Not to be Trifled with

By Crysty

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters.in fact, the Swedish family is real, though I cannot pretend to know them either. So all in all, I don't own anything but this story itself. Please don't sue. I have no money.

August 13

Helen Thermopolis's Apartment

The whole idea of a journal is utterly foreign to me, but as Grandmere is not here, and I am bursting with conflict right now, I must pretend that I am really talking to her.

I miss her.

Moving to New York does not appeal to me.

Helen is not making it much easier.

"I just think that overall, this is a really really really really bad idea..." Helen's telling my father.

"Helen, she's been cooped up in a palace in a country the size of Delaware for the first 18 years of her life..."

I hate this. She doesn't want me, and I don't want anything to do with her.

I can tell my father is at his wit's end. Pretty sure that Helen is determined not to take me on, and hence will argue enough for the both of us, I sit back. A princess knows when to keep her mouth shut. So I'm sitting in the next room, writing this.

"...the least you could do is get to know your own daughter."

"I gave you guys the chance years ago. You guys turned it down, and so I started my own life. I don't need this now, Philipe."

"You have little choice in the matter. Amelia is going to Columbia, and you are going to house her. I don't want her living in those dorms. Who knows what kind of shenanigans she'll cavort with."

The Universitie at Genovia was perfectly fine for me. I don't understand why Father is so adamant, considering neither Helen nor I want this.

"I might remind you that you and your mother had plenty to say against this place before..."

I can see why. The place is a mess. Is that paint supposed to be all over the table as some sort of artistic statement, or is Helen just really this messy? I take out my handkerchief to wipe the perspiration from my forehead. It is unpleasantly hot here.

A strange furry beast is staring at me out of the corner of the room. I believe it is a cat, but it looks so corpulent that it could be my imagination playing with one of Helen's artworks.

But I'm pretty sure she's just a painter.

Father is about to explode now, but calms down. Always the diplomat.

"Look, despite appearances, my mother and I trust you. A long time ago, when Amelia was young, well...it was best that she was brought up in warmth and safety. Now that she is a grown woman, Amelia is a lady to the letter...but lacks a certain kind of..." he looks in my direction, so I pretend to be entirely focused in the progress of a spider up the wall. "...intelligence," he says softly.

I resent that.

"Amelia doesn't know about the blind man on the corner down the street who likes to grab at people, and she has no idea how to deal with the press. Helen, Amelia is a smart, charming girl, but...entirely clueless."

I really resent that.

"...she needs your guidance. She needs your sense. There is so much of you in her...you need to meet her. And she needs to discover what you've given her."

There's silence in the other room, and somehow I get the feeling that not only have I been insulted by my own father (who does not even think much of me, apparently), but I have also lost my ally. Helen, I fear, is going to agree with him.

Thus the end begins.

August 16

Starbucks Coffee

"And so then she claims that I secretly want to be a boy, and that's why I am so much closer to Carl Philip than Victoria..."

Maddy is ranting and raving.

I love the Swedish Royal Family. Socializing with them always reminds me that as complicated as my family is, at least we're pretty static.

Maddy is going through what her psychologist, Dr. Moscovitz the wife, claims is her "transitional" period. She's starting to achieve self- awareness, and is just embarking on the road to self-actuality.

I never believe that psychology voodoo, but father and Helen want me to go and talk to the Drs. Moscovitz because they're worried about culture shock and other silly things.

I don't pay much heed to any sort of analysis; I already know my home life is messed up, and I know that it's probably a result of the fact that my father and mother got pregnant without thinking, which is really just a statement of rebellion to the formal order of my father's early life, and indicative of the irresponsibility of the bohemian artists' lifestyle.

The Drs. Moscovitz see everyone, and they're favorites with many royal families, including Maddy's. Father is friends with Dr. Moscovitz, the husband. Apparently Doc took my father through that difficult transition four years ago, when Father found out he could no longer have children.

And so, the Drs. Moscovitz now see me as well.

I haven't seen them yet. My Father keeps meaning to introduce me, but he gets busy and leaves me alone, and I hide.

I do not want to be dissected, thank you very much.

Grandmere would be on my side, except that they really were helpful when Father was going through that crisis.

And so she tells me on the phone, "Amelia, you should do as your father tells you." And when Grandmere comes down with her imperious command, you really have nothing to do but to obey her.

