Anna looked lovely. Simply lovely.
Her strawberry hair was put up in an intricate, twisted bun. Tiny pink flowers were intertwined within the radiant red strands. Ivory draped around her body; when she moved the glittering fabric swished between her legs. Her shoulders were uncovered, allowing an assortment of freckles and pale skin to be seen. A snowy veil curtained her heart-shaped face. Anna's brilliant blue eyes gleamed with excitement.
Elsa stood in the corner and observed politely while the handmaidens dressed her younger sister. It was a difficult task for them; the girl wouldn't stand still, and the servants were trying to conceal their frustration. Anna would never notice due to the fact that she was too giddy with enthusiasm. Today was her big day, the day that she'd talked about for months.
Elsa had dreaded this day for an eternity.
"The heels are a bit much, don't you think?" Anna commented, lifting up her skirt just enough to reveal the white slippers beneath.
"If you insist, Your Highness," a handmaiden replied.
"What do you think?" Anna questioned. The woman shook her head.
"It is not my place to say," she answered, and Anna bit her lip. She looked over her shoulder and locked eyes with her older sister. Elsa's heart melted under her gaze.
"What do you think, Elsa?" Anna asked, and Elsa stood up a little straighter, trying to look as regal as possible.
"I believe that it is your decision, not mine nor anyone else's," she responded. Anna rolled her eyes at her professionalism. "However, I do recall that last week you said that you preferred that pair over the other options."
Anna grinned. "I think you're right."
"Of course. I'm always right," Elsa responded with a stoic expression, and a second later the two girls burst into a fit of laughter. When she was around Anna, it was difficult for her to remain serious for long. That was one of the reasons why she loved her so much, one of the many reasons why she regretted ever shutting her out.
Elsa watched patiently as the handmaidens completed their preparations for Anna's special attire. The young girl twirled several times, earning gasps for everyone in the room, including Elsa. She'd always known that Anna was beautiful, but in her silk lace gown… she looked stunning. Elsa was blown away by her beauty.
The servants gathered their tailoring tools, exiting the room and leaving the two sisters alone for the first time in a week. Anna's schedule had been insanely busy―for once more so than the Queen's―and there hadn't been any time for them to speak to each other. Elsa felt herself growing anxious as she thought about what she was about to do. What if her sister didn't like it?
"How do I look?" Anna asked, stopping mid-twirl to face her older sibling. Elsa tightened the clasped hands hiding behind her back. She debated whether or not to tell the truth. But in the end, she smiled a warmer smile than an ice queen could possibly be capable of.
"You look perfect," Elsa replied honestly, but that didn't even begin to cover how beautiful she was.
Anna grinned and blushed at the compliment. She didn't really expect to receive such amazing comments from anyone, especially not her much more attractive sister. If today had been Elsa's magical day, then the Queen would have indeed looked magical. Definitely much more appealing than Anna did.
"Thanks," the princess answered, hoping that the makeup would conceal her blush. It wasn't often that she earned praise from her older sister and finally hearing it made her feel on top of the world.
"But," Elsa added, a ghost of a playful smile on her lips, "I think it needs just one thing more."
Anna raised her eyebrows. Elsa held her breath; she could feel her nerves tighten rise the temperature in the room dropped. She inhaled and crossed the room toward her sister, revealing the object from behind her back.
Anna gasped when Elsa exposed the dazzling piece of jewelry. Her eyes widened, and she put a hand to her mouth. Wide eyes watery, she asked, soft and disbelieving: "Is that…?"
"Yes. Yes it is," Elsa answered, and Anna looked up to meet her sibling's loving gaze. The glittering sapphire necklace was one of the few things they had left of their mother. After she had died, they'd been forced to sell many of their parents' possessions to help the castle's finances remain stable. The kingdom had required a few months to adjust to the death of the King and Queen. Eventually the money evened out, and the council members got the economy back on track. However, Elsa had kept the necklace; she'd hidden it inside her room before they could find it. Her mother had worn the necklace when she'd gotten married, and she'd intended for her daughters do the same. Elsa decided to do what her mother would have wanted.
"Oh Elsa… it's wonderful!" Anna exclaimed. Elsa smiled as her sister pored over the jewelry.
"Here, let me help," Elsa offered and brushed her sister's ginger locks away from her neck to put on the necklace. She concentrated on her own movements, but she could feel Anna's piercing stare. She fumbled with the clasp on the necklace for a few moments, and her fingers came in contact with the smooth skin on her sister's neck. Her flesh was warm compared to her own. She could feel Anna's breath against her face; they were so close… too close.
