Fiction Romance

Amongst the courting and the happy mamas and the tired daughters, there was one daughter that was particularly unhappy. She was messing with the bow that was tied at the front of her dress. The theme of the ball was black and white to match the contemporary art that littered the ballroom with statues and paintings. the daughter didn't pay any mind, and all that mattered to her mother was that she would stop messing with her dress. Her mother watched as her daughter was in torment and rolled her eyes.

“If you stop messing with it, it will look less and less uneven, Charlotte.” Her mother hissed, swatting at her hands so she stopped. Charlotte wanted to glare at her mother, but she knew that would only install an argument between them that might ruin the night. She kept to herself, trying her best to breathe through the knowing expectations. There were people there that she knew she did not fit in with, not in financials, but in personality. She didn’t enjoy the art displayed because it was all pretty, and at the very most it was commenting on how the naked go about things. None of it was honest, only shy. Admittedly, she could not hold a paintbrush correctly let alone try to make a piece of art. Still, she would figure that art should be saying something about the world around them, and it should be from men with struggles and morals stem from experience and not passed down from their parents.

“Mama, if you wanted to see real art I would take you to a flea market.” She commented, knowing that her mother would gasp and scold her. She enjoyed the conversation, though, she enjoyed the fact that they argued because it felt as though they were talking of something more important than marriage and fortune. It felt as though they were arguing about opinions, and not about things that a lady should talk about.

“Charlott! I will not go to a flea market, amongst the filth of the commonwealth.” She hissed under her breath, shooting glances at everyone in earshot. Charlotte smirked, proud of herself. She spotted the queen in the distance, seeing as the prince who stood next to her was talking lowly to her. The entire population of the ball was glancing at them, wondering if the prince had taken interest in any of the fine young ladies who might interest him. but of course, like a child, he was stuck to his mother. Charlotte looked away as if to set her apart from the rest of the ladies.

“You must realize that the commonwealth has much more to paint about, all the people here do is have tea and revel in the apparent scandals that truly have no meaning. Should I fetch your lemonade mama?” she asked before her mother could respond with any sort of rebuttal, she agreed with pursed lips. She walked slowly over to where the lemonade was because she didn’t want to be shoved in the face of some unassuming man who had no idea who she was. Of course, her mama didn’t see any sort of reason that Charlotte wouldn’t dazzle them, because of how beautiful she was. It wasn’t her face or delicacy that repulsed the men was her mind and mouth.

She turned around with two cups of lemonade, and then almost dropped them. right behind her was a man of such age, too close for comfort. She leaned away, raising her eyebrow at him.

“Pardon.” She said awkwardly, then stepped out to pass him, but then he stepped in front of her again. She turned back to the table to set the lemonade down, then turned back to him with hands folded in front of her. “Can I help you Mr. Fush? Or are you attempting to romance me in entrapment at the lemonade table?” she said loudly, calling attention to the situation. She had not intended to call the attention of royalty, but when the prince looked over at the scuffle, he saw her glaring up at the old Mr. Fush.

He stood up from whispering to his mother, to watch what was going to happen. All the people who stepped in front of him he could see over, and so it was a clear sight of the lemonade table. Mr. Fush made a remark that was supposed to be flattering, he could tell by the way he looked down at her. She did not find it flattering and was not working, because she stepped closer in a vicious manner.

“you sir are a very vile creature, and one with no self-awareness, if you come near me or my mama in hopes of a dance then I will be sure to let the population know of your misgivings with Madame Rouge,” she said, raising her eyebrows. The prince tried his best not to laugh, which meant that he had to make a strange face whilst he held it in. He had to look away to avoid such an outburst. Madame Rouge was a hamlet very famous downtown, and a long time ago it was rumored that Mr. Fush had visited that part of town whilst his wife was getting a new dress.

He looked back at the situation to see that the woman was looking in his direction, smiling slightly with triumph. She made the prince laugh, what fun. She turned back to Mr. Fush and stepped away from him, and that time he let her. the prince as she walked away with the two lemonades, not looking back at him. Finally, he had found a woman that had interested him, and he supposed that his mother couldn’t object because he had at least chosen someone to dance with. He leaned over to the Butler.

“Who is that woman there, handing the lemonade to her mama, in the dress with a bow in the front?” he asked, and as he described her realized how beautiful she was. She had dark hair and fair skin, with a sort of wide almond eye that you would find in the eastern part of the world. She was beautiful, in every way that a queen should be. He admitted that it was sudden, with the death of his older brother and the inheritance of the crown fell to him, and he had expected not to find a queen in time for the crown to be passed down. But then, he had some hope.

“Oh, your highness, you surely are not taking interest in. She is the most vicious on her downside, I haven’t ever heard about her on her best behavior because no one can get past her sourness.” The Butler informed, freely. The prince gave the Butler a warning through his stare, and the Butler corrected himself.

“What is her name?” he asked, pointedly, making the Butler shift on his very tired feet.

“Her name is Charlotte Blubury, Your Highness.” The Butler replied, looking over at her. It seemed to the prince that her mother shared her beauty, and he looked at her mother as if it was Charlotte in the future, remaining in her youthful beauty.

