In a land far away live two princesses : Chanel, Princess of Devonshire, and Donielle, the Princess of Zamora, both looking for love but unable to find it. At least that's what both of their parents believe. They both say they are open to finding a suitable partner, but they each think they would never have a love they want. Both princesses have been feeling the constant pressure from their parents to choose someone suitable to run a kingdom with.
Princess Donielle knows she wouldn't find a suitable partner to run a kingdom with, because she has not been interested in anyone who has come to court her. Princess Chanel doesn’t know exactly what she is looking for. She just knows it isn't in any of the men she is hounded by. It isn’t until fate lets their paths cross that their lives change.
Princess Chanel, the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, is the one and only child of the King and Queen Taylor. She is their pride and joy. Chanel is intelligent and kind — everything a King and Queen could want in a daughter. The people of the kingdom say she is the kindest and the most warm-hearted person they have ever come across. She will often sing and smile on her visits into the kingdom as she stops by the local shops to look at the art and trinkets. The people of the kingdom say even though she is always smiling, she often looks unhappy.
The King hears the people of his kingdom say these things about his daughter, and instantly assumes it is because she has not married. He decides that he will throw a ball for all the surrounding kingdoms to come, so that maybe she will find a suitable mate. Chanel heard of her father’s plans, runs to him, and finds her father standing, looking out his chamber's window. The Princess notices that in the light, her father’s hair is salt-and-pepper colored and he appears older to her now.
“Father, a ball?” she whines.
“Yes, my dear, all the eligible young men will be present. Maybe you could find one suitable for you. And it's not just one ball," the King says quickly.
“I’m sorry, but what do you exactly mean by, it's not just one ball?" she asks, not because she doesn’t understand what her father means, but because she wants to know how far her father is going with this.
“Two,” the King says.
"It is going to be two nights? But father!" Chanel begins to whine.
“That is enough!"
Chanel immediately stands silently at the sound of her father's stern voice. He speaks more softly when he sees the look on her face. He instantly sees the face of a younger version of her, remembers her having the same look as a child when she was told she had to have the riding lesson.
"There will be a ball. You will see that this will be good for you." He kisses her on the forehead, the same way he had when she was a child, turns, and walks away, leaving the Princess by herself.
She stands there, upset with her father for putting her in such a situation. Over the years, he had tried to get her to settle down with no luck. Each time they ask her what is wrong with the guy, she would reply, "Nothing. He just doesn’t make me feel anything."
Her father just sighs and shakes his head. The Princess could never explain her feelings towards her suitors. She just knows that they don’t make her feel like what the stories say. She wants a tale of love like the ones that she had read when she was younger. She wants the same type of love that the bards write songs about. She walks slowly to her chambers, where her maid Rosy waits so she could fit her for her gown.
"You don't look very happy. Are you not excited for the upcoming ball?" Rosy questions the look on Chanel’s face when she walks in.
"Not at all," she says breathlessly as she sits down before the fitting.
"I don't understand why not," Rosy says as she points where she wants the princess to stand. "If it were my father throwing a ball to find me a husband, my face would not look like yours. It would be quite the opposite. I wouldn't be able to stop smiling."
"Well, maybe you should take my place then. You can be the one to stand there uncomfortable all night with a fake smile, pretending to be interested while a Prince from only God knows where talks about nothing but himself and how great of a King he would be — the whole time looking from me to my father to see if he looks approving of the pairing. Yup, I have two fun nights ahead."
Two days later, in the Kingdom of Zamora, Queen Michelle receives the letter of invitation to the ball at the palace of King Taylor. She is thrilled at the idea of the ball.
“Where is Princess Donielle?” asks the Queen.
“The princess is out on the grounds, taking her combat lesson,” says Mari, the servant for Donielle.
“Why must she insist on doing that?” says the Queen, frustrated.