She quickly fastened the necklace and backed away. Anna apparently didn't notice her stiffened posture and strained smile. She was preoccupied with fingering the splendid sapphire and the silver chain it was hanging from.
"This is amazing!" Anna tilted her head up, and her whole face was illuminated with a beaming smile. Elsa's heart skipped a beat. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," the Queen replied simply, but those two words seemed to mean the world to Anna. Without warning, the young woman embraced her sister affectionately, squeezing tightly. Elsa was extremely taken aback; she would've never expected that. She began to panic, unsure of what to do, and she just stood there awkwardly until she realized that Anna was waiting for her to hug back. With robotic, controlled motions, she wrapped her arms around her delicate younger sister and rested her hands on her bare shoulders. A pleasant feeling washed over her, and her fears vanished. She closed her eyes, breathing into Anna's hair. She smelled of roses and springtime.
Anna pulled away first. "See, that wasn't too hard, was it?"
Elsa tucked a stray strand of platinum hair behind her ear. "No, I guess not."
There were a few moments of silence as both girls stared intensely at each other, emotions running deep within the two. Anna was thrilled that her sister was finally opening up, that she was loved by her sibling, and that she was here for her on her big day. Elsa, she was just glad that she could hug her sister without hurting her, happy to have a few moments of bliss with Anna until she no longer belonged to her.
"I can't wait for the ceremony," Anna said jubilantly, and Elsa frowned. The moment had ended, and it had been their last.
"Yes, I'm sure you can't," her voice had returned to its regular poised tone, devoid of all the affection it had previously held.
"I mean, everyone is going to be there! There's going to be dancing and music and chocolate! It's going to be the best day ever!" she exclaimed, and Elsa tried to appear just as eager.
"Yes, you're going to have a wonderful time," the Queen commented, and it was true. Anna was going to have the best day of her life while Elsa was going to have the worst.
"You are coming, aren't you?"
The question made her grasp her hands together tightly behind her back. She didn't respond.
"Aren't you?" Anna asked, the happiness fading away from her voice. Elsa averted her eyes.
"Elsa, look at me!" Anna cried, and ice slithered up Elsa's arms as she refused to meet her younger sister's eyes. She took a deep breath.
"I'm not going, Anna. I'm sorry." Her voice was flat and empty, just like the hole in her chest.
Elsa looked up and saw the heartbroken expression on Anna's face.
"I'm sorry Anna, but… I can't," she said softly, her lips barely moving as the words dripped from her mouth like poison. She hated them; they burned her tongue and tasted vile.
Anna's arms trembled as she looked at her older sister incredulously. She wouldn't even come to her wedding!
"I can't believe you!" she yelled, and raced out the door with surprising speed, considering the heels she was wearing. She thrust open the door and ran down the hall, tears streaming down her face. She must not be loved by her sister after all.
In the dressing room Anna had left behind, ice had exploded and destroyed all of the mirrors that had once reflected the beauty of the Princess of Arendelle.
Hot, steamy tears slid down Anna's cheeks as she aimlessly wandered the empty corridors. She knew that it was only a matter of time before someone found her. The ceremony took place in about an hour, and she was the star of the show, but she needed to clear her head first.
Elsa had never been enthusiastic about the wedding, Anna had known that from the start. Ever since the fiasco with Hans, Elsa had guarded her heart and scared away any man who took interest in her. Her sister was just looking out for her, she had always been protecting her, throughout her entire life, and Anna knew that. However, that didn't excuse the fact that Elsa had refused to bless her marriage until after a year of begging, and then she wasn't even going to show up at her wedding! It all made Anna so angry. Her sister had tried to talk her out of getting married. All she did was ruin everything!
Anna didn't understand why her older sibling didn't trust her judgment, or why Elsa didn't want her to get married. Was it because of Kristoff? Anna had known him for years now―the Great Thaw seemed an eternity ago―and throughout their entire relationship they had taken it slow just to please the Queen. Apparently she still wasn't satisfied! Anna was deeply frustrated; she just wanted Elsa to understand what she wanted. Most of all, Anna wanted the assurance that she was loved by her sister.
The princess turned around, hoping to see Elsa, but instead found Kristoff hurrying toward her. She found that she was slightly disappointed. She stood awkwardly in the center of the hallway, and his pace slowed as he neared her.
"Whoa… Anna…" His dark chocolate eyes were wide as saucers as he gazed at her in awe. "You look beautiful."
