|A Princess for Christmas The Novel
Author: Aslan515 PM
After her sister and brother-in-law's tragic death, Jules Daley, guardian to her young niece and nephew is invited to a royal European castle for Christmas by her late brother-in-law's father, the Duke of Castlebury. Feeling out of place as a commoner, Jules is determined to give her family a merry Christmas and surprises herself by falling for Castlebury's handsome Prince Ashton.Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Family - Jules D. & Ashton H. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 5,281 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 15 - Updated: 03-09-13 - Published: 12-03-12 - id: 8763683
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sorry it took so long to update. I'm on the road to recovery from my horseback riding accident, but it's a slow process. Thank you for all the lovely reviews. I hope you all will continue to stick with me and this story! I love working on this story! I hope you all are enjoying it as much as I am! In this chapter we get to know Maddie and Milo a bit better and see Jules trying to parent the best way she knows how. If you have time please leave a comment!
Jules drove home from the antique shop for the last time, her freaky clock packed back away in the box along with all her sister's postcards. She tried her best not to let her emotions get the best of her, but it wasn't working. A thousand thoughts raced through her head. What was she going to do now? She could barely afford to keep the nanny on as it was. Then there were the car repairs, grocery bills, electric, water, and of course her biggest fear. What about Christmas? This Christmas was going to be hard enough without having to explain to Maddie and Milo why she couldn't afford to buy them gifts. Jules forced herself to take deep breathes as she entered her snow covered neighborhood. The snow had stopped and the sun was starting to melt away the top layer into a wet mush.
The street was lined with medium sized starter homes. Jules had grown up in this neighborhood with her mother and sister. She'd experienced so much down this little street. Growing up she had loved their home, but now the house just seemed to bring back painful memories. When Jules was 8 and Joanna 15 their mother, a single mom who worked as a museum tour guide had taken ill. From that moment on, Jules along with Joanna, who had cared for both her and their mother, watched her mother's health decline. The process was a slow one, but Jules' feeling of helplessness had overwhelmed her young soul. In fact, it was similar to the emotion she was experiencing right then. Jules took another deep breath as she pulled swiftly into the driveway of her childhood home. She was so consumed in trying to decide how she would explain the situation to her nanny that she didn't notice the garbage cans still in the driveway until she ran into it. Jules cringed at the heaps of smoke rising from under the hood of her car. Frustrated and upset Jules jumped out of her car before storming into the house.
"Milo!" she yelled as she entered the front door, "You left the garbage cans in the driveway again." She fumbled with the door before slamming her keys on the dresser by the door. Jules dumped her purse in the foyer before heading into the living room. Just as she was taking off her scarf Jules was shocked to see the nanny, Mrs. Kelly, rushing into the room with an appalled look on her face.
"I can't take this anymore!" Mrs. Kelly shrieked throwing her hands in the air. The woman's deep Russian accent always became more prominent when she was under stress. A moment later Maddie came running in with Milo following.
"He's a murderer!" Maddie yelled her dirty blonde curls bouncing as she held up a decapitated doll for her aunt to see. Jules looked to Milo just as he addressed his little sister. His voice dripped with attitude.
"You asked for it." He said indifferently. Jules looked back to Mrs. Kelly praying for an adult voice of reason to sort this whole mess out. After the day she'd had, this was the last thing Jules needed.
"Okay, what happened?" Jules asked Mrs. Kelly in a rush.
"Aunt Jules, Milo killed Dolly Dinkle!" Maddie exclaimed still holding up the ruined doll's body.
"And he snuck out again!" Mrs. Kelly yelled in a rush gesturing at Milo. Milo looked to his aunt his expression had guilt written all over his face. Jules felt her anger growing.
"You snuck out?" Jules glared at her nephew.
"Wait till you see the laundry room!" Mrs. Kelly warned upsettingly. Jules felt so overwhelmed. She really didn't want to deal with all this at the moment.
"Mrs. Kelly, I am so sorry," Jules said trying to calm the hysterical nanny down. But Mrs. Kelly would have none of it.
"Ha!" The older woman scoffed. She turned away from Jules and reached for her purse on the nearby chair. That was when Jules realized Mrs. Kelly's back was completely soaked and covered in soap suds. She gasped her eyes growing large just as Mrs. Kelly tried to pick up her purse. The purse wouldn't budge. The distraught nanny started jerking at the purse, but it was firmly attached to the chair. Jules looked over and saw Milo grinning.
