The Lady in Waiting

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
I was only the lady in waiting. The lady in waiting to a beautiful, smart, and funny princess. How could I steal the heart of a prince?

Submitted: January 14, 2016

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Submitted: January 14, 2016

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“Ah, dearest maid,” Charisma sighed hotly,

 

fanning her flushed visage with a fan colored vibrantly,

“If it gets any hotter I’m afraid you’ll be

delivering a puddle to his majesty.”

 

Avery, princess Charisma’s lady in waiting pulled out a fan of her own, aiding the princess in fanning her face.

 

“You mustn’t dwell on it,” Avery mentioned,

The mood was nearly instantly lightened.

“Think cooling thoughts. Peradventureit will aid you.”

Scarcely, though, a hot, but stiff breeze blew.

 

Charisma groaned dramatically, but sat up straighter any way.

 

“We are only an hour hence now,” she said, Looking at where the distant mountains led.

“How large it all is!” she said with a shout,

“The prince is a conqueror, without a doubt.”

 

“It’s at least four times the size of our kingdom,”

Avery said, with actual wisdom.

“I’ve read somewhere that this kingdom’s been

Lost without the aid of a queen.”

 

Avery didn’t fear Charisma becoming cross with her. Not this time, at least.Charisma had been all smiles, despite the raging heat lately, and it was because the girl had a purpose. A ‘fail proof’ plan, she said.

 

“When Prince Cassius falls for me,”

Charisma said, with unhidden glee.

“All of this will be mine.

My dense little nephew is next in line.

 

He can have my fusty kingdom

And all the people, and land, and scum.”

She stared out at the wide open land,

Which would be hers, if so went her plan.


“I hear he is quite bewitching,” Avery versed,

“What if you fall for him first?”

 

Charisma laughed, “Poor, Avery.

“Your mind thinks quite unhealthily.

So hopelessly do you believe in true love.

Which you never fail to ever speak of.

One day you will find that you have been

Quite foolish, and lacking in discipline.

 

Only mutual understanding and personal gain,

Exist in this world. True love is all in vain

I tell you this because your ideals are pitiful

It’s best to marry for gain that is mutual."

 

Avery smiled at Charisma, as she always did… as she was expected to. She was no princess, and she knew little of royal affairs. And while she was a virgin of the heart, she knew that one day, she would not be proven wrong. She would see to it that true love found her, and that when it did, she held on to it until the day she died.

 

 

 

The pastures and countryside homes did not bring justice to the splendid prodigiousness of the palace. Charisma was failing exceedingly in trying to contain her excitement when their carriage stopped at the large and epicurean stone stairs. One could almost see her imagining herself living on these grand grounds already.

 

“Just make me behold desirable,

I must appear acquirable.”

Charisma hissed, nothing but business now,

Her eyes held the secret of a hunter on the prow.

 

She climbed out the coach, slowly and carefully. As was right and polite in those days, Prince Cassius and his younger brother awaited their guests outside, along with 40 other servants, maids, and helpers.

 

“Welcome!” Prince Cassius called to them,

His clothes shined brightly in the sun, like a gem.

Though his eyes were only trained on the quaint

Charisma, who looked as if she may faint.

 

But she held it together well. Only Avery knew how nervous she was, despite her outwardly confident appearance. She smiled at the prince as she bat her long eyelashes, and gazed about her as if she’d never had a alternate motive in her life.

 

“I’m honored to be here,” she said, with a curtsey.

She did it in a way that further showed her beauty.

Charisma, as her name advocates,

Was charming, which she never failed to indicate

 

But if Charisma was correct about love, than she was doing all that needed to be done to get married. Though marriage without love was little less than being chained to a prisoner.

 

“We hope you enjoy your stay,” lent a voice,

And it appeared that the younger prince spoke that way by choice.

His older brother’s loud voice was different and strange.

A softer voice was a welcome change.

 

It wasn’t until he’d spoken that both Charisma and Avery noticed the younger Prince welcome them to his home.


“Why, thank you Prince William, I hope as well.”

Charisma said, her voice ringing like a bell.