Anna smiled faintly and wiped away her tears. Makeup covered her hand, and she knew her face probably looked awful, but she'd learned long ago that Kristoff could care less about appearances. At the moment, he was wearing traditional wedding attire, which consisted of a gray suit and a salmon colored undershirt. However, his hair was a usual ruffled mess, his outfit wrinkled, and he was wearing muddy work boots. She giggled a little at the sight; poor Kristoff. He would never adjust to palace life.
"Thanks, you too. I especially like the pink," she complimented, grinning, and he chuckled, rolling his eyes.
"Oh yeah, I feel so dashing right now. The costume wasn't my idea by the way," he stated, and then looked her over again."But you look great. A bit fancy for you I think, but still beautiful. Especially with that necklace. Hey, are you okay?"
Kristoff's voice took on a concerned tone as makeup started to run down her face once again. She wiped it away. She was thinking of Elsa and the horrible things she'd thought about her sister. Her amazing, caring, beautiful sister who probably wanted what was best for her. Her perfect sibling who stood on a pedestal, unreachable. Anna would never be able to break down her walls; even after all this time she still felt shut out, as if Elsa was hiding from her.
Kristoff's hands cupped her cheeks, and she noticed how hard and calloused they were; his warm fingers contrasted her sister's cool, smooth, marble skin. He looked deep into her eyes, and she did the same. She observed how his irises weren't as mesmerizing and as crystalline as the Queen's. Her eyelids fluttered shut, and when he kissed her she imagined what Elsa's purely flawless lips would feel like pressed against her own.
Anna pulled away first, feeling a little lightheaded, and she could almost imagine frostbite caressing her mouth.
Elsa sat on the edge of the stone fountain, gazing blankly at the hands resting motionless in her lap. A frozen spurt of water stretched above her head; the pool had completely frozen over. The entire courtyard was a winter wonderland, and despite the fact that the season was late spring, the freshly blossomed tulips were coated in a thick layer of frost. A light snow covered the grass, and snowflakes drifted down silently from the clouded sky.
She was still, just another petrified statue in the garden, and if anyone saw her they would wonder if she was even alive. She was still breathing, however, and in reality she wasn't doing nothing: she was fighting the raging war inside her heart. She was stifling her agony, sadness, and fear, shoving it back down her throat before she could release it. If she couldn't control her emotions… the winter might not be confined to the stone walls surrounding her.
"I can't believe you!"
The words rung in her ears like the chime of the church bells echoing all around her, summoning everyone to the cathedral. Everyone except for her.
She was the Queen. The Snow Queen. The Queen of Arendelle. She should attend her sister's―the princess's―wedding. Her presence was probably required, but she couldn't handle it. She couldn't watch her beloved Anna waltz down the aisle and hold hands with someone else, gaze longingly at someone else, kiss someone else.
She couldn't survive if her sister belonged to someone else.
Elsa was selfish. She wanted Anna all to herself; she yearned for her touch and her affection. She wanted to gain back all of those lost years and mend the bond between them. She wanted her sister to know how much she loved her, and she needed Anna to feel the same.
But how could that happen now?
She knew that her desires were sinful and that her lust was considered unholy in many eyes. If anyone ever found out―if Anna found out―they would never look at her the same again. She was disgusting and messed up and terrible. She was wrong; she was an abomination. She shouldn't love her sister, not in that way, but these feelings had dug deep inside, and during all those lonely years she had allowed them to fester and completely consume her. There was no changing it, her heart belonged to Anna, but Anna would never belong to her.
Tears streamed silently down her cheeks, and she didn't move, she didn't breathe, she didn't make a sound.
"Elsa?" a voice called out and, she lifted her head, hoping to see her little sister. Her eyebrows lifted in surprise when she discovered that her visitor wasn't Anna.
"Olaf?" she questioned in disbelief, surprised that he wasn't at the wedding with everyone else. He was best friends with Kristoff and Anna. Why wouldn't he be there with them. The snowman appeared confused.
"Um, I think that's me? I'm pretty sure," he answered, and she smiled faintly. He was so funny and adorable.
"What are you doing here? Why aren't you at the ceremony?" Elsa asked as he walked over and sat down beside her on the edge of the fountain, swinging his legs back and forth.
"I was going to ask you the same thing. Why would anyone want to be here, all alone? In the snow… I thought it was summer… hey, Elsa, are you upset? Wait, are you crying?" Olaf was suddenly deeply concerned. She shook her head, but the tears were still coming in abundance. She was no longer the regal Queen; she was Elsa. A sad and lonely woman in a sad and lonely place.
"I'm fine, Olaf," she assured him, but the friendly snowman wasn't convinced.
