I did not hear her come into the room; she was like that, silent, cat-like. She moved with the stealth and feline grace of someone who belonged to a guild of assassins, a small brown paper package of dynamite.
“How did it go?” she asked.
I was so startled when I heard her speak, from just a few paces behind me, that for a second I had no idea what she was talking about. “Huh?” I responded turning round to face her.
“How did it go? Valentine’s dinner with the princess?”
“Oh? That… it went well I think, it was not as awkward as the Christmas Ball at all.”
“Come on, give us the juicy details, or I will use this” she said brandishing her broom like a sword.
It was a longstanding joke between us, threatening me with a broom. You see, it was an old wives tale, that if someone brushed you with a broom, whilst sweeping you would become barren. She usually said it to get me out of the room so she could clean up, I would insist that I would keep out of her way, that I would lift my feet so she could sweep beneath them and she would laugh and shoo me away. She never let me see her clean a room, and normally she stayed out of my way I could go for days without seeing her. She did not come every day, sometimes, the only way I could tell she was around was that, well, everything was tidied up, leave so much as a scrap of paper on the floor and when you come back into the room it was gone.
When she was not being the invisible efficient housekeeper, she taught me dance, proper ballroom dancing. I think she would make a great Dance Instructor, which was her dream; in an impossibly short time, under her tutelage, I had come from having two left feet, to being not too bad at all and oh so modest. When I complimented her, she said I had only learnt fast because I was a natural, but she smiled as she said it.
When she was not teaching me to dance, she was knowledgeable in all things high society; she was like a, walking-talking Google. Those little things you had to know like what spoon to use for which dessert, how to hold a wine glass like a sommelier and drink from it like you know what you are doing. She knew all these things because she had worked for royalty, that’s what she had said when I asked her.
She was asking me, how my Valentine’s dinner had gone, because she had seen me fussing over the Valentine’s card and dinner invitation the princess had sent me; I had admitted to being at a loss as to what to get the princess or what I would say to her, I had only seen her a few times and the only significant amount of time I had spent with the princess was on Christmas Ball, but we had not talked. She had told me the gift was easy, just get her a necklace with her initial as a pendant, simple elegant and of course pure silver naturally, even directed me to silversmith with surprisingly reasonable prices. As for conversation with the princess, she had advised me to be myself, as these royals (as she put them) were surrounded by people who were trained to only tell them what they wanted to hear so they valued, a pure heart and honest talk.
We had practised mock dinners where she would pretend to be the princess and I, well I would be me. She gave me a running commentary of what I had to be doing, such as; “When you meet her compliment her appearance obviously a lot of time and effort will have gone into her appearance. Be a gentleman, pull out a chair for her, and then sit only after she sits, tell her about yourself, ask her about herself, don’t stare at her like that you would freak her out___” I was only staring at her because it was so weird she had the role of princess down pat, after a couple of times so did I, acting naturally.
“The details…” She prompted again
“Oh the dinner well, she loved the necklace I got her, she even let me put it around her neck. Conversation was a bit awkward though, I think you were better at being princess than she is, believe or not; her idea of small talk was asking me tonnes of personal questions, some of which I did not feel inclined to answer. Obviously the evening would not have been complete without dancing, we danced. You dance a whole lot better, she stepped on my toes a couple of times, I stepped on hers once or twice and she kicked me in the shins with her pointy heels, I doubt that was accidental; but all in all fun times hey.”
“Sounds like you had fun”
“Will you see her again?”
“Yes, we going on a picnic”
“Good for you, now shoo I have to sweep in here”
“Thanks I’ll be out your hair.” I said leaving the room, if I had looked back I would have seen her watching me leave, I did not look back, I whistled as I shut the door.
#Blogbattle entry prompt Pure
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