I wandered along the country path my head up among the clouds as I thought about my upcoming birthday. I would be turning 16 years old and I knew my mother and father were hoping I will catch the eye of a wealth noble man. Being their only child I was their only hope at a chance of being more respected and living a better life.
"Natalie! Natalie!" a voice yelled. I turned round to find my cousin Catrina racing up to me. She had a huge childish grin on her face which made me chuckle as I waited for her to reach me. When she did she curtsied. "Hello, Lady Natalie" Catrina giggled.
I shook my head amused. "I am not a Lady yet, Catrina" I pointed out. "Not for another two days"
"Well, my father has a great surprise for you" my little cousin grinned. She then turned on her heels and ran back down the country path which led towards the villa. I frowned biting my lip before walking back myself. With my birthday upcoming I had to act more like a Lady and racing around even if there was no one to see is unacceptable.
I reached the villa to find Catrina racing around and playing with her older brother William. His wife Mayleen stood off to the side with my Aunt Lowe and mother, Lady Sophia. Uncle Leonardo stood with my father, Lord Alexander, as I approached they both turned to look at me and my father gestured me over.
My fathers face broke into a smile and he put a hand on my shoulder after I had curtsied. "Leonardo here has made a gracious offer for your birthday, Natalie"
"Has he and what might that be, Uncle?" I said turning to face him. My Uncle laughed and handed me a letter. I opened it delicately and my eyes slowly widened. "But-But this is..."
"An invitation to spend a Season at Court" Catrina grinned running over and clasping my hands in hers. "You are going to have a wonderful ball and then a whole Season at Court"
I turned to looked at my father who was smiling still and then my Uncle who nodded understanding. "Thank you, Uncle" I whisper before turning to hug Catrina who seemed almost excited as I was.
"Well, it is best we focus on your ball first" my father nodded. "It wont be anything large but we will give you the best we can"
"Thank you, father" I whispered feeling tears form in my eye. He gave me a hug and then everyone began to disperse except for Catrina who tugged me along to her guest room at the villa. She pulled a dress bag out of her closet to show me a beautiful dress of ocean blue and pearl white. I gasped and Catrina smiled as she flicked her hair over her shoulder with a hint of arrogance.
"I may be a child but I do know how to dress like a Lady" she told me before taking my hands in hers. "I really hope to make you look exceptional for your ball, Natalie, and your days at Court"
"Catrina, thank you" I said and hugged her. She then turned back to her childish self and urged me to put it on but I had to decline. "Dinner will be served soon" I explained which made her pout but agree that maybe now was not the best time. That did not let me have a break from her. Although, I did not need one. I enjoyed Catrina's presence she had the lively childish spirit that I did when I was 13 years of age.
It was a time I missed so much but I knew that my childish years would be short. When I had turned 14 year my mother began taking me to be fitted for dressed and she taught me how to be a Lady.
During those years I had feared me and Catrina would grow distant but instead of letting the sadness of not being able to play with her cousin overwhelm her she supported me. She also found through me the gossip a young girl like her would not hear. Politics and rumors were words for adult ears only and now I was soon to be a Lady I heard plenty. Unlike my elders though I was happy to share it with Catrina.
Just as we were about to discuss a rumor about the new King there was a knock on the door and Mayleen stepped into a room with a delicate smile on her face. "Dinner is ready. Lady Lowe told me to fetch the both of you. She said you'd be deep in discussion and to have a firm hand"
"No, its okay" I smiled rising. "Me and Catrina will have plenty of time to talk later"
"I am sure. Although, Lady Lowe was going to invite you to afternoon tea after dinner with me and your mother, Lady Sophia"
"I'm sure my mother will understand" I smiled and then led Catrina out of the room with Mayleen slowly following us. We headed down the stairs and attended Dinner which was filled with the buzzing excitement of me being able to have a Season at Court.