Lace Princess

A Dancing Princess

“Again, Papa!” I laughed as I landed on my feet, my head spinning in circles. Faint music filled the ballroom as my father and I danced. I stumbled forward, causing him to reach out and take me by the hand in attempt to help me regain the balance I had lost for only a moment. I smiled up at him and twirled away from him and toward my younger sister, who was happily watching by the door.

The room, once empty of all tables and chairs, had been decorated with long, white cloth-covered tables on three sides, dressed up with tall, unlit candles. Numerous napkins had been placed in front of the chairs that sat in front of the tables. White sashes, lined with gold thread, hung around the back of the chairs. Two tall, golden chairs sat at the table in the back of the room, reserved for the King and Queen – my mother and father. Two shorter, jewel encrusted chairs sat on either side, both reserved for the two princesses – my sister and I.

All I could think of was the amount of beautifully dressed men and woman – kings, queens, barons, baronesses, princes and princesses – that would be attending the ball that was to be held that night. I could only count the minutes until I would be dressed in my fanciest evening gown; a gown that had been my mother’s when she was a young princess.

My sister hopped up from her seat and ran into my father’s open arms. They began to dance, her tiny feet standing on father’s shiny, black boots. “It’s my turn!” I smiled as I turned away from their spinning bodies and walked toward the stairs. Mother had requested that the stone railing on either side of the stairs be decorated with fresh flowers grown from the garden outside. Flowers of pink, white and yellow were strung into the green vines. Servants rushed past me, carrying silverware, china plates, and long trains of colorful fabric.

“Excuse me, Princess Aurelia?”

I turned. A servant stood behind me with a sullen look on his face. He wore what all of the servants wore, a black and white uniform that my mother had designed. In her mind, the uniforms were to be elegant without being too noticeable to others around them. The man, I had been told, had been working with my father’s family ever since her father was a young man and had followed him when he became the king.

“May I take your shoes? I was informed they need to be fixed.” I looked down at my dancing shoes. Squatting down to the ground, I quickly untied the laces and carefully pulled them off of my feet. The heels had begun to wear away, leaving small holes on the soles. They had been repaired a few times before, and each time, I had worn them out within a few weeks’ time.

“Thank you, sir,” I replied as I handed him the shoes, leaving myself barefoot. The ground beneath me was cold and sent a chill down my spine. He bowed his head before walking away.

I spun around on my heels, not knowing what to do next. I was barefoot, unable to dance for a few short hours and nothing else interested me. My father had advised that I stay inside the castle until the ball; my parents did not want me to go off into the garden or even to the forest to explore. I needed to stay within the walls of the castle until it was time to get myself ready for the royal people attending the ball. The evening could not come soon enough.

My hand traveled to my neck where a long gold chain hung. A golden locket hung from the chain and twirled as I shifted the chain through my fingers. The necklace had been given to me by my grandmother – my mother’s mother – before she had passed away only three years ago. It had been, from what she told me, her prized possession; it was such a simple piece of jewelry that was not worth a lot, but my grandmother had loved it more than anything in the world.

Was there a secret that was held within the locket? I did not know. The locket was sealed shut and nothing I had done could open it. I did not have the courage to ask my mother about it, in fear that she would reveal a deep, dark secret that could change my life. Or, it could just be a locket that was given to my grandmother long ago. Whatever the reason, I could not figure out.

Although I enjoyed dancing, as much as any princess does, I was dreading the ball. I was expected to behave, to only speak if spoken to, only dance if a male asked to dance, smile and nod at all guests that made eye contact with me. It was quite a bore. I want to dance like no one is watching with whomever I wanted. With my sister, with my cousins, with my mother, by myself. I was to act like a lady, like a princess. If I wanted to speak with anyone I wanted to speak with, I would have to whisper, always watching out if someone glanced in our direction.

It was the only thing that I did not like. I do not have the freedoms that I want, the freedoms that I crave. On sunny days, I want to be able to run into the streets and meet the villagers. To laugh and play with the others as if I were one of the commoners. But alas, I could not.

I sighed, sitting on the last step of the stairs, making sure not to get in the way of the always busy servants. I tucked my feet underneath my dress and fiddled with my necklace aimlessly. If only the day would end.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
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Written by aubs