"Wake up, Princess. We must prepare you for today. C'mon, Dearie, wake up." I felt a frail hand on my shoulder. I opened my tired eyes to see Penelope standing over me, her face holding a pitying expression.
I sniffed. My face felt stiff from the dried tears. Light was pouring into my room from the large window beside my bed that overlooked the rose garden. "So I suppose everyone knows," I croaked, my throat hoarse from sleep and crying.
Penelope stroked my face comfortingly and nodded. "We needed to prepare for the arrivals," she explained.
I took an unsteady breath and sat up. I had been hoping my encounter with my father had been a nightmare. I wanted anything but to wake up and have it be true.
I rubbed my eyes and pushed the heavy light purple duvet off of my legs. Taking a deep breath, I turned to Penelope. "If Father wishes for me to be married, then so be it. I shall not be the purpose for his suffering, or the suffering of my kingdom," I said, barely above a whisper.
Penelope looked at me sadly before gathering me in her arms. "I am very proud of you, Violet," she said, a tear falling from her eye. She pulled away quickly and took my hand. "Come, you must prepare to meet your suitors."
I reluctantly followed her, trying to think of anything but the upcoming meetings. She led me to my bath, where my lady's maids helped me out of my nightdress and bathed me in the large golden tub. All the while, they were tittering quietly about the suitors and which ones they may have a chance with. I was about to right slap one of them, when Penelope scolded them loudly and ordered them to go tidy the palace. She helped me out of the bath and I dried myself.
Penelope helped me with my underclothes and tied my corset as tightly as ever.
"Your mother sent down this dress for you. She had it made of the finest materials in all of Anglia. You are to wear it by order of the queen," she said, smiling.
We walked over to my bed where it lay with a white sheet covering it. Penelope grasped a corner of the sheet and smiled at me before pulling it away with added flourish.
I gasped. The dress that laid there was stunning. It was a beautiful, golden colored ball gown with sparkling details on the bodice and rosettes lining the skirt. I reached out and touched the satin material smiling sadly.
"It is absolutely breathtaking. I must thank Mother for it later," I said, shaking my head.
"I am sure she will be overjoyed to know you like it," Penelope said lifting it off the bed. She called for my lady's maids to help her, and they scurried in, gasping in awe at the elaborate gown. They lifted it carefully and helped me into it, lacing up the back and straightening the skirt. When they finished, they all stepped away, staring at me. Some of the maids looked awed, whereas others looked green with envy. Penelope's eyes shone with tears as she took my hand.
"You look beautiful," she whispered. I smiled at her and squeezed her hand gently. She dismissed the maids again, and sat me down on the cushioned stool in front of my mirror. She began to pin back my curls, and I thought about what was about to happen.
"Penelope?" I asked, looking at her in the mirror.
"Yes, Dearie?" she answered, fussing intently with my hair.
"Do you think the man who wins will be good to me?" I asked, fiddling with my gold locket. "What if he is awfully cruel and angry?"
Penelope stopped pinning and looked at me. "Violet, your father is a smart man. I am sure he has devised these tests do that only a smart, strong, and amiable man could preside. You have nothing to fear."
I dropped my head and looked at my hands. "I hope so," I said softly.
A heard a soft knock at my door. "Enter," I called, turning toward the door.
Penelope forced me to look back at the mirror, attempting to finish with my hair. I sighed, and toyed with a rose on my skirt. I brightened considerably when I saw Adeline's face appear in the mirror.
"Adeline!" I exclaimed. I wanted to turn and see her, but Penelope's hands held my head firmly in place.
Adeline laughed and walked around to face me. She pulled a small foot stool near my seat and sat down. "You look absolutely sublime!" she said, smiling widely.
I laughed. Her mere presence lifted my spirits. "Thank you. What brings you here this morning?"
Her smile faded as she placed her hand over mine. "I wanted to make sure you were alright," she said softly.
|Ben Barnes||as Nicolas|
|Lily Collins||as Juliana|
|Chanel Celaya||as Adeline|
|Freddie Stroma||as Phillip|
|Parker Gregory||as Christian|
|Noah Huntley||as King Rupert|