I notice my reflection in the gold that litters the familiar walls of the royal court. I was a child upon my last visit, now the face looking back at me resembles my young mother. We used to come here as a family quite often. Most stays my time was spent with the other children and our nurse, as my parents spent the evening drinking and dancing. I remember my mother’s excitement each time we came to this beautiful palace.
It took almost a full day to get here, and I knew I would be expected to stay an evening or two. The servants escorted me further as we entered into what I knew as the ballroom. So many times I imagined what it would be like to come here as an adult. My intuitions told me that this invitation was about much more than just a waltz.
My name was announced as I held my head up and smiled to the many people scattering the ballroom. Queen Isabella was the first to greet me.
“Ana, I cannot believe how you have grown. It has been ages since you have come to visit me. You remember coming here don’t you, dear? My Ana, you look just like your mother. I really miss her and your family here.”
I bow slightly out of respect, “Queen Isabella, it has been a long time. Thank you for your kind words; I miss my mother and this court as well.”
I wanted to scream at her for putting my father and I through this crazy time and for turning our beautiful palace into a place of fear and bloodshed. But I just smile, my eyes trying to find reason in hers for my sudden purpose here.
“Come now, Ana. Let us enjoy our evening and perhaps you will run into a few familiar faces.” She speaks almost excitedly.
Bowing once more I reply, “Thank you your majesty. I’m sure the evening will be lovely.”
“Please dear, call me Isabella”, she encourages as a young man appears at her side.
He bows to the queen as she takes leave. Turning to me he takes my hand confidently in his and presses his lips to it, “You must be Ana, I remember those twinkling blue eyes anywhere. It’s me Sebastian.”
I can barely believe my eyes as I recall the young boy I used to spend countless hours in the courtyard playing with. Standing before me this boy is replaced by a man, a handsome one at that. His eyes are still the same deep brown and his dark hair is still slightly unkempt. I shake my head as I attempt a look of confidence and not one of surprise.