“Avery and I are delighted to be here,

We’ve come a long way across the hemisphere.”

 

Charisma gave the younger man at least a nod of her head out of respect, but her eyes were focused on the young prince’s older brother, as was always the case. But young Avery had to make a deliberate, and very conscious effort to close her mouth and turn her eyes away from the young man.

Both Prince Cassius and his younger brother William were both aesthetic and fair to look at, but they had very different hearts.

Like his father, Prince Cassius believed in ruling with iron fists. He believed fear was the best way to control his subjects, and he made every effort to instill it. With high taxes, he kept his land under his thumb, and with the full pockets of his advisors, he had the full support of the counsel.

But like his mother, Prince William often, and quite vocally, tried to dissuade those harsh ideas and tactics. William believed that giving the people free will and room to make their own decisions would grant the family willing loyalty, which was more important than forced loyalty.

Though the brothers were at odds about their ruling styles, Prince Cassius made the final decisions. As the oldest, Prince Cassius was first in line for the throne, and as a soon to be king, his younger brother’s opinions would soon be irrelevant.

Avery could not deny that she was attracted to the younger, gentler, brother.

 

 

 

That night, Charisma spent hours getting ready for dinner. Every strand of her hair needed to be pampered individually. Every crease in her dress needed to be ironed out. Every eyelash needed to be coated in even distributions of mascara.

Avery was permitted the highest honor of being able to dine with the princess and princes, for Charisma felt as if her nerves would shatter and break at any moment. Having her lady in waiting at her side put her at east. At least, at more ease.

Constantly throughout the meal, the princess would lean over to question Avery about herself.

 

“Is my hair flat?” she would ask, and if it were,

Avery would fix it accordingly, in a blur.

“Did I laugh too loud?” she would ask,

And Avery would answer this other task.

 

The entirety of dinner flew by with princess Charisma giggling, and laughing in a way that could only be described as obvious. But neither prince seemed to mind, and Avery found herself wondering whether she was as dimwitted when it came to men as Charisma suggested.

 

“Now, my honored guests,” Prince Cassius said,

“We spoke of me, but not you one shred.

I am anxious to know, what your kingdom is like.

Is it different than mine, or are they very alike?

 

Charisma rarely fell speechless, and Avery supposed it was all the pressure she put upon herself of trying to win the prince over. Avery gave the princess a subtle elbow in her side, hoping to get the girl speaking.

 

“Oh, our small kingdom.” Charisma said frightful,

Trying to hide her delayed speech in a giggle,

“Why, there’s positively nothing charming about it.

The people so small and feeble, and easy to outwit.

 

The people think so bijou and introverted.

They are positively boring, I get so frustrated.”

Charisma sighed, as if life were so hard,

It was clear to Avery, she was playing the damsel card.

 

The eldest prince nodded his head with a smile, as if all that Charisma spoke made perfect sense. The younger prince hung on Charisma’s every word, but he did not appear to be necessarily listening to her. He rested his chin on his hand, most likely more in his head than actually present at the table.

But Avery felt a passion to her people, and felt unable to allow her home to be so undermined, so wrongly. As a guest to the table, she had right to speak up without fear of insult or being out of place.

 

“It is quite small,” she began, her voice constantly

Just above a whisper, “But in charms, it has many.

The people are very giving, though they tend to keep private,

They make up for it with their hospitable nature, and that deserves merit.”

 

Young prince William’s eyes flickered to Avery’s before they turned back to Charisma. Avery could scarcely believe it. Charisma was beautiful, and witty, and pleasant... usually. While Avery was only hired help. Though she’d joined the princess for many meals, she’d never gained the attention of anyone, much less a male.

 

“This kingdom, big as it is, does lack

Much of that charm you speak of.” Prince Cassius spat,

“The people here cower under my gaze,

but are not very interesting, in any of their ways.”

 

Charisma sighed at prince Cassius’s strong voice and unwavering conviction in himself, but Avery felt herself shy away from him when he spoke. His voice was very harsh, and demanding. As if he left no room for judgement, nor opportunity to second think him or his decisions.