So here I am, half an hour before my appointment with the Drs. Moscovitz, passing the time away in Starbucks with Maddy because:

1) I don't want to be in Helen's apartment. It is a mess.

2) I don't want to be around Helen. She makes me feel uncomfortable.

3) I can talk with Maddy. I can't talk with Helen.

4) Starbucks is comforting. There was one around the corner from the Ladies' Academy back in Genovia that I used to always go to with Hannah. It is a comfort to know that wherever I go in this world (short of Borneo) there will always be a piece of home, and I can taste it every time I order a cappuccino.

5) Lars was getting tired of staying around the Village. We both wanted a change of scenery.

Lars is clearing his throat now, so I gather it is time for me to meet the famous Moscovitzs...both of them.

Just how many problems does my Father expect me to encounter in my transition?

Later

Helen's Apartment

I just called Grandmere to strongly urge her to let me go home, or at least for her to visit me. She denied me both because first, my Father was the one who controlled where I lived, and second, she was due for tea in Bora Bora with some shah.

I tried calling Rene, but he was out cavorting with someone or other. Not that he'd be of much help, but least he could have laughed some with me.

Helen is out on some date right now, and so is no help. Not that I truly expected to find any comfort with her.

So instead, I am sitting here, ranting into a lifeless little book.

More than anything, I wish I were back in Genovia, where I could just go and find someone to talk to.everyone wanted to hear about my day there. And I miss Grandmere dreadfully.

So before I go any further, I suppose I should explain why I hate the Moscovitzs.

Well, it's not exactly the doctors...of course, they are overanalytical (my orange Hermes scarf indicates nothing save for a healthy appreciation for the color orange) but it is, after all, what they are paid to do.

No, it is their son. Mon dieu! What problems. I don't think I've ever met a more difficult person.

The Drs. Moscovitz have two children. One, Lilly, my age, is studying how to be a reporter at NYU. I did not meet her. The other, Michael...

I do not want to begin on Michael.

But I shall.

Why Michael Moscovitz is uncouth, unmannered and unsophisticated

1) He did not bow when I was introduced with him.

2) He was not wearing a shirt when I was introduced to him.

3) He poured milk into a cereal box and drank out of it.

4) He dined the said meal at 6 pm, well after breakfast.

5) He smiles oddly.

I cannot decide the last one truly for you, only to assert that his smile is not pleasing. It is disconcerting.

None of this would be a problem, or certainly not enough to make me hate this place, if he weren't made to babysit me.

How humiliating!

His parents have asked him to watch over me and make sure that the culture shock does not traumatize me. Apparently, he is also to translate the Americanisms and explain the subtleties of this oh so complex culture.

Even worse, he refused!

Right off, in front of me (uncouth!), he refuses, and then lists the reasons why, in a quite blunt manner:

Reasons Why Michael Moscovitz Will not Babysit me

1) He wants no involvement with any of his parents' royal nutcases.

2) He's a senior, and he's got better things to do.

3) I'm a freshman, which makes me even less desirable company.

4) I'm not interesting enough to make him want to entertain me.

That one made me gasp aloud, to my horror. The look on my face must have been comical, because he laughed right there.

Michael Moscovitz knows nothing about me.

I know that a Princess knows how to stay silent, but at that point, I could not have stayed silent any longer. My heart demanded retribution.

"You know nothing of me, Michael Moscovitz. If you did, you would have known that I did not want to be fixed up with a self-absorbed, arrogant, unpolite and unmannered hooligan for a guide. And for propriety's sake, get a shirt on!"

Shocked that I had such an outburst, I had to leave. Lars had taken my arm at the point and put his hand on my arm. We left soon after. He still looks at me and chuckles every once in a while.

What is wrong with me? I've put up with guests and diplomats even surlier than he. Even more insulting. Grandmere would be ashamed, but I must say in my own defense that I was provoked, and the Renaldo blood boiled to be championed. And as there was no gentleman in the room to do so for me, I had to take the matter in my own hands.

Ok, so maybe the look of shock on young Moscovitz's face was kind of funny.

Hee.

August 20

Library

I can't study in here. The study group a table away is extremely loud and annoying.

Trying to understand calculus isn't working.

Will I ever need to use calculus for that matter?

I know that I've usually taken whatever Father told me for law...

But I hardly see how integrating the natural log of 1/x is going to help me with my future as the ruler of Genovia.

I hear my name.

Later

Helen's Apartment

It was Michael, and his parents wanted me to go to dinner, to see how my first week of classes went.

