46 comments

Fiction

I straighten the pastel pink skirt and blazer with shaking hands.

Pacing from one end to the other, I mutter words underneath my breath, each try different from the other.

The cards in my hand don’t help, as they just have a few words on them. I need to show the world that I’m different. I must not be another person who can read. I need to be someone who has a stage presence, whose every word is echoing in the audience’s ears long after the speech is done. I need to leave my mark.

I wish I were trained for this kind of thing, the kind of thing everyone but me is good at.

Public speaking.

Looking over a podium and seeing thousands of people’s eyes waiting for me to say the wrong thing, a few million’s eyes trained on me through the television screen in the comfort of their homes.

If Melinda had been here, she would have handled it perfectly, her every word ringing strong and clear, her every smile genuine and carefully sprinkled throughout her speech, her sly jokes inciting light giggles and deep chuckles from the audience.

I can’t even talk to my own mother without looking at my feet. I can’t even raise my voice at my own son. I can’t even stop my husband’s taunts from raining down on me.

I don’t know what to do.

My pacing is making Randall nervous, as he shakes his leg up and down, the chair creaking in rhythm.

Taran will be in the audience with Mother, watching me like everyone else, cheering at my every word even though he may not understand all of it.

He had been close to Father. Close enough to have believed us when we told him that he was just sleeping in the coffin, taking some rest and giving company to Aunt Melinda.

He noticed everything, his black eyes taking in the tears and the condolences all around him.

How much he understood was the question.

I couldn’t expect him to understand it either, since death was the most abstract concept that even supposedly experienced adults couldn’t completely grasp.

An ache spreads in my chest as I think of Father, his pockets always filled with little lemon candies and feathers which appeared everyday almost like magic.

I saw all of it happen through my young eyes, my grandfather giving up the throne for the sake of a strange-sounding man, and my father wearing the crown, studded with rubies and emeralds, my sister becoming heir apparent and being a natural at it.

I remember having to massage Father’s shoulders for almost months on end after he became king, as he complained about the heaviness of the crown.

I didn’t realize that he wasn’t only referring to the physical aspect of it until I wore it myself.

Today is the day.

In a few minutes, I had to get on stage to a thousand blinking phones, cameras and reporters, and double that number of eyes, all looking at me, waiting for me to change the world or screw it up completely.

Frank enters backstage and nods at me.

I’m suddenly overtaken by an urge to faint on the spot.

But I walk towards the curtain that is the final obstacle between me and the rest of the world.

I need to do this for Father’s sake.

He always loved me for me, and never forced me to be someone else.

He never cared that I didn’t talk too much, but he always said that I could do it if I had to.

This time, I have to.

I don’t have a choice on the matter.

I push the curtain to the right and walk on stage, the cheers vibrating through every bone in my body.

I wave, and the crowd goes wild.

I really hope that the sound of the audience will block out most of my words and the people can leave with the knowledge that I said something profound without hearing my words at all.

But all my plans are ruined when I reach the podium.

As if by some common signal of their own, the people shush each other.

The only sound in the whole arena is me setting down my cards.

I adjust the microphone only to be greeted by screeching feedback as the audience plugs their fingers into their ears with a strained look on their faces.

I imagine the people at home are doing the same.

What a great start to my reign as queen.

I smile at them apologetically, and a hush descends in an instant.

I spot Taran and Mother in the audience and see Randall edging his way towards them.

I pick up my first card with my sweaty hands, careful not to drop it.

Introduction. Thank you for kind wishes.

Clearing my throat, I push out two words.

“Hello, world.”

The cheering and applause don’t stop for a good three minutes.

I know because I constantly look at my watch with a polite smile on my face.

As they slowly get the hint, the cheering quietens and the applause fades.

I haven’t even gotten through my first card yet.

“My name is Rebecca. Though for the entirety of my life, I have been called Princess Regina, but my real name is Rebecca.”

My throat closes up at this point, and the people somehow understand.

They cheer ‘Long live Rebecca’ until I manage to compose myself.

“Now I understand that my father King Francis was loved and adored by you all. I realize that as much as I and the rest of my family are mourning, all of you are mourning too. For considering my family as yours and for taking that burden of grief upon yourselves, I thank you all.”

My throat is dry. I should have brought some water along with me.

I pick up my next card.

Melinda. Queen.