“Anyone can criticize their very own land,”

Prince William spoke up, waving his free hand,

“But I think it’s quite admirable when one can find

The beauty in their own imperfect world. It shows an open mind.

 

It makes a person happier, I think, if we only could

Look past our imperfections and see only the good.”

 

Prince Cassius shook his head as he grabbed a slice of bread set before him. He was forever eating, Avery noted, noticing that he’d yet to stop, even to speak.

 

“You think too small, poor little brother,”

prince Cassius said, as he reached for the butter.

He clapped his brother on his back,

Then hit him on his head, with a muted smack.

 

“Why try to imagine all the good,

When a cracked whip can get you all that you should?”

 

“Oh, quite!” Charisma said, jumping up

Then she, herself, reached for the syrup.

“I fully believe in bettering one’s things.

From one’s clothes to one’s kingdom, to one’s queens and it’s kings.

 

And one betters their things until it’s so good,

That it can't improve, even if it should.”

 

“Thank you!” prince Cassius said, “I agree.

With my little brother besides me, one can easily see

How old fairytale speech can always get.

But he won’t give it up, even in the face of a threat.”

 

Prince William turned to his brother with an embarrassed look only his brother could know him well enough to understand.

 

“No, I fully understand,” Charisma laughed,

“Just earlier today, Avery proved she's daft.

She went into a patter about true love.

How hopeless she sounded, about it, thereof!”

 

“Hopeless, indeed.” prince Cassius said, laughing and looking to his younger brother.

Avery could not judge the young prince’s facial demeanor, for she kept her head down for the rest of the meal, neither speaking, nor looking about.


 

After their meal, prince Cassius offered to escort Charisma on a tour of the gardens, an offer she’d have to have been dead to refuse.

Out of fear of seeming contemptuous, prince William had offered to escort Avery as well. But she heartily declined his offer. Though she wanted it more than anything else, she knew Charisma would dislike having private time with the older prince lessened. So Avery had to decline.

The prince insisted though on leading Avery to her room, stating that their castle was quite easy to get lost in. Having no excuses to give, Avery allowed it.

But no more than a few moments into their walk did Avery realized that the young prince’s insistence only stemmed from his expected fascination of the princess.

“Your princess is most beautiful.” he said, looking out windows as they passed, “She speaks well, too.”

Avery briefly wondered if he’d had those same thoughts as princess Charisma and prince Cassius spoke of them at dinner. Nevertheless, Avery would never put in false or bad words of her princess. Instead, she smiled.

“Yes,” Avery spoke, “princess Charisma is very kind to me, and she is certainly a princess worthy of praise.”

“For someone from a smaller kingdom, she certainly dresses ostentatious and aureate.”

“The princess could find any and every excuse to put on a preeminent gown.”

“Is she quite fond of her people? I recall she described them as ‘boring’, but surely as a princess she must love them deeply, yes?”

It was no secret in their kingdom that whenever the people gained any beneficial advantage in their lives, it was because Avery all but begged the princess to consider the idea. In honest truth, Charisma would trade all the people in her land if it meant a one of a kind gown to wear.

“I think all people have a love of people,” Avery said, alternately, “No matter how deep down and hidden that love is.”

“Someone as beautiful as she must love art and music as well?” prince William questioned.

No art, unless it were inspired of her, made Charisma turn even her eyes towards it. And while Charisma could play the classic tunes on a violin, as was required of the nobility of her rank, she could not sing well if a sword were pressed to her neck. Few knew that though, as whenever she were asked to sing, which was quite often, she only mouthed the words Avery sung out. With a voice that was said to enchant people, and send animals to do her bidding, Avery only sung when instructed by the princess.

“Her violin skills far surpass my own.” Avery said, intentionally leaving out details of Charisma’s faults.

“Is she courting?” prince William asked. “Or been offered many proposals? Surely, she has… but is she considering any earnestly?”

He spoke in a manner that suggested it was the one thing he’d been seeking to know, but felt it too presumptuous to simply come right out and say it.

Avery hid her frown well, with a simple, “No.”

