I see an alternate me. She has a family and friends. We look exactly identical except for one key difference: the sadness of my eyes is gone and instead is replaced with pure joy and serenity. This is what could have been. This might have been my reality and that simple fact that realization haunts me. I wake up in a cold sweat. I have a hard time sleeping now that my dreams are plagued with regrets of my past. I stumble to the bathroom and take a couple xanax which only temporarily stops the pain. Long enough for me to get a good night’s rest? I think not. The darkness envelops me and I plunge yet again back into the land of sleep .The morning sun trickles in through my window casting tiny shadows that dance along my wall. The sharp ring of my doorbell pierces the silence deflating it like a balloon. I climb down the grand flight of stairs to my door and open it. It’s Beebee, my makeup artist. Not a word passes between us as we walk back up-stairs and I try to repress the bad and ugly thoughts as Beebee applies layer after layer of thick powdery makeup. I have barely ever spoken to Beebee. I know nothing about her but yet somehow she feels like the truest friend I have ever had. I know she doesn’t feel this way. To her I’m just another job, just another vain celeb to paint. After Beebee leaves I slip into some horribly uncomfortable designer pajamas, take a selfie and post it with the caption “#Woke up like this.” Already at least nine hundred views I still can’t believe nine hundred people would drop what they were doing to look at a staged picture of me. I decide to take a walk. I try walking downton to do some errands but my feet always guide me to the same place. The cemetery. I walk around the trees, fall leaves crunching under foot. There is almost no one here except a couple of widows mourning their long lost husbands; they have a right to grieve their loved ones, they did not leave them on their deathbeds or betray them or refused them for what mere regenition, an instagram feed with a million followers. I have no right to be here but yet here I am. I sit down at my mothers grave when I first came here, I mourned my mom but now I mourn not only that but my horrible choices. What I sacrificed to claw my way to the top. A laugh escapes my lips in any other setting this would be fine but not here. I try to stop but I can’t. I keep laughing louder and louder it takes over my body and soon my laugh turns into a shriek. My part laughter part shriek starts to die down and as soon as it’s over I pass out. I wake up frazzled. It seems to be a couple hours later the sun is setting so I walk back home when I open the door my husband is sitting in a big leather armchair as I come in he walks towards to kiss me. I push him away, a small sting travels through my wrist and I run upstairs. I look through my phone’s photos. I have to go back a couple years but I find a photo of me and Rose. She was perfect, she was smart, funny and gorgeous. But I left her for this loveless relationship even if you can call it that. I married for money in the hopes that it would help my career thrive of course it did. But in exchange for gaining fame and fortune I lost my soul. I decide to text Rose maybe to see if we can repair our broken relationship. “Hi” I text hoping she reads it. She does the little three dots appear on the screen she’s texting back! This shred of hope envelopes me. I feel happier than I have been for months but it’s gone when the three dots disappear and a notification pops up on my phone saying that she’s blocked me.
After we broke up she had closed me out of her life but this was the final blow. She was the last person to completely shut me out of their life; this was the last straw. I run into the freezing bitter air with nothing so much as a jacket to protect me from the cold. I pull my car out of the garage and drive. I drive for hours until I find what i’m looking for. I run into the store, slam a hundred dollar bill on the counter, grab the item I need and run. I run back to the car and lock the door shut. I hold my recently purchased gun to my head and my entire life flashes before me. I see me losing my first grade spelling bee to Jack Markowitz, my sister and I running around the house blankets tied around our necks like capes, I see me blowing out candles on my 13th birthday and yet again a year after year, I see me at my first day of highschool so nervous that nobody would like me, I see my mom on her deathbed and me cross town at an audition, I see every single horrible mistake I have ever made being presented before me like evidence in court. “A million reasons why I am a horrible person.” Sentence death.
I hear a tap on my car window perhaps it’s death. But no it’s Rose her raven black hair blowing in the wind she is just as beautiful as the day I left her. She looks concerned, maybe she still in her heart of hearts loves me. I reach to unlock the car door to let her in to save my life but it’s too late. I’ve already pulled the trigger.