“I realize that many of you are puzzled at the fact that the younger princess is giving this speech. Many of you may be wondering why Princess Mel – I mean Princess Victoria is not the one standing here today.”

The audience members consult with each other while the reporters push their microphones closer to the stage, sensing something big coming.

I take in a deep breath and let it out, not knowing whether I would ever get the strength to say it.

“Princess Victoria had a name too, Melinda. Her real name was Melinda. She was just like you and me. But she was different.”

Everyone’s breath hitches a bit at hearing me refer to her in the past tense.

“She was human, like the rest of us. She was grieving. But she was also heir apparent. She was also entrusted with the responsibility of becoming the first Queen the kingdom of Cotoria has ever had.”

This was it, I had to say it.

“Melinda was found dead in her chambers a day after my father’s passing. She had swallowed pills.”

Pindrop silence.

Then the discussion starts, the people talking over each other, some crying, others confused.

I wait for the abusing, the curses and the accusations.

I wait for someone to realize that I’m not meant to be here, that I’m just a cheap replacement for Melinda.

Tears fall from my eyes, running down my face and washing away the makeup that my assistants had painstakingly applied.

I silently apologize to Father and Melinda for not being able to live up to them.

Suddenly I hear a voice.

Albeit a faint one, but it is recognizable.

Taran stands up on his seat, Mother trying to push him back down and failing miserably, Randall covering his face and trying not to draw attention.

But I heard him.

Others around him pick up what he was saying, and soon the chant begins.

It swells and flows all around me, going through to my heart and dispelling all my fears.

My knees are still weak, my head is still spinning, my tears are still falling.

But I smile at their words, the words meant for me.

Long live the Queen.

February 06, 2021 03:09

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46 comments

14:36 Apr 18, 2021

The plot was great, the writing was wonderful and the overall story was fantastic! Honestly, I have no idea how you write so perfectly! It was easy to relate to Rebecca as a character. Your writing skills ring out in every word!!

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Writer Maniac
15:20 Apr 18, 2021

Aww thank you so much, I really appreciate it!

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17:58 Apr 18, 2021

You're welcome! I'd love to hear your thoughts on "Elsie's Return" the newest story I've written.

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Eddie Thawne
08:24 Feb 17, 2021

Beautifully written. Nice plot. Well done!

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Writer Maniac
08:36 Feb 17, 2021

Thank you so much, I would love to get your feedback on my two latest stories 'Remember That Night' and 'Still Have Each Other' which are quite different from the stories I normally write

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Eddie Thawne
08:40 Feb 17, 2021

Of course.

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Writer Maniac
08:50 Feb 17, 2021

Thanks:)

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Grace Lawrence
03:10 Feb 15, 2021

Beautiful story! Love the way you made the speech not only important to the audience, but also personally important to the speaker. Added a lot more depth than if it were just a 'big speech'. Great descriptions leading up to speech too - totally grabbed me from the very start:) Overall super creative take on the prompt, and I would love to see more of your work!

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Writer Maniac
03:33 Feb 15, 2021

Thank you so much for the comment, I really appreciate it! If you want to read any more of my stories, I would love some feedback on 'Not Worth It', 'Game Over', 'An Unfortunate Series of Events' and 'A Good Day':) For more recommendations, check my bio :D

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Grace Lawrence
04:10 Feb 16, 2021

Awesome, sounds great! I will definitely check those out whne I have a minute - have to study for math right now, ugh:(

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Writer Maniac
04:42 Feb 16, 2021

Good luck, I'm studying Physics right now, school can honestly be such a pain :(

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Carolyn Mc Bride
18:52 Feb 13, 2021

This was a very good story, and quite well encapsulated. Well done!

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Writer Maniac
02:08 Feb 14, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! If you would like to read any more of my stories, I would recommend 'Not Worth It', 'Paper and Ink', 'An Unfortunate Series of Events' and 'A Good Day' :)

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Rebecca Cole
16:44 Feb 13, 2021

I really loved this, you have a gift for writing. I particularly like your word choice and your sentences like "carefully sprinkled throughout her speech". It is so very well done!

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Writer Maniac
17:12 Feb 13, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! If you would like to read any more of my stories, I would love some feedback on 'Not Worth It', 'Game Over', 'An Unfortunate Series of Events' and 'A Good Day' :)

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Rebecca Cole
17:13 Feb 13, 2021

Its no problem, I'll read them now!!