The prince might have smiled then, but Avery kept her eyes forward. She had no right to feel sorrowful or downcast, and no business to seek a hand, or even advice, from a prince. She reminded herself that she was hired help. She’d only eaten with the royal families because Charisma needed someone nearby to make sure she appeared her absolute finest in front of a possible suitor.

Avery was not special, and she needed to cease thinking of herself like she was. It could mean her job on the line.

 

 

 

Charisma returned from her walk with prince Cassius with the biggest smile Avery had ever seen.

“He is not a perfect gentleman,” Charisma said, as Avery brushed her hair out for her, “But he has land larger than even I believed.”

“Do you believe he feels for you?” Avery asked.

“Oh, I’m sure he does!” Charisma squealed, “He kissed me just as we turned to come back inside. He said the courts would appeal to a young princess like me. One from a small kingdom. Someone who knew how to control a castle, but not overshadow the king.”

“I meant romantically.” Avery explained, “Do you believe you might grow to love him?”

“Dearest Avery,” Charisma said, looking at her through the mirror, “Remember what I told you earlier this very day: true love does not exist. Self gain and mutual respect breeds prosperous kingdoms, not love.”

 

 

Avery pondered Charisma’s words through the entirety of the night. Charisma and prince Cassius were both very similar. They believed in controlling people with fear. They believed that work came before love. They believed in putting themselves before others. Perhaps they were right, and true love was only a story told to young children.

But, prince William was not a young child, and as far as she was aware, Avery fully believed that he would not doubt true love. She wondered what kind of mutual gain he would get, should he marry Charisma.

And would it make him happy?

 

 

Breakfast was served only an hour after the sun rise, and Avery had to wake early if she wanted to make sure the princess was her very best before then.

It took nearly the strength of an ox and plow to pull Charisma from her bed, and frigid cold water to awaken the girl fully. But Charisma smiled, as if grateful to her own genes, as she looked at herself in the mirror.

Avery had never doubted it, but this particular morning, even she had to admit that the princess was disorientingly beautiful.

Neither prince Cassius, nor prince William seemed to be capable of ignoring this either, as Charisma entered the dining hall.

“You look quite stunning this morning,” prince Cassius said, casually, as he drank from a mug in front of him.

“This is quite an old dress of mine,” Charisma said, waving off the compliment, something she’d never done before.

“I thought we might walk through the gardens again this morning,” prince Cassius said, his eyes never leaving the princess, “Since we had such fun yesterday.”

Prince William cleared his throat before speaking,

“Don't you have work to attend to this morning?”

Prince Cassius only laughed, “We're amongst friends here, brother. No need to try and make me look busy.”

Charisma raised an eyebrow, and prince Cassius went on to explain.

“I am eldest, see, and in a few months time, I shall be named king. My younger brother takes into account all of the kingdom’s affairs, though. Surely, someone of my stature and social abilities should not be weighted down with responsibilities such as signing peace treaties and solving peasant problems. When I am crowned king, my younger brother will continue on as he is, and I will continue on as I am, so there is really no need to get out of the habit.”

“Well surely you have something to do this morning.” prince William spoke, on the verge of pleading, which his brother didn’t fail to notice.

“Why this sudden interest?” prince Cassius asked, “You usually do not mind my leisure time.”

“True,” prince William spoke, “I get along fine doing both of our duties, but this morning I request a day off.”

“And for what reason?” prince Cassius asked, intrigued.

“I had actually hoped that I might escort the princess Charisma out this morning.”

Avery’s heart stalled as she looked at Charisma. Avery knew Charisma had no interest in the younger prince. Her sights were set solely on becoming the queen of a powerful kingdom.

Avery’s wish of Charisma denying prince William’s request gently was in vain, for the girl laughed so hard, and for such a long duration that she was holding her stomach when her laughter finally fell.

Prince Cassius was smiling into his cup as he drank from it, but Avery’s face mirrored the young prince’s as they looked at the princess in confusion.

“Forgive me,” she said, speaking to prince William, “but I could not contain myself. See, I came to this kingdom hoping to find exotic dresses, breathtaking sights, and a suitable husband, if I came across one. By suitable, I mean a powerful, strong, leader. Not a boy with his head in the clouds. Anyone who does double his work only for the sake of peasants is cast out of my options of ‘suitable’ husbands.”

