“Tell me the story again mama!” little Charlotte begs.
“Ok my love, once more then off to bed!” Charlotte’s mum replies.
There once was a princess named Katherine, who lived in a charming village in the Kingdom of Eastonham with her mother and father, the King and Queen of Eastonham and her younger brother Harry. Katherine, or Kat as she preferred to be called, was quite the modern princess. She was devastated when her parents told her she must fulfill her royal tradition of marrying a prince from the neighboring kingdom on her 25th birthday. Kat did not believe in these outdated traditions and fled to her favorite spot in the village, Blackwell’s Books, after she received the devastating news.
“That’s my favorite spot too!” rejoices little Charlotte.
“Indeed!” smiles Charlotte’s mum.
This particular visit to the bookshop was like none before for Kat. She was still crying tears of both anger and sadness when she stumbled in and made her way to her favorite chair at the back of the shop. She didn’t even see the handsome stranger occupying her chair until she almost sat on him!
Taken aback Kat gasped, “Oh! I’m sorry. I didn’t see you. No one is ever here but me…” she faltered as she stared at the kindest blue eyes she’s ever seen.
“No apologies needed,” the handsome stranger responded. “I didn’t realize this seat was spoken for. I’m Drew,” he declared and held out his hand for hers.
“Kat,” she managed to say, as she wiped away the tears still glistening on her cheeks.
“Well, Kat,” Drew said, “I can see that you might need this little hideaway more than I. So I’ll leave you be, unless there’s something I can do to help?” he gently inquired.
“Can you transport me to another life that doesn’t include being a princess with overbearing traditionalist parents who fail to see I’m a grown woman in the 21st century that can’t be bound by outdated traditions and can make my own decisions about who and when to marry?” Kat blurted out in one breath, surprising herself. They stared at each other for a moment. Kat blushed and then recovered, “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I just spilled all that out to you!”
Drew smiled the most amazing smile Kat had ever seen, and said, “Well, I’m not sure I can do that, but I can offer you some tea and a walk down to the lake if you’d like?”
“And then she went, right mama?” Charlotte asks.
“Oh, absolutely!” her mama replies.
Kat and Drew walked and talked for hours. She learned he was a painter and as much of a bibliophile as she was. They chatted about books, art, life, and dreams. They even discovered they share a favorite season, the same opinion on tea, and a love for dogs. Drew didn’t seem to care about her royal status, only her passionate mind and heart. Over the course of the next two weeks Kat met Drew almost every day to hike through the forest, to ride horses through the countryside, to have tea (with sugar) and scones by the lake while discussing their favorite authors. Kat didn’t know what it was about this dashing, broad shouldered brunette, but she felt so at peace and so content just being in his presence. Sadly, Kat realized as much as she loved Drew, she must obey her family’s traditions, so she set him free. She wrote him a letter and left it under a book where they were supposed to meet at the lake.
“Dearest Drew, I’m terribly sorry for the letter, but it would be too painful face to face. I’m meeting my prince tomorrow. There’s no way out of it. It pains me greatly, but it does not sadden me as much as it does knowing that I will never see you again. Thank you for seeing my true self and for the memories that will last a lifetime. Goodbye! Love, Kat”
“Then what happened mama?” Charlotte wonders.
Kat was devastated. But being an honorable princess, she went home, got her rest and woke the next morning to meet her prince. She still felt anger toward her parents, their traditions, and her duties, but she hoped in time she would discover peace. Kat strolled into the parlor, dreading the sure to be obnoxious, royal snob she would be sharing her life with and cooly greeted her parents and the visiting King and Queen of Westershire with a tight smile. The prince, who had been staring at the fireplace, turned around slowly and just smiled. Kat was shocked and confused, certainly a little bit mad, but also a tad giddy.
“It was him, wasn’t it mama?” Charlotte bounced excitedly.
“I don’t understand! I believed that I was to meet Prince Andrew today?” Kat asks.
“You are. Much like you dislike Katherine, I dislike Andrew,” Drew explained.
“But, why didn’t you tell me who you were?” Kat pushed, still feeling a bit deceived.
“Please don’t be mad Kat,” Drew pleaded. “I should have told you, but honestly I didn’t realize who you were at first either. I ran from my village the day I met you as I wasn’t happy about marrying some snooty princess either. I needed to be alone. Then I met you. I got caught up in your amazing personality. I didn’t tell you that I was a prince because I wanted you to know the real me, not Prince Andrew of Westershire. I was going to come clean yesterday but I found your letter. Please forgive me and make me the happiest man by marrying me,” Drew finished with tears in his eyes.
Kat, overcome with emotions and the realization that maybe sometimes dreams DO come true, smiled broadly and exclaimed, “Yes!”
“I love that story mama!” Charlotte beams.
“Me too, sweetie!” Kat grins, hugging her daughter tight.