I have completely rewritten this story. Thank you to everyone who has ever reviewed it and helped me not to give up on it. If you're new to this story, I hope you enjoy it.
Thursday 11th June, 10am, my room.
Breakfast was surprisingly bearable today, except for Daddy canoodling with that awful woman I'm supposed to call stepmother – Foul Fenella – over his eggs. The eggs were enough to make me nauseous, but I really did not need to see two unattractive, old people exchanging saliva. Gross. It's really sad when your parents are getting more action than you are. The servants and I sat and stood there awkwardly whilst they called each other disgusting pet names.
"Princess..." Alf said just as I was about to throw one of my trademark tantrums and storm off. Not that anyone would have cared. Fenella told Daddy that I was just in an attention seeking phase and it would pass. Me? Cease to want attention? Yeah right. It's what princesses live for.
I almost screamed when Alf held out the silver platter on which a gold envelope sat with the seal of Prince Charming's family stamped upon it. At that moment, I wouldn't have noticed if Daddy and Fenella were going at it on the table in front of me.
"Alexandra!" Fenella chastised me, but I was too happy to correct her for using my full name, or to care that there was drool escaping the side of my mouth.
I let out a small noise of acknowledgement, closed my mouth, then practically ran at poor Alf, grabbed the letter and ran up the five hundred stairs that lead to my bedroom, cursing my decision to have the topmost room in the tallest tower every step of the way. No matter, I can get the maids to massage my legs later.
By the time I reached my room, I was slightly out of breath, and now I'm perspiring— not exactly becoming for a princess, but all I was focused on was ripping open the letter. Prince is currently sitting on his own cat-sized bed, not much smaller than my huge carved wooden one, and when I smiled and called to him this morning I could've sworn he grunted at me, rolled over on his fat belly, and fell asleep again. Stupid cat. Hopefully he's the only Prince that doesn't enjoy my company.
The letter read:
Dear Princess Alexandra of Maynard,
Prince Charming of Asgard, requests the honour of your graceful presence at his ball this Saturday eve, where he hopes to find a wife among the company of royalty, with whom to share the kingdom when he should inherit the throne. We eagerly anticipate your swift reply.
King Theodore and Queen Larissa of Asgard
My eyes devoured the curvy, golden lettering until I was just short of eating the letter whole. I know there are hundreds of other girls who have also been invited with the exact same letter yet I can't help but feel special, because of course I am. The butterflies in my stomach must be on steroids.
Finally my sheltered life in the palace is over. Prince Charming is the most eligible, not to mention the dreamiest bachelor in the land, and so it's no surprise that he wants a wife, and a queen, to rule beside him someday. Every girl invited is going crazy, thinking they have a chance at the crown prince of Asgard. But half of them are barely his equal in rank or riches and honestly my cat has a better chance than them. Though the kingdoms of Asgard and Maynard have long been allies... a royal wedding is all that we need to cement the relationship.
Friday 12th June, 5:30pm, my room.
I've just come back from the marketplace with Rosamunde, who is not invited to the ball. Needless to say, she's most put out, not that Prince Charming would give her as much as a glance. I would've gone shopping without her but she was adamant to come and pick out every hideous garment she could find to try and make me look terrible at the ball like the saboteur she is. She always was jealous of my stuff when we were growing up. Some things never change.
"Oh isn't this dress gorgeous?" she exclaimed, grabbing a huge yellow expanse of material and sighing. I had a hard time figuring out if she was genuinely in love with it or not. I looked at Brian quizzically. Daddy always insists that Brian accompany me as a bodyguard, but nothing ever happens. Nobody would dare mug him; he looks like a bodybuilding ogre, although he really is the sweetest, gentlest man I know. But then again I don't know many men.
"Not really," I shrugged, moving on. I picked up a pair of lilac shoes that matched the dress I was planning on wearing to the ball, if I could get Daddy to pay for it. He had me on a bit of a lower allowance recently due to my shopping addiction. "Aren't these shoes lovely?"
"Oh, no," she scrunched up her round flat nose.
"Why is that?" I asked, not even wanting to know the answer.
"They're so not your colour." I refrained from pulling her by her frizzy red hair out of the shop. Brian wouldn't appreciate having to break up a girl fight, but I would so win.
The shop assistant was more than happy to help me, not only because I am the princess, but I have a beast of a man to protect me. Rosa always gets special treatment too, just by association. As if it somehow pleases me if she's happy.
I planned on buying the shoes, obviously not listening to my fashion-challenged friend. Rosa actually bought the hideous yellow dress and wore it immediately, though I don't know why. It isn't as if she's going anywhere special, but I did feel sorry for her small number of household servants who would no doubt be subjected to the horror of that dress. Plus, it really does nothing to downplay her large figure.
"But where will you wear it? I hate to think of it sitting in your wardrobe for years," I said, humouring her.
