The No Good, Very Bad, Absolutely Horrible, Most Terrible Day of My Life!
~The Story of a Reluctant & Often Sarcastic Cinderella.
Chapter Two: Dinner Partner
By the time I was forced into my huge waste of money gown, I was starving! I ate a small breakfast early this morning and had hoped to run to the stables afterwards, but my traitorous father was awake and caught me before I had a chance to escape. And I have not eaten anything since! When my former favorite parent came around after I was finished, I complained and pleaded for something to eat. To which he replied, "You will eat at the banquet." BANQUET? I had to eat among these people? Not only did I have to waste an entire evening in their presence, but now I had to eat with other noble, people just like my annoying stepfamily? A bunch of gaggling geese? The Horror! And I probably wouldn't even get real food! I'm sure that food will taste great, but the portions will be itsy bitsy, which means little to no actual food. Conclusion, I'm going to starve tonight!
And then my traitor of a father decided to drop another wonderful surprise on my. I was to be announced. ANNOUNCED! Are you kidding me? I was going to be forced to walk down a huge, long, carpeted staircase, while my name was called. During which every eye in the room would be watching me as I tripped and tumbled my way down the staircase. Oh what joy will be mine, I just can't wait!
I may not like these people, but that doesn't mean that I am willing to embarrass myself in front of all of them. I do have some pride, thank you.
Immediately after dear old pa told this fabulous news, I sat down to have a chat with him, after dismissing those ever faithful maids and discussed (argued) the benefits of announcing on my behavior for the evening. After a ridiculously long time in discussion (war) we came to an agreement (treaty). I would not have to be announced as long as I behaved like a 'Lady' for the whole evening and night ( a stipulation my father put in at the end, knowing that I would do something once the 'evening' was over and it was actually night). Darn him! But I agreed and he agreed. He got good 'Lady-like' behavior out of me for the whole ball and I did not have to be paraded in front of the atrocious gaggle of geese. I did not see the treaty as entirely fair, I only got out of being announced, not the whole ball, but it worked. I could act 'like' a Lady for the evening (and night). Pretending to be one did not make me one. I loathed being shown off like some prize horse on the market and was glad to avoid that endeavor.
When dear step mama found out about our agreement, she threw a royal fit. It was a huge laugh to watch! She threw her fan on the floor and stomped repeatedly on it, all the while raging at my father, who calmly told her that if she wanted me to act like a lady, this was how it was going to be. I wanted to make a comment about her current ladylike behavior, but refrained when father gave me a look, it seems that he wanted to do the same, but he knew better.
So, I was successfully about to evade that potential disaster on this no good, very bad, absolutely horrible, most terrible day of my life. I know that there would be other challenges to come. All because of my dear step mama, who told many of her 'society' friends what a country bumpkin I was and she wanted to turn me into a 'Lady' to prove to them how much she knows about decorum, fashion and other such nonsense. I don't know how turning me into a lady would do that, but I could at least show them tonight that I wasn't a total country bumpkin, though I really truly wanted to act like the country bumpkin, just to prove her wrong… hehe… but I will not go back on the treaty that I have with father. I will not give him any reason to make me walk down that staircase. So I am forced to spend the entire evening among 'good society' and act like a lady. Oh joy, I can't wait…. Not.
As of right now, I am sitting comfortably among the beautiful Palace gardens at sunset. I comment the Palace gardeners for their fine work. They certainly have made this garden a little haven from the chaos of the ballroom. Sadly, my little corner has already been interrupted on numerous occasions this evening (I have not yet been here an hour), by lovesick couples. Yuck! Luckily, the banquet is 'soon to commence' according to the servant who announced such wonderful news out to the gardens a few moments ago. And soon the lovesick couples will be sitting next to each other, eating and making eyes at one another, but hopefully not around me.
Uh oh… Here comes Father.
"Hello Father, how has your evening been thus far?" I really wanted to tell him that I was leaving, taking the carriage and never coming back, but there were people around and I was not going to break our treaty.
"Fine, fine. It's time for the banquet dear." At that he offered his arm to me, which I reluctantly took. Luckily, just because I had to be 'lady-like' didn't mean that I couldn't argue with him, I only had to argue in a 'lady-like' fashion.
"From what I understand, dear Father, the banquet was 'soon to commence,' not at this very moment."
"Well, my lovely daughter, I am making sure that you find your place and that you are not lost in the gardens during the banquet. Estella would be heartbroken if she heard you had missed the meal." Oh… he was good, well he was the one who taught me to be sarcastic. Estella, aka step mama, would be furious enough to kill me if I missed the meal, for it would be noticed by my dinner partner, whom I dreaded meeting and it would been seen as a mark against her, whom supposedly turned me, the country bumpkin of a stepdaughter, into a 'Lady.'
"Father, do you by any chance know who is going to be my dinner partner?" I asked sweetly.
