I always had a soft spot for fairy tales - you know, those kinds of good-natured stories that grabbed you by the hand and pulled you in, taking you to a land of dreams and happy endings. The kind of story where cheesy lines and cliches were not only accepted, but expected. The stories that consisted of sweet, nurturing princesses ,handsome and charming princes, sweep-you-off-your-feet knights, and a helpful friend or two.
Those were the types of stories I love… Even as a child I had a captivation with them. Actually, it was more than a captivation, it was a dream. I wanted to be the princess in the pages - the one who was beautiful, and fun, and everyone loved. I wanted to wear a tiara on top of my head and parade around in pretty dresses all day. I wanted to meet my very own prince.
But that’s pretty typical isn’t it? It wasn’t like it was an out of the ordinary wish for a little girl. If I went up to most women and told them about my childish aspirations, they would most likely be able to relate.
But as little girls grow, those dreams begin to dampen. Castles become homes, princes become simply cute boys, tiaras become a necklace and some jewelry. Everything simplifies and the longer someone goes with out fulfilling that dream, the more chance that dream has of fading until it’s gone completely.
I was at a time in my life when my dreams were simple. I wanted a job, a home, maybe a husband and family when the time was right. But I had given up on becoming a princess of my own. And I accepted that, after all it was a far fetched idea to begin with…
But even so, somehow, my disappearing ideals were rekindling - not in my mind, but reality. Which is why I’m thrown for a loop because, although yesterday I was your normal, everyday student, and tonight I stand before seven grown men bowing before me as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.
He was hunched over when I found him, his breath shaky and every time he inhaled it appeared as if he just couldn’t get enough air. He was an elderly gentleman, cloaked in fine fabrics that looked suited for wealth. He was by himself, which made his situation that much more troublesome, as I noticed him on the sidewalk. I couldn’t help myself when I went over to him. I couldn’t have just left him there when he looked like he was getting paler by the moment.
I made my way over to the old man, crouching slightly to look at him. “Excuse me,” I began hesitantly, keeping my voice soft as not to scare him - after all his health looked somewhat fragile at the moment. “Are you okay?” I asked, only to have a loud cough be my response. He looked up after a second, once his throat seemed to soothe.
“Hmm, I just suddenly seemed to feel a bit unwell,” he murmured in response, looking awfully troubled.
I frowned upon noticing this and I reached out to rub his back gently as he let out another cough. “There’s a little coffee shop over there if you want? You don’t need to drink but getting you inside where you can sit down may help,” I suggested, still rubbing his back.
But the man just shook his head, looking around while he did so. “No need. Someone will be here for me soon,” he pointed out before his shimmery eyes rested back on me. It took another look at me before something caught his gaze. “Oh, miss! That necklace,” he began in surprise, causing my own shock to begin to show at his outburst.
“Oh, my mother passed it down to me,” I answered, unsure just what exactly had gained his attention from it, which also made me a little sure about my response. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but he was stopped by the sound of footprints rushing towards us. I glanced away from the man, to the new one coming towards us. He was dressed in sharp attire and walked with a strong purpose as he came to us.
“Nobel Michel,” he began, almost breathlessly in a baritone voice as he came to our side. I was slightly shocked about the title of Nobel that came from the dark haired male’s mouth, but I didn’t have a chance to ask when Nobel Michel broke out into another coughing fit. “Sir, are you okay?”
“He said he suddenly wasn’t feeling well,” I relayed to the man now by us, but I didn’t look up, I’ve against in a slight disarray over Michel. But it only took a few moments for his spurt to die down this time.
The younger man looked deeply bother, concern flashing in his emerald eyes like a beacon.
But as he leaned down to talk to the man, Nobel Michel simply waved a hand in dismissal, as if his little fit wasn’t cause to worry. “No need to worry about me, Zain,” he spoke in a kind voice. “It’s no need to fuss. I feel a bit better anyway, due to this lovely, young miss. She saved my life,” he stated in a tone that acted as if it said it all.
My own eyes widened in surprise at this declaration. Saved his life? I wouldn’t go anywhere near that extent. I just patted his back a little. But before I could point this out, the younger man, whose name apparently was Zain, was bowing. “Thank you for helping out Nobel Michel,” he began, cutting me off from my own explanation. As he rightened himself, tantalizing green eyes met with mine, as he offered a light smile of appreciation.
It was strange and almost uncomfortable for him to bow to me, after all, I was just a common school girl, here in Charles to attend the university. Nobel Michel and Zain obviously weren’t in my class circle, they were very far above it, even Zain who I had the assumption he was the butler from the combination of his apparel and the way he spoke. In my awkwardness, I shook my head, a sheepish smile coming to my lips. “Oh, no, I didn’t do much really. Just what any normal person would do,” I explained hastily, but Michel didn’t seem to want to hear it.
“Oh, no need to be so modest, dear,” he began, his voice dripping with a kind-hearted note, despite still being slightly raspy from the nasty cough he had seem to come up with. “I sincerely appreciate it. What is your name?”
I blinked, as if the question was totally out of place, which to a girl like me, it was. I cannot stress enough that I was just a regular college student, so having a Nobel want to know my name - well, it wasn’t an average experience to have one ask.
I had to shake off my own shock, before finally responding, reciting my first and last name as if I were answering a question on a test. Michel’s gaze sparked with a amusement, almost as if his eyes were laughing. Even though moments ago he was doubled over, he had a lot of life in him - he just gave off a warm, welcoming type of aura. “Pleasure to meet you. Call me Mike,” he added as if I wasn’t thrown off as much as is.
“Sir,” Zain began, sounding as off put as I felt. He seemed not as if he wasn’t used to Nobel Michel’s antics, but as if he had dealt with them too much. Was this normal for the old man.
It would be a pretty safe guess to think so though, as once again, he wave his hand in dismissal. “It’s fine. After all, she did save my life. Besides, I don’t like the formalities that come with speaking to a stranger. I would love to feel like a friend of such a lovely lady,” he went on to explain happily, his voice seeming to gain some gusto from his previous fault.
I couldn’t refuse him as he looked at me again with wide eyes. They were… Similar to the hope that sparkled in a child’s gaze as they looked up at a person. It couldn’t hurt if that’s what he really wanted, could it? “Alright, then. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mike.”
The old man beamed, obviously pleased with himself, while his butler let out a soft sigh, but Zain didn’t seem to push the issue farther, as he regained a normal visage. “Shall we be heading home now?” He offered, his voice calm and soothing, like silk.
Mike nodded, but didn’t walk away, instead he looked to me, once again with that pleading look. “If I may offer, would you like to keep Zain and I company tonight for dinner? That way I’ll be properly able to display my gratitude. I would also love to get to know you better.”
If someone were to have snapped a picture of me then and there, it would not have been an attractive shot. I was absolutely dumbfounded at the suggestion, my eyes widening, my jaw probably going slack - I could only hope it didn’t completely pop open. “Oh, I couldn’t possibly intrude-“
“Would you like me to make the preparations?” Zain began, looking to his master and beginning to reach into the inside of his jacket for what looked like a phone.
Mike looked back to me expectantly. “It would really make this old bag of bones happy to have you with us tonight,” he prodded, which meant, I probably had no way to refuse. How could you possibly say no to a Nobel when he seemed to insistent?
Trying not to sigh, I eventually put on a small smile and nodded. “If you’re sure, I would love to,” I answered carefully, and with one last shinning grin in my direction, as Zain took out his phone and started dialling numbers as he led us to the limousine they had parked nearby , we were off and headed to the castle of Nobel Michel.
And that’s when my fairy tale really started.