More likely, they wanted to psychoanalyze me again.

So instead of spending my Friday evening with Maddy and her older brother Carl Philip, who are in town for the weekend doing fun things like going to the opera, or visiting with our friend Boris over at Julliard, I am picking at neutral words that could not possibly construed in an odd way, and avoiding conversation with a young man that I was quite abominable to the last time I had encountered him.

You'd think that he'd have some sort of social life, and he'd be out. After all, his sister Lilly (who I have yet to meet but do not have any desire to, if she is anything like her brother) was out.

But he was there, smiling his strange smile, and because it was expected of me (not by the Moscovitzs of course, but by my own upbringing), I approached Michael and offered an apology after dinner, while he was doing the dishes.

It went somewhat like this:

Me: Hello? Are you busy?

Michael: Kind of, I'm doing dishes.

Me: Can I help?

Michael (sarcastically): I couldn't imagine dirtying those elegant hands...

Me (in contempt of him, rolling back my sleeves back): I think that my delicate hands will be fine...

(silence)

Me: Michael, I wanted to talk to you.

Michael: Talk, then.

Me: It was very rude of me to say the things I did to you the last time we met. I apologize.

Michael: Sure.

(silence)

Michael: Can you pass me those dishes?

And then he didn't say anything! Not even an apology for his own horrid behavior!

I stood around, patiently waiting, but eventually I noticed he was smiling strangely again, and figured that he was internally mocking me. So I left.

But I wasn't apologizing just so that I could get an apology out of him. No, noble people always admit their mistakes.

August 23
Helen Thermopolis's Apartment

I don't think I'll ever get used to living with Helen.

Last night Helen decided to stay in and cook dinner. She invited her boyfriend, Franklin ("call me Frank"). It was all obviously an elaborate plan for the two of us to meet.

Helen's talent seems to lie in art. I feel she should stay out of the kitchen, and was tempted to tell her so when she announced her intentions yesterday morning. But alas, a Princess does not make such petty remarks.

But Franklin is a true gentleman, for he showed up about an hour and half early, and hustled Helen out of the kitchen before the frozen corn had finished defrosting in the microwave.

Franklin's quite entertaining. He teaches algebra at Albert Einstein High School, and has volunteered to help me with my calculus. Franklin also has an excellent warm sense of humor, and makes Helen laugh a lot.

I like him. I like her, too. They suit each other well. Looking at the way Franklin adores her, though, it's very easy to see why my father and Helen never quite worked out. Helen's an apple-scented candle. Warm, sweet and somewhat tangy. My father.he's a cigar. Cuban.

I don't think that quite made sense, and my only excuse is that I've been around Helen all evening, and I tend to pick up strange habits around her.

She was watching Baywatch when I got home from classes today. The beast that I've since discovered is indeed a cat, and names Fat Louie, was curled up in her lap. She watches the show religiously, which I don't quite understand. The show is the most popular in the world, but I for one had never seen any merit to it.

Until today.

Strangely enough, Helen and I spent all this afternoon watching daytime television and made-for-TV movies. It's extraordinary, really, the crap that's aired.

Even more extraordinary is my strange fascination with it.

We stumbled into reruns of 80s shows at around at 11:00, when I realized I ought to do some readings for my Environmental Policy class for tomorrow.

"Good night, Mia," Helen said as I got up from the couch.

I paused mid-action momentarily and tested the name. Mia.

Helen blushed. "I always called you that.you know, in my head."

"I like it. Good night." I was about to say Helen, but realized that it didn't seem appropriate. But neither did Mother or Mom. So instead, I just left it dangling.

August 30
Helen's Apartment

I met the other young Moscovitz today.

I was early for my session. I think the biggest surprise had to be when Boris opened the door.

"Amelia!"

"Boris? Do you see the Moscovitzs too?" I asked, completely confused; what problems would Boris, a world-famous, extremely talented violinist, have that he'd need therapy?

"Ur.I see Lilly. We went to high school together."

The sound of a choked sob brought both of us out of our confused conversation.

"I think I'm needed." Boris said.

Curious about the last member of the Moscovitz family, I decided to follow him to the TV room.

She was sobbing at the end of Roman Holiday, when Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn meet not as a pair of lovers, but in their true identities, as princess and reporter at the end. As Audrey smiled her faint mysterious smile one last time, the young woman blew her nose into a fresh tissue that Boris offered to her. He bundled her up into his arms.

