? Even I need some fun sometimes, and even though I had a hard time admitting it, dying lonely really isn’t where I want to go with my life. Shutting Anna out for 15 years was hard enough for me.
I made the palace seamstress sew the dress for me. Originally I wanted to make it myself, but Karoline persuaded me to let her make it.
“It’s going to be hard enough for the bachelors to comprehend the fact that you have magic ice powers,” she said calmly, as if they were talking about the weather. “Shoving it in their faces might be pushing it a little.”
I had to admit that she was right. She was about most things. Even though she were a year younger than Anna, she seemed so wise and tough, like she had experienced the world crash down just to build herself up again, learning more about life as every minute went. On top of that, she was a wonderful seamstress. The icy blue ball gown was flawless, sleeveless with small satin straps, fitted to just the right amount to show off my figure without it being vulgar by any means at all. It truly was a beautiful dress.
“Your majesty?” Gerda’s slightly worried voice shook my out of my line of thoughts and back to reality.
“Oh, yes, Gerda. Just go outside for a moment and I will change into my dress,” I uttered with an absentminded smile.
“Of course.” Gerda closed the door behind her.
Less than half an hour later, I was ready to go. I had my gorgeous dress on, a two-braid hairstyle and my tiara in place. After the whole ‘incident’ three years ago, I made a jeweler in Corona make me a new one out of glass with a snowflake in the middle. In the late June sunshine, the crown sparkled in a thousand colors, making it shine, almost like a halo.
When I went out to meet Gerda in the hall, she sent me a sad smile.
“You’re so big now… My little girl… it seems like yesterday you were only an infant.”
“Oh, Gerda. I’m not that little girl anymore. I’m an adult. And a Queen for almost three years now. If this is anyone’s big day, it’s Anna’s. But don’t wake her for at least the next three hours, or she might threaten to kill you.” I let out a laugh at the thought of my sister’s severe form for morning-grumpiness.
Gerda looked at me, but she wasn’t really seeing. She was probably thinking back to a time before I had to shut everything out, before everything went dark.
“Gerda?” I tried to gently get her attention.
“Oh yes, Elsa,” she said, startled. “Kristoff and the others are waiting in the yard for your arrival.”
“Good,” I said, beginning to walk towards the gates. Oh, and will you ask Mikael to make his famous chocolate pancakes with berries and ice cream for breakfast? Anna’s favorite, you know.*
“Of course I will. If you’re lucky, he might even make some chocolate milk.”
I laughed. “If anybody knows what that girl wants, it’s you.”
Out in the yard I easily spotted Kristoff, Olaf and Sven. Kristoff was sitting on a bench, reading some book. Olaf and Sven were playing together as usual.
“Hello, my sister’s boyfriend,” I said with a smirk as I sat down next to Kristoff. “How’s it going with you two? I didn’t see either of you at all yesterday, where were you?”
Kristoff rolled his eyes. “If you really want to know, we were taking a trip to the mountains in my sled. It’s really romantic up there. And I wanted to make her ready for what’s happening today…”
“What do you mean what’s happening toda-“
“Nothing. Nothing. That was a slip of my tongue, sorry.”
Kristoff’s face reddened as he realized that he had said something completely wrong. I giggled; it was always a joy seeing Kristoff being embarrassed. He was like a brother to me. Although that would be weird because he’s my sister’s boyfriend. Never mind.
In the confusedness of the moment, I almost didn’t notice the small box that Kristoff slid behind his back.
“Kristoff?” I could see him getting more and more uncomfortable by the moment, which just made me more joyful. His forehead was sweaty and his eyes darting from side to side. He knew he was busted. “What was that?
“What? What do you mean?”
I stared at him, raising my eyebrows. “The box you miserably failed in trying to hide from me.”
He sighed, but I could see that he was also close to laughing.
“Kristoff, are you… are you going to propose to my sister tonight?”
“Well,” he said with a supercilious smile. “You’ll just have to find out later, because I’m telling not telling you.” He stuck out his tongue at me.
“Well, aren’t you mature?” I said with a roll of my eyes.
He stood up, shaking his head. Together with Sven and Olaf, he started strolling towards the always open gates, whistling a song.
“Oh and by the way,” I yelled at him, “I’ll take that as a yes!”
And as I stood there, watching him, the reindeer and the snowman walking away, probably towards the forest, I was sure that my sister had chosen the right man to fall in love with.
Some hours (and loads of paperwork) later, I went out to the garden to see how the florists were doing. Everything looked gorgeous. All the trees were cut to perfection in decorative shapes, the giant vases and statues that were usually dull were cored in flowers in the most beautiful vibrant colors. And the fountain. The fountain was my part of the surprise. It took months of sneaking workers inside the garden without Anna noticing, and that was harder than it sounded. But now… now it was finished. The 6 feet tall block of marble was now beautifully formed with carved spirals, ornaments and floral motifs.