The Princess, at a young age, did not want anything to do with what her mother considered to be proper for a young princess. Since her teenage years, she refused to wear gowns and what she considers frilly things, which was around the time she decided she wanted to be a knight instead of a princess. She would ask her parents why she could not be both a princess and a knight, to which they would reply because you cannot. It was not long after that she had a woman in the kingdom put her hair into dreadlocks. The new hairstyle made her look more masculine, so the people of the kingdom began to call her Princess Donnie.
Her parents gave up on her finding a suitable male companion because every time they mention one to her, she would simply say, “I have no need for a man. I do very well on my own.” Every time she responds that way the King and Queen would just shake their heads and leave her be.
Once the Queen finds her daughter, she informs her of the invitation that they had received.
"A ball for two days? Why?" Donnie asks.
"The King is throwing a ball in honor of his daughter, Princess Chanel."
"And we care about this because…" Donnie says, letting her voice trail off.
"Because we were invited, that's why," the Queen snaps, as the King approaches them with a smile that quickly fades once he sees the look of tension on both his wife and daughter’s face.
"Is there a problem?" he says as he greets them both with kisses. “Why do you look like your mother just asked you to wear a dress?"
"Because she is about to. The King of Devonshire is holding a ball in honor of his daughter, Princess Chanel," Donnie says.
"When is it? Because if it is next weekend your mother and I will not be able to attend," the King says.
"Why not?" the Queen and Donnie both say at once.
"Have you forgotten our anniversary?" he asks, grabbing the Queen’s hand and kissing it. "You will take Mari with you and I will make accommodations for you both."
"As for what you'll wear," the Queen starts. The King and Donnie both moan and sigh because they know what is going to happen next. “How about a nice gown in your favorite color with-”
“Mother, you know this conversation will end with the same outcome,” Princess Donnie interrupts, “I am not going to wear a gown.”
“Why does she have to insist on being different,” Queen Michelle says to her husband.
“You and Donielle have had this argument since she was thirteen,” King Demetri says.
“Yes! That is because you let her begin taking combat lessons behind my back.”
“If you say so, but let the girl be.”
“How is she going to find a husband if she dresses like a man,” the Queen shouts.
“I’m not!” Donnie says, reassuring her mother forcefully. “I am fine alone. I can rule alone. I can defend and speak for myself. And as for the men in the army, they already respect me. I do not need a man by my side to rule.”
“Why must you be so difficult? Why can’t you be more like other girls,” the Queen cries.
“Mother, I have never been like other girls, and I will never be,” Princess Donnie replies in a solemn voice.
“What did I do to deserve such a disgrace? Any girl would have loved to have grown up like a princess, but not you. You always treated it like a burden,” the Queen says right before she storms off.
She leaves her husband and her daughter standing there, speechless. Donnie is visibly shaken, she’s breathing rapidly, her eyes are dark, and her jaw are tense. She always feels drained and tired after an argument with her mother.
“I will make my own arrangements for what I will wear,” she says. She turns to walk away, but her father grabs her and pulls her into a tight hug and kisses her forehead. She wipes her face and left toward her chambers.
By the time she reaches her chambers, Donnie goes from sad to angry. She and her mother have never seen eye to eye. From the time she was twelve and her mother told her it was time to grow up, to dress and behave more like a proper princess, Donnie would always ask what it meant to behave like a proper princess. She had always thought that because her mother and father are King and Queen that she was already a proper Princess, but to her mother being a proper princess was not running around, jumping, and play dueling with her father. It was dresses, hair, tea parties, and discussing boys with her which, when Donnie was forced to do these things, never went well.
Donnie enters her chambers to sees Mari sitting at her desk, waiting. Mari has a smile on her face until she sees the pensive, dreary look on Donnie’s face. It has been the same look for what seemed like their entire life.
“What did she say now?” Mari says, as she gets up to help the princess remove some of her clothing.
“Apparently, I’m a disgrace,” Donnie says somberly.
“Really, she said that?”
