Natalia had nailed it – Princess Angelica had lodged a complaint to her parents, who in turn worked with Bedelia to create a better schedule for Brent. He could tell Bedelia was not happy about the whole thing, but tolerated it as an order from the King and Queen.
While the timing of his schedule did not change all that much, the nature of his tasks did. From his understanding, the King and Queen agreed to keep his current studies where they were (after all, they would be completely phased out not too long after the first ball of the year as he was turning 16), but required him to assist Princess Angelica periodically throughout the month. They also stated that Princess Angelica could request him at any time with no issue, including outside of curfew.
Brent’s current duty? Rearranging Princess Angelica’s closet.
It honestly wasn’t what he was expected to e doing the day time, but it was better than nothing. Best of all, Princess Angelica was right there with him.
“Oh, Brent, could you push those three to the back?” requested Angelica, signiling with her closed fan.
“Yes, right away!”
“That dress can go over there.”
“The one on the right?”
“Yes, the purple one.”
“Yes, Princess Angelica.”
Angelica giggled.”Brent, it’s just us right now. You do not need to call me ‘Princess’.”
Brent sighed, resting his face on the purple tulle of the dress he had just grabbed at the base of the mannequin. “The last thing I need is for Bedelia to come in here and scold me for not using it.”
Angelica slapped her closed fan into her other hand. “Princess’s orders. You are to call me ‘Angelica’ except under more official circumstances.”
Brent pushed the purple tulle dress towards the back corner. He didn’t even smile – he almost seemed to ignore Angelica’s order. He fluffed out the dress a bit, as the part his face had rested on had flattened and walked back to where Angelica was standing.
Angelica grabbed his hand. “Brent, are you alright?”
“I’m starting to have doubts…”
“That we will actually be together. As you know, the balls aren’t just for show and good relation – they are so you can find the perfect husband.” His right palm loosely balled and he placed it over his heart, casting his gaze downward. “I do believe it’s time I start calling you Princess Angelica.”
Angelica’s face reddened scrunched. “Brent, don’t doubt us! There must be some way for us to be together, without abandoning the kingdom.”
Brent forced a smile. ‘Ha, you’re right. I’m sorry, Angelica.” He kissed her hand. “If it is alright with you, I shall call you ‘Angelica’ in private, but I shall put your title when others are around.”
“I don’t really like that, but I suppose it’s fine.” Princess Angelica began to fan herself and down-casted her eyes. “It wouldn’t be all that polite if you called me just Angelica in front of all the guest at the ball.”
Brent laughed in response.
Angelica then lead him to the left side of the room. “Now, let’s move all the purple dresses to the back, starting in size order. The one you just brought back there is from my childhood, so I would say start with the section next. Simple, yes?”
Brent overlooked all the dresses, spotting a small group of even smaller ones. “What about those?”
Angelica looked over and turned back to him. “Oh my, it looks like I missed those. Could you move those too? Before the other one?”
Brent laughed. “Yes, of course.”
Anticipation and nervousness ran high all day long at the finishing touches on the castle were completed for the first ball of the year. It seemed like everyone was holding their breath as the regal guest started to pour into the ballroom, dressed in gaudy, extravegant fashion. The King, Queen, and Princess Angelica all wore equally gaudy fashion to the guests.
The King raised his hands as he stood on stage, the Queen and Princess beside him on either side. “Thank you all for attending the first Astral Isles Ball! We host this in celebration of our relationship with all of you, and, more over, to find the best suitor for my daughter. As you know, my only child – Princess Angelica – turns 16 years old later this year, the age of marriage here in Astral Isles. So, I ask all the young lads out there, please, do not hesistate to get to know my daughter better. That is all. Let the ball begin!”
Cheers erupted from the ground.
Brent was hoping the shaking he felt and the nausea in his stomach wasn’t show outside of himself. He stood in alignment with numerous other servants, all dressed up and holding trays of numerous snacks and drinks. He took a deep breath and stepped out of alignment, along with several other servants, and they began to flood onto the floor, mingling in with the guests.
Brent glanced just off to the side of the stage. Princess Angelica seemed to glow. Her hair was tied up in an elegant bun and her dress was long and looked warm, perfect for the colder winter night outside. Around her were numerous young noblemen, all around Angelica & Brent’s age. The sheepish smile on her face and the light pink flush of her cheeks made her look absolutely beautiful.
