Joanna reread the note multiple times, trying to figure out which un-married man it could have been. Armistead briefly came into mind, but this note was too sincere for Armistead’s taste. She tried to recall the countless faces and names of the night, but none had stood out to her. Maybe it had been someone who she hadn’t met. It most certainly was not Gustave, the Duke Of Ellington’s son.
Holding it up to the gasoline candlelight, Joanna admired the black rose. It was rare in this region to find roses, nevertheless a black one. Joanna thought that it was endearing, but had a strange suspicion that it meant something more. A look of puzzlement crossed her features and Katarine took the time to pipe up.
“What does it say?”
Joanna blinked and seemed to hold the note closer to her body.
“It says to Joanna Winsberg, you are the most beautiful woman in Frahen who has captured my heart. From Your Secret Admirer,” Joanna whispered as if the words on the note had come from a dream. She had barely noticed that Katarine had peered at the note from her place near Joanna to make sure that she hadn’t left anything out.
“Katarine,” snapped Joanna, her voice full of authority for someone so young, “You may leave now.”
The young maid looked sorely disappointed and did not attempt to hide it since she and Joanna were more than just maid and mistress, they were friends. She left the room without another word, closing the door softly behind her.
As soon as the door was closed, Joanna started pacing and talking to herself. She only spoke in quiet whispers but it was enough that if someone were in the room they would notice it.
She muttered to herself in the night about whom possibly could be Her Secret Admirer, but thinking about the possibilities made her frustrated.
When the door opened, Joanna was past the point of frustration and snapped at the person who had invaded into her room.
“What could you possibly be bothering me with now?”
The door opened wider, revealing her mother Queen Maree. As soon as Joanna realized this, she bit her lip cursing herself about acting rash and not waiting to see whom it was.
The Queen smiled a bit as she entered the room with utter grace.
“Joanna,” greeted the woman quietly letting her daughter mull over her actions.
“Mother,” Joanna curtseyed. Even though it wasn’t necessary after her rash actions, she felt compelled to curtsey before her own mother.
“How do you think the ball went?” Maree asked Joanna simply.
Joanna swallowed, straightened up and hid the rose and note behind her back.
“Fine,” she said too quickly.
Maree’s eyebrow rose upwards, “Just fine? You didn’t meet anyone that you’d want to marry?”
“No, I don’t think so,” answered Joanna plainly. She was trying not to sound nervous or anything. She could fake being emotionless to everyone else except her parents. They saw right through her because they knew who she really was. Everyone else knew the façade of a girl that she pretended to be in front of them. No commoner in all of Frahen knew the real Joanna Winsberg, and she intended to keep it that way.
Her mother stared at her again, her green eyes piercing into her soul and Joanna flinched.
“Are you hiding something from me, Joanna?” her mother asked calmly but as if she knew something that Joanna didn’t.
Joanna sighed, knowing that sooner or later her mother would find about this ‘Secret Admirer’ and that is was better for her to hear it from Joanna and not someone else.
“Yes,” admitted the Princess, “Katarine noticed this on my bed.”
She held out the rose including the note to her mother.
Her mother snatched it from her grip, silently reading it over. Joanna took the time to look at her mother. She hadn’t really aged at all. There were barely any laugh lines on her face for she rarely ever laughed nor smiled. Queen Maree was a hard woman to please. She had originally come from France, and had married Joanna’s father Dimitri who was a Russian when they were both Joanna’s age.
Joanna and her mother were quite distant in terms of a mother-daughter relationship. Her mother was busy ruling over Frahen with her father, and had little time to spend with her only daughter. And although she claimed to do it out of love, Joanna felt little to sometimes no affection from her own mother.
|Idina Menzel||as Joanna Winsberg|
|Meg Ryan||as Maree Winsberg|
|Leonardo DiCaprio||as Brian Hassdale|
|Patrick Wilson||as Henry Winsberg|
|Christopher Lloyd||as Timothy Grayville|
|Gerard Butler||as Dimitri Winsberg|