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Tough Love

Happily ever after? More like okay-ly ever after. This-is-finely ever after. Sure-why-notly ever after.

By Heather MillerPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 8 min read
Tough Love
Photo by Jared Subia on Unsplash

Priscilla stared at her hand, emerald stones glistening in the sunlight that filtered in through the large window she sat beside. It was truly a gorgeous ring, to be sure, and she appreciated the attempt he had made at choosing something outside the normal boring diamond that was so steeped in tradition. At least that much would belong to her, that small bit of deviation from what was expected.

Her favorite color was also green, a fact she was sure he'd taken into account.

It had been an interesting day, to say the least. Her mind was still reeling from everything that had happened. Had it been only a day? It felt like much longer. Part of Pris had known this was coming, at least in some distant and far off theory, but she'd never expected it to happen so suddenly. So soon.

Obviously, she'd been in denial.

Could they be happy? Sure they could. At one time, all she'd wanted was to find a Prince Charming. She hadn't expected it would be an actual prince then, even with her mother's constant meddling, but she hadn't minded. Not in the beginning, at least. James was kind, a good man, and someone she had been delighted to discover was not as proper as those who didn't know him were led to believe. Their affection had grown, transformed, and Priscilla had fancied that she was actually falling in love with him for a time.

A time before she'd seen the way he looked at Audrina.

A time before she'd seen the way Alexei looked at her and she'd finally looked at him back.

A heavy sigh escaped her as she sat in front of her vanity, brushing brilliant titan hair slowly as she stared at her despondent reflection. Typically, a gaggle of ladies' maids hovered around her and tended to all these basic grooming tasks but Pris had dismissed them all for the night saying she was not to be disturbed again until morning. She just needed some time alone, needed time to swallow back the bitter disappointment that swelled within her at realizing how trapped she was. How trapped they both were.


The soft noise drew her attention from the mirror, bringing the first smile to her lips since James had given her the ring. It almost sounded like a question though even in their world of fantastical creatures and brilliant magic, cats did not talk. Pris glanced down at the beautiful calico staring up at her, green eyes mirroring her own right down to the sadness buried in their depths. "You don't like this any more than I do, hmm?" she said as she set the ornate brush down. Everything in her suite of rooms was ornate. Decadent. Lavish. For show.

Much like her life.

Patting her leg, she hoped to entice Purrcilla (Yes, her cat was named almost identically after her own name. Young Priscilla thought she was clever and funny) onto her lap. The thin nightgown would not provide much protection from the sharp claws but she didn't care. Any sort of comfort would be welcome now. She'd take anything that made her life feel like her own, even for a moment.

Of course, being a cat, her companion merely stared up at her rather than taking the invitation. Typical. "You couldn't indulge me just this once?" Pris' tone was scolding though without any true venom behind it. She had had the cat since she was a baby. They'd grown up together. A brat she may be but she was at least Pris' brat.

Another chirp sounded from the floor, drawing her gaze for the first time to where the calico was laying. She hadn't noticed before but now saw the animal was perched atop a brown paper box as if it were her own personal throne. Pris furrowed her brow, confusion and curiosity warring for prominence in the forefront of her emotions. "Where did that come from?" As if her companion would provide an answer. Sometimes it was just nice to be able to speak to someone who didn't have any expectations or responsibilities for her, even if they couldn't talk back.

Shifting down from where she sat, Pris gently moved the cat off of the box. A loud protest was her reward but she only rolled her eyes. "You can have the box once I figure out what's in it," she promised, inspecting the package at every angle. Her engagement to a prince didn't mean she was safe from sabotage. Not in their court. A lady always had to be on guard, something she'd learned and taken to heart at a young age.

Satisfied, mostly at least, that it wasn't going to explode or otherwise harm her, she tore the plain brown paper covering it off. Huffing a sigh when there was a brown box underneath the paper rather than the reward of whatever she'd received, Pris glanced around for something sharp to cut open the package with. There was a pair of sewing scissors on top of her vanity, meant for small repairs when she didn't want to disturb any of the servants. Picking them up, she hurriedly cut along the clear tape holding the flaps together.

She barely noticed the small drop of red dripping onto the tape, nor the sting from the cut in her eagerness to see what was inside.

The first thing her eyes fell on made her breath catch. Pris recognized it instantly: a wedding crown. The emeralds sparkled in the lights from her vanity, casting tiny rainbow prisms over the interior of the box. Absently, before she could reach out and stain the gorgeous gift with her blood, she lifted her hand to her mouth. Her tongue made short work of the blood as superficial as the cut was, though the smell and taste was enough to cause her canines to elongate slightly. Taking a steadying breath, she waited until they receded to lift the crown delicately from where it was nestled on top of what looked like piles of exquisite emerald satin.

Impatient, the cat attempted to step over her mother's arms and into the box. She was gently shooed away, much to her chagrin. As the furry diva curled up beside her instead, Pris placed the crown on top of the cat. It seemed to pacify her, bringing a twitch of amusement to her lips as she turned back to the box.

The next item brought a gasp from her lips, her hands almost afraid to touch it. Despite her life of luxury, not to mention her recent involvement with royalty, Pris couldn't remember ever seeing something so beautiful. The emeralds were almost as big as her palm, making the necklace heavy when she lifted it. This one she didn't dare set on the cat, who was still wearing the crown. It sat more like a collar around her neck, causing a shake of her head as Pris reached to take it off. "You really are something else, you know that?" Standing, she set both carefully on her vanity before returning to the box.

Lifting the green satin, she inhaled sharply as a note fluttered from the silky folds of fabric. The dress shifted like water through her fingers, feeling equally as smooth, and she wanted to wrap herself in it right away. Pris held it close, as one might a lover, even as she picked up the paper that had fallen from within it.

Now that the box was empty, Purrcilla jumped inside, nestling into it as if it were a nest made especially for her. Pris didn't bother trying to move the cat now, instead standing and making her way to her bed with the dress and the paper clutched to her breast.

Priscilla my love,

I can only imagine how this must make you feel. I myself have some feelings about it, as you might expect, but none of them dampen the love I have for you. This situation is not ideal, what is in our world?, but it doesn't change anything. Not for me, at least. I love you. I want you. I knew what I signed up for and this may be sooner than expected but I am not going anywhere. You are my life, my future. It might look different than what we imagined when we were young and would dream of it together but all that matters is we love each other.

If you agree, if you believe our love can endure even marriage to another, then please accept these gifts and meet me in the gardens tonight at midnight. If you'll have me, I'd be honored to bind myself to you. Call it the wedding before the wedding.

Yours always,


Pris didn't realize she was crying until she noticed droplets peppering the paper she held. The ink blurred together as the water touched it, creating a similar feeling to what was going on inside her head. If the king or queen found out about this, well, there would be far more blood than she'd tasted earlier. This was only a balm, a bandaid atop the injury of not being able to marry who she loved for all to see.

But Goddess help her, she was going to do it anyway.

Setting the dress on the bed lovingly, Pris moved to the bathroom. She had a lot to do if she was going to be ready. Midnight seemed so far away but as she passed Purrcilla happily curled in seemingly innocuous brown box, she knew it would come faster than she thought.

Young Adult

About the Creator

Heather Miller

Just a girl with too many voices in her head trying to tell her what to write. Hopefully you like some of it as much as I like writing it!

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