Looking at that wonderful thing made my cheeks flush and tears run to the corners of my eyes. I nodded acknowledging to the gardeners and then turned away, not wanting to show how much the fountain moved me, because it was not just the fountain that made me emotional. It was the thought that Anna was grown up now. She was no longer just a little kid that wanted to build a snowman. She was the age I was when I got crowned, when I accidentally revealed my powers. And she was also possibly getting married, while I was as far away from that as one could possibly be. Lost in my own thoughts, I returned to my chambers to continue the boring pars of my job as queen.
Just as I thought I could relax a little bit after I finished the first stack, Gerda knocked on the door to my office.
“Come in,” I vaguely said, taking off my reading glasses.
“Come on, come on!” Gerda sounded so excited that I couldn’t help but give her a tired smile.
“What is it?” I sighed, assuming it would be some diplomatic problem that surely could be fixed without me.
“Your cousin’s ship has arrived!”
I stood up suddenly, causing my head to hurt, although at that point, I didn’t care at all.
“Really? Is Punzie here already? I thought she said in the letter that she’d wait until tomorrow!”
“Well, she and her husband did have trouble with some merchants that needed fixing, but there was a foreign diplomat that helped them out, so they arrived early! They tried to pay him for the inconvenience, but the only thing he would accept was a trip to Arendelle. Weird wish, but he was lucky. I didn’t see him down at the harbor though, must’ve gone early…”
“Relax now, Gerda, enough with the gossiping,” I laughed, cheerily making my way out of the room, motioning for her to follow me. “Down to the harbor I’ll go!”
Gerda nodded at me, clearly amused at the sudden change of my mood.
“What should I do in the meantime, your majesty?”
“Uhm,” I said, looking out my window and realizing that Anna should soon wake up, the sun was already perched high on the sky. “Check on how the decorators are doing in the ballroom and the dining hall, and also, if Anna wakes up before I’m back with Princess Rapunzel, then make sure she stays in her room. Make Karoline do some final corrections on her dress. Anything!”
I waved at Gerda, rushing down the halls in my ice heels. I was so excited! Last time I saw Rapunzel and Flynn was at Christmas time. We had so much fun, building snowmen and just playing around in the snow (oh well, maybe Rapunzel and Anna did that the most). As I got to the gates, I slowed down my pace. Every time I was in town, I was greeting people everywhere, blessing businesses and showing off my powers to small kids. Don’t get me wrong; it was actually quite fun and usually made my day. Seeing people smiling just because I waved at them made me feel like I actually was a queen, and not just some woman with hard work who lived in a castle. Of course it was no different this time. It took me around fifteen minutes to get to the harbor although it was a four-minute walk.
Corona’s royal ship ‘The Magic Flower’ wasn’t exactly hard to spot. Some of the wood on the masts was gold plated, reflecting the light in the sunny June day, and giving the ship a shine almost like a halo. The sight was truly beautiful, but I didn’t have the time to linger. My excitement made me run towards the walkway of the ship. Rather ungraceful for a queen, really, but I’m sure no one saw except Rapunzel and Eugene.
“Punzie!” I ran towards her, landing in a huge hug. It felt so good to be near her again.
“Elsa! I’ve missed you so much! I meant to visit you and Anna in the springtime, but you know,” she turned to send Eugene a look and some raised eyebrows. “The twins were in their ‘leave-me-alone-and-I’ll-burn-the-house-down’-phase.” Rapunzel rolled her eyes. I couldn’t help but laugh.
“But what have it been like in Arendelle? Haven’t you met a man yet?”
I sighed. “I’m too dignified to answer that question.” She giggled.
“And what about Kristoff and Anna? Are they ever going to get married?”
“Well, actually…” I sent her a mysterious smile. “I think Kristoff might ask her tonight.”
“Really? Tonight?” Rapunzel let out a gasp, her already big eyes widening. “How do you know?”
“Well, I caught him with a little box in his hands.”
“Eeeeek! This is so exciting! They’re finally getting married!” She was literally jumping up and down, so caught up that Eugene had to put a hand on her shoulder in an attempt to get her to calm down.
“Relax, Punzie. We don’t even know if he’s going to do it. And if it’s going to be ton-“I paused for a second, and then I realized it. “My sister is getting engaged! She’s getting engaged! And this time, with her actual true love.” We chuckled together, taking each other’s hands and moving towards the castle. This was going to be a good day.