It was if he was handling his violin. I'd never seen this side of Boris before.

"I knew I should have stopped it when their day finished.this part always breaks my heart. I wish it had ended differently."

"Movies don't usually affect you this way."

"This one does.it's just such an injustice, a travesty.they're just so beautiful together, and you know that it's just so meant to be, and then.and then.she should have run off with him, or something."

"She had to do her duty to her people," I supplied.

The girl turned to me, seeing me for the first time, at the same time quickly wiping her tears away. "Ah, spoken by one who should know." she said, wryly.

"Lilly, this is my friend the." Boris began.

"I'm Amelia Renaldo." I curtseyed, and offered my hand.

"Lilly Moscovitz," she stood to take my hand.

Lilly is half a foot shorter than me, and I wondered at how she seemed so much bigger when she spoke. It's a gift only few have, really. My Grandmere being the only other person I know with that ability.

"Duty, huh?" she was saying.

Still speaking of the movie, I see.

Roman Holiday is one of the most beautifully frightening movies I've ever seen in my life. I'd watch it in horror, praying to whatever forces there were out there that I'd never find myself in such a situation.that I'd meet someone suitable and perhaps fall in love with him, afterwards, because I know from the example of my parents what happens when duty and love come into conflict.

I cleared my throat. "I think that she made the right decision. If she abdicated the throne, she would not have been able to live with herself. If he had decided to marry her, he would not have been able to perform the duties necessary to being her consort."

"But I'd think that he'd be more than able to accomplish his duties as husband."

I turned to the newest participant in our conversation, smiling that odd smile of his, with his sparkling laughing eyes. He was carrying a bookbag, so it appeared he was either on his way out or had just gotten back. I hoped it was the former.

"And what are the duties of a husband other than to work with his wife in building a stable, suitable life for the both of them?" I asked.

"To love, honor and obey her. As she does for him," he drawled slowly.

And that's when this strange palpitation started in my heart. It's akin to having your stomach flipped over.I had a similar feeling the first night I came to the Moscovitz residence, but I thought it was Helen's cooking.

But the last time I had eaten Helen's cooking was two days ago.

There was a pressure building in my heart and heat in my cheeks. It was all caused by his disconcerting gaze.

I had hoped he'd be a gentleman and stop looking at me.

But instead he stepped more into the room, and held my eyes.

My heart started beating again, but it was heavy, and loud. I couldn't even hear my thoughts.

I have been taught my Grandmere to mask my emotions, and I am quite good at it. I send him an amused smile. "Pfuit!" I imitated her. "Drivel. Just love is not enough," I say lightly, though the words are slow to come to my lips.

He was still coming towards me, holding my gaze, and somehow I don't think I fooled him with my flippancy. "Strong words. I take it they've been tested."

"I have had the shining example of my parents," I said sarcastically, trying not to sound breathless.

We were only breaths away from each other now. "But you, you've never been in love?" he asked.

For one infinitesimal second, I could not answer. The words were formed in my mind. "You have no business to ask that."

But I couldn't voice my thoughts. His gaze held me ensnared in.him.

As I write this, I realize the completely idiocy of this. It discomforts me that he can do this to me, that he can pique this strange appetite.for.

I do not know for what. I only know that at that one moment, I really wanted to know Michael Moscovitz, find out what he thought about marrying for love, about his ideal for a marriage.

And that frightened me out of my daze. Me? Infatuated? The thought itself was quite inexcusable, seeing as I thought I was safe from such frivolities. But even more unsupportable was that.he was an American. A brash young unccourth American. Not even royalty.

As soon as that unpleasant thought appeared in my mind, I inwardly laughed. I gave him a sarcastic smile. "I'm not supposed to."

Then Dr. Moscovitz the husband came in to bid me go with him. I smiled politely to Lilly and Boris, but didn't bother to look in Michael's direction. Then I left.

It was a completely exhausting episode, and it only made me quite reticent to the Drs. Moscovitz.

It's just a silly game to him. He's always playing silly games with his strange secret unsettling smile. Thinking of jokes that he'll never share. I hate people like that. They always make me wonder if they are laughing at me.

But I don't do anything that merits a laugh. I was brought up to be a lady, a flawless, elegant lady.

I do not like Michael Mozcovitz. He can take his dark mesmerizing eyes elsewhere, because this Princess is completely out of his league.