The prince excused himself immediately, the princess and his brother watching him go with humor in their eyes, but Avery watching him go with tears in hers. Not requested to join this meal, she had no right to speak up to defend the younger prince.

 

 

Only a month went by before princess Charisma and prince Cassius were wed. They would have wed sooner, but preparations for the wedding was quite extensive, so the couple had to deal with the intermission. When it happened, though, the wedding was beautiful, expensive, and full of only high ranking guests.

Avery, as was expected, waited out in the hallway as the wedding took place. She was not technically ‘invited’, though if she’d brought it up, she wouldn’t be surprised if Charisma did invite her. She was still expected to be near, should Charisma need her, though. But being as it was, Avery was not completely interested in seeing two people who did not love each other get married anyway.

Besides, she knew prince William would be roaming the halls pretty soon. He’d sat inside for a solid 2 hours, but Avery knew he would excuse himself for an hour or so to tend to the complaints of the people. He’d cancelled all his work for the day of his brothers marriage, but hadn’t been able to find it within himself to dismiss the duty of solving the problems of the people.

Just as she’d expected, Avery saw prince William sneak out of the hall the wedding took place in, and hurry down the hall. Avery didn’t bother to call or distract him. She admired his devotion to the people.

The two had grown much closer over the month as Charisma and prince Cassius spent more time together. No longer blinded by Charisma’s beauty, prince William was able to see how alike he and Avery were, despite their social differences. And unlike Charisma and Cassius’s relationship, Avery and William’s relationship was based on actual feelings, and not on personal gain or selfish goals.

After the wedding, a date was set for prince Cassius’s coronation and Avery had never seen Charisma so happy. So far, her plan had worked out perfectly. She was princess of a large and powerful kingdom, and soon, she’d be it’s queen. Her own kingdom she’d left to her somewhat unpracticed, but kind and generous nephew.

Prince William found this lull in special events, though, as the perfect time to confess his love, and propose to Avery. Which she gladly accepted.

 

Though Avery accepted, it was still traditionally required for William to ask his brothers permission.

To which, the answer he received was a loud and boisterous laugh.

 

“Avery is only a maid.” laughed prince Cassius,

“Her spiel of love sounds like the work of an actress.

She played upon your poor dim mind,

Or possibly, you’ve had a few cups of wine.”

 

As prince Cassius sat upon his throne and pondered what being king would feel like, he waved his brother off saying, “You are flights above her position and I decline your request.”

 

“What does position have to do with love?”

Prince William questioned,

“Who is concerned about where

She is from if we are destined?”

 

“It matters,” Cassius went on, “because we both

Have to be seen with her, and we took an oath.

An oath to look out for our people’s life.

How will it look if you have a maid for a wife?”

 

“Brother, forget her old position. You and your new

Bride will rule this land, what does it matter what I do?

Or who I choose to marry or who I don’t?

Marry a egotistical woman, I won’t.”

 

“It matters,“ Cassius said, rather serious for his character,

“Because a wife takes up your time. You are already a daydreamer.

That is time you can’t afford to give.

She can be your friend to keep around, but a wife is too excessive.

 

If you devote less time to this kingdom, how do you expect it to keep running?”

 

“But if we both work-”

 

“I’ve told you tenfold before, I do not do that variety of work.

Being first in line to the throne, that is just another perk.

You, do that kind of work. Now we have a sturdy system.

You're the dreamer and the kind one, and the one who runs the kingdom.

 

I’m the strong one and the leader,

I’ll be king, and I’m your brother.

But I am not going to let another

one of your fantasies be our hinder”

 

Please, Cassius” William said, approaching his brothers side, “I’ve never asked you for a single thing. Not when our parents died, and not until just now. I’ll never ask for a single thing more, I only ask that you grant me this one permission.”

“My mind is made,” Cassius said, flicking his hand away, which happened to be a great insult to someone of royal standards.

 

 

William sat with Avery in the garden that night. Here was the girl of his dreams, someone who believed in all the things he did, someone beautiful, not haughty enough to know it, and yet, she was stuck as only his fiance.

