First Impressions

     The Queen walked out into the royal garden and saw her teenage daughter picking a rose off of one of the many rose bushes. "Reeny, what's wrong?" she asked.
     The seventeen year old sighed. "Nothing Mother. I was just thinking about something."
     "Are you sure it wasn't someone?" Queen Serenity asked. She heard Reeny scoff and frowned. "What then?"
     "That's exactly it Mom. I don't have anybody. Everyone in my court has met someone, fallen in love, and is on their way to being married but me. The only thing that everyone wonders about me is how much like you I'm not."
     "That's not true Reeny. You know that."
     "You don't here the people. I have. There were nights that Belle and I have ran off in disguise. Do you know how it feels to have someone look at you in a royal gown, and treat you with the utmost respect, and then degrade and belittle everything you do where they think you're not around? It hurts Mother."
     Serenity touched Reeny's shoulder and sighed. "You have to give everyone a chance. And they have to give you one too. Tomorrow's your birthday, and you will be meeting a lot of people at the party."
     "I'll be on my best behavior," she said dryly.
     "I have no doubt to that. But your father has ordered an escort for you." The Queen smiled as she saw Reeny roll her red eyes. "I know it does not suit your wants, but I'm sure that you and he will work out an understanding."
     "Yes Mother." Reeny watched her mother walk back into the Palace and stuck her tongue out. Before she could return to her walk in the garden, she saw a young man leaning against one of the stone pillars at the archway.
     He smiled at her wide eyed expression. "You know Princess, you look like a stunned rabbit," he said smartly.
     Reeny narrowed her eyes and turned her back to him. "What do you want?" she asked.
     "I was told that I was to be your escort to your birthday party tomorrow. You are the Small Lady, right?" he asked.
     "Yes, I'm called that a lot. Who are you?"
     He bowed respectfully and his long dark purple hair fell in front of his face and a round his shoulders. "I'm Beau. One of the Lords of the Crystal Paris Sector."
     Reeny nodded her head as he stood straight. "Why did my father choose you to escort me?"
     "Honestly, I haven't a clue. Maybe you should ask him."
     Reeny's eyes narrowed as he continued to smile at her. "Are you always this smug?"
     "I don't know. Are you always the brat I've seen so far?"
     "I am not a brat."
     "Really? Then why were you just sticking your tongue out at your mother's back? Where you trying to taste the air?"
     "How dare you!" she shouted indignantly. Reeny then stormed bast Beau, leaving him in the garden. "I'm not a brat," she whispered to herself as she ran to her room. "I'm not."

     Beau  looked after Reeny as she walked off. "Maybe I shouldn't have said that," he thought. He started to walk after Reeny when he saw another Lady of the palace walking towards him. His eyes lowered when he realized who it was. "Princess Belle, how are you?" he asked softly.
     "I asked the King to send for you because you told me you were starting to have feelings for the princess. I thought I was doing the right thing by my friend, but so far, I'm wrong."
     "No my Princess. It was a slip of tongue, the Small Lady is so vibrant, I was only trying to get to know her better."
     Belle folded her arms over her soft peach gown. "You have to learn the use of the word tact Beau. If you want to get to know her, ask her questions about herself. Let her tell you. Don't make assumptions like is she a brat. Ask her about what she likes to do. If you are around her enough, then you will get to know her personality. Not before then. Do I make myself clear?"
     "Yes Princess."
     Reeny sat in her room brushing her long pink hair. She sighed as she started to think about what Beau said to her, and what the people of Crystal Tokyo thought about her.
     "She's a spoiled child."
     "She'll never be as wonderful a woman as Queen Serenity."
     "The Small Lady? If you ask me, as soon as she gets the chance, she'll take the throne from her parents. You have to think about what she's like. Always being so bossy..."
     "I've never seen her care about anyone else except herself..."
     "What about the Queen?"
     "She only acts like she cares. Otherwise, she's just a brat buying time."
     "Are you always the brat that I've seen so far?"