"Milo?" Jules said in a shocked voice, "did you glue her purse?" The boy just laughed and Maddie giggled. Jules felt herself starting to get a headache. Can this day get any worse? She wondered distressed. Finally after a few hard yanks the chair flipped and Mrs. Kelly was able to extract her purse from the chair, but as she turned around to face Jules her face was red and enraged. The nanny took a hard look at her purse before glaring at Jules.
"That's it! I quit!" The woman hollered. Jules panicked. This could not be happening.
"No, no, no! Mrs. Kelly you can't quit!" Jules cried in desperation. She rushed forward toward the woman practically begging. "Please! I need you!"
"What you need is a SWAT team!" The nanny bellowed before storming past Jules. "Oh!" She cried taking another look at her purse.
"Wait, wait!" Jules called deploringly after the nanny. She had only followed the woman a few steps when Mrs. Kelly suddenly spun around.
"And one more thing," she said pointing a finger in Jules' face, "your check bounced. Again!" And with that the nanny stormed through the foyer and out the door slamming it firmly behind her. Jules knew there was nothing she could say to bring the woman back. Especially considering she'd just lost her only source of income. Jules's head was now pounding. This can't be happening, she moaned to herself.
Slowly Jules turned around to face her niece and nephew. Milo stood still, smirking. When he saw his aunt's face he showed only a slight face of guilt at the scene that had just played out before him. Maddie meanwhile, still had her decapitated doll clutched to her chest; while the little girl's mouth was wide open in surprise. Both the kids looked up at the agitated face of their aunt.
"Dining room. Now." Jules commanded.
Milo and Maddie sat across from their aunt at the round dining room table. The kitchen was dark, the yellow walls seemed to foreshadow the dulled emotions swirling in Jules' heart. She glared at her nephew as she picked up the stolen video game lying on the table. "Kasawanski's Ninja Massacure" read in sharp letters before her and Jules felt her blood begin to boil. She flipped the game over and read in a calm icy voice:
"Intensive violence, blood, gore," suddenly Jules' calm left when she read the next line. She looked at Milo angrily, "Oh! Suggestive themes!" Milo shrugged and nodded to his aunt seeming uninterested in her anger. "Milo what were you thinking!?" Milo shrugged again. "Milo this isn't like borrowing someone else's movie, you stole this! People go to jail for stealing!" Milo sighed annoyed.
"I was gonna give it back," he argued.
"Milo, that's not how this works. Kids your age go to juvenile hall for shop-lifting!" She shouted across the table in a frustrated voice.
"Chill out, Aunt Jules it's just one game." Milo said his voice dripping with attitude.
"It's not just one game Milo! It's one thing after another with you. Fights at school, sneaking out, picking on your sister constantly, now this!" Jules spoke her mind filling with desperation and frustration at her young nephew. She threw the video game down on the table. "Milo, you are grounded for two weeks," she said sharply. Milo's head suddenly shot up.
"What?! No I'm not!" He replied testily.
"Yes, you are." Jules responded bitterly. "And don't talk back to me." Milo sat forward in the chair his eyebrows frowning intensely.
"But it's Christmas vacation!" He countered in a begging voice.
"You should have thought of that before you snuck out and shoplifted. Grounded means no going out, no friends, oh and definitely no TV…" Jules listed heatedly before Milo cut her off.
"What!?" Milo shouted throwing his chair back suddenly, "that is bull—" he began.
"Don't even say it Milo Shawn Huntington!" Jules interrupted angrily, "not only that, but tonight you are going to write a letter to Bob apologizing for what you did. Then you and I are taking it over first thing tomorrow."
"You've got to be kidding me!" Milo said standing up quickly. "PsychoBob is like the biggest idiot on the planet. He'll total—"
"Milo, knock it off!" Jules intermitted again. Milo stood across the table glaring at his aunt breathing hard. Jules could see his outrage at her, but she was not going to change her mind. After a moment of silent tension, Maddie, who had been silent since the family had gone into the dining room, spoke up. She smiled patronizingly in a way only seven year old can.
"You better be careful, Milo" Maddie scolded her brother, "or Santa won't bring you any presents for Christmas." Maddie looked in earnest at her brother.
"Who cares!" Milo exclaimed in exasperation, "everyone knows there's no Santa Claus!" Jules watched in shock as Maddie's face fell as she let out a gasp. Tears quickly filled the little girl's eyes as she turned away from her brother.
"Milo!" Jules shouted, "how could you say that!?" Milo looked from his aunt back to his little sister. Jules saw Milo's anger change into spiteful guilt, but he didn't take his words back. He looked back to his aunt, when he spoke his voice was low and full of bitterness.
"This is the lamest Christmas ever," he yelled before storming out of the kitchen quickly.