How long could she stand having him, but never actually being his?

It was cruelty on his brothers part, William knew, but he could not help but blame himself as well. If ever he’d needed to stand up to his brother, then had been the time. He should have fought harder, though Avery had assured him he’d done all he could.

But that was not good enough, and William stood, prepared to march back to his brother and fight until he got his way. He would not- could not- stand to lose Avery, especially since he’d already won her heart. She deserved better than that.

“Do not push too hard,” Avery told him, catching his hand, “The harder you push, the harder he’ll push back.”

William shook his head, his heart suddenly desperate to have this girl by his side invariably.

 

“I would threaten to leave my crown.” he said, coming to a decision,

“I would beg and plead him to banish me,” nearly overcome with passion.

“I would cry and scream, not caring for embarrassment, I swear.

If it meant changing his mind, where we lived, I would not care.

 

“You mustn’t talk like that,” Avery said, solemnly shaking her head,

“If you leave who will care for your people? Suffering would be widespread.

 

Not your brother, and not Charisma,

would ever sacrifice as much.

It’s a burden you’ve had to carry,

You are the better prince, nonesuch.

 

As you have for the entirety

of your precious life,

You will move on past your burdens,

You deserve a proper wife.”

 

“I’d hold a knife to my throat for you, Avery.”

he said, holding her face,

“My life without you would have me balefully

Alone with no loving embrace.

 

You are worth more to me than anything

I could give to the people.

I cannot lose you, the only one who loves me.

Without you, I would crumble.”

 

Avery could not help bursting into tears. Here, she’d found her soul mate. Someone who believed in true love just as hard and as fervent as she did, and yet, she was banned from ever being more than simply his loving friend.

Suddenly, there was a thunderous sound that rocked the entire earth and the sounds of screaming echoed out from the castle.

William held Avery until the shaking died down, and after making sure Avery was settled and safely hidden, should she need to be, he ran inside of the castle to investigate.

Avery stayed crouched, tucked deeply in a flowering bush, praying that William returned soon.

He did return, but it was much, much, later than Avery had wanted, and she covered her mouth when she saw him.

His spotless skin was muddy and bloodied from someone else. His once perfect hair was caked in what looked like soot, ash, and dirt. His prestigious clothes were torn and shredded.

Wordlessly, seemingly in shock, he sat down in the grass besides the bush Avery had been hiding in. Climbing out of it quickly, she began brushing the dirt from his hair, but said nothing.

“My brother is dead.” he spoke at last, saying nothing more.


 

The oppressed people of the kingdom had finally found their courage. Tired of their harsh, abusive, and cruel ruler, the people of the kingdom had stormed the castle, gotten passed the guards, and murdered their prince before he’d become king and left his cruel wife to rule over them.

William had arrived to the scene too late, disregarding his own safety. But he, himself, had never been in true danger. The pitiful mourning he’d had of his dead brother had sent the suddenly sullen people scurrying and dashing from the castle, with downcast and morose looks.

The coronation that had been set for prince Cassius did not change. The invited guests did not change, nor did the venue, the food, nor celebration. The only thing that changed was the prince, himself, being crowned.

It was a bittersweet day for Avery. With Cassius dead, she and William could marry. But selfish and mean as Cassius behaved, he had still been William’s brother- her future brother in law. And when she saw how horribly William grieved over his lost brother, it broke her heart.

Charisma had decided to return to her small kingdom. Her husband dead before becoming king, she did not have the status of queen and William ruled rightfully. She had not given up her dream to rule the land easily, though. For days after Cassius’s funeral, she tried her hand in seducing William, the kingdoms next ruler. But she was brutally rebuffed, and in shame, despair, and anger, she went back to the kingdom she no longer ruled over.

Hopefully, her younger nephew would care for her more fairly than she had cared for him.

Avery on the other hand, enjoyed the rest of her life with someone who hopelessly believed in love just as strongly as she did. Someone who put others first. Someone who cared about the people, and ruled with compassion, instead of fear.

She supposed true love existed after all.


© Copyright 2020 ForeverAutumn. All rights reserved.

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