Once upon a time, deep within the woods, there lived two princesses. One of them, Marie Heatherton, was a pretty eighteen-year-old girl, with long strawberry blonde hair that reached just past her lower back, and big brown eyes.
She wanted to experience a bit of independence before settling down with a prince from a nearby town, so her father decided to build her a mini castle about two or three miles away, deep within the safest part of the woods that surrounded their town. She promised to live there for no more than two months before returning back to her family’s castle.
She had everything a regular castle would have, as well as a few extra things she had always wanted: her own master bedroom with a big walk-in closet and an even bigger bathroom with a built-in sauna room.
However, there was one thing her father somehow forgot to mention. She wasn’t living completely alone in the woods. She had a neighbor. Let’s go back about 2 days in the past.
Juniper Weathersby was a beautiful princess who lived in the neighboring town a few miles away from Marie. The night of her nineteenth birthday, she waited until midnight to sneak out of her room and out of the castle for good. She wanted to run away from her family’s castle, having changed her mind about marrying the rich prince that her father had chosen for her without her knowing.
She gathered as many clothes and shoes as she could fit in her shoulder bag, as well as some toiletries, and tiptoed as quickly and as quietly as she could out of her room, down the hall, and down the large staircase out the castle front doors.
She raced deeper into the woods, still hopping with glee from her recent escape from her overbearing family. She stumbled upon a gorgeous two-story mini castle after about twenty minutes or so of walking around. What a lovely little castle, Juniper thought to herself.
At first, she was tempted to barge right on in and start living there, but she thought better of it and decided to keep walking and hope an empty cottage was nearby where she could live.
As luck would have it, she was right. An empty, slightly dilapidated cottage sat less than a mile away from the mini castle. After Juniper knocked several times on the door and circled the entire cottage twice, looking though each window thoroughly, she came to the conclusion that the cottage was abandoned and moved herself in right away.
She finally had her own space, far away from the snooping eyes of her mother and the stern gaze of her father.
Okay, now that you’ve met the two princesses, we should go back to present day. It was June 3rd, otherwise known as Marie’s birthday. Had Marie stayed at home in her family’s castle, there would’ve been a huge dinner party with hundreds of guests and all of Marie’s favorite foods laid out on long tables. This wouldn’t be the case for her this year. Since she now lived on her own, she decided to sleep in for once. However, this wasn’t meant to be.
She shot upright in her bed, having heard a loud noise from somewhere deep within the woods. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes, then quickly stretched her arms and legs before jumping out of bed. She walked over to the huge window that faced the woods, peering out into the thick trees and bushes.
Meanwhile, in the nearby cottage, Juniper was dancing wildly in the living room. Since she no longer had to abide to the strict “quiet time before 9am” rule that was put in place by her strict father, she decided to sing some of her favorite songs.
She sang at the top of her voice, but she wasn’t very good. The birds and other wildlife quickly fled from their perches near her cottage. She rocked her head swung her arms around herself, almost as if she were impersonating a beast of some kind. She didn’t really care whether or not anyone else could hear her. All that mattered in that moment was her moving body and her passionate singing.
Marie thought she’d heard someone shouting something, but she couldn’t quite hear what they were saying. She quickly got dressed, grabbed her bag with her castle keys, and made her way outside. As soon as she opened the front door, she almost dropped her bag when she covered her ears as best she could. The shouting was much louder outside than inside her mini castle.
Her mood instantly changed from mildly curious to annoyed. Her eyebrows furrowed, she kept her ears tightly plugged with the palms of her hands as she stomped her way towards the screeching sound. After several long minutes of stomping through the woods, she found herself directly in front of where the shouting was coming from, a small cream-colored cottage with lush moss on its roof.
Who could possibly find it okay to shout this early in the morning? Marie thought to herself as she slowly made her way to the cottage’s front door. I’ve got to politely tell them to stop. It’s way too early for this.
Right before Marie was about to knock on the door, it suddenly swung open. Juniper abruptly stopped singing when she noticed Marie standing right in front of her.
The two princesses stared at each other, their eyes as wide as possible, their mouths hanging open. After a full thirty seconds of staring, Marie broke the awkward silence first.
“Hello there,” Marie stated, not forgetting the strict rules of common courtesy taught to her by her mother years ago. “My name is Marie, and I would greatly appreciate it if you would stop shouting so loudly.”
Juniper took a few extra seconds to do a quick once-over of Marie before finally responding.
“Name’s Juniper, and I wasn’t shouting,” replied Juniper, rolling her eyes. “I was singing. You oughta know the difference by now. You look old enough.”
Marie sputtered, utterly shocked by Juniper’s blatant disrespect.
“How dare you speak to me like that!” Marie announced, her courteous manner slipping away from her mind. “I am a princess of royal blood. What gives you the right to speak to me in such a rude manner?”
“I don’t care whether or not your blood’s royal or stupid,” Juniper retorted. “You’re on my private property, and I don’t like that. I’m going to go gather some food for myself. If you’re still here by the time I get back, then you certainly won’t like what I do to you later. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have places to be.”
And with that, she slammed the front door shut as she brushed right past Marie, who stood there in absolute bewilderment. Juniper looked back only once, just to see what Marie would do next. Marie just stayed rooted at the spot, still reeling from the bold encounter. Juniper snickered to herself as she faced forward and strolled deep into the woods.
Marie had no idea what to do next. She didn’t think she had a neighbor, let alone one as rude as Juniper. She was almost too scared of what would happen if she lingered close to Juniper’s cottage any longer.
With that thought in mind, she scurried off in the opposite direction of where Juniper walked off. Even though Marie had no idea where she was headed, she kept running, hoping to somehow find her way back to her mini castle home.
After several minutes of running, Marie wound up at the edge of her hometown. Not wanting to turn back around and somehow get lost in the woods again, she quickly made her way back to her family’s castle. Once there, she sheepishly greeted the royal guards at the front gate, most of them quite shocked to see her again so soon. They opened the front doors for her, and she ran up the long staircase straight to her parents’ bedroom.
Her parents were both very surprised and relieved to see her again. Her mother squeezed her tight in a hug, while her father gently stroked her hair. Her father gently asked her why she had returned so soon, but Marie was still too shocked by the previous encounter she experienced to give a clear answer. Instead, she declared that she was now ready to marry the prince from the nearby town. Elated, her parents busied themselves quickly with the wedding preparations.
Where was Juniper when all this happened, you ask? She was still deep in the woods, picking berries and collecting nuts for her dinner later that evening. After a few more hours of this, she waltzed back to her cottage, not at all surprised to see that Marie was long gone. Juniper smiled to herself as she entered her cottage, slamming the door shut behind her.