Granny dragged me out of bed the next morning.
“Don’t fight me Annabelle” she said as she tried to snatch the blanket from me.
“I don’t want to fight you and...” I looked the clock on my night stand.
“It’s 7:00 a.m.” I yelled and my face fell into my pillows.
“You need to get up so we can dye your hair” she said that like it was something she did everyday.
“What?” I shouted so loud I’m pretty sure the nieghbours heard me.
“Just wake up” Granny rolled her eyes.
I washed my face and had a sandwich for breakfast.
“What’s this about dying my hair?” I asked Granny.
“I was just thinking that your hair is too red” she said “But that’s not the real problem....”
“Then?” I interrupted.
“Then we should give you contacts to change your eye color” Granny informed.
“Why?” I bellowed “I think my eyes are...”
“I don’t care what you think, I think that blue eyes look good with red hair and your amber eyes are weird and they look brown”
“No” I said.
“Yes, just for tonight and we’ll see if everyone likes blue eyes” Just then the phone rang.
“I’ll get it” I ran out the kitchen and answered the phone “Hello?”
“Belle?” It was Amara.
“Yeah, hi” I said.
“I need your help” she sounded worried.
“You need my help?” I asked in disbelief “With what? Homework?”
“No, we both know that’s not true and it’s about...oh..just come to my house I’ll explain when you get here and bring Lyra” she hung up.
I didn’t go to her house much but it was the only way I could escape my crazy grandmother. I peeled off my night gown and put on fresh clothes. A grey sweater with tight jeans and black boots.
I walked to Lyra’s house which was only a few blocks away. She was ready to go as usual. We took her mom’s car to Amara’s house. Amara was in the basement and her brother was teaching her some math equations.
“So what’s the big problem?” Lyra asked.
“Need help with studying?” I teased. “Because if that’s the case then we can’t help you because you are the master” I added.
“That’s not the problem...it’s...” Amara hesitated.
“Spit it out” Lyra demanded.
“I don’t know which dress to wear” Amara said.
“That’s why you called?” I asked in disbelief.
“Yes” Amara said miserably. Then she played with her hands until she noticed Lyra.
“Oh for Aries’ sake...” Amara groaned. “What is wrong with Lyra?”
Lyra was frozen, she wasn’t saying anything and she looked like someone just punched her in the gut.
I snapped my fingers in front of her face “Stars to Lyra. Are you okay?”
“She’s a girl!” Lyra exclaimed “Thank Gemini! She needs help looking good”
I tried not to laugh and Amara was blushing.
“Oh stop” she demanded “I was always a girl. Was and will be”
“Come on” I said “Let’s see if we can fit you into something”
Amara leaded us to her bedroom. She didn’t have many dresses maybe I could give her one of mine.
“You can borrow one of my dresses?” I suggested
“No” she said.
“It’s no problem” I continued “I have a lot”
Lyra was looking through Amara’s closet which was a total mess. “We are going to be here all day” Lyra breathed.
I sat at the edge of Amara’s bed which was covered in books and video games. Amara was sitting at her desk and playing with bracelets.
“Found it” Lyra exclaimed pulling out a powder blue off the shoulder dress with a bow on the bodice and a hem that was just above the knees.
“I forgot about that dress” Amara said looking relieved.
“You can wear this with white leggings and a coat and I a few accessories” Lyra explained.
“Whatever you say but I am not wearing those uncomfortable shoes” Amara said.
“You can wear white sneakers” I suggested.
Lyra was cut of by Amara “But nothing, I will wear whatever shoes I want and certainly not the ones that make my feet throb”
“Hey, beauty means being brave” Lyra quoted “and pretty is painful”
“There is nothing pretty or beautiful about those shoes but a lot of pain” Amara said.
“Oh, forget it” Lyra sighed “but I guess that means.....”
“We can leave” I finished for Lyra “Not that this wasn’t fun but we have to go now”
“Yeah” Lyra agreed “I’ll only have four hours to get dressed”
“How many do you need?” Amara and I chorused.
We left Amara’s house laughing. Granny was extremely mad at me. I took a bath and washed my hair and put on a dress with a skirt that feel to my feet and a bodice that fitted perfectly around my waist. It showed of my arms and it was decorated with sequins.
I did my makeup and let my hair flow down my back and used a curling iron to give it tight curls.
Dad was an hour late so Granny was freaking out and she was yelling at him the whole time in the car.
We were the last ones to arrive. I talked with Lyra and Amara then my eyes met Mckenna Scorpio. She was wearing a black dress that had such a deep neckline she should have been embarrassed. Her eyes were lined with dark eyeliner and hair had been dyed so now she had blonde highlights. I could hear her shoes clicking against the floor from the other side of the ballroom.
“She looks awful” I commented.
“I know right” Lyra agreed “Why is she staring at me like she’s going to devour me any second?”
“It’s probably because the prince danced with you the most” Amara chimed in.
Lyra turned pink “That’s not my fault”
“And he was talking to you” I added.
“He was just asking about my name” she told.
“What about your name?” Amara knitted her eyebrows.
Lyra sighed like she was about to deliver disappointing news “When I told him my name he said ‘Isn’t that a constellation?’ and I had to explain the story of how my mother named me ‘Lyra’ after her father’s constellation because that’s the constellation I inherited from my mother”
“That’s not so bad” I said.
