It was during a party at their house
Belle was seven years old when she first noticed it. How much difference there was between her and her older sister Anya. For a start, they were treated completely differently 의해 their parents. Anastasia, called Anya for short, was only two years older than Belle but she was clearly the favourite in the family. It was common knowledge that her parents had been longing for a daughter for eight years before Anya came along and that even then they’d been terrified that she might not survive. But she had done and they were ecstatic.
Two years later, Belle was born but she had never noticed any difference between the way in which she and her sister were treated 의해 their parents until she was seven years old.
It was during a party at their house. Being a lord and lady, their parents held a great many parties, but this one was a special one, for Empress Maria of Russia herself was coming to their manor.
“I don’t see why I have to go,” sighed Ferdinand, their oldest son. “It’s going to be so boring!”
“Yeah,” agreed Derek, the 초 oldest child. “We’ll probably be dragged up to dance all night 의해 ladies we don’t even know.”
Belle, lying on the end of his bed, rolled over. “But there’s going to be a lot of good food, isn’t there?”
Ferdinand laughed. “Yeah, I guess there’s that!”
“I can’t wait!” Belle told them. “Is the Empress Maria really as grand as they say? 당신 guys have seen her before, right?”
“Only a few times,” Derek told her.
“But she is very grand,” Ferdinand added.
“Anya’s really excited too,” Belle put in.
“She would be,” tutted Derek.
Ferdinand was seven years Belle’s junior; Derek five years older than her, but they both had a great fondness and affection for their littlest sister. 더 많이 so than could be said for Anya. They had come to learn a long time 이전 that Anya was their parents’ favourite child, and they both knew the reason for it. Belle was too young to understand just yet.
Anya came into their room at that point, primping and preening. “Hey, aren’t 당신 lot ready yet?” she tutted. “The party’s in half an hour!”
“Ok, ok, no need to get so bossy,” sighed Derek, straightening his cloak. “You’re not head of this family, remember?”
She stuck out her chin, defiantly. “Neither are you, Derek!”
“Pack it in, 당신 two,” Ferdinand reprimanded them, picking up Belle in a piggy-back. “Come on, let’s go downstairs.”
Even then, Belle didn’t notice what was being said about her older sister 의해 the other ladies, 또는 if she did, she didn’t quite understand it.
“Look, there’s Lady Anya!”
“Oh, she’s growing up so fast!”
“She’ll be the perfect bride for the young lord!”
She didn’t take much notice of what was being said about her, either.
“Oh, is that another of their children?”
“Yes, their youngest. Belle, I think her name is.”
“Not as pretty as her sister, though.”
Ferdinand heard that and bristled. “Excuse me,” he said to the lady in question, “I couldn’t help overhearing what 당신 just said about my sister.”
The woman turned a bright shade of red. “What I meant there was...”
“I know what 당신 meant,” said Ferdinand, coldly. He turned his back on the party and went up to Belle, who was watching her father spinning Anya around the floor. “Me next!” she begged.
“Allow me,” grinned Ferdinand, picking her up and swinging her about. She giggled, getting dizzy, but she didn’t care.
“Hey,” Derek grinned, joining them, offering them a small bowl of party nibbles. “Snacks, anyone?”
“Oh, look,” Ferdinand pointed over to the front doors. “There she is!”
“Who?” asked Belle, eagerly as people began to crowd around them to see.
“Where?” Belle bounced on her toes. “I can’t see.”
“Here.” Ferdinand picked her up on his shoulders and Belle gasped. “Oh, my God! She’s so beautiful!”
And she was, for an older woman. Lord Nicholas, their father, greeted her cordially and showed her to a 좌석 so that she might observe the dancing. “We are honoured to have 당신 here, your Majesty,” he said to her.
“It is I who am honoured, Lord Nicholas,” she replied. “Now, where is your darling daughter, Anya? I have something for her.”
The dancing began to pick up again and Lord Nicholas found his oldest daughter. Belle scrabbled down from her brother’s shoulders. “May I come too?”
“If you’re quiet,” replied her father, leading them both to the Empress. “And 당신 don’t annoy the Empress with incessant chatter.”
Anya chattered incessantly enough for both of them. “Hello, your Majesty. I’m 아나스타샤 but everyone here calls me Anya. I’m so glad you’re here. It’s so exciting. My parents are always saying we should invite 당신 to one of our parties and now you’re here I can see why. It’s an honour!”
She finished with a little curtsey. Belle said nothing, as her father had told her to. The Empress laughed in delight. “Well, it’s a pleasure to meet 당신 too, Anya and I have something for you.”
Anya clasped her hands together in excitement and the Empress produced a small 음악 box trimmed with gold. It played a soft, tinkling lullaby. “How beautiful,” gasped Anya, with another curtsey. “Thank 당신 so much! Belle, isn’t it beautiful?”
Belle nodded, and then ventured a “Yes, it is.”
“And this is your other daughter?” the Empress asked, with a kindly smile.
“Yes, this is Belle,” said her father. “Belle, 당신 may run along back to your brothers now.”
“But can’t I-?”
“No buts, Belle,” he commanded, ushering her away.
That was when it hit Belle; that Anya was the favourite one. She wasn’t sure how she felt about it.
“Come on, Belle,” said Derek, seeing the curious look on her face as she glanced at her sister. “I’ll dance with you.”
From then on, however, Belle knew that something was up in their family. Her brothers sensed it and now so did she. Her parents favoured Anya the most; but why?
“Thank you so much! Belle, isn’t it beautiful?”