The prince made his way over, excusing himself from his mother and heading over to where the lady and her daughter were. They were engrossed in their own conversation, and as he got closer to her, he realized that their conversation was not a pleasant one. Her mother was scolding her for what she had done to Mr. Fush, instead of congratulating her. He felt the opposite, though it was not his place to intervene. Suddenly, her mother noticed that he was approaching, and pinched Charlotte's side as to bring her to attention. She turned around, eyes widening more.

“Your Highness!” they both exclaimed at the same time, curtsying right away. Charlotte was suddenly tense as if she was afraid of him. They stood and looked at him expectantly.

“May I have this next dance?” he asked, putting on the charm. She smiled more out of nervousness than flattery. She took his hand, then flashed her mother a look that could only be read as ‘help me,’ before the unassuming Prince away whisked her. Charlotte almost felt pity for him, because he did not know what her wit was capable of.

“I assure you, my Prince, that I am not one to be danced with. You should take note that Mr. Fush was the only one stupid and brave enough to come up to me, and even then, he had to corner me,” she warned him, taking her hand placements gently. He smiled at her, a boyish thing that she had recognized but never was directed towards her. but at that time, it was directed towards her, and she felt strongly about it. All that time she had spent criticizing and hating because she had watched every other girl who had been glad to receive every half-wit who couldn’t be any more productive with his courtship outside of flowers at her doorstep. She wished for someone to sweep her off of her feet, and she found it not herself to blame as she did not accept anything short of interest in herself, and not in her beauty and her womb or her fortune. She felt her heart beat in her chest, loudly.

“Well then, we will have to see if I am worth resisting.” He murmured, then leading her into a quick-step waltz. She found it difficult to keep up and muttered her steps under her breath. He watched her, grinning again. “Do you have practice with this?” he asked, almost dragging her. He caught his mother’s disapproving gaze from across the room but did not let her dampen the dance that he was quite enjoying. He looked back at the woman in his arms.

“Well, this is my second season, and it already started out awful,” she replied, rolling her eyes. He grinned down at her, finding her answer funny.

“I meant dancing,” he said, sheepishly. She colored, stuttering over her words. She did not expect him to be so forward, but she suddenly found it funny.

She burst with a giggle, that she tried to cover but was very unsuccessful. “Shhh, what will our mothers think?” he whispered, giggling with her. She fanned herself.

“you act like we were caught alone together,” She remarked, making him laugh more. It was sort of a mess, which left everyone staring, but for one moment, it didn’t matter to either of them what the other people thought. For Prince Phillip, he didn’t mind the looks he got from his mother or from the rest of the royal guard. And for Charlotte, she didn’t care about her mother’s opinion, about the opinion of the other suitors, and the opinion of the other girls who were watching her with the prince. Phillip watched as she laughed, loving how the wrinkles at the corner of her mouth creased with the sheer joy she held.

At the end of the dance, he asked for another, and she was ready to agree but her mother had pulled her aside, with eyes so wide that she was afraid that they would burst. “Mother I want another dance with him,” she begged, being hauled off of the dance floor with a sort of curt goodbye over her shoulder. She pulled, trying to join him again but her mother was stronger.

“Yes well, let me tell you something. If you waste all of your dances on one man then people might think that you are courting when you and I both know that you cannot keep a courtship with the Prince, but, because you danced with him and because you had him laughing like an idiot on the dance floor, all of the other suitors have definitely forgotten your misgivings. You will have men begging to dance with you.” She explained with a girlish squeal. Charlotte felt hurt but appreciated that her mother was keeping her down-to-earth enough to be honest with her. She swallowed her insecurities and nodded along. “Anyway, Lord Arthington has awaited you from the flank.” She explained, leading her away.

Phillipe watched as she was dragged away, with a sorrowful look on her face. It was funny to see her that way, he wouldn’t take her to be the type to be solemn. He made his way back to his mother, thoughts only consisting of her. his mother leaned to him, a scowl taking over her once beautiful face.

“What, and who was that?” she hissed, glaring at him icily. He didn’t let that affect him, he just looked at her coolly.

“I was dancing with a girl.” He said simply. She laughed at him as if he was a stupid child. He hated the way that she acted as if he didn’t know what he was doing or saying, as if he was so naive to see the clear truth, when in actuality he knew of the truth, but he didn’t care about the consequences.

“You were dancing with Charlotte Blubury. The horrid creature from all sides of the continent. You shall not be seen with her again.” she said, waving him off. He clenched his jaw, to keep himself composed. He looked around for her before responding, as if looking at her would calm him down.

“I know who I was dancing with Mother, but I know of my rank and of hers, and I know of everything that could go wrong with this. why don’t you trust me? I am to be left with brothers and father kingdom, how could I be King if you do not trust me?” he asked, sighing. He didn’t enjoy bringing up his older brother and his late father, but it was the only way he could get her to see his side of things. She went silent for a while, pursing her lips and looking off into the distance.

“I only want the best for you, you know that,” she said, and then left him alone. 

June 09, 2024 20:22

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.