at the foot of the bed beside where Queen Mary sat, Natalia stood up and began pacing to and fro.

”Mama, what happened eight years ago has made me very cautious where Patrick is concern. Yes, we have been playmates since we were young. But he was always a bully, pulling my hair. Even instructing his dog to chase me. What stupid boy would send a Labrador to chase a girl? ”

Natalia raised her hands and shrugged her shoulders questioningly.

Queen Mary and Bibi turned to look at each other. When Queen Mary opened her mouth to speak, Natalia pressed her index finger on her mothers lips.

”Eight years ago was the first time I met Patrick again after he had gone to boarding school. My first impression of him was that he had grown into a find looking young man. He was handsome and he made my young heart flutter. But…..the great BUT! HE WAS SUCH A PAIN IN THE … ”

”Natalia! Language please! ” Queen Mary interrupted Natalias tirade.

”Mama, he was supposed to be getting to know me, his betroth. But he had a group of women following him all over the campus. He was shamelessly entertaining them instead of me. I did not know where to put my face. I felt like digging a hole in the ground and sticking my head in it. ”

Natalia glared at both Queen Mary and Bibi and continued.

”Before any of you tell me that he was just sowing his wild oats and that man will be man, let me tell you that when I told him off, he told me to get off my high horse. He told me he did not want me and he came to meet me to tell me that he was calling off the betrothal. Patrick told me that HE makes the decision of whom to marry. Not King Evan. He made me the laughing stock on campus. I was called the rejected princess for quite some time. ”

As Queen Mary blinked her eyes at Natalia, Natalia gave her mother her sweetest smile and said, ”Please tell papa that I will not be meeting with Patrick again. I don care that Patrick has now decided to reenact the betrothal. I became free eight years ago when he called it off. ”

”Oh dear heart, you should have told me. I did not know what Patrick did. King Evan just informed us that Patrick wanted to wait a few years before going through with the engagement ceremony. ”

Queen Mary got up and walked towards Natalie. She enveloped Natalie in a warm hug.

”Mama, I am fine. Patrick has a sea of women swimming all around him. He can choose any one of them, from celebrities to royalty. ”

Natalia walked again to the balcony.

”Why me? ” Natalia asked, staring at the crescent moon.

”Patrick can shove the royal summons right up his .. ” before Natalia could finish her sentence, Queen Mary again interrupted her.

”Language, dear. Lets not jump to conclusions. Go on one date with Patrick. Hear him out. ” Queen Mary suggested.

”Yes, Princess Natalia. You be the better person. ” Bibi said with her head bobbing up and down.

”Nope. I don jump when he says jump. He wants to meet me, he comes Yuanda. I will not be royally summoned. Im not a dog. ” Natalia huffed and sat down at her dresser again.

”Just think about it, dear. Take some time to consider meeting up with Patrick. ” Queen Mary said and kissed Natalias forehead.

Bibi curtsied as Queen Mary left Natalias room. Then she went about pulling down the bed covers, readying Natalias bed for her. Bibi walked over to the balcony and closed the balcony doors.

”Come, Princess Natalia. Its time for you to rest. Don overthink too much. ” Bibi said as she led Natalia to her bed. She proceeded to remove Natalias outercoat and hung it on the coat hanger.

”Bibi, you would not let one of your daughters be treated like this by a man, right? It is not right that a man has the final say in who he wants to get married to. What about a womans right to choose? ”

”If any one of my daughters husbands disrespected them, you know that Madi would kick the living daylights out of them. ” Bibi laughingly said as she visualised her husband kicking either Pumba or Vickis backsides. They would look so comical with Madi chasing them around and trying to kick their behinds.

As she lay down on the bed, Natalia looked at the ceiling and wondered, ”With so many women for him to choose from, why me? ”

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