Hey, everyone! Okay, I know I've been pretty bad about updating my other story, but it wasn't getting a very good response in the way of reviews, and it was making me depressed. So, I began a new one. I know it's been done before, but it still will be original, I promise.

Disclaimer for entire story: I don't own Twilight or any of its characters.

Setting: Italy, 1800s


I cannot remember how many times I stayed awake at night when I was a child, wishing on all the stars in the night sky that I had not been born beautiful. So many people desperately long to be attractive and pretty, and I know that it seems selfish for me to hate it so. But my beauty is not a gift. It is a curse.

I never asked to be this lovely. Princesses always beg their fairy godmothers for beauty, but if I had my way, I would not look like this. Of course, nobody believes me. Who would not want to be beautiful? It seems inconceivable to them for me to loathe my beauty the way I do.

The trouble is that there's nobody to blame. If a wicked fairy had come and given me this beauty, there would be somebody to hold responsible. Perhaps I could go on a quest and demand her to take the gift back.

But there is no one to whom I can attribute my curse. It was pure luck - or bad luck, if you will - that brought this misery upon me.

Chapter 1:

"Isabella!" Ethel's voice called down the corridor. "Isabella!"

"Bella," I corrected her, sighing. Isabella was such an old-fashioned, proper name, one that seemed to go with stiff-necked ladies and powdered wigs. But nobody would call me "Bella." Apparently, mother and father felt that it wasn't a proper name for a princess.

"Her highness would like to speak with you, Isabella," she gasped breathlessly as she turned around the corner into my chambers. Her plump frame heaved up and down as she wheezed for air, hands on her knees.

I shot her an exasperated look and continued to read. "Immediately," she hinted. I gave a heavy sigh, and carefully placed a bookmark between the pages.

I followed Ethel down the cold passageway to the throne room, where my mother and father spent the day. She threw the doors open wide and proclaimed loudly,

"The Princess Isabella!" I stepped through the archway, and approached my mother's throne. I kissed her hand politely, and then my father's, before stepping back a respectful distance.

"Isabella," my mother said, excitement coloring her voice, "You have another suitor!" She clasped her hands together and beamed at me, as if I was supposed to be pleased. I sighed in irritation.

"Mother," I moaned, "You know I don't want suitors!"

The smug smile vanished off her face.

"Isabella," she said, her tone reprimanding, "You don't know how lucky you are. So many suitors, and only seventeen! Your beauty has proven to be a great advantage."

Yeah. A great advantage to her wallet. She didn't care about me at all. I was just another mean of income for her. As soon as she found a rich enough suitor to pay for me, I'd be shipped off and never heard from again.

"And," she continued, "There is another sonnet written about you!" Oh, God. Was she joking?

"Pedro!" she called, and snapped her fingers. Immediately, a tiny little man whom I had come to associate with excruciating pain skipped into the room. He skidded to a halt in front of me, sinking into a deep bow.

"Princess Isabella," he said. I stared. Ethel gave me a vicious pinch. Evidently, I was supposed to return the greeting.

"Pedro," I said shortly. It wasn't that I didn't like him - I was just in a foul mood, and besides, I'd heard enough sonnets for a lifetime. He gave another little bow, and then proceeded to begin a rendition of my sonnet.

I didn't even bother to listen and zoned out immediately, vaguely hearing a few mentions of "eyes like stars" and "a laugh like bells." Sure, it was beautiful, and most would have found it extremely flattering.

I might have, long ago. But now, it just seemed like words to me. After a few more minutes, I became aware that it was quiet.

"Oh!" I said, realizing he had finished. He was again in a bow, looking up at me expectantly. "It - it was lovely," I said awkwardly, trying not to offend him.

"Thank you, Princess," he said gratefully, and skipped off.

"Now, Isabella," my mother began, an excited gleam lighting up her eyes. I took an involuntary step back. "It is time to prepare for your next suitor!" I actually made an attempt to turn and flee, but found myself face-to-face with Ethel.

"Not so fast, Princess," she warned me. Then she gripped me tightly by the arms and marched me to my room, ignoring my angry protests.

"Stop it!" I commanded. "Stop!"

"Hush, princess," Ethel ordered. I glanced back to see my mother watching, with a disgustingly satisfied expression on her face. I scowled and turned back around haughtily, holding my head high.

I was a princess, after all.