"You will see soon dear," I groaned quietly to myself, while he chuckled at my expense, "You might be pleasantly surprised.
Yeah right. I wanted to childishly stick my tongue out at him and pout I already has three options of who that honored man would.
First up, Duke Decrepit. A very sleazy old man who had nine toes in the grave, but was still on the lookout for a young wife. One who would leer at me during the whole meal, while food dripped down his chin, into his beard and onto his clothes… Yuck!
The next contestant was Lord Locks, a man entirely in love with himself and all that he does. One who believes himself to be 'God's perfect gift to women' and expects all women to fall faint at his feet at first smile. During the meal he would give, at great lengths, accounts of his wondrous and heroic deeds. Oh dear… I can only hope that if this is my dinner partner that I may choke on something… though he may add saving me to his list of heroic deeds.
And Last, but certainly not any better than the others, Scholar Stanley. A man who lives, breathes and smells like books. The one plus, I would not need to talk or even hem or haw at his comments, for her would just sit and talk about the books he has read, the ones he has written and the one he is currently writing about ancient hieroglyphs from such & such country across the sea. And to top it all off, if that topic would at all ever be exhausted beyond belief (Dear Lord, please help me if the banquet is ever that long) before the banquet was over, he would gladly move onto politics, to which I would attempt to drown myself in the soup.
Father patted my hand that was on his arm, and brought me from my musing, as we reached my seat, which was denoted by little cards with our names written upon then gold ink, which could only be seen if tilted in the right lighting.
"You will be fine my dear." Father told me as he kissed my cheek and I sat down. He then continued on his way to escort the step family to their assigned seats before I could argue his statement.
FINE? I was not fine! Nor was I going to be Fine! Tonight was going to be the death of me. I was going to either suffocate, because of this wretched corset, starve to death because of the lack of food upon my plate, be annoyed to death by my dinner partner or trip and fall to my death because the shoes I am wearing are Selena's, thus a size too small.
Speaking of step sister number two, snotty Selena, she was seated across and two seats down from me. I couldn't believe my luck on this no good, very bad, absolutely horrible, most terrible day of my life. Now I had my dearest step sister watching my every move, to see what I messed up and to report back to her mother. Oh Joy Upon Joy.
I truly am dreading meeting my dinner partner. I do not want to talk. I just want to eat and then flee to the garden. But… I knew that would not happen, tonight was obviously not my lucky night, for after dinner, the first dance of the evening was danced with your dinner partner. Ugh… I truly am dreading that, especially if my dinner partner turns out to be a Duke Decrepit, because not only would he be disgusting, but he would be all greasy from the food dripping onto him from dinner. Maybe after that tortuous event I will be able to escape to the gardens for the rest of the evening and hide from dear step mama in a secluded corner and take off these miserably tight shoes.
A shadow passed over my head, causing me to freeze, 'my dinner partner,' I thought. But the shadow kept on moving, past my seat and further down, to the head of the table. The other young ladies all around me started whispering and giggling about the man, especially Selena. Whom according to all of them, the man was the Prince. Hmmm… I had never seen the Prince before. I suppose he was handsome enough, but I wasn't willing to believe at a glance that he was 'perfect,' as all the ladies around me pronounced him to be. Handsome, I would agree with, but certainly not perfect. And from what I have heard, (over heard, not gossiping) I knew he had plenty of faults.
Several more shadows passed over my head, but I refused to look up at any of them, fearing it would be my dinner partner. A shadow then lingered over my head and I held my breath. Then it moved to my left and sat down. That breath came out in a big sigh. It was not my dinner partner! The partner is seated to the right of the lady. And though he was not my partner, he still felt the need to soon turn to me and introduce himself to me. Lovely.
"Good Evening, my lady, I'm Duke Dennison." Gah! A Duke Decrepit, Heaven help the poor woman who is his partner for the night, who thankfully is NOT me! Granted, I wouldn't say he had nine toes in the grave, but he was certainly still way too old to be leering at me in such a manner. I smiled as best as I could, which was probably a little more than a grimace and told him my name in return, which he took as an invitation to pick up my hand and place a disgustingly sloppy kiss on the back of my hand. I wanted to wipe my hand on his napkin. If another Duke Decrepit was actually my dinner partner, I was willing to start crying to get out of being seated next to him. He doesn't have to know that I actually do not suffer nervous complaints, but it would get me out of sitting next to a disgusting old leery man. A Lord Locks sounded like a Saint for a dinner partner right now! I certainly would not be able to handle being seated between two Duke Decrepits! Luckily, for my poor hand's sake, Duke Dennison's attention was soon pulled away from me as another shadow passed over me, then moved to my right and sat down.
I forgot to hold my breath.
"Good Evening Lady Elenora."
I am not mean on purpose, I promise. Please tell me what you think! I am very interested to see what you think of my character.