Not many know this story.

Since you don't, I will tell you the first time I REALLY found the love of my life, the light in my eyes, Anastasia.

XxXx I was 10, she was 8. In this love, I found my soulmate. xXxX

I was a kitchen boy, a servant who cleaned dishes.

I stayed from 8am to 3am the next day, working.

When not working, I slept.

An easy routine.

Sometimes, when a chef would come in, I would see the family I worked for.

The young son, a 'strapping lad' who was polite but easily jealous when not spoiled.

The elder daughters, twins, the same primpy girls who's beauty is only skin deep.

Especially when alone.

The middle child, Anastasia, the beautiful, kind, joking, headstrong girl with a passion deep inside.

The father, in every sense of the word, a gentleman of every term.

The mother, a perfect woman in Russian society.

The grandmother, a stubborn old girl with a kind and loving disposition towards Anastasia.

Anastasia was everyone's favorite.

The other kids were often jealous but said nothing.

She was not a seeker of attention.

She was timid, quiet, but feisty when provoked.

She spent many days singing to herself, playing a piano, without a mistake.

When not singing, she read.

By age seven, she read every book in the biggest home-library in the country.

Her own.

XxXx

Once, in her eighth year, before the disaster, I met her face-to-face for the first time.

In fact, the day before the big ball, the day before her family died.

I was washing dishes when I heard a creaking on the stairs by the kitchen door.

Afraid it was the chef, I ducked under the counter, hiding.

Little Anastasia, in her white nightgown, looked around for a midnight snack.

Her back was turned to me.

Attempting to sneak out, I stood but she whispered "Stay."

Presuming she heard me, I stayed.

She was my boss, after all.

Turning around, she smiled at me.

"Hello, boy." she smiled a bit, surprised anyone was here so late, especially without any candles.

"Anastasia." I said shortly, a little angry she frightened me.

"You know my name?" I almost scoffed, how ignorant she was.

"All servants know your name, madam." I said politely, not needing to offend her.

"Then tell me your name, servant." She ordered, laughing as she imitated her sisters.

"Demitri."

"Lovely name." She smiled again.

"Thank you, now, would you like a snack?"

She pouted her lips as I spoke, "Isn't that why you're down here?"

"I can do it myself." She whined slightly.

"It's my duty. What would you like?"

"A friend."

I blinked. A lot.

"What?"

"Will you be my friend? My daddy says I can't leave the castle, so I have no friends."

I was shocked.

A princess?

Friends with a servant?

This was sure to be blasphemy.

I found myself saying, "I'd be honored."

She smiled and hugged me around my neck, kissing my cheek.

"Thank you, Demitri!"

I felt myself nuzzle my head into her neck.

She smelled wonderful, and she was so small, so soft, so warm.

I felt cared for, complete, in that one moment.

We hugged for a while until she smiled up at me.

Such a welcoming face.

I was dirty, sweaty, and horribly tired but she didn't care.

I loved the way she held me.

"Anastasia, may I ask a favor of you?"

She smiled, "If you give me a snack."

"Deal."

She nodded, "Deal."

I felt a warmth that the chefs and servants talked about.

They called it love.

I once asked them what you do if you truly feel that way about someone.

They all responded, 'With a tender kiss on the lips.'

I thought that was gross.

Until now.

"May I kiss you?"

She didn't seem to know what I meant but nodded.

Slowly, nervously, I pulled her against me and pressed my lips to hers and closed my eyes.

I put my hand against her cheek, keeping her mouth at the right angle.

She closed her eyes too.

We stayed that way for a while, unmoving, until we breathed again.

"Thank you." I smiled, whispering.

"Anytime." She smiled.

I kissed her cheek, "No one else may kiss you. Understand?"

"Yes, Demitri." She smiled, "And, my snack?"

I laughed, holding her hand, "I have some biscuits."

She smiled, "Yum."

I interweaved our fingers, noticing they fit perfectly.

She ate with one hand, holding my hand in the other.

We stayed that way until she finished.

Then she begged me to walk her to her room.

I did, holding her hand the entire way.

When I got to her room I tucked her in and kissed her brow.

I loved her.

I knew it right then.

I whispered in her ear, "I love you."

She just smiled in her sleep and I left through a hole in her wall, leading to the kitchen.

I finished my dishes and went to bed.

I dreamed of her that night.

Every night until I found her again.

Then, the very night she began to remember...

She forgot the day we had met.

I pushed it aside.

When I told her I loved her, I kissed her that day.

She began to remember, the night she came to love me.