Note: For my creative writing class, we had to retell a Bible story as if it took place in the modern world. See if you can guess which one I did! 🙂
Estelle’s dark, inquisitive eyes drank in the scenery. Hundreds of beautiful blossoms decorated the landscape in an eruption of color: buttery yellow, plum purple, and an assortment of other shades. Exotic birds called out to one another with their plumes of crimson and turquoise while she could hear the chattering of monkeys from behind the palace walls. It was beautiful. Yet, she could not help but think that it was a mirage. An illusion.
“Estelle? Estelle? You are day dreaming again.”
Startled out of her thoughts, Estelle’s head jerked to the right – catching sight of her friend, Mariana.
Mariana had bouncy blonde curls that seemed to constantly be going in a million different directions. Her hazel eyes blinked, before a sad smile appeared on her face. “You were thinking about everything again – weren’t you?”
Sighing, Estelle gave a short nod. “I know that I should let it go,” she began, fidgeting with a lock of hair, “but, it-it’s just so much.” She stopped there, knowing very well that the king had ears everywhere. With the technology that they had now, it was likely that there was nowhere on the royal grounds where one could truly feel safe in disclosing her feelings. One wrong word from her, and, well, Estelle did not like to dwell on that outcome.
It felt like a lifetime ago – before she had been taken behind these palace walls, but it had, in fact, been only months. Freedom. Oh to have that once more! Estelle, however, knew that her life would never be the same. She, along with dozens of other young women, had been yanked out of their lives – brought aboard a cruise ship that would bring them to the main island. Taken…for the king. It was all so barbaric (they were in the twenty-first century for heaven’s sake!), although, really, what was she expecting?
“Miss, your feet,” stated a servant, gray eyes humbly looking to the ground. She carried a basin of soapy water, rose petals floating amongst the bubbles.
“Oh, of course. Thank you,” Estelle replied kindly, causing the servant to duck her head almost bashfully. Gratitude, she had learned, was not something those working in the palace expected. As the muscles in her feet relaxed from the heated basin, Estelle allowed herself to drift back to her previous thoughts.
The king. She wondered what he was like. He did, of course, recklessly act towards his previous wife – Veronica. I suppose it’s doubtful that he has any measure of self-control…she mused, nerves rising at the thought of what might happen to her should his anger strike. God is with you Estelle, even if-if something bad does happen. You’re not alone.
“Estelle Miranda. The king has requested you.”
Her stomach dropped. It was time. Please, Lord…give me strength…prayed Estelle silently.
“You…are most beautiful.”
As this statement left his mouth, the king’s fingers gently grazed her cheek. He allowed them to pause momentarily, against it.
Estelle’s heart pounded rapidly. What to say? What do to do? Weeks and weeks spent preparing, and now her mind was ignorant of how to proceed. “You honor me with your words, your majesty – a mere common girl,” she finally said, hoping her tone was both measures of sincere and confident.
An almost amused turn of his lips showed, as though this confession struck him as curious. “Common? My dear, surely someone has made note of your beauty?” questioned the king, eyebrow raised.
She let a few seconds tick by, debating between the honest answer – which could both potentially humor or annoy him – and the rehearsed one.
He must have noticed her pause, for his expression darkened somewhat. “Tell me, my dear. I will not ask again.”
“I-I’m afraid that I’ve always had my nose stuck in a book,” Estelle admitted, pink coloring her cheeks at the confession. That most certainly would not impress him. Although, to be fair, it was true. Estelle had likely read at least half of the books in Lifeway, being the bookworm that she was. But would her words cause his anger to arise? She needed to fix this. “A few mentions have been made, but I don’t really pay much attention to it.”
Ah, so she was not jealous. That was good. It would keep her from interfering with his habits…thought the king, also noting to himself, and she likes to read. I admire intelligence, though she would need to know her place. I will not tolerate someone going against my authority.
While the king was deep in thought, Estelle took this time to study his appearance. He had dirty blonde hair that looked terribly untamed, despite his status. Amber brown eyes blended nicely with his rather rugged complexion, and she noted that he was a good head taller than herself.
Moments later, the king asked, “What do you make of love – do you think, such an idealistic notion can be found in this?” He twirled an ebony curl of hers around his finger, distracted by her apparent beauty. It was a wonder that she was not more aware of it, he thought.
“Love, love to me…is the greatest gift. It encompasses all the goodness that the world can offer, it is sacrifice. Tenderness. Caring for someone more than yourself. Beauty,” answered Estelle, passion feeling her voice. She shifted her position on the cream sofa, before continuing, “I do not think that there is anything more wonderful than love. Can you find love…with your chosen bride? Well, anything is possible. I think it would take hard work, on both parts. But, I do believe the potential is there.”
He looked at her – for once completely serious. “You seem to have quite the utopian view on love. Such a fickle thing.”
She had refused him! HIM. THE KING! What maddening person did that? screamed the king’s mind, moments after Estelle had left. Angrily, he dashed his hand across the desk – papers, cell phone, and documents scattering.
He could have forced her. But he didn’t.
And this, in and of itself, struck him as terribly odd. He was the king. No one refused him anything. Yet this woman had the nerve to!
Part of him was angered by this show of rebellion. Part of him was glad that someone had finally stood up to him. Part of him admired the fiery spirit she had hidden beneath a show of peacefulness. Part of him found it completely and utterly amusing.
And a tiny, tiny part of him, wanted to woe her in a manner that princes did in the fairytales of old.
She was, most beautiful, after all.
Estelle could hardly believe that this was happening. She, a mere woman of twenty, was in the process of wedding the king. When did life become so crazy?
“My dear, you look ravishing,” murmured her new husband into her ear, not caring that the priest was in the process of officiating the ceremony.
Blushing brightly, Estelle bit back an embarrassed smile. “You flatter me, my king. I must say that you look quite handsome,” she whispered back.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss the bride,” came the long awaited announcement.
Looking down at her, the king smiled – unable to take his eyes off of her beauty. She wore a princess styled a-line wedding dress with a sweetheart neckline. Beautiful lace covered the blush pink hue of it along with lovely appliques at the bottom. Her dark locks had been carefully crafted into an elegant bun, while a smoky eye highlighted her hazel orbs.
Gently, he cradled her face in his hands and as the crowd cheered, the newlywed couple kissed – lips meeting in a tender affection.
“King Xavier and Queen Estelle!”