A Message of Hope

I awoke to the smell of fresh challah filling my lungs and the sound of papa’s merry humming as he swept his broom across the worn tile floors. “Morning, Bubbeleh, or should I say evening! You must’ve had a late night. You almost fell asleep in the babka!” he chuckled.

“No, papa. I was just resting my eyes.” the truth was I had stayed up late, I was practicing my bat mitzvah portion. I knew my portion like the back of my hand. I could say the V’ahavta with my eyes closed, and I had my pretty dress picked out. Papa took it to the dry cleaners to get it extra clean and soft. When I tried it on, Papa started gushing and saying I looked just like Mama.

“Well, there is time enough for resting after we close up the deli,” he smiled.

“Yes, Papa,” I said as I stacked the stools against the big window tinged red with the departing sun.

Papa had inherited the deli from his parents when they passed away. For me, it was fun working there. He let me braid the challah and sometimes serve the customers. But I could tell that it was hard work for papa, we didn’t get as many customers as we used to. My dad told me when the deli was new, people used to come from far and wide to try Bubbe’s famous matzo ball soup and Zeide’s pastrami on rye. At least the regulars still come for their sabbath challah, always happy to see me.

Snow gathered on windows as we put on our hats and coats. I loved Friday night services, I loved the warm glow the Shabbat candles cast on the walls inscribed with verses from the Torah, I loved the challah that everyone passed around that always tasted so sweet, but above all, I loved the silent prayer. When everyone had their own conversations with God and it is so quiet it felt like the silence had been there forever until the soft voice of the rabbi slowly brings you back down to earth.

We walked along the darkening street making our way towards the temple. Strangely, there was a crowd of people outside the temple. I pushed my way to the front of the crowd and caught my breath. Our beautiful temple had been attacked. There were horrible words, words that hurt deep down, words that were so cruel, that spread so much hate, that only the truly broken dared use them. Those words were spray-painted on the old bricks on our synagogue, the windows were smashed, and the sign of “Shalom” that guarded the entrance was gone.

I held back a sob as I saw the old scrolls of the Toras being carried out. I turned back around as I felt a gentle hand placed on my shoulder. My vision blurred with tears, I made out the sorrowful expression on Papa’s face. “Come Bubalah, let’s go home.”

The next morning I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to move, but Papa needed me and I needed him. I wandered sorrowfully into the kitchen.“I have bad news. The heater was destroyed and the windows were broken. We can’t have your bat mitzvah there.” No, that could not be, I’d held this day in my heart for too long for it to be ruined. “Unless we can find a place in two days that can host…” he continued. I ran out of the room, hot tears running down my face. I fled to my room slamming the door behind me. I sat in silence letting the waves of sadness, confusion, anger, and finally hopelessness wash over me.

I heard Papa’s heavy footsteps stop outside my door. He leaned in and whispered, “I know this is hard, and I understand how you are feeling. You stay in there as long as you need.”

“Thanks Papa, but I think I know what I want to do.”

I slowly stepped out of my room and took a deep breath, “I want to do it here.”

“What did you say Bubbeleh?”

“I want to have my bat mitzvah in the deli,” I said firmly.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. I can’t think of a more meaningful place in the world than Bubbe and Zeide’s deli.”

“Whatever you want Bubbeleh,” he whispered as he pulled me into a hug.

“Welcome one and all,” the rabbi smiled at the expectant people sitting in front of him. “I know this is not what we’d all had in mind for Abigail’s bat mitzvah, but let us not dwell on what we have lost but what is to come.” He stood on the makeshift platform in front of the chairs we’d arranged in the little deli.

