Eveline woke with the sun streaming into her eyes. Confusion swept through her when she opened her eyes. For a long moment she couldn’t remember where she was and why she was there, and then it all came rushing back to her. She yawned and stretched before pushing herself out of bed.
Harper came into the room to help her into her nicest dress. It was her first day in the castle and she wanted to make a good impression on her parents.
“You look wonderful,” Harper exclaimed.
“Thanks,” Eveline smiled, “Do you really think so? I’m so nervous.”
“There is nothing to be nervous,” Harper said, “You look wonderful, and they’ll love you.”
“Oh, I hope so.”
Harper gave her a one armed hug and gently led her down the stairs and to the dining room door.
“Well,” Harper said, “This is where I leave you. You’ll be fine.”
“Thanks,” Eveline smiled and took a deep breath.
Eveline turned the knob and slowly opened the door. Everyone in the room looked up from their foods when she walked in.
“Sorry I’m late,” Eveline said meekly.
“It’s good to see you,” the queen said gently, “Please have a seat.”
“Thanks,” she slunk into the nearest available seat.
“Good morning, Eveline,” Lauralie smiled happily.
“Good morning Lauralie,” Eveline said.
Eveline forced her food down. Her food was chalky and had no taste. She couldn’t get her mouth to function correctly, and was surprised that she didn’t choke on the food as it went down. She had never been so relieved when a meal was done before.
“You want me to show you around?” Helena asked, energetically “I can introduce you to everyone in the castle.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Eveline said nervously, “It’s my first day, and I don’t think that I’m up to meeting so many people today.”
“Come on, it’ll be fun,” Helena begged.
“Give her some room,” Lauralie urged Helena, “She needs some time to get things settled before she gets thrown into the social scene.”
“Oh fine,” Helena pouted, “I’ll see you later.”
She bustled out of the room.
“Thank you Lauralie,” Eveline said gratefully.
“No problem,” Lauralie said, “You looked like you were about to have a panic attack back there.”
“Thanks,” Eveline said, “I felt like I was about to die.”
“Well,” Lauralie smiled, “Would you like to join me today? I’m going to spend time with Abigail and Jenny. Maybe go visit the infirmary.”
“Sure,” Eveline said.
Lauralie gently led Eveline through the dining room doors and down the hall. Lauralie led her into the nursery where Abigail and Jenny were staying. A little girl with soft golden hair toddled up to Lauralie as they entered the room.
“Aunty Laulie,” she said, raising her arms, begging to be held.
“Hey Abigail sweetie,” Lauralie said, lifting Abigail into the air, “I would like you to meet Aunt Eveline,” she turned Abigail around to look at Eveline.
“Hello,” Abigail said politely.
“It’s nice to meet you Abigail,” Eveline said.
Abigail started to squirm and Lauralie placed Abigail back down on the floor, before going over and lifting Jenny up off of the floor.
“Eveline,” Lauralie said, “This is Jenny.”
“She’s so cute,” Eveline said, taking Jenny’s hand in her own.
Lauralie passed Jenny off to Eveline.
“I can’t believe Rosemary has two children,” Eveline said.
“I know,” Lauralie said, “It seems like just yesterday we were planning her wedding.”
They spent the next couple of hours playing with their nieces and catching up on all that Eveline had missed since the last time they had seen each other. Time passed Eveline by and before she knew it the whole day had gone.
“Well, it was nice to talk to you,” Lauralie said at the nursery door, “I would walk you back to your room, but mother has requested to speak to me.”
“That’s alright, I’m sure I’ll be able to find my way back to my room,” Eveline smiled.
“Well, good night,” Lauralie said, giving Eveline a hug good night.
Eveline started back the way she thought she had come. She had taken so many turns that before too long she was hopelessly lost. She tried going back from where she started, but all that did was get her even more lost than before. She was hopelessly lost, and she was starting to panic, finally she came to a room.
She knocked gently on the door before she stepped into the room and looked around. It was a small room compared to all of the other rooms in the castle. The only light came from a small candle that was sitting on a small table near the window.
“Hello?” she called out nervously.
“What brings you to my neck of the castle?” a voice came out from the corner of the room.
“Um,” Eveline started, “I was trying to get back to my chambers, but I got lost.”
“Oh,” the voice said, “That is easily resolved.”
The owner of the voice picked up the candle and moved closer to where Eveline was standing. He was a head taller than Eveline, with what appeared to be black hair. The candlelight made his eyes seem like there was fire in his dark eyes.
“I’m Joshua,” he said, holding out his hand.
“Eveline,” Eveline said, taking his hand.
“Eveline?” he asked.
“Yes,” Eveline said, “I’m the youngest daughter of the king and queen.”
“Really?” he sounded shocked, “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
“Thanks, you too,” Eveline smiled, “Joshua.”
“Here, I’ll take you back to your room.”
He took her hand and led her down the corridor. He took her through all sorts of twists and turns that caused her head to spin. She couldn’t keep up with which direction they were going.
“Here you go,” Joshua said, releasing Eveline’s hand at the door to her bedroom, “Good night, ma’am.”
“Thank you for bringing me back,” Eveline said, “I appreciate it.”
“No problem,” he smiled, and bowed his head politely, “Ma’am.”
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t call me ma’am,” Eveline said, “Just call me Eveline.”
“Alright,” Joshua said hesitantly, “Eveline.”
Eveline thanked him again and went into her room. She was just sitting down on her bed to brush her hair when she felt herself starting to go into one of her fits. Her hands started to shake so hard that she could barely hold her brush. She started having difficulty breathing, her whole body was shaking. She was nauseated and the world was spinning. She was about to black out when she saw the door open.
“Eveline!” Harper called out, running over to the bedside, “Eveline,” she placed her hands on Eveline’s shoulders, “Look at me. Focus on me.”
Eveline struggled to concentrate only on Harper, what she was saying, doing, wearing, anything to keep her mind focused on reality. Finally the fit ended, and she dropped exhaustedly onto the bed in a heap.
“You alright?” Harper asked, gently pushing the hair out of Eveline’s face.
“I will be,” Eveline breathed, sighing, and closing her eyes.
Harper covered Eveline with a blanket, making sure not to wake Eveline up. Harper went to the window seat and sat down. She spent an uncomfortable night on that windowsill, keeping an eye on Eveline in case she went into another one of her fits during the night.