I sat on a grassy crevice overseeing the vast glittering lake by Langton Park, our manor. Two majestic dark-feathered birds swam effortlessly across the water. Birds were chirping their blissful songs of spring. The sun radiated its comfortable heat as I leaned against my favorite willow tree. The wind blew some stray leaves into my lap. What a beautiful spring day, I thought. I sighed in contentment and felt my mind begin to wander. I thought about my future. Would I have children? Visions of laughing children frisking about enveloped me in a wonderful dream. Yes, I decided. I most definitely will; I had always had a soft spot for little ones. A shout from far away quickly snapped me out of my reverie.
Preparing to find the cause of the noise, I groaned as I looked down at my skirt. Mother would be mad. My white chiffon dress was stained with mud at the hem. Hiking up my dirtied skirt, I scampered up the hill and was met by my nurse.
"Isabella Marie Swan! Dear me, where in the world were you? You have nearly frightened the wits out of your mother and me! Do you not recall there is a feast this evening and a ball following it?" scolded Meryl, my nurse. Her face red, she strode up to me, brushing some strands of my hair. Giving me an examination, she scowled. "Oh dear, what were you up to this time? Your mother will not be pleased. Come now, dear Bella, we must get you dressed," Meryl, patting my back.
"Oh Meryl, I am truly sorry. I was just sitting next to the willow tree and started thinking…And then, when I heard you shout my name, I got up and my skirts were dirtied…" I trailed off, recalling my rare uninterrupted moment of peace, as Meryl and I walked hurriedly to the manor. Meryl smiled at me affectionately. She was my dear nurse since the day I was born, somewhere between the age of fifty and sixty. Despite her words, she was an extremely loyal and caring person. Her black hair was speckled with gray now and many wrinkles were starting to show. We walked in comfortable silence to my room.
"Now my lady, you are in desperate need of a bath. I will send a servant to draw some hot water up for you," said Meryl, wrinkling her nose teasingly, and laughed. I joined in with her. "Please draw up some water for Lady Bella's bath," she instructed to a nearby servant.
"Meryl, why is it we have a celebration today? Today's celebration seems to be in everyone's conversations, and yet, I know nothing of it. Normally it is later," I asked.
Meryl smiled knowingly. "Oh my lady, I am forbidden to tell you of it. But, I promise you will not be disappointed"
I frowned, "Meryl, please do not call me 'lady. You know how much I detest it. I do not want to hear any form of that title associated with my name"
"My dear Bella, you will have to get used to it. After all, do not forget who you are. You are the heiress of Langton Park, future Baroness of Alchester," Meryl chided gently. "You are lucky, Bella. Lucky to have been born in such an esteemed and noble family of England…" Meryl continued, her mind elsewhere. Her blue eyes became clouded. I rested my hand on her shoulder, a small comfort. Meryl shook her head. "I apologize, my lady. A sudden flashback is all. Sudden flashbacks," Meryl whispered, more to herself than me.
The servant poked her head outside the door, "My lady's bathwater is drawn and is ready" Meryl nodded and led me instead the bathing room.
I saw that my attire had all been laid out. I climbed in the bath and sighed. After fifteen minutes of pure relaxation, I stepped out of the bath and Meryl helped me in my dress. It was breathtaking. The dress was scoped down in a 'V-shape' and miniscule white ruffles lined the hem, bodice, and sleeves. The entire dress was a dark lavender shade and made out of organza. A servant came in and styled my hair. She had pinned a section of my dark brown hair up with a diamond accessory. The rest of my hair cascaded to my waist in light waves. As I stood in the presence of the full length mirror gaping at the breath-taking reflection, I saw Meryl out of the corner of my eye curtsy and dab at a tear in her eyes. I was not beautiful, hardly pretty; I was plain. My eyes were just a deep brown and I had brown hair down to my waist with an auburn tint to it. Twirling around in a full circle and I admired the lavender material rise up in the air.
Turning towards Meryl, I asked, "What do you think?"
"You look gorgeous. The dress certainly flatters your figure. All the young males will be falling at your feet," Meryl predicted, smiling.
I blushed a deep shade of red at Meryl's last comment and walked out of the room to find my mother and father, Renée and Charles Swan. Wandering around, I hesitantly opened the doors to my parents' room. My mother and father were engaged in a serious discussion. Not wanting to interrupt, I began to head out and was stopped by my mother.