“When our ancestors were endlessly journeying through the desert, they had little food and were in desperate need of water, but they kept going. It is persistence like this that has driven the Jewish people for centuries. When our temples were blown up, burned down, when we had nothing, we always had each other. In the darkest times, we will always have each other. We will repeat our age-old mantra, od lo avda tikvateiu. We will never lose hope. It’s very important to remember that when people lash out because of hate in their hearts, temple is not just a place, it’s the people. Shabbat Shalom.”

“Are you ready?” whispered Papa, tears sparkling in his eyes.

“I- I think so,” I said feeling tears welling up in my throat. I thought about all that had happened. How mad I’d been at the people who’d ruined our beautiful temple. Now looking at the faces of the people who really cared about me, I just felt bad for them and I was overwhelmed by gratitude for Papa, the rabbis, Bubbe, and Zeide’s deli, all of it. I was truly blessed. I took one last look around, took a deep breath, and stepped up on the stage.

White Lights

“Eight times 16 divided by what” Lila asked herself out loud. “And you have t- yes miss Lila?” Mrs. Tarter asked. “Oh nothing Mrs. Tarter…” Lila said hastily, her cheeks going pink. Mrs. Tarter sighed “Yes, very well then so you will add the one and…” Lila breathed a sigh of relief, and went back to working, but she heard snickers from the back of the room. Math isn’t my favorite subject, I’m not good at it, and the teacher hates me. History wasn’t any better for her. There was a mean girl named Stephanie who was in almost all the same classes, and always picked on her. “Lila, have you gotten a tutor yet?” Stephanie asked. “It sounds like you need it, or maybe you just need a better memory.” Stephanie snickered and walked off. Lila heard the bell ring and ran off to science.

As she walked home, and she felt heavier every step she took, she saw the bright lights of her house standing just blocks away, but to her, it felt like miles. She felt like collapsing when she got to the front door, and knocked weakly, not wanting to use her remaining strength. The sun was shining bright, but she shivered in the cold frost in the fall of Salem Massachusetts. As her mother opened the door, she smiled. “How was your day?” Her mother asked. “It was good…” Lila said, as she smiled a fake smile. Her mother started to open her mouth, but not wanting to talk about her day, Lila slowly walked up the stairs, not wanting to let the truth slip.

She looked in her bag and pulled out some crumpled homework. “I should get this over with…” She said miserably. She picked up her half used pencil and started writing. Her eyelids started to droop, but suddenly, there was a flash of light and a knock on the door. Lila ran to the stairs and peaked over the banister there, standing in the front entry was a man, with a huge messy handlebar mustache and bushy eyebrows. She heard some snatches of the conversation as she leaned off the banister, “You have to go, it’s all part of the plan.” He said consistently. “You have to go. It’s for your own good.” He pleaded “No. This wasn’t part of the plan… It never was. I just thought you would take it, and we could go on without this part.” Her mother said. Lila ran downstairs to the man. She faced him. “The plan? What do you mean?” “Lila no no.. It’s all going to be ok. It’s part of the plan.” Her mother said as her face turned pale. She walked with her mother slowly down the road. “I don’t get it..” Lila said. “You don’t need to know, but soon you will find out.” They agreed to stay a few nights in a shelter until they could find somewhere else to stay. In the corner of the small room, there was something that smelled like rotten milk mixed with public toilet water and looked even worse. She sat down on the hard cold floor and lay down. She couldn’t possibly fall asleep here. She sat for hours, but eventually she fell asleep.

She woke up on the floor and groaned. “It wasn’t a dream… I’m still here.” She looked down at her dirty clothes and winced. “Honey, are you awake?” Her mother asked. “Yes I’m awake.” Lila said miserably. Her mother handed her a piece of stale bread. “It’s all we have. But you deserve it more than me. Now go get ready for school.” She started to walk away, but then she froze and her mother turned back towards her. “It’s all part of the plan, everything. But all of it is my fault. I’m sorry.” Her mother said, horrified. She got up and walked slowly to school, and sat down in her seat dreading what was to come. Everyone looked at her and started to whisper, she glared, tears in her eyes, and put her head down, not daring to look at the teacher. She saw everyone laughing and pointing, but the teacher said nothing. People she had considered friends now looked at her and smirked, turning to talk to someone else.
At lunch it was very different, but it was still just as bad. She sat alone, with no food, just watching the other people eating, like it was nothing.