     Reeny was brought out of her thoughts by the gentle hand on her shoulder. She looked into the mirror and saw the smiling face of her best friend. "Ramies, do you think I'm a spoiled brat?" she asked.
     He sat next to her. "What brought this on?" he asked.
     She looked into his pale face and shook her head. "It's just something that I've been thinking about since the last time I went out of the Palace."
     "No Serena, you're not spoiled or a brat. You just have this... way of getting what ever you want from people, and you've always have the regal command of your mother. Sometimes people just think that it's wrong because you have it at such a young age."
     "Then there are some who think that I'm plotting to kill my mother and father because of it."
     Ramies hugged Reeny and kissed her cheek. "But we all know you would never do something like that; and more importantly, you know you wouldn't."
     She smiled slightly. "Thank you Ramies. I can always count on you to cheer me up."
     "Well, I'm glad that I could help you." Ramies stood and held out his hand. "Now, there's someone that I want you to see."
 Reeny shook her head. "Not Beau. No anyone but him."
     "It's not him."
     "I swear on my marriage to your Lady in Waiting."
     Reeny bit the side of her lip. "Well... I guess so. Let me get my slippers."
     Belle stood in the ballroom with three other young women. She looked to her friends and smirked. "You think she'll like it?" she asked.
     "She should love her. You know how hard it was to find her," the Lady wearing the soft blue gown smiled.
     "You can't forget how she reacted when she lost her," the Lady in green smirked.
     The Lady in soft red sighed in memory. "Serena wouldn't eat, drink, or talk to anyone except for Ramies for a month."
     "Jazell, Saffron, and Reichel, be quite, here she comes," Belle giggled as she ran over to the table where the other three stood.
     Reeny and Ramies walked into the ballroom and saw the four Princesses of Reeny's Royal Court standing in a line in front of the table. "Hello," Reeny said lowly.
     "Hey Reeny, we all know how much you cared for Luna and Artemis," Reichel started.
     "And we all remembered how badly you took it when that ball they gave you disappeared," Saffron continued.
     "Yeah, Luna P was very special to you. It was your best friend, and went with you every where." Belle smiled as she felt Ramies take her hand.
     "So we all were thinking about what to get you for your birthday and came up with a great idea," Ramies smirked.
     "I did a lot of searching, and computer work, and found Luna P," Jazell smiled.
     All five people stepped away from the table and showed Reeny a large ball with the face of a cat, pointy ears and a crescent moon between its eyes. Reeny's face lit up as she fell to her knees. "Luna P!" she cried happily.
     "Happy birthday Serena!" the five cheered.
     Luna P floated off of the table and into Reeny's arms. The Princess of Crystal Tokyo felt tears coming to her eyes as she held her favorite toy from her childhood. "Luna P, you came back," she whispered.
     Beau wandered into the ballroom and saw Reeny and the others. His eyes widened as he saw Reeny acting like a small child over a ball. He then smiled. Even though she was acting like a child, he had never seen her more beautiful.
     Beau walked up to Reeny's chamber door and held his breath. He gently knocked on the door and waited. It was time for them to make their entrance to her birthday party, and he couldn't recall a time where he was more nervous. His usually calm violet eyes started to go wide as the door slowly opened.
     One of the servants opened the door and smiled at him. "The Small Lady will be ready to go in a moment."
     He nodded nervously. Once the door closed, he finally exhaled. Beau turned around to be met by the powder blue eyes of Belle. "Princess..."
     "Don't be so nervous. She's not going to hurt you," she chuckled.
     "That's not I'm worried about. I want to tell her that I've seen her before, but she might think that I've been spying on her or something. I don't want that. I think that I might actually like her, I mean really,"
     "You don't have to explain yourself to me. Small Lady on the other hand, you'll have to talk to." Belle smiled as she heard the door knob turning. "I'll see you both down-stairs."
     Beau took another deep breath and looked into the bed chamber. He saw Reeny standing in her soft pink gown and felt as if he had just been struck. "Princess, you look... you're beautiful," he said in a whisper.