"When someone is crying, it means that they're not fine. Why are you crying, Elsa?" Olaf inquired, and Elsa debated whether or not to tell the truth. Or, more importantly, what part of the truth to tell.
"I don't want to lose my sister again," she sobbed, and then buried her face in her hands, her entire body trembling as she wept. She could feel the wind pick up around her, the small storm growing stronger. She felt hopeless and out of control, and then Olaf hugged her. She swallowed her cries and gave him a weak smile.
"Thanks, Olaf…" she said softly, and he shrugged.
"That's what friends are for. I'm always cheering up my friends. Like, this morning Anna was freaking out and saying silly things, like that she didn't even love Kristoff—"
"She said what?!" Elsa exclaimed. Anna would never say such a thing, not if she didn't mean it. Elsa was sure that her sister loved Kristoff; they were getting married, after all.
"I know right? She's crazy! She was saying that she didn't love Kristoff and that they should just call off the wedding!" Olaf laughed as if the idea was comical. Elsa slowly lifted her head out of her hands; she couldn't believe what she was hearing.
"Anna said that?" she gasped, her brain unable to fully process the meaning of what Olaf was telling her.
"Yeah, she started crying and saying that she wanted you to help… but you weren't there, so I cheered her up. No worries," Olaf said, smiling. He couldn't be more wrong. There were indeed worries, many of them. Anna didn't love Kristoff, she didn't want to get married.
Anna didn't love Kristoff.
Elsa stood up, and the storm suddenly stopped. The clouds backed away and revealed a patch of sunlight, illuminating the courtyard. Her dress shimmered as she moved briskly toward the door, filled with newfound purpose.
"Hey! Where are you going?" Olaf asked, running to catch up with her.
"I'm going to see my sister," Elsa replied, her voice full of determination.
If Anna's heart wasn't truly taken, then she wasn't going to allow her to be stolen away.
"Are you ready, princess?" the councilman asked, and it was an excellent question. Was she ready? For the first time, she had a feeling that she wasn't. Despite those feelings, she allowed him to take her arm and lead her down the aisle.
Flowers covered every square inch of the room; the cathedral was elaborately decorated with bright colors, bows and glitter. Everything looked and smelled like springtime. Her sister had done an excellent job planning the wedding. No one had expected anything less.
She wobbled across the carpet; her iron grip on the councilman was the only thing preventing her from tripping and landing on her face. She passed dozens of happy faces admiring her with broad smiles. Compared to all of them, she felt as if she was the unhappiest person in the room.
She looked straight ahead and saw Kristoff waiting for her at the end of the line. He was grinning, and she gave him a small wave. He winked and waved back. She tried not to giggle. He was so silly sometimes. That's why they were such good friends.
She finally finished her seemingly endless march to the altar and took her place opposite her future husband. She noticed that he still had mud on his boots. The preacher began his speech, and Kristoff took both her hands. The gesture felt so natural, they had held hands and kissed dozens of times, but for an odd reason… it felt strange.
Kristoff's big brown eyes―the complete opposite of stunning, icy blue eyes―were on her, but she was gazing out the window. She saw little white flakes fall from the sky, and she wished for their maker to be the one standing across from her.
Apparently, the entire Kingdom was attending her sister's wedding, because Elsa passed dozens of empty buildings as she ran through the cobblestone streets. There were no people in sight―it was just her and Olaf, racing against time. Her shoes tapped against the ground, ice coating the street with each step. Soon enough they were practically skating toward the cathedral. Her heart raced, her blood pumping.
"Why, why, why…?" Elsa thought over and over. Why hadn't Anna told her that she didn't love Kristoff in that way! Why, why, why…?
As they neared the church she spotted a tall spire in the distance. She wondered what she would do, what she would say. How could she stop the wedding? Once Anna was married to Kristoff, her sister would be lost forever.
Elsa was determined for that not to happen, no matter what it took.
Anna eventually stopped staring out the window. She knew Elsa wasn't coming. Kristoff raised his eyebrows, and she shrugged, signaling that it was no big deal, when in reality, it was a very, very big deal.
She had everything planned out. She was going to pretend that he was Elsa when she said her vows, when they kissed. Everything would be much easier if she did it that way. Anna had found that, over the years, if she imagined the Queen in her boyfriend's place, everything was more passionate, more intense, and she wanted this kiss to be special. Believable.
Kristoff smiled at her as the preacher droned on, and she faked a smile in return.
Elsa could see the doors; they were crafted of huge wood and sealed shut. The doors were always closed; she hoped she had the strength to finally open them.
