Roll. Stretch. Sigh. “Mommy!” I bellow using all of the air I had siphoned into my six-year-old lungs. That’s the nice thing about being a real, live princess. Not only am I Mommy and Daddy’s little princess, but I am the whole kingdom’s little princess, but I am the whole kingdom’s little princess. I reach over and pet my pudgy pug Tamara, yawning boredly. “Mommy!” I holler again. What is taking her so long?
Looking pointedly over at the door to greet my mother with a scorching glare the minute she walks through it to let her know that her tardiness is anything but acceptable, I instead see our short, round lady-in-waiting Bernadette waddle in. I roll my eyes. Not only is she boring, but she seems to think she’s my mother or something. And what’s with her name? She looks to me like she’s about thirty, so really old, but “Bernadette” makes her sound like she’s eighty.
The sugar-sweet smile on her plump face sickens me. “Good morning, Kianna,” she coos from the doorway. “Your mother is very busy right now, and she’d like you to be up and dressed in half an hour to have breakfast with her and your father before Billiam arrives.”
I yawn again. The mere thought of Billiam bores me. I’m hardly seven, and I’ve already been on a blind date. And let me be the first to tell you, Billiam is no Prince Charming. The last time he saw me, he called me “Tutz.” Our parents are hoping we’ll “take a fancy to each other” and yada yada yada. Bor-ing. I yawn dramatically to demonstrate how disinterested I am at the prospect of spending all day with Billiam, no doubt doing something boring like bocce ball or jigsaw puzzles or word searches. I would much rather spend the day riding my pony Valentine, or having a tea party or playing dress-up with Tamara.
“I don’t want to see Billiam today. I saw Billiam last week,” I tell her, looking around the room at my giant dollhouse, oversized stuffed panda, and Barbie doll mansion complete with a swimming pool.
“Oh, Honey,” Bernadette dotes, coming fully into my room, “you need to see Billiam today. It’s very important.” Bernadette looks around the room at all of my toys and trinkets, searching for what she can say that will get me out of bed. “Seeing Billiam today means no lessons with Helga,” Bernadette offers.
On the word “Helga,” Tamara’s ears perk up, and I feel her shaking like a coward under my arm. Helga is my personal teacher. She’s imported from “Mother Russia” as she calls it, and her thick accent makes her hard to understand. She yells a lot, but Mommy and Daddy say it “builds character.” Tamara’s afraid of her, but not me. Even so, I don’t like my lessons with her. They’re bor-ing.
Suddenly I see Bernadette’s eyes alight on my Swan Lake ballet music box. My grandpa gave it to me before he died. Mommy and Daddy said he was really sick with this thing called cancer; they said it was in his lungs. The music box was his favorite thing. He told me it was Grandma’s before she died. I love listening to the music it plays when I open it, but Mommy and Daddy only let me open it on special occasions.
“Well, Miss Kianna,” Bernadette says, turning away from the shelf and toward me, “your mother said that today you can wear your silver crown necklace from the music box and your favorite pink party gown.”
Slowly, I start to move to get out of bed. I’ll even put up with a full day of Billiam just to open my music box.
So, first there’s Bernadette, and then there’s Franz. He’s our butler, and he’s everything Bernadette’s not. He’s tall, skinny, and practically ancient. He’s got like a million wrinkles; I counted them when I got bored one night during the fifth course of dinner. He and his black cat with the yellow eyes live in a room down the west wing. Sometimes I see “Felix” the cat slinking around near my suite, and every now and then he antagonizes poor Tamara.
I don’t know what is more annoying, Bernadette’s perkiness or Franz’s grumpiness. I just know that don’t really like being subjected to either. At least I can usually get away without actually having to talk to Franz. Even now as we are walking through the castle’s long, red-carpeted corridors to the ballroom to meet Billiam and his parents, we aren’t talking, and that is perfectly okay with me. The only reason Franz is walking with me anyway is to make sure that I don’t run off to the stables to hide out with Valentine all afternoon instead of meeting Billiam.
After a good silent I-don’t-know-how-long (I’m six; my concept of time is not very good), Franz opens the humongous ballroom doors for me to walk along the red carpet and up to the thrones in the back where Mommy and Daddy are standing talking to Billiam’s parents. Immediately my eyes catch the little slimeball lurking in the corner, an evil smile on his face. I see he slicked his hair back for the occasion. He really shouldn’t have. It’s greasy and gross. I let out a little grimace. I really was trying to smile; it just didn’t work out.
Mommy and Daddy look up from their conversation, and Mommy cries, “Kianna! There’s my little pumpkin!” Naturally, I stop in my track and offer a formal curtsey, complete with a bob of the head, and I fix my facial expression so that I really am smiling. Maybe if I behave I can at least get a new kitty or something out of the day’s affairs. “Kianna, Honey, Billiam has just been waiting to see you.” I nod and walk over to where Billiam is standing by himself in the corner.
“Hiya, Tutz,” Billiam says.
I have to resist the temptation to roll my eyes at him. Billiam can be such a drag. “Hello, Billiam.” I avoid having to look at him. All he does is get me irritated.
“Aw, come on, Tutz. You can’t still be angry about last week. I said I was sorry,” Billiam whines, shuffling around to try to get me to look at him while I craftily evade him. Billiam is referring to when he tripped during lunch in the garden last week and spilled lady fingers all down my lavender petticoat and parasol. Those are my favorite!
I sniff. “Billiam, what you don’t understand is…”
But the sound of Mommy calling, “Kianna! Billiam! There’s someone we want you to meet!” stops me from telling Billiam what he doesn’t understand. It would’ve taken awhile, anyway. There are a lot of things Billiam doesn’t understand. One of them being that I’m just not interested. If Flynn Ryder wasn’t already taken by Rapunzel, I’d rather be his princess than Billiam’s. All the same, I reluctantly take his arm when he offers it to me like he has been trained to do so, and we walk over to where our parents are standing.
“Franz, send in our guest!” Daddy orders Franz, who has been standing at his post at the door, no doubt drifting off to sleep leaning against the doorway with the drool slopping out of the corners of his mouth as he slouches until Daddy just yelled over to him. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught Franz doing that. It’s got to be at least one hundred. Franz opens the doors once more, and in walks this small, young girl. She can’t be any older, or taller, than I am, and I know in an instant that I’ve never seen her before. “Kianna, this is Kelsey.”
The girl walks up to Billiam and I so that she is maybe a few feet shy of us. I nod at her, and she curtsies. Billiam and I respond by bowing and curtseying at the same time. Then all three of us just stare. Kelsey looks like she could be me, except she’s not. I have blonde hair, and she has brown; my eyes are brown, but hers are blue. The resemblance, however, is remarkably unmistakable. I glance uncertainly over at my parents, who nod encouragingly. “Kianna, this is your twin sister, Kelsey.”
If I didn’t have more class and sophistication than Billiam, I would’ve fainted clean next to him. I think if my jaw opened any wider, I could swallow a killer whale whole. At any rate, what do I do with a twin sister? There’s only room enough for one princess in this castle, and that princess is me.
Just something fun I had written awhile ago. Super fun to write and develop different characters and their personalities. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what the inspiration had been… However, “Billiam” is a very funny name to Jeavoi, Vivaz, and I, derived from watching the kids’ show “Kipper the Dog.”