Brent solemnly smiled, turning his attention back towards the guest. She’s so beautiful, the way she is looking at them. I know we are in love, but is it enough for us to last on?
“Can you believe that they both only met me for one night and decided that they were going to marry me?” asked Princess Angelica, as Brent brushed her hair.
“Angelica, I declared that you were my wife the first day I met you.”
Angelica clicked her tongue. “That’s different. I agreed with you.”
Brent silently laughed.
Angelica turned to him. “Are you alright? You seem a bit down.”
“Are you bothered by the proposals?”
Brent placed his hand on her shoulder. “How could I be bothered? You were so beautiful that night, I am surprised you only got two!”
“Me? Beautiful? More than usual?”
“Yes. You seemed to glow.”
Angelica scoffed. “Glow? That’s how you saw it?”
Brent brushed the back of his hand against her cheek. “You were glowing like gold glitstening in the morning sun. Your cheeks were light flushed pink. The smile on your face was light and kind, yet inviting. You seemed almost timid.”
“Brent, I was overwhelmed because I suddenly had fifty young men all trying to talk to me at once and I was being showered with compliments left and right. That might have been flattering, but there was nothing more behind it. In all honesty, it was tiring and I’m embarassed my father is attempting to pawn me off.” Angelica sat on her knees and turned around to face Brent in her chair. She was scowling.
Brent placed Angelica’s hair brush back on the dresser, while looking at her. “I do not think your father is trying to pawn you off. He knows it’s better for the kingdom for you to marry someone who is of nobility or royalty.”
Angelica let out a sigh, letting the upper half of her body collapse onto the back of the chair. “I know that. You know I know that. But you also know that we’ll still be together some way.”
“I know, I know. You’ll drag it out as long as you can.”
Angelica perked up. “Yes, that’s right.” She then leaned into Brent’s face, inches away from it. “Then we would have to hurry and produce heirs for the kingdom, but it’s much better than one of the stuff nobles that were at the ball that day.”
Angelica then sat back down in her chair, facing the mirror. “At least you love me.”
Brent hugged Angelica from behind, who light grabbed his arms in return. He could smell the floral-scented shampoo in her hair and feel the softness of her fingers. “That I do.”
“Whoa! Good thing I’m not Bedelia.”
Brent jumped and let go of Angelica. Both of them whipped around, seeing Natalia at the door. They both breathed a sigh of relief as Natalia approached them.
“You two are just sooooo CUTE!” she gushed.
“Natalia, you aren’t supposed to be here until evening.”
Natalia nodded. “Yes. However, the King and Queen specifically requested me to switch with Brent. The chimneys need cleaning and Brent is one of the few servants who can do it efficently and quickly.”
Brent nodded in agreement. “That is true. It’s actually quite fun.”
Princess Angelica grabbed his hand. “Is it more fun than being with me?”
Brent touched her hand, sending her sneer. “Are you really asking that?”
“Now, now,” said Natalia, clapping her hands twice. “you guys gotta split for now. The last thing we need is Bedelia to walk in and see how intimate you two are being…am I right?”
Brent and Princess Angelica both instantly blushed. “I-intimate!”
“I saw how Brent was embracing you, Princess,” teased Natalia.
Angelica grabbed her fan from the dresser, flicked it open, and hid her blushing cheeks with it. “We weren’t doing nothing more than a hug. I wouldn’t do anything more than that until we are married, you know.”
Months had passed, Brent’s 16th birthday had come and gone. The King and Queen kindly granted him his own room and Angelica a new pair of work clothes. His studies had officially ended, although he was able to continue them in his leisure time. He had decided to take up jewlery making. He would work at it at night, illuminated by numerous candles. He didn’t really know what he was doing, but he wanted to make something anyway.
He had watched Princess Angelica’s glow at each of the balls lessen each and every time. He couldn’t interact with her all that much, with him simply being there to serve, but he felt like he had to do something for her sake. He was carefully drilling a hole through a tumbled rose quartz. He then thread a wire through the hole, wrapping it on the left & right sides of the crystal. He then thread the wire back through to the top and twisted it carefully into a loop. From there, he thread it onto the choker he had sewn and put together the previous day.
Brent held up the choker in the candle light, admiring his craftsmanship. I hope she loves it.
He gently folded it and put it into a small, velvet blue bag. He put it into his clothing pocket, blew out the candles, and went to bed.
To Be Continued…
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