As she walked back to the shelter, she shivered. She hadn’t been able to take any of her belongings with her, not even extra clothes. She shoved her hands into her thin ragged coat pockets and sighed. She looked around as other kids laughed at her. Then she saw the man. You could recognize him from a mile away. He looked like a homeless businessman with his rugged mustache and baggy suit. He turned around and started to run, he seemed almost scared of her. When she got back to the shelter she lay down on the hard floor. Without even taking a look at homework, she turned on her side and fell asleep.

Lila didn’t know how long she was asleep for, but she felt warm. A bit too warm. She shifted in her sleep, but it was too much. She opened her eyes to find the room around her ablaze. Fire burned around everything, but in the midst of the fire, she saw the man, standing above her and laughing. “IT WAS ALL PART OF THE PLAN.” It was a terrible laugh, but as she watched him, she felt pain and her vision got blurry. Everything turned white.

Lila woke up, sweaty, she lifted her head up in front of her unfinished homework. Everything was the same as she left it. She continued the homework again, still extremely shocked by what had happened. Then, as she finished her last sentence, she saw a flash of white light, and heard a knock at the door.

The Reverie

It started with an innocuous reverie: Lucy and I were perambulating atop a greensward. Peals of laughter came from our own mouths. The usual.

Then it got uncanny. One second, Lucy was right beside me. The next, she was gone. I didn’t fret. I knew she would come back. She would jump out from behind me, hollering, “Got you, Alana!” She would guffaw. I’d follow suit. The afternoon would end in relaxation.

But she never came back.

I thought it was a meaningless dream at first. I would wake with a start, scared out of my wits, but then I would look at the bed next to mine and see Lucy sleeping tranquilly. I would be comforted.

None of that happened. The dream wasn’t harmless, and I didn’t wake up. Instead, the reverie, which was quickly becoming a nightmare, kept going.

I was still alone in the dream, which meant so was Lucy, wherever she was.

“Lucy?” A beat, a shiver. “Come out. This isn’t funny.”

I expected her to relent, to call out, “I’m here, Alana!”

My sister did no such thing.

The dream didn’t end. I was baffled. Was I calling out her name in the dream, or was I yelling while asleep? I couldn’t tell. What I could tell was that there was meaning to this. Was it a furtive warning?

Then it happened.

Initially, my dream looked grainy. Then the faded, blurry shapes came into focus, and I saw what was happening.

I almost wished I didn’t. The only reason I was glad to be able to tell what was occurring is that if I hadn’t seen, I’d never have known. I wouldn’t have saved her.

I would never know what was happening in reality while this dream played out in my head.

Lucy was pedaling a bike in a rocky landscape somewhere visibly dangerous and far away. Her soft blonde hair and tiny frame shook slightly. Her normally bright, coal black eyes were glazed over, like she was entranced.

Lucy heaved forward with difficulty, like she was scaling Mount Everest. Her labored breaths didn’t fit what she was doing. Biking wasn’t strenuous. She looked pained and sweaty.

Her legs pumped, probably aching, but she focused on the bluff ahead…

My heart skipped a beat. Lucy was biking towards a scar! She was going to pedal off a cliff! I screamed, in my dream and aloud.

Now I actually awoke, shrieking in panic. I leapt out of bed, still sporting itchy pajamas, bounded down the staircase in four steps, and propelled myself out the door. I was perspiring and panting as I flung myself onto my bike. Only then did I realize I didn’t know where Lucy was. Where had she gone?

I decided to trust my instincts.

I pedaled forward, ignoring the screech of the weathered pedals. My bicycle was rusty and scratched, and the chains barely functioned.

But I had sloping hills to coast down, and determination fueled me.