“Yeah, I guess not” Lyra looked like her normal self now “Then I told him I could play the harp and speak three languages. He was impressed”
Lyra is the most talented girl I have ever met. She inherited Lyra from her mother and Gemini from her father. She’s good with little kids maybe because she has four younger siblings who are Gemini twins which is a handful but that’s why she’s got two hands. She’s encouraging and bubbly and pretty. No wonder the prince is interested in her.
King Jaxon made a speech but it was hard to pay attention because some girls, namely Mckenna and Gwen were giggling and whispering behind us.
“Belle, are you alright?” Tristan asked putting a hand on my shoulder.
“Yeah, I’m fine” I yelped. I didn’t realize I zoned out.
“What were you thinking?” he asked playfully.
“Nothing much” I replied “Just how much trouble I would get into if I shoved my shoes down Mckenna and Gwen’s throats if they don’t stop laughing”
He chuckled “You have strange thoughts”
He opened his mouth to say something but we got interrupted.
“Excuse me” said a voice from behind me. Why is everyone always behind me? Tristan rolled his eyes and walked away I wish I could the same but that would have been rude. I turned around hesitantly and saw one of the palace guards.
“The queen requests your presence” he informed. It took me a while to process what he said in my brain. I walked over to the queen who was in deep conversation with my grandmother. I gave her bow and Granny put an arm around me.
“This is my grand daughter, Annabelle” she introduced.
“Hello” I said lamely.
“Good evening” Queen Sophie greeted.
“I will leave you two to talk” Granny said and left which made me feel awkward. I did what I do best I started studying Queen Sophie Serpens.
Her dress was as green as her eyes, her skin was dark and her hair was bleach blonde. Her fingers were decorated with rings studded with star stones. Then I looked at her closely and I found out her crown was embedded with small star stones, she wore chains of stones around her neck. Why did she have so many? Just like the king. Everyone has at least three like the tattoos.
“How old are you?” she questioned.
“I’m seventeen but I’ll be eighteen in February” I said. I wish I hadn’t said the last part it sounded lame my birthday wasn’t for almost five months.
“My eldest son, Alec is close to your age” she informed “What do you think about him?”
I hesitated which wasn’t good. “I think highly of him” I regreted it the moment I said it.
“I didn’t get to talk to him much but my friend talked with him and she thinks he’s really nice” I blurted.
“He’s trying to spend time with all the girls in the kingdom” she said sternly “I’m sure he’ll get to you”
“Yes, I’m sure he will” I said “Excuse me”
I walked so fast like she was chasing me. I found Tristan and completely out of breath I said “Sorry about that”
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Maybe” I replied. I’m never sure what I’m feeling.
“Talk to me” Tristan said. With that I put my hand in his and talked all night. It felt great to talk to my best friend, I could talk to him about anything. He told me a couple of jokes and I tried not to laugh so loudly. Sometimes I got lost in his words or I stared into his blue eyes until I was almost blind he gave me feel like no one else did.
I was having fun so obviously something went wrong, suddenly I felt like someone was pressing a warm rock on my chest. I pulled out my necklace that held my star stone, it was glowing and it was hot. Not burning hot but it was as warm as roasted marshmallows. It made me sleepy.
Just then panic broke out. Everyone moved away from the large windows, there were about eight of them. I light shined in the room and I knew it was a star shining. I looked out one of the windows, it was Virgo. I am in so much trouble, I thought.
Everyone was staring at me like I did something unbelievable which I did. I didn’t realize I was doing that. I made my constellation move without knowing it. Part of me was terrified and the other part was amazed.
Granny was no where to be seen which should have been a good thing but then Dad grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the ball room.
“What did you do?” he asked. His face was red with anger.
“I don’t know how I did that and.....” I hesitated because my eyes fell on the star stone around my Dad’s neck. “How is your star stone glowing?”
“Because you lit up the night sky with Virgo and our stones are connected to our stars and....how did you do that?” he breathed.
“I don’t know” It was only a little lie. I know that when we’re feeling strong emotions our stars light up but I lit up my constellation.
“Annabelle, how are you feeling?” he asked lightly. “What are you feeling?” he added.
“But that didn’t make you....forget it” he said.
“I didn’t know I could do that” I promised.
“Everyone can light up a star but....”
“But I did something else I don’t know how but I was having fun I must have been feeling really happy so I got out of control” I explained.
“Find your grandmother we’re leaving now” he ordered.
Granny was overwhelmed with shame and she looked like she might pass out. When we were halfway back home Granny started to say she was embarrassed and she thought we were going to get exiled.
“What I did wasn’t bad” I yelled “Why is everyone so bad at me?”
That shut Granny up. “Annabelle” Granny said nicely “What you did was truely amazing but you did it in front of the entire kingdom and it looked like you were trying to draw attention to yourself”
I was staring outside the window and looking at Ophiuchus. I think I lit that up too because it was still shinning.
“How do you even know I did that?” I asked miserably.
“My days of stellifering are over” Granny informed. Stellifering is a really old word, I thought but kept it to myself.
Stellifering meaning star controlling and old people get weak because they’re...you know...old.
“It obviously wasn’t me” Dad said.
“So it has to be me” I muttered.
“You have to be careful” Granny said “We have to be loyal and faithful stellifers”
Stellifer is the Latin word meaning “star-bearing” It became our nationality because we have power over the stars. Not sure what Granny meant by “loyal” and “faithful” I wasn’t trying to draw attention to myself but as usual nobody cared what I thought.
I leaned my head against the carriage window and rested my face against the cold.