So, to begin my career here on FictionPress, I present to you all a short little story I wrote quite some time ago when some sort of inspiration knocked me on the head and told me to write. Hope you all enjoy it!

~:o:~

Long, long ago, in a kingdom hidden by forest and sea, there lived a people much like you and I. They were born, grew old, and died much in the same manner as we do. And, like us, they had their troubles, their work, and their amusements. Most importantly, every child, teen, elder, and adult held nearly the same thoughts as we do.

In this land, there in the castle of this grand kingdom, lived a king and queen, and their daughter, the princess. She was a sight to behold, with beautiful long hair and eyes that rivaled even the most brilliant of gems. Her wit was sharp and her mind, comparable to the minds of the wisest of scholars. Most said that the princess was a prime catch for any lucky young man, if not just for her status, but for her being as a person.

However, the princess did not have an agreeable personality. She often scowled at the court, glaring at any young count or earl come to try for her hand. Her parents, the King and Queen, had not an idea about what could possibly be wrong with her. She never had need for want in life; what could possibly be the trouble?

The princess became even sourer as her sixteenth birthday approached, and with it, a royal ball of epic proportions for her to pick the hand of her future husband. She locked herself in her chambers until the day, coming out solely for meals, during which she talked not and sent hateful glares toward her parents. These acts sent pain and sadness through her parents to see her behaving this way, and promised her the finest of gifts should she at least come out for the costly event.

When the day finally arrived, she allowed her handmaidens to dress her in a flowing ice-blue gown with small diamonds sewn into the fabric. Her hair was piled high onto her head, curling in every direction and around her ears. She remained stoic and cold throughout the process, making her seem, tonight, to be the perfect Ice Princess.

She walked into the ball when it was well under way. The dancing stopped as she descended the great steps onto the floor. All was silent and she eyed the crowd carefully, walking toward where her parents stood. She stopped before them and curtsied deeply. "Good evening, Father, Mother."

They returned the show of respect. The king nodded approvingly. "Welcome, my daughter. I am so happy to know that you have decided to join us here for your sixteenth year."

"Indeed, Your Highness. I would not have missed it for the world." She turned swiftly on her heel and glared at the crowd. "Not for the world…"

The king laughed and sent the civilians back on their way to enjoying the ball. His daughter went to go sulk by a stone pillar. He gazed after her uselessly, looking away only when his wife tapped his arm. "She'll get better."

"I worry that the opposite may be true." He sighed and forced a smile upon his face. "Come, my queen; let us dance as we did in our youth."

She laughed as she allowed herself to be led away.

Now, the royal ball for the princess's sixteenth birthday occurred mostly in hopes that she would choose a husband. Because of this, nary a person was exempt from going throughout the entire kingdom. This included the farmers, the bakers, the blacksmiths and the cobblers, and really anyone else that possessed the means to come. For example, a certain young man attended that normally would never have dreamed of coming.

He was there solely for a chance to lay eyes on the princess once more. He spied her once in the town square when he was at market with his father and she rode by on a brilliant white horse. He remembered explicitly the way the sun shone off her hair, and the way she seemed to be looking at him and him alone when her cold gaze swept the crowd. She was beautiful in his eyes, and he would be content to see her once more; but, should he manage to dance with her, he would wish for nothing ever again…

Meanwhile, the princess felt ready now more than ever to die and leave the heartless and boring world she called home. She leaned against the pillar with a sigh, crossing her arms and looking down. "In the very least, a man could have come and asked me to dance…" She grumbled crossly. She knew why no one had asked her yet; it was because she was hiding and no one liked someone so melancholy as her.

The young man I mentioned earlier just so happened to be coming toward her to use the very same pillar for a look-out point in case he spotted the princess. He was shocked to see her standing there, looking very angry and colder than ever. She looked up and a slight gasp parted her lips. "Yes?" She recovered quickly, narrowing her eyes.

He swallowed hard, his eyes wide and his breath caught in his throat. She raised an eyebrow. "Not to be rude, but what do you want?"

"I… I…" He held out his hand. "Would you care to dance?"

"Me? You're asking me to dance?" The words seemed almost too good to be true.

He nodded vigorously. "Y-yes…"

"Very well then. I would be honored to dance with you." She easily slipped her hand into his. The initial roughness surprised her, but she found it strangely comforting.

The man led her out into the crowd of other dancing couples and held her close to his body. He then noticed that she trembled as he began the dance. "Your Grace, are you cold?"

"No… You're quite warm, actually. It's just that… I've never been this close to a man before…" She looked away from him as she blushed.

He chuckled softly. "Don't worry. I won't hold it against you."

The princess looked up into her consort's face. She was confused by the warm feeling she received when she gazed into his eyes, which seemed to be of the same warmth, and how he just generally seemed to seep heat from his very being. She shivered again; after being cold for so long, how could she hope to react to this sudden climatic difference?

He suddenly whirled her out to his arm's length and spun her against to him, so that her back was pressed to his chest. He leaned down to whisper in her ear, "Princess, may I tell you something?"

"Of course. By all means." She turned her head, pressing her ear against where his heart beat within his muscled chest.

"I saw you before, long ago, in the market."

"Yes… I seem to remember you as well."

He spun her around again, keeping his hand at the small of her back. "I just wanted to let you know that I think you most beautiful. I came here tonight hoping to see you again, but dancing with you was beyond my wildest dreams."

The princess's eyes widened as he tilted her backward toward the floor. He smiled and brought her up again. She found herself breathing heavily, unable to speak. He whispered again in her ear. "I understand if you think me rude and forward. But, I believe that ever since that day I saw you…I have loved you."

He slowed their pace as the song came to an end. As he parted from her, he bowed. "Thank you, Your Highness, for a most wonderful dance."

"Wait!" She reached for his arm. "Don't… Don't leave me, please…"

"But, Princess…"

"I don't want you to go." She placed a hand on her heart and looked up at him, tears glistening in her eyes. "I… No one has ever said those things to me before… No one has ever…loved me."

He took her hand again. "If you would allow me, I will stay by your side all this night."

"I don't want you to ever leave my side again…" She slowly eased herself into a sort of embrace with him, closing her eyes and pressing herself against his chest.

He brought his hand up to stroke the hair he knew shone like the sun and was as soft as he had imagined it to be. "If you wish it, I will be here…always."

~:o:~

Hope you all found that enjoyable! Reviews are appreciated!

-A.K.