Alexandria walked out of the palace and followed the pea graveled path to the rose garden. She loved the beauty of the vibrant Lady in Red climbing roses which graced the archway to the garden. Briefly she paused, bringing her nose close to a bloom to enjoy the delicate fragrance.
In the distance, King Zachary waited by the bench before the General Jacqueminot roses. He loved that is daughter took enjoyment in the simple things, such as the beauty of flowers. He watched her as she enjoyed each blossom as she approached.
“Father,” Alexandria bowed as she greeted him, “You summoned me?” She rose back up and sweetly looked at him.
Zachary waved his hand toward the bench, “Let’s have a seat.”
Once Alexandria sat, her father joined her.
“Zandry,” her father interlaced his hands in the same manner as his daughter does when she is thinking, “I think you need a break from palace life. What would you think about taking a few weeks to travel to the far regions of the kingdom?”
Father rarely called her Zandry these days. It was a childhood nickname and harkened back to a simpler age of ribbons in her hair and no requirements to be so formal. A break from the palace and getting to see areas she hadn’t been to caused her face to light up like any teenager offered to travel the world. “Father, I would love to go on this journey.” Her response came out formal, but the smile on her face revealed her giddiness.
Zachary looked at his daughter. She definitely needed a break, she didn’t know how to drop out of her formal mode any longer. “Zandry, I want you to have fun on this trip,” he picked up his daughter’s hand and cupped it between his. He wondered if they had leveled too much upon her shoulders too quickly. “I’ve arranged for a carriage to first take you out to the mountain house. While you are there, blend in with others and dress as they do. Just be your charming self.”
“Father, am I to go alone? Aren’t you and mother coming?” Alexandria was not sure to be nervous or excited.
“We will not be going. But your cousins Kaitlyn and Victoria along with cousins Thomas and William will accompany you. I can’t have you running around alone! You will also be accompanied by a few of the staff to help with logistics and such.”
Katy and Tori! This was fantastic news to Alexandria’s ears. The three of them were inseparable growing up. Tom and Willie were older, they must be our chaperones Alexandria thought to herself. “When do they arrive, and when do we leave?” Her voice almost came out with a squeal of excitement.
Her father was happy to see she was still there behind all the formality façade she had built recently. “Kaitlyn is expected tomorrow, and Victoria should arrive later today. Thomas and William are already here. You’ll head out the day after tomorrow. The mountain house is already being set up by the staff your mother sent out early.”
Father and daughter stood up by the bench. Alexandria could no longer contain her excitement. She jumped like her dad’s little girl and hugged her father around the neck. “Thank you, Pop! I’m thrilled!”
King Zachary hugged his daughter back, a little tighter and longer than he had in a while. A tear welled up in his eye, which he worked to keep in place.
She let go and spun around, the skirt of her dress flaring out, and ran back towards the house to start packing with her maid. King Zachary’s smile quivered and his tear fell down his cheek after she left. He was thankful she didn’t suspect what was to come in the kingdom. But now he knew she would be safe and out of harm’s way.