"If any know of…"
Anna wondered what would've happened at her wedding if her parents were still alive. Her father would have walked her down the aisle instead of a councilman. She could almost imagine their welcoming arms and warm smiles. Would they have insisted for Elsa to attend the ceremony, or would they keep her locked away? Would they approve of her marrying a man she considered a best friend, and only that?
"…a reason that this man and this woman…"
Elsa slipped on her own ice; she was sprinting so fast. She scraped her knee and ripped her sparkling blue dress, but she quickly pulled herself back up. She had to stop the wedding; she couldn't let her sister's heart be stolen away.
"…should not be joined in holy matrimony…"
Anna looked up at her groom and replaced his skin tone with a milky pale one, his lips with fuller, more delicate ones, and his eyes with brighter, bluer ones. She practiced this art a million times, and now she was a professional.
"…please, speak now…"
Elsa knew deep down that Kristoff loved her sister and would never harm her; he was a good man. Nonetheless, she couldn't help but feel that he was robbing Anna from her. She sped up and tugged on the door handles. The smooth metal frosted over instantly, and she wrenched them open like a desperate animal.
"…or forever hold your peace."
Elsa didn't think, she just acted.
"I object!" she shouted, barging into the room. She was panting heavily, sweating, a total wreck. Her hair was undone and messy, and her dress was ripped. She was barefoot because she had kicked her shoes off so she could get to the church faster. The sanctuary echoed with gasps as everyone turned to face her, including Kristoff and Anna.
"Elsa?" her sister's voice was soft, surprised, and Elsa stood up straighter, attempting to look less unraveled. She received horrified looks from everyone in the room as she marched down toward the altar, her face expressionless. Inside, the storm swirled in her heart.
"Anna…" she was standing at the bottom of the steps, and for once she had to look up to meet her sister's wide, sapphire eyes.
"What are you doing?" Kristoff questioned, but Elsa didn't avert her eyes from Anna's face. She held her gaze, unwavering.
"I'm here to apologize," she began, and she felt her hands tremble with fear as she exhaled, attempting to calm her nerves. "I need you to know that I never meant to harm you. Everything I do, I do to protect you. But sometimes I'm wrong, sometimes I'm hurting you instead of helping you. I hide because I'm afraid that you'll get hurt."
Anna had dropped Kristoff's hands, and she seemed to have forgotten where she was; she apparently didn't care. All of her focus was transfixed on her older sibling. Elsa swallowed.
"But this time… I'm exposing myself because I need to protect you," she felt brave, throwing herself outrageously in the open. She was taking a risk. Anyone could shoot her now, but she didn't care.
"I know that you want to be loved, and you've been deprived of it for so long. I'm a huge factor in that, I'm aware. But you can't pretend―you can't lie to yourself―telling yourself that you're in love when you're not."
The entire chamber was deathly silent, like an empty battlefield. She could feel the eyes of all the fallen soldiers resting upon her. She wasn't afraid of them. She was afraid of Anna.
"You… you can't marry Kristoff, because you don't love him."
Every living thing in the church stopped breathing. The preacher raised his eyebrows. The groom was appalled.
"I can't let you marry him because I know what it feels like, living a life that isn't real. I can't allow you to go through that, because I love you, Anna," Elsa felt tears brew in her eyes. "I love you enough to stand on that altar next to you. I love you more than life."
Her confession was complete, and her words rang through the air. After a few moments, murmurs washed through the crowd, but Elsa wasn't paying attention to them. She was waiting anxiously for her sister's response.
"Do you really mean that?" Anna's voice was fragile, delicate, a flower about to lose all of its petals. Elsa laughed, choked up.
"Of course I do," she replied as water dripped down her cheeks. Anna face burst into a huge grin, a smile wider than any she had ever seen.
Suddenly Elsa was embraced and she felt warm, luscious lips press themselves against her own. Her eyes bulged out of their sockets and she gasped, disbelieving. She didn't pull away because she'd dreamt of this moment for nearly her entire life. She'd never imagined that her fantasy would be real. Eventually she closed her eyes and gently placed her hands on Anna's hips.
Anna broke away first, her lips pale from the cold. Her eyes were gleaming brightly and she lit up, radiant as the sun. She was beautiful.
"I love you too, Elsa," she said, and then they hugged, squeezing tightly. Olaf was clapping and cheering, he was always enthusiastic about love, and soon others were applauding as well. She could care less. She was the happiest person alive.
She had her sister's heart; she'd been guarding it all along.
Last Edited on August 25th, 2016