“Yes,” Donnie starts, “and we will be attending a ball for some Princess in Devonshire.”
“Princess Chanel?” Mari’s expression goes from gloomy to sunny instantly. “I heard she is absolutely stunning.”
“That means nothing to me. It’s not like I’m going to walk in and she is going to forget the horde of men vying for her and her father's attention.”
“Who said anything about that. I just thought at least you will have someone pretty to look at while you’re just standing there looking bored,” Mari laughs.
“Yeah, and then be escorted out because I made everyone uncomfortable.” Princess Donnie chuckles. “I need you to take this to the tailor in town. Let him know I will be there tomorrow to have a look. And this request I’ll know you'll enjoy.”
“Really, what is it?
“I need you to go tell Alice that I will need her here tomorrow morning to twist my hair.”
“Yes, I can absolutely do that,” Mari says excited and practically runs out the door.
Donnie laughs wildly at the newfound expression of excitement that came across Mari's face and how fast she leaves. Any other time Mari was given tasks to do she moved slowly, but anytime the task was to go see Alice, Mari moves with the swiftness of the wind to go see that woman. Donnie knows that once Mari leaves to go see Alice she won’t be back for some time, which will be enough time to figure out how the ball situation will play out.
When Princess Donnie arrives, the Kingdom of Devonshire is all a buzz because of the ball. She could see that everyone had pitched in from the stable boy to the town baker. Donnie watches as people move hastily around her, trying to make things perfect for the ball. She walks up the steps, looking around at the beautiful sculptures. At the entrance she is met by a knowing look from the doorman. He is obviously trying to figure out who or what she is. She tells the older man her name and again is met with a questioning look, mixed with bewilderment. He takes her invitation and checks it against the list he has. He once again looks at her strangely, marks her off the list, and lets her pass with an uneasy smile.
The ballroom is lovely. It’s decorated with accents of teal and lilac all around the room. The light from the chandelier makes the room glitter like diamonds. There are ice sculptures of butterflies on the tables, at princess Chanel’s request. Long banquet tables with drink and food that make the room smell delicious. Wonderful music from the band fills the air. People are laughing, drinking, dancing all around like they have no care in the world. Donnie looks around and spots Princess Chanel standing there in the most beautiful lilac-colored full-length gown. Her hair hangs in loose curls. Every inch of her is glowing. She is undoubtedly the most beautiful woman at the ball.
Donnie can't help but stare, probably a little too much, because a couple of times the Princess catches her, and Donnie quickly looks away. Mari said that the princess was a stunning woman, but Donnie thought that she was exaggerating. Most of the time Mari and Donnie have had a difference of opinion as to what is consider stunning, but this time they agree. Chanel is stunning.
Princess Chanel is done with the whole event after an hour. She is ready to leave but knows she cannot because the parade of princes seems to never end. Her parents beam as eligible suitors come up to her one after the other, asking for a dance. They smile as each prince twirls their daughter around the floor. Every time she finishes her dance, her parents ask her what she thinks of the young man and she just says he is nice. One by one she dances with them, but her attention is not with them, but with the man who stands in the wings of the ballroom watching. The guy has not taken his eyes off her the whole night. So, why has he not come to dance with her?
He wears his hair in dreads but pulled back into a ponytail. He is not wearing a traditional tuxedo, but a nice, midnight black slacks with a light teal shirt tucked in. She can feel him staring at her and she feels her entire body heat up while caught in his gaze.
She watches him walk toward the mezzanine during her last dance. She wants to immediately follow him but she knows it would be improper to end her dance to do so.
Chanel smiles and dances with every man that comes to her but she kept looking towards where the mystery man stood, hoping to look up and see him there, watching her again. She doesn’t know why but while he stares, she could feel herself longing for him to come to her. She has never felt that way before, never felt like she needs to meet someone. Why does this stranger make her feel like she wants to abandon her current suitor, who is almost boring her to tears, to leave and find him?