I heaved huge breaths. When my instincts got stumped after a while, I tried to focus, to remember the dream. My lungs burned from the excessive riding. My legs screamed from being pumped so intensely.

How was I to find this cliff?

My legs gave out. My knees locked. I doubled over, shaking. I was dizzy and jaded from the sweltering sun. The world spun away from me…

When I awoke, it was dark. I sighed, frustrated, extended my enervated leg, and kicked the bike. It would serve no use on this lilliputian path.

Then I remembered. I recalled the reverie, the warning, Lucy, the bike, the bluff… I seized the bicycle handlebar, resolutely hoisting myself onto the seat.

I started out slowly again, pushing myself ahead. It was difficult to pedal, due to the steepness and rockiness of the knoll I was half-coasting, half-braking down. I recognized the barrenness of the land and felt a surge of encouragement, knowing this was the place where Lucy was.

Caught up in anticipation, as I forced the pedals into a swift cycle, my bike tripped and I flew off of it. I shouted and yelped as I fell, landing hard on my side. The hill offered me no clemency. My rough landing kicked up a cloud of dust. I spat, but it stuck to my tongue, feeling chalky on the roof of my mouth. The rocks embedded in the escarpment scraped my elbows. A tiny blossom of blood bloomed. I pinned my gaze elsewhere.

My arms stung from the scalding heat of the cliff, whose edge I hadn’t reached yet. There were only steep bluffs.

Where was Lucy?

I shook it off and staggered up the mountain. Grasping the multitudinous rocks jutting out, I slowly worked my way back up until I was reunited with my bike.

For the umpteenth time, I mounted it, pedaling downwards. A rush of air swept past me. I whizzed down the mountain at an unstoppable rate, screaming, but my brakes didn’t comply when I slammed my hands down.

Finally! I was grateful when a rock tripped me, sending me soaring to another precipice.

And I saw her.

She was tightly clutching the edge of the cliff. The rest of her body dangled below the edge, her face contorted into a fearful physiognomy. She was petrified but for the quaking of her body.

I ululated in fear. Lucy froze at the sight of me, probably thinking me a figment of her own reveries.

She waved one arm frantically.

I stumbled over the rocks. When I reached the edge, I knelt and squeezed her hand tightly.

Her hand became clammy and damp in my palm. I felt her slipping away…

I peered over the edge, regretting it. We shared a mutual gulp. I hoisted her up, but Lucy wasn’t prepared. Her weight pulled me down. We gasped as we fell, vociferating and howling. We plummeted down, down, down! We were going to hit the deadly ground—!

Then I woke up from my dream.

