"Isabella," barked Samantha. "Get up, now!" She strode to my windows and ripped the curtains open, revealing the bright light of Paris, France.
I groaned, flopping onto my other side. Samantha would have none of that. I heard her angry huff as she walked briskly to the foot of my bed, and I felt the tug of her hands as they fisted over my cover; she yanked. The chill of the sudden change of temperature busted through me like a pellet, momentarily freezing up the part of my brain that controlled rational responses. I shot up into a sitting position, shrieking curse words in French.
Samantha looked flabbergasted. "Isabella," she chastised. "Princesses should not behave so! Whatever is the matter with you this morning?"
"Princess, shimchess," I grumbled, sinking back into a sleepy reverie.
Samantha sighed heavily. "Your dress is on the chair, and breakfast is about to be served in the parlor. Get a move on!" And then she bustled out the door.
I moaned and heaved myself up off the bed. This was the one thing I hated about my parents being the rulers of the country: having to wake up early every morning for reasons I could not comprehend. But Mother says that every princess has to do it as well, so I usually grin and bear it.
I knew that there are thousands of girls and women around the world who want to be in my place. I knew what all the peasants said about me. Miss Isabella Swan, the beautiful, fun-loving princess of France. Daughter of King Charlie Swan and Queen Renee, sister to the next heir, Emmett Swan… set to be wed with Prince Jacob Black of Belgium, believed to be one of the most admired princesses of all history… I'd heard all of it before.
Sighing, I straightened my nightgown and sauntered to clean up for the rest of the day. Once I was finished, I looked at myself in the grazed mirror. I twirled my mahogany hair into a spiraled bun, as normal. It was uncommon for a woman of such high class to wear her hair down – but of course, who was I, Princess Isabella, not to bend the rules? I was acknowledged around the globe for curving the directions.
When I walked back to my room, Samantha was waiting for me. Next to her sat a long, pastel blue gown with a silken ribbon that seemed to wrap around the bodice. On the desk sat my corset.
I balked, and Samantha chuckled. I walked closer, sucking in my breath as I do so that she could lace the corset around my stomach. This was ritual, I was used to it.
Samantha Fitzgerald was my main servant, and also one of my closest companions. She didn't really treat me like a princess, like all the other workers seemed to. Samantha considered me like a girl, even allowing me to call her Sam. She was also one of the only people who would call me by my preferred name, Bella, but only when we were alone. Father becomes furious when I act too casual in public.
My breath was briefly taken from my lungs as the corset was tightened, but it returned soon enough. I spluttered incoherent phrases in French, listening to Samantha hum a tune under her breath, and then returned to my thoughts.
Samantha was almost the same person as I. We both were eighteen years of age, enjoyed being outside, and oftentimes when we were alone, we crowed about handsome figures and all of the lovely dresses. And we disliked directions, growing up fiercely independent. Although I did have the luxury of being raised in the highest class rank, I'd had little say in what went on around me. Women in my time hardly had any rights at all. We were not allowed to hold government jobs; we could not own property or have any say in the goings-on whatsoever. Lower class women were not even permitted to leave their own home without a man present! And I, being extraordinarily hard-headed and stubborn, especially for a princess, demanded that father changed this. When I'd told him, he'd chuckled and boomed, "Trust me, sweet one, the woman in the family has much more power over the man than you can possibly imagine."
Father was a very cryptic person. I still on no account understand half of what Father says, especially when he goes to discuss law with the other men. But he's been in office for over thirty years and no rebellion, so I presumed that he was an exceptional ruler.
Samantha tugged on the corset laces one last time and puffed. I heard her clattering around behind me, and then the light blue gown was being yanked over my head. Once it was on, Samantha tied the trimming in the back. She swiftly grabbed my shoulders and spun me around, checking to make sure the dress fit right.
"Sam," I said while she pulled on various corners of the dress, smoothing out the corners. "Are we going to meet Alice out in the garden for tea? If we have time, of course."
Mary Alice Brandon was my other acquaintance around the castle. A servant at seventeen, she was a small, perky girl who knew how to cheer any person. I was sure that was why Alice was placed in the position of being Father's maid, as she was constantly in good spirits.
"Not if we have time," Samantha amended. "If you have time. You have a reading lesson in the afternoon with Sir Brady, not to mention the speech and grammar session after supper with that old English fellow."
I groaned, slouching.
"No! None of that, Bella," said Sam. She straightened me back up, and then finished her speculation of my dress, nodding. "And I thought you liked learning to read and write."
"I do," I said. One of my favorite things to do was take a book out to the garden and read, preferably without this absurd corset. "But I would rather be with you and Alice."
Sam smiled at me, and scurried to get a pair of pointy, flat, white shoes.
"Must I wear those awful shoes again?" I asked. "This dress is long enough I could pass it off anyhow."