     Reeny looked at him with wide eyes. She would never have thought of getting a complement from him. "Thank you," she said softly. She then looked at him as he stood wearing the ash grey uniform of a Royal Lord. "You look nice too."
     He bowed. Reeny noted that his hair was pulled back into a pony-tail. Beau looked at her and held out his hand. "If it is your wish, I'll escort you to your party," he said wearing a kind smile.
     She was completely dumbfounded. The last time they spoke, he insulted her. Now, he was acting like a complete stranger. Reeny slowly took his arm and smiled. "Yes, you can escort me," she smiled.
     Beau smiled as they walked down to the party. "Princess Serena, I would like to say I'm sorry for what I said yesterday in the garden," he said as they reached the entrance. He looked into her eyes and resisted the urge to kiss her. "I had no right to say that."
     "I feel like I should be apologizing to you. I shouldn't have run off the way I did." Reeny turned when the door to the ballroom opened.
     "Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce to you the Small Lady, Princess Serena of Crystal Tokyo," the announcer said as Reeny and Beau entered.
     Everyone started to applaud as the couple walked down the winding stairs. The symphony started to play again once Reeny and Beau walked over to Queen Serenity and King Endymion and bowed.
     "Happy birthday Reeny," Serenity smiled. She hugged her daughter and saw Beau watching the princess. "He is very handsome. Give him a chance, for me," she whispered into Reeny's ear.
     Reeny smiled as she pulled away from her mother. She nodded only once before she realized that her father had stepped back, and allowed Beau to ask for the first dance. As she took Beau's hand, Reeny couldn't help smiling a him.
     He put his arm around her waist as they started to dance. "Can I ask you a question?" he asked.
     "Why does everyone call you Small Lady and/ or Reeny?"
     Reeny blushed as she lowered her head slightly. "When I was little, I would always dream about being a Lady in my mother's court. So, one day, my father called me his Small Lady, and the name stuck. As for Reeny, you can tell it's a shorter form of Serena. Queen Lita, Princess Saffron's mother, gave me that name." Reeny looked at Beau as he nodded, and smiled.   "Now, I have a question for you. Why have you been watching me?"
     Beau looked at her as if he had just been hit. "Wh... what do you mean?" he asked carefully.
     "I know I've met you before. On those nights where Belle and I would sneak off. You were the young man Belle would always talk with when we were in the tavern. Aren't you?"
     He lowered his head in defeat. "Yes, it was me, Your Grace." He saw the blank  look on her face and sighed. "On those nights, Princess Belle asked me to meet her there, as a sort of guard. If you or she were in trouble, I was to come you your aid. After a while, I don't know when, or how, but in watching you, I fell in love with you." Beau quickly closed his eyes in regret. The last part, she was never to have found out.
     "I... I don't know what to say," Reeny said in shock.
     "If you want me to leave, I'll understand."
     She stepped closer to him. "I don't want that. I... I want you." They both looked at each other with wide eyes. "I mean I want you to stay... here at the Palace. I'm sure we can find something you can help out with."
     The pair danced silently for a few moments. As Beau held her in his arms, he sighed. "Okay, next question. Why is every member of your court a Princess?"
     Reeny shrugged. "It's always been that way. Their mothers were the members of my mother's court. It goes back through our families."
     They fell silent again. Reeny closed her eyes as she felt him pull her slightly closer to him. "Beau, I don't know if I love you.... but I am willing to see if I do," she whispered.
     He smiled at her. "That's all I ask... Small Reeny," he teased.
     "It's Small Lady, or Reeny."
     "You might get mad if I tell you, but I saw you with Luna P last night. I think Small Reeny fits."
     She looked into his eyes and smiled. She knew that he would keep calling her that no matter how any times she would correct him. Reeny looked over his shoulder and saw her parents smiling at them. Shyly, she looked at Beau and kissed him. As she pulled away, she felt Beau's hand touch her face.
     He looked into her eyes in utter shock. His stunned state soon faded as he saw the same expression in her eyes. Beau smiled as they continued to dance. He knew it was only a matter of time until she loved him back, and would admit it. "Happy birthday Small Reeny," he whispered into her ear.