"I'm meeting Alastair, silly!" Rosa giggled. I felt like throwing up, and not just because the yellow dress reminded me of custard and was making me feel queasy. Rosa's crush on my nerdy cousin is starting to get on my nerves. I think he's resigned himself finally to the fact that she's the only girl who has eyes for him, and therefore if he's ever going to have any semblance of a girlfriend, he must settle for her. It's the only explanation.
When they marry, as I suspect they will, Rosa would become Queen of Maynard, a title I, as an unmarried girl, will not inherit despite my father being the king which is stupid quite frankly. Daddy always did want me marrying Alastair, but he had always been somewhat of a geeky rather annoying younger brother to me, despite being nineteen. Of course, dear acne-ridden Alastair wouldn't have me thrown out the castle, but I'd sooner throw myself out than live with him and Rosamunde and their aesthetically challenged children.
"Oh, right," I said, and smiled half heartedly. Rosa sighed wistfully.
"You see, I'm not entirely jealous about you going to the ball, because now I'll have Ally all to myself!" she giggled, that annoying laughter that was so high pitched everything sounded like an echo for a good few moments after.
"Oh cruel fate that has me attending the ball and you stuck here with Ally," I muttered, but Rosamunde was off on a cloud dreaming about kissing lips behind which two very large buck teeth distractingly sat. I shuddered.
I asked Daddy later on for the outfit that would help me to woo Prince Charming. I softened him up beforehand with my old technique of bringing him cookies from the kitchen. Works every time.
As I entered his chambers, Fenella greeted me with a gasp.
"Oh no no no, your father is on a diet, no more cookies for him, they're far too sugary," she exclaimed, all but whacking the plate out of my hand. I proceeded to his study reluctantly without my bribe.
"Daddy?" I asked, sugar-coating my voice in the absence of the sugary treats.
"Yes Alex?" he said over his desk. The heads of animals large and small glared at me from their mounts on the wall. I hate hunting. When Daddy brings home the carcasses of woodland creatures, I always have to hide in my tower until the foul stench of their rotting corpses fades. I wonder if when he dies he'll want to be mounted on his own wall. It wouldn't surprise me. I ignored their dead stares and concentrated on the task at hand.
"I was wondering if I could have a new outfit for the ball tomorrow."
"You mean the three hundred garments you have already won't do?" he asked.
"It's not that, but you know I want to look my best for Prince Charming and I found a beautiful dress today that will look gorgeous with these shoes-"
"You'll look beautiful in anything my dear," he said, getting back to his work.
"Is that a yes?" I asked apprehensively.
"I'm afraid it's a no," he said.
"Why?" I whined.
"You have enough dresses Alexandra," he said, using my full name. I grimaced. He was putting his foot down. I stormed out of his chambers and felt Fenella's smug grin as I left.
Now I only have a day to decide what to wear from my vast wardrobe. This is torture!
Saturday 13th June, ?, the coach.
Only a few more hours until we arrive at Asgard, 'we' being the coachman and I. It was rather scary leaving the walls of Maynard behind and venturing out into the unknown. For me, anyway, my coachman seems rather relaxed about everything; I could swear he fell asleep at the reins at one point. I don't know how long we've been travelling but it seems like days, on these bumpy roads.
I managed to convince Daddy to let me go without Brian, who is welcoming the time off. Besides I doubt there would be space for him in Asgard what with all the guests staying there for the ball. There must be hundreds of women invited, all with one purpose... now I feel rather nervous, even if most of them will be no match for me.
I'm so glad Fenella didn't come along; I couldn't stand being cooped up in this coach with her for five hours. She'd probably try and steal Prince Charming off me, in an embarrassing fashion, as if I don't have all the other princesses and bachelorettes to worry about. After all, he's a lot richer than Daddy, and a lot better looking. I wouldn't blame her, if she weren't so old and ugly and mean. If she had come she'd have been complaining the entire way about the bumpy roads.
"I'm too fragile for this!" she would've whined. "Let me out!"
And then it would take us ten more years to get to Asgard. But Daddy was adamant that whilst he was home and not away on business, that he spend time with her. I never thought their disgusting public displays of affection would be useful to me one day. Also, I managed to point out that the invitation had specified that only my presence was requested at the ball.
"I'm your mother!" Fenella insisted, not hearing me mumble under my breath that she is just my stepmother. "I must accompany you!"
By some stroke of luck, Daddy overheard us and butted in.
"But darling, wouldn't you rather stay here with me whilst I am home?"
I seized the chance. "Yes, Daddy would be most upset if you left him all alone in this big empty palace."
I think Fenella hates me more now if that's even possible. It simply gives me another reason to get married and stay in Asgard permanently. It's not as if Prince is going to miss me. He decided to stay at home where he's no doubt going to run the place while I'm gone. I swear that cat is out to get me. Anyway, he would hate the horrendous journey too, and I probably would've murdered him on the way and left his body in a ditch somewhere along the road. Come to think of it that wouldn't be a bad fate for Fenella either...