The Cold Murder

I peered out my window to see white, puffs of crisp blankets of snow falling to the ground, gracefully landing on the old, stoned pavement that covered the city of Boston. The beautiful, glistening scenery was soon disturbed by the deafening roar of angry Bostonians attempting to drive home after a long, cold day of work. As I reached down to grab a recent case file, the hallway flooded with the sound of applause and victory, what could all that raucous be about? I peered out my office door only to find a large crowd of my subordinates surrounding Logan Henry. I stormed out of my office, and barked, “what is going on?”
“Eh, Mr. Williams, sir, Logan just solved his 100th case. I-I believe he just tied your record. Sorry, for the noise, sir,” stuttered Susan, her hands trembling with fear.
“Where is he?” I demanded.
“Sir, I believe he just left, I think he is meeting his wife at the bar across the street to celebrate.”
I stormed out of the building, making sure to gather my red and black checkered scarf.
“Mr. Noah Williams, hi, I am glad you are finally awake, can you answer a few questions?” said some strange woman, who I couldn’t see clearly, due to a pounding headache.
“What am I doing here?” I asked, to the sound of beeping monitors, and a firm, stiff bed underneath me. Was I in the hospital?
“My name is Dr. Kelly. Last night someone, I believe one of your coworkers, found you passed out on the sidewalk next to a bar across from the police station. We suspect you tripped on a patch of ice and suffered a concussion. You probably do not remember much from last night, some of those memories should come back, just give it some time.”
Just as she finished talking, the police chief, Chief Davis, came in, his eyes puffy and red. Had he been crying?
“Mr. Williams, glad to see you are awake. I am deeply sorry to inform you that Logan Henry was found dead last night. We haven’t received the autopsy report yet, but we believe it was a murder. It appears he was choked. We need your expertise as soon as possible, the forensic lab is very busy, and we wouldn’t get fingerprints back for at least a few days.”
He’s dead, Logan Henry is dead, I couldn’t help but feel a slight smirk come across my face. I knew that if I could successfully solve this case, I could regain respect from my subordinates, the respect that I have always deserved.
Once I was finally cleared from the hospital, I went straight to the office, where I was greeted by Susan, “Mr. Williams, glad you are back.”
I nodded, and then promptly shut my door behind me. I opened his case file, the image of his cold, stiff body, looking all too familiar. I figured it was just because he looked like every other millennial living in Boston. I paid close attention to the ground in the photo, it was covered, ankle-deep in snow, but not the fun, playful type of snow, the type that hardens on top creating an icy, slippery surface. No wonder I slipped.
As I walked to the break room to grab a coffee to prepare for a long night of work, I suddenly remembered passing this room as I stormed out of the building the night of the murder. I remember storming out of the building and walking across the street to the bar where Logan was. I remember laughing at the sight of him shivering in the cold wind waiting for his wife. All I remember after that was walking across the street. Did I go over and talk to him, did I congratulate him?
I checked my watch, it’s almost midnight, so I began to pack up my things. As I am gathering all the photos, I notice a small symbol painted on the right corner of the lamp post, right next to where the body lay. Weird, I remember seeing that symbol somewhere. Also, the pizza box next to the dumpster seems familiar. Did I go into the alleyway with Logan? Is it possible that I saw the murderer? Perhaps that’s how I slipped, I was running away from the murderer.
Where is my checkered scarf? Oh well, I can find it in the morning. On my way out I stopped by the evidence room.
“Rebecca, can you get me the evidence from the Logan Henry murder,” I said, tapping my foot, counting the seconds go by that could have been used to solve this murder.
“Here you go,” she said, handing me the box. I collected the box and began walking out. “Mr. Williams, you dropped this,” she said holding up a clear zip-lock bag, containing a plaid scarf, my red and black checkered scarf.
“What was that doing in there?”
“Let me see,” she said grabbing the bag, “I believe this is the suspected murder weapon, it was tied around Mr. Henry’s neck when they found him.”
“Give me that,” I said grabbing the bag and storming out of there. My head hurt, did the murderer use my scarf to kill Logan? Suddenly it all came back to me, the name-calling, the pushing, and shoving, and finally his purple body, falling to the ground, with my scarf tied around his neck. All this time I have been trying to find the murderer when the murderer has been right in front of me all along. I ran out of the building but was suddenly stopped by Chief Davis.
“Chief, what are you doing here at this hour?” I asked, trying to act puzzled.
“Mr. Williams, I believe you know why I am here. The fingerprints just came back from the lab.”
“That is wonderful news, so do you know who did it?”
“Indeed I do, Noah Williams you are under arrest for the murder of Logan Henry.”

