“Please, Clementine. Please don’t give me trouble today.” My nanny, Nutmeg, practically begged. This was our daily routine, she had to dress me in whatever ridiculous outfit my mommy picked out for whatever royal function that was happening that day.
“No dresses!” I pouted.
“Mommy needs you to wear one, its your pretty princess dress. Won’t that be nice?”
“No! Dresses ugly!” I protested. I hated the stupid dresses my mommy made me wear, the frilly pink gowns were dreadful and uncomfortable.
Nutmeg sighed and ran her fingers through her hair, visibly frustrated. “If you wear the dress, I’ll take you and Hawk outside to play.”
I considered it. Hawk was Nutmeg’s son and my best friend, they lived here in the castle with us. Mommy said we were better than them, but I wasn’t so sure. They didn’t have to wear ugly clothes and sit in boring meetings or have their pictures taken a million times. They just got to be normal, and I was jealous.
“Nutmeg, why isn’t she dressed yet?” My mommy’s harsh voice scolded the nanny.
“She’s being difficult again.” Nutmeg sighed again. “She really doesn’t want to wear the dress.”
“She’s a baby for gods sake! Who cares what she wants, just dress her! She can’t overpower you.”
“Y-yes your majesty. I’ll get right on it.”
“Thank you, and when you’re done with that, please remove your child. He can stay in the castle, but I don’t want him socializing with Clementine too much. She’s better than you common folk.”
“No! He’s my friend!” I cried, I didn’t understand why my mommy didn’t want me to be friends with him.
“Oh, Clementine, you’re so much better than him. He’s not your friend, he’s just the help.” My mommy laughed, but I didn’t really think what she said was funny.
“No! No dresses! Hawk stays!” I started to cry, making my mommy’s face scrunch up like she smelled something bad.
“Ugh, deal with this. I have to go make sure Aloe is ready for our appearance.” She turned and walked out, the clacking of her heels echoing through my large bedroom.
Her leaving made me cry even harder. Why didn’t my mommy ever comfort me when I was upset? Hawk’s mommy always did that for him, while my mommy only ever held me for pictures.
“Shh, it’s ok.” Nutmeg scooped me into her arms and cuddled me. “It’ll be over before you know it, then you can come back here and play all you want.”
“W-with Hawk?” I sniveled.
“We’ll see honey, we’ll see.” She rubbed my back soothingly, and I realized that Nutmeg was more of a mommy to me than my actual one.
Growing up in a castle might seem magical, but my experience was anything but. Sure, there were more rooms than I could count and more cars than people, but I didn’t want these things. I didn’t want the intricate dresses or the constant flow of gifts from the ‘subjects’ in my mom’s kingdom. I just wanted to be normal.
The only bit of normalcy I had in my life was Hawk. Whenever we played together, I was able to forget about my royal life and feel like a regular kid. He’d lend me clothes whenever we played together, the dresses my mom made me wear were hard to play in. I liked boys clothes better anyways.
There were a few perks of living in a castle though, the backyard was full of play equipment and cool things for Hawk and I to do whenever we were back there. We’d often run from activity to activity, we could never decide what we wanted to do so we’d just try to do everything.
“What should we do today?” I asked him as we sat in the sand.
“I dunno, but we shouldn’t be outside long, it’s cold.” Ah, typical Hawk, always cautious.
“Don’t be such a weenie,” I teased. “But if you want I guess we could go play video games in my room.” I suggested, I hated being in my room but I did like video games.
“Really?” His eyes lit up, I knew he wouldn’t suggest we do that, but I also knew that’s what he wanted to do.
“Yea, I don’t really mind. Besides, if I’m looking at the video game I don’t have to see my hideous room.” I laughed.
“Oh, ok.” He smiled at me before jumping up. “C’mon, I’ll race ya.”
“Hey! No fair, you got a head start!” I jumped up as well but he was already halfway to the deck.
“It’s not my fault you’re slow!” He laughed as he took off inside the castle.
Hawk beat me to my bedroom, so I was determined to beat him at video games. I stared intensely at the screen while pressing the appropriate buttons as fast as I could.
“You are so going down, Hawk.” I trash-talked through gritted teeth.
“Yea, I know. You’ve got all the high scores on every single one of these machines. There’s no beating the master.” Hawk admitted with a small laugh. I blushed a little, it was a little embarrassing that I took this so seriously.
“Well how about we play the table ones? That way we can play against each other.” I offered.
“Alright, but I bet you’re still gonna win.”
We made our way over to one of the table games and started it up.
“Do you have to do any royal stuff today?” Hawk asked.
“I usually don’t know about the stuff until right before it happens. But hopefully I don’t, I’d rather play this all day.” I pressed the buttons and made my character shoot his. “That royal stuff is so dumb.”
“Yea, it is. I wish you could go to regular school too, it would be a lot more fun with you there.” Hawk sighed. He went to the local public school while I had a private tutor who taught me everything I needed to know.
“Me too. You’re really the only person I know my age. I’d like to have some other friends too.”
“Yea I wish you could play with my friends, they’re really cool.”
I was about to respond when the bedroom door flung open.
“Clementine Fae, what on earth is going on in here?” My mom yelled. She looked like her face was gonna blow up, that’s how mad she was.
“Hawk and I are playing video games.” I responded calmly.
“Get out, now!” My mom screeched at my best friend. He looked terrified, and simply nodded before jumping up and running out of the room.
“Mom!” I yelled at her, angry with how mean she was being.
“Oh Clementine, you should know by now that you’re too good for him.” My mom pouted.
“No, that’s not true! We’re no better than anyone else. Why are you so stuck up?” I exploded. I knew I shouldn’t be talking to my mom like that, but she was just being so terrible.
“We are better than everyone else! We own them, dear. I am in charge here. You will not be hanging out with him anymore, I don’t want you to be influenced by him.”
“I need interaction with people my own age, Mom! He’s the only one I know. It’s not fair.”
“Fine. But your time together will be short and restricted.”
I stomped my foot on the floor, making my mom look me over. “Clementine, what in the world are you wearing?” She looked as if she would pass out.
“This is what I’m comfortable in.” I retorted.
“You look hideous. You’re a girl, you should dress like one. I better not see you in this filth ever again.”
“That’s not fair! The dresses you pick out for me are awful! I want to wear these clothes.”
“Oh Clementine, you’ll learn some taste as you grow up. You’ll thank me in the long run.” She smiled slyly, as if she knew me better than I knew myself.
“Yea right.” I pouted.
“I really don’t have time for this. Change into something else. I’ll have the nanny come get you for dinner in an hour.” She spun on her ridiculously high heels and walked out of my room.
As soon as she was gone I climbed up on my bed and brought my knees to my chest. I didn’t even care that my shoes were getting dirt all over the bed. The bed was dumb and ugly anyway.
I hated my mom. I hated my life here. I was always being told what to do and how to act, I was never allowed to be myself. She was so controlling. I wished that Nutmeg was my mom, or that I lived with my real dad.
Aloe was just my step-dad. He hated me, it was pretty obvious. He’d only be near me for public appearances and then he’d get as far away from me as he possible could soon after. I always wondered what my real dad was like. Why wasn’t he here? Did he love me? Did he even know I existed?
I couldn’t help but fantasize about a better life with my real dad. I would do anything to get out of here.