”Why? Why? Why? ” Natalia exclaimed while brushing her hair.
”Princess Natalia…..please don be rough with your hair.
” Bibi softly chided as she gently pried the hair brush from Natalias fingers.
e pulling off strands of your hair instead of brushing them. ”
As Natalia pouted and stared at herself in the mirror, Bibi lovingly brushed Natalias hair. Long, constant strokes until Natalias hair shone by the light from the night lamp. Natalias black hair fell silkily down her back like a waterfall of black ink.
Bibi was a plump woman of sixty years in age. She had worked in the palace as a kitchen helper since she was a teenager. Bibi came from a nearby village where the women have long served as maids in the palace, one generation to the next. Bibis mother used to be in charge of the kitchen until she retired ten years ago. Because of her familys trustworthiness, Queen Mary had alleviated Bibi from working in the kitchen to serve as Natalias personal maid since Natalia was two years old.
”I just want to know why I have to meet that….that….that Patrick again! ” Natalia spatted out Patricks name in disgust.
”He made a fool out of me eight years ago. I am not going to give him another opportunity to do that again! Im not that gullible! ”
”Princess Natalia…. ” Bibi said sighing softly. ”Perhaps you might want to ask him why he did what he did four years ago? One should not assume yes? ”
”I want to know why he has a say in this and I don . Is it because Im a girl? In this current era, we women have as much right to think and have an opinion. We have as much right as men to choose our life partner. ” Natalia stood up and walked out to the balcony.
”And why must I get married? ” Natalia shouted to the crescent moon peeking out from the passing clouds in the sky.
”Bibi, I have a Masters Degree in Business Management. Im not some idiot pretty princess with no brains. I worked like any normal person did after my graduation. I loved London and would not have returned to Yuanda if papa had not insisted. ” Natalia said as she returned to sit down at her dresser.
Bibi picked up the brush and began to brush Natalias hair again.
”Princess Natalia, Queen Mary and King Stephen did what they thought was best for you. Yuanda is a small country. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing. With you nearing thirty and no sign of settling down, they are worried. ”
”Why should they worry? Theres Mikhail who is already married. And with two sons at that! ”
”Because, dear heart, papa and I want to be around to play with your children. ” Queen Mary said softly as she entered Natalias room. Natalia rolled her eyes as her mother walked in.
Bibi curtsied at Queen Mary before continuing to brush Natalias hair.
”And before you go getting angry again, hear me out. We want to make sure that your partner will be one that will honour and love you. ” Queen Mary explained as she sat down on Natalias bed.
”We chose Patrick because we know King Evan and Queen Rishi well. And both of you got on famously when you were children. All of us just knew that both of you would be a good match for each other. ” Queen Mary continued calmly.
”Aargh!! Mama! How on earth do you and papa know whether Patrick will honour and love me when you accepted a betrothal with King Evan? We were both small children. Did you think an angelic child of six would turn out to be an angelic man? ”
”Princess Natalia is angry ” nodded Bibi to Queen Mary. ”She shouted at the moon. ”
Queen Mary nodded at Bibis explanation and smiled.
”Nat, Yuanda and Grisling are two small principalities that border each other. Both countries have been friendly with each other for many, many generations. Both Kings felt it was the right thing to do, to unite both countries with the marriage of our children. ”
Queen Mary looked at Natalias eyes through her dresser mirror.
”We are happy that Mikhail has found his love and have two adorable sons. Now we want you to be happy in married life as well. ” Queen Mary smiled hopefully at Natalia.
”Bibi, please stop brushing my hair. Go sit with mama. ” Natalia took the brush from Bibi and pointed her finger to her bed.
As Bibi went to stand 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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