"Milo!" Jules called rising to follow him, "Milo wait!" She called again, but as she stood in the doorway she realized Maddie had begun to cry. Jules looked down the empty hall as she heard Milo's bedroom door slam shut. Jules sighed before turning back to Maddie. She sat down next to the crying child.
"Maddie, come here sweetie." Jules spoke comfortingly to the little girl. She pulled Maddie into her lap and wrapped her arms around the little girl. Maddie's curls shook as she cried. "Don't cry Maddie, please."
"Milo said there wasn't a Santa," Maddie sniffed sadly to her aunt.
"Honey, he didn't mean it. Milo's just mad at me, I'm sorry." Jules spoke softly watching Maddie's tear-filled blue eyes gaze up at her intently. "Just because it's only the three of us now doesn't mean there is no Santa Claus." Jules felt her throat grow tight. She swallowed down the tears she felt rising. Her voice was thick when she spoke again. "You just have to believe that's all."
"I believe," Maddie said in a strong quiet voice. Jules smiled at the little girl's faith. She then kissed Maddie lightly on the head.
"Me too sweetie," Jules replied, "me too."
Jules held Maddie for a long time. She knew her young niece needed to know she was loved, but soon Jules' mind started to wander. She slowly began remembering all that had happened that day. She felt the weight of her position weighting down on her and realized very quickly she needed to get up and do something to distract her.
"Maddie, I'm going to make some dinner now okay?" Maddie nodded before sliding out of her aunt's lap and leaving the kitchen. Jules stood and rummaged through the pantry. She decided on a simple macaroni and cheese dish. After she finished setting the table she called Maddie and Milo. Maddie came swiftly, but Milo didn't come. Jules knew she had to talk to him. She knew he was mad at her, but she was so frustrated. She just didn't know how to get through to him. The first time he had come home after getting in a fight she had gone ballistic. Jules wished she knew what Milo needed. Milo's guidance counselor had told her he was acting out of grief, she said it would pass. But it had been a year now and things seemed to be getting worse than ever.
"Should I get Milo Aunt Jules?" Maddie asked breaking into her aunt's heavy thoughts.
"No, why don't you pray and I'll go talk to Milo, 'kay?" Maddie nodded bowing her head. She held Jules' hand while she prayed thanking God for the food and praying for a friend at school who was sick. She then prayed for Jules' and Milo. "Amen," Jules echoed when Maddie finished. "Go ahead and start eating. I'll be right back." Jules patted Maddie on the back as the little girl picked up her fork and started eating. Jules walked out of the dining room and slowly down the hall. When she stared at the sign on his door that read "DO NOT ENTER TRESSPASSERS WILL BE FLOGGED" Jules took a deep breath, Dear God, please help me to say the right things. Please make Milo let me help him. She prayed silently before knocking on his door. There was no answer so Jules turned the nob and pushed the door open. Milo lay on his back starring a the ceiling.
"Milo?" Jules called softly entering the room. Milo looked at her, his expression sad. Jules took a step forward looking around the room. Hockey posters hung in all directions. Milo and Charles loved hockey. Julianna had used to send Jules pictures of the boys at different rinks when they were overseas. Now the sight of them made Jules' throat tighten. She slowly moved toward the bed. Milo kept his gaze locked on the ceiling. As Jules sat down on the edge of his bed she noticed a piece of paper lying beside him. Jules inspected the note closer, the top read, Dear Mr. Bob, I'm sorry for stealing the video game from your store... Jules sighed again, Milo was a good kid. Jules knew he was; which was why it was so hard for her to understand why he was continually acting out recently. "Milo… Thank you for writing this… I know you're really mad at me, but…" Jules spoke softly, "crushing your little sister's dreams is a terrible way to start Christmas." Milo finally returned Jules' gaze.
"Sorry." Milo answered.
"So," Jules continued, "I was thinking we could all go get a tree tomorrow. You know, to really start off Christmas right? You want to come?" Jules asked hopefully. Milo sighed, his eyes sad. He looked back and forth between Jules and the ceiling. Finally his gaze returned to her.
"I just wish Christmas was over," Milo whispered. Jules looked at him confused. "All it makes me think about," he said slowly, "is… losing Mom and Dad." Jules' heart broke at his words. Her face filled with sorrow and compassion. Milo rolled on his side away from her and put a headphone in his ear. Jules reached for her nephew. She touched his shoulder lightly.
"Milo…" she began when suddenly the doorbell rang. Jules hesitated, she couldn't leave him like this… but truthfully what could she say? Slowly Jules rose and walked towards the bedroom door. She paused again in the doorway, looking at her hurting nephew with sad eyes. She sighed before heading to the front door.