A Girl Stuck in a Castle

“And if you ever run outside again, you will be sorry, Amelia.” My mother said in a hushed tone as I bowed my head. It was the third time I snuck outside into the huge garden outside our castle. “Now go into your bedroom and get your pink dress. “Prince Adrian will be coming soon.” She said. I rolled my eyes as I jumped off my small throne placed next to my mothers. I hated the prince of the United kingdom. As I ran down the long hallway to my bedroom, I realized that the price was going to marry me! I walked slowly into my bedroom. I hated it. It was huge, and it had pink everywhere. I was almost 17 and I had the room of a 5 year old girly girl! I went to my big pink bed, where my pink dress with white polka dots laid. I sighed heavily. It was the ugliest dress I had ever seen. “Ugly, right?” said a voice behind me. I turned around to see my favorite maid, Samantha, was standing behind me slightly smiling. Samantha was always rebellious and an overall bad example. She had red short hair, and always wore old, black sneakers. It was almost impossible for me to believe she was hired by my parents. I smiled as I turned to her.“I know.” She continued, “I hated when your mother asked me to wash it.” She giggled as I started to undress for the pink puffy dress.
“Ding! Ding! Ding!” the chimes rang as Samantha was brushing my blonde hair. “We don’t have time!” she said, worried. I hurriedly ran out of the preparing room. I scurried down the hallway and jumped into my princess throne. “Pleasure to meet you, Queen Emelia the II.” Said Prince Adrein, bowing down slowly. I rolled my eyes. I could already tell he was trying to charn and impress my mother and father into marrying me so he could have more money for his kingdom. It was like that everytime.
My parents were known to be one of the wealthiest royal families in the country, and almost every week, a price from another kingdom would come and try to trick my parents into agreeing to marry me. But my parents were smart. Every time they would reject the princes all over the world. “Nice to meet you too.” said my father. They talked and talked until dawn as I sat, trying to stay awake.
“Wake up, sleepy head.” a familiar voice said quietly. I moaned as I got up from bed, realizing I wasn’t able to stay awake in my throne. “Oh no,” I sighed as I thought of how angry my parents were going to be at me. “C’mon,” said Samantha, “You have a whole feast to eat.” I sighed tiredly as I got off my way too comfy bed. Samantha held my hand as we walked into the prepare room. I had one of my pale blue dresses in my other hand, clenching the sleeve. Samantha quietly got me to take a shower and get dressed. I made my hair into a big bun, as Samantha tightened my dress and blue ballet.
“Look who woke up!” Prince Adrien said smiling. I fake smiled. “Why don’t you come sit down with us. We have something important to tell you.” Father said. I walked down the small flights of stairs into the big long table full of food. “What is it you wanted to tell me, father?” I asked, with a mouthful of chicken. “Well dear, we decided it was best for Prince Adrien to marry you.” Mother said. I couldn’t believe this. He looks twice my age! “He’s only thirty two darling,” Said mother, reading my mind. “Mother! You’re trying to make it sound like that’s nothing! I can’t marry someone twice my age! You would reject others, but not him?! He’s obviously trying to trick you into giving him money!” I yelled. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. “Darling,” My mother said surprisingly calmly. “You know we only want what’s best for you. And we think the best is Prince Adrien.” She said. I rolled my eyes for the fifteenth time that day. Mother and Father gave each other a look. “Amelia, we know that he looks like he would want our money, but he is actually..” Mother hesitated. “Your cousin.” She said quietly. My eyes opened as wide as our castle itself. I heard a gasp behind me. Samantha looked as shocked as me. “S-sorry queen.” She said. Mother sighed as she turned her face back toward me. “So darling,” She started with a forceful smile, “what do you think?” I felt the pressure come to me as everyone sitting at the table waited for my answer. “Um, I-I don’t know.” I said, trying to hold back tears. “Why don’t you go change as we clean the food for us to talk.” Father said sternly. I winced at the screeching sound my chair made when I pushed it back. I got up and ran out of the room as fast as I could. By this time I was already crying and my ballets were untied. As I got into the preparing room, I could feel Samantha’s hazel eyes staring at me nervously. “Are you okay?” She said. “Of course not!” I yelled, still crying. “I have to get married to my cousin!” Samantha could tell I was going to go on with how upset I was, so she grabbed my wrist suddenly. “We have to get out of here.” She said in a whisper. We changed out clothes quickly, and we both ran out of the big entrance.
“Amelia! Come back!” I heard my mother yell from the castle. I ignored her. Samantha was a few feet behind me, and we were almost in the carriage. We jumped in the back, and I ordered the butler to drive as far as possible. We were never ever coming back.