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I watched as the young lady entered the small salon.
Well with her waist length gold-flecked brown hair and those large eyes she was certainly pretty. However, while not gaunt outright she was visibly too thin, even for her short height. She walked towards me, and blushing with nervousness, executed a small curtsey. I smiled in a way that I hoped would be encouraging, trying not to look her over too obviously.
Word count: 7000 words ~ Approx 25 – 35 mins read
I watched as the young lady entered the small salon. Well with her waist length gold-flecked brown hair and those large eyes she was certainly pretty. However, while not gaunt outright she was visibly too thin, even for her short height. She walked towards me, and blushing with nervousness, executed a small curtsey. I smiled in a way that I hoped would be encouraging, trying not to look her over too obviously.
She was wearing a dress in a floor-length style that was clearly new to her, as it impeded her steps a little, and she lacked the fluency of someone who was accustomed to dress in that manner. However the sky-blue colour suited her perfectly. I made a mental note to see to a new wardrobe for her as soon as I was sure that she was going to stay for at least a few months.
She held her curtsey, and I realised that she was waiting for my command to rise.
“You may rise, Ella.” She rose to her feet, blushing again.
I held out my hand to her.
“I am Queen Agatha, Mother of Prince Wilfred. Please come and sit here next to me.” I said, patting a space next to me on the sofa.
She breathed deeply, held her head high, and came and sat next to me as directed. I also let out a sigh of relief which up to then I did not even realise that I had been holding in.
I was so glad that I had decided to dress simply for this first meeting, otherwise I know that she would have been overwhelmed by my grandeur. However, I was already impressed by what I had seen of her spirit, in that she had not shrunk away from me; she had been undoubtedly nervous but had courageously battled through her nerves. I was hoping that that could only be a good sign.
It was now two days since she had started living in the Palace. I thought it was time to meet the woman who Prince Wilfred seemed to be taken with. He tried not to put too much stress on it, I know he did not want to get his hopes up, only to see them dashed yet again as they had already now been dashed too many times. However I could see how his eyes lit up whenever he spoke of her, and the smile that shyly curled around his lips. Both I and his Father hoped that this as yet unknown beauty might finally be the one with whom our gentle, thoughtful son could share his heart and life.
“So, it has been two days since you came to live in the Palace?”
“Yes, your Majesty.”
“Is everything to your liking?”
“Very much so, your Majesty!”
“And how about your rooms? Are they to your satisfaction?”
“They are so big, your Majesty! I could almost get lost just wandering around them!” She smiled shyly at me, and I was immediately struck by the sincerity of her manner.
“And how about your meals? I hear you have been taking them in your rooms so far?” I did not add the rest of this thought: “When everyone has been agog to catch a glimpse of ‘Prince Wilfred’s girl!’”
“They have been utterly lovely, your Majesty. Everything has been so delicious!” This was exactly what I had expected to hear, of course, but all the same I was pleased to hear it. Somehow, I had intuited from my son that food was an area of especial concern to this particular lady, so I was glad to hear that she was eating well.
“I’m truly glad to hear that. Is there anything that you have particularly enjoyed, so that I could perhaps make a suggestion to the chef? Or do you have a favourite food that you would like to be prepared?” What she could not know was that there was already a specific chef that had already been exclusively allocated to prepare her food, and that Prince Wilfred was personally visiting the kitchens every day, to harangue that poor chef, to make sure that her food was prepared to the highest quality, and to make sure that there was plenty of it. I’m quite sure that I myself was not supposed to know any of this, but I am of course the Queen; it would be remiss of me to not have a way of finding out details like these within my own Palace! This is just another thing that showed me the depth of his feeling for this damsel.
She thought for a while before responding.
“Everything here is so new. I must confess that I am not used to the large variety of flavours and meals that have been prepared.
So, for now, I think that I would like to experience the full variety of flavours and meals available and then maybe later choose a few favourites.”
I was quite surprised at the confidence of her answer, and found myself nodding vigorously.
“Of course. If at any time you would like to request any special food, you need only let me know, or speak to your personal server. And we are all hoping that you will soon be able to join us at dinner!”