Chapter 12: The fragile girl
It’s been a few days since I’ve started attending classes again and I can’t say that the situation and rumors spread throughout Awa had changed. If possible it seemed to have gotten worse. Students no longer just stared and started pointless rumors about what they thought about me, they now resorted to pranks, vandalism, and other means to make my school life miserable.
On my first day back on campus, the “popular” kids of the school had filled my locker with raw meat and a note stating the reasons I shouldn’t be queen and why my sisters are better than me. Of course, it didn’t end there because at lunch Celine- the head of the popular- “accidentally” dumped her lunch on me and later tripping me in the hallway. I was angry and frustrated with everything that was happening because it just keeps getting more and more difficult to ignore everything.
But no matter how angry I got with everyone around me I didn’t retaliate. Instead, I picked up what little pride I had and left. It would be pointless to yell or fight back because it wouldn’t change anything. It would be like adding fuel to the already burning fire. Totally pointless.
It didn’t even matter if the Royal family thought they were helping the situation by having me move into the palace. Because try as they may the citizens of Awa were not going to side with Prince Marcus’s decision to marry me. In fact, they were furious at the decision. So much so that the noblemen’s children attending Kingsley high were doing everything possible to continue making my life as miserable as humanly possible.
I felt someone tap my shoulder, bringing me out of my wandering thoughts. I tilted my head to the side to see Linda smiling sadly at me as we continued walking towards our lockers. I knew she could tell that everything that had been happening was finally taking a toll on me. But she didn’t say anything because she knew nothing would change. She gave my shoulder a reassuring squeeze and I put a fake smile on my face to stop her from worrying.
As we got closer I saw Rachel trying to close the metal door of her locker as she struggled to keep her notebook from falling and her bag on her shoulder.
“Hi Rachel, I didn’t know you were going to Kinsley high although there isn’t any other school for you to attend.” I joked as Linda helped her close the door of her locker. I was physically and emotionally exhausted from today’s events and I couldn’t wait to go back to my room. I needed some time to myself so I could think and even cry if that’s what it takes for me to feel a little better.
Rachel gave Linda a grateful smile before replying. “Well, actually today’s my first day attending this school. I don’t know if I’ve told you where I’m from.” I frowned at her. It didn’t cross my mind that she wasn’t from here. Hardly anyone from neighboring kingdoms ever came to Awa to study or work. So I just thought she lived here.
“Aren’t you from Awa?” Linda asked with a frown etched on her face. Rachel shook her head ‘no’ while adjusting her bag on her shoulder and book in her hand.
“I’m actually from Aries kingdom. Since I’m new here, Queen Mariah said I should start attending Kingsley high and that I didn’t have to worry about the expenses.” Rachel explained as I raised a brow at her. I didn’t know that they were letting anyone from Aries kingdom enter Awa. Last I knew our alliance with them wasn’t as strong as others thought.
Apparently, after the disappearance of their princess and king shortly after their late Queen Juliana’s death, they didn’t trust any of the other kingdoms. Now Aries kingdom is being ruled by the missing King’s younger brother. And since he took the reigns rarely anyone enters or leaves Aries. At least that’s what I heard.
I was once again brought out of my thoughts when Linda started questioning Rachel.
“Then why are you here if you’re from Aries Kingdom? They don’t normally let anyone move from there?” I could see that Rachel was hesitant to say more than she should. In a way, she had every right not to spill the beans about her personal life. After all, no one goes around telling their families background to people they’ve only just met.
I decided a change in the subject would be best or Linda might make the poor girl spill the secrets she didn’t want us to know.
“So Rach what happened to you yesterday? We didn’t see you or most of the maids the entire day.” I asked as she released a breath of relief. Linda quickly forgot what she had asked a few seconds ago as she waited for Rachel to tell us what punish they received for helping us. Linda was only interested because she didn’t receive any herself. Perks of being the personal maid of a Northwest and soon to be queen. Her words, not mine.
“The head of staff made everyone who took part in your prank, scrub the ballroom floor and windows with only a toothbrush. Then she gave us an two hours worth of lectures about following the likes of childish people. Please don’t take that as an insult princess. I’m only repeating what Mrs. Peterson said. Even if it’s only been a few days since I started working here, I already know Mrs. Peterson is crazy.”
She had a point. The woman still lived in the old-fashioned ways that no one wanted to follow. But that never stopped her from trying to push everyone in that direction.
“I wouldn’t say you’re wrong Rachel because that would be a lie. Mrs. Peterson is bonkers.” Linda said, dramatically throwing her hands in the air.
I laughed at their mutual dislike for the woman not that I was particularly fond of her. Heck, I’m sure no one in kingdom does with the way she treats everyone. You would think she was the Queen and not Aunt Mariah.
“Excuse me but are you by any chance Lady Rebekah?” A small voice behind me asked. All of our heads turned in the direction of the voice to see a year, 1 student.
The girl was in an old worn out uniform and she looked like she hadn’t taken care of appearance in months. Her black hair was a messy bun on top her head and her eyes had big bags under them even her lips were cracked from what could only be lack of proper hydration. Her body could almost be seen as skin and bones. Overall she looked exhausted and fragile like she could break at the slightest touch. I felt my anger rise at thought of how she must be treated and what she has to do to survive.
She was so young and she didn’t look like she had eaten anything for years. This was what I disliked about the way we lived in Awa. The young and old who couldn’t afford more than one loaf of bread was simply ignored by everyone. The young might be able to attend Kingsley high but what good would it do if they fainted from lack of food and water during classes or on their way to school.
I turned my full attention towards the fragile girl as she nervously shifted from side to side in her spot. She avoided eye contact with any of us.
“Hi I’m Rebekah, is there something I can help you with?” I politely asked her. At the sound of my voice the girl’s head snapped up to look at me with wide eyes, flushed cheeks and mouth ajar. I frown at her reaction trying to figure out why she would react like that when I replied.
Did she think I would yell at her?
“Lad-dy Celi-n-ne asked m-ee to give you-u this-s.” The girl stuttered as she quickly placed the envelope in my hand before running off in the other direction. I looked at the girl running away from us then back to the envelope in utter disbelief.