Samantha ignored me and spiked up my dress, slipping the shoes on over my feet. I bit my bottom lip to keep from laughing at her blunt, uncommon behavior. "Yes, I guess you could roam around barefooted, if you wanted," she said. "But Sir Brady is such a cross man." She smoothed the dress back down, making sure it was crease-less. "There," she added. "You look stunning, as always."
Sam snorted. "There you go again. I swear, you blush more in a minute than a normal girl in her whole life. You certainly are the strangest princess I have ever heard of, much less encountered."
"I do try," I teased.
Sam strode to my dresser, and after rummaging in it for a moment, she returned to where I was standing to place my tiara lightly on my head. "I think you are ready for the day," she said. "But I cannot elude the feeling that there is something we are forgetting…"
The door then flew open. A tall, fair-haired man entered, donned in the customary red suit that the minor servants wore.
"Perenelle!" Samantha exclaimed in recognition.
"The king sent me for Princess Isabella," said Perenelle, winded. It seemed he must have hurried up the stairwell to my tower in his quest to get my father's message to me on time. His accent was more French than I was used to around the castle; most of the people Father conferred with spoke in English. "He and the queen are soon to be leaving, and Queen Renee wishes to speak with her daughter."
"Oh, well," muttered Samantha, flushing. She fiddled with a piece of string in her hands, not making eye contact with Perenelle. "Well, off to breakfast with you, Isabella." And she shooed me out of my room.
In the parlor, Mother was waiting for me.
"Isabella," she declared when I walked inside. She was sporting a red day gown underneath her blue riding coat.
"Are we going somewhere today?" I asked, sitting lithely in my chair around the wooden table.
"No, you have those lessons at present, do you not remember?"
"Yes, I do remember," I said stiffly, reaching inelegantly for the fromage. "But – wait, where is Father? And where is Emmett?"
I just noticed that my father and my older brother were not present at the table. Normally, I arrive at the breakfast table so tardy that Emmett ordinarily would have eaten all the fromage.
"Isabella!" proclaimed Mother, her eyes trained on the hand that had just picked up the fromage. "Princesses like yourself do not behave in public like so."
I grunted noncommittally, earning a gasp from Mother. I did not fail to notice she did not answer the question of the whereabouts of my father and brother.
I typically received a speech on my manners daily from Mother – it was common knowledge not only to the people of the castle, but to all the people of France. I suppose that not following my orders was one of the reasons I was well-known, but Mother says that it was an awful habit to get into. On a daily basis, Mother would lecture me on the etiquette of a princess, and then she would go on to tell me stories of when she was my age… I knew almost every tale. Mother really didn't have that interesting of a life.
"At any rate," Mother continued, "your father and I are going to visit Sir Channahon today about his panel on the court, so please behave yourself with your tutors."
"Do not I always?"
Mother threw me a dark look. "Nevertheless, try as hard as you can. No more inefficiency, or I shall arrange for you to carry out more posture technique."
My face slipped from being carefully controlled and uninterested to a mask of horror. "Mother, please, no more!" Posture classes were the most horrendous, most tedious and wearisome lesson that anyone could possibly withstand.
Perenelle returned. "Queen Renee, your carriage is waiting outside when you are ready."
"Oh, thank you, Perenelle," she said, beginning to rise from her chair. "And Isabella," she went on, "since you decided to come to breakfast so belatedly this morn, Sir Brady is waiting for you to finish your meal in the main room."
"What?" I exclaimed, maladroitly ramming all my baguette into my mouth. Ignoring Mother's irritated huff, I stood from my chair, grabbed an apple, and bolted to the main room.
"Ah, Princess Isabella," Sir Brady said when I entered the room. The collar of his suit was untidy; it bothered me. I stood in the doorway and stared at it until he looked down at himself, bewildered, saying, "Whatever is the matter, Princess?"
And I strode straight to him and flipped the collar until it was laying the right way. I patted it twice, and stepped back to smile at him.
He beamed in reply. Cross man, indeed, I thought, thinking of Samantha's earlier words. "Thank you, Princess Isabella," he said. "Shall we begin our lesson?" He held out his arm in a gesture for me to sit on the chair.
Sir Brady sat in the chair beside mine, and he pulled a thick book out of his coat pocket. "I presume you do not need any help today, do you, Princess Isabella?"
I grinned. "No, Sir Brady."
And so the next two hours were spent in a comfortable silence.
The light breeze of the Parisian wind blew the tendrils of my dark hair around my pale face, into my brown eyes. The bottom of my dress was ruffled by the draft as I walked gracefully to the garden, where Samantha and Mary Alice waited for tea.
Oftentimes, Mother and Father would forbid me to come and talk with the servants. They would say it was "not princess-like behavior." Honestly, did I really care about what was and what was not princess-like behavior? I did not.
Since Samantha and Alice began working at the castle, around the age of twelve, we had been close companions. All the same age, Sam, Alice, and I would discuss the attractive princes. Although I had been positioned since birth to wed Jacob Black, the prince of Belgium, we could not help but giggle at Prince Edward Masen of England, or Prince Michael Newton of Wales.