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Elisia Meehan
15:30 Feb 13, 2021

Great job, however when writing about a fantasy with Royals there are so many out there it's hard to find something different. I like your approach but I want to see you creative side about a story about this. Hope to read more.

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Writer Maniac
15:42 Feb 13, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it and will take your suggestion into consideration :) If you would like to read any more of my stories, I would love some feedback on 'Not Worth It', 'Game Over', 'An Unfortunate Series of Events' and 'A Good Day' :)

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Radhika Diksha
12:02 Feb 11, 2021

I want to sing, let it go, let it go. Giving me Queen Elsa vibes. The writing was so simple yet it was powerful. It had an impact and it had emotions. The back narration about Queen Rebecca was also intriguing. I loved how the main character beats her internal turmoil and gathers courage for her speech. The different characters had a prominent role in the story. Good plot. keep writing.

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Radhika Diksha
06:49 Apr 08, 2021

Is this feedback toxic too?

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Writer Maniac
14:44 Feb 11, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! I didn't realise it was you Radhika, you changed your username to Princess Jasmine :)

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Radhika Diksha
15:02 Feb 11, 2021

Yes, I changed it for a while. Did you like it? By the way, I loved the names in this story, they were unique yet catchy.

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Writer Maniac
15:24 Feb 11, 2021

Yeah, I really like the new username. I usually choose really different names for my stories, but this time I decided to go for more commonly used ones, I'm glad you liked it :)

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Radhika Diksha
15:30 Feb 11, 2021

Yeah

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15:50 Feb 08, 2021

Okay, so this kind of gave me Elsa vibes... but in a good way! Honestly, I've read too many PUBLISHED stories where they make queens like her emotionless, or too emotional. I think you got just the right mix here, with her vacant, yet pristine tone. Once again, the tone!!!!!!! Your voice is so good!

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Writer Maniac
16:03 Feb 08, 2021

Thank you so much for the compliment, I really appreciate it! I tried my best with it, so I'm glad that it came across okay :) If you would like to read any more of my stories, I would recommend 'Not Worth It', 'An Unfortunate Series of Events' and 'Paper and Ink', you can also check my bio for the stories I'm proud of :)

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16:08 Feb 08, 2021

Thank you!

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Radhika Diksha
11:12 Feb 07, 2021

A new story is out would love your feedback.

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Writer Maniac
11:29 Feb 07, 2021

Would appreciate feedback for this story 'Long Live the Queen', will be sure to read your story as well :)

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Radhika Diksha
11:33 Feb 07, 2021

Think again because you kinda get aggressive after my feedback,lol.

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Writer Maniac
11:38 Feb 07, 2021

I don't mean to get aggressive, I just want to understand the basis on which you give some parts of your feedback, which is why I ask for more details.

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Radhika Diksha
11:39 Feb 07, 2021

ok, i will.

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Amazing story Mania.

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Writer Maniac
02:36 Feb 07, 2021

Thank you :)

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Your welcome!

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Writer Maniac
02:21 Feb 08, 2021

I posted one more story yesterday, please check it out whenever you get the time :)

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Of course! <3

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Maraika!!! 😎
18:06 Jun 15, 2021

This was great, Mania! You got a whole story worth of infomation into one short story to be easily digested by the reader. I was absorbed from begining to end and I loved reading it. Great job! P.S When you have time at some point, do you mind reading my story "🌔"? Take your time, though.

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Writer Maniac
02:49 Jun 16, 2021

Thank you so much for your sweet feedback! I'll try to read your story when I get time :)

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Maraika!!! 😎
04:40 Jun 16, 2021

Of course! Take all the time you need. My story isn't going any where :)

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J.A. Blackmore
23:44 May 06, 2021

I really love this!!! Thank you so much for writing it! You are truly amazing!!

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Writer Maniac
02:30 May 07, 2021

Thank you so much!

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You did an amazing job. I mean, you really showed me how someone.like her, a queen, is really just as nervous a person as I am.when I start something new. The direction the story took was great. You did awesome.

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Writer Maniac
02:03 Feb 18, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! I wanted to make sure that when I portray a queen, I portrayed a human being first :) I would love some feedback on my two latest stories if you're up for that

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Absolutely. I will definitely head over there and read them. Io would appreciate some feedback on my latest two as well. "Jared's Love" and "He Calls Me Buttercup".

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Writer Maniac
02:25 Feb 18, 2021

Sure thing!

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