The little round, white table was placed on the outskirts of the large garden, surrounded by flowers of all colors and small, breezy trees. It provided an excellent view of the large, white castle, shaped by soft green ivy and tall towers, yet the table was hardly noticeable from a window. Samantha and Mary Alice sat in two of the small chairs, and they looked up when they heard my footsteps coming towards them.
"Bonjour, Bella," chirped Alice when I came into view.
I laughed, pulling out the third chair, tucking my dress underneath me, and sitting. "Salut à vous deux," I said. Then I remembered something. "Alice, have you seen Father? Or Emmett?"
Alice's eyes glistened. "Your father had some important, er, business to convey. He thought it was best to take his son with him."
"Oh, so it was one of those things."
"Oh, no," said Alice. "No, I am sure King Charlie would have taken you, if you had not been so deep in sleep that an uprising could not have woken you."
I blushed. Then remembering Samantha's earlier words, I glanced at her, one pool of blood blending in with another.
Sam smiled at me, pulling a white something out from her apron pocket. "This is a letter from Prince Jacob Black. Anton received it only a moment ago. Or at least, he gave it to me only a moment ago," she added.
She held the letter out to me, and I took it.
It was silent for a moment while I read over the letter.
"Well?" demanded Alice. "Are you going to tell us what it says or not?"
"Um," I said. I reached down to untangle my dress that had wrapped around my legs due to the increasing of the wind speed. "Basically, it says that he will be around the palace in a few days."
Alice frowned. "That can't be all it says, Bella." And then she snatched it out of my hands.
"Hey!" I protested, laughing, I attempted halfheartedly to grab the note back. "I'm the princess, give it back!"
Watching us bicker, Sam giggled and said, "Bella, you have always said you do not really care if you are the princess or not."
"Yes, but she has my letter…"
Something about my expression made Sam throw her head back and laugh exuberantly.
"Isabella Marie!" Alice cried, smacking me on the shoulder ("Mary Alice! We do not hit people!" exclaimed an astonished Samantha). "You didn't tell us that he was coming here to prepare you for your wedding!"
I smiled sheepishly as I watched Sam, who was staring at Alice to ensure she didn't hit me again. Her eyes stayed trained on Alice, but her mouth opened in shock.
I picked up my tea so I would not have to speak, and gulped it in a fashion that would give Mother a heart attack if she were here.
Sam and Alice's objections swam through my ears.
"Bella, you are eighteen!"
"Prince Jacob Black!"
"He is so handsome…"
"You are too careless to rule yet!"
"Mary Alice! You sure are supportive."
"I apologize, Samantha, I did not know I was speaking negatives; I only thought I was verbalizing the truth."
"The truth? Sacre bleu, Alice, the princess is about to become a queen! Do you think she really wants to hear the truth?"
"Yes, Sam, I actually –"
"Ladies!" I said, halting their bickering. "Ta gueule!"
"Vous êtes une pomme de terre avec le visage d'un cochon d'inde if you do this, Isabella," hissed Alice.
"Mary Alice! Did you just call the princess a potato with the face of a guinea pig? Vous avez le cervau d'un sandwich au fromage!"
"Alice," I placated. "I honestly do not have a choice. You know this has been my prophecy since I was born!"
"And do you not know Bella well enough to know that, if she truly did not want to marry Prince Jacob, she would not?"
Alice thought about this and sighed. "I suppose you are right," she said. She perked up suddenly, her dark eyes dancing. "Besides," Alice added, "Prince Jacob is splendide."
The doorman, Anton, came into view then. He did not look surprised to see me out in the garden, drinking tea with two of the servants. "Princess Isabella," he said, "you have a guest at the door." And then he disappeared back the way he came.
My eyes widened in alarm. "Samantha," I said. I could not recede the suspicious feeling that it was Prince Jacob at the door. "When, exactly, did Anton receive that letter?"
"He did not tell me."
"Why?" murmured Alice. "Why, Princess Isabella, why? Do you suppose it is Prince Jacob Black at the door?"
"Yes, Mary Alice, that is exactly who I suppose is at the door."
Beat'd by BubblyAmericanWriter1. I SUPERDUPERSUPER THANK YOU.
A/N: Uhm. Hey?
I was watching the Love Story music video for the zillionth time. So, I was marveling at how beautiful Taylor's dress was...
So I got into looking at 19th century dresses. So, while I was doing that, I thought "Wow, wouldn't Bella look amazing in some of these?" So yeah. This is what happened.
Vous avez le cervau d'un sandwich au fromage - You have the brain of a cheese sandwhich(:
Ta gueule - Shut up
Sacre bleu - Oh, My God
Mon dieu - My God
Salut à vous deux - Hello to you both
EPOV up next, promise.
And this story will have both romance AND adventure.
All dresses to be used in the story are on my profile. (click Renee's Red Dress, Blue Dress, and Navy Coat)
Tell me if it sucks.
Review! Tell me if I should just delete the story or what, because.. yeah